Live Healthy Hartsville: The Twelve Days of Christmas – The Pandemic Year Take Two
I cannot believe we are 15 days from Christmas as I write this. To say I am not prepared is a gross understatement. Back years ago, when we were still at Byerly Hospital, I wrote my first Twelve Days of Christmas – Dietitian Style. I have updated it each year since. Last year I focused on the pandemic that we found ourselves in. Who knew a year later we would still be dealing with issues related to it.
This year, I am doing Take Two of the Pandemic Year. We still are faced with numerous challenges to living our lives as we were pre-pandemic. Some of our challenges have changed. Some have stayed the same. My hope is that as you read this you will discover a bit of insight into some aspect of your life that you can improve. Here we go!
On the first day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 1 day. It has been another challenging year. We have lost people we loved. We have changed the way we work and play. We have dealt with what we call our “new normal.” Through it all, we are still not promised tomorrow. So live each day fully. Enjoy each and every moment. In a world that judges so much by appearance focus on being present.
On the second day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 2 goals. This is one that I never change. Two goals at a time is my max. This year has again pushed some of our plans off track. It is much better (and easier) to accomplish changing a few things at a time versus many. You measure your progress against yourself and remember no matter how slow – celebrate each win.
On the third day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 3 French hens. Once again for 2021, the Mediterranean diet has topped the list this year of “best” diets. There are numerous benefits to be gained from following this diet. We know that following this type of lifestyle helps improve fertility, depression, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other medical complaints. This is not just a diet but a lifestyle too. It is plant forward (not vegetarian), includes social time, and physical activity. Embracing this lifestyle is just plain good for you.
On the fourth day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 4 words of wisdom for a healthy year – live more, worry less. Easier said than done. Mental health issues have climbed amongst all age groups and populations during the past two years. It is more important to focus on the things that truly matter to you and worry less about “keeping up with the Joneses.” We still stigmatize mental health in this country and we need to learn to be more open about talking about these issues so that we can address them.
On the fifth day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 5 days of exercise. This still remains the current recommendation for physical activity. Strive for ~150 minutes per week. This is the equivalent of 5 days of 30- minute exercise periods. We continue to see people struggle with post-COVID lung issues – getting some work in for the heart and lungs is important for all populations. Even breaking it down into three 10-minute sessions works.
On the sixth day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 6 geese-a-laying. I do not really have those to give either but another thing we discovered during this pandemic is that we have supply chain issues. In my business, we have seen supply issues vary from food to disposable products. We have seen delays in shipping. I am sure you have noticed when you go to the store the items that are missing vary week to week. We should continue to look at ways to live a more self-sufficient, sustainable life.
On the seventh day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 7 swans a swimming (I have no swans but I do have a number of rubber ducks in my office). Gyms are open again but be mindful that exercise comes in many forms and the one that works best is the one that you will do.
On the eighth day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 8 days in a week to accomplish all the things! Disclaimer: I cannot do this, but would you make your days more meaningful if you had an extra one? I throw this out every year as a reminder that we all get the same 24 hours in a day. What are you doing with yours?
On the ninth day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 9 letters that spell G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. When things do not seem to be going your way – pause and take a deep breath. There is still so much to be thankful for.
On the 10th day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 10 special letters: R-E-S-I-L-I-E-N-C-E. Resilience is the act of getting back up in the face of each defeat. I know that so many of my coworkers have felt defeated over these past two years. But everyday everyone continues to show up. We have patients to take care of, people to feed, a building to clean, and all the workings of a hospital to maintain. We cannot control everything around us, but we can control how we react and that is where our power lies.
On the 11th day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 11 letters that spell a very important word – U-N-S-T-O-P-P-A-B-L-E! As the world we live in changes we need to make sure that we continue to reach for our own goals and dreams. We might have to reassess and reorganize from time to time, but we should never give up on having the life we want.
On the 12th day of Christmas my dietitian gave to me 12 gigantic wishes for good health for each month of the New Year. Take time with the ones you love most this holiday season. Let joy fill your heart!
Until next time, Live Healthy and Merry Christmas!
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