With New Years just around the corner, it’s time to make the annual New Year Resolution list. Sure, for most of us it is truly an exercise in futility: We have grand aspirations but then reality sets in and we’re lucky if we knock off the first two.
Since this is a medical blog, I’m not going to delve into such non health related resolutions as clean the garage (which won’t happen anyway); plan a romantic getaway without the kids (good luck on that one) or finish painting the bathroom (only to find out that your significant other decided that sky blue was after all a better choice).
Here are my suggestions for health resolutions:
1,. Stop smoking. Number one cause of preventable deaths-over 300,000 yearly. Makes you look old and wrinkly. A no-brainer.
2. Exercise more. One hour of brisk walking most days of the week will lead to weight loss (how about being able to fit into that size 32 waist pants again!), lower blood pressure and happier mind frame.
3. Eat less and more selectively. Do you really need that Big Mac? Biggest meal should be breakfast; smallest dinner. Try more fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid those processed foods where the names of the ingredients are many and impossible to pronounce.
4. Sleep at least 8 hours a night. Sure you’d love to spend endless time surfing the net, but adequate sleep unlike the Internet, will lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk for cancer and heart attacks, help you lose weight and make you feel better.
5.Practice good driving etiquette which means seat belts at all times,;no texting/tweeting/phone use; no alcohol/drugs and reasonable speeds. If you’re tired, take a break rather than drive. Over 30,000 people die yearly from car accidents, most of which are preventable. Is tweeting about your awful date last night really worth your life or the lives of those you hit?
6.Drinking reasonably is ok but excessive alcohol will cause serious health issues and even death. If you or your loved ones think you have a problem, you probably do. Get some help from your doctor or the many other organizations dedicated to helping problem drinkers.
7. If you are using any drugs to get high or just to get by, consider stopping. Life is short anyway, why risk everything just for a high? If you need to be high just to enjoy your life, you need help. Get some before it is too late.
8.All work and no play is no fun. And enjoying time off, taking earned vacations and turning your work off does mean lowering the bar, but sometimes taking time to just smell the flowers is a good thing for your mental health. With some of that free time, consider volunteering. You’d be surprised not only how many opportunities are out there, but also how good you’ll feel afterwards.
9. Tell your significant other, kids and friends daily you love them-you never know when you’re time is up and letting them know you love them will make you feel better as well.
10. Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up!