The new year is a great time to hit the refresh button and give new life to your body, mind, and soul. Experts say that if you start simple and set realistic expectations, there are many ways New Year’s resolutions can help you enjoy a happier, healthier you in 2023.
Detox from social media or at least scale back your use, says Gail Janicola, a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach in Huntington Station. Going on a social media “diet” includes removing notifications, tracking daily screen time, and reducing it by more than 10%. “When you’re on and scrolling, leave a genuine, positive comment on at least three posts.” Giving others compliments, even on social media, can be quite rewarding, she notes.
Give the gift of kindness and generosity. “Giving cultivates purpose. Purpose is your lifeblood,” says Janicola. She suggests cooking a meal for a friend or loved one, lending a hand to a neighbor, tutoring, coaching, or mentoring.
While nutrition should be a priority all year, the new year is a prime time to “set new intentions with measurable results and actions,” says Babylon-based Christina Lombardi, M.S., R.D., F.M.N.S. Be more mindful when eating, she says. “When we are present with our meals we feel more satiated and satisfied, which will prevent eating more later in the day. Turn off the TV and other distractions,” she advises.
Increase your fiber intake—25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams of fiber per day for men—with fiber-enriched foods such as oatmeal, beans, fruits with skin, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, berries, and dried fruits. Fiber supports heart health, weight management, and bowel movements, notes Lombardi. Drink more water and limit sugar, which contributes to inflammation.
Your state of mind will impact your success in achieving your wellness goals. Start with intentional breathing, advises Jennifer Hairston-Davis, L.C.S.W.-R., of Babylon. “Deep breathing brings more oxygen into the frontal cortex of the brain [that’s] responsible for logic and reasoning, thereby reducing exaggerated emotional reactions,” she explains. Meditation can help with healing and rejuvenation. “Just sitting down and taking a few deep breaths and tuning into your body gives your mind a chance to reset.”
Keep a journal, suggests Hairston-Davis. “Carving out time to write down what we are experiencing or have experienced can give us mental clarity and an emotional release.”
Practice gratitude, suggests Hairston-Davis. “Begin by saying, ‘I am sooooooo grateful for…’ By emphasizing the word ‘so’ the breathing pattern shifts in a way that is soothing to the nervous system.”
Be prepared to put effort toward achieving your goals and feeling “fulfilled,” says Hairston-Davis. “We have to work at being consistent and persistent at intentionally processing our feelings and simultaneously focusing on positive things.”