The coronavirus outbreak has put an uncommon strain on people’s lives, impacting them in big and small ways. So, as 2020 ends, there is a kind of a relief in the air. This year, virtual fitness classes surged, new hygiene practices were adopted, and mental health took center stage. With the New Year only weeks away, making a resolution to cultivate healthy habits is one of the best things you can do to boost your mental and physical wellbeing in 2021 and beyond.
Here are the 7 healthy habits to focus on in 2021:
- Immunity Building: According to mindbodygreen.com, as COVID-19 research adds to our scientific understanding of immunology in real-time, it has been found that metabolic health and immune system are closely linked. The role of metabolic health for immunity will become more important in 2021. Mindbodygreen.com references a study which found that 88% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy. Even if you don’t have conditions like diabetes, obesity or heart disease and feel fit, you can still be metabolically unhealthy. Metabolic dysfunction is any abnormal regulation of blood sugar, lipids, or a chronic inflammation state that progresses to disease later on. These roots of metabolic dysfunction can cause weight gain, heart disease, etc. Paying attention to your metabolic health is critical to boost immunity.
- Take Special care of your Skin: Skin is not just an aesthetic entity, but has a vital purpose as an organ. The skin is the largest and most visible organ in the body, is its first line of defense against infection, loss of nutrients and water, and environmental stressors. The appearance of your skin gives you clues about what is happening in your body terms of nutrition, immune function, oxidative stress, etc. “The skin microbiome is continuously interacting with the environment to protect you from infection, influencing immune response, protecting against sun’s UV radiation, and helps provide nourishment to the skin cells”, says board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D. (www.mindbodygreen.com) Paying attention to your skin is critical to your overall health and well-being. In the new normal, protecting your skin’s barrier is critical for it to function properly and support good health.
- Be Mindful about your Mental Health: 2020 was a challenging year in terms of mental and emotional well-being. Uma Naidoo, M.D., nutritional psychiatrist, chef, nutrition expert, and author of This Is Your Brain on Food says, “Mental health is a silent pandemic that is also happening right now”. With social-distancing and limited support, many people are experiencing loneliness and feelings of isolation. COVID has exacerbated psychological issues like depression, anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s more important than ever to be mindful of your mental well-being and include exercise for mental fitness in your regular fitness regimen.
- Get Proper Sleep: Sleep is a favorite topic in most wellbeing columns. Not getting enough sleep can bring about a weakened physical state and also affect emotional wellness. Restful sleep will be a top priority in any discussion about overall wellness.
- Watching Screen Time: Stay-at-home and physical distancing policies has led to a rapid and significant surge in screen time. Work and learning moved online, besides more screen time on social media, gaming, etc. In addition to a host of musculoskeletal problems, the effects of blue light and screen time are affecting their eye health, mental health, sleep cycles, and more. In 2021, give yourself a “tech vacation” sometimes by putting your screen away and focusing physical activities.
- Nutrition: In the light of COVID-19, nutrition and metabolic health are more important than ever. Nutrition is inseparably related to health and well-being. It goes beyond weight management, skin health, and gut health. To stay nourished and stay metabolically healthy, you need to have access to a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from whole and minimally processed food with limited additives. Make sure your body gets safe, nutritious foods.
- Care for the Environment: During COVID-19, the planet got a much-needed break. Air-quality improved, biodiversity flourished, and natural soundscapes returned. Nature has got the natural capacity to heal itself and by extension, heal everyone. The importance of environment quality for human health is indisputable. So, resolve to put more power back into nature’s hands.
In 2021, prioritize mental health and physical health equally to boost your personal well-being and build a healthier society.