By Dr. Nancy Simpkins
As 2015 rolls out, it is time to take a minute to self-evaluate. What do you love about yourself, and what can you improve on? My best advice is to be good to yourself this year, and take care of your body. So, how do you best do this?
Here are some tips to take better care of yourself in 2015:
1. Your medical carE
Have you seen a doctor in the past 12 months?
Most young women (under 40) believe that they only need a gynecologist. As important as seeing your gynecologist is for every woman, it is equally as important to see an internist once a year to assess your overall health. Both men and women need to know their blood values, blood pressure, and more. It is important to have some yearly blood work looking at your cholesterol, thyroid, heart, kidneys, and liver. A baseline EKG (heart tracing) is very important to have done at your doctor, as well. Early detection is the key to long life!
What about your eyes and your teeth?
A yearly eye doctor appointment is important for life long vision health. Your teeth and gums can be the source of many diseases (including heart disease), so see your dentist twice a year.
2. Self-assessment of health
Are you happy with your level of activity? Do you need to exercise more? How do you begin to be healthier?
Begin the New Year with a new attitude. Start picking exercise that you enjoy, and mix it up! Sweating is great, don’t worry how many calories you are burning, just get out and move! Exercise is best done 4-5 days a week, with a rest day at least twice a week.
Evaluate your eating habits for your best health. Do you eat when you are bored, sad, or frustrated? Learn your eating habits, and make adjustments to benefit your overall health.
What about lifestyle?
Sleep is necessary just like the way we need water and food. So if sleep is an issue for you, try some ways to wind down at the end of the day: a warm bath, herbal tea, good book, and conversation. Turn off your phone 20 minutes before bed and relax. If you are still having a problem, talk to your doctor.
Patients always ask about vitamins and supplements. I prefer to get my vitamins from my food. Fruit is an excellent source of Vitamins B and C. Vitamin D is best obtained by 15-20 minutes a day of sunshine (without sunscreen). In the winter months, everyone’s Vitamin D levels drop, and it might be necessary to replace yours — talk to your doctor.
Supplements are usually not necessary but before trying any, speak with your doctor, as some supplements can be harmful to your liver or kidneys.
What other changes can you make?
Reduce stress by yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Stress is the cause of many diseases, and lowering your stress and cortisol levels can help prevent disease and lead the way to a more positive outlook and healthier body.
Love yourself, take care of yourself — you’re all you’ve got! Let’s have a healthy and happy 2015 together.
Dr. Nancy Simpkins is a Board Certified Internist and Medical Consultant for the state of New Jersey. With a practice in Livingston, NJ, Dr. Simpkins has been involved in all aspects of internal medicine, with a focus on women’s health. Known for her diagnostic ability, coupled with her wit, Dr. Simpkins has garnered a huge following and become a sought after speaker, guest, and consultant for women’s groups. She is dedicated to raising awareness by providing the most current and up-to-date information that women at any age can utilize to feel and look their best.