The New Year is usually the perfect time to make changes toward a healthier lifestyle. However, this last year was anything but ordinary, and we’re not quite close to getting back to normal. So many of us are facing challenges that make every day more difficult, so it’s understandable if making a resolution to eat better or move more is out of reach. But if your body and mind are in the position to make healthy changes now, here are a few places to start.
Swap processed snacks for fresh produce or whole grains
If homemade hummus is one of your favorite snacks, swap out chips or pretzels for carrots, peppers or whole grain crackers. Buy a bunch of whole carrots instead of baby carrots and chop them yourself for a more budget-friendly option.
Take a few minutes every day to move
Moving more could be as simple as walking to and from the mailbox a few times before getting the mail. Although it may look a little strange to your neighbors, it’s an easy way to get in more steps. Another idea is to do squats or other body weight exercises while waiting for a pot of water to boil. If you have kids, get outside and play a game of hide and seek, or find a new walking path in your community to explore (socially distanced, of course).
Make time for a hobby or activity that brings you joy
Whether you’re a frontline worker or working from home, it’s so important to do something that you love for your mental health. Don’t pressure yourself to find an activity that’s productive all of the time. Puzzles or crosswords are a great way to flex your brainpower. Try dedicating a little time each week to read for pleasure, whether it’s a book, or an online magazine or blog. Or, set aside screen-free family time once a week to make dinner together and play games.
Learn something new
Learning a new skill, game or subject improves how your brain functions. Is there a card game you’ve always wanted to play, but didn’t know how? Now is the time to learn! Start planning out a small garden for your yard, or start a window box for herbs and learn how to take care of the plants from the beginning to the end of their growing season. You could even have your kids teach you their favorite lesson from school. Last, no matter what your schedule looks like, you could begin a virtual nutrition education program with your local Virginia Family Nutrition Program educator to learn all about living a healthier lifestyle.
Remember: the New Year isn’t the only time you can make changes; you can start new goals at any time of the year. What are you most looking forward to in 2021?