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Make your own wellness a priority this year

Whether you believe in the whole "new year, new you" thing or not, the New Year usually signals a fresh start, new hope, flight, new promise as we look forward to all the new beginnings. This year, with a whole new decade arriving, it feels even more like everyone has a chance at a clean slate.

Instead of making unrealistic and impractical New Year’s resolutions that probably wouldn’t make it past February, perhaps this is the year to try shifting the focus to self-care for the benefit of our overall health and well-being. Here are few acts of self-care you can do:

Stick to a morning routine you thoroughly enjoy. Starting a day with a Sun Salutation, a 5-minute morning exercise will help revitalize your life and send you off to tackle your day with a sense of calm and purpose, or opting for following an online workout, or simply enjoying the quietness by taking the time to sip on your tea or coffee, reading an inspiring book, or simply cuddling with your puppy... Turn these things into habits to ensure that you always begin and end the day with a positive mind-set.

Make sleep an integral part of your routine. Sleep can have a huge effect on how we feel both emotionally and physically. Not getting enough of it can even cause major health issues! Staying away from consuming caffeines and sugars ahead of rest, being free of distractions (television, laptop, cellphone), try going to bed 15 minutes earlier - it can help you wake up feeling more refreshed!

Eat right. Food has the potential to either keep us healthy or contribute to weight gain or diseases such as diabetes, keeping our minds working and alert. What we eat can have a significant impact on our gut health as the types of foods we eat affect the bacteria that live in our stomachs, resulting in a cascade of either positive or negative outcomes... Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.

Exercise daily. Find even a bit of time - 15 minutes brisk walk, morning HIIT or end of the day run, daily exercise can help you both physically and mentally, boosting your mood and reducing stress and anxiety, not to mention helping you shed extra weight. The most important thing is to create a routine that works for you.

Say no to others, and say yes to you. Learning to say no is hard as many of us feel obligated to say yes when someone asks for our time or energy. However, if we are already overworked or stressed, saying yes to loved ones or coworkers can lead to burnout, anxiety, irritability... It may take a little practice, but once you learn how to politely say no, you'll start to feel more empowered, and you'll have more time for you.

Prioritize your health. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider. Not just there for ailments, a primary care provider is a great partner for your well-being. Your provider will learn about your life and keep an eye on your health trends over time. Making an annual appointment is a no-fuss way to take time for your health each and every year.

May this year bring you new happiness, goals, achievements and a lot of new inspiration for your life. Wishing you a year fully loaded with self-care, self-love, good health, lots of joy!

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