With the pandemic still surging, it may be tempting to decide not to bother with a new year's resolution or turning over a new leaf. However, there are still small things you can do. Here are five manageable tips to feel physically better in 2021.
1. Eat Fresh
One of the simplest ways to feel physically better in the new year is to plan to eat better. You can take the opportunity of more time spent at home to try out some new recipes that incorporate lots of vegetables and whole foods. Eating more fresh foods and cutting out processed foods, trans fats, and high sugar foods can help you feel more energized, alert, and balanced. Keep in mind you don't need to immediately start dieting. You can start small, by trying a few new recipes or adding a few new kinds of vegetables or fruits to your cart next time you get groceries. Spend some time figuring out what foods you enjoy and go from there. If you're worried that improving your diet could get expensive, there are more affordable and adjustable options out there than premium organic produce and pricey vitamins. You can try meal kits when you're looking to avoid food waste or utilize Prebiothrive coupons when you're seeking savings, for example.
2. Get Outside
The pandemic drove many people indoors for much of 2020. Being cooped up for so long can sour your mood and make you feel stuck or like you're developing cabin fever. While you may not be able to travel somewhere for much of 2021, you can still work on feeling less trapped in the new year. As long as you practice social distancing and bring a mask along, there's no reason you can't spend some time outdoors. Not only does getting some fresh air improve your mood, it can also improve your immune response and help keep your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle in order. If you enjoy winter sports, you can see if ski mountains or outdoor ice skating rinks near you are open. If not, you can always just take short walks.
3. Practice Stress Management
While there's no avoiding stress, it's important to work on managing it, both for your mental and physical health. Make a point to prioritize your physical needs, such as nutrition, hygiene, and sleep. Stick to your routines as best you can and be compassionate with yourself. If you're feeling overwhelmed with work or school, reach out to your supervisor or advisor and ask for help.
4. Get Moving
Exercise is vital for improving physical and mental wellbeing, as well as varied and easy to do, despite what you might think. You don't need to be spending hours every day at the gym or investing in home exercise equipment. You really do just need to get moving. There are workout classes, videos, and tutorials available online. You can learn how to do bodyweight exercises instead of buying a set of weights or just go for a run or a walk to get some cardio. Even getting up and stretching or walking around your home or office a bit throughout the workday is helpful. Find exercises that you enjoy, whether they be yoga or kickboxing, and do a little something each day. You'll tone your muscles, improve your heart and mental health, and balance your mood and sleep cycle.
5. Connect With Others
Social distancing may be necessary for a while, but connecting with others is still a very human need. Just because you can't physically touch your friends and family outside your household doesn't mean you can't still connect with people. You can hold small meetups outdoors where you can keep your distance, keep up with regular video or phone calls, or schedule activities like virtual book clubs. You can also look for socially distant ways to get involved in your community, such as putting together meal kits for people in need. Connecting with others can improve your mental health, which in turn can help you feel physically better.
Remember, a commitment to yourself can be as simple as eating more vegetables. It's ok to start small and work your way up, especially this year.
Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer in both physical and mental health. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.