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Health Resolutions You Should Commit to in 2021

For most, 2020 was an extremely challenging year. As we hope for a better year ahead, it’s also time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions! With the coronavirus pandemic still looming large, we encourage you to keep health and wellness at the forefront of your 2021. Here are health resolutions you should commit to in 2021!

Focus on Your Mental Health 

2020 had a lot of negative news. Pairing that with social distancing and the inability to visit loved ones: it’s impacted the mental health of thousands of people around the world. 

Identifying mental health stressors and learning new ways to manage and deal with this stress is a great way to start the new year. 

Need actionable next steps? Follow these tips:

  • Consider journaling. Writing down what you feel grateful for or items troubling you can help organize your thoughts and create a greater sense of control. 
  • Reach out to a professional. With many virtual options available, seeking advice from a therapist or psychologist is more accessible now than ever. If you’re struggling with your mental health, seeking professional help is often the best first step you can take. Do some research to see if local therapists in your area are offering online counseling. If not, many national programs, such as BetterHelp, offer great, affordable options. 
  • Make “de-stressing” part of your routine. The highs and lows of life are unavoidable. That’s why working stress management into your routine is one of the best mental health habits you can develop. Some options to consider include: prioritizing 7-8 hours of sleep each night (yes, that’s a stress management tool!), limiting screen-time, scheduling daily walks, planning regular conversations with loved ones, reading a book, or even making time for activities like puzzling or coloring that can take your mind off the worries of the day. 

Break Bad Pandemic Habits  

Although important in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the stay-at-home order and social distancing didn’t do many favors for some of our healthy habits. In fact, it was common that most people reduced their physical activity and ordered take-out food for meals. While there’s no need to feel guilty about that, especially if those habits helped to get you through those challenging months, it’s time to reconsider those unhealthy habits that the pandemic created. 

For example, if you’ve dropped exercising these past few months, it’s time to get back to it. While you don’t necessarily need to go back to the gym, though now they’re following strict COVID-19 regulations, find ways to get yourself moving and motivated. Follow online workout classes at home, and exercise outside while safely distancing yourself from others. 

Take a look at the habits you picked up during the pandemic. Decide if they’re hurting or helping your health. If unhealthy, focus on habits that reverse their impact for the new year. 

Keep Up Cleanliness Habits

As we continue battling the coronavirus pandemic, personal hygiene and cleanliness are more important than ever. Thankfully, these habits will still have health benefits even after the pandemic is behind us. Certain practices such as washing your hands after visiting a store or wearing a mask in public when sick or in crowded places will slow the spread of other diseases and germs, such as the common cold or stomach bugs. 

If you would like to speak to a health professional about health resolutions you should commit to in 2021, click here to contact us or call 770-463-4644.

Five Back-To-School Health Tips During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Across the country, parents are preparing their students — and themselves — for a back-to-school season unlike any we’ve had before. Whether your children will be learning remotely at home or returning to in-classroom instruction, keeping them healthy is going to require more than the usual nutritious snacks and a regular bedtime.

The coronavirus pandemic can feel overwhelming sometimes, but there’s actually a lot you can do to keep your family healthy as summer vacation draws to a close and the new school year begins. In combination with the protective measures taken by your school and public health agencies, together, we can keep kids safe while helping their young minds grow. Follow these back-to-school health tips to learn how to do just that!

1. Teach your children to wear their masks

According to the CDC, cloth face masks help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially in settings where social distancing is challenging. Start practicing and encouraging good mask-wearing habits at home before school starts. If your children are returning to the classroom, it will help protect them, their fellow students, and their teachers and staff. If they’re doing virtual learning from home, masks are still important anytime your kids go out in public.

2. Help your children find healthy ways to manage stress

This school year will be unlike any your children have experienced before. Rapid change and unfamiliar situations can be stressful for anyone, and children are often less equipped to manage that stress. They may also be discouraged that they cannot spend time with friends after school or participate in their favorite activities, all of which previously helped them reduce their stress.

Help your kids find new ways to lower their stress, such as exploring new hobbies, coordinating video calls with their friends, indulging in some video games, and more. Most importantly, be sure to let your child know that feeling some day-to-day stress is normal, but that they should talk with you anytime they feel overwhelmed and want some help.

