The need to stay healthy has never been more pronounced than in recent years. COVID-19’s appearance serves as a crucial reminder to us all that we should never take our health for granted. As the world pivots and starts making slow but steady steps towards living with COVID as an endemic flu bug, we should also do our part by adopting healthy habits. This will go a long way in building a strong immune system, preventing illnesses and improving overall quality of life.
Here are some simple but highly effective healthy habits you can start adopting starting from today to kick off your journey to a healthier you in 2022!
Let’s start the list with a simple one you can do even from the comfort of your bed. Ever struggled with getting out of bed in the morning? Do you find yourself bargaining for 5 more minutes of sleep and end up dozing off for another hour?
Stretching the moment you wake up might be able to help you with that. Not only does it make you feel more awake and is a great way to start the day, it gives you something to focus on so you don’t fall back asleep.
Stretching also has many health benefits. Here are just 5 of them to convince you to do it on a daily basis.
- Improved blood circulation
- Maintain or improve your range of motion
- Injury prevention during daily activities
- Loosens up your muscles
- Decrease chances of lower-back pain
Stretching doesn’t take much time at all either! Considering how big of a difference it can make to your life in just a couple of minutes, everybody should be stretching on a daily basis. Make it a part of your routine from today onwards!
At this point, the importance of nutrition is known throughout the world. We know what constitutes “healthy eating” – avoiding junk food, fried goodies and sugary drinks while consuming more fruits and greens. However, are you actually aware of why nutrition is important?
Food, at the most fundamental level, provides energy for our bodies to function. It is the nutrition within the food we consume that determines the efficiency and longevity of the cogs (our organs!) that keep us going. For example, a well-balanced nutritional diet will put less stress on our digestive system. There’s a much lower chance of it being overworked which could result in complications down the road.
Other examples include our immune system and kidneys. Our immune system requires vitamins and minerals from a varied diet to remain in an optimal state, guarding against foreign particles that enter our body and cause us to fall sick. The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes and extra fluids from the body. A poor diet will create more waste and put a huge strain on them, once again increasing the chances of health complications in the future.
Most importantly, nutrition can also affect your mental wellbeing. It is backed by scientific research that nutrients such as iron and omega-3 can boost your mood. Yes, you quite literally feel happier after a good, well-balanced meal. I’m sure we can all relate to that!
On the other hand, consuming too much sugar and fats can have the opposite effect on your body, causing you to not only feel physically but also mentally unwell. An article published in 2017 that did an in-depth study on the correlation between sugar intake from sweet food and beverages and mental disorders found that higher rates of refined sugar consumption resulted in a higher rate of depression.
The primary take-away from all that? Let’s focus more on nutrition in 2022 to pave the way for a healthier year ahead.
3. Tidy Up
Living in a neat and tidy environment can do wonders for your mood. A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that individuals who live in orderly homes have a much more positive outlook on life and are generally happier overall. Similarly, a cluttered and untidy home tends to result in accumulation of negativity and depressive thoughts.
This isn’t surprising. Much like how you are what you eat, your living space is also a reflection of your mental state. If it’s chaotic and disorganised, you probably are too. This becomes a vicious cycle, in which cleaning up seems like it requires a herculean amount of effort, and the mess just keeps piling up and up.
You might have heard of the popular Netflix series called “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”. For those that have watched it, I’m sure you’ll agree that Marie Kondo, a tidying expert, single-handedly changes people’s lives just by decluttering their homes. The effects of an organised environment cannot be underestimated. You will also achieve a great sense of joy and accomplishment after finishing such tasks.
Let’s make a habit of tidying up. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
At this point, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but exercise simply needs to be in every article about mental & physical health.
Besides for helping you stay within a healthy weight and in shape, physical exercise is known to trigger feel-good hormones known as endorphins. You also don’t need to work out for 2 to 3 hours to achieve this. It can be as short as a 10-minute session for you to feel energised for the rest of the day. There’s really no excuse to not exercising with its endless benefits.
If starting to exercise seem extremely daunting for you, you can read our article here with tips on how to embark on your fitness journey. It’ll help you tremendously!
Last but not least, we have meditation to round up the list. Meditation is an ancient practice that can be tracked back as far as a thousand years ago, meant to help deepen one’s connection with the mystical forces in the surroundings. Many people claim to have achieved incredible results after making meditation a part of their daily lives. In response to this, there have been a constant stream of research papers being published documenting meditation and its alleged benefits in the past couple of years.
And it seems that some of these benefits are actually true.
With the assistance of advanced technology such as MRI or EEG, studies show that meditation could very well help with the following:
- Preserve the aging brain
Grey matter is the sign of a healthy brain. Meditators have more grey matter as compared to their non-meditating counterparts by a fair margin. This difference becomes more pronounced the older the age group.
- Relieve depression
The effects of meditation are similar to antidepressants prescribed to patients who suffer from mental disorders. This essentially means that meditation can naturally give you the same relief as these drugs.
- Reduce social anxiety
Meditation allows you to find inner peace and build a sense of mindfulness. Studies show that meditation brings about positive changes in the regions of the brain associated with social anxiety and aversion to attention.
2022 could be your year!
The 5 points you’ve read above are just some of the most basic changes you can make to your life for a healthier and happier you! Make 2022 the year you’ll look back on and thank yourself for.
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