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December 27, 2023/Living Healthy/Wellness

Health Essentials’ Best Tips for Health and Wellness From 2023

Start the new year with the best health tips on nutrition, mental health, sleep and more

person on a yoga mat, split between work and life balance

Health advice can come from many sources. Your friend told you about a new supplement you should try. Or your co-worker suggested a diet that has changed their life. But when it comes to finding the best health advice to follow, it’s best to turn to the experts.

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To round out 2023, we gathered up some of our best health advice across various topics. Whether you want to sleep better, work on your relationships or avoid a cold, we’ve got you covered.

Nutrition

We always ask “what” we’re having for dinner. But have you ever wondered “when”? The time of your meals can impact your health. Your schedule may limit your ability to time meals perfectly, but if you’re looking to tweak where you can, aim to eat your meals:

  • Breakfast: Within the first hour to hour-and-a-half after you wake up.
  • Lunch: Four to six hours after breakfast.
  • Dinner: Earlier in the evening, at least three hours before your bedtime.

Hungry for more? Learn even more tips on the best times to eat your meals — and snacks!

If you’re wondering about dessert, we have some tips in that department as well. Cutting back on sugar is something many of us have tried (and failed) to do. If you’re looking to curb your sugar cravings, Try these tactics:

  • Avoid skipping meals.
  • Plan meals in advance and prep.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Start a food journal to track what you eat.

Exercise and fitness

The best advice from this year in the realm of exercise? Go easy on yourself. Sure, if you’re training for a marathon or want to go extra hard on your workout — you do you. But if your goal is to be more active, we recommend working exercise snacks into your day.

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And no, we’re not talking about sports drinks and protein bars in between pull-ups. Rather, exercise snacks are about finding pockets of time during your busy day to sneak in a workout or two. That might mean three quick 10-minute walks sprinkled into your day vs. one 30-minute workout. Only have a few minutes before your next Zoom meeting? Sneaking in five minutes of jumping jacks is a great exercise snack to try. You get the idea.

Looking to add something new to your fitness routine? Give boxing or pickleball a try — they’re both fun ways to get your heart pumping.

Sleep

Sleep. The topic that you’ll see in every health advice article ever. But what is the best advice on optimizing your ZZZs?

One consideration for better rest is assessing where you sleep. If you’re in a relationship and noticing that your and your partner’s sleep habits are just not meshing, you might want to consider a “sleep divorce.”

Don’t fret, this approach to sleep isn’t nearly as dramatic as it sounds. Distancing yourself from your partner at bedtime by sleeping in different beds might be one of the healthiest ways to bring you closer together during the day. Better sleep hygiene will make you feel better rested and happier — which can positively affect your relationship.

And speaking of sleep hygiene … there are other bedtime routine improvements you can make to improve your sleep quality:

  • Keep consistent sleep and wake times.
  • Start a wind-down routine one hour before bedtime.
  • Make your room conducive to sleep by investing in a supportive mattress, minimizing light, adjusting the room temperature — and keeping your phone, tablet and computer out of the bedroom.
  • Cut out bedtime drinking and snacking, especially when it comes to caffeine and alcohol.
  • Calm your mind before sleep with some gentle yoga, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Avoid exercising too close to bedtime.

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Plus, if you’re looking to add another bedtime ritual, consider trying a “sleepy girl” mocktail. While it’s not a cure-all for sleepless nights, the combination of cherry juice and magnesium may help induce sleep.

Cold and flu

We all want to avoid the various illnesses of respiratory season. Your best bet is to stay up to date on the latest vaccines for both the flu and COVID-19. Washing your hands thoroughly and consistently is your next best line of defense — but maybe skip the hand dryer.

And if you’ve come down with a cold or other illness, learn how to ease that cough at night so you can get some rest — but avoid trendy yet unverified advice from social media. Importantly, you should never use rubbing alcohol to bring down a fever, nor should you ever use essential oils to treat an ear infection.

Want more sound advice? Try these six tips for staying healthy during flu season.

