New Year. New Goals. New You!

Let’s face it… the last twelve months have been difficult for most people, but 2020 has been especially trying for seniors. Because our general health, and specifically our immune systems, tend to weaken as we age, a health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic may seem to target the elderly. So, let’s talk about some New Year’s resolutions that can help you rebound from a tough year into the promise of a better 2021!

More than ever, it’s important to see your physician as scheduled.

Even after nearly a year, you probably have questions about the global pandemic and what you should be doing to protect your health. For example, you may be confused about whether you should get the vaccine or not and where to get it. Your doctor will be able to help you with some of those questions. Plus, if you should have any health issues come up, you want to keep your doctor informed just in case it’s something that could weaken your immune system.

Make an effort to stay connected.

Human connection is known to be important for a happy, healthy life. However, in a time when we’re all asked to stay home as much as possible and maintain six feet of space from others when we do go out, seniors are more likely to start feeling isolated. If it continues for too long, that can lead to depression, which can negatively affect your health. Spending several hours every day on the phone is not a bad thing in this environment. Even better, take advantage of the technology that allows you to visit with friends and family virtually. And if you need help setting it up, don’t hesitate to ask!

Prioritize your health, especially this New Year’s.

Most people take good health for granted when they’re younger, but aging changes your body. For example, your immune system gets weaker and metabolism slows, among other changes. Ask your doctor to help you manage these changes toward the goal of enjoying a high quality of life. Also, make sure you’re getting enough rest. After all, even as you age, you still need seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

Commit to 10 minutes of exercise every day.

It only takes small, non-strenuous activity to enjoy the tremendous health benefits and increased longevity of moderate exercise as we age. It’s not necessary to join a health club or overexert yourself. Just spending 10 minutes a day doing light exercise will improve your quality of life significantly. Start by taking a walk. And if you can only manage a short distance at first, that’s fine. You can build from that at your own pace. Before long, you’ll notice that your stamina, balance and general sense of well-being will start to improve noticeably.

Choose happiness over negativity.

The easiest way to kill time when you’re stuck at home is by flipping on the TV. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to avoid getting sucked into all of the negativity we see, especially in the news. While you may feel it’s important to stay informed, you can do that without leaving the news channel on for hours at a time. If you want to watch TV, find a movie that inspires you or makes you laugh. Social media is another area where you need to be careful not to get drawn into other people’s negativity. Focus on a new hobby or find an enlightening book to read.

By making choices that lead you to positive mental and physical health, you’ll be able to more easily put 2020 in the rearview mirror and get a head start on making 2021 have a great year!

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