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Carroll County Health Department: New year’s resolutions during a pandemic

As 2020 comes to an end, I’m sure you’re thinking about how to start this New Year on a more positive note. 2020 has been hard, so right now is more important than ever to focus on taking charge of your overall wellness.

Rather than focus on limitations, focus on your goals that you want to achieve. But, how can you do this safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? You want to make healthy changes, but you also want to be sure that you are doing it in a safe way. Check out some ideas below.

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Focus on what you can control to reduce stress

It is a stressful time; however, most stressors are out of your control. When you let go of the things that you cannot control, you may feel like a weight is lifted off of your shoulders. This gives you more time to focus on healthier, more positive things that make you happy.

Find ways to stay connected (virtually)

Staying connected with others benefits your emotional health, in addition to holding you accountable with your other goals. With COVID-19, it’s unfortunately difficult to stay connected, but there are still some great alternatives, such as phone or video calls. Be sure to schedule these frequently. Maybe every other day, check in with family members and/or friends. Hold each other accountable, and make it fun. Take a virtual exercise or cooking class together, or play a game!

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Exercise at home

Contact your local gyms, studios, and senior centers to find out if they have virtual classes available to attend in the convenience of your own home. In addition to this, there are hundreds of online platforms that provide pre-recorded classes to complete at any time of day, or sometimes live virtual classes to take with others. Many of these online platforms offer free trials, so try a few of them out before committing to a membership. This gives you the opportunity to find classes that you enjoy most, whether it be yoga, Pilates, spin cycling, a running program, dancing, weight lifting, or something else!

Plan your meals

Successfully making healthy food choices throughout the week can be a challenge without at least some type of planning ahead. To help plan your meals, shop the grocery store advertisements for sales and aim for fruits and vegetables that are in season. Then use these foods that you purchase each week to plan out your meals. This will not only keep you on track, but also save you time and money! (And don’t forget, most grocery stores are offering pick-up or delivery options to avoid having to go into the store).

Get outdoors

Take advantage of the nice weather days and get outside for a walk or to play with the kids. Being outside is proven to reduce stress and fatigue, improve sleep, improve concentration, and increase immunity. There’s no easier way to stay healthy, than to step outside for some fresh air! Just be sure to practice your social distancing!

Success usually happens when you make small changes. If you make too many large goals, they may set you back. Start with something small, and then go from there. And remember, if you don’t achieve a goal the first time, it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve it a second time. Take care of yourself and let’s start this year off right!

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Lauren Harrison is a health educator with the Carroll County Health Department.

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