With the New Year comes the motivation for a fresh start. The health and well-being of our members is important to us, so we are providing a few tips and resources to help you kick off a healthy year!
1. Eat Healthy
You can start eating healthy by making small changes to your diet. Make one meal a day plant-based. Meal prep at the beginning of the week to reduce the temptation to grab something fast and unhealthy. Or even swap a soda for fizzy water. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides Eight Healthy Eating Goals and a progress tracker to help you get started. Are you prediabetic? All CalPERS health plans offer a free diabetes prevention program for those who qualify.
2. Exercise Safely
We all know the benefits of exercise but doing too much too soon can put you at risk for injury. Even seasoned athletes could get sidelined by training too hard. To keep your fitness goals, check out these 10 tips for exercising safely from Harvard Medical School. Helpful ideas include mixing up activities to prevent fatigue, selecting proper gear, and taking time to warm up and cool down. And be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness has become a popular buzzword, yet clinical studies show that meditation or mindful actions can reduce anxiety and even improve sleep. So how do you get started? Try a walking meditation, spend time throughout the day focusing on your breathing, or do a body scan meditation right before bed. The Mayo Clinic has a few mindfulness exercises you can practice on your own, or you can try a free guided meditation from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
4. Take a Class
Want to gain a new skill, learn more about health, or find a support group? Our health plans offer free events and classes. They are open to the public, and you don’t have to be enrolled with the health plan provider to participate. Review the list and see what you can learn in the new year. The list of classes continues to grow, so be sure to check back throughout the year.
5. Implement Workplace Wellness
For employees, workplace wellness could mean joining a lunch time walking group, attending a workshop, or taking the stairs. For employers, you can support the emotional and physical well-being of your employees by hosting health fairs, publishing health-related articles in your organization’s newsletter, and providing stress management classes. Employers, if you are looking for ways to get started or improve your existing program, read our Workplace Wellness (PDF) guide.
The key to making lasting change is to integrate small adjustments in your daily life. Hold yourself accountable by keeping a journal or talking to a friend. Use fitness apps or trackers. Set small, manageable goals and celebrate each step toward progress. And most importantly, have fun!