Healthy Habits for 2018

by Lindsay Howard

Each year, following January 1st, goals are made, gyms are packed, and everyone in the world is convinced that THIS is the year everything will finally fall into place. The optimism that comes in with the New Year is truly inspiring; unfortunately, it only takes a couple of weeks for that new mindset to fall to the side. The first of the year is the perfect time to make new goals to live a healthy lifestyle, many of them easily held. Once we stop considering healthy eating a diet and working out a phase, and begin to think of them as a lifestyle, we can hold these ideas to shape a new normal for our lives. Aside from the obvious adjustments to a healthy and balanced life such as working out and eating well, there are also some small goals that will make your life healthier and happier. Specialists have found that by adding just a couple minutes of meditation to your day, the rest of your day can go over much smoother. The simple adjustment of planning ahead for your day the night before has proven to increase productivity levels. Drinking more water will benefit your body in countless ways. Although the new year is the perfect time to make large, life changing goals, it also offers the opportunity to make small changes everyday. These small changes all add up to make your life a little more healthy, happy, and productive.

Included in many articles this week with tips and tricks to make your 2018 the best year yet is the suggestion of starting to practice meditation. While the recommendation may seem less reliable as the number of times the suggestion appears on unreliable sources increases, there is actually a great deal of truth to the benefits of meditation. With the pace the world moves at today it can be hard to even gain a moment to breathe. Smartphones allow any information we could possibly want at our fingertips. Generally speaking this makes our lives faster and easier. However, like anything else, there can be too much of a good thing. The constant stimulation we encounter on a daily basis can cause problems such as a lack of focus and anxiety. Over the past few years many Americans have turned to meditation to combat the fast pace of the modern world. Forbes cites meditation as a way to reduce anxiety, depression, and body image disorders. Meditation also helps improve cognition by allowing people to hold their attention to a particular topic longer. On top of all of these attributes, meditation also helps reduce distractions by allowing the brain to concentrate easier. The stigma that exists that meditation must be long, drawn out, and on a yoga mat is far from the truth. Meditation can easily be practiced in the everyday lives of a college student. The Mayo Clinic suggests beginners start with large, deep, regulated breaths. Many people also adopt a mantra they repeat throughout the day to center themselves back to a calm place. Reading and reflecting can be considered meditation. Focusing on the love and gratitude you are surrounded by is cited as a form of meditation. Even prayer is considered a form of meditation by some, given its nature of centering of the mind. The benefits of meditation allow a way to pull back from the world, leaving your life with more space for productivity and happiness in the new year.

There is something to be said for planning your day ahead. With everything set into place to get the ball rolling for a long day, the path to success is set up. Simple steps such as setting your clothes out the night before, packing your bag the night before, and making your to-do list the night before helps get your busy and successful day going. By making a plan for the day before it happens, your stress level is minimized. No more wondering what to do during your free thirty minutes or wasting time trying to decide what to wear in a rush. It also helps hold you accountable. When there is a set plan, you are far more inclined to follow through with it. Most importantly, however, it keeps your mental health (which is just as important as physical health!) in check. With those stress and anxiety levels down, you have the chance to be the best person you can without worrying about what comes next. When trying to make the best healthy resolution for the new year, don’t forget about your mental health. Planning your day the night before is a quick and easy way to keep your mental health healthy and ready for the busy lifestyle many college students live.

Drinking more water is a suggestion that has been on every New Year’s goal list for as long as they have been around. Between the constant reminder from our mothers and the constant reminder from health blogs and posts everywhere, most people are aware that we should be drinking more water. The benefits of increasing water consumption help solve many problems college students face in our daily lives. Drinking more water is a quick and easy way to increase energy, remove toxins from your body, improve complexion, and boost your immune system. These benefits are so important to your daily health and wellness and are easy to achieve with drinking water. In the new year it is going to be easier than ever to monitor your water intake. Between trendy, functional, and cute water bottles, drinking water on the go is more fun than ever. Not only that, but the popular app Plant Nanny, encourages documentation of water consumption by watering the cute animated plant if you too have drunk enough water. Motivation to keep the little guy alive is reason enough to drink water, right? Consistently drinking water is a habit everyone has been trying to get into for years. Let 2018 be the year you decide to give your body a little extra love.

Regardless of what year is beginning, there is always a hope that this will be the year our lives fall into place. In an effort to make that happen we make resolutions and plans for it to be our year. Although much is talked about, not all resolutions are going to help you lead a healthy and happy life. Meditation, organization, and water consumption are three easy ways to make your days a little happier, easier, and healthier.

Lindsay Howard