A Better You: 4 Things to Do
Updated: Dec 31, 2022
It's a new year! Every new year brings the feeling of possibility, and a fresh start. People often focus on health, which is obviously very important. But where to start?? And how to keep it going??
January is usually a big month for new gym memberships, diets and detoxes. But come February, how many of us are still "on the wagon?" Read on to learn what changes to prioritize and HOW to turn those changes into lasting habits, for a healthier happier YOU for many years to come.
ONE: BOOST IMMUNITY
It's winter. It's cold. Everyone was crowded together at all the holiday parties. Now, the cold doesn't make you sick, but it does make you less likely to spend time outdoors socializing, and move the party inside, and THAT makes it easier to spread illness. Here are a few things that boost immunity and at least shorten (if not prevent) those winter bugs.
Vitamin C: Fruits and veggies are the best sources of Vitamin C.
Citrus (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit)
Strawberries (and all other berries)
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower)
Other Immune Boosting Foods
Fish oil: cold water fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) have high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which help your white blood cells fight infection. Aim to consume these fish 3-4 times per week, and look into a fish oil supplement if that's not doable.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds contain B6, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium, which help maintain your immune system.
Spices: garlic, ginger, and turmeric have been used for centuries to fight infection
TWO: SELF CARE
The idea of self care has become super trendy lately, but that doesn't make it any less important. As a self-employed busy mother of two, it is far too easy to drop that ball. But carving out just 15-20 minutes a day for YOU can make a huge difference in your mood, your health, and your relationships (as a spouse, parent, friend, etc). Set a specific time for it. Put it on your calendar. You wouldn't miss an important meeting, or an appointment. Don't miss this.
Go for a walk (try it with music or a new podcast)
Stretch for 15 minutes. Do yoga.
Pick your favorite essential oil and diffuse it, then BREATHE for 10-15 minutes
Schedule a massage
Make a coffee or lunch date with a friend (or a phone date) and catch up
Exercise for fun, ie golf, tennis, ski/snowboard, sled with the kids
GET GOOD SLEEP: turn off screens 1-2 hrs before bed, make your room dark, use a sound machine, focus on consistency with bed time/wake time
THREE: HEALTHY HABITS
OK, so how to we actually commit to doing these things? How do we turn these things we want to change into actual habits, which we do daily?
Prioritize: Focus on 2-3 things that are really important to you. Or maybe just 1 thing.
S.M.A.R.T goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound
Habit Stacking: This is the practice of creating a new (healthy) habit by pairing it with something you already do.
After I brush my teeth, I will drink a cup of water.
When I wake up, I will put on my workout clothes and shoes.
After dinner, I will make a healthy lunch for the next day.
When I have my coffee or tea, I will take 3 deep breaths.
FOUR: BUMP UP YOUR NUTRITION
Rather than focus on what not to do (we all have a good idea what those things are anyway), here are some things to ADD to your diet (in addition to the above mentioned immune-boosting foods). Also, a word on detoxing - your liver does that, don't get caught up in gimmicks, shakes, and diets. Instead focus on boosting your nutrition meal by meal, snack by snack.
Add fruit and nuts to oatmeal or yogurt in the morning
Add veggies to breakfast 3x/week
spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms with omelets, frittatas, or egg bites
cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach to 1/2 bagel with hummus or avocado
Pair a fruit or veggie with a protein and healthy fat for snacks
apple + peanut butter, carrots + hummus
2 clementines + 1/4 cup almonds
cucumber + greek yogurt
Add frozen veggies to instant soups or pasta dishes