Simple New Year’s Wellness Tips You Can Actually Stick Toby Andrea Brookhart, PharmD, BCACP
What makes you feel well? Is it an intangible feeling or a measurable habit? For some people, it’s hitting a personal best in a workout, adhering to a healthier food plan or getting eight hours of sleep at night. For other people, wellness means keeping a chronic condition under control or hitting a weight-loss goal. At Kroger Health, we believe wellness is different for each person and that it is multifaceted. Wellness isn’t just “one thing” like taking medication as prescribed or eating foods that have a certain nutritional profile. As you think about what wellness might mean for you in the New Year, here are some ideas to help you make simple changes that improve your wellness in different ways:
Food is essential and permeates our lives and relationships: family meals, holiday gatherings, lunch meetings and on-the-go snacks. However, food can – and should – be medicine, helping you prevent chronic disease before it starts, reversing disease that’s already started or supporting your efforts to feel your best every day. It can be hard to know where to begin when considering food from a more holistic point of view. One simple way to help you achieve your nutrition-related goals in 2020 is to use our handy OptUP scoring system to keep an eye on your nutrition. You can select dietary tags that are meaningful for you, from keto-friendly, to diabetes-friendly, to paleo, to heart-friendly. OptUP can help you identify and select better-for-you options for the items you already buy.
Movement is another important aspect of wellness. Exercise contributes to wellness in many ways; some of the most noticeable benefits of exercise are boosted mood, weight loss and sleep improvement. National guidelines recommend adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. That may sound daunting, but if you break it down, that’s 30 minutes of movement 5 days a week. Choose a group class, a solo walk, a daily swim or even active play with your kids to start to realize these benefits.
Improve overall wellness by implementing a mindfulness practice. In this busy world, finding peace and being present takes effort, but can center your thoughts as you focus on your well-being. Some research even suggests meditation may also help with chronic disease or insomnia. Consider starting a meditation practice – there are tons of apps you can download that will guide you through meditations. Or, decide to put away electronic devices during meals and before bed to bring your awareness to yourself, your loved ones and what’s happening right in front of you.
Adhere to medications
I’m a pharmacist, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the way medicine contributes to wellness and offer a tip to get the most out of your prescriptions. It’s quite simple: Stay adherent to your medications! C. Everett Koop, a former U.S. Surgeon General, said, “Drugs don't work in patients who don't take them.” Make a plan to consistently take your medication as prescribed. Perhaps set a daily alarm, enroll in Sync Up or create accountability with someone important in your life to support you. Your pharmacist can help recommend solutions that will help you stick to your medication and support your wellness goals!
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