12 Months to a Healthier You

by Valerie Demetros

New Year’s resolutions are nothing new. Everyone gets in on the act at one time or another. Making the decision to be healthier, more organized, less stressed, etc., is always a good thing.

But what if you made one small change every month with the end goal of improving your well-being?

Let’s get started…

January — Bring in the new year with crisp, new bedsheets. Sleeping on crisp, clean sheets helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Experts recommend changing your sheets every week as well as replacing those sheets every two to three years to stay healthy.

February — Add pops of color around your home this month. Perhaps a bright blue bowl filled with lemons, a vase of fresh flowers or a fun red toaster on the kitchen counter. These small changes can lift your mood and lower stress.

March — Spring is almost here, so greet the day earlier this month. You can accomplish so much more each morning with an extra 30 to 60 minutes. If you’re not a morning person, try 10 minutes earlier each week until you find your perfect time.

April — Walking has many benefits including heart health, stress relief, fitness and more. This month, commit to a daily walk at least five days a week. The fresh air, exercise and vitamin D will do you good.

May — Get healthy this month by cooking dinner at home and eating less at restaurants, where food tends to be higher in calories, salt and sugar. Studies show eating at home leads to consuming fewer calories and processed foods as well as building closer connections to family.

June — Don’t neglect your teeth. This month start brushing and flossing regularly every day. Good oral hygiene gives you a brighter smile and prevents cavities and gum disease while bad oral health can lead to inflammation and heart damage.

July — Summer means intense heat in the high desert so drink at least 90 to 100 ounces of water every day. Water is essential to regulate body temperature, transport nutrients and aid digestion and also prevents dehydration, fatigue and headaches.

August — Eat chocolate, schedule a spa day or take a hike. Not only does treating yourself increase your self-esteem, but dark chocolate has antioxidants, massages improve circulation and facials help rehydrate your skin.

September — Commit to drinking less alcohol or even taking a break completely. Studies show that giving up alcohol for 30 days can lead to improved sleep, better hydrated skin and weight loss. You can begin to see the benefits in as little as a week.

October — Take care of your gut this month by adding probiotics to your diet. Replenish your gut microbiome by drinking lots of water, eating fermented and high-fiber foods and getting plenty of sleep. Improving your gut helps regulate blood sugar and avoid infection and bloating.

November — Make your bed, seriously. Research shows that starting your day by making your bed leads to a more productive day and a better night’s sleep.

December — Create a routine before bed. One study found that establishing a consistent sleep routine improved overall sleep. Retire and wake up at the same time every day, reduce noise and light levels and avoid screen time right before lights out.