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5 steps to a healthy new year

From a wellness expert

Holidays take a toll on your good health.

You're out of your normal schedule, eating more and resting less and facing more stress than you face at other less turbulent times of year. All these factors can conspire to leave you feeling less than 100 percent when the holidays end and you return to the normal pace of life.

But with a new year upon us, it’s time to re-commit to living a happy and healthier lifestyle.

The Ohio State University’s Vice President for Health Promotion and Chief Wellness Officer Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk has long encouraged individuals to start simple, making one positive change at a time. She also has some basic tips that can help you improve your health outlook now and throughout the course of the coming year.

Here are five easy ways you can increase your wellness in the coming year.

  1. Unplug.

    At the end of the work or school day, you don’t have to check your email. Learn how to communicate with your employer, colleagues or friends about stress. Often, we think that stress is something to push through, but this year find ways to prioritize your well-being by choosing honesty and communication.

  2. Eat healthfully, light and often.

    Small snacks every three hours throughout the day that comprise fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and protein will help your overall energy and metabolism.

  1. Pencil-in 30 minutes.

    Even three 10-minute exercise sessions a day are positive. Exercising is a great way to boost your mood by increasing serotonin levels, which elevate mood and lessen depressive feelings.

    Incorporating exercise doesn’t have to be hard — in fact, you can get your time in simply by parking far away from your destination, choosing the stairs, taking walking meetings and walking your dog.

  2. Prioritize a body at rest.

    At least seven hours of sleep a night is necessary for optimal health and brain function. Simply committing to intentional and full nights of sleep can eliminate your need for those sugary coffee drinks in the morning. 

  3. Be present and positive.

    Read a positive book for five to 10 minutes each morning. Laugh more; enjoy your friends and family; socialize regularly. Prioritizing this life balance is important and will help you face trying days in the new year.