Ring in a healthier 2021

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, January 13, 2021

We made it! While 2020 may be past, unfortunately COVID-19 is still with us.

Remember to protect yourself from COVID-19 by:

  • Wearing a mask;
  • Washing your hands frequently;
  • Staying six feet from others.

Here are other aspirations for a healthier “you” in the new year:

Improve overall wellness.

A 2018 Harvard University study cites five everyday habits to help you live longer and healthier:

    • Eat your fruits and vegetables;
    • Move your body, from leisurely walks to full-body workouts;
    • Maintain healthy body weight to reduce diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer risks;
    • Limit alcohol to one 5-ounce glass of wine per day for women and two glasses for men;
    • Don’t smoke or stop smoking.

Sleep more.

A major stressor in 2020 was lack of sleep, which is crucial to overall health and performance. Work and school from home impacted our already fragile work-life balance to add more stress and affect our sleep time.

Try to follow a nightly ritual to lull you from worries to sleep. As with children, set strict sleep and wake schedules.

Other tips for getting more nighttime rest:

    • Invest in a new mattress and pillows;
    • Use comfy sheets and blankets;
    • Read a book—not a tablet;
    • Turn off the television and do not pick up the phone to check messages.

Work smarter.

Working from home is now part of the new normal for some. Following a schedule makes the transition easier, particularly for people who need structure. Set strict parameters to prevent your workday from blending into after-work time.

Other ways to optimize remote working environments include:

    • Decorate with indoor plants, which help purify the air, improve your mood and lower stress and anxiety;
    • Use under-desk foot rests to improve posture, chair cushions to relieve lower back pain and keyboard and mouse supports to lessen wrist stress;
    • Consider an air purifier to decrease allergens;
    • Adjust screen brightness and room lighting to reduce eye strain; consider blue light blocking glasses.

It would be a miracle if we could find extra hours in the day, but that’s probably a pointless aspiration. However, we can learn to cope with time anxiety.

Start by being aware of how much time you waste focusing on lack of time.

Instead, focus on what you can control:

    • Create realistic goals;
    • Concentrate on better work habits and remove distractions that waste time;
    • Accurately estimate projects;
    • Prioritize work so there’s a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Lose weight.

Imagine starting a new year without worrying about our weight. But with 2020 stress eating, many of us need to shed some pounds.

There’s a plethora of fad diets, but the best rule is to eat less, eat in moderation and exercise more.

While in-studio and gym workouts are still limited, there are plenty of online fitness programs. Also, consider losing extra pounds by working around the house or in the yards. One Poll found that homeowners burn more than 80,000 calories yearly by working in the yard and gardening. This type exercise incorporates endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. And at the end of the day, you’ve accomplished a goal.

Katie Richard is the education & training coordinator for Thibodaux Regional Wellness Education Center. For resources to help you reach your health and wellness goals, contact Thibodaux Regional Wellness Education Center at 985-493-4765.