We can all agree that 2020 has been one hell of a tough year. It certainly feels like it has been way longer than the usual 365 days, right?

COVID 19 has turned our lives upside down, which has affected many people at a personal level. Either you, a family member, friend or a colleague has suffered from the disease or its effects be it financial, hospital stays or even worse, loss of lives. 

Many businesses have also suffered due to the pandemic, which has affected the livelihoods of many.

But as a human race, we always find ways to adapt. Which is why it’s critical to make some adjustments to our lives using the 2020 lessons. 

Hopefully, we have learned from our mistakes so that we can make better choices in the future.  

I’ve personally learned a lot and want to form new habits to help me make permanent changes. I’ll share them with you.

How to reset for a healthier and better 2021

Slowing down

Statistics show that nearly 60% of employees fall in the “high stress” category. A heavy workload is the highest contributor to the problem.  

There’s a lot of glorification regarding being overly busy all the time. It’s no wonder that most people use this as a benchmark to fit into societal norms. I can remember one time boosting about completing a scientific paper just before boarding an international flight (back in the days when you could travel!), completing my upcoming presentations on the flight and writing a couple of book chapters. Not the most relaxing way to start a conference! On other occasions it felt almost impossible to schedule a “pee break” in between the multitude of meetings, business calls and deadlines.  Can you relate?

We might accomplish a few things by being extremely busy 24/7. Maybe a promotion at work, a raise or the employee of the year.

But how does a hectic lifestyle affect your health? It can impact your wellbeing negatively.

Please don’t get me wrong, let me explain what I mean:

For starters, we all need to work to earn a living. 

I’m referring to the late nights and extremely early mornings so you hardly have any time left for yourself or family. Research shows that it can have detrimental effects on your health, from mental and physical exhaustion, anxiety and depression, weight gain, and overdependence on alcohol as a coping mechanism. 

Note that working regular hours, i.e. 6-8 per day, is perfectly fine. 

Therefore, if you run a business, reduce your working hours to a maximum of 40 per week. Employers should also take into consideration the amount of time that they expect their employees to put in. Think this is an impossible task? Then you need to work smarter and not harder (a future blog topic).

And that will improve health around your workplace hence a reduction on sick leaves. Reducing work hours to a healthy level will improve productivity by a considerable margin. It will also reduce burnout and eliminate the chances of staff showing up to work for the sake of it. 

Get more sleep

There’s a misconception that sleeping more equates to laziness. But did you know that lack of sufficient sleep causes harm your health? 

Yes, the effects that it has on your body go past just feeling grumpy the following day.

Research shows that sleeping for less than 5 hours can increase your chances of unhealthy eating and developing chronic illnesses like type II diabetes, obesity or heart disease. 

For quality sleep, focus on about 8 hours each night. Turn off devices a few hours before you go to bed and make sure your room is cool and airy. If you’re unable to attain sufficient sleep per night, consider seeing a sleep therapist to help uncover any underlying issues.

Tune out any negativity

So, you have this spouse or colleague that puts you down at every opportunity. Or someone that constantly belittles others and is continually spreading gossip.

But you put up with it because you love and care for them. 

However, did you know that being around negativity can take a toll on your health? According to researchers, stress can affect your brain, making it unable to think clearly and reason normally. 

Therefore, do not be shy to squash any negative talk or stay away from people that suffer from chronic negativity. If you really love this person, talk to them to see if they’re ready to make changes. Otherwise, walk away, and love them from a distance. 

Limit phone usage

Statistics show that most people spend an average of 5 hours per day on mobile phones. That translates into the loss of productivity during work hours. In addition, it limits human contact with family members or friends.

Try and avoid playing games or spending countless hours perusing through Facebook or Instagram. Try to use your phone for its sole intended purpose, which is communication, and that should be just a few minutes per day.

Don’t take your health and that of your loved ones for granted.

The thing that has stood out to me during this pandemic is how being healthy can be advantageous. A healthy body can withstand added stress, challangeds and illnesses that quickly harm and even kill people with compromised health. 

Studies show that your immune system is the number one defense against disease-causing organisms. 

There’s a lot that you can do to improve your immunity and that of your loved ones. Here are some examples:

  • Nourish your body with a healthy diet – include plenty of leafy greens and berries
  • Exercise regularly – try and include “enjoyable movement” every day.
  • Avoid smoking 
  • Limit drinking alcohol and have plenty of water
  • Wash your hands regularly

Conclusion

The last year has taught us some important lessons, and it’s paramount that we use those lessons for a better tomorrow. Stay away from negativity, sleep more, slow down, limit phone use and nourish your mind and body for a healthier and happier life.  

Acknowledgement: Eve Carrie Writer

For further information and free nutrition resources check out https://drliznutrition.com/ or email me on DrLiz@lincnutrition.com.au