Steps to Take For a Healthy New Year



Silhouette of a person doing a yoga pose as the sun sets.

Every new year is a reminder to kick-start some weight-loss goals. But after the unique challenges of 2020 and the ongoing pandemic, those goals should also include ways to improve mental and emotional well-being.

Taylor Tran, employee health program manager at The University of Texas at Dallas, has a few New Year’s wellness tips to nurture mind, body and soul.

  • Clear the clutter. For those of us working or studying remotely, our home has become our office or classroom. Cluttered spaces often reflect a cluttered mind. Try wiping the slate (room) clean to clear your mind so you can focus better.
  • Set small goals to track progress. If you want to lose 50 pounds, focus on 5-pound goals at a time to stay motivated. Complete a 5K race instead of attempting a half-marathon. Smoke one less cigarette a day rather than trying to quit in a single day.
  • Watch portions for sustainable weight maintenance. Focus on lifelong nutrition instead of short-term diets. Practice moderation. Fill up on nutrient-dense foods like lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables – which support brain function, mitigate stress and keep you satisfied. Enjoy sweets and alcohol in limited amounts.
  • Stay active. Try to include 30 minutes of activity every day, even just 10-minute breaks now and then to climb some stairs or move around are helpful. Every step counts, and physical activity will relieve stress and clear your head.
  • Increase mindfulness. Pay attention to your emotions, and find healthy outlets for release. Log your food intake and exercise, and keep track of your stressors and successes.
  • Make time for self-care. A clear path toward mental fitness includes practicing kindness and forgiveness. Maintain emotional boundaries to minimize stress and build resilience.

“Celebrate how healthy living feels as you experience more energy and better sleep. Feeling good will motivate you to maintain healthier new habits,” Tran said.

–Robin Russell

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