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10 Healthy Habits for the New Year

by Heather Schuerlein, L.Ac, Dipl.OM

10 Healthy Habits for the New Year, Adirondack Wellness Group in Queensbury, NY

Happy New Year!!

It’s finally January – we’ve made it through the holiday craze and are welcoming 2019! The new year is always a great time to stop and reflect; to lay the groundwork for positive change over the next twelve months. How did you fare in 2018? Did you reach your goals? Are there still major changes you need to make in terms of your health and happiness?
We all have our own set of health issues and challenges, but there some habits that we could all take on to live a healthier life. To ring in 2019, here’s my list of attainable healthy habits to take on this year for a new, healthier you!

1. Stay Regular with Your Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care
We know how transformative regular acupuncture and chiropractic visits can be to your health – we see the magic everyday! The key with holistic therapies like these, however, is consistency. Keeping up with your recommended sessions is crucial for a substantial, long-lasting recovery so it’s best to make these your number one habits for the year. Stay consistent and regular with any kind of wellness care - that includes drinking water, going to the gym, eating healthy...long term effort generates long term results.

2. Meditate Daily
Even a few minutes of dedicated meditation practice can greatly improve your sense of well being. We often find it hard to “turn-off” and find time to meditate. Maybe you think it’s not for you or it’s too difficult (myths busted here!). In reality, everyone can spare 5-10 minutes of breathing exercise or guided meditation each day. It can improve your productivity, mood, and health – who doesn’t have time for that?!

3. Move Daily
Movement is sometimes the best medicine. Depression and anxiety rates plummet when we add exercise into our daily lives and our bodies grow stronger and healthier to boot. You can join a gym (the benefits of group exercise are many) or choose the do it yourself option: walking, running, etc.  Even a daily walk, stretch, yoga, or tai chi session will do wonders. If you can get outside, all the better!

4. Double the Veggies
Almost all of us could benefit from an extra dose of veggies. There are so many vitamins and minerals available in our cruciferous friends that it’s a shame to skip them. Make sure most of your plate is full of veggies – roasted, steamed, stir fried – and embellish with meat and healthy carbs. Doubling your veggies also means an easier time in the bathroom with all the extra fiber!

5. Try a Sauna
If you haven’t read up on all the amazing benefits of using a sauna, start here. Adding sauna into your weekly or monthly habits can make a huge difference in your health. It can reduce stress, relax tension, and even speed up the healing process. Not to mention, in this wintry weather, it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to practice self-care!

6. Learn Something New
Our brains need exercising, just like our bodies. Do you have a burning interest that you’ve never pursued? Need to catch up on your field’s latest trends? Always wanted to learn Spanish? Make this the year you take up a new skill. Whether it’s as simple as checking out an educational book from the library or more seriously jumping in and registering for a program or course, it’s time to flex your mind. Keeping our brains active and engaged will help you live a fuller, healthier life.

7. Cook for Yourself
Cooking for yourself is an act of self-care. When you do the cooking, you are dedicating time to your own health and nourishment. This also gives you control over exactly what is going in your meals. If you have any suspicion that diet may be a part of your health issues (and it often is…) contact us for a dietary evaluation. Find out what may be holding you back and learn what foods
are best for you. Then put on your apron, turn on some relaxing tunes, and get chopping!

8. Swap the Sugar
It’s common knowledge these days that sugar wrecks havoc on the body. Unfortunately, sugar is known to increase inflammation, disrupt hormones, cause weight gain, and generally cause trouble. Additionally, sugar is quite the addictive substance and can be a hard habit to quit. This year, consider ditching the sugar and opt for more naturally sweet treats. It will be difficult, but once you remove sugar from your diet you will crave it less and less. In the meantime, try this healthy dessert recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.

9. Stay Hydrated
Drinking more water is a common New Year’s Resolution for many people. We tend to load up on coffee or alcoholic beverages, but forget to drink quality water. Our cells and tissues require water to function properly and undetected dehydration can cause a slew of issues like headaches, fatigue, irritability, nausea, poor concentration, and others. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day by taking a reusable water bottle with you to work or on the run.
Add cucumbers, lemons, fruit, or mint leaves to spice things up a bit.

10. Go to Bed on Time
Sleep habits are some of the hardest to break but can make a huge difference in your overall wellness. So much of our health is dependent upon good quality sleep – and poor sleep will not only cause issues but can make it harder for your body to heal. If you have struggled with getting regular sleep, this is the year to set your habits straight. Plan a bedtime and create a nighttime routine to help you wind-down. Skip any screen time 30 minutes to an hour before you hope to go to sleep to help your brain relax. Instead, read, journal, meditate, or do anything that helps you release tension. If your to-do list keeps you up at night, write down everything you need to do the next day before settling in to bed.

Healthy Habits = Healthy You
Most of our actions are determined by our habits. Life can easily fall into auto-pilot for many of us, and our state of health will be determined by how healthy those habits are. Start the year off right by working a few healthy, beneficial habits into your life. Make it easy for you to integrate this habits into your life, such as putting a glass next to your water filter reminding you to drink.  It may seem difficult at first, but soon these new ideas will become engrained habits just like putting your shoes on or brushing your teeth. You’ll soon be on the path to a whole new, healthier you!