Skin and hair care

Looking to try out a new skin care ritual? Korean skin care took the dermatological world by storm this year. It focuses on catering to diverse skin types and usually consists of about 10 steps, including oil-based cleansers and lots of sunscreen.

In the world of hair care, you might want to give rosemary oil a try if you’re looking to regrow or strengthen your locks, as well as control dandruff and limit premature graying.

If you’re still not sure while browsing drugstore aisles and squinting at the bottles of skin care, here’s a good list of ingredients you should never put on your face:

  • Toothpaste.
  • Hydrogen peroxide.
  • Fragrances.
  • Neomycin or polymyxin B (topical antibiotics).
  • Salt and sugar scrubs.

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And if your primary focus is keeping your skin fresh and healthy while it’s aging, learn about the ingredients to focus on, including vitamin C serum and retinol.

As for some failproof advice that you probably already know, here it is again for good measure: Make sure you’re wearing sunscreen every day.

Mental health and emotional wellness

Sometimes, our emotions can get the best of us. And, at times, they can even get the best of our health.

If you’re looking to increase your mental and emotional wellness, why not give meditation a try? Here, we give you an all-in-one guide to a body scan meditation for beginners. It can help you connect to your body and train your nervous system to relax.

If FOMO (fear of missing out) has gotten the best of you, you might want to focus on learning ways to manage this lousy feeling. Breaks from social media habits to setting limits and identifying triggers can really help. Also, learning to embrace JOMO (the joy of missing out) can be a wonderful counter-balance.

In that same vein, consider the practices of self-compassion and gratitude to help your overall mental wellness.

Sex and relationships

Our relationships with others can impact our well-being as well. It might be time to acknowledge whether or not your behavior enables others (and, if so, learn how to stop), while also taming the people pleaser inside you.

And if you’ve recently entered a new romance, you might want to take stock of whether your relationship exhibits signs that it’s healthy.

Pregnancy and parenting

If you’re currently expecting or planning for a pregnancy in your or your partner’s future, it’s never too early to start working on your birth plan or take steps prepping for fatherhood as a dad-to-be.

And if you’re in the throes of child-rearing, work through feelings of mom guilt by banishing the comparison game, talking it out with a trusted friend and prioritizing self-care.

Or, heck, if what you need most right now is for your picky eater to munch on just a few more vegetables, try some child-friendly veggies served up with some helpful tips to encourage better eating habits.

Work and life balance

For many of us, work is a big part of our lives. It takes up a lot of time, energy and brain space. That’s why it’s no surprise that many of us experience burnout in the workplace. If you’re feeling the effects of work burnout, learn 12 healthy ways to manage it.

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And if you’re noticing that your work obligations are spilling over too much into your personal life, it may be time to set boundaries in the workplace. Things like setting clear work hours for yourself and speaking up when you feel uncomfortable can help make your work life less anxiety-inducing.

Aging well

With the close of each year, the passing of time affects us all. You can prioritize aging well by committing to keeping your mind and body in tip-top shape through regular physical exercise, brain exercises and more.

Your heart can use some extra care as you age as well. Keep your heart young with strategies like avoiding smoking, limiting your alcohol intake and getting regular checkups.

Get your annual exams and screenings

One of the best pieces of health advice we can leave you with this year is to make those doctor’s appointments! Sure, it can feel like a daunting task, but once you get them on your schedule, you’ll feel better about the year ahead.

Everyone can benefit from an annual physical, where a provider does a top-to-bottom check to make sure you’re on track with your health. Stressed about how it might go? No worries, you can plan ahead so you know what to expect at your annual checkup.

And depending on your age, you may need to add a few more check-ups to your calendar as well. Speak with your healthcare provider about getting a mammogram. A visit to the urologist may be something to consider as well. Not sure when and why? Usually, men and people assigned male at birth should start seeing a urologist regularly after the age of 40.

The bottom line

Staying on top of your health doesn’t have to be complicated. And while there’s a lot of advice often thrown at us, the tips to catch are the ones that work best for your life and well-being.

If you’re ever unsure about what health tips you should or shouldn’t follow, have a chat with a healthcare provider to get the best personalized advice for your body, mind and well-being.

Learn more about our editorial process.

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