While you may not be able to rush to the gym this January or plan out a race schedule, there’s still lots of health based goals that you can set your sights towards for 2021.
Embrace the outdoors. The outdoors is so good for you that doctors have started writing prescriptions for people to get outside. Simply getting outside can improve your mood. Add in some exercise, along with some social encounters and some vitamin D and it’s easy to see how much of a positive impact getting outside can have.
Embracing the winter is something that a lot of Calgarians could learn to do better. Other than some weekends on the hills, many Calgarians spend a lot of their winter inside. This is especially true now that more people are working from home and don’t have many activities to go to. Once you step outside though the snowy landscape and crisp cold air is generally worth it. While many items like snowshoes and cross country skis have become as hard to find as toilet paper, biking, walking and running can still be done most winter days. There’s also lots of outdoor rinks and sledding hills and currently lots of snow for playing in.
Goal: Aim to get outside every day or a certain number of times per week or month.
Catch more ZZs. For those working from home The pandemic is the perfect time to catch up on some sleep and try to fix any sleep habits holding you back from getting a good night’s rest. Getting enough sleep helps with physical recovery, immune function, memory, concentration, mood and more. While there isn’t a solution to make more hours in a day, there are some tips if you are someone that struggles to fall asleep. Some general tips for good sleep are having a schedule, getting outside in the morning, avoiding caffeine later in the day and avoiding blue light before going to sleep.
Goal: Aim to wind down or be in bed for a certain time or try following one of the tips above. While many watches and activity trackers claim to track your sleep, most of them are not that accurate.
Reduce Screen Time Not surprisingly, there’s been a big increase in screen time during the pandemic. While most of us probably need to be on screens for at least some portion of the day, most of us could probably reduce our screen time in some way. While some screen time is not bad, people are generally more sedentary during screen time. It can also be addicting and detrimental to your sleep patterns.
Goal: Once the pandemic is over, try and reduce your screen time, or aim to reduce your screen time by a few minutes each week. There are many apps that can track screen time and split it into Work/Personal use categories.
Cook The pandemic has turned everyone into cooks or at least sourdough bread bakers. While cooking your own food is generally healthier, cooking has some great mental health benefits regardless of what you cook. It can be both relaxing and stimulating and even during a pandemic is socially connecting.
Goal: Aim to cook a certain number of times in a week or month. While you may not be able to keep up the frequency of cooking post pandemic, it’s something that you should try to do at lest semi regularly.
Make time for connections and alone time The pandemic has taught everybody how important social connections are. If you have a busy schedule or are the type of person that never remembers to reply, make sure that you schedule time to connect with your loved ones regularly. Try to actually plan those get togethers with the people that you run into. On the opposite side, the social break during the pandemic has also been something that has been much needed by many people. All of us need a balance of the two so make sure to plan some alone time as well.
Goal: Try not to be the person that never returns phone calls or texts. Plan a few events or places or things that you want do and who you want to do them with once the pandemic is over. Make sure to plan enough alone time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Practice Gratitude It can be difficult to practice gratitude in tough times but the benefits to spending just a few minutes each day focusing on gratitude are worth it. Practicing gratitude can put improve people’s mood, improve sleep, help foster stronger social connections, increase resiliency and increase self esteem.
Goal: create a gratitude journal or jar and find something that you are grateful for each day. Send messages to those you love expressing your gratitude.