Because the key to results is consistency.
We love the new year as a time to reflect on your goals and implement new healthy habits. Still, resolutions can have a bad rap. The allure of big, drastic changes tempt us into unwieldy new regimens that we can’t keep up long term. Instead, try one or two of these small, incremental changes for sustainable well-being in 2019.
Brave cold showers.
Okay, so this might not sound enticing at first, but brrrr with us. A study in the Netherlands reports that people who finish their showers with a cold blast use 30% fewer sick days than those who didn’t. It’s not that cold-shower-takers never got sick, but that their symptoms were less severe and they felt more energetic when they did get sick. It may have to do with a neuroendocrine effect on our bodies. Cold showers also activate our brown fat which keeps our bodies warm and burns calories. All things considered, 30 seconds is a pretty minimal time commitment to tack on to your routine. For any freezing overachievers wondering, 30-second cold blasts were just as effective as 90 seconds in the study, so no need to overdo it!
Check your bank balances regularly.
We’re predicting the rise of financial well-being as a wellness trend in 2019. Research finds that perceived financial well-being is a key predictor in overall wellbeing. Again, while the temptation is to go big and cut out all of your unnecessary expenses to drastically change your finances, think small and sustainable instead. Start with just checking your balances more regularly and staying accountable with your spending. Experts suggest that by spending a small amount on the things you want, you’re more likely to stick to and succeed in your financial goals long term.
Commit to only watching new tv shows and movies.
Trust. We know the temptation to re-binge on all ten seasons of Friends for the twentieth time is very real. In fact, researchers agree that rewatching familiar movies and television allows us to indulge in familiarity and feel in control of our emotional responses. But newness has its own benefits. Neurobiologists consider the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) as the “novelty center” of the brain. We activate it when we expose ourselves to new information and in doing so, become motivated to learn more. With the notion of a fresh new year ahead, consider dedicating your streaming hours to things you haven’t seen before. That way, if you’re going to binge, you’ll at least be stimulating your brain with newness.
Add weekly strength training to your routine.
Move aside cardio. Strength training is an efficient workout you can do in your living room, and the benefits are endless. When it comes to muscle mass as we age, we either use it or lose it. It’s especially important for women in the fight against osteoporosis. Allowing our bones to bear extra weight helps increase bone density. If toning your muscles and having strong bones isn’t enough incentive, studies also show that strength training can actually reduce anxiety.
Avoid answering work emails after work hours.
Speaking of anxiety… It can be tough to create healthy work-life balance habits, but here’s why it’s so important: In a survey of 142 full-time employees, those who check their work email at all hours of the day report higher anxiety and poorer well-being. In fact, even their relationship partners report decreased well-being and relationship satisfaction in an interesting spillover effect. As much as you can, set healthy boundaries on checking your work inbox.
Make your bed every morning.
A recent poll reports fascinating trends in our well-being in relation to whether we make our beds or not. Surprisingly, there’s not a big difference in the amount of sleep we get. In terms of personality, though, those who make the bed tend to be more adventurous, confident, and sociable. On the flip side, non-bed makers were more shy, moody, and sarcastic as a group. Even more intriguing: Those who make the bed report having more sex per week than non-bed makers.
Take your vitamins!
Okay, so we’re biased here. But when the idea of implementing elaborate morning routines and new diets overwhelms you, there’s something nice about knowing you can treat yourself to a boost of health in the five seconds it takes to pop your vitamins. In our opinion, one small healthy habit leads to another. And if you do nothing else in a day, at least you can say you got your HUM on.