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5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Losing Weight (And Are Actually Achievable)

5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Losing Weight (And Are Actually Achievable)

Let’s face it, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, people generally don’t have the most successful track records. We set lofty, ambitious goals that seem super sexy when we’re setting them but leave us feeling inadequate and self-loathing a few weeks later when we’re right back where we started.

Remember the golden rule of goal setting? Always keep them SMART.

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based.

So, why do the rules change when you’re setting health goals at the end of the year?

New Year’s resolutions are just bound to fail — only 9.2% of people actually feel as if they’ve achieved them, according to University of Scranton research.[1] For whatever reason, we set impossible goals that aren’t achievable, too vague, too restrictive and aren’t specific enough to measure properly.

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But, I’ll be honest, I’m a statistic too. So instead of setting myself up for failure and doing the ‘all or nothing’ approach when it comes to choosing my health resolutions this year, I’m going to try something different: set health resolutions that a) have nothing to do with losing weight and b) are small, incremental lifestyle changes that I can actually keep.

I’m tired of feeling defeated and deflated in February, when my big dreamy health goals have gone to the wayside. But by choosing to implement small changes and setting my habits differently than I did last year, I stand a greater chance of avoiding all that mess, and making real change in my health habits.

So, here is how I plan on prioritizing my health and wellness this year, that has nothing do with dropping a jean size:

Get better sleep.

It’s no secret that everything suffers when we don’t get a good night’s rest — our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. With Arianna Huffington’s recent crusade to educate everyone about the sleep deprivation crisis we’re currently in, is there anyone out there who won’t prioritize getting better sleep in 2017?

As a self-proclaimed night owl, it’s too easy for me to neglect my night time routine. But, cleaning up my night time habits like putting my phone down earlier, banning the bedtime snacks and literally cleaning up my sleep environment will help me get better sleep.

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Studies have shown that when you keep your sleep environment clean, you get a better night’s rest. Luckily for us, we live in a time where anti-bacterial sheets are available, and the latest sleep innovation is a self-cleaning mattress. Talk about a dreamy bed!

Drink more water.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely feel better when I’m actually hydrated. Dehydration has been linked to triggering migraines, shrinkage of brain tissue and even dampening your mood.

There’s a reason that water is so vital to our well-being: it makes up almost two-thirds of who we are, and influences 100 percent of our processes. But instead of putting pressure on myself to get my eight glasses a day, I’m going to aim for hydration. If I’m feeling sluggish, cranky or feel a headache come on, I’ll reach for my water bottle first.

Eat more greens.

This one is pretty self explanatory but let’s dig into it anyway. Greens = healthy food. Healthy food = feeling good. Feeling good = better life.

I know first hand that when I eat more leafy greens and vegetables, I just feel better.

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But here’s the science: leafy greens pack a ton of vitamins and nutrients — vitamin A, C, E and K. Plus essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. They are nature’s nutritional powerhouse.

Greens are essentially the number one food you can eat on a regular basis to improve your health. So here’s to hiding spinach in my smoothie, sprinkling some parsley on my soup and eating an entire batch of kale chips…instead of my regular wavy Lays.

Cut back on complaining.

Making the necessary health changes to better your life requires more than the physical work, it requires a mindshift as well. And, it’s no secret that complaining is just downright bad for you.

If you’re constantly complaining, you’ll never be in the right frame of mind to make any lifestyle change. According to science, complaining can be detrimental to not only your mental health but your physical well-being as well.[2]

When you’re constantly stressed, your cortisol levels are elevated — and that interferes with learning and memory, lowers your immune function and bone density, and increases weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease.

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Apparently, simply having a negative thought makes having another one easier. Negativity will start to occur more randomly, and eventually your personality just becomes negative. But gratitude and happiness can also work the same way, which brings me to my next point.

Practice self-acceptance

I’ve never picked a theme for the year, but since I’m approaching things differently this time around, I’m going to try and stick to one for 2017. The word I’m going to abide to is ‘enough’.

After (finally) reading Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly,’ I’m starting to see that the true key to happiness isn’t material or checking things off my to-do list. It’s actually about showing yourself some compassion, and embracing the idea that you are already enough.

Self-acceptance is the number one habit that corresponds most with people being satisfied with their life[3]— but it’s the habit that we practice the least. Changing my inner dialogue to a positive one will probably be one of the best habits I’ve learned yet.

Featured photo credit: Allef Vinicius via unsplash.com

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Jennee Rasavong

Freelance Content Marketer

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

Burnout at work is an issue that most people who suffer from it, suffer unknowingly.