3. Encourage your children to stay active

Especially if your child is participating in classes online, it’s important that they take frequent breaks to get up, move around and stretch. ​According to the Baltimore Business Journal, “frequent stretching keeps a proper blood and nutrient supply to the working muscles and tissues throughout the workday [schoolday] and prevents fatigue and discomfort … while reducing stress and increasing energy.”                         

Students should consider taking breaks from sitting ​every 30 minutes​ – whether it be walking around the block or strolling to the kitchen – ​according to a study from researchers at Weill Cornell Medical Center, University of Michigan, and Columbia Medical Center.

4. Practice washing hands together

Washing hands is an important way to help prevent the spread of disease even in normal times.  During this pandemic, it’s more important than ever. Teach your children to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently throughout the day. ​Check out the CDC’s guidelines for handwashing, then practice with them at home. You can even make a game of it by singing a song together as you wash. Remember to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or the length of your favorite song.

5. Continue taking your children to their doctor

While going anywhere outside your home during this pandemic can feel risky, doctors’ offices are one of the safest places you can go to receive needed care and treatment. It’s far riskier to avoid or delay check-ups and medical care, possibly leaving serious health issues undetected or untreated.

Most doctors’ offices — including all of YourTown Health’s community health centers — are taking extraordinary precautions to ensure the health and safety of their patients and staff. So, keep scheduling those annual well-check visits for your children, and reach out to your doctor anytime your children show signs of needing medical attention.

If you would like to speak to our team further about back-to-school health tips or schedule a well-check visit, click here to contact the experts at YourTown Health or call 770-463-4644.

Top Five Preventative Health Measures Men Should Take

June is Men’s Health Month! From Father’s Day to National Men’s Health Week, this is the perfect time to highlight men’s health issues.

While this is not the case for everyone, some men overlook preventative measures to protect their health. This can often be detrimental to their health and well-being.  

In honor of Father’s Day and National Men’s Health Week this year, the experts at YourTown Health have provided the top five preventative health measures men should take. 

1. Receive Regular Health Screenings

The best way to stay proactive about your health is by regularly checking for major issues before they develop. To put this in perspective, many serious conditions related to men’s health, such as prostate cancer and heart disease, can easily be managed and treated if they had been given the appropriate attention before becoming problematic. 

Men should then continue to receive regular checkups and screenings with their healthcare provider. 

Here is a list of health screenings and checks men should take to stay proactive about their health:

  • Blood cholesterol 
  • Blood pressure
  • Colon cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Prostate Cancer

Please speak to your provider about your personal risks for developing these health conditions. 

2. Remain Active

Slowing down your level of activity as you get old is not recommended. A decrease in physical activity can lead to an increased risk of obesity, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. You don’t want to have to deal with any of those, so get up and get moving!

Ideally, aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. If you manage your time well, that only comes out to around 20 minutes a day.  

3. Focus on Your Diet

In most scenarios, exercise is best paired with eating well. 

Avoid eating an excessive amount of food that contains high levels of fat, salt, and artificial sugar content. Instead, reach for fruits, veggies, whole wheats, lean proteins, and drink plenty of water. 

4. Focus on Mental Health

If you aren’t also focusing on your mental health, all of the work put on your physical health won’t create as big of an impact on your overall health as it should.

Your brain is a vital organ, and if it’s not properly exercised, there will be physical repercussions. For example, men with major health issues often experience weight gain, decrease sexual function, and mood swings. 

That’s why it’s important to focus on how you’re feeling. 

Depression and anxiety are major issues for men, as well. In fact, nine percent of men state that they have experienced daily feelings of depression and anxiety. 

Therefore, make sure to acknowledge if any of those issues begin to impact your day to day life. Carve out time in your schedule to physically and mentally relax to avoid burnout and let your brain rest and restart. 

Great ways to do that are engaging in yoga, taking long showers, going for a walk, or curling up on the couch with a good book or movie. 

If you are experiencing any mental health conditions (i.e. depression or anxiety) and notice them worsening overtime, speak to your healthcare provider. 

5. Don’t Forget to Sleep

You’ve always heard how important sleep is and it’s true! 

Getting enough sleep is vital for your body to rest and repair. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re negatively impacting your mental health and productivity. Learn more about the benefits of sleep here.

So, make sure you’re getting seven to eight hours of sleep every day. As a tip, go to bed without your phone to reduce distractions.
Do you have any more questions or concerns about the top five preventative health measures men should take? Reach out to the men’s healthcare professionals at YourTown Health by clicking here.  

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