New Year’s Resolutions: Tips for Getting Healthier in 2020

[avatar user=”dponieman” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=””]by Diego Ponieman M.D., M.P.H.[/avatar]

The start of a new year brings a lot of excitement for the future and reflections on the past. January is a great time to check in on your mental and physical health and consider how you can start the new year off with some healthy habits. Perhaps you forgot to get your flu vaccine?  Maybe the busy holiday season stressed you out?  It may be time to quit smoking or get more active. What will your health goals be for 2020 and what will your plan be to achieve them?

Here are some tips on how to be healthier, more active and less stressed:

  1. Take the Flu Vaccine: With influenza on the rise in New York this winter, it’s imperative to get your flu vaccine. Aside from keeping you from contracting the virus, the flu vaccine can help protect your coworkers, family and friends of all ages. It’s particularly important to get your flu vaccine if you have a chronic illness, which makes you more susceptible to getting sick. The flu vaccine is available at most pharmacies nationwide or you can talk to your doctor to learn more.
  2. Manage stress: Did the holiday season stress you out? Maybe getting back into the swing of things at work is harder than you had anticipated. Remember to take short breaks throughout the day. Being stressed can drain your energy, give you headaches and cause trouble getting to sleep. Taking breaks help you relieve stress, process information, and ultimately be more productive and creative.
  3. Get Active: During the winter months it’s easy to be sedentary. Consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you happen to be early for an appointment, get off a stop early and walk to your destination. Grab a friend or family member, bundle up and go for an evening walk outside – you might find the cold air energizing.
  4. Make healthy food choices: Do you really need to go out to eat or is there food at home you can cook?  Apart from saving money, cooking at home is often healthier than eating out.  Be sure to get fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks when shopping for groceries.  Check out the DASH nutrition plan for more ideas on integrating healthy eating into your lifestyle.
  5. Quit Smoking: If you smoke, quitting could be one of the hardest – but most rewarding – things you can challenge yourself to do in 2020. Smoking can lead to a whole realm of health issues including increased risk of stroke, cataracts, eye and nail yellowing and diminished sense of taste and smell. It’s not an easy task to quit smoking but it’s not one you have to attempt alone. Talk through your options with your health care provider for help and ideas to help you quit smoking for good.
  6. Get rest: Sleep is a critical part of every day. Did you know that lack of sleep diminishes attention, alertness, concentration and problem solving? Over time, lack of sleep can contribute to depression and anxiety as well. To avoid these consequences, aim to get at least seven hours of sleep.

By making some or all of these changes to your daily routine, you’ll be making strides to achieve a healthier 2020!  Here’s to a healthy and happy new year for you and your family from all of us at SOMOS.