happy new year 2014 266943You know a recovery and wellness center can’t resist offering wellness tips for the new year! If you’re debating the best new year’s resolutions to make, consider these five tips for making an overall lifestyle change you can stick with year-round:

Eat sensibly. That means watching WHAT you eat as well as HOW MUCH. Simple ways to jump-start better eating: Bake or broil instead of fry; have meatless meal days; increase your consumption of colorful fruits and veggies; eat smaller portions; choose healthier snacks – a handful of nuts, a ripe fruit; and pick antioxidant-rich foods for increased heart and brain power – blueberries, walnuts, beans, and spinach, for starters.

Exercise regularly. Research has shown that a small amount of time spent in vigorous activity can pay huge dividends. Even 20 – 30 minutes per day can improve your overall health. Start small – a brisk walk around the block-- and build up to longer and more strenuous workouts.

Learn to relax. Stress can be a literal killer, and too much stress is certainly not good for your mental health. Find a relaxing activity that helps you focus on positive thoughts and reduces tension. A few minutes of yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can clear your head and de-stress your body. Others find that long walks or jogs can serve a similar purpose. Even taking a bubble bath with a good book can be a simple way to relax. Make such moments daily.

Reach out to others. Poor communication is a problem for people in our busy world who are often too preoccupied with work or school to make time for real conversation with their loved ones. For older adults, individuals with mental illness, and other vulnerable groups, social isolation is also a danger. We all need interaction with others, including meaningful discussion. Stay connected with your support system and build new connections whenever you can.

Have fun. When you make your checklist of daily activities, do you include a favorite hobby, sport, or other activity? Pursuing personal interests makes for a more well-rounded person and is another way to stay active and relaxed, as well as connecting with others. Include several enjoyable activities in your to-do list each week. Whether your interest is little theatre, softball, or stamp collecting, there’s a group in your community that would welcome your participation.

These five simple tips will give you a head start on a better new year and a healthier you! From Perry Wellness Center, our best wishes to you for a happy and healthy 2014!

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