Wellness and Resolutions: How to stick to the plan
Question: My New Year’s resolution is to concentrate on my health. Do you have any advice that will help me stick to it?
Answer: Focusing on your health is a great resolution. Here are some tips to help you succeed at keeping your resolution to live a healthy lifestyle.
Tip #1: Get adequate sleep at night. It is recommended that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Poor sleep has been implicated in affecting people’s mood, concentration, cognitive functioning and may even contribute to obesity. If you have trouble winding down at night, try some yoga or herbal tea, and limit caffeine. If you have persistent difficulty falling or staying asleep, it is time to call your doctor. It’s that important!
Lack of adequate sleep is a bigger issue these days, with the smartphones and tablets that people use at night, says Dr. Jennifer McCabe Lentz, family medicine physician at the Banner Health Center in southwest Loveland, CO.
"Those bright lights may be great to browse what your friend is posting on Facebook, but it’s hurting your chances of falling asleep naturally, which the body requires to be rejuvenated," Dr. McCabe Lentz explains.
Tip #2: Know your numbers. Knowing your blood pressure, glucose and body mass index (BMI) is key in determining your risk factors for developing major illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. If you know your numbers are not in a healthy range, you can take steps to getting yourself into good health. You can discuss these results with your health care provider and make a plan together to get on the road to good health.
“Being on top of any potential issues is so much better than trying to play catch up with a disease and having to take medications lifelong,” says Dr. McCabe Lentz.
Tip #3: Make enough time for leisure activities and things that you enjoy doing. Hobbies and non-work related activities are great ways to manage stress and enhance our sense of personal fulfillment. They are also healthy alternatives to alcohol, eating or using tobacco that some people may turn to when they have down time or are trying to deal with stress.
Play some tennis, read a book or work on an art project, recommends Dr. McCabe Lentz. “You could include loved ones in some group activities, so you’re staying engaged and spending time with those who keep you upbeat.”
Tip #4: Get exercise as often as possible. Studies have shown that consistent exercise can be mood boosting, contribute to better sleep, and can also have great health and weight loss benefits by lowering an individual’s risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Not only can these illnesses have serious medical consequences, but they also are associated with a higher risk for developing depression or anxiety.
Tip #5: Adopt a healthy attitude. In other words, the way we think about things in life often affects how we end up feeling. For example if someone cuts you off on the road, instead of getting angry and frustrated, tell yourself, “I don’t agree with what he did because it wasn’t safe. However, it wasn’t personal and I sometimes make mistakes when I drive.” If you approach stressful situations this way, you can save yourself wasted time and energy getting irritated about the things you cannot control.
“Stewing in negativity can never be good for your health,” says Dr. McCabe Lentz.
Tip #6: Stay connected with people. Even though relationships with family, friends and significant others can at times be stressful, maintain quality relationships and stay connected socially. Having other people in our lives, in good and bad times, has been shown to be vital for maintaining good mental health. Even if you just moved into town and you don’t know anyone, try signing up for an adult education class, frequent the local library as they often offer free events, or find a neighborhood café and bring a book just to get out of the home and be around people.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer McCabe Lentz at the Banner Health Center in southwest Loveland, CO, please call (970) 820-3999 or find a Banner physician near you.