Is 2015 the year to commit to Better Health?

Yes and sign me up! There is no time like the present to give yourself the gift of better health. What better way to ring in the New Year than by committing to manageable and meaningful changes in what you do and how you do it to improve your health? Just think of how happy you will be when you look back on 2015 and find you have given yourself more energy, a better mood, and less illness while putting yourself on the path to lower healthcare costs and longer life. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help identify achievable ways to make 2015 a healthier year for you:

Are you eating well? There are lots of ways to make improvements in what you eat. Pay more attention to portion size by enjoying the foods you love in moderation. Drink water every day to help reduce the urge to snack and stay properly hydrated. Make sure you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Research shows that increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, helps lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Are you exercising? You do not need to be a triathlete to get the health benefits of more movement in your life. Try parking a bit farther away from your destination to boost your walk. Set aside time in your day to take a walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Try something new that you have wondered about or used to enjoy but got away from – maybe yoga or zumba or tai chi. Grab a friend and make exercise a fun part of your week. If you do not know how to get started, join me and many others in trying out these activities free at the Healthy Hearts of the Move event at the St. Albans City School on February 7th from 9am to noon.

Have you completely stopped using tobacco? It’s time and we can help as Vermont offers a wide variety of assistance with quitting smoking and NMC is an active partner in that effort. Free resources include free gum and patches as well as access to support in person, online, or over the phone. Quitting tobacco can save you money and make an immediate improvement in your health and wellbeing. It can also make a significant difference for your children or unborn child. For more information and help, please visit 802quits.org or call NMC’s Chari Andersen at 524-8480 (or email Chari at [email protected]).

Are you managing your stress? All of us feel the stress of the challenges we face in day-to-day life as well as those brought on by crisis. Even the holidays can cause stress amidst what is intended to be a joyous time. Take time to nurture yourself. Look for the upside and make the best of situations. Set aside some time for relaxation. Find something that helps you manage your stress, be it going for a walk, taking a long bath, writing in a journal, talking with a friend, or playing with a pet.   

Are you ready to RISE? In early 2015, our Community Committee on Healthy Lifestyles will be introducing RISE VT – an exciting multi-faceted approach to engage individuals, families, organizations, and businesses in rising to better health. It has been so exciting to be at the table with others from throughout our community to put this initiative together and it was thrilling to secure funding from NMC and a major grant to make it possible.  Watch our local media for the announcement of RISE VT and join us in a community-wide effort to improve our quality of life.

As 2015 emerges, we have a wonderful opportunity to be healthier as individuals, as families, and as a community. NMC is pleased to be a resource to you in this effort as a provider of care and an advocate of wellness and prevention. We appreciate you entrusting your care to us, look forward to sharing the excitement of RISE VT with you, and wish you and yours all the best. Have a happy and healthy New Year! Join me in living a little healthier in 2015!

– Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer