Author: Brian Jones, Clinical Pharmacist
Every year people use the New Year’s holiday to set intentions and make life goals. The reality is that most of us forget about your New Year’s resolutions in a matter of weeks. Change happens gradually. When people make simple, realistic resolutions, they are more likely to keep them. Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions (HPS) suggests eight simple New Year’s resolutions for people with a chronic condition that can make life easier, healthier and happier.
Make Medical Checkups a Priority
Whether you’re going in for a regular appointment because of your chronic condition or you’re getting a yearly preventive exam, make your medical checkups a priority. Stay on schedule with your doctor’s appointments using digital alerts and written reminders. You may need to visit with multiple healthcare professionals to manage your chronic condition. Be sure to coordinate those appointments and communicate important health information between your doctors.
Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Sleep deficiency is linked to heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and a number of other chronic conditions, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). NIH recommends adults 18 years and older get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Limit screen time before bed, avoid caffeine late in the day and tell your doctor if you have trouble sleeping at night. Make sure you’re getting enough rest to improve your overall wellness this year.
Get Moving Around the Office
If you work at a desk job or spend several consecutive hours sitting down, make an effort to move more often this year. Research suggests standing and moving throughout the day can help you avoid negative health consequences from prolonged sitting. It can be as simple as getting a drink, taking the stairs or walking to the farthest bathroom. These simple changes can improve your health and help you manage your chronic condition.
This year, make a New Year’s resolution to relax more. Relaxation can help you manage stress and feel better overall. There are numerous health benefits to practicing relaxation techniques. Health benefits of relaxation include reduced anger, lower blood pressure, improved digestions and more.
Many chronic conditions and the medications used to treat them lead to skin sensitivity. This year, make it your goal to wear sunscreen. It’s easy to remember sun protection in the hot summer months. However, you should be wearing sunscreen every day, all year long. The American Academy of Dermatology explains that harmful ultraviolet rays can still damage your skin when it’s cold and cloudy. Talk to your doctor about the best sunscreen for sensitive skin, and ask your HPS pharmacist if your medication side effects include skin sensitivity.
Meal Prep Healthy Options
Make it your goal to prepare more nutritious meals in the new year. Identify which days of the week will be busy, and make sure you have an easy, healthy meal for those nights. If your chronic condition flares up, having nutritious food ready to eat can allow you to focus on taking care of yourself. Planning your meals can also make it easier for you to get the nutrients you need to manage your chronic condition well. If you have questions about your diet, you can visit the dietitian in your local Hy-Vee store or HPS patients can talk to our licensed-registered dietitian, Megan Hall.
Commit to Medication Adherence
Medication adherence means taking the right dose of medication at the right time. Sticking to that schedule can help you achieve the best possible outcomes. This year, be sure to coordinate medication deliveries and take your medication as prescribed. If you have questions about your medication, include potential side effects or dosing changes, be sure to talk with your HPS pharmacist.
It’s easy to grumble and complain, but research shows there’s power in positive thinking. Positive thinkers are often better at managing stress and coping with other challenging circumstances. Make an effort to think more positive thoughts this year about yourself, your circumstances and the people around you. Look for opportunities to change your perspective to add a positive spin. To get started, you may find it helpful to think of three things you’re thankful for every day.
This year, you don’t have to make life-changing resolutions. Instead, focus on simple changes that can make it easier to manage your chronic condition and improve your quality of life. The new year is an opportunity for you to move forward with a blank slate and take steps toward an easier, healthier, happier life.