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Steps to Make Your New Year Healthier and Happier

By Sandy Schroeder

We all coped in a variety of ways this past year, but now it's time to take some different steps. Real Simple suggests we start to create some new habits right now.

Here's a list to get you started. See if they fit and then add more ideas of your own. Think about your goals for health, weight, and exercise and try some new ways to make them happen.

Set a bedtime alarm - Sleep experts say setting a regular bedtime helps to make sleep a priority and contribute to sound sleep. A comfortable mattress and pillow, and black-out drapes will also help.

Create a no-phone spot - Sound sleep every night often begins with a no-phone or other electronics zone. If it works for you, remove your cell phone, laptop, and TV from your bedroom. If you can't completely delete them, shut down all electronic activity at least two hours before bedtime.

Do one-mile walk errands - Walk instead of driving to handle local errands. Also consider biking instead of walking to run small errands or bike to work if you can.

Monitor your meals - Do sit-down suppers with healthy recipes and eat slowly. Take time to savor your meal and talk with the people around you.  Mid-meal pause and put your fork down. The slower you eat the more you may enjoy the meal, and the less you will eat.

Exercise throughout the day - Build in spots in your schedule for 15-minutes of activity. Walk, stretch, do yoga, shoot hoops, or bike.

Add veggies to your breakfast - Add red peppers, little tomatoes, or onions to an omelet or make a breakfast burrito loaded with black beans, peppers and onions.

Upgrade your sitting - Make sure your work chair is adjustable to you and provides good back support. Or consider a treadmill computer work station or an adjustable one that lets you stand. Make sure you are looking straight ahead and your feet are flat on the floor. Set aside five minutes for each hour to stand, stretch and move around.

Create healthy desserts - Start with berries or cherries or apricots and peaches and add yogurt or create whole wheat flour tarts. Also bake healthy loaves with banana or zucchini.

As you try out new ideas, hang on to the ones that really work and enjoy the difference.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chula Vista, Calif.

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