Improving health is often a big goal for many in the new year. If you are just getting started on your journey to good health, you may be unsure what resolutions you should be prioritizing for 2022. Some goals you should consider for the new year include getting more sleep, drinking more water, and finding a type of exercise you actually enjoy doing.
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Health Resolutions You Should Prioritize in 2022
There are so many ways that you can improve your health on a day-to-day basis. If you are on a new health kick, you may be struggling to pinpoint the resolutions you would like to make in 2022. Health can be further split into categories, and we’ve selected the resolutions you should be prioritizing in each for the upcoming year. These categories include:
- Mental Health
- Physical Health
- Gut Health
During the past two years, many people have struggled with their mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more people are working from home, taking classes from their bedroom, and therefore not interacting with others on a daily basis. Mental health is something everyone should be prioritizing, but especially now more than ever. There are a lot of ways you can strive for better mental health in the upcoming year.
1. Talk to someone for help
Some may struggle with seeking out help if they are having problems with their mental health. Many worry about the stigma associated with going to therapy or are unsure where to look for help. Virtual therapy is often a great option for many since it's more affordable and more accessible than in-person options. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is something a lot of people struggle with during the winter months and can be treated by going to therapy. Depending on the platform, this could be direct messaging, cognitive behavioral therapy, or a combination of both.
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2. Start journaling
Using a journal is another excellent way to improve your mental health. You can use a journal for self-reflection and mindfulness. This may even be an exercise that a therapist or other mental health professional will recommend you do as part of treatment. Instead of bottling up emotions, write them down to help you discern how you are feeling. Thoughts can be negative or positive and will help you clear your mind each day. Many people add this as part of their morning or nighttime routine.
3. Take social media breaks
Although social media has been a great tool throughout the pandemic to stay connected with family and friends, it can have negative effects on mental health. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in what others are doing and not live in the moment. Try turning off your notifications for social media, and limiting the amount of time that you spend on certain apps. On average, people spend about 2.5 hours a day on social media, so cutting down will give you more time to sleep, spend time with those around you, and get daily tasks completed.
4. Get more sleep
Getting adequate sleep is essential for mental health, and something you should prioritize the rest of the year. The CDC recommends getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, if not more. Otherwise, chronic illnesses could develop, such as depression or anxiety. And, if you are already experiencing mental distress, a lack of sleep could worsen the problems. If you have trouble sleeping, consider taking supplements, like melatonin to help, but be sure to consult your physician.
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Another aspect of a healthy lifestyle is making improvements to your physical health. Many equate this to starting an exercise routine, but overall health involves much more than that. Especially after a holiday season of celebrating, you may feel as though you need a fresh start to your daily routine. Besides physical activity, there are lots of other ways you can improve your physical health.
1. Keep preventive care appointments
Preventive care appointments are crucial, especially as you get older. There are several healthcare professionals that you should be visiting regularly, like the dermatologist, dentist, primary care physician, and OB/GYN. When these appointments roll around, you may feel inclined to cancel them or reschedule for a variety of reasons. Instead, block off your schedule in advance and make plans surrounding these appointments. This way you can keep up with your health and catch potential problems.
2. Create a skincare routine
Having good skincare is vital to the health of your skin. It can help to prevent acne, wrinkles, and aging. Implementing a good skincare routine will keep your skin looking youthful and in good condition. Proper skincare, like wearing SPF each day, can even ward off skin cancer. Add products with quality ingredients to your regimens, such as AHAs and BHAs. A new routine will have you feeling and looking good for the new year.
3. Find a way to exercise that you actually enjoy
Exercising more is often a resolution that a lot of people try to implement in the new year, but is often hard to keep up with. Trying to exercise 4 or more times a week is often not sustainable, and many give up after a few weeks. Instead, make a goal to find a type of exercise that you actually enjoy doing. Focus on moving your body, rather than doing intense exercises each day. This could be yoga, pilates, running, hiking, or countless other activities.
4. Spend less time sitting down
Working from home throughout the pandemic has left a lot of people sitting all day. Whether it’s at a desk or on the couch, sitting is very bad for your health. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Take breaks throughout the day as you work to get up, stretch, and even go for a small walk. You can even do this with a friend as a way to get active with one another and hold each other accountable.
About 70 million people in the United States have some kind of digestive disorder. Having good gut health means having healthy bacteria and immune cells that prevent digestive problems such as heartburn, constipation, bloating, and more. Having a healthy gut is essential for your general well-being as well, and something you should focus on improving this year.
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1. Drink more water
One of the best things you can do to improve the health of your gut (and your body overall) is by drinking enough water each day. On average, women are supposed to drink 11.5 cups of water each day, and men should drink 15.5 cups, although this varies depending on your weight. It’s estimated that 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, so if you think you already drink enough water, you most likely do not. Drinking more water can help tremendously with gut health, and ward off digestive issues like constipation and bloating.
2. Add probiotics to your daily routine
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) that you can consume daily to improve the health of your gut. They can help to change the composition of your gut microbiome by adding good bacteria to your system. Especially if you are already dealing with a digestive disease, eating probiotic-rich foods or taking probiotic supplements could help with symptoms you may be experiencing. You can find supplements at local pharmacies, or eat foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, or kimchi.
3. Cut back on late-night snacking
Acid reflux and heartburn are very common digestive problems, which can be worsened at night. Sitting up straight after eating helps to promote better digestion. So, after eating dinner, make sure not to go and lay down immediately, as it may lead to increased indigestion. In addition, try not to eat too close to your bedtime. Stop snacking at least 3 hours before going to sleep.
4. Start reading food labels
Paying attention to the ingredients in the food you are eating is an excellent way to get control of your gut. If you know you have an intolerance to certain foods, make sure to look out for them in the foods you are purchasing at the store. Avoid processed foods and look for ‘whole’ ingredients. When reading the ingredients list, make sure you understand what is in the food you are consuming. Although some chemicals are necessary to get daily nutrients, it's important to have a balanced diet and try to avoid them if you can. This can help you avoid unwanted discomfort.
Improving your health should always be a goal, but sometimes its easier to start fresh for the new year. It can be hard to narrow down your resolutions and focus on what is important to you. We recommend improving your mental, physical, and gut health this year. You can do this by getting more sleep, going to all of your preventive care appointments, reading food labels, and more. Determine the goals that are right for you and stick to them for a happy and healthy 2022.
Are you looking for other ways to stay healthy? Mira may be the right solution for you. For as low as $25 a month, Mira members get access to low-cost virtual and urgent care, up to 80 percent off over 1000 different medications, and same-day lab testing. Don’t limit yourself or your health; sign up for Mira today.
Talor graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health, and minors in Spanish and Diversity & Inclusion in May of 2022. She has a passion for health equity and diversity in health. In the future, Talor hopes to work in public health policy reform to help eliminate health disparities. She enjoys reading, cooking, and listening to podcasts in her free time.