7 Things to Do to Support Your Health Before the Year Ends

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During the holidays, the last thing on your mind may be your health. After all, you have presents to buy, gifts to wrap and cookies to bake. However, even in the midst of holiday chaos, it’s important to take care of yourself. Here are a few things you can do to improve your well-being and support your health as you enter the new year.

1. Improve Your Nutrition

You are what you eat, so why not eat well?

Fill your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables and stock your cupboards with whole grains, nuts and seeds. Keep healthy snacks in a bowl on the counter and rid your pantry of sweets, salty treats and other unhealthy foods.

Additionally, dedicate a few hours each week to meal prepping. With a bit of planning, you can stick to your new year’s resolutions, keep off that winter fluff and be swimsuit-ready when summer rolls around.

2. Minimize Alcohol Consumption

A glass of wine before bed may help you relax and unwind, but there are no health benefits to drinking in excess. In fact, throwing back one too many drinks can increase your blood pressure, weaken your immune system and trigger mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

If you do choose to drink, consume plenty of water and enjoy a light meal beforehand to slow the body’s absorption of alcohol. More importantly, slow the rate at which you order drinks and limit how many you consume in one sitting.

3. Get More Sleep

Over the past few months, you may have enjoyed one too many naps and encountered more sleepless nights than you can count. While quarantine may be to blame, there’s no reason why you can’t commit to a more consistent sleep schedule and catch some more Zzz’s.

Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day to realign your sleep habits with your circadian rhythm. Help yourself stick to this routine by winding down with a good book or a light yoga flow. Put your phone away a few hours before bedtime to reduce blue light exposure and enjoy deep, rejuvenating sleep in the new year. You’ll be surprised of the health benefits you see from quality sleep!

4. Take a Walk

Instead of setting a lofty weight loss or fitness goal for 2021, commit to taking a few strolls each week. This small goal is easily achievable, motivating you to exercise more and keep investing in your health.

Of course, sprinkling more physical activity into your year will inevitably create a stronger, healthier version of you. However, simply being in nature can also benefit your mind and body. Even just 20 minutes in a park or green space can improve well-being, lower stress and reduce your blood pressure and heart rate.

5. Schedule a Virtual Doctor Visit

Regardless of how well you take care of your health this year, you may still end up feeling a bit under the weather. Cold and flu season is upon us — not to mention the pandemic — so it may be wise to seek medical advice if you start showing symptoms of any illness.

If you aren’t comfortable seeing a doctor in-person, schedule a virtual visit. Check in online with your smartphone or computer and connect to your physician through a video call. After the consultation, they may be able to prescribe medication or schedule a follow-up appointment online to ensure you heal quickly and feel better soon.

6. Adopt a Vitamin Regimen

Maybe your health is suffering because of a vitamin or nutrient deficiency. For instance, if you’re experiencing chronic fatigue, you may not be consuming enough iron. In this case, you could up your intake of red meat, eggs and leafy greens, or simply take a daily vitamin supplement.

Choosing to take supplements that contain a variety of necessary nutrients can help you make up for dietary deficiencies. Plus, consuming more vitamins and minerals can strengthen your immune system against infections, support your health, and set you up for a healthy, happy year.

7. Practice Progressive Meditation

When you have stress or anxiety in your life, your body copes by tensing up. Eventually, this automatic response will cause sore muscles that practically beg to be stretched out. Luckily, progressive meditation — or progressive muscle relaxation — can prevent you from tensing up and developing symptoms of pain and discomfort.

This simple practice involves consciously tensing or clenching certain muscles and then suddenly releasing them to completely relax. Use your inhales to clench and your exhales to release as you move through each muscle group. Try this exercise before bed to develop a consistent routine, release stress and rest better.

A Chance to Begin Again

As you look back on 2020, you might feel remorse or disappointment for all of the goals you failed to accomplish or frustrated for the way this year didn’t turn out how you expected. Don’t be too hard on yourself. This past year was rough, even for the most dedicated health nuts.

Give yourself some grace and see this new year as a chance to start fresh. Use 2021 as a reset button and shift your focus back to you and your well-being. Commit to a healthy lifestyle and set small, achievable goals to maintain new habits and stick to a routine. As you work to reprioritize yourself, you might be happily surprised by how much better you feel before February even arrives.

Author picture

Jennifer Landis is a proud mama who fuels her fire with copious amounts of tea. She writes about food, family, and fitness. Find more from her at her personal blog, Mindfulness Mama and follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.

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