Written by Marisa Harczuk

How to prioritize your health

Making your mental and physical health your top priority isn’t always easy. Life is constantly getting in the way. With a job, social life, family, and running errands for yourself, it can be hard to make sure that you are making the time to care for yourself.

With 2022 now in full swing, it is the perfect time to make a new resolution: prioritizing your mental and physical health. It is no secret that leading a healthy lifestyle leads to a longer, happier life. Implementing a few key practices into a busy schedule can really make a difference.

When we treat ourselves well, we feel better about ourselves. Your time is more meaningful and you will positively impact the people that you surround yourself with. You can also drastically improve your physical health by improving digestion, increasing your energy, and having better sleep patterns.

By focusing on the following practices, you can improve how you feel, physically and mentally, and push yourself to achieve your dreams with positivity.

Start with small goals

It can seem like a daunting task to take on a new health regimen or start a workout program right away. By starting with small areas to improve, you can slowly improve your lifestyle without causing yourself too much stress.

Choose an area of focus and then go from there. If you want to have a clean healthy diet, start by eliminating junk food or trying a different healthy homemade meal each week. If you go to a lot of social events, start by limiting your meals out to once a week or limit drinking to special events.

By starting with small goals, we can begin to build healthy habits. After eliminating junk food for a few weeks, it will become natural to lean towards healthier options when going grocery shopping. If you want to become an avid reader, start with a daily goal of 15 minutes, or completing one chapter. Eventually, you will reach for the page out of habit and start reading in larger increments.

Think of something that you want to strive towards and by starting small, those healthy habits will develop over time.

Take time for yourself

In a society that relies so heavily on technology, it is more important than ever to take time for yourself. Sitting on social media or constantly checking your emails can quickly lead to overstimulation. Whether it be for ten minutes or two hours, allotting time to be by yourself without your phone can help you to feel more at ease and reduce your stress levels.

For some, this means meditation or reading a book, but it can also be writing in a diary every night to document your thoughts. You can even take it a step further and really learn more about yourself by reading books on a healthy mindset, listening to a podcast or audiobook, or using a personal assessment to guide individual growth. 

The point is, taking time for yourself is exactly what you want it to be. So, do whatever you need to do, but make sure to set aside a specific period of time to do just that.

Work in some physical activity

Working out more is probably the most common New Year’s resolution, so why not start implementing healthy lifestyle choices now. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend tons of money on a gym membership or hire a trainer. Instead, do some calisthenics between tasks at home, walk to the grocery store instead of driving, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.

The beginning is easily the most daunting. One workout in, your body becomes stiff and tired and you feel like giving up. To avoid this, start slow and take the time to ramp up your activity so your body can adjust to the new demands you are putting on it. Yoga and Pilates have amazing benefits that don’t require an intense start and can get you motivated around maintaining healthy habits.

If you are looking for a more solid workout routine and don’t want to spend any money, try downloading a workout app. My favorite is Nike Training Club, which allows you to filter the workouts shown for muscle group, workout focus, and equipment available.

You will have to work hard to create healthy habits and stick to them, but you will gain so much throughout the process. You will learn more about yourself, have more energy, decrease your chances of health complications down the road, and improve the lives of the people around you.

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