While the festive period over Christmas and New Year can be a fun and exciting time, it can also be particularly upsetting for some.
It isn’t unusual for people to suffer from January blues, so health chiefs in Lancashire and South Cumbria are encouraging everyone to think about making resolutions that bring positive changes to their health.
Being more active, stopping smoking or drinking less alcohol are great examples of New Year’s resolutions – all of which will reduce your chances of developing long-term health conditions, such as diabetes and lung disease.
Dr Andy Knox, associate medical director for population health for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), the organisation that plans and buys health services for the region, said: “New Year is a great time to commit to making positive changes towards a healthier lifestyle, but it’s also important to think about what it is you want to achieve, set realistic goals and find ways to help you stay motivated.
“Introducing healthy habits and small changes to your lifestyle now could not only help you feel better, but it could have a positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing.”
Setting goals can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming so making sure they’re realistic for you will help you stick to them.
Finding ones that you can complete in just a few minutes is a great way to start. Here are a few health resolutions that you can complete straight away.
- Register for GP online services. It means you’ll be able to book appointments with your GP, order repeat prescriptions and see your medical records online at any time. Start by telling your GP practice that you’d like to register for online services.
- Sign up to be an organ donor. It’s a promise to save someone’s life. Do it here: www.organdonation.nhs.uk
- Give blood. Find out more at: www.blood.co.uk
- Book an appointment for a health check, particularly if you’re over 40 as it’s a good idea to have regular health checks. Find more information here www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-health-check
- Call an old friend or relative you haven’t spoken to in a while. Your call could make the world of difference to them and their wellbeing as well as help reconnect you.
- Get your medicine cabinet stocked up with common remedies, medicines and a first aid kit. Find out what should be in yours at www.lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/news-and-media/latest-news/have-you-ordered-your-repeat-prescription-ahead-christmas.
If you’re going to try to make a bigger change like giving up smoking or losing weight there are some simple things you can do to help yourself stick to them:
- Start small; the little things make all the difference.
o Get off the bus a stop earlier than normal and walk a short distance, park a few minutes’ walk away from work or walk the kids to school. Even if you only do it two or three times a week it will make a difference.
o If you want to change your diet start by having a good breakfast in the morning and cutting out sugary snacks.
- Try a new hobby – it’s ok if you don’t stick to it but at least try. Better still if it’s something that gets you active.
- Find a friend. Doing anything like going to the gym or for a run with someone who has similar goals to you can help motivate you to keep going. Ask a few friends if they would like to team up with you and try it out. Or you can join a group and meet new people along the way.
To find out more about mental health services in Lancashire and South Cumbria visit www.lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/our-work/mental-health.