New Year, New Habits

New Year 2022

January offers opportunity to step back and reflect as we begin a fresh new year. Since the pandemic and development, availability and administration of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, 2022 offers a vital stepping point toward a return to normalcy. However, as COVID variant infections occur even among those fully vaccinated, it’s now more important than ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps boost your body’s immune system to fight off serious health consequences, from heart disease, diabetes and some cancers to COVID-19 infection and its varying potential complications.

Your Capital Women’s Care team offers important tips to help you optimize your mental and physical health, including how to remain positive and overcome common women’s health hurdles associated with the pandemic; conquer unhealthy diet and weight gain; manage personal mental health and well-being; increase daily mindfulness and positivity; and prioritize your physical health so you can enjoy a long, quality life.

Boost Your Mental Health

Good mental health and wellbeing are vital components to a healthy life. There are several things you can do to improve your mental health:

  • practice stress management
  • avoid schedule overload without guilt
  • make time for daily self-care
  • make daily positive affirmations to yourself
  • recognize personal stress triggers
  • overcome negative internal and external influences and thoughts
  • keep a gratitude journal
  • enjoy present moments and activities
  • expand your horizons with new activities or hobbies
  • avoid illicit drugs, alcohol abuse and intimate relationships that may endanger you
  • establish and nurture meaningful relationships with your friends, family and partner
  • treat yourself and others with kindness
  • avoid social isolation
  • exercise daily
  • get outside and enjoy nature
  • maintain a list of daily goals
  • help others by volunteering your time and talents
  • seek help and support from others, including mental health professionals
  • boost your brain power by learning a new language, skill or hobby
  • talk over problems with a trusted friend or your partner
  • prioritize intimacy with your partner
  • and establish a daily routine sleep schedule

Maximizing the quality of your mental health reaps many rewards, including reducing your risk of stress and developing depression and anxiety. Enjoying quality mental health also bolsters your relationships, increases satisfaction and leads to positive feelings, joy and contentment, important components to an enriched, fulfilling life.

Increase Your Physical Health

Optimal physical health not only increases your longevity, but also the quality of your life, particularly important during the golden years. It also helps increase hormone levels that can help reduce your risk of depression, anxiety and chronic stress.

You can incorporate many strategies to maximize your physical health into your daily life:

  • prioritize and catch up on delayed routine healthcare screenings, tests and check-ups
  • reconnect with practitioners managing your current health conditions
  • keep up to date on vaccinations
  • practice mindful eating
  • initiate a healthy diet of whole foods, grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables plus lean proteins
  • prioritize physical activity and treat it like a must-do daily appointment or meeting
  • avoid foods that are highly processed or laden with calories, fat, salt and sugar
  • reestablish daily exercise
  • incorporate both cardio and strength training activities into your exercise plan
  • take a walk or bike ride through your neighborhood or local parks
  • establish a fitness partnership with a friend or your partner for accountability and motivation
  • park the car and take the stairs for added steps and calorie burn
  • identify and minimize stress triggers which lead to unhealthy eating
  • walk whenever and wherever you can to keep moving and stay active 
  • get outdoors with your kids to a local playground or park and join the fun
  • pack your lunch and daily snacks to control what you eat
  • cook dinner at home and initiate help from family in meal preparation
  • eat out as an occasional treat while being mindful of menu nutritional information
  • avoid buying trigger foods like cookies or chips at the grocery store
  • go grocery shopping on a full stomach to avoid impulse purchases
  • take walk breaks throughout the day
  • explore new recipes loaded with veggies and fruits paired with marinated lean proteins
  • find an activity you enjoy or explore a new fitness class or routine
  • use a grocery list and stick to it for weekly meal purchases
  • join a fitness group or gym for fitness fun and important socialization
  • eat breakfast to begin each day on the right track

Maximizing your physical health offers plentiful rewards. A physically active, healthy lifestyle allows you to embrace activity even as you age. Those who are physically active usually recover quicker from illnesses or injuries and enjoy retained mobility even during advanced years. Plus, you reduce your risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Physical activity also helps you live a longer, quality life.

Identify Your Goals

It’s vital to understand what is most important to you and work out a step-by-step plan toward achieving it. Keep a notebook or journal outlining your goals, plus the steps you need to take to make them happen and move toward progress.

Break down your goals into manageable chunks to avoid taking on too much too quickly, a recipe often resulting in abandoning goals altogether. For example, if you want to maintain a healthy weight, establish initial small goals and begin a positive path by gradually adding in more ways you can achieve your goal. To do so, you can initially cut back your sugar intake and gradually add components of getting more exercise and eating a healthier diet to generate a slow, yet steady path toward success.

As positive results occur, celebrate your milestones and then take the next step by adding another change that aligns with your goal. Modifying negative behaviors step-by-step leads to more successful results and instills healthy habits and behaviors that become routine parts of your everyday life.

Be Kind to Yourself

Once you identify your goals and how you can accomplish them, it’s important to maintain positivity and treat yourself kindly during your journey.

If you happen to falter backwards from your goal, recognize the fact that you’re human and make mistakes, forgive yourself, and dig in to get back on track to keep moving forward.

Studies indicate self-given kindness is good for our minds, changing our brain physiologically while boosting self-esteem, empathy, optimism and compassion – all things that help us achieve our goals. In the 1990s, the late Dr. Masaru Emoto performed a series of experiments examining the natural effects of words, prayers, music and environment on water’s crystalline structure. Emoto noted when kind and loving words were conveyed to the water, they formed a complete crystalline structure compared to energies involving hate and anger. As the human body is 70% comprised of water, Emoto’s studies indicate kindness has a definitive positive impact on our health.

Kindness we generate to ourselves incites feelings of being stronger, having more energy and lessens the aging process as it helps decrease blood pressure and cortisol stress levels. It also improves mood and focus, lessens anxiety and stress and can help diminish depression. Plus, it can help alleviate inflammation, a known link to certain illnesses, including chronic pain, diabetes, obesity and migraines. It’s important to voice congratulations to yourself when you meet steps toward your goals and reach your personal accomplishments. Being your own cheerleader keeps your positivity flowing so you can keep moving forward and continue to accomplish what you set out to do. Studies indicate continued positivity and acknowledgement of accomplishments helps us maintain and keep to our goals.

Celebrate accomplishments no matter how small by treating yourself to a nonfood reward like a new outfit, workout gear or bestseller you’ve had your eye on. Avoid breaks from established physical activities as celebratory rewards as doing so can cause you to backslide into previous unhealthy, sedentary behaviors. Always keep your goals at the forefront of your mind so you steer clear of obstacles and avoid temptations.

Your Capital Women’s Care team of expert healthcare professionals is here to help you identify and fulfill your mental and physical health goals or any women’s health issue. Our unparalleled, comprehensive health services combined with our family of empathetic, knowledgeable doctors, nurses and health support staff are committed to helping you and your family achieve, maintain and enjoy a long, quality life.

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