Now more than ever, take care of yourself.
One thing that I have learned in life is to live in the present.
The baggage from our past includes anger, regrets, and the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.
Living in the future can also lead to fantasy, frustration and failing to experience the joys of life.
Despite those thoughts, I think we can all benefit from reflection as we transition from one year to the next in assessing what we have accomplished in the previous year and our goal, dreams, aspirations, and purpose for the next.
I have adopted a framework for doing this based on my experiences as a physician, author, and listening to others.
I use my GRACE acronym and my Power of 5 formula to organize my process.
Reviewing with GRACE
- Goal/purpose: What are your goals and purpose in life, have you maintained your focus and what will you focus on in the year ahead?
- Roots: What are your roots/DNA: family, occupational and DNA. What are you doing to nurture them now and in the future?
- Attitude: Are you maintaining a positive attitude, what are you doing to show your gratitude, and what will you do in the year ahead?
- Companionship: What is the status of your relationships and what will you be doing in the year ahead to solidify existing ones and build new ones?
- Environment: Is your environment safe and with controls on pollution and toxic chemicals? What will you do next year to reduce your exposure? Are you considering your internal environment? Our internal environment is essential to our health and wellbeing. What have you done in the current year and what can you do in the next year to protect and improve your health?
Planning with the Power of 5
- Sweets: your eating lifestyle.
The food you eat can be favorable like medicine or can be hazardous to your health. Have you done your best regarding the food you eat? What can you change?
- Stress: stress can be a major threat to your health and wellbeing.
What have you done and what will you do in the coming year to address your stress? Seek a new job or relationship? Add mindfulness or meditation to your daily routine?
- Sweat: your activity and exercise lifestyle.
Can you do more next year to take care of yourself? Spice it up with different exercises. Add strength training, dance, Tai Chi. Shoot for at least 150 minutes a week and set 450 minutes a week as a dream goal.
- Sleep: your quality and quantity of sleep.
Have you been getting enough sleep? Strive for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Learn more about sleep. I have found The Matt Walker podcast to be very informative and can help anyone who struggles with sleep.
- Sex: it’s about intimacy, socialization, companionship, and connections.
We can all benefit by adding social connections to our lives. The opposite of intimacy is loneliness; it is a health hazard. What are you doing to make new connections and avoid the harms of loneliness? I highly recommend spending time to solidify your current relationships and develop new ones. These connections might just be the glue that holds everything together.
There is scientific backing showing that each component can improve longevity and health span. I encourage you to incorporate as many of these components as possible into your life.
Resolve to take care of yourself in 2023.
Please reach out to me if you wish to discuss a plan to reach your maximum health.
To a Long and Healthy Life,
David Bernstein, MD