Healthy Habits for a Happier Spring: 5 Wellness Tips to try in 2023
09 March 2023
Were you one of the millions of people that vowed to make healthier choices in the new year? Studies show it takes about 32 days for the average person to finally break their resolution(s) — but 68% report giving up their resolutions even sooner than that.
While you may be putting pressure on yourself to make big changes, it’s important to remember that it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit, and 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. With that in mind, don’t give up! It’s best to focus on one thing at a time and start with small steps and obtainable goals for a long-term health and wellness journey.
We’re rooting for you! Here’s five tips to help stay on track and maintain healthy habits throughout the year.
1. Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week
As people continue to work from home, it can be easier than ever to fall into an inactive lifestyle. But staying active is important for both your physical and mental health. Make it a priority to move around during the day, even if it’s just to take a quick walk around the neighborhood.
If one of your resolutions is to exercise more, it can be intimidating (and tiresome) to throw yourself into the gym every day, especially if you haven’t formed habits working out consistently. Ease into your exercise goals and try working out for 30-45 minutes at least three times a week. Once you feel comfortable with that routine, start adding in more days (and more cardio or weight!).
Group workout classes are also a great way to adjust to a consistent exercise routine – from spin to kickboxing – group classes often have varying levels of difficulty and provide accountability. Plus, they’re a great way to meet new people!
Additionally, studies show exercising for 45 minutes three times a week will not only increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day but is also a natural antidepressant.
2. Nutrition Plans Aren’t a One Size Fits All
Building new eating habits can be tough and different ways of eating work better for different people. Test out a variety of nutrition plans (plant-based, vegan, pescatarian, etc.) and see which one you enjoy and which most aligns with your nutrition goals. The best way to start a new way of eating is by slowly adding in and taking out foods.
Another way to maintain a healthy diet is by eating mindfully. Ask yourself if you’re hungry before you start eating, drink more water, and switch out high-calorie chips and cookies for healthy snacks like celery with peanut butter and nuts. This nutrition 101 guide is a good reference to help ensure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients daily as you start on your new food journey.
Eating healthy and staying active can also help prevent pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. If you know you are at-risk for pre-diabetes or have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Virta Health can help you manage or reverse your diagnosis.
3. Switch High-Calorie Desserts for Healthy Recipes
Eating healthier doesn’t have to mean cutting out everything you love, especially desserts. Remember, balanced nutrition is all about eating food in moderation. So, if you’re craving ice cream or a cookie, don’t deny yourself that sweet treat—try having a smaller portion than you normally would. You can also try a new “healthier” recipe for one of your favorite desserts. For example, this cinnamon roll recipe swaps out whole milk and butter for almond milk and coconut oil, creating an equally delicious, but less caloric, version of an all-time favorite.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Overheard someone talking about sleep hygiene and confused what they mean? They’re talking about a sleep schedule! It plays a critical role in overall wellness. On average, adults should get at least seven hours of sleep per night, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Children and teens age 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep a night.
Healthy sleep hygiene consists of:
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day
Sleeping in a cool, dark place that’s quiet and free of distractions
Limiting screen usage before bed, as blue light can throw off the body’s circadian rhythm
Maintaining a healthy sleep routine gives people more energy, reduces stress and anxiety, and helps reduce everyday aches and pains. You won’t even need coffee by the time you’re set in your routine. To learn more about the benefits of consistent sleep schedules, check out Dr. Giger’s blog, as well as this Providence Health System blog about the need for teenagers to develop healthy sleeping patterns.
5. Schedule time for Self-Care
Self-care is often forgotten during a busy week but taking time to unwind is crucial to maintain your health. Regular self-care activities can help decrease burnout, help your body and mind reset, and often give you more energy.
Some self-care habits to work into your schedule include:
Turning off your cell phone for a dedicated period of time
Taking “me time” to take a bath, get a massage, or simply watch that movie you’ve been dying to see. Your health savings account (HSA) can cover massages if your doctor deems them medically necessary, and HSA’s will also cover acupuncture, chiropractor visits and therapy sessions.
Blocking off 30 minutes on your work calendar to stretch, go for a walk, or take a moment to yourself in between calls and projects
To learn more about mindfulness and self-care, check out this great podcast from our health coaches. It’s important to treat yourself!
Whether your 2023 goal is to eat healthier or gain more muscle, PHP is here to help you access resources to maintain your goals and stay healthy.