The holidays are over but it’s not too late to give yourself the gift of good health! Here are five easy things you can do to become healthier this year:
1. Unplug and unwind.
Make a habit of reducing gadget screen time and talk to real people. Unless, the person in front of you is the one causing you stress, then that’s another story altogether. Turn your cellphone off especially when you go to sleep. Sleep for at least 6-8 hours a day. If you can, grab a power nap on your daily commute. If not, meditate: take a few deep, cleansing breaths to let your soul breathe. Turning off the noise of the world can do you a world of good.
2. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
Don’t think of exercise as a chore. Slip in little bits of movement as constant parts of your everyday life. Moving your body, no matter how briefly, not only burns calories but also stops your body’s stress response. Take the stairs instead of the elevators. Unless you are disturbing other people, take your shoes off for a few minutes as this will boost circulation and prevent pain in your knees, hips and back. Changing your linens once a week is a great way not just to burn calories but to also get rid of dust mites, which is a major allergy trigger.
3. Get (vaccine) shots!
Vaccines are not just for children–they’re for adults, too. Depending on your vaccination history, these include tetanus, chickenpox, human papillomavirus, pneumonia, meningococcal, hepatitis A and B and HiV. Common adverse reactions include a mild fever and pain or bruising at the site of injection. Discuss your concerns with your physician.
4. Take a (blood) test.
There are no standard laboratory tests, but some commonly requested tests include a complete blood count, cholesterol, urinalysis, stool exam and a blood sugar test. While most people are healthy until middle-age, today’s ironically fast-paced but sedentary lifestyle has led to a younger onset of chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Most patients do not feel anything even if the results of the laboratory tests are not normal. Certain screening tests are also recommended depending on your age and family history such as pap smears, endoscopy, colonoscopy, etc.
5. See your doctor.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But when the doctor is cute, make an appointment stat! Kidding aside, while there are many things you can do to prevent disease, there are still some things that require a professional opinion. You may miss or even ignore that lump in your breast or that suspicious mole on your skin that only a physical exam can reveal. Even if you feel well, it’s a great opportunity to focus on prevention and screening.
Being healthier doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Sometimes a few changes can lead to fantastically healthy results!