5 Tips To Make Your 2020 New Year’s Health Resolution A Success
You Got This!
It’s that time of year again when you might be feeling guilty about holiday overconsumption and inspired to ramp up your health in the new year.
Most New Year Resolutions related to health fall into two themes. One is to undo the effects of our holiday festivities of dinners with multiple courses, one too many cocktails and all that sofa time. The other is to arm ourselves with resources for wellness and accountability to help us create lasting change to our physical, emotional, and mental health.
So whether your aim is to reset or revamp, here are a few ways to jumpstart your health this year and make it the most successful one yet.
1. Get started with a cleanse
Overconsumption throughout the holidays can leave your body sluggish. While your body already has its own detoxification process, you can rejuvenate the process by doing a juice cleanse. To do a juice cleanse, you drink around 5-6 bottles of fresh-pressed vegetable and fruit-based juices over the course of a day, and you can opt to do your cleanse for a 1-7 day time period.
Drinking fresh pressed vegetable juices is a great way to infuse your body with plenty of nutrition, boost your immune system, aid in weight loss, clear your skin, and leave you feeling energetic. Most cleanse plans recommend drinking only juices for a fixed period. That said if you’re thinking to avoid solid foods for more than 24 hours you should talk to your doctor to make sure that your plan is safe for you.
Looking for a place where you can do a juice cleanse? Tokyo Juice is an English-friendly juice and smoothie shop located in Omotesando. Owned by husband and wife team Jeffery Muromatsu and Yesenia Garcia, their mission to serve the community with healthy offers started from their own experiences of healing and is inspired by the health scene in California. Their signature juice cleanse includes 5 bottles of freshly pressed juices for each day, and you can opt for a 1, 3, 5, or 7-day cleanse. Plus, they can deliver it right to your door.
2. Become acquainted with fermented Japanese superfoods
Your gut has trillions of bacteria responsible for helping us break down and absorb nutrients. If you’ve overconsumed foods or eaten too many processed foods that have created digestive stress, your body might find it hard to absorb the nutrition it needs, leading to a domino effect of inflammatory-related health conditions.
To get your gut back on the right track, give yourself a dose of healthy bacteria by adding in fermented foods to your diet. Japan has easily accessible fermented foods such as pickles (tsukemono, お漬物), miso (味噌), natto (納豆), shiokoji (fermented seasoning 塩麹), amazake (sweet rice sake 甘酒), and kombucha (昆布茶), which are great items to get started with. You can find most items in regular Japanese stores, but I recommend visiting the Natural House organic grocery store in Omotesando for amazake and Elle Cafe for some great kombucha.
3. Opt for hot baths
You might think that getting healthy requires putting in more effort, but there are actually ways to improve your health by doing less—and taking a bath is the best place to begin. Studies have shown that by taking a hot bath, you can burn around the same amount of calories as a 30-minute walk, decrease your blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation. The key is to raise your body temperature by at least 1 degree Celsius, but not to take a bath too hot as to induce stress. A temperature of 37-42 degrees Celsius is the best range for optimal effect, and you can easily set your bath to the right temperature if you have an electronic system.
Plus, if you add Epsom salts (エプソムソルト) to your bath, your body can absorb magnesium which will help relax your muscles and aid in digestion—a great way to reset your digestive system after holiday overconsumption.
Speaking of baths, Japanese hot springs (onsen) and public baths (sento) are great places to visit during cold weather. Here’s a list of breathtakingly beautiful onsen resorts to visit for inspiration.
4. Join a fitness community
The perks of joining a fitness community go beyond the exercise; you can gain new friendships and feel motivated through accountability. One of the most common emotional health issues foreigners face in Japan is loneliness outside the workplace, so joining a community is a great way to boost your health both emotionally and physically.
SOGO Fitness is an active workout community where men and women come together to experience everything from boot camps to bouldering to running to yoga and more on their daily fitness schedule. They offer a boot camp every Sunday morning in Yoyogi park where you can do group exercises, partner work, and running according to your own fitness level of beginner, intermediate or advanced. The participants are mostly working professionals with a passion for fitness, both new and long term residents of Japan. The best way to find out the latest information and their scheduling is to check out their Facebook Page.
Mom in Balance Tokyo is another warm community of international mothers who gather to exercise together in parks. They have an on-site babysitter at every session so moms can exercise without distraction. The workout programs include options for pregnant and postpartum participants with educated trainers who can help modify exercises for safety. Each session consists of group exercises and pair work to help you stay motivated and make friends. To find out when the next session takes place, visit their website.
Looking for a specific kind of exercise? You can also find fitness communities from hiking to cycling and more on Meetup.com.
5. Take care of your mental health
You might feel that you’d be able to get healthier if you weren’t living in Japan. If only Japan were more keto-friendly, more vegan-friendly, more eco-friendly, had more CrossFit gyms… The health goals you might have set for yourself based on cultural norms in your home country don’t always translate to life in Japan. These challenges are not necessarily a reflection of a lack of resources, but of your mindset around your ability to get healthy in a location that isn’t your home country.
Positive mental health is crucial to helping you take care of all other areas of your health and life. “You can’t think your way out of negative thinking”, and having a therapy session for your mental health is like “a massage for the brain”, says Vickie Skorji, Lifeline Director at TELL Japan, a mental health clinic that serves the international community.
If starting the New Year in Japan has made you question your purpose for living abroad, heightened your feelings of homesickness or feelings of a loss of identity, then having an opportunity to talk through these challenges can help you gain a more positive outlook on life in Japan and make the most out of your experience here.
You can find excellent English-speaking therapists to suit your needs at TELL, International Mental Health Professionals Japan, and Tokyo Counseling Services.
With these resources and support under your belt, you’re bound to make 2020 your healthiest year yet!