Health and Well-being in 2021
Yes! 2020, the year that will go down in historical infamy, is finally over. Yet, we are still in the thick of many of the problems that 2020 wrought. As such, our New Year’s resolutions may be looking a little different this year. “New year, new you” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it this time around. Yet, it is a given that many will again choose the start of the new year as a time to recommit to themselves. To invest in their health and well-being. With this in mind, we spoke with Lisa McVeigh of Griffin Fitness to get her take on what people should consider as they take on this goal.
She points out that the main unique factor this year is the pandemic. Many people have been more sedentary than usual and working from home with less than ergonomic home offices. As ever, the biggest challenge for many is simply getting started. Whether you’re getting moving for the first time, or for the first time in a long time, start small. “For example,” says McVeigh, “first commit to drinking more water each day. Then, look at your nutrition. Then, start walking.” You can’t start sprinting from a complete standstill, so set realistic goals to start, then begin nudging those goals along little by little. McVeigh also points out that having a buddy with whom you can work toward your goals can be very helpful, and can be done in a safe, socially distanced way. Using some sort of fitness app can also be helpful for keeping you on track. “People often quit after a setback or failure.” The trick is to keep going, and if necessary, rethink the goal you set for yourself that day. “It takes about three weeks to change a behavior, and motivation increases the more your honor your commitment.”
McVeigh points out that fitness isn’t simply about looking a certain way; it’s also about longevity and simply feeling better. Exercise helps strengthen bones as well as muscles, all of which is essential to keeping you moving as you age. In addition, “when you commit to doing something for yourself, you tend to feel good about that.” This holds true for physical fitness as well as mental fitness. “I encourage all my clients to meditate and to not give up on it,” says McVeigh. During 2020, many people experienced heightened levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. As such, committing to mental health has become a priority for many. A practice like daily meditation can help strengthen your resilience to outside stressors that wreak havoc on mental health. Its benefits have also been shown to improve focus, clarity, and mood.
“’I don’t have time’ is a common misconception and excuse. You can make the time. And, now that many of us are no longer commuting, we actually do have more time!” McVeigh urges readers to see what their gym of choice has to offer, be it outdoor or virtual classes and personal training (as Griffin Fitness offers), or to simply start walking with a buddy or solo. She also urges readers to think about last year’s resolution. “If it didn’t work for you last year, what’s going to be different this year? Come up with something new. Apply successful approaches from other aspects of your life. Do what you can to be the best person you can be.”
If you are unsure about where to start on your health and fitness journey, it’s always a good idea to talk with a health professional about setting personal goals. If you’re unsure how to start meditating, there are many paid and free resources online. In addition, it’s a good idea to see what services your healthcare provider (if you have one) offers. For instance, Kaiser Permanente partners with the Calm and MyStrength apps, making them free to its members.
We’ve had to rethink and reimagine so many things over the last year, and that has been a testament to our tenacity. So this year, instead of “new year, new you,” let’s reimagine the sentiment. New year, same you. But a stronger, more resilient you.