Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
12:01 AM 1st January 2022

Goodbye 2021 - Hello 2022!

We have all suffered another year of covid, but the countdown is on - it is New Year's Eve (the last day of 2021) and the first day of 2022 and a new year (New Year's Day) is only a few hours away. Big Ben will strike at midnight but it will still not be a normal New Year's Eve celebration.

A new year is a time for new beginnings and when one thinks of the future and all it can and may bring.

The first New Year's resolutions:

The ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year's resolutions some 4,000 years ago.

They used to make promises to the gods at the start of a new year in order to win their favour. They would return borrowed objects and pay off debts.

Can you believe that 23 million Brits made New Year's resolutions in 2021 but only 1 in 4 manabged to keep them.

What is a New Year's resolution?

It is a tradition where a person decides on something which will change or improve their life.

We've all been there - the old year has come to an end and a new year begins so it is the time to make a New Year's resolution.

Despite most people failing to keep their resolutions, many are planning to make 2022 their healthiest year yet. In fact, improving fitness is the most common New Year’s resolution in the UK, with losing weight and diet improvements taking second and third place.

With this appetite for an improved lifestyle in mind, the Medical Director of men’s health platform Manual, Dr Earim Chaudry, has revealed the top New Year’s resolutions that can be achieved and maintained throughout the year, for those looking to become a little bit healthier.

Manage stress levels

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
When stressed, our bodies produce chemicals – such as corticosteroids, a type of stress hormone – which suppress the functioning of our immune systems. Whilst these chemicals are used for the treatment of conditions such as asthma and arthritis, they reduce the ability of the immune system to do its job.

Keeping a lid on stress – through meditation, mindfulness, or exercise – is an important way to get your immune system working as it should again.

Adopt better sleeping habits

A lack of sleep hampers your ability to fight infection. This is because, during sleep, your immune system releases proteins known as cytokines, which target hostile germs and microbes. Simply speaking, if you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t produce enough of these vital infection-fighting chemicals.

Generally, seven to nine hours of sleep a night is recommended.

Try Veganuary (or eat less meat)

Switching to a plant-based diet can be a great option for those looking to lose weight or those wanting a healthier lifestyle. Red meats are often high in fats and cholesterol, which can cause weight gain.

A vegetarian diet can also do wonders for your skin as fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which can prevent ageing. Skin imperfections can also be reduced with a plant-based diet, as red meats and dairy can contribute to acne.

A recent study also found that 84% of vegetarians have a better sex life compared to meat-eaters, with results determining that dietary preference was connected with sexual frequency.

Get more exercise

Exercise can improve many aspects of life, from improving mental health to keeping the heart in good condition. Recent studies have found that regular exercise can promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut, reducing inflammation and the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and type-2 diabetes.

If you can, aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, but always consult with your GP before entering into a new exercise regime

Quit smoking

No matter what sort of lifestyle improvements you want to achieve health-wise, quitting smoking will always rank highest on the list of priorities for overall health and longevity. Where poor circulation is concerned, it’s the nicotine found in cigarettes and e-cigarettes that’s the main culprit.

Nicotine harms the walls of your arteries while making your blood thicker, meaning it can’t flow as effortlessly around your body.

Quitting can be hard work, but in the end, it’s always worthwhile. Check-in with the NHS for a range of services to help you stop the habit, and remember, you’re never too old to stop smoking.

Prioritise your mental health

Suicide still remains the biggest single killer of men under 45, and males are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, according to ONS data.

Financial worries, stress at work and stigma around mental health means that many men struggle in silence.

Prioritising your mental health can be a great resolution to adopt in 2022. Reaching out to a friend or even a mental health professional can be a great place to start if you feel as though you are struggling. You can also try practising more mindful exercises such as meditation which can help with anxiety levels.

Cut down on the booze

Alcohol consumption can have negative impacts on many other aspects of your life, including your mental and physical health, finances and relationships with other people.

Cutting down on alcohol can lower blood sugar, increase fitness levels and also help with weight loss.

Alcohol can also make stress and anxiety worse. Drinking less can mean that you feel happier, more of the time, have increased energy levels and also become more clear-headed.

The reason why most people fail with their New Year's resolution is that an unrealistic goal is set.

Why make a New Year's resolution?

Why do we make New Year’s resolutions every year when so few of us manage to follow them through?

So what about considering volunteering or supporting a charity instead of trying to give something up.

This year make a realistic resolution that you can stick to and not make one that you can't live up to.

Some quotes for the New Year:

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow
- Albert Einstein

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream
- C.S Lewis

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing
- Sarah Ban Breathnach

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one
- Brad Paisley

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step
- Chinese proverb

Let's make the most of every day in 2022 whatever we decide to do. Time is precious and life is short, let's not waste time, make every minute count!