Happy New Year! Want to make it even happier? Stop trying to do it all and put yourself first this year. Here’s how:
Catch Up On Your Check-Ups
Missed your last mammogram? Too busy to keep that eye appointment? Not this year. Your health is far too important to be put on the back burner. Especially since many health conditions have better outcomes if detected early on. According to the American Diabetes Association, early detection and treatment of diabetes can reduce the risk of complications associated with the disease. The American Cancer Society points to the importance of early screening tests for breast cancer, which can identify breast cancers when they are small and still confined to the breast. Since the size and spread of breast cancer are primary determinants of a woman’s prognosis, early detection is especially important. Take inventory of the last time you visited your dentist, family physician, eye doctor, etc., and get them scheduled right now. Your health is too important to wait.
Take a Vacation
Having trouble justifying this one? Look no further: in a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine in 2000, researchers found that men at high risk for coronary heart disease who took more vacations had a lower risk of dying early than their non-trip-taking peers. Plus, according to data from the Framingham Heart Study, women who took a vacation once every six years or less were nearly eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than those who took a minimum of two trips per year.
Do More of What You Love
Make a list of your five favorite things to do. Then think about the last time you did each of them. Been a while? There’s no time like the present! If you love movie dates with your honey, schedule one this weekend. If you used to savor early morning strolls with your neighbor, put them back on your to-do list. Qualitative and anecdotal studies have demonstrated a link between engaging in enjoyable leisure activities and life satisfaction. Other similar studies have suggested that engaging in leisure activities is associated with lower levels of depression.
Lose That Extra Weight
We can’t say it enough: being overweight or obese increases your risk for a number of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Plus, obese adults often report experiencing more aches and pain and poorer sleep than their “normal” weight peers. But did you know that obese adults have a shorter life expectancy as well? That’s right: in a study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology in 2014, researchers concluded that obesity and extreme obesity may be to blame for a reduction in life expectancy by up to eight years. Make this the year you follow through on your weight loss resolution. Not sure how to get started? We’ve got you covered here.