Wellness New Year Resolutions

Jan 4th, 2023

Student Wellness Logo. Text reads "Setting healthy new year goals & habit making" beside a woman looking at goals sticking out of her hair.

New Year's resolutions can be a great way to set goals and make positive changes in your life, but they can also be difficult to start and stick to. As a university student, you may find it particularly challenging to develop healthy habits and achieve your goals amidst the busy and often stressful demands of school. However, with a little planning and determination, it is possible to make lasting changes and achieve your resolutions.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Set specific and achievable goals.

Instead of saying "I want to eat healthier," try setting a specific goal like "I will pack a healthy lunch for myself every day and eat at least one serving of vegetables with each meal." This makes it easier to track your progress and see if you're on track to achieving your goal of improving your eating habits."

Start small.

It can be overwhelming to try to make a lot of changes at once. Start with small, manageable goals and build from there.

Make a plan.

Write down your goals and create a plan for how you will achieve them. Break your goals down into smaller steps and include deadlines for each step.

Track your progress.

Keep track of your progress by writing down your successes and challenges. This will help you stay motivated and identify any areas that need improvement.

Find a support system.

Surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you as you work towards your goals. This could be friends, family, or a support group.

Be patient.

Change takes time, so don't get discouraged if you don't see results right away. Keep working towards your goals and you will eventually see progress.

Celebrate your successes.

Don't forget to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.

By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success as you work towards achieving your New Year's resolutions. Remember to be patient and celebrate your victories along the way. With determination and a little bit of planning, you can make the most of the new year and achieve your goals.

Examples and strategies for wellness-themed resolutions:

Prioritize your sleep this semester

Prioritize your sleep this semester:

  1. Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. 
  2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine: This could include activities like reading, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath/shower before bed. 
  3. Make your sleep environment comfortable: Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. If you live in residence or another environment that you don’t have complete control over, consider getting earplugs, playing white noise or sleep sounds, wearing an eye mask, or getting a mattress topper.  
  4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Caffeine and alcohol can both have an impact on sleep. Learn more about how caffeine can affect studying & sleep. 
  5. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help you sleep better, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime. 
  6. Avoid screens before bed: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. If you find it hard to put your phone away before bed, try getting a separate alarm clock so you can put your phone further from your bed. 
  7. Get plenty of natural light during the day: Exposure to natural light during the day can help regulate your body's sleep-wake cycle. Try going for a walk or studying next to a window. 
  8. Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques like journaling, deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help you relax and fall asleep. 
  9. Limit naps: While napping can be tempting, try to limit them to 20-30 minutes in the early afternoon to avoid disrupting your sleep at night. 
  10. Consider seeking help if you're having trouble sleeping: If you're still having trouble sleeping despite trying these tips, it may be helpful to talk to a healthcare professional for further advice. The University of Guelph also offers the Better Sleep Program that can help you improve your sleep this semester

Improve your physical health

Take steps to improve your physical health: 

  1. Utilize the university's fitness centre: Make use of the facilities and resources offered at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre, including the 22,000 sqft fitness centre, dozens of fitness classes, rock climbing wall, and FREE drop-in recreation times (skating, swimming, basketball, pickleball, hockey, squash, badminton, etc.) 
  2. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, such as walking or biking to class instead of driving or taking public transportation.
  3. Participate in intramural sports: Join a competitive or fun league and get active with your peers
  4. Go for a hike or walk: Take advantage of the beautiful green space on campus and enjoy the nature trails at the Arboretum. 
  5. Set specific fitness goals for yourself, such as training for a race, moving your body a number of days per week, or hitting a specific PR.  
  6. Consider working with a personal trainer or seeking out resources on campus, such as a nutritionist or wellness coach, to help you develop a realistic exercise routine for you.

Did you know that regular activity can support your mental health? Gryphons Empowered by Movement (GEM) is a program in collaboration with Student Wellness Services and Athletics for students with mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression. GEM can help you make physical activity a regular part of your life. Talk to a Counsellor, Accessibility Advisor, or Student Support Network volunteer to learn more and be referred into the program! 

