New Year’s Eve is going to be different this year because of the pandemic. The iconic Ball Drop will still take place in New York’s Times Square, but for the first time ever there will be no crowds because the celebration will be virtual. Public health officials want to avoid massive crowds with revelers packed shoulder-to-shoulder. And even smaller indoor gatherings are the sorts of things public health officials want to avoid because they could further fuel the spread of COVID-19. Instead, people are urged to ring in the New Year at home with the people with whom they live.
The New Year brings hope, especially with the rollout of the first two vaccines. In the spirit of optimism, many people will engage in the tradition of making a New Year’s resolution. Here are a few healthy goals to help you get the New Year started on the right foot during the pandemic.
Commit to Following Public Health Advice
The images of healthcare workers and nursing home residents receiving their first doses of the
COVID-19 vaccine give us reason to believe better days are ahead, but it will be a few months before the vaccine is widely available to the general public. In the meantime, it’s important to remain vigilant, and to continue taking precautions to avoid gett
ing COVID-19. Public health officials say wearing a mask, maintaining at least six feet of distance from others, and routinely washing your hands are some of the most effective ways to protect yourself against the virus. Making a commitment to follow public health advice is something that will benefit you and your community in 2021.
Exercise and Eat Right
Resolving to lose weight is one of the best things you can do for your health in the coming year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 71 percent of American adults over age 20 are either overweight or obese. That percentage may be even higher now because a recent survey found the majority of Americans admit gaining weight during the pandemic. People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk of complications due to COVID-19. Obesity can also lead to a number of serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer which also increase the risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus.
Make a commitment to exercise and eat healthy foods. Talk to your doctor to find a plan that’s right for you. There are a number of free apps that can help you track your calories. Or you can join an online support group to help you meet your goals.
Focus on your Health
If you delayed getting a routine checkup or cancelled preventative screenings such as mammograms or colonoscopies in 2020, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, 4 in 10 U.S. adults avoided medical care during the pandemic because of concerns related to COVID-19. Cancer, heart attacks, strokes and other emergencies do not take a break during a public health crisis, so it’s important to get medical care when you need it. Some medical problems require an in-person visit, but telehealth services may be an option in some cases.
And remember it’s not too late to get a flu shot. The vaccine will help protect you from influenza, avoid a mistaken diagnosis of COVID-19, and protect valuable medical resources.
Make Time for Self-Care
We all have a lot on our plates these days. Many people are juggling work, remote school, running a household, caring for children or caring for adult relatives. It may seem like there are not enough hours in a day. It’s more important than ever to take care of ourselves. Give yourself a break and try to let go of guilt. Do something nice for yourself. It can be a little thing like unwinding over a cup of tea or taking a bubble bath. If you don’t take time to recharge and take care of your mental health, you won’t be fully available for the people who need you.
Quarantines and social distancing have left many people feeling isolated, but just because we are staying apart does not mean we have to be alone. Find creative ways to connect with your family and friends virtually. Here are few options to consider:
- Book Club – An online book club is a fun way to get a conversation started online. Plus, reading is good exercise for the brain. Not only can it keep your mind sharp, it can also help relieve stress.
- Game Night – Games like Yahtzee and Charades are fun for all ages and are easy to play over a video call. Buy a copy for a friend or relative and you’ll be ready to play at any time. You can also shop the app store on your phone to find a multiplayer game like Scrabble to play with others online.
- Watch a Movie – You and your friends can watch a movie or show together from the comfort of your own couch. There are several apps and services available that allow you to stream videos together. Some even allow you to chat while watching.
- Craft with a friend – Doing a favorite activity like scrapbooking or knitting while video chatting with a friend can make it feel like you’re in the same room.
These are just a few ideas to improve your overall wellbeing in the coming year. Many people have trouble sticking with their New Year’s Resolution for more than a few weeks. If you’re one of them, improve your chances of success by setting a realistic goal for 2021. Start small, and if you are having trouble meeting the goal, it is okay to adjust the plan.