January 6, 2023
By: Katherine Hall, MD, Athens Family Practice
The beginning of a new year symbolizes a fresh start and, for many of us, it provides a renewed focus on our overall health and wellbeing. That’s why so many of us set New Year’s resolutions intended to improve our wellness. Turning the page on the calendar gives us a chance to turn the page on old unhealthy habits, commit to being better, healthier versions of ourselves and look to the future with hope for what’s to come. Living a healthier life can reduce your risk of illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and it can help to boost your energy, sharpen your memories and stabilize your mood, leading to a noticeable improvement in your overall health.
If you have intentions of leading a healthier life this year, check out these tips to help you make simple changes and stay healthy for the long run.
Be realistic about changing your eating habits.
Changing how you eat overnight can be daunting, but eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to starve or deprive yourself. Instead, allow yourself the occasional indulgence, and make one or two healthy changes each week, like drinking fewer soft drinks or eating a salad with dinner each night. Rather than making a sweeping change that can be hard to sustain, you’ll learn to build upon and maintain these healthy habits. And while you may believe you lack the willpower to make even the smallest of changes, it isn’t willpower that will make you successful, it takes self-discipline to establish healthy habits that will last throughout 2023 and beyond.
Drink more water.
Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. If you engage in regular physical exercise, you may need more water to stay hydrated. Sports drinks can be helpful to replace salts and provide some sugar if you are especially active. Sodas, energy drinks, fruit juices and adult beverages are a big source of extra sugar. Cut them out, and you’ll cut out a lot of empty calories. Instead, choose water, tea, coffee or other unsweetened beverages.
Prioritize your sleep hygiene.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of U.S. adults say they typically get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Poor sleeping habits can raise your risk for high blood pressure, increased stress, weight gain, depression, loss of motor skills and poor heart health. If you are having difficulty maintaining good sleep hygiene or are experiencing any of the symptoms of a sleep disorder, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment for you.
Schedule an annual check-up with your provider.
There’s no better time than the start of a new year to schedule your annual check-up or any other health screenings you may need. Annual wellness exams and recommended health screenings give you and your provider the opportunity to catch health issues before they become serious and avoid any potential complications that arise from delaying care. Scheduling your annual check-up or screening is also a great way to stay on top of things like recommended immunizations and any other needed procedures.
If you need a primary care provider, visit the Find a Provider tab to get connected with the care you need.