6 Steps Toward a Healthier 2017

Posted by The CareSync Team

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Dec 20, 2016 2:30:54 PM

Tweet #CareSync2017 to share your healthy New Year's Resolutions!As you’ve been scrambling around getting shopping done, putting up decorations, and planning holiday dinners, the end of the year has been sneaking up on you. Don’t let all that planning and activity juggling get in the way of one of the most important things you can do for yourself before the year runs out: make your 2017 New Year’s Resolution List.

Since most New Year’s Resolution lists feature some form of healthcare-related promise we make to ourselves, we thought it fitting to share tips for what you could add to your list to make 2017 healthier. Choose some or all of them and, of course, feel free to add your own. Whatever you choose, we invite you to tweet #CareSync2017 to share them with us and provide updates on your progress in reaching those goals throughout the year.

1. Volunteer

Volunteering is the perfect way to help people or animals in need, while at the same time giving yourself a positive sense of identity.You may be aware of the “feel-good, do-good phenomenon” which states that a person who feels good or is in a good mood is more likely to help others. It has the possibility of becoming an endless cycle, as people who help others are more likely to experience higher self-esteem and self-confidence.

Volunteering is the perfect way to help people or animals in need, while at the same time giving yourself a positive sense of identity. Volunteering is also a way to keep you connected with others and avoid social isolation, which can be a risk factor for depression.

Aside from the benefits to your mental health, volunteering can actually help your physical health as well! Regular volunteering can get you into shape (depending on the project you are working on, as some are more physical than others), improve cardiovascular health, and even reduce symptoms of chronic pain.

2. Quit Bad Habits

Quitting a bad habit can also be very empowering and provide a great boost to your self-confidence.This is one of the most common resolutions people make for the new year, but time and time again, it just doesn’t stick. Make this the year that you finally nix that bad habit you have, whether it be smoking, drinking, overeating, using too much salt, or even something as mild as biting your nails.

Aside from the obvious health benefits, quitting a bad habit can also be very empowering and provide a great boost to your self-confidence. Here are a few ideas to get you over the mental hurdles of quitting a habit:

  • Use the buddy system: If you have a friend, family member, or co-worker who is trying to make the same changes you are, you may find it helpful to team up and quit together. You can discuss experiences, set goals together, and check in with each other to help hold each other accountable.
  • Put money on it: Never underestimate a financial incentive. If you're able, tuck away some money that you can later spend on a reward for yourself. Whether it be a new computer, a new wardrobe, or just a night out, come up with a specific goal and a specific reward for meeting that goal so you have something to look forward to. Just make sure you don't give in and get your reward early. Tell a friend, spouse, or family member about your goal and your reward if you need someone to keep you honest!
  • Keep a journal: Sometimes we just need to talk it out. A journal is a great place to record your thoughts and feelings and to look back on the progress you’ve made. Whenever temptation strikes, write about why you want to give in and how you are going to work through it. Many people find it helpful to look back at previous journal entries to see how they have overcome problems in the past.

3. Make Fitness a Priority

You don't have to depend on a gym membership or hours of free time to exercise.This is another one that makes the resolution list every year, but tends to get lost behind a mountain of excuses that usually boil down to, “I just can’t find the time.” As long as your doctor okays physical activity, do you really have a good enough excuse? Can you really not find 30 minutes of free time in a day?

Remember, it doesn’t have to be every day. And it doesn’t have to be 30 minutes all at once. Some even argue that it’s better to do physical activity in 10 or 15 minute chunks as long as you are doing something that gets your heartrate up. Think about approaching it this way: 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 minutes after work, and 10 minutes before dinner. No fancy gym memberships or hours of free time, just three blocks of 10 minutes.

Even if it’s just to take a brisk walk, finally do something that says to the world, “I’m important enough and my goals are important enough to make time for.”

4. Organize Your Medical Records

Use the CareSync app to make your medical records available at the touch of a button.This is something that usually goes into the “get to it later” file in our brains, if we even consider it at all! But think about how important this can be! If you needed to switch doctors or if an unexpected accident were to occur, you’d want yourself or your loved ones to be able to find the information needed in order to get you the proper treatment.

You’d benefit from having organized documentation of prior treatments, current medications, test results, allergy lists, and more in one place so you can ensure your health is being taken care of properly. Your family would benefit from not having to guess what to tell a doctor or worry that they are forgetting something important. And your doctor or emergency workers would be able to act quickly on your behalf, with information that could even save your life.

Use the CareSync app to make your medical records available at the touch of a button or at least have a designated folder or binder that contains important health-related documents, such as insurance forms and cards, lists of past and present medications, lists of allergies, an accurate description of your health conditions, and contact information for family members, caregivers, and doctors.

Even if it’s just to take a brisk walk, finally do something that says to the world, “I’m important enough and my goals are important enough to make time for.”

Additionally include information about treatments you’ve received, hospitalizations that have occurred, your family’s medical history, and any paperwork or lab results you have received from doctors, medical facilities, or hospital stays.

Let someone you trust know where this information can be found. You never know when you’ll need it and you don’t want to have to go digging through boxes or drawers of paperwork to find what you’re looking for or wonder if it will get into the right hands if you’re unable to go looking for it yourself.

5. Adjust Your Diet

You don't have to spend an arm and a leg or spend hours at the stove for food that's simple and healthy.“Eat healthy” is a very vague resolution that many people make each year. You’ll have a better chance of attaining your goal if you set a clear, definable one.

A good starting point would be simply agreeing to “have a side of vegetables with each meal.” Another might be to “use a small plate at each meal to enforce portion control.”

A common misconception is that eating healthy is too expensive, but this simply isn’t true. Frozen vegetables are an easy and cheap way to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need, without worrying about fresh produce going to waste. And if fresh produce is your thing, remember that farmers markets are a great place to get inexpensive produce, with the added benefit of supporting local farmers and your local community.

6. Reduce Stress

Catching up with old friends or long lost family members can do wonders for your stress levels.That one’s easier said than done, right? With so many things going on in our lives, it is hard not to get overwhelmed. However, there are many steps you can take to reduce the impact of your everyday life on your everyday health:

  • Reconnect: Catching up with old friends or long lost family members can do wonders for your stress levels! Having positive relationships can increase your sense of belonging and self-worth. It is very important for your mental health to have a healthy and caring support network.
  • Travel: Some days it is nice to just get away from it all! Occasionally allow yourself to go somewhere new and exciting and leave your worries at home. The thrill of discovering new people, places, and things can be very stimulating for the mind and body and help you recharge your batteries.
  • Get a hobby: Learning new things can actually improve your cognitive function by stimulating memory and high-level thinking! The brain is an amazing thing! Consider taking up a new hobby that you know nothing (or very little) about and challenge yourself to master it. This could be digital photography, web design, painting, a foreign language, a new sport, woodworking, or any number of things!

Let’s Go!

With the year drawing to a close, it’s time to get out a pen and paper and start writing those goals! Here's to a happy and healthy New Year for you and yours!

Resolve to make 2017 healthier!

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