Healthy Habits for the New Year

Sophie Castro, Editor

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The long-awaited 2020 has finally arrived and with the new year comes the freshly renewed ambition to make this year a great one. Here are five healthy habits to help you achieve your goals for 2020. 

 

  1. Get enough sleep

 

While this may seem obvious, many teenagers get between as little as four to seven hours of sleep per night, while they should be getting around nine. While nine hours of sleep may seem impossible or even needless, try aiming to get between at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. 

 

This can be achieved by going to bed at a consistent time and establishing a routine before getting into bed as a way of training your body to tell itself it’s time to sleep. Getting enough sleep each night can increase your immune system, reduce stress, and help you stay focused throughout each day. 

 

2. Wake up early and create a morning routine

 

Waking up early and creating a morning routine is a fantastic way to help you be more productive and feel better in 2020. Waking up early (and around the same time everyday) will help you fall asleep more easily and will help you get a better sleep at night. 

 

Having a morning routine is a great way to increase productivity for the rest of your day, whether it be incorporating a workout or stretch routine before breakfast, or doing extra homework before school, structuring a morning routine around what works for you is a perfect way to help you feel more motivated and healthy. 

 

3. Be active

 

While some students are involved in four sports, varsity club, and after school workouts, others of us have moved little else than walking from class to class each day. This lack of activity can make a person feel sluggish and low. Moving just a little more each day by just walking around your house, dancing to your favorite song, or even just standing while doing homework can help you feel more invigorated and energetic for the rest of your day.

 

If you would like a good measure of your increased activity, there are many apps or devices (such as a fitbit or smart watch) that track your steps for the day with a target goal being 10,000 steps. 

 

4. Get sunlight

 

While this may seem trivial, getting enough sunlight is huge for mental health. A lack of

sun can throw off your circadian rhythms and cause poor sleep as well as lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a disorder characterized by mood swings and irritability.  

While the most obvious way to get sunlight is to just go outside, this may seem impossible when it is 5 below and dark by 5:30 p.m. But, there are other ways to get more sun in your life, whether it be trying to sit next to a window, trying to do your workout outside, or even purchasing a therapy light (which mimics sunlight) to put near your desk.

 

5. Drink water

 

Drinking eight 16 oz. glasses of water each day is a huge way to improve your health.

Drinking enough water can improve digestion, boosts skin health, increases performance while exercising, and help maintain blood pressure and regulate body temperature. 

An easy way to drink enough water this year is to carry a water bottle around with you to sip throughout the day. If you don’t like to drink that much water, try sparkling water or adding fruit to help flavor your water.