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COLUMN: Resolutions to make you healthier in the new year

Dr. Susan Blatt, Oneida County Health Department
Posted 12/20/22

Those of us involved with health care wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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COLUMN: Resolutions to make you healthier in the new year

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Those of us involved with health care wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year. For all of us, our goal is to be healthy, as the pandemic is winding down. Here are some New Year’s resolutions we think you should consider:

• First, if you smoke you must give it up. It is very clear now that smoking is harmful. As soon as you get off cigarettes, your lungs will begin to heal. You should not expect immediate changes. You may still cough and suffer shortness of breath. But there will be a definite improvement over time, and you will have a better chance of a full, active lifestyle. Ask your doctor for a plan to stop smoking.

• Second, if you are overweight, lose weight. Remember that obesity is caused by two factors, eating too much and not exercising enough. If you are overweight and not diabetic, you are lucky. As time goes by and as obesity gets worse, the risk of diabetes is greater. Diabetes is not a disease that is easy to manage. By losing weight and exercising more, your chances of diabetes will be less.

If you worked in the past and you are now retired, you may be getting much less exercise. It is easy to measure your walking distance. If you keep your cellphone or other similar device on your belt, it will measure the amount you have walked. Aim for 2 miles a day.

Find a way to make the time pass, whether it is listening to music, talking to a friend, or listening to an audible novel. If you like to read, but do not know how to get an audible novel, talk to your local librarian. They will start you off by explaining the process and the book will be free.

• Find a way to talk to people. The pandemic may have slowed down, but many of us have remained housebound. This may prevent you from getting viruses, but try these suggestions for getting out and about. Wear a mask when you are around people. Do not be embarrassed, it will keep you healthier and allow you to get outside. Make phone calls, check on others and get caught up on your friends and relatives. Go to meetings. Meetings are one way we mix with people. Get back into activities.

• Go back to your religious organizations. Many of us were very involved in religion in the past. We grew up with regular attendance, took our children, and then it started to drift away. With the pandemic it became a question of virtual services or no services. Some of us are somewhat scornful of religion, but it may be time to rethink that. You have survived during a potentially deadly pandemic. We need the comfort and challenge of our religious faith more than ever. Go to services, volunteer in the office, drive people who are disabled, help with the children at religious school.

• Anything you can do to help children, in this long period of isolation, will benefit the child, the family, and society in general. Talk to your local school, volunteer for scouting, visit the neighbors whose kids are isolated. Do these children need to be fed? Do they need to talk to a caring adult? Probably they do. Find a way to “be there” for kids.

• Some people may have financial constraints that prevent them from going out and being active. Consider a part-time paying job. Be creative in your thinking. Be prepared for many people to say, “no thanks.”

If you are persistent and patient there may be a place for you in the workforce, which will allow you to be more financially comfortable. Babysitting can be fun for the worker and a lifesaver for parents. Pet sitting may allow families to go on vacation. Think about your ideal part-time job and then pursue it, even if you need some training.

These New Year’s resolutions are important, as we see COVID decreasing. We need to get out and about. We need to get rid of our unhealthy habits and take on some good habits. Try to focus on ways to help other people. It can be very satisfying.

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