Tag: stress

4 Steps to a Healthier You this New Year

Want to make resolutions you’ll keep this new year? Think simple, sustainable changes. Follow these four steps for a healthier you, inside and out.

Stick to Your Workout

After the holidays, the gym is filled with people who have resolved to incorporate exercise routines into their lives. Come February, the novelty of the new year wears off, life gets in the way and, according to “U.S. News & World Report,” 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of the month.

Instead of jumping from no routine to a seven-days-a-week commitment, introduce workouts to your schedule in small doses. Dread cardio or weight machines? Find something that you’ll look forward to, like a cycling class, yoga or outdoor pursuits. Choosing activities that you enjoy will increase your chances of sticking to your resolution.

Eat Smarter

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans are falling short of their fruit and vegetable intake goals, and most eat only half the recommended amount of fiber. To increase your consumption of essential nutrients, create a grocery list packed with fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains.

Plan meals for the week to ensure you stick to a whole-food menu. Keep ingredients on hand for meals you can make in a pinch, so you’re not tempted by fast food on a busy day. Try frozen salmon fillets, which you can cook without thawing, or eggs, low-fat cheese and veggies for a quick-baking frittata.

Freeze individual servings of chopped fruits and vegetables in resealable bags to create quick and delicious smoothies each morning in a high-powered blender, such as the Vitamix E310 Explorian Series machine. For a satisfying, energy-boosting snack, use your blender to pre-make Dried Fruit Chia Bars or White Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls.

Stress Less

Stress can have adverse effects on minds and bodies, as insomnia, weight gain, anxiety and depression are all potential related risks. While it isn’t always avoidable, simple changes will help you manage tension.

Sometimes, stress can be solved with some “me time.” Treat yourself to a massage or manicure, soak in a hot bath, or unwind with a nature walk. Connecting with others can help, too. Plan a brunch with your best friend or a date night with your significant other.

Feeling overwhelmed with work and family life? Build out a to-do list or calendar to feel more in control of your busy schedule, then cross items off the list when completed.

Practice Positivity

A sunny outlook can affect your wellbeing. Keep a gratitude journal by writing down something good that happens each day. On bad days, you’ll be forced to focus on the positive aspects of your life.

One of the best ways to improve your happiness is by giving others a boost. Volunteer with a charitable organization or donate to a favorite cause. Practice doing something kind daily.

This new year, take small steps to help you feel happier and healthier. (StatePoint)

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Travel More by Reducing Related Stress Triggers

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics indicates that more than half of all American workers are not using all of their vacation days, equalling to $224 billion in cash value, according to Oxford Economics, an economic analysis firm. In Canada, unused vacation time isn’t as pronounced but it is still apparent. A recent survey by California-based staffing firm Robert Half found that 26 percent of Canadians are not using paid vacation days provided by their employers. However, many workers today are resolving to spend more time with their spouses and children or engage in recreational activities. As such, traveling more is the goal of many individuals and families.

Although many people eagerly await their vacations, for some the idea of getting away is marred by prospect of things going awry or the stress of travel itself. To make travel easier, Time Management Ninja as well as WebMD suggest devising strategies to relieve stress. Other habits also can alleviate the potential pitfalls that are tied to travel that cause stress.

Make lists

Start by making a checklist of what to pack and what to bring. Cross-reference the checklist with what suitcases and bags the items have been stashed within. Begin the packing process several days before leaving for a trip, only leaving out essential items necessary for getting ready the day of departure. In addition, make another list of which bags need to be brought along. Place those bags by the front door so that nothing will be forgotten.

Build in extra time

According to the Travel Industry Association, 88 percent of leisure travel happens by car, truck or RV. Nine percent of Americans take to the air, while the rest journey by bus or train. No matter how you will be traveling, you’ll likely need to take to the road to get to an airport or train station.

Leave extra time for any hiccups along the way. Nothing can make you feel more stressed than being rushed and worrying that you will miss a departure due to traffic. Bring along a book, stream a movie or catch up on other tasks when you are early to the gate.

Confirm your itinerary

Avoid bad surprises by double-checking that flights are booked and hotel rooms have been reserved and by confirming the other aspects of your trip. This is especially important when using third-party booking sites to make travel plans.

Provide kids with entertainment

Be sure to bring along a bag with toys, electronics, games, coloring books, or whatever other distractions kids will enjoy to keep them occupied. Happy, occupied children are less likely to be disruptive, especially if travel delays occur.

Get ample sleep

Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Lack of sleep can exacerbate feelings of stress and contribute to short tempers. WebMD says that it can take one to three days to recover from a sleep deficit and to unwind from stress. Factor in jet lag and the “first night effect,” a condition in which many travelers find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep in a new location, and sleep deprivation can be a problem. Leave time for sleeping in and do not over-pack a vacation schedule.