We’re calling it: 2020 is the Year of YOU! With everything going on around us—hello, election year, Instagram took our likes away (you know, the big things)— we’re here to help you set real-world intentions for your best, most mindful decade yet.
Here are five ways to start crushing this Year of You ASAP:
1. Mind Your Mother
Being kind to Mother Earth is being kind to yourself, so start small with a reusable straw! In the United States alone, more than 500 million plastic straws are used each day, and because of how small they are, they're really hard to recycle and rarely ever make it to recycling centers. Be a catalyst for change by reducing your carbon footprint and opting for reusable straws (and drinking cups, too, for that matter) whenever possible.
2. Eat More Plants
Studies show that eating a plant-focused diet reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers. Try to incorporate more whole, minimally processed foods into your diet, and limit or avoid animal products to improve your health and increase your chances of living longer. Getting creative with superfoods makes eating a plant-based diet even easier and more delicious— whether they're the star of the dish or the garnish on top! A simple sprinkle of hemp seeds on top of your salad, a handful of goldenberries mixed into your yogurt or a spoonful of chia seeds added to your oatmeal can take your meals from meh to marvelous—both from a nutrition and an appeal standpoint.
3. Catch Your Zzzz's
Getting the recommended 7-9 hours at night will keep you performing at your peak during the day. Studies show that a good night’s sleep has countless benefits on your mind and body, including the ability to enhance your memory and problem-solving skills. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule also helps you stay motivated, alert and engaged, and a full night’s sleep even helps your immune system stay strong. In fact, the less you sleep at night, the harder it can be to fight common infections. So, rest up!
4. Get Moving
A Harvard study showed that people who walked 20 minutes a day had 43% fewer sick days than those who worked out once a week. That's because being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, and decreases unhealthy triglycerides, which keeps your blood flowing smoothly and decreases your risk of heart disease. Regular exercise also helps prevent other health problems, including stroke, depression, anxiety, arthritis, and even certain types of cancer. And while it's no secret that exercise is great for your physique, you don't have to be a bodybuilder to reap the benefits. Any amount of activity is better than none at all, so take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the grocery store or walk on your lunch break when the weather's nice. The key is consistency!
5. Screen Your Screen Time
A report found that the average American spends nearly 11 hours in front of a screen every single day! This may seem harmless, but in reality, it can lead to sleep problems, eye discomfort, migraines or worse. Use the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain and prevent headaches: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. When you can, spend free time in rooms that typically don't have TVs, like the kitchen, where you can spend your hours doing something active and creative like experimenting with new superfood recipes!
Need a little extra motivation to start setting New Year's intentions that are actually sustainable all year long? Read, "5 Tips for Setting Sustainable New Year’s Intentions."