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Winter 2014

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Broken Resolution? Don’t Let it Break Your Resolve

The new year has come and gone. Your days are now free of holiday parties and events that throw off your schedule and your diet. With things starting to get a bit more back to normal, it’s time to check in and see how that New Year’s resolution is coming, right?

About one–half of us make New Year’s resolutions each year. Losing weight and quitting smoking are two of the most frequent resolutions, as many people use this time of year to jumpstart a new and healthier way of living. But alas, less than 10% of people manage to keep their resolutions. Largely, this is because people tend to overreach with goals or aim to "fix" something that is "broken" about themselves. Although maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking are both great goals for improving your health, perhaps this year’s resolutions should look a little different than in previous years.

If you have already made—and subsequently broken—your New Year’s resolutions, or if you are still looking for the right goals for 2014, consider making a resolution to do something rather than stop doing something.

Here are some tips:

  1. Volunteer for an organization in your community. Helping others is a proven way to help yourself. This is a great way to meet new people and share your talents and ideas.
  2. Set a resolution to be part of a group. Maybe it’s walking at lunchtime with some people from the office or maybe it’s taking a class at the community college with a friend or family member. Whatever you decide, doing it as part of a group will make it harder to quit.
  3. Accept that there will be setbacks. It happens; we get busy and things—including resolutions—fall off of our radar. That’s ok, and it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Start again when you can.
  4. Celebrate that you have achieved your goals. If you make a goal to walk every day, and you walk every day, be proud of that!

Focusing on Your Health: Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, which was created to raise awareness of issues related to cervical cancer, including HPV, as well as emphasize the importance of early detection. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, approximately 70 percent of women come into contact with the HPV virus during their life. Although most cases of HPV (80 to 90 percent) are naturally eliminated, 12,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year. It is important to protect yourself and your health by having regular checkups with your gynecologist—especially if you are between the ages of 35 and 55; one-half of all women diagnosed with HPV are diagnosed at this age.

For some women, a clinical trial may be their best treatment option. As of December 17, 2013, ClinicalTrials.gov lists more than 3,500 studies in cervical cancer including 551 studies found for HPV.

Of course, the most effective way to deal with cervical cancer is to prevent HPV. Talk to your doctor about the importance of regular wellness visits and regular checkups.

Be Alone with Me

The fear of missing out tends to rear its ugly head during the holiday season. It may seem like everything fun and exciting is happening somewhere else, with other people. But, you’re allowed to be alone once in a while. If done right, spending time by yourself can actually be beneficial.

An ongoing Harvard study shows that, "solitude can make a person more capable of empathy towards others." The latest U.S. Census shows there are around 31 million Americans living alone, which represents more than one-quarter of all U.S. households. Social wellbeing is, of course, a balancing act. Too much alone time can cause you to feel isolated.

So when you feel like you’re on the verge of feeling more isolated than comforted, here’s a list of helpful tips you can try:

  1. Volunteer — You may not be the only one in need of company. Research compiled by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that ,"Those who volunteered reported higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction, self–esteem, a sense of control over life and physical health, as well as lower levels of depression."
  2. Visit www.volunteennation.org for help finding a place to volunteer.

  3. Take care of yourself — Now is your time to start (or break) a routine. Set aside days to get your daily recommended amount of sleep. Cook yourself meals with the ingredients you enjoy the most.
  4. Volunteer for pet adoption shelters — Many animal shelters need volunteers, and being around an animal has been proven to help with depression. Give your attention to someone who will appreciate it. Find your match at http://www.volunteermatch.org/.
  5. Seek out company — Dr. Ross Rosenberg was quoted as to saying, "Loneliness feeds on itself." Our initial reaction to going out of our comfort zone by calling up a friend, finding a public holiday event, or attending a spiritual service may be dread, but once you have reached out, you’ll focus less on negative thoughts.

    Remember, don’t assume everyone thinks you’re desperate or lonely—they don’t know your life unless you tell them about it.

  6. Connect with new people online and in person. Many online services such as meetup.com have an extensive listing of activities, events, and clubs to suit any almost interest.

Sources: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2011/03/06/the_power_of_lonely/
http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1298330317888.htm
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/12/16/coping-with-loneliness-during-the-holidays/

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