Welcome to 2023. Another new year, a new opportunity for change for the better. With the constant media barrage of information on what is healthy versus what is not healthy I thought it might be helpful to put information in a context that simplifies healthy living.
I can tell you that from what we see every day in urgent care, it cannot be overstated just how important it is to have routine medical care with your primary care provider. Our patients often present with complaints that are better served by a primary care provider are often shocked to hear how long it takes to get a first appointment with a PCP. First and most important step is getting that appointment on the books today.
Overall doing the right things for your health can seem daunting and every time you turn on tv or open a magazine there is some new hot exercise regimen or diet that is going to take the nation, if not the world, by storm. Historically, those are long on promises but come up very short on results. Quick fixes are not the healthy answer, but it is not that hard to start developing habits that will make you healthier.
Exercise and diet do not have to become a way of life for you to start deriving benefits immediately. Start by making small changes, maybe you can add an extra serving of fruits or vegetables every week. Take a short walk after dinner every other night. The key is to create sustainable habit changes over time and continue to build on these foundational changes, increase your walks to every night, “make one dinner with only organic ingredients. It’s one step at a time, and if you keep on moving, you will get closer each day.
An often-neglected aspect of overall health is our own mental health. Life is stressful and our bodies are just not well equipped to keep up with the constant demands life’s stress puts on us. It is so very important to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Try, and I mean really try to take up mindfulness meditation. I promise its not as hard as it seems, and the research seems to consistently demonstrate its usefulness.
A wise man once said, everything in moderation, including moderation. Its ok to have that extra glass of wine (or two) on a special occasion and sometimes you are going to eat the whole box of cookies. Do not beat yourself up over it. In the end, it is all about finding balance. You do not need to let your diet, or your workout regimen become who you are to live a healthy life. Go get regular checkups with your PCP and specialists as needed, continue to make small incremental changes over time to improve your diet and fitness and make time for your mental health. Your health should be important to you, and never discount how important your health is to those who love and need you in their lives. Take care of them by taking care of you. Be well.
Michael Thompson, PA-C, Halifax Health – ExpressCare