5 ways to feel better in 2024

By The Health News Team | December 15, 2023
Woman doing yoga by a lake

Each year, millions of people approach the new year with hopes of improving their health. While many are willing to make the changes necessary to become healthier, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the opinions about just how to do so.

Making drastic changes to your eating habits or the amount of exercise you get each week can be hard to maintain. However, small tweaks to your lifestyle can have big results.

Check out these five articles featuring tips to improve your health and wellness without feeling discouraged by intimidating goals:

1

Drink enough water.

The message used to be simple: Drinking water is good and not drinking water is bad. But somehow this message became complicated — and it’s often hard to distinguish hydration facts from myths.

Melissa Hughes, a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified wellness and health coach, and program manager for the Sharp Rees-Stealy Center for Health Management, helps clarify the latest hydration hype in "True or false: We need 8 glasses of water per day."

2

Get a good night's sleep.

Sleep plays a pivotal role in so many aspects of our health, from keeping our minds strong to warding off illness and disease. Unfortunately, many people fail to get the sleep they need, and an estimated 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. have a sleep disorder.

According to Dr. Ari Laliotis, a board-certified internal medicine and sleep medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, it's important that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night — and the quality of that sleep is crucial. He shares his top sleep tips in "How to get a good night’s sleep."

3

Break unhealthy eating patterns.

When it comes to eating, many of us have developed habits — some are good and some are not so good. According to Olga Hays, a wellness promotion specialist at Sharp HealthCare, good eating habits include consuming more fruits and vegetables, limiting saturated fat and added sugars, drinking more water, and watching portion sizes.

“When you think about unhelpful eating habits, it is not just about making poor food choices, such as eating too much fast food,” she says. “Some of your not-so-good eating habits are from certain behaviors that you may have developed without even realizing.”

Hays shares her favorite eating habits in "How to break unhealthy eating patterns."

4

Get regular exercise.

Ask any medical professional their top five tips for maintaining and improving health, and regular physical activity is sure to be at the top of the list. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1 in 4 adults meet recommended physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

The CDC recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity — such as brisk walking — each week and do activities that strengthen muscles — such as weight training — at least two days a week. But beyond simply being good for you, do you know what regular physical activity really does to improve your health and quality of life?

According to the CDC, there are 10 immediate and long-term benefits. Find them all in "10 ways regular physical activity improves your health."

5

Decrease your stress.

Busy schedules, family conflicts, health concerns, financial woes — these and other issues can lead to an overwhelming feeling of stress. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, close to 80% of American adults report they feel stressed. And at least one-third of those say that their stress levels are on the rise.

According to Dr. Kathlyn Ignacio, a Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group occupational medicine specialist who is also board certified in internal medicine, during stressful times, your stress hormones — such as cortisol and epinephrine — rise, revving up your system to be able to respond to stressful circumstances. Unfortunately, too much stress and the resulting release of stress hormones can have a detrimental effect not only on your emotional health, but on your physical health, as well. She shares how in "The physical toll of stress."

Making improvements to your health and wellness is an excellent idea. But don’t let yourself feel intimidated by lofty goals or a complete lifestyle overhaul. Small changes like those shared in the articles above can help you feel better one day at a time.

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