With the hustle and bustle of the hectic holidays in your rear view mirror, the never-ending possibilities for a healthy and happy new year are on the horizon. To grasp the unlimited potential the New Year can bring, people can be as frantic about New Year’s resolutions as they were on Black Friday racing to purchase the top toys on last year’s holiday guide.
Statistics show that almost half of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. Although many resolutions fall to the wayside shortly after the journey begins, research shows that making resolutions can be useful, as people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who do not. 1
Make Resolutions Likely to Stick
The key to making resolutions that you can live by is to keep it simple. Write down two or three goals at most and set benchmarks for achieving the goals so you can enjoy incremental successes along the way. According to a resolution list from the U.S. government, many of the most popular resolutions fall within the category of overall health and well-being.2 Whether your resolution this year addresses reducing stress, increasing fitness, losing weight or improving sleep, the following tips will help you combat the resolution rut and keep you on the road to achieving overall health and wellness for the New Year.
Start Your Mornings with a Dose of Mental Health and Physical Relaxation
To establish a lifestyle routine focused on healthy living and well-being, it is important to start your day with some easy and simple mental health and physical relaxation exercises that focus on preparing you for whatever obstacles you may have to tackle during the day. By combining stretching/yoga poses with meditative breathing and positive thinking, you are well on your way to the road of living a restored and vibrant life.
- Clear the Mind and Relax Your Body: Before rolling out of bed to greet the morning sunrise, take a few minutes of long, deep breathes to clear out the cobwebs from the night before and prepare your mind for a productive, stress-free day. By focusing on the positive aspects of what you plan on accomplishing for your day, you are setting yourself up for a happy and healthy mental wellness day. Research from the Mayo Clinic has indicated that health benefits from positive thinking may range from increased life span and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease to lower rates of depression and distress, better psychological and physical well-being, and improved coping skills during hardships and stressful times.3
- Balance Your Body, Balance Your Life: To get your day started off on the right foot, begin your morning routine with some quiet meditative and muscle relaxation time. In as little as five minutes, you can loosen your back, neck and leg muscles with common yoga moves such as child’s pose, downward dog and standing tree.
Power Down Your Brain at Night to Reset and Revamp Your Mind
Ending your day on a relaxing note will promote overall health and well-being by creating an environment focused on recharging your mind and body. At least an hour before going to bed, make it a habit to turn off all technology – television, phone, e-mail, Internet, social media, music, etc. This will help you power down your brain at night to prepare your body for a restful and fulfilling night’s sleep. Another key component to resetting and revamping your mind is ensuring that you allow yourself an adequate amount of sleep each night. When you get home from work, set your alarm clock for whatever time you need to go to bed to ensure 7-9 straight hours of shut eye. When the alarm goes off at night, you should be in bed ready for sleep. An adequate amount of sleep will help you have a more energetic, productive and healthy attitude during the day.
Refuel with Weekly Appointments with Friends and Fitness
Work, family and personal everyday commitments can leave your mental tank empty and craving some “ME” time. Refuel your tank by picking one stress relieving activity that you enjoy and schedule it on your calendar on a weekly basis. This could be as simple as reading a book/magazine for an hour, arranging a coffee date with a friend, volunteering or playing racquetball. By taking time out for yourself on a weekly basis, you are fueling your tank of self worth and demonstrating not only to yourself, but to your friends and family, that your mental health is important enough for you to set time aside each week for emotional and mental fulfillment.
Similarly, it is important to fuel your body by incorporating fitness activities into your weekly routine. Physical activity not only helps your body’s fitness levels, but it also is an excellent source for preventing and managing stress. Whether it’s taking your dog for a 30-minute walk, going for a jog, biking the kids to/from school, taking fitness classes or swimming laps, consistent activity is good for not only relieving stress in your muscles/body, but also the stress in your mind.
Restore and Revitalize with Monthly Massage Therapy Sessions
To keep your mind and body aligned and working in sync, monthly massage therapy sessions are important to restoring and reinvigorating your overall health and well-being. Massage therapy addresses a variety of health conditions, the most prevalent being stress-related tension. Some of the most common massage therapy techniques include:
- Deep Tissue Massage: Focuses on chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems or recovery from injury.
- Swedish Massage: Focuses on relaxation, stress relief and overall health and wellness.
- Hot Stone Massage: Specializes in easing muscle tension without deep pressure.
- Trigger Point: Focuses on highly localized muscle knots where the body holds tension and carries stress.
As you sit down to make your resolutions this year, it is important to focus on reasonable and attainable goals that are easy to incorporate into your everyday life. By using the daily, weekly and monthly tips in this article, you will be well on your way to not only making resolutions that will stick with you throughout the year, but also help you establish a well-rounded lifestyle focused on overall health and wellness. Resolutions are a journey, so enjoy the ride this year to a healthier and happier you. Call Elements Therapeutic Massage today to begin revitalizing your health and well-being for the New Year.
1 University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 58, Issue 4, 2002.
2 USA.gov, Popular New Year’s Resolutions, October 2011.
3 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, May 2011.