Set your master plan in place now for a successful new year!
A new year always brings sweet anticipation. With a renewed commitment to getting and staying healthier this year, we’re focused on getting better sleep too – the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
7 steps to a happier YOU in this year
1. Get in the groove and move with more exercise. Not in the habit yet? That’s okay. As Drew says, “Play basketball with some friends, take your dog on a walk…anything counts!” Just getting started is a good first step and you’ll find you sleep better when you get moving. It’s okay if you’re not a fan of exercise, but it’s good to find something you enjoy. After all, as Jonathan points out, we’ve all got different interests: “I know we don’t all love exercise the way Drew does. That would be super annoying. But getting your heart rate up really does wonders for your energy level—and it’s good for you!”
2. Volunteer and give a helping hand to others. “It feels really good to get out and help others in your community,” says Drew. That great feeling isn’t the only benefit of volunteering. It can actually reduce stress and lower blood pressure, especially with activities that get your heart rate up. Whatever you choose, take a page out of Jonathan’s book, “Find a cause you love and figure out how to get involved. You’ll be all the happier for it.” Because, let’s be honest, there are few things in life that are more satisfying than knowing you’ve helped someone else.
3. Say goodbye to clutter and welcome the calm in. Each new year comes with new resolve to make positive, lasting changes—and it often includes making decisions about what gets to stay and what has to go. As Drew puts it, “Now is a great time to do a major purge. Pick a different room to go through for each week of the month and reassess what you have and what you actually need. Donate or toss anything that isn’t going to work for you in the new year.” You might want to start with your bedroom. Having a an organized bedroom is the first step to clearing a path to better sleep.
4. Take back your lunch break. In today’s fast-paced world, people are rewarded for being productive contributors. But working harder and longer doesn’t mean you’re more productive. Jonathan says, “Taking breaks is just as important as working hard! You’re no good if you’re burned out and stressed—believe us, we’ve been there.” Whether you go for a walk, read a book, or chat with a friend, getting away from your work for a short time every day can restore your motivation, increase productivity and reduce stress.
5. Craft a consistent sleep routine that works for you. We tend to like to work hard and play hard but, with fixed work hours, it’s easy for downtime to slowly creep into – and overtake – sleep time. But sleep is too important to skimp on and being consistent is key. That consistency starts with keeping a healthy sleep schedule. “Creating a special bedtime routine can help give you a reason to look forward to going to bed,” advises Drew. “That is if just getting a good night’s sleep isn’t something to get excited about on its own!” adds Jonathan. Make sleep a daily priority for your general health and happiness.
6. Give your brain a workout and learn something new. If last year taught us anything it’s how important it is to keep your brain engaged and stay physically active. Making time to learn new skills gives your brain a boost that can improve memory and even slow cognitive aging—it actually changes your brain! “I love, love, love taking lessons and learning new things. And don’t be afraid to really go all-in if you find something you enjoy—hobbies are a great way to decompress and unwind, while keeping your mind (and maybe body) active!” says Drew. Commit to lifelong learning to sharpen and strengthen your brain.
7. Connect with people more and screens less. Technology can be fun and it allows us to do things we couldn’t even imagine not too very long ago. But, as Jonathan points out, “Being present with the people you care about is a good habit to develop. Heck, being present even with people you don’t know is important, too! Put away your phones and tablets and enjoy the company—you’ll likely find yourself feeling happier and recharged.” As a bonus, resisting the pull of screen time can minimize the disruption of your natural sleep/wake cycle, making it easier to get the rest you need so you maintain good mental and physical health.
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- Do you know how to choose the best sheets for your bed?
- 12 smart bedtime habits worth adopting for a better night’s sleep
- The essential guide to creating a bed(room) you’ll love sleeping in