The year 2020 took us for a ride. It was a whirlwind of emotions. From fear to stress, the overwhelming presence of the global pandemic – COVID-19 – was just one of the many events that made for an unprecedented year. It is a year for the history books, as we experienced a global pandemic, social justice movements, raging fires, online learning, remote work, and an election.
While many of the year’s events brought fear and uncertainty, some brought hope and a sense of community. Our healthcare workers fought countless battles on the frontlines showing us strength, empathy, and selflessness. Essential workers – teachers, grocery store workers, deliverymen and -women, parents and caregivers – kept us going. More than just moving lessons online, keeping the shelves stocked with food, and delivering important packages, the essential workers provided a connection to normalcy which was a blur in the rearview mirror.
New Year Resolutions
As 2021 approaches, the anticipation of a new year couldn’t be more palpable. As you look forward to 2021, what will your new year resolution be? The year 2020 threw some curveballs, but when we swing and miss, that’s when we really learn. What trait or behavior would you like to change? What personal goal do you want to accomplish? How do you want to improve your life in 2021?
From what we know of 2020, your health is a good place to focus your 2021 new year resolutions. As you plan for 2021, take the dimensions of wellness into consideration. Your wellness and health are intertwined, therefore when you focus on the dimensions of wellness, you’re actively contributing to you overall health. Emotional, physical, social, environmental, and intellectual wellness play a big role in your health.
As you reflect on 2020, think about how these areas of your life were impacted. Did COVID-19 leave you emotionally drained? Was your workout regimen or sleep affected? Did you struggle with social connections? Did you allow for a change of scenery? Did the economic downturn leave you jobless? If any of these resonate with you, we have wellness goals that will help your health and wellness thrive in 2021.
Emotional Wellness Goals
2020 brought a whirlwind of emotions. Emotions are a strong feeling originating from a circumstance, mood, or relationship. These strong feelings can affect your emotional wellness. Emotional wellness is the ability to express feelings, adjust to emotional changes, cope with stress, and enjoy life.
Practice meditation or mindfulness through taking deep breaths, yoga, or enjoying a stroll through the park. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), adding the practice of meditation or mindfulness to your daily routine could help reduce stress, boost working memory, increase focus, create less emotional reactivity, increase cognitive flexibility, and generate relationship satisfaction.
Giving yourself time to breath and reflect on the emotions of the day will give you an understanding of why, how, and when certain emotions occur. Using a journal to record feelings and thoughts is a great way to reflect on the day. It not only helps you reflect, but it allows you to clear your mind.
Self-care is so important. If you’re not caring for yourself, how are you to care for others? Give yourself time. Whether it’s a daily ten-minute walk or a weekly nail appointment, practices of self-care can lift your spirit and emotions. Another daily self-care practice is speaking words of self-affirmations. Positive thoughts equal a positive mood and attitude.
Physical Wellness Goals
Nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and preventative measures are all part of physical wellness. Our bodies are miraculous. Fueling them with healthy food, keeping them active, and providing them with rest creates balance and well-being.
Fueling the body with nutritious foods gives you energy and keeps the body moving. Opting for homemade meals over fast food, meal planning, or visiting a dietician or nutritionist are all ways to keep your body healthy.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), adequate sleep is necessary to fight off infection, support metabolism, perform well in school, or work effectively and safely. There are several goals you can set to ensure your body is getting the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep. Cut back on caffeine or limit TV and exercise at least a few hours before bedtime to allow your body and mind to relax.
Preventative care includes routine visits to the doctor, dentist, and other healthcare providers. These visits allow you to stay healthy and receive more effective treatment. In addition, it helps reduce your overall medical expenses. Make it a goal to schedule your annual well-check with your family physician and your semi-annual check-ups with your dentist.
Social Wellness Goals
Social interaction promotes a sense of safety, belonging, and security. It’s also great for your brain health – lighting your mood and making you feel happier. Let’s face it, social distancing really put a damper on our social wellness in 2020. As you move into 2021, make a goal to rekindle social relationships whether “distantly” in person or via digitally.
Even though in-person interactions have been socially distanced, there are still several ways to help bridge the distance. Schedule a weekly check-in with family or friends by utilizing today’s tech tools and resources, such as Zoom, Facetime, or the plethora of social platforms. Get nostalgic, by phoning a friend or sending a handwritten letter or postcard to a family member.
Building new relationships is just as important as maintaining current relationships. Join a group where others share same interests. Platforms like Meetup offer a variety of interest groups (Friends of Nevada Wilderness; VegasHikers; Books, Brunch & Beyond) where you can meet new people, learn new things, get out of your comfort zone, and pursue your passions.
Environmental Wellness Goals
You interact with the environment constantly. According to ODPHP, maintaining a healthy environment is key to increasing the quality of your life and the years of a healthy life. How can you maintain environmental wellness?
Going green means to live life in a way that is friendly to the environment and sustainable to the earth. By practicing a green lifestyle, you have the ability to contribute to a cleaner breathing environment, safer food, and safer water systems. Practice go green acts such as recycling or working on making your home more energy efficient. Other ways to commit to a healthy Earth while also committing to your own health is replacing harsh chemical cleaners with natural alternatives and using personal products free of parabens and phthalates.
We’re often a product of our environment and let’s face it – we’re seeing more of the indoors these days than in the past. With COVID-19 forcing school online and work remotely, it’s been difficult to get fresh air and enjoy a change of scenery. Practicing a change of scenery could really uplift your well-being. Schedule time to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Be adventurous and explore areas you haven’t seen before.
Clutter can create chaos. Studies have show that your well-being can be directly affected by the clutter in your life. An overflowing email box; a kitchen countertop covered with mail, appliances, and snacks; a garage baring two broken ladders, decorations from 1985, and childhood toys. It’s an unbearable sight and rather overwhelming to think about. Taking time to organize your environment can create calm and feelings of satisfaction. Whether it’s the overflowing email box or the garage full of surprises, make a goal to tackle the clutter in one area of your life.
Intellectual Wellness Goals
Intellectual wellness focuses on keeping your brain active and your intellect expanding. Engaging in creative and mentally stimulating activities nurtures curiosity and feeds the lifelong learner within you.
Just as your body needs to stay physically fit through exercise, your brain needs to do the same. Keep your mind sharp by playing brain games, mind teasers, puzzles, or memory-enhancing games.
COVID-19 left many jobless and on the hunt for a new job or career. Although it isn’t the ideal situation, it provides an opportunity for growth. Take time to learn something new, brush up on skills, or find things you’re truly passionate about. Taking an online computer course or learning a new language are great things to add to your resume. In addition, you might just learn something that opens additional opportunities.
Although it may be difficult to look back at 2020, take a moment to think about what you want to improve upon in the coming year. You can start fresh in 2021 and make your resolutions a reality. Remember to focus on areas that attribute to your wellness. Whether it is a weekly phone call with a friend to meet your social wellness goal or taking a daily 10-minute walk to meet your emotional and physical wellness goal – be specific about your goal, set a time limit, make it measurable, and write it down.
From all of us at RMG, we hope your 2021 is healthy, safe, and filled with joy!
Is scheduling your annual check-up with a family physician one of your physical wellness goals? We’re here to help. Call us at 702-463-4040 to schedule an appointment with one of our family medicine providers.
Article by Kristine Campo