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Five healthy hacks for the New Year

Happy New Year! Throughout the holidays, I took to social media, posting questions and tips around healthy eating. Many laughed or possibly cringed when asked about eating responsibly while surrounded by endless amounts of calorie-filled meals and sugar-loaded treats. And now here we are in a new year, some with food remorse and perhaps a few extra pounds.

Never fear, the doctor is here with five healthy hacks for the New Year. These are simple ways to jumpstart habits that will ultimately benefit the body and mind. Here we go!

  1. Switch out your toothbrush – When was the last time you changed your toothbrush? It may sound mundane but a new toothbrush can make a world of difference. We are in the midst of flu season, and COVID cases are once again surging. If recently sick, the bacteria and viruses can live on your toothbrush causing re-infection or exposure to mold, fungus and other microorganisms.

In addition, worn toothbrushes are not as effective in removing plaque. Excessive plaque build-up can potentially lead to other health conditions. Replacement is recommended every 3-4 months.

  1. Place healthy habits on your calendar – We add meetings, appointments, vacations, etc., on our calendars. Why should exercise, rest, drinking water or other healthy habits be any different? Making “self-care appointments” sends subliminal messages of commitment and consistency. Using your calendar for accountability is a great way to show up for yourself.
  2. Carry healthy emergency snacks – Have to work late unexpectedly? Stuck in traffic? Need something to tide you over until lunch time? Healthy snacks to the rescue! Make it a point to pack a piece of fruit, almonds, raisins or some type of low-calorie snack that can take the place of an impulse buy of chips, candy or fast food. Keep these items on your grocery list, and before you know it, healthy snacking will become a habit.
  3. Join a health-related accountability group – Whether online or in-person, it always helps to be held accountable when implementing a healthy lifestyle. It can be as simple as a group text or as complex as a support group. Find your safe space and stick to it.

Check in on others as they check in on you. Ask questions like, “What are we eating healthy today?” Did you exercise?” “How much water do you plan to drink today?”  There is something about people following up that makes us not want to get “in trouble” if we don’t stick to the plan or follow the rule established by the group.

  1. Practice meditating regularly – Meditation is a mind-body practice in which your attention is focused on being mindful of the present. It is probably one of the most under-utilized methods that benefit both mental and physical health. It helps with stress management, increased self-awareness, anxiety/depression management, lowering of blood pressure and more.

According to, here are the steps to meditation:

  1. A) Take a seat

Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.

  1. B) Set a time limit

If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes.

  1. C) Notice your body

You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel, all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.

  1. D) Feel your breath

Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.

  1. E) Notice when your mind has wandered

Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered, in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes, simply return your attention to the breath.

  1. F) Be kind to your wandering mind

Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.

  1. G) Close with kindness

When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

And there you have it, five healthy hacks to start the New Year right. Try at least one, and that is a great start! Your health matters!

Dr. Janet Seabrook

Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Visit and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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