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Wellness tips for the new year

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It’s a new year — heck, it’s a new decade. That means a fresh start and an opportunity to start something new, to make a change and to live a better life. To help you get started, here are some wellness tips and tricks to embrace as you begin 2020.

  1. Get eight hours of sleep every night. This may seem like an impossible goal for many of you right now, but if you prioritize your sleep and make time for it, you will get the vital rest your body needs to take on another day.  If you start each day with a full night’s rest, you will be more alert and your work will be significantly more productive and effective.
  2. Drink more water. Water is the cure for all: Not only is it vital for the regulation of bodily functions, but it also helps out in non-essential realms, reducing the chance of a hangover. But the average adult only drinks about 60% of the water they need on a daily basis. This year, let’s change that — try to drink 75% of your body weight in ounces of water. Drink a glass of water when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Maybe buy a big reusable water bottle and make a promise to yourself that you will drink at least 4 bottles’ worth each day.  Or download a water tracking app that will remind you to drink water so you don’t slack off.
  3. Get moving. Rather than the typical “make sure you get 10,000 steps a day” tip that is often hard to track and difficult to achieve when you need to be studying all day, try to take a short walk every hour or two in between studying. This will get your heart beating and blood flowing throughout the body, while also giving you some time to clear your head and take a short study break.
  4. Take time to reflect. Set 10 minutes aside everyday to reflect on your day, your week, even your life. You can meditate, journal or simply just lie in bed and think for a bit. This is an important practice for your mental health, as it will give you time to process your thoughts and feelings, track your own growth and gain a better understanding of yourself. 
  5. Get your protein in. Eating enough protein is extremely important for several aspects of physical health. Protein is a necessary component of every cell in your body, so it is important that you are eating enough of this macronutrient everyday. No matter your dietary preferences, it can be easy to include a sizable amount of protein in each meal — protein is abundant in foods like eggs, turkey, chicken, ground beef, nuts, lentils, tempeh and tofu.
  6. Set goals for yourself. As you embark on this new year, set three challenging yet attainable goals for yourself. This will allow for growth and improvement over this year. Make sure your goals are specific and realistic for the timespan of a year. For example, rather than saying you want to gain muscle this year, set a specific goal of being able to lift 20 pounds heavier in December than you could in January. Or maybe your goal is to spend less time on social media; make use of the screen time feature on your phone to track your progress and make sure your number is going down. Some other goal ideas are being more environmentally conscious, keeping your room clean, reading more books for fun, learning how to play the ukelele or even running a marathon. Whatever your goals are, hold yourself accountable and promise yourself that you will do everything in your power to achieve them. It is going to be challenging, but if you work hard, you will get to where you want to be.

The key to success with these tips and tricks is to create a routine for yourself and embed these habits into your everyday life. It takes 21 days to break a habit, but 40 days to create a new one. And if you try to implement these habits into your routine for the next 40 days, you may be well on your way to living a healthier, happier life. Good luck!

Contact Sarrah Hussain at sarrah ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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