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Renew & reset self-care goals this Spring

Much has happened since we set New Year’s goals. Hurrah for anyone who made it through football championships, Mardi Gras and the polar arctic-palooza without slipping or giving up. Spring gives us a chance to reset self-care goals.

While the past year interrupted our lives, the “stay home” environment has also positively impacted our lifestyles. Washing our hands more; wearing masks; staying home when not feeling well; eating out less; and taking advantage of online fitness classes can help make us healthier.

However, remember to reschedule any screenings or other medical appointments, including dental exams, that may have been postponed.

The most common 2021 resolutions for adults in the U.S. were exercise more (50%), lose weight (48%), save more money (44%) and improve diets (39%). Three of these, basically the same goals for 2020, go hand-in-hand.

 

We can live longer, healthier lives by:

  • Eating more fruits and vegetables;
  • Exercising more;
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight;
  • Limiting alcohol consumption;
  • Not smoking.

 

Healthy Eating

Most medical dietary guidelines recommend plant-based over animal-based diets. With springtime weather, fresh produce is readily available at grocery stores and local farmers’ markets. Now is also a good time to test our green thumbs by planting gardens. If space is limited, herbs, tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables grow well in containers in Louisiana. Gardening is also a good form of exercise.

More Exercising

The American Heart Association includes an easy-to-follow rule among healthy living recommendations—use up as many calories as you take in. So if a crawfish boil is on the weekend schedule, don’t forego daily exercise.

 

It’s getting warmer and daylight is are lasting longer so let’s move outside. In resetting fitness goals, select outdoor activities that you enjoy. Research shows that it actually takes up to 66 days—not 21—to establish a new habit.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity.

 

Reducing Stress

April is also recognized as Stress Awareness Month. Resetting goals to manage stress is crucial to our health.

Anyone who practices yoga knows the focus is on mind, body and soul. Daily yoga and meditation can help reduce stress, as can taking routine breaks during the work day. Be vigilant about turning off screens and turning on “do not disturb” messages.

The stress hormone cortisol affects our metabolism, which in turn, can cause weight gain. As we age, our metabolic health naturally slows due to lower testosterone levels in men and estrogen drops in women. Thus, we see midlife midsection spreads.

We can’t slow the aging process, but our healthcare providers can work with us on ways to reduce stress and improve our metabolic health.

 

Katie Richard, MA, BSN, RN, is the education and training coordinator for Thibodaux Regional Wellness Education Center. For resources to help you reach your health and wellness goals, call 985-493-4765.