I decided to draft my New Year’s resolutions earlier than usual this year to clear the decks for more presence and celebration with friends and family over the holidays. I want to feel ready to roll into 2024 as the clock chimes midnight on December 31st, with a much more firm intention to stick to my goals this year.
Truth be told, I have a poor history of follow-through on New Year’s resolutions. What has become clear to me this year is that I need to take some serious steps towards self-care. At the end of the day, we all have one life to live, and I want to make my existence happier, healthier, and more helpful to others. I’m taking instruction from my work in healthcare, consulting with my doctor, and sharing my plan to inspire others looking to bump up their 2024 health goals. I hope it is helpful for you.
#1 Take care of the whole me
I have learned that self-care shouldn’t only be about my muscles. Mental stress can do just as much damage as physical stress, and not keeping my mind fit (i.e. staying calm in a low-anxiety, balanced headspace) causes me just as much pain as my hamstrings do when I don’t warm up or cool down properly before or after a workout.
I want to be active this year in a way that simultaneously strengthens my body and keeps me in a good, healthy mindset. I plan to set aside an hour weekly for CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) practice with a trusted therapist, along with my regular workout routine.
#2 Sleep well
I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching ways to improve health and found that good sleeping habits contribute to the general well-being of the body and mind. I have the same experiences most other people would have of the effects that a bad night’s sleep can have on the following day. But lately, it’s been turning into something closer to a chronic sleep problem when I hardly ever get the necessary eight hours of sleep each night. So, resolution #2 is to find ways to improve my sleep quality and quantity.
I found some guidance on a website dedicated to issues around sleep problems, the Sleep Foundation organization. I will finally take my doctor’s advice and try to get more restful and longer sleep by supplementing the body’s supply of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. I hope this is exactly what I need because melatonin will simply let my body know it’s time to fall asleep, and doesn’t play around with the chemicals in my brain like sedatives and other sleep-inducing meds do.
#3 Play it again, Sam – and thank you IsraelPharm 😉
In the past, I’ve made these resolutions more times than I can count, but I have to at least nominally acknowledge that they were always relevant and still are this year. So, I’m going to try again. After all, you know what they say…”If at first you don’t succeed…”
The thing that has changed (for the good) is that some of my New Year’s resolutions are now easier to achieve – (especially since I am also a regular IsraelPharm customer), and so I’m putting them back into the list, with the resolve to at least take the first step on each of these:
- Lose the weight: I promise to shed my excess pounds every year. Every year until now, this has required more effort and determination than I can muster alone. I am planning early in the new year to have a serious talk with my doctor about getting help from the brand-new weight-loss medications that are changing the whole approach to this heavy subject. If Ophra can be proud of taking Ozempic, then maybe it will work for me?
- Don’t get sick and then complain: I will honor the old adage “prevention is better than cure.” Every year, virus season comes on the back of winter, and every year, I, like most other people, catch a cold, as if it’s the only possibility. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I did find an alternative, and thanks to the constant use of the virus-blocking nasal spray Enovid, I managed to get through the three years without even the mildest symptoms. My goal is to keep a bottle in my purse at all times to ensure that I don’t leave home without it!
- Take care about what I eat: It’s not simply about eating less; it’s more about eating right. One thing my doctors have been telling me is that my cardiovascular system is not only in danger from too much cholesterol and salt, but it also needs the proper supply of several other compounds that can only come if I eat sensibly. One of these is omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA. PUFAs have been associated with improving vascular function and lowering blood pressure. In the past, the recommended way to get the right mix of PUFAs was to eat at least one meal each week of ocean fish, such as salmon. But now I have found a simpler and cheaper way: to take a dietary supplement that provides the exact mix in the right proportions. I’m going to make Zoomind a daily part of my self-care diet.
#4 Guilty, your Honor
Finally, I recognize that I’m not perfect at keeping promises, especially not ones that I have made to myself like New Year’s resolutions. So, I am resolving to keep trying, even when I fall off the wagon. In the past, it was easy to wash my hands and walk away from resolutions the moment I failed. Instead, this year, I have a “get out of jail free” card, meaning I can “pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.” It’s an opportunity to hit the restart button, and I will try, try, try again.