A new year brings the promise of new possibilities. Whether you’re making New Year’s resolutions or simply envisioning what you want your 2019 to look like, you probably have some goals in mind for the year ahead, and chances are at least some of them are health-related. Last year (and no doubt in most years), the most popular New Year’s resolution was to lose weight or eat healthier. The same tends to be true for health care providers, too. Like everyone else, they have to work at maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Lisa Laurent, MD, MBA, MS, CPE and the Medical Staff President at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, explains that prioritizing health is not always easy, but it is important. “In order to give fully of oneself to patients who are deserving of our care, a physician must be as healthy as he or she can — physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically,” she says.
While she says it seems like “a daunting task at times, especially when juggling demanding schedules both inside and outside the workplace,” she’s confident it’s not impossible. “Good health can be achieved,” she says. We wanted to know how health care providers are planning to be their healthiest selves in 2019. Laurent and seven other health professionals shared their resolutions and/or goals for the year ahead.
Deborah Gilboa, MD, Clinical Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and media personality, founder of AskDoctorG.com
“I want to do something small but impactful: drink more water. I need to add 32 ounces of water a day so I’m going to start my day with that water bottle full and just not drink anything else until it’s gone. I like small changes because they’re achievable and sustainable. By drinking more water I’m hoping to have skin that withstands the indignities of washing 30 or so times a day (between each patient), lips that chap too easily, and the occasional headache.”
Dominic King, DO, Sports Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Center
“My resolution this year is to continue what I started last year. I am currently 30 pounds into my weight loss journey of 75 pounds. We all know that excess weight can lead to joint problems, stress on the heart, and open up for other diseases to develop, like diabetes. I couldn’t keep telling my patients that they needed to have a healthy weight if I wasn’t willing to do it myself. The number-one step that I took was hiring a personal trainer and fitness expert. You have no idea how much more effective you will be at achieving a healthy weight with the right team. Don’t put all of the pressure on yourself. Have a coach who can show you the ropes and keep you accountable.”
“When the ball drops in 2019, one of my major health goals is to get seven hours of sleep a night. Researchers recommend seven to nine hours of shut-eye for adults. Proper rest promotes cognitive skills, mental and emotional health and well-being, and motor function. I’ve also recently started meditating and focusing on mindfulness which I plan on incorporating into my bedtime ritual as a way to gently wind down from the stresses and strains of the day, to turn off the proverbial ‘noise,’ and to prepare myself psychologically for a refreshing, recuperative rest.”
Colleen DeBoer, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital
“My New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to increase my weekly meal prep. Working full-time and having 7-month-old twins and a 4-year-old make dinner time a bit of a circus at our house. Many parents struggle to put nutritious meals on the table in a timely manner while hungry kids are at your feet. As a dietitian, I strive to provide this for my family but also need to keep my sanity. Even prepping part of the meal can make a big difference during the week. In the end, making dinner nutritious and a more enjoyable time of day allows you to come together as a family.”
Marie Hamilton, Clinical Nurse, Acute Care Unit, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
“After being inspired at the Magnet conference in Denver and noticing how far we walk as nurses each day, I decided to join the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation challenge. It aims to help the 4 million registered nurses in this country increase their personal wellness and improve health by focusing on areas such as nutrition, rest, and physical activity.”
Anne Marie Zeller, D.O., a physician with the NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute
“My resolution is to take time daily to do breathing exercises. Medicine is stressful and can cause anxiety and depression. As a physician, I am committed to staying mentally healthy for my patients so I can be the best attentive physician. I plan to set a timer on my phone daily to take 5 minutes to do this, and use an app for guidance.”
Andrea O’Donnell, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor at Individual & Family Connection Counseling
“My New Year’s goal is to meditate regularly. I have had an inconsistent meditation practice for years, and this summer I took an online training in mindfulness meditation. It was truly transformative, and I feel ready to make it a daily practice. Here’s to 2019!”
Jill Pasinski, DDS, RiverWalk Family Dental
“In 2019 I’m hoping to get more organized, especially in areas that make it easier for me to achieve a healthy work-life balance. One area that I think will make a difference is meal planning. Having an idea of what we’re going to have makes me less stressed and less likely to opt for fast food. There’s nothing wrong with fast food on occasion, but I feel good sitting down and sharing a healthy meal with my family at the end of the day.”
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Shannan Younger is a writer living in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband and teen daughter. Originally from Ohio, she received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Notre Dame. Her essays have been published in several anthologies and her work has been featured on a wide range of websites, from the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop to the BBC. She also blogs about parenting at Between Us Parents.
Shannan is the Illinois Champion Leader for [email protected], a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that supports vaccination efforts in developing countries to ensure life-saving vaccines reach the hardest to reach children. “Vaccines are one of the most effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries and I’d love nothing more than to see diseases eradicated,” Shannan says. “We are so close to getting rid of polio for good!”