This year is on its way out the door and it’s time to think about 2020 and how to have the best year possible. Priority number one? Taking care of yourself.
Get a Check-up
When you visit your primary care provider for your annual check-up, he or she will screen for high blood pressure and cholesterol and abnormal glucose or lipid levels. Your physician will also make sure you’re at a healthy weight and up-to-date on your immunizations and check for potentially dangerous skin lesions.
Smoking not only damages your lungs, it also increases your risk for heart attack, bladder cancer and even erectile dysfunction. Talk to your doctor about options to help you quit smoking, including medications, patches or a smoking cessation hotline.
Don’t Leave Home Without Sunscreen
The benefit of sunscreen is that it’s your best defense against skin cancer. Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays every morning and remember to reapply every two hours. Bonus – it will also help reduce the number of wrinkles you get as you age.
If you haven’t adopted a routine of regular exercise, this year is the time to do it. Commit to exercising at least 30 minutes, 3 days a week to help keep your weight controlled, reduce your stress and stay healthy. You don’t have to be an extreme athlete; choose to take the stairs instead of an elevator, do stretches during the commercials of your favorite TV show, or go for a walk around your neighborhood.
Watch What You Eat
Take a new look at healthy eating by thinking about all the food you can eat, not what you “can’t” eat. Make sure you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables, calcium, whole grains and lean protein in your daily diet. Experiment with cooking old favorites in a different, healthier way, like baking chicken instead of frying it or grilling fish instead of sautéing it.
Commit to Better Sleep
Getting good quality sleep, and enough of it, plays a big role in your overall health. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours a night and try to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. Create a bedroom that’s conducive to good sleep by making it dark and quiet and removing electronics like televisions, computers and cell phones.
Adopt a Hand-washing Routine
Regular hand washing is the number one way to protect yourself against illness. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, before preparing and eating foods, after blowing your nose or coughing, when you are around someone who is sick and after caring for animals. Make sure you’re using warm water, lathering the soap and scrubbing, rinsing and drying.
Make Time for a Break
These days we’re all moving a mile a minute, and “multi-tasking” is a popular buzz word. Taking short breaks from work throughout your day can reduce stress on your mind and body. So, get up from your desk and take a walk around the office; do some light stretching at lunch; or take a break to chat with a coworker around the water cooler.
Start the new year by making an appointment for your annual check-up.