Have you ever felt that you can’t start an assignment, have an immense urge to Netflix binge, or couldn’t get yourself to wake up on time even though you have a lot on your plate? The cause for these might be burnout.

According to Deloitte’s report, “many companies may not be doing enough to minimize burnout.” This is to say that the responsibility is not only on the employee. According to that report, nearly 70 percent of professionals feel their employers are not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization, and they definitely should.[1]

Too many companies don’t invest enough in creating a positive environment. One out of five (21%) said that their company does not offer any programs or initiatives to prevent or alleviate burnout. It is the culture, not the fancy well-being programs that would probably do the best work.

This is a significant problem for individuals and companies, and it’s also an issue on a macro level. A Stanford University research found that more than 120,000 deaths per year, and approximately 5%–8% of annual healthcare costs, are associated with the way U.S. companies manage their workforces.[2]

It is both the employee and the employer’s responsibility—and the latter can certainly take more responsibility.

In this article, I’ll guide you on how to know if you suffer from burnout and, more importantly, what you can do about it.

Who Are Prone to Burning Out?

For starters, it is a good thing to know that you’re in good company. According to a Gallup poll, 23% (of 7,500 surveyed) expressed burnout more often than not. Additionally, 44% felt it sometimes. Nearly 50% of social entrepreneurs who attended the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2018 reported having struggled with burnout and depression at some point.[3]

According to Statista (2017), 13% of adults reported having problems unwinding in the evenings and weekends. According to a Deloitte survey (consisting of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees), 77% of respondents said that they have experienced employee burnout at their current job.[4]

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Burnout is not only an issue of the spoiled first-world. Rather, it is a serious matter that must be taken care of appropriately. It affects so many people, and its impacts are just too significant to be ignored.

Some occupations are more prone to burnout, such as people who deeply care about their jobs more than others. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Passion-driven and caregiving roles such as doctors and nurses are some of the most susceptible to burnout.”

The consequences can have life or death ramifications as “suicide rates among caregivers are dramatically higher than that of the general public—40% higher for men and 130% higher for women”. It is also the case for teachers, non-profit workers, and leaders of all kinds.[5]

Deloitte’s survey also found that 91% say that they have an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration. Heck, 83% even say that it can negatively impact their relationships. Millennials are slightly more impacted by burnout (84% of Gen Y vs. 77% in other generations).

What Is Burnout Syndrome?

So, what is it, exactly? Burnout was officially included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) and is an occupational phenomenon.

According to the World Health Organization, burnout includes three dimensions:[6]

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
  3. Reduced professional efficacy.

The 5 Stages of Burnout

At this point, you must have a clue if you’re at risk of burnout. There are different methods for understanding where you are on the burnout syndrome scale, and one of the most common ones is the “five stages method.”

1. Honeymoon Phase

As you may remember If you’ve gotten married, there’s always the honeymoon phase. You’re so happy and feel almost invincible. You love your spouse and at this stage, you’re very excited about everything. It’s the same when it comes to taking on a new job or role or starting a new business.

At first, most of the time, you’re hyper-motivated. Although you might be able to notice signs of potential future burnout, in most cases, you might ignore them. You’re highly productive, super motivated, creative, and accept (and take) responsibility.

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The honeymoon phase is critical because if you plant the seeds of good mental health and coping strategies, you can stay at this phase for extended periods.

2. Onset of Stress

Let’s continue with the wedding metaphor. Now that you’re happily married for some time, you might start noticing certain issues with your spouse that you don’t like. You might have seen them before, but now they take up more space in your life.

You might be less optimistic and feel signs of stress or minor symptoms of physical or emotional fatigue at work. Your productivity reduces, and you think that your motivation is lower.

3. Chronic Stress

Let’s hope you don’t get there in your marriage, but unfortunately, some people get there. At this stage, your stress level is consistently high, and the other symptoms of stage 2 persist.

At this point, you start missing deadlines, your sleep quality is low, and you’re resentful and cynical. Your caffeine consumption might be higher, and you’re increasingly unsatisfied.

4. Burnout

This is the point where you can’t go on unless there is a significant change in your workspace environment. You have a strong desire to move to another place, and clinical intervention is sometimes required.

You feel neglected, your physical symptoms are increasing, and you get to a place where your stomach hurts daily. You might obsess over problems in your life or work and, generally speaking, you should treat yourself.

5. Habitual Burnout

This is the phase in which burnout is embedded in your life. You might experience chest pains or difficulty breathing, outbursts of anger or apathy, and physical symptoms of chronic fatigue.

