7 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself in the New Year
New Year's resolutions have been around forever, and every January, millions of people across the world set lofty goals in hopes of bettering themselves in the new year. Whatever your New Year's resolution may be, it's important to set goals that help you improve your quality of life.
Whether you want to get in shape, make more friends, or just live a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle, here are seven ways to help you become the best version of yourself this year.
1. Take Sober January into February and Beyond
In the wake of COVID-19, alcohol consumption went up by 21% in America alone. As states begin to reopen, along with bars and clubs, it's easy to get lost in an atmosphere of social drinking. But alcohol has debilitating short-term and long-term effects on the body and is easily addictive. Regular drinking can leave your mind cloudly, cause headaches, and establish prolonged dehydration.
This is why many people choose to participate in Sober January. Even temporarily cutting alcohol from your life for 30 days will help you feel more rested and healthy overall. But for long-term health benefits that are even more significant, consider prolonging your alcohol-free days into February or beyond.
Cutting back from a serious alcohol binge? If you are among the 21% of people that fell into binge drinking during the pandemic and now want to pledge to cut alcohol from your life, there are ways to make it easier. Consider consulting with your physician or attending local AA meetings. And if you want to be sure your alcohol is clear from your system, there are tests available to ensure your body has filtered it out.
2. Establish a Regular Exercise Routine
Many people set their New Year’s resolutions to get in shape or lose a certain amount of weight. But instead of aiming for an unattainable or difficult goal, try creating a moderate, healthy routine instead. Regular exercise can improve your overall lifespan, lower your chances of heart attack, and, of course, make you look and feel better overall.
Consider starting small, so your routine is easier to stick to — for example, 10-minute walks around your neighborhood or even a short morning yoga routine can be a great starting place.
3. Stop Smoking Marijuana, Even If It’s Legal in Your State
Marijuana has become a normalized pastime in the last decade, thanks in part to its legalization in over 18 states as of 2022. But, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it's healthy for you or your body. While some groups tout marijuana as being safe and harmless, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Along with affecting your short-term and long-term memory, marijuana greatly impairs your cognitive ability for several hours after you’ve smoked or ingested it.
Furthermore, if you are planning on applying for a job or changing careers, your “legal” drug habit can still affect your ability to pass a drug test. Since marijuana remains federally illegal, companies are allowed to drug test you for THC and deny you employment if your results come back positive. Plus, of all drugs, THC lasts in your system the longest, lingering anywhere from 7 to 30 days depending on how often you use it.
So for your physical wellbeing, mental health, and career outlook, this year is the perfect time to take a break.
4. Make Healthier Food Choices
Supermarkets and fast food chains wouldn’t occupy multi-billion dollar industries if companies weren’t competing to market your food — even if it’s unhealthy. And with questionable buzzwords like “low-fat” or “sugar-free” complicating your ability to recognize smart food choices, it can be tough to maintain a decent diet.
The long-held guideline of shopping the perimeter of a grocery store is a good starting point, but you can also try out a variety of small goals to make healthier food choices. Try adding a vegetable at every meal or swapping out one meal a day for a healthier choice. Cutting out soda or other high-calorie liquids for water is another easy and effective way to make your diet just a bit healthier.
5. Quit Smoking
Whether you actively enjoy cigarettes or you are struggling with a physical addiction, there is no better advice for health and self-care than quitting smoking. While difficult, making this one adjustment can be the most impactful change you make in the new year.
The health benefits and effects of eliminating cigarettes are nearly immediate and continue for months and years afterward. Only 24 hours after putting down tobacco, your risk of heart attack already begins to decrease. After two days, your sense of taste and smell will begin to improve. Three days later, all the nicotine present in your body will have been filtered out. And after nine months, your lungs will have almost completely recovered — just in time for another New Year’s resolution!
6. Consider Meditation
In today’s technology-filled world, our lives are not just busy — they are also incredibly noisy. From social media to television, our addiction to screen-time is enough to cause continued stress, insomnia, and even headaches from eye strain. In fact, the average amount of time people spend on their phones is between 5-6 hours, almost equal to how much we sleep each night.
To bring in a healthier new year, consider a morning or nighttime meditation routine to help you sleep better and improve your overall mental health. Don’t know how to meditate? There are thousands of apps, Youtube videos, and websites that can offer you guided meditations and an easy place to start.
7. Take a Vacation
This may seem like an extravagant way to take better care of yourself in the new year, but it deserves a mention, especially for those of us still dealing with cabin fever from two years of pandemic-related lock-downs. COVID-19 has left long-lasting effects on everyone’s lifestyles and overall mental health.
That’s why now is the perfect time to get out and explore something new. Treat yourself to a weekend getaway at the nearest beach or lake, escape to a mountain cabin for a no-tech nature retreat, or enjoy the vibrant cafes of an unfamiliar cityscape. It’s a new year and a new you — and you deserve a break.
Focusing on your health and demonstrating self-care is important now more than ever. That’s why Countrywide Testing is ready to help to ensure your body is free from any harmful habits and chemicals that plagued you last year. Choose from nicotine tests, alcohol tests, and multi-panel drug tests to be sure your body is free and clean. Even consider displaying your clean test results somewhere in your home to help maintain your motivation for clean living throughout the year!
Ready to embrace all the new year has to offer? Shop the selection of our products here.
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