With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season behind us and summer around the corner, it’s time to double down on the New Year’s resolutions to make them stick. It can be tempting to try and take on everything from getting organized to sticking to a budget to volunteering, but it’s important to take a step back and think about your true personal priorities for the year.
As a woman, mother and advocate for bettering the health and well-being of my community, I have always made improving health a priority. Often in my practice, I have seen women put the care and well-being of their loved ones ahead of their own. As the chief medical officers for our families, it is our instinct to do that. We are so focused on the health of others that we forget to take care of ourselves.
In 2015, it’s important to remember that our family’s health and well-being is actually contingent on our own. This year, making a resolution to get healthy can actually put your whole family on a track for better health.
How will you make 2015 the year that you finally stick to your resolution of getting you and your loved ones healthy? Follow these tips to make your health one of your biggest life priorities:
- Regular check-ups and prevention: In this day and age, we have made tremendous progress in the field of medicine. We have tools and resources at our fingertips which help understand and gauge variables that may put us at risk for a disease. Use them! Let’s check our “numbers” regularly. This includes blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. As African American women, we know our community is at greater risk for developing certain diseases and we need to tackle hypertension, heart disease and diabetes head on. Early detection and treatment can decrease the risk of developing complications. Those of us who already have a chronic disease can take steps to make living with the disease more manageable.
- Maintain a healthy diet: We have to be smart and make healthy eating choices. Moderation and substitution are vital to realizing you can still enjoy the foods you’ve always eaten and indulge from time to time, while living a satisfying lifestyle. You can still have your favorites like collard greens, cornbread, rice or even soda. Enjoy them in moderation and be creative with substitutions, whether it is having a mini can of soda or using two-percent cheese instead of whole milk-based cheese.
- Get up and moving – balancing your healthy diet with exercise: Tie in your healthier eating choices with some movement and you’ve got a great key to success. Find fun ways to be active, so you don’t get bored like dancing to your favorite songs. Or, try to incorporate activities into your normal routine, whether it is walking up a few flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator or going for a 5-minute walk around your neighborhood with a family member or friend.
- Be proactive about your health: Keep it simple and make sure your healthy lifestyle meets your needs and you can follow it. Work together with your doctor to determine what works best for you and take action to stay on top of your health.
Please remember, if not for yourself, keep your health a priority for your loved ones. Our families depend on us, and we need to get empowered about our health and take the appropriate steps to be in their lives for as long as possible.
Here’s to you celebrating 2015 with health and happiness!