The Causes of Burnout

So, now that we know how to identify our stage of burnout, we can move on to tackling its leading causes. According to the Gallup survey, the top burnout reasons are:[7]

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  1. Getting unfair treatment at work – This is not always something that you can fully control. At the same time, you should remember that even if you’re not calling the shots, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept unfair treatment. The consequences mentioned above are just not worth it in most cases.
  2. Workload – Another leading cause of stress according to dozens of interviews conducted before writing the article. According to Statista, in 2017, 39% of workers said a heavy workload was their leading cause of stress. We live in a busy work environment, and we will share some tips on how to manage that.
  3. Not knowing your role – While not something you can fully control, you can, and probably should, take action to better define it with your boss.
  4. Inadequate communication and support from your manager – Like the others above, you can’t fully control that, but as we’ll soon share, you can take action to be in better control.
  5. Time pressure – As mentioned, motivated, passionate workers are more in danger of experiencing burnout. One of the reasons is that they’re pressuring themselves to do more, sometimes at the expense of their mental health. We’ll address how to work on that as well.

How to Overcome a Burnout

After going over the stages of burnout and the leading causes of becoming burned out, it might be a good time to let you know that there is a lot you can do to fight it head-on.

However, let’s start with what you should not do. Burnout cannot be fixed by going on a vacation. It should be a long-term solution, implemented daily.

According to Clockify (2019), these are the popular ways to avoid burnout:

  1. Focus on your family life – 60% of adults said that stable family life is key to avoiding burnout. Maintaining meaningful relationships in your life is proven to reduce stress (instead of having many unmeaningful relationships).
  2. Exercising comes in second, with 58% reporting that jogging, running, or doing any exercise significantly relieves stress. Even a relatively short walk might improve your body’s resilience to stress.
  3. Seek professional advice – 55% say they would turn to a professional. There are online websites where you can speak with professionals at reduced costs.

Aside from the three most popular ways of avoiding burnout, you can also try the following:

1. Improve Time Management

Try understanding how you can use your time better and leave more time for relaxation. That’s easy to say (or write) but more challenging to implement. It would help if you started by prioritizing yourself. Understanding the connection between your values and your everyday tasks is a tremendous help. You can use proven methods to improve the relationship between your vision and goals to your daily life tasks’ lists. Check out the Horizons of Focus or V2MOM methods to get started.

2. Use the P.L.E.A.S.E. Method

The P.L.E.A.S.E. is a combination of things you should do to be at your best physically. It means Physical Illness (P.L.) prevention, Eat healthy (E), Avoid mood-altering drugs (A), Sleep well (S), and Exercise (E).

3. Prioritize

You don’t have to say yes to everything that comes across your way at work (or in other aspects of life). You’d be surprised how easy it can become once you start saying no. Some might even describe it as exhilarating.

4. Let Your Brain rest

Culturally, most of us are already wired to think that hard work is essential, and while that’s true in most cases, we sometimes forget that our brain needs to rest for it to recharge. Seven hours of sleep are essential (depending on your age). Meditation might be helpful, too.

5. Pay Attention to Positive Events

According to Therapistaid.com, we tend to focus on the bad things in our lives. However, by focusing on positive things, we can change our mindset. One way to practice this daily is by writing three good things about your life every morning or evening. It’s been scientifically proven that doing so for a few months can help rewire your brain.

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6. Take Some “You” Time

A Netflix binge is not always good for you, but it might be in some cases. The better the leisure time is, the better you’ll feel in the long term. It’s usually better to read a book or start a new hobby that requires more cognitive skills than just lying on the couch. But as long as you feel good watching a movie, that might be a good start.

7. New Technologies Might Be Helpful

There are tons of self-help apps such as Fabulous, Headspace (meditation), Noom (diet and exercise), and others. They’re good to use, but you should also be careful not to run away from your problems only to watch social media for hours. It’s not real, and no one’s life is perfect (even if their Facebook or Instagram feeds might seem so). You should also be aware not to be in an “always-on” mindset.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re at the first or the fifth stage of the burnout phases, the goal of this article is to show you that there are always ways to fight it. The first thing is self-awareness—knowing that there’s a problem. The second step is to decide what to do about it.

You can also consider using Lifehack’s community. You’re more than welcome to share your burnout story on our Facebook page.

Bonus: Rebound from Burnout in 8 Hours

Watch what you can do to rebound from burnout quickly in this episode of The Lifehack Show:

https://youtu.be/MNnyqQWK_zg

Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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