It goes without saying that 2022 has a lot riding on it. Following the tragedies of the previous year, people are clinging to any glimmer of hope that the world will turn around in the coming year. If you’re the sort who greets the new year with unbounded vigor, channel some of that zeal into starting the year on the healthiest foot possible. Here are six options for doing so.
Related: How to start a healthy life
1. Get Outside
Queen Elizabeth (played by Olivia Colman) frequently urges her children, sister, and other advice-seekers to get outside and go for a walk when things aren’t going their way in season four of Netflix’s The Crown. Her well-intentioned advise is typically met with dissatisfaction from individuals to whom she gives it, who believe their issues cannot be fixed just by getting some fresh air and exercise. However, Colman’s character is more accurate than you might believe.
The Queen is a passionate outdoorswoman who is thought to be happiest in her 50,000-acre Scottish estate Balmoral, according to the series, which dramatizes the narrative of the British royal family. Those of us who don’t have a vast Highlands property to social distance can still benefit from the suggestions. Do the Queen’s bidding while the winter wears on and working from home, virtual school, and Zoom gatherings continue: Take a walk outside. Bundle up, put on your mask, and go outside every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes in your backyard or on your porch. This is critical for adults, but even more important for children. Put the phone down and go for a quick walk around the block instead of spending your lunch break in front of the internet or reading through social media. What it does for your mental (and physical) wellness will astound you.
2. Place your phone in other room while you sleep
This is probably not the first time you’ve come across this advice, and it won’t be the last. For years, experts and sleep advocates such as Arianna Huffington have advised sleeping with your phone in another room. When Huffington launched the Thrive Global Phone Bed, a $100 small bed with silk sheets designed to store your phone at night — and keep it out of reach – she took it literally.
You don’t need a $100 accessory to try this out, thankfully. Purchase a low-cost alarm clock (or, like me, use your smart home device to wake you up) and relocate your phone to another room, or at least far enough away that you must get out of bed to retrieve it. It’s a minor detail that can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep.
3. If you want to diet, add — don’t subtract
Everyone you know is generally talking about a new diet at this time of year — keto, Whole 30, dry January, you name it. After many individuals resorted to comfort food and Netflix to get through 2020, the “new year, new me” mantra may be more appealing than ever.
However, if you want to make long-term changes, it’s easier to include healthy foods into your diet rather than eliminating entire food groups. It’s something that dietitians have advised for years, but it’s worth remembering when you’re tempted to join your pals in a Whole 30 challenge. To begin, focus on increasing your intake of vegetables and water.
4. Take your meditation to the next level
Thousands of individuals turned to meditation to cope with the stress of the year 2020. Beginning in April, apps like Calm and Headspace witnessed an increase in users, and Headspace even started offering free content and gratis subscriptions to instructors.
While using an app is a terrific place to start, if you’re already a meditator, consider taking your practice to the next level. If you’ve been thinking about it but haven’t had the time to take an in-person course, now is a better time than ever to join up because most programs are online. In April, Unplug will offer a six-week virtual teacher training, or explore the 200-hour virtual program offered by the renowned Esalen Institute, which begins later this month. The renowned California retreat is where Don Draper travels to start a new life at the end of Mad Men, and now you can learn from its teachers without ever having to leave your house.
5. Consider changing your WFH scenery for a few days
Last year, OneDay, a Dallas-based video technology business, raised staff morale in an unusual way. Clint Lee, the company’s CEO, worked from an Airbnb in Colorado for a few weeks and discovered how much a change of scenery aided his productivity. As a result, he established the “New Digs” program to provide staff with similar opportunities. Each employee was given the option of choosing an Airbnb in which to work for a few days. The shift in employee morale was noticeable.
Everyone’s degree of comfort with travel varies at this time, but a road trip to an Airbnb or motel a few hours away (or even in your town) for some fresh scenery can do wonders for your mental health. It’s something that hotel chains are taking advantage of as well: Last summer, Hyatt debuted its Work From Hyatt program, which offers discounted rates, eliminated resort fees, and other advantages when you book a room for more than 5 nights at one of its 90 participating hotels. The nightly rate starts at $139. Day rates and extended stays are available for those who don’t want to stay that long (or want to stay even longer). If you have credit card points burning a hole in your pocket, The primer from The Points Guy on how to use them to book Work From Hyatt stays.
6. Make plans for a trip (even if it’s in the year 2023)
If travel isn’t in the cards for you right now, try a different strategy. Even if you don’t intend to go until at least 2022 or 2023, plan a trip. Give yourself something to look forward to by taking advantage of inexpensive flights and hotel stays (and their reasonable cancellation policies). A 2014 Cornell University study, planning an event and anticipating executing it is better for mental health than purchasing a new product. This National Geographic article dives deeper into the details, but the conclusion is clear: Your future self will thank you.