Push the Reset Button

Push the Reset Button

The new year is just around the corner. Maybe you’re already pondering how you can kick it off right. The time after the holidays is a natural time for a reset. And it doesn’t take a long list of resolutions.

Look at it as a chance to recharge your mental and physical health. You can’t control what’s going on in the world around you, but you can make a few changes to make your life a little bit better.

It can be as simple as taking three steps:

  • Boost your mental health.
  • Eat better.
  • Move more.
Mental Health: Choose Your Response

Even if times are troubled, or just busy and stressful for you, you can choose how you react to situations. If you find things that are beyond your control upsetting, try taking a break from too much news and social media use.

If you’re struggling in other ways, there are things you can do to take care of your mental health. Try these tips from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Separate what you can control from what you can’t. There are things you can do. Focus on those things, even if they are small actions.
  • Do what helps you to feel safe. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has different concerns and needs.
  • Get outside if you can. Get some fresh air and activity. Any bit of exercise you can manage can also help your physical health.
  • Stay in the present. Don’t let worry build on itself by thinking ahead to more things you can’t control. Or things that may not even happen. One way to stay present is to observe the sounds and sights you’re currently experiencing.
  • Stay connected to people. Reach out to others. Talk to close friends or family about your feelings. Consider talking to a mental health professional for support.
Eat Better

It’s hard not to eat a bit too much during the holidays, especially in extra stressful times. But it’s easy to sneak a few healthier foods into what you eat, too. Aim for small changes and build on them.

If having a plan to eat better appeals to you, check out the Mediterranean diet  It’s a basic way of eating recommended by many doctors. The DASH eating plan  is a similar option. Both are recommended by the American Heart Association.

Both plans have easy steps:

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Have whole grains and beans.
  • Eat fish and seafood regularly.
  • Use herbs and spices to add flavor instead of less healthy options like salt.
  • Don’t make meat dishes the base of your food plan.
  • Have sweets only as occasional treats.

If you like to cook, check out recipes that fit this healthy way of eating. Try the Blue Zones Project recipes Or check out healthy picks for everyone from the American Diabetes Association

Move More

Getting more exercise doesn’t have to be hard. You can work activity into your day. Studies show even a little bit can help your health. Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Life can get in the way if you don’t set aside time to exercise. It’s easy to get started. Try to:

  • Aim for about 30 minutes on most days. You can get it done all at once or break that up into shorter periods of activity, like three 10-minute walks.
  • If you’re having trouble fitting activity in, try getting up earlier. Days can be hectic and evenings full of activities. Exercising before the day starts can help you make sure you get it done. Start by getting up 30 minutes earlier just one day a week. You can add additional days later.
  • Walk more. Could you walk to your destination instead of driving? If you need to drive, parking farther away than you usually do will add steps to your day.
  • Fun activities like dancing or biking and hobbies like gardening can also help you get in more exercise without it feeling like work.
  • Schedule your activity. Look at the things you can do each week and add them to your calendar.

Just sitting less is a good way to start being more active, says the American Heart Association.   Try setting a reminder to get up once each hour and walk around your office or home for a couple of minutes.

Don’t let an all-or-nothing mindset hold you back. Everyone has to start somewhere. To get going, set a reachable goal for today.

Figure out what’s standing in your way and take some small steps to get started.

Sources: Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2020; Recipes Blue Zones; Diabetes Food Hub American Diabetes Association; Managing Blood Pressure with a Heart-Healthy Diet  Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids American Heart Association; Physical Activity Guidelines U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018; Healthy Lifestyle – Fitness,   Mayo Clinic, 2019
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