Begin a Healthier Life After the Holidays
The Christmas holidays come and often seem to fly by. However, it’s a time where we often have all kinds of celebrations and events in just a few short days. This season is also characterized by rushing, stress, abundant meals, and the loss of our usual routines. However, with the arrival of the New Year and the end of the vacation, we can set a course for a healthier life after the holidays.
Making a New Year’s resolution to start a healthier life is one of the best health investments we can make. Some habits and routines can help us improve various aspects of our health, both in the short and long term.
The benefits of healthy living
Having healthy lifestyle habits can make a big difference in our state of health and well-being. Sticking to them means a longer life expectancy. Not only that, but it can also allow us to live a better quality of life physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
Scientific studies have shown that just the change towards one of these healthier habits brings us benefits. So, here are some of the habits to having a healthier life after the holidays.
Change your eating habits
Eating is one of the first routines on which we can make big and important changes. But there’s no need to “go on a diet” after the holidays. Nor do you need to lose the pounds you may have gained by going overboard or detox your body.
To start to live a healthier life with the new year, it’s best to adopt healthy eating habits that you can maintain forever.
With a healthy diet, we protect ourselves from malnutrition in all its forms as well as non-communicable diseases including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
-World Health Organization-
To achieve this, it’s important to:
- Eat more plant-based foods. This means eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
- Reduce your intake of meat and sausages and increase your consumption of eggs, legumes, and nuts. Also, try some other source of vegetable protein such as tempeh or tofu.
- Avoid added sugar and superfluous foods such as sweets, cookies, fast-food meals.
- Eat foods that are in season and of nearby origin.
- Drink water. Juices, energy drinks, and soft drinks don’t hydrate us.
Learn more: Ultra-processed Foods Increase Cellular Aging
Maintain an active lifestyle
Today we know that physical exercise is necessary to maintain a good state of health. Besides helping us to maintain healthy body weight, it also helps us to improve cardiorespiratory functions, bone, and muscle health. And it protects us from non-communicable diseases by reducing the risk of depression and cognitive decline.
We also know that there’s no need to join a gym or buy an exercise bike. We can exercise and stay active in many ways, even from our own home:
- Running, going for a walk, dancing, cycling, or playing a team sport.
- Do strength exercises with dumbbells or with our own body weight.
- Walk whenever possible. Go up and down the stairs and don’t spend too much time sitting down.
As far as nutrition and exercise are concerned, we always recommend consulting a specialist to guide you and advise you regarding the options that best suit your life and capabilities.
Get enough sleep after the holidays
Sleeping 7 to 9 hours a day is what health experts are recommending lately. Otherwise, it’s not possible to guarantee optimal rest or the recovery that our body needs every day.
After a night without enough sleep, we may experience fatigue and lack of concentration. But a regular lack of sleep can lead to anxiety and irritability problems, an increased risk of obesity or cardiovascular problems, and also shortens life expectancy.
If we find it difficult to fall asleep, we can try to create a quiet environment the hours before bedtime, avoid using screens, and have an early and light dinner.
Mental and psychological wellbeing after the holidays
Although we’ve always thought of health in physical terms, we know that mental and psychological wellbeing is essential to ensure a good quality of life. It’s time to take life calmly, enjoy every moment of the day, and try to engage in relaxing activities.
We can be sure that keeping in touch with our immediate social environment also has a positive impact on our health. Unwanted loneliness can generate stress that impacts us on a psychological and physiological level.
Some recent scientific studies find that loneliness – both objective and self-perceived – is correlated with an increased risk of mortality. And it’s also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mental and neurodegenerative diseases.
Leave toxic habits behind after the holidays
To start a healthy life, we must adopt some positive habits and leave behind those that are more harmful. Certain substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs harm our health. It’s important to abandon them as much and as soon as possible.
Although public policies are necessary to promote a healthier lifestyle, by adopting these habits we begin to do our own part. And what better time to do so than after the holidays?