Elevate Your Routine: Small Swaps for a Healthier You in the New Year
As the New Year rolls in, so do the resolutions and intentions for positive change. But let's be real, a complete life overhaul isn't always the most practical or sustainable approach. The good news? You don't have to go big to make a significant impact. Sometimes, it's the small, consistent swaps that become the building blocks for lasting change. So, as we step into the New Year, use these tips to tweak your daily routine and create a healthy lifestyle that sticks.
Habit Stacking Tips: Establishing new habits is tough, which is why it’s so easy to fall back into our old ways. Fortunately, there’s a science-backed shortcut you can use to ensure your new habits last. It’s called habit stacking, and as the name suggests, it involves stacking a new habit on top of an existing one (like brushing your teeth). So instead of creating an entirely new habit, you’re simply adding another step on top of a habit you’ve already established — reducing resistance and making it easier to stick with it!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Squats While Brushing Your Teeth: There’s never enough time in the day, so why not turn your morning teeth-brushing routine into a stealthy workout? Start with a reasonable set of squats based on your fitness level (beginners can start with 10 or 15 reps) and slowly crank up the count as you flex those muscles. While this may sound minor, your body will adapt quickly, and soon you’ll be cranking out 50+ squats before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee.
Reflect and Meditate Post-Skincare: Despite being devoted to your skincare routine, by the end of the day, you probably don’t give your products enough time to sink in before your head hits the pillow. And with these early winter sunsets, we certainly don’t blame you. Enter, the post-skincare meditation. A brief yet magical interlude that gives your precious skincare products time to work their magic, while you take some much-needed time for your mental wellbeing. If meditation isn’t your thing, start with 5 minutes and work your way up from there. Throw in a bit of gratitude or intention-setting, and you’ll be well on your way to a calmer, more intentional (and glowing) you.
Shake It Out Before Showering: Now, this last habit stacking tip might sound a bit silly, but if you’re familiar with somatic work you know just how beneficial it can be. Shaking is the body’s natural way of releasing stress, anxiety, and tension. That’s why dogs shake after an intense wrestle or stressful encounter. They instinctively know how to regulate their nervous system. To reap the same benefits, before you step into the shower, shake your limbs out, wiggle around, and release any stiffness. It's a simple yet effective way to nourish your nervous system, awaken your body, and be calmer throughout the day.
Now, let's explore some smart swaps you can make in your daily routines to enhance your overall well-being.
Replace Mouthwash with Floss (and Tongue Scraping): We all appreciate the charm of minty-fresh breath, but it turns out that frequent use of mouthwash might not be the hero we thought it was. In fact, it can play a sneaky role in making your breath less pleasant in the long run. How so? Well, mouthwash can’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria, so while it’s eliminating the bad stuff, it also tends to wipe out the good bacteria that keep your mouth spick-and-span. By swapping your mouthwash for a combination of flossing and tongue scraping, you're not just supporting the overall health of your mouth but also ensuring naturally fresher breath — making it a win-win for your oral ecosystem.
Swap Scrolling with Breathwork: We're all guilty of it — scrolling through our phones while handling bathroom business. Yet, beyond the occasional chuckle at a funny video, this habit isn't doing us any favors. In fact, the constant screen-hopping can hinder our ability to focus, as our brains rarely get a moment of rest. So, let's make a pact this year and declare our bathrooms a no-phone zone. Trade the mindless scrolling for mindful practices such as breathwork or gratitude. A few rounds of box breathing (inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold for four counts) can help you emerge as your most serene and focused self.
As you embark on the journey toward a healthier you, remember: it's a marathon, not a sprint. By focusing on small changes over time, you can create a healthy lifestyle that extends far beyond the first few months of this year—and supports you for years to come.