New Year’s Resolutions a Doctor Would Recommend

Kicking off the new year with resolutions is a long-held tradition, but many people think of it as something that leads to frustration and failure. In truth, there are many small lifestyle changes that can make a big impact on your ongoing health. Below, Sierra Groenewold, LPC, a behavioral health provider with Summit Health, shares five suggestions on laying the groundwork for a healthy and happy 2022.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep often falls to the bottom of the priority list when it comes to healthy habits. But studies show that lack of sleep shortens your lifespan. “The ideal amount of sleep for the average adult is 8 hours,” notes Ms. Groenewold. Getting adequate sleep and staying on a sleep schedule can help to optimize your physical and mental health.

  1. Rethink Your Diet

While achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is pertinent to a long life, crash diets are not the solution. The key, Ms. Groenewold says, is changing your mindset about what a “diet” means:

  • Find what works best for you. “You can try out different eating plans such as low carbohydrate,” Ms. Groenewold says. “But, ultimately, you should find the right meal plan that works for you.”
  • Think about vegetables differently. “Stop looking at vegetables as something you have to add in, but, rather, something that you plan meals around,” says Ms. Groenewold.
  1. Focus on Your Mental and Emotional Health

Behavioral Health providers emphasizes the importance of self-care. With the ongoing pandemic, many people have a baseline of stress which can be increased by piling things onto our already busy schedules. It’s important to slow down and not overextend ourselves.

“Life is busy and seems to only be getting busier,” she adds. “Reward yourself by making time for hobbies, meditating, journaling, and enjoying time with family and friends—and try not to feel guilty doing so.”

  1. Integrate Physical Activity Into Your Life

“Exercise improves not just your physical health, but also your mental health,” says Ms. Groenewold. She advises a good mix of cardio and weight-bearing exercises, along with yoga and Pilates. The latter are important as we age, emphasizes Ms. Groenewold, because “if you’re not incorporating stretching into your workouts, you’re more apt to hurt yourself.”

  1. Set Appointments

Health maintenance is key to a long life. As work and life ramp up after the holidays, these things often fall through the cracks. Get ahead of this, advises Ms. Groenewold. “Make an appointment for your annual visit with your primary doctor and a six-month checkup with your dentist.” Seek out behavioral health services to help manage your mental health if needed as well.