By Jocelyn Weiss, Ph.D., MPH, NBC-HWC
I know… it feels a little weird to imagine a “Best of” list for 2020. It has been a doozy of a year and there is no getting around that. COVID-19 has taken a toll on our physical, mental, and social well-being. That all said, we have also found new ways to connect, care for each other, and cultivate our resilience.
The benefits of mindfulness in our everyday lives cannot be overstated, but even more so during times of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress (Hello, 2020). The ability to stay in the present moment, focusing on what we can control, practicing gratitude, and choosing how we want to respond is critical to our resilience.
The 12 Best Meditation Apps For 2020 (Women’s Health)
20 Best Mindfulness Meditation Podcasts of 2020 (Positive Psychology)
The 7 Best Meditation Books of 2020 (Verywell Mind)
Like most other things in our lives, fitness looked very different in 2020. With gyms and group fitness classes shut down, home fitness took on a whole new look. Movement became even more important in supporting our physical and mental health. Walking and hiking took the lead in getting people outside their homes. The Peloton exercise bike took on a cult following, with sales tripling as COVID cases continued rising (and outdoor bikes sold out). Virtual streaming workouts (yoga, boot camp, trampoline, you name it) have helped to provide a sense of community even when we cannot work out together.
Instagram resembled a bakery window over the past year; it seemed like everyone (and their mother, sister, brother, and father) was baking bread. Yeast disappeared off shelves like hotcakes. We were all cooking at home and experimenting more. Here are some easy dinner recipes and healthy food blogs to keep the trend going. For those of you who want to hop on the baking train, there is a link for you as well.
23 Simple Sheet Pan Suppers (Southern Living)
93 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes We’ve Got on Repeat (Bon Appetit)
36 of Our Best Bread Recipes (NY Times Cooking)
The Top 40 Healthy Food Blogs to Follow Right Now (verywell fit)
With more time at home, this past year also came more time to reflect, read, and write. Reading for pleasure has been associated with increased health and well-being, providing an escape from life’s everyday stresses, improving sleep, and slowing cognitive decline. Similarly, expressive writing (journaling) has been associated with reduced stress, improved immune function, a sharper memory, boosted mood, and strengthened emotional function. Here are some top books and journals you might consider for 2021.
Best New Books of 2020 (Harpers Bazaar)
23 Best Journals That Will Motivate You to Write More (O The Oprah Magazine)
Almost everyone likes to open a gift and be surprised – and with subscription boxes, we can have them sent to ourselves. With an estimated 400-600 different kinds of subscription boxes in the United States and internationally, just about every need, interest, and desire is covered: fashion, personal care, pets, food, crafts, teas, social consciousness, eco-consciousness, and more. Here are some boxes that focus on self-care, fitness, wellness, along with a few extra goodies.
Thinking ahead to 2021 during the season of giving, you may want to consider wellness-inspired gifts for the people in your lives.
The 40 Best Fitness Gifts For The Workout Warrior In Your Life (Women’s Health Magazine)
The Best Fitness and Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas (Harpers Bazaar)
40 Wellness Gifts for the Health Fanatic in Your Life (Self Magazine)
Healthy Holiday Gift Guide (Four Wellness Co.)
Disclaimer: We have not utilized or evaluated every item in these lists and are in no manner endorsing them. We are sharing the resources for your own personal exploration in the hopes that you might find some that resonate and are supportive for you.
By Duke Integrative Medicine Programs Team The “Three Good Things” exercise is a powerful positive psychology technique. From a biological perspective, our brains are hardwired to reflect, notice and remember the negative as a survival mechanism and a way to avoid that which causes physical and emotional discomfort. This tendency to ...READ MORE
By Erin Hancock, MPH/RD student at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dietetic Intern at the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center and supervised by Christine Tenekjian, MPH, RDN, LDN Baking can be a fun, delicious, and a stress-relieving hobby to take up while many of us are spending more time at home. The only ...READ MORE
By Akemi Huynh, Student of Nutritional Sciences at North Carolina Central University with the supervision of the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center Nutrition Team Do you ever open the refrigerator door and stand there looking for something to eat? And then suddenly you wonder if you’re hungry? Before we make ...READ MORE