For most people, the New Year is a time for reflection and usually elicits memories of events from the passing year – some happy and some sad. But starting a New Year also provides an opportunity to make a commitment to lead a safer and healthier lifestyle. If you’re looking for ways to do so, read these tips below.
|Sunset at Moonlight Beach - Encinitas, CA - June 2016 by Carole Jakucs. Image subject to copyright.|
Distracted Driving – Don’t text, talk on your cell or do anything that takes your eyes off the road while driving. Distracted driving has caused a huge increase in the number of traffic accidents and fatalities. Ask yourself – is reading or sending this text so important that it can’t wait? Is sending it worth slamming into another car and injuring someone else? Just like driving under the influence – there is no reason to drive while distracted as doing so can very well cause someone else’s permanent injury or death (and possibly even your own).
Don’t drink or do drugs and drive. Even one drink can alter your mental acuity. It’s not worth it. Why place yourself and others in harm’s way. With the existence now of ride/driving services and the old standard taxi – there is truly no excuse for driving under the influence. If you have an alcohol or drug problem, consider joining AA, NA or talk to your healthcare provider to get the support you need to quit.
Start exercising – If you already engage in the minimum recommended amount of 150 minutes of physical activity per week then bravo - keep it up! If not, why not? Start with 30 minutes of walking three times a week. If you don’t think you have the time – find the time. Take walks on your lunch break or wake up 30 minutes earlier to work-out. If you're a boss, try holding occasional walking meetings to break up the boredom for staffers and invigorate minds and bodies. Regular exercise helps to reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, decreases stress levels and helps to maintain a healthy weight and better mood.
Eat healthier – Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Reduce the bad fats such as trans and saturated and increase your intake of good fats such as omega 3’s. Limit or eliminate junk and processed foods. If you want to indulge in a treat – just have a taste. Try the “my plate” method to help guide you on portion control. If you’re going to a party, don’t arrive hungry – have a nutritious snack one to two hours before hand so you don’t overeat. A glass of milk or apple wedges with natural peanut butter can help take the edge off your appetite.
Don’t smoke – Whether you smoke cigarettes, marijuana, cigars, electronic cigarettes – none of them are healthy. They all damage the lungs. And second hand smoke hurts those around you too. If you want info on where to start with how to quit smoking, read here.
Live your dreams – Whatever goals you have such as going back to school, changing jobs, learning a language or taking that special vacation – use the New Year as a motivator to reassess your goals in a positive way and focus on what you want to do with your life.