2022 is here and if you made a New Year’s resolution, then likely you wish to improve your health and wellness this year.
Mental health has never been so in the spotlight as it is today. Health is also in the spotlight. It seems that we should be the healthiest people there ever was, with technology making it easier than ever for us to track our health and meet our healthy living goals, plus we have such a great understanding of what is healthy and what isn’t, yet rates of disease that are mostly lifestyle inflicted continue to rise.
The world sure is tempting us often to lead unhealthy lives, bombarding us with adverts for junk food and with foods being filled with additives and questionable ingredients that make us addicted to them and they simply seem too irresistible to refuse.
Then there’s our own willpower to contend with. We’re all too familiar with making up excuses to not be healthy, eat well or exercise. We’ll start tomorrow, next week, next month or even next year!
If this is all sounding too familiar and you are ready to bring health and wellness into your life in 2022 and beyond then read on. From why choosing the right mattress can help your overall wellbeing to learning to say no to the less fulfilling things in your life, we’ll cover three great ways you can focus on your own personal health and wellness in 2022 for a brighter, healthier and happier future.
Read on for three great New Year’s resolutions to give you a healthier 2022.
#1 Get BETTER sleep
We hear all the time about how we should be getting MORE sleep, but actually, we should all be getting BETTER sleep. Whilst some of us might not sleep enough and we do need to increase the length, many of us are probably sleeping the right length, but missing out on quality sleep. This is often due to our bedroom set-up, sleep routine and overall sleep hygiene not being optimal.
Sleep is one of the most important things in life. It affects everything from your mood to your weight to how you learn and behave. Our immune system also benefits from sleep because it’s able to fight off infection more readily when we’re well-rested. Yet most adults cut back on sleep or skimp on quality because they are too busy, think they can’t afford it, or don’t realise the consequences.
The quality of sleep we get is also important for how well we function throughout the day. For example, insufficient sleep may lead to lower levels of attention and an impaired ability to learn new information or perform complicated tasks accurately.
The website sleepfoundation.org states that “despite what you might think, sleeping doesn’t make up for lost time by catching up with the hours you missed the night before.” This means that you should be getting 8 hours of good quality sleep every single night, not just any time that you doze off for an hour or two.
Pillows and mattresses, in particular, need to be changed every so often. They simply don’t last forever. If you’re waking in the night, waking up sore or struggling to drift off, then it could be that your bed setup needs addressing. Pillows are recommended to be changed every 1-2 years and mattresses rarely last more than a decade.
A brand new memory foam mattress might not be as expensive as you think and it could mean the difference between poor-quality or high-quality sleep each night. Pillows are also inexpensive and can drastically change how you sleep. A good test is to squish your pillow and see if it rebounds back into shape. If not, you likely need to replace your pillow.
Fresh bedding can help you sleep better, as well as the correct tog duvet. If you’re too warm or hot at night, then check out whether your duvet tog needs changing for the current season, the nightclothes you are wearing and your central heating settings.
And of course, the one we probably all struggle to do… avoid screens for around one hour, or at least 30 minutes, before bedtime to wind down.
#2 Learn to say NO
We may all want to be open to new opportunities and learn to say yes a little more and step out of our comfort zone to meet new people and try new things, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Usually, we are too scared to say no to things we don’t actually want to do that bring us no joy, thus zapping our time and energy. We merely feel obliged to say yes when someone asks something of us because we are too scared to say no.
Do we find ourselves saying yes to everyone and everything that is asked of us? If this is the case, it can be hard to say no. It may seem like we’re a good person and we’re helping the other person out, but what if this is to your own detriment? When should you learn to say no? The ability to say no is a key to a well-balanced life. It gives you the power to refuse requests that would take up too much of your time or energy. And it helps you prioritise what is important to you and what is not so important.
The more you say “yes” to things the more you can become overwhelmed with your tasks. When you are feeling overwhelmed, it is easy to get confused about what is important and what isn’t. It becomes difficult to prioritise tasks, leading to burnout. We are human beings with limited resources so when we take on too many tasks at once it often leads to stress, anxiety and depression. Ultimately saying yes to everyone and everything means you can have too much on your plate and this can negatively affect your health and wellbeing.
It is a sad truth that a lot of people have a hard time saying no, which can lead people to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Learning how to say no will not only help you avoid feeling worn out but also enable you to spend your time more wisely.
Learning to say “no” helps us stay focused on the tasks that are most urgent and important for our goals, or that are most enjoyable. This can be applied to both our work lives and our personal lives. It is important to have a healthy work-life balance because if we don’t take care of ourselves, our family and friends will suffer for it. Saying “no” can be difficult in some situations, but generally, this strategy will help us in the long term.
How can one say no? What is the best way? There are some important questions that we need to ask ourselves before saying no. For example, what is our priority? If it’s our work or school then we should opt out of saying yes to so many social events. Or if it’s to spend more time with family then perhaps we should not commit to extra work during the weekends where possible even though it will mean less money.
#3 Eat LESS takeaways
According to KMPG the average spend per person per year on takeaways in the UK rose by 42% over two years: from £452 in 2019 to £641 in 2021. Not only can eating fewer takeaways save you money, but it can also help you to be healthier in 2022 by reducing the amount of junk food and fried food you are eating.
It is not uncommon for people to order takeaways, especially if they are feeling very hungry. But it is important to know that this can make you gain weight. This is because the food you get in takeaway joints is often high in salt, sugar and oil content. The fat content in these dishes can make it harder for your body to burn fat and lose weight.
Eating takeaways often means higher calorie intake, which can lead to weight gain and other health issues like high blood pressure or diabetes.
Instead, why not cook some healthy homemade meals instead taking inspiration from my vegan dinner ideas that are quick and easy. Taking time to cook at home reduces the preservatives and additives in your diet. You can also use healthier ingredients to make more nutritious meals at home with little effort. Check out these easy vegan meals anyone can make.
Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Here are lots of healthier chocolate snack suggestions to satisfy a sweet tooth.