New Years is just around the corner. Many of us will start creating a list of resolutions. We will create a manifesto of all the things we wish to do. We will exercise more, be more open to blind dates, save more money, learn to salsa, learn to cook, etc. etc. etc. We will post these lists on our refrigerators, corners of our bureau mirrors, cork-boards in our offices- places where they will be hard to ignore. We will want to be reminded of all the things we want to start doing so we can live what we undoubtedly believe will be healthier and happier lives.
But what about a “stop doing this” list? What will we stop eating, who will we stop seeing, where we stop working, and what will stop avoiding in the New Year? What will we stop doing in order to live long healthy lives?
There are at least five things you should consider quitting on right now in order to blossom a beautiful and healthy life in the New Year.
- Stop engaging in unhealthy relationships. Relationships in general are stressful enough, let alone unhealthy relationships. This may be the mother who manipulates you into dropping everything to fulfill her every whim and guilt trips you hardcore if you don’t. Or, it may be the guy that you have been dating who just doesn’t understand why you want to go to law school and every time you mention it he gives you an excel spread sheet of all the bad grades you got in undergrad as well as the cost of your dream. Unhealthy relationships breed constant negativity and stress, both of which weaken the immune system and the body’s ability to effectively utilize nutrients that keep you healthy and have been linked to a variety of illnesses including cancer.
- Stop only going to your GYN, GP, OD, and DMD when something is wrong. Many of us think we are taking care of ourselves when we see our gynecologist, general health practitioner, dentist, or optometrist when something is wrong. Negative. You get one body so it’s best you do your best to take care of it now. Make it a point to see your
- Gynecologist (GYN) – Request the pap smear, all STI tests, and an HIV test.
- General Health Practitioner (GP) – Schedule a physical and get your blood work done.
- Dentist (DMD) – Keep your pearly whites pearly, avoid gum disease, and other oral disease by seeing your dentist every six months.
- Optometrist (OD) – Make sure you don’t need glasses, a new prescription for the ones you have, and make sure you don’t have glaucoma.
- Stop drinking every drink and eating every meal given to you. Refrain from capitalizing on every happy hour, every drink sent to you by the cutie in the corner booth who looks just like Idris Elba, or the fried-everything Leah is treating you to at the local lounge because she needs someone (you, again) to listen to what went wrong with her and Jerome, Ted, Alvin, or Ben. What you eat and drink now at 25 will impact you when you are 55. Unhealthy eating habits now are what lead to the type 2 diabetes diagnosis as well as a variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancers. Everything in moderation.
- Stop baring it all in the sunshine. You may be resolved next year to go on more vacations, or go to the beach more often especially since you only live 30 minutes away from it. Just be sure you are using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. What if I’m not a beach Bauce? Well, you should still be putting on sunscreen. Sunscreen should be a part of your daily skincare routine.
- Stop having unhealthy sex. Sex is great. It’s a great way to exercise, increase intimacy in the relationship, and relieve stress. But, it’s risky business. Make sure:
- You and your partner are knowledgeable about what disease(s) you have or don’t have.
- You communicate your thoughts about pregnancy, children, and abortion.
- You are both engaging in activities that you both agree are safe and feel comfortable for both partners.
- You both have the same definition of dating, exclusive dating, monogamy, etc.
- If there is a break and the relationship and then the relationship resumes, you both get tested again.
Sex is great, but last I checked, no one ever said contracting a disease, engaging in sex acts that they felt uncomfortable with, or the mental anguish that comes with keeping or aborting a baby was too.
What you do or don’t do in 2013 will impact what you can or can’t do in 2023, 2033, and so forth. So why not be a proactive and start taking care of your health today?
For more wellness tips, read our “Live Well” column each Monday.