New Year, New Life Hacks

Start the year off right

Life Hacks

Trade your stress-inducing New Year's resolutions for small, doable steps toward better health.

New Year’s resolutions? They come with the weight of expectation and, often, resignation. Instead, we’re calling these easy-peasy little tips life hacks. You can take ’em or leave ’em, stick to ’em or ditch ’em. We won’t tell a soul …

Feast on fibre

Fibre’s the best thing since sliced bread. Well, actually, it’s the best thing in sliced bread—as long as you stick to the healthy, whole grain variety. And most Canadians only get half the fibre they need (25 g per day for women; 38 g per day for men) every day. Eating plenty of fibre (also abundant in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds) is important to our health. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and some cancers—and also improves digestive health. Check out our healthy, wholesome, fibre-full “New Year, New Breads” recipes here.

Embrace more energy

Energy’s a valuable commodity these days. But it’s not unachievable. Getting enough sleep is a given to keep our energy stores replenished, though we all know that’s hard to do sometimes. Taking a short break during the day to catch a few zzz’s, though, is known to reduce sleepiness and boost brain power—better than that caffeine blast you might favour. And don’t forget your water—dehydration can make you drowsy. You’ll find more energy-boosting tips here.

Dive into a new challenge

Skydiving? Well, maybe, but we really don’t want you jumping out of planes (unless, of course, you really want to). Just learning something new—from chess or whittling to snorkelling or survival training—does the body and soul good. In fact, those who continue to learn new things improve their well-being throughout their lives. Read more reasons here.

Make small plans

Then tick them off one by one. It’s surprisingly satisfying to put a check mark against items on a to-do list—even if it’s something as seemingly insignificant as…

Pack post-workout snacks

Simple, right? But this kind of simplicity can go a long way toward relieving some of the stress in our busy lives. And that post-workout snack will do wonders for your energy levels. Check out the best snacks to pack here.

Coddle yourself occasionally

Coddling, pampering, indulging … whatever you want to call it, it’s good for us once in a while. It helps take us away from our day-to-day responsibilities and obligations and helps reset the balance we know can be elusive. The perfect coddle? How about a facial massage? Check out our 2017 beauty trends here for tips on how to soothe your own worry lines.

Walk away from colds

Literally. Did you know that just a 20-minute walk each day might help to put some distance between you and the cold bugs all around you? Researchers have come up with several reasons why: exercise (not just walking) improves body systems that support immunity, slows release of stress hormones that increase chances of illness, and flushes bacteria out of lungs and airways. Interested in upping the ante on walking? Check out new fitness trends from our experts here.

Turn your menu upside down

A typical Western diet starts with a bowl of cereal or toast and ends with a plate of protein for dinner. Instead of eating a carb-rich breakfast and a protein-heavy dinner—often skipping a midday meal altogether, we should be adding protein to every meal. Studies have found that spreading out our protein intake may enhance weight loss and improve muscle health. Need inspiration for lunchtime? Check out our midday meal creations here.

Don’t be SAD

Although we often feel down or blah during our Canadian winters, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is actually a form of clinical depression. SAD affects up to 21 percent of Canadians at some point in their lives, especially during the darkest days of winter. Some studies have linked low vitamin D levels with SAD, and supplementation has been shown in some studies to improve symptoms. Since about 40 percent of us don’t get enough vitamin D in winter, check with your health care provider if you think you’re experiencing more than the typical winter blahs.

Start an H2O habit

Staying hydrated helps with digestion and removal of waste, improves physical performance, maintains healthy blood pressure, and keeps our skin healthy. Get your Sharpie out and mark your water bottle with times of the day (at regular intervals), starting at the top and working your way to the bottom, to keep track of how much you’re slurping. Try drinking lukewarm water with lemon for a warm infusion of H2O anytime. Other ideas for your 2017 health infusion? Check the suggestions from our health care experts here.

Get sweet on sauerkraut

We’re talking fermented foods here. Sauerkraut contains a host of natural probiotics—little friendly germs found in our guts (you know them as probiotics) that research scientists worldwide are fermenting over. The reason? They’re being connected to everything from our digestive health to our cognition and may hold the secret to many other systems that affect our overall health. Don’t just stick to sauerkraut and yogurt. Try something new—kefir, kimchi, and kombucha are just some of the other yeasty ideas to ferment about!0

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