5 New Year's wellness resolutions that don't involve exercise

Simple steps toward well-being in 2021

Fitness tends to be a go-to when it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions but that might not be what you’re after in 2021. If you’re interested in improving your health without joining the gym or training for a race, there are other resolutions you can set.

Wellness covers many areas of health – emotional, occupational, social, to name a few. Well-being is bigger than a weight-loss goal or a finish line.

As the year comes to an end, we’ve put together a list of possible wellness resolutions to inspire you.

get more sleep, nait, wellness resolution tip1. Get a better sleep

One way to improve your slumber is to start by setting a routine, says NAIT counsellor Caren Anderson. Repeating the same steps before bed each day can let your body know it is time to rest.

“Keep that pattern,” says Anderson. She suggests taking a hot bath to unwind, wearing a sleep mask or experimenting with relaxing essential oils. Also, “try to go to bed at a decent hour,” she says.

If you can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed to toss and turn. “Get up and do some reading, have some hot tea,” she says. “Getting up and doing something to distract yourself from [your frustration] can help.”

2. Take deeper breaths

If you deal with stress or anxiety, focusing on your breathing can be an effective way to cope, says Digital Media and IT instructor Sandra Duban, who leads meditation sessions at NAIT. When anxiety creeps up, take a deep breath through your nose and let it out through your mouth. “Slow down and take one mindful breath before you react,” Duban says.

Focus on filling your belly with air. “Breathe down deep into your diaphragm. That gives you an immediate reduction in your stress levels.”

eat more vegetables, nait, wellness resolution tip3. Eat more vegetables

This is a common resolution but always a good one to add to the list. Eating nutritious food is important for fuelling your body and mind, says NAIT’s registered dietician Nick Creelman.

“I’ve never met someone who I had to tell to ease up on their vegetable intake,” Creelman says. He recommends incorporating spinach or kale into smoothies, and adding chopped peppers and mushrooms to store-bought pasta sauce.

If you’re not interested in prep work, there are convenient options. “Veggie trays aren’t only meant for last-minute potluck ideas,” he says. Keep one in the fridge so you have easy, healthy snacks.

4. Spread positivity

Clint Galloway, NAIT’s director of student well-being and community, is a firm believer that what you put out into the universe is what comes back to you. What he means isn’t as New Age-y as it may sound. He sees tangible impacts in such gestures.

“Showing gratitude to someone makes you feel good,” he says. “Say thank you to people. Leave a note on someone’s desk.”

Galloway, who does presentations for NAIT staff on how to have a glass half-full attitude, avoids negativity. Often that means going straight to the sports or arts section instead of dwelling on international news. “I find the good things to focus on,” he says.

achieve work-life balance and flow, nait, wellness resolution tip5. Pursue work-life flow

Many people refer to this as work-life balance, says Sheryl Hansen, NAIT’s manager of organizational development services. She says you should consider rephrasing it, since the word balance can have people thinking of 2 equal parts.

“I don’t think there is ever such a thing,” says Hansen. “I think it’s more about flow. Sometimes work takes precedence over home life and vice versa. We have to allow that.”

To help you achieve that, try delegating. “We often don’t want to let go of things we’re good at or things that we’re used to doing.” See if you can hand some of your tasks to a colleague or to your spouse so you can feel more comfortable in all aspects of work and life.

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