Make connections and friends on-campus

Make connections & friends! 

  1. Connect with others on campus by attending social events, joining a club or organization, or participating in volunteer activities. 
  2. Follow clubs and departments on campus that interest you on social media and GryphLife to stay in the loop about upcoming events and meetings. 
  3. Take advantage of the mental health services available on campus, such as counselling or support groups, to help you manage any challenges you may be facing. 
  4. The Wellness Education & Promotion Centre runs regular events where you can meet new people. Check out our Dry January events, or stay tuned for more information on our SHINE groups and Wellness & Dragons D&D groups! 
  5. A new semester means new classes! Consider making a resolution to introduce yourself to each person you sit beside in your classes over the first few weeks. Chances are, they’re looking to make friends or study buddies too! 
  6. Needing someone to talk to? The Student Support Network (SSN) is run by student volunteers who are trained in listening and offering support. The service is confidential and non-judgmental, and runs Monday to Friday from 12-10pm. 

Prioritize your mental health:

  1. Practice self-care regularly by taking breaks, getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating well. 
  2. Seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional if you're feeling overwhelmed or struggling with your mental health. 
  3. Set boundaries and make time for activities you enjoy, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones. 
  4. Seek out resources on campus, such as counselling services or student support groups, to help manage stress and improve your mental health. 
  5. Take breaks from social media or limit your use to reduce feelings of comparison or overwhelm. Unfollow accounts that harm you more than you gain from them. 
  6. Practice mindfulness or try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to help manage stress and improve overall well-being. 
  7. Set realistic goals for yourself and try to prioritize your physical and mental health. 
  8. Seek help if you're struggling with substance abuse or addiction. 
  9. Practice good self-care habits, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule and getting enough exercise. 
  10. Looking for support in setting and maintaining well-being-related goals? Check out our USHINE program! USHINE is a peer-led wellness behaviour change program, where you will meet with a trained Peer Wellness Coach to work on your well-being in whatever way(s) you desire (i.e. self-care, eating better, sleeping better, changing substance use behaviours, etc.). Register for this semester by emailing ushine@uoguelph.ca. 

Make a commitment to eat more nutritious meals:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare meals in advance. Make a meal plan for the week and bring snacks with you to campus. 
  2. Make a grocery list and stick to it. This can help you stay focused on buying just the food you need and avoid impulse purchases. 
  3. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and support overall health. 
  4. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where the freshest, most nutritious foods are usually located. 
  5. Experiment with different types of nutritious foods. Try incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your meals. 
  6. Use campus resources: The University of Guelph offers FREE group nutrition programs throughout the semester for students and nutrition counselling. Take advantage of these resources to learn more about healthy eating habits. 

Make my sexual health a priority:

  1. Practice safer sex! Use barrier methods that feel good for you and your partners like condoms, dental dams, or gloves. Come by the Wellness Education and Promotion Centre to pick out FREE condoms including flavoured ones! Turn right at the main entrance and look for the bowl across from the bathroom.
  2. Consider setting a goal to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) each time you have a new partner or every 6 months. STI testing locations in Guelph. 
  3. If you're in a long-term monogamous relationship, consider getting tested together if you didn’t before entering the relationship.  
  4. Talk openly and honestly with your partner(s) about your sexual health, including your STI status and what you are comfortable with sexually. 
  5. New Years Resolutions can be about trying something new! Try out different types of lube to make your sexual activities more pleasurable. 
  6. Figuring out new things that you like? Ensure you wash any sex toys with a gentle soap and warm water before using them on a new part of your (or your partners!) body. 
  7. The new year is a great time to get your Gardasil shot to protect yourself from HPV. Make an appointment at Student Health Services to get started. Learn about HPV: Human Papillomavirus – What It Is & How To Prevent It