In a few short weeks, 2020 will be safely in the past. This is definitely one year we will always remember — no matter how much we try to forget it — but fortunately there is a new January just over the horizon.
With a little luck, things will start to improve, and we can get back to focusing on our own personal goals. For many, especially if recent challenges have disrupted your flow, this is a time to get back on track with nutrition, fitness, mental health, and general well-being.
If that sounds like something you need ASAP, try these tips to rejuvenate your mental and physical health in 2021.
1. Move More
The last several months most people have led very sedentary lives. With nowhere to go and so much to fear outside, staying home has become the new normal. But, at some point, too much time around the house can also be unhealthy.
In general, gyms will still remain closed, operating at limited capacity, and are still risky. That is a big disruption for anyone who likes staying fit in that environment, and cold weather make it even harder. Nevertheless, you have other options. Long walks can be great. Get an exercise bike or treadmill for your garage. Or just find some aerobics or yoga classes to follow online. The important part is not what you do — just that you do it.
2. Set Realistic Goals
By now, most of us understand the basic keys to health: Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, manage stress. It isn’t necessarily complicated — but that doesn’t make it any easier. For some people, a complete overhaul of all their poor habits may actually be the best path forward. Dramatic change can work. But most people struggle with that approach.
Instead of feeling like you need to alter everything, try to think longer term. Make a couple of smaller — but more sustainable — changes. If you don’t work out much at all, do not set a goal of exercising for two hours six days a week. Or from pizza and wings to only eating greens and açaí berries. Find a happy, healthy medium and settle in there. Improvement is more about being realistic than perfect.
3. Try Meditation
While meditation has been practiced for millennia, it has become increasingly mainstream in the past few years. Everyone from fitness influencers and entrepreneurs to athletes and everyday moms are now raving about its positive effects. You may still be on the fence or outright dismissive of the idea. That is understandable. It is not for everyone.
But you owe it to yourself to at least give it a shot. Meditation can be frustrating and difficult at first. It’s definitely hard to find a groove and even harder to stick with it in the long term. Still, even if you only try it out for awhile it can be a powerful force in grounding you and helping you focus, among its many other benefits. Do a little research into the different methods and give one of them a shot in 2021.
4. Be Kind to Yourself
After the year that we have all had in 2020, it’s OK to make some mistakes and veer off course now and again. All too often, people go searching out weight-loss transformations, fitness routines, and mental health makeovers with the idea that they will quickly fix all their ills. They think they need to be perfect all day, every day, and then everything will be solved by a certain date.
That is just not reality. Good habits should be developed as part of a lifelong journey toward health and wellness. One day, one week, or even one month is not going to make or break you. If you slip up on your nutritional goals or miss a few runs do not beat yourself up. Just recognize that none of this is easy. Nobody is perfect. You deserve some compassion — from yourself, most of all.
You cannot let yourself off the hook all the time and end up developing bad habits. But as long as you have committed to generally staying on the right path to progress for years to come, the small cheats and slip-ups don’t mean you are a failure. It just means you are a human who is doing their best.