New Year, New You! – 3 Tips to Maximize Your Wellness in 2022
Learn tips to feel your best through 2022
If you were to ask anyone you know to describe how the past couple years have been for them, I imagine some of the words you’d hear would be along the lines of “frustrating” or “stressful”. You might even know close friends or family who have confronted mental health challenges during the pandemic.
Without having a variety of different coping tools, it can be tough to navigate such uncertain times while maintaining proper mental health and wellness. Read on for some tips to help you feel your best in the upcoming year!
1. Take it Outside
Nature as a Mood Enhancer
“There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human wellbeing” says Lisa Nisbet, PhD, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario who studies connectedness to nature. Dr. Nisbet has also noted that you can improve your mood by exploring urban nature; and that the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when not physically in nature.
Benefits to Cognitive Health
In addition, University of Chicago psychologist Marc Berman, PhD conducted a review in 2019 which noted that green spaces near schools promote cognitive development in children, and that experiments have found that being exposed to natural environments improves working memory, cognitive flexibility and attentional control. Furthermore, findings have also noted that just a few moments of viewing green space can perk up a tired brain, and that simply listening to the sounds of nature, such as crickets or chirping may be recuperative.
2. Move It
Although many influencers, celebs and fitness companies promote exercise to achieve weight loss goals in the New Year, this is not the angle we’re coming from. If you’re like most, setting a goal of doing a certain amount of exercise per week, or working out as a means to lose weight tends to backfire. Not only do we feel a sense of shame and failure if we don’t end up achieving the goals we set out to accomplish, but we can also develop a negative relationship with physical activity. Rather than looking at exercise as a chore, or a means to change your shape or size, try to instead focus on how it makes you feel.
Non-Weight Related Health Benefits of Physical Activity:
- Improved mood
- Stress Reduction
- Increase in Energy
- Better Sleep Quality
- Maintenance of bone and muscle health
- Pain Reduction
- Reduce Risk of Chronic Disease
- Improved Brain Health
Movement Ideas to Try:
- Free online Yoga videos
- Tobogganing or skating with the family
- Dance lessons
- Trail walks in the woods
- Disc Golf
Visit this website for more information on including exercise for wellness vs weight loss.
3. Chew On It
Have you ever set out to change your eating habits in January, only to “fall off the wagon” and feel like you’ve let yourself down by February? You certainly aren’t alone. Studies have shown that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail, and many companies or businesses tend to place the blame on the consumer for not “working hard enough” or “sticking to the program”. The fact is, just like forcing ourselves to do exercise that we don’t find pleasure in isn’t sustainable, neither is trying to follow specific and rigid food rules.
There is now a body of research that indicates that not only does dieting not work, but it actually can cause harm. Some negative ‘side effects’ of dieting include:
- Weight re-gain
- Yo-yo dieting can lead to worsened cardiovascular and metabolic states
- Increased preoccupation with food and cravings
- Negative mental health outcomes
- Increased risk of developing a negative relationship with food or eating disorders
Rather than creating strict rules around food, or removing entire food groups all together, consider adding to your routine instead. By doing so, you’re continuing to give yourself permission to include all the foods that feed your soul, alongside those that support your overall wellness.
Ideas For Things to Add to Your Routine
- More meal or snack opportunities if you’re currently not eating often
- Water between meals
- Home cooked meals with family or friends
- Ground flax seeds to your favourite breakfast cereal
- A new vegetable side dish each week
- Plant-based proteins
- Sources of whole grains
- Vitamin D
- New recipes to your regular rotation
Finally, it’s important to note that we are all on our own separate journeys, and what works for you might not work for anyone else. We all have our unique preferences and sometimes it can take some trial and error to discover what resonates best for you.
Need some personalized help for vegetarian meal planning, how to navigate a plant-based holiday, or how to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet? We can help!
As Registered Dietitians that specialize in meal planning, vegetarian health, weight concerns, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health, heart health, diabetes, pediatric nutrition and sports nutrition we can see you in our local Dietitian Calgary office or as an Online Dietitian by phone or video conferencing for virtual nutrition counseling.
Here are 3 recipes to get your creative culinary juices flowing in the New Year:
Christine Devaney Towsley B.A.Sc., RD
Registered Dietitian & Online Nutritionist
Specialty: weight concerns, intuitive eating, heart
health, family nutrition, IBS (irritable bowel disease)
A nurturer at heart, Christine will always greet you with a smile and
attentive ear. Kind hearted, empathetic and sensitive to others,
Christine takes the time to connect, build trust and truly understand
each client and tailors her sessions to each person's specific needs.