Getting outdoors and enjoying the fresh air and sun can be invigorating.

With every new year comes talk of resolutions and plans for the future. But often resolutions fail just a few months in and can ultimately disappoint. However, there are still many ways to plan for a healthy year both mentally and physically.

First, don’t make a New Year’s resolution. Since New Year’s resolutions usually involve an entire life overhaul, resolutions can be impossible to accomplish. Rather, concentrate on attainable goals.

Second, focus on mental health. This goes with the first tip. After the whirlwind of the holidays, stress can be at an all-time high. Although, stepping into 2024 with a positive outlook is possible with a few simple changes, such as taking time to unwind after the holidays. Taking a few minutes out of the day to turn off technology can also be great for mental health and maintaining positive self-esteem. Another idea is to find a new hobby and make time for it once a week. A new hobby could be reading a book, working on puzzles, crafting or learning how to sew.

According to Mercy Health, “A benefit of hobbies is the promotion of creativity and self-expression. Any creative process can be very therapeutic for the mind, whether it is drawing, sculpture, quilting or writing. It generates a sense of accomplishment and reward which boosts our self-esteem and creates positive emotions.”

Get better sleep. Better sleep has been linked to many health benefits both mentally and physically. Helpful tips for better sleep are to adjust bedtime to 20 minutes earlier. Sometimes that shift can alter sleep patterns and help one get a deeper sleep. Often something that interferes with solid sleep is technology as well. If TV and all devices are turned off 30 minutes prior to going to bed, a better REM sleep can be achieved, which ultimately leads to a happier attitude in the day.

Finally, making wiser health choices can be feasible with small changes. Some simple changes could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking a little farther away from the grocery store to get more walking in. Make healthier food choices by changing one side in the meal to a vegetable or fruit, or spend a little more time outdoors getting fresh air and vitamin D from the sun.

Ultimately, with a few small lifestyle changes, a healthy year is possible.

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Ashley Abene
Ashley Abene has written for the Osprey Observer since 2023. She has a master’s degree in writing and literature and a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from the University of South Florida. She has taught college-level writing and literature at USF and Southeastern University for over nine years. She’s a blogger at Peace Filled Family and enjoys writing children’s books. She’s also a mom to three kids, and her husband has been serving in the military for over 20 years.