Happy New Year! My hope is for happiness and well-being for myself and for all my patients and followers. This year snuck up on me because I was busy buying a home (finally) after renting for 2 1/2 years in Alpharetta. I had a dental appointment on January 2 and the technician asked whether I had any resolutions and I just had that deer in the headlights look!
So instead of resolutions I thought about what areas to be intentional about so that my health (and by extension my life) could be better and happier. These will work for everyone so feel free to steal.
Here are my Top 5 things to be intentional about in 2019:
1. Environmental exposures - these mostly come from inside your living space. I want to make sure I get the cleanest air, water and food inside my body. That means air filters, water filters, trying to join organic coop farms and making sure my cleaning and personal care products are non-toxic. I recommend this website as a resource to see if any of your household products could be harming you or your family.
2. Diet - I wrote a (very long, I realize) post about why your diet matters to your over all well-being. I want to be intentional about eating to improve my health this year. If there were only one thing you could accomplish this year to improve your diet I would recommend eliminating sugar. Sugar causes inflammation which is the root cause of lots of disease processes, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. If you want to go further, talk to your Functional Medicine practitioner about doing some form of detox diet or elimination diet to improve your health - you may add years of better health to your life.
3. Movement - I always recommend yoga because it incorporates breath and movement which helps your adrenal glands handle stress (which is also a root cause of many diseases). Even if you have bad knees and hips or low back issues, you can still do yoga to stretch and gain better balance and help your brain work better! If yoga doesn't float your boat pick a movement that can help you with balance and strength and one that doesn't raise your stress level.
4. Sleep - Be intentional about getting quality and quantity here. Sleep is necessary for our bodies to repair and regenerate our brains and vital cell functions. If you have sleep apnea or restless sleep get help to address these issues and improve your sleep quality. You need 7-8 hours nightly at a minimum to get the job done. Your best repair work happens early in the sleep cycle so don't stay up late - whatever is enticing you to stay awake, it can wait!
5. Stress - Our lives are inherently stressful. Stressors come from our environment, our work habits (Americans in general work too many hours), our lifestyles, our families and even our vacations can be stressful (flying in a plane - being exposed to other people's illnesses and air space for example). Build a mindful practice to help alleviate some of the bad side effects of too much stress. I previously posted here about the benefits and nuts and bolts of being mindful. Set an appointment on your calendar for self care and mindfulness.