Cheers to New Year’s resolutions

Whether you make a formal resolutions list or not, the start of the New Year reignites the determination to do a little better than the last year. So, in the spirit of looking forward to a healthy, happy and successful year ahead, here are five New Year’s resolutions.

Get more sleep

Break night owl habits and get at least seven hours of sleep a night.

We need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night but how many of us are actually getting it?

Working late, surfing the Internet and watching TV are all modern-day activities that often keep us up long past a healthy bedtime. And while many of us take sleep for granted, a lack of it can have serious consequences!

Studies have found that feeling sleepy behind the wheel could make you as prone to having a car accident as a drunk driver. In the long term, not getting enough shut eye may make it hard to keep the weight off and can contribute towards the development of a number of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Get fit

Get fitter, tone up and run a five and a 10 kilometre race.

We all know it’s healthy but now new research proves that exercise is even better than previously thought!

A study by Humboldt State University and the University of Colorado found that adults over the age of 65 who run at least 30 minutes, three times a week, were less likely to experience age-related physical decline in walking efficiency than those who simply walked.

Regular exercise also helps protect against and may even help treat chronic diseases. There are also psychological benefits and, thanks to its mood boosting effect of a good workout, exercise can help ease anxiety and depression.

Say no to distractions

Learn to say ‘no’ with conviction and be more aware of how you spend your precious time.

Do you feel guilty about saying ‘no’ to volunteering your time, even though you would rather be doing something else?

The demands of career, family and friends can take its toll and, thanks to our online-and-always-on world, there’s an increasing expectation to reply to requests in real time, rather than during work hours.

According to Peter Fleming, Professor of Business and Society at Cass Business School, City University in London, the result of work and life becoming blended to such an extent is that even rest and sleep are considered a ‘waste of time’.

“Our jobs are no longer defined as something we do among other things, but what we are… Ominously, we are now permanently poised for work,” says Professor Fleming.

In short, without prioritising time out, you could face burnout. So, even if you only have a few minutes a day to spare, use them to centre yourself. You could mediate, pray, take a walk or spend a few blissful moments reading a novel in bubble bath.

Get creative

Actually DO some of the million home décor projects you’ve tagged on Pinterest.

Although creative pursuits are often thought of as something to do only when you have “extra time”, recent studies highlight the value of adding creative pursuits to your schedule.

Completing that DIY décor project or painting a picture for your home will not only leave you with a sense of accomplishment, but it could also help boost your career and your brain power!

According to a study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, cultural and artistic hobbies have been found to boost workplace effectiveness. In another study, published in Psychological Science, researchers found that learning a mentally demanding skill, like quilting or digital photography, improves cognitive functioning in mature adults.

Ditch the energy drinks

Drink less of a certain caffeinated energy drink.

With concerns about their potential adverse side effects on heart function, it’s high time to rethink energy drinks!

According to Dr Jonas Dörner, of the cardiovascular imaging section at the University of Bonn, Germany, energy drinks usually contain taurine and caffeine as their main pharmacological ingredients.

“The amount of caffeine is up to three times higher than in other caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola. There are many side effects known to be associated with a high intake of caffeine, including rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death,” explains Dr Donner.

So, what’s a healthier alternative?

You could try substituting that energy drink for homemade iced green tea. Green tea has less caffeine in it than coffee or an energy drink and is packed with anti-ageing antioxidants. Numerous studies have also found that green tea helps reduce blood sugar spikes, protect the arteries of the heart, speed up the metabolism, boost brain power and it has even been found to suppress cancer cell growth. Now that’s worth raising a glass for!

More low-pressure resolutions for a healthier 2023

  1. Read food labels and know what they mean - many of us skim through the ingredients on packaged foods looking out for specific things like ingredients we are allergic to or avoiding for specific reasons. Next year we are resolving to look up common ingredients in our favourite foods and being more conscious of what exactly we are eating and its effects on our bodies.
  2. Take aches seriously - There are body aches and niggles we all ignore. We start carrying headache pills in our bags instead of seeing a doctor about frequent headaches. We put breathlessness down to age or a lack of fitness when these could be symptoms of serious health issues that could be treated.
  3. Get more sunshine - There are many benefits to taking in some sun. While the risk of sunburn and skin cancer has kept many of us out of direct sunlight for a long time. Recommendations of getting in at least an hour of carefully timed sun time to help boost your immune system during this year’s pandemic were just the reminder we needed that the sun isn’t actually bad. We are definitely getting more sunshine and fresh air in the coming year.
  4. Rest more and rest well - Self-care is one of the greatest lessons of 2020, 2021 and 2022. It doesn’t have to be getting a massage or a facial. Sometimes a nap can be an act of self-care. Rest is more important than most people think, and your body sometimes needs more than eight hours of sleep, especially if all you are getting is eight hours of disturbed sleep.
  5. Know where you stand health-wise - Knowing you are vulnerable is the first step you take to protecting yourself. Knowing where you stand when it comes to your health means you can take precautions where necessary and improve your health. Conditions like being pre-diabetic can be reversed reducing your chances of severe complications with COVID-19 infection. Other illnesses like cancers and TB are better treated when discovered early.