(BPT) - Do you want to adopt healthier habits this year? Improving your holistic wellness goes beyond improving your exercise and diet. There are many ways to invest in your health in 2023. Not sure where to start? Check out these five ways to set yourself up for a healthier you this year.
1. Take a tech fast
Being connected 24/7 can be exhausting mentally and emotionally. While many people associate excessive screentime with the millennials and Gen Z, older Americans are also spending more time in front of screens.
According to The Economist, Americans aged 50 and older spend nearly 10 hours a day consuming media on TVs, computers and smartphones. Using technology isn't bad in and of itself, but too much screen time can contribute to digital eyestrain, insomnia and neck and shoulder pain.
Just like your electronics, you need to recharge, which ironically requires you to unplug. This year, plan a tech fast. Go camping, take a hike, spend a day reading or playing board games. You can keep your phone nearby for emergencies but turn it off or put it on "Do Not Disturb" so you can focus on being present in the here and now.
2. Don't miss health care deadlines
Health care can be a confusing topic, especially when it comes to enrollment deadlines. However, making sure you're on top of these deadlines can save you headaches down the road when you need to visit the doctor.
For example, if you missed signing up for Medicare when you were first eligible (for most people, this is when you turn 65), you can still sign up during the general enrollment period, which starts on January 1 and goes through March 31 of that year, to enroll in this health insurance option. However, missing your initial eligibility enrollment period might cost you a late penalty fee. While there are later Medicare enrollment periods in the year to supplement your existing Medicare plan, it can be more complicated to maneuver. Mark this and other important health care deadlines in your calendar to stay on top of your health in 2023. We also recommend paying attention to things Original Medicare does not include that you might need supplemental coverage for.
3. Invest in your vision
Even if you have excellent sight, make sure to take care of your vision this year. As you age, you may start to notice that it's more difficult to see at close distances. Or, you may feel your eyes straining when reading, watching TV or working on a computer. To make sure your eyes are functioning well and to detect any eye-related conditions in their early stages, it's a good idea to get an annual eye exam. Individual Vision Plans can also offer a wider range of vision coverage than things like Original Medicare and discount plans. Not all insurances cover annual eye exams, but that doesn't mean you can't get coverage. You can enroll in a VSP® Individual Vision Plan any time of year, so you don't have to worry about remembering enrollment deadlines. Individual vision plans are simple, personalized benefits that cost as low as $13 a month and provide an average savings of over $300 per year. To learn more, visit getvspdirect.com.
4. Reduce stress
Did you know that long-term stress can cause a whole host of health problems? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, managing and preventing long-term stress can lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and depression. You can also feel the physical effects of stress on your body, like headaches, trouble sleeping, stomach aches and tense muscles.
While you can't always completely avoid stress, you can plan your day and week to reduce or manage short- and long-term stress. Carve out time in your schedule for relaxation. Try meditation, yoga or an activity that you find relaxing to help you destress after a trying workday.
5. Stack habits
When you want to add a new habit to your routine, pair it with one you already complete consistently. According to Melissa Ming Foynes, Ph.D., your existing habits are wired into your brain. By building on to those existing connections instead of trying to create brand new neural connections whole stock, you're more likely to follow through.
For example, if you want to drink more water, stack drinking a glass of water after you brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth acts as a reminder to drink water, which will make it easier to integrate and maintain this habit into your daily routine.
Make 2023 the year you create and maintain healthier habits. Using these five tips, you can start investing in your wellness and set yourself up for a healthier year.