Six ways to start 2016 as the healthiest, happiest you

The hot cross buns have hit the shelves and most of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions as we return to work and the bedlam begins again.katie clift 2014

Do not despair friends! Cancer Council Queensland has devised a list of six tips to help you prioritise your health and happiness this year.

  1. Disconnect – Schedule time in your day to turn off the smartphone, move away from the TV and shut down your computer. Stepping away from technology allows more time to cook your favourite healthy meal, hit the gym or simply slow down to enjoy the moment.
  1. Prioritise play – Put fun on the agenda! Whether it’s having lunch with a friend, taking your dog for a walk, watching a movie or enjoying a home-cooked meal: take time every day to invest in activities that boost your overall wellbeing.
  1. Plan ahead – It might seem counter-intuitive, but making time to plan your goals for 2016 is one of the best ways to reduce and manage your stress levels. Use a large wall calendar to schedule major events, or invest in some personal time to keep a journal and diarise activities so they don’t overwhelm you.
  1. Exercise – Get active on most, preferably all, days of the week. Just five hours of moderate intensity physical activity or two and a half hours of vigorous intensity exercise per week, plus muscle strengthening activities, can get you healthy and happy fast.
  1. Shop well – Starting the New Year with a new attitude to food should be a priority. Maintaining a healthy weight and enjoying a balanced diet can significantly reduce your risks of chronic disease and can also improve your overall mental health. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the Australian Dietary Guideline’s five recommended food groups every day (plenty of vegetables, fruit, grain foods, lean meats and poultry, milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives), and drink plenty of water.
  1. Book a screen – Take the time to put your health first. When was the last time you checked your skin, booked a breast screen, scheduled an appointment with your GP or participated in bowel cancer screening? Find out what cancer screening you’re eligible for, and plan now to participate where necessary in 2016.

Living a healthier and happier life doesn’t require a major overhaul of your habits – it’s about small steps to improve short and long term health, improving your life expectancy and taking time to enjoy every day along the way.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.

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