ROCHESTER, NY – The new year is a great time to focus on overall wellness and take steps to improve in all areas of life.
“Each day presents a new opportunity to practice self-care,” says Dr. Geoffrey Hopkins, senior medical director of behavioral health at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “It all comes down to finding a balance and making a plan.” He outlines seven areas of wellness and steps you can take to launch your wellness journey.
Geoffrey Hopkins, MD
Keep your physical body whole and functioning well. Exercise regularly, whether by joining a gym, taking a fitness class, or going for daily walks. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet and try to reduce processed and sugary foods. And get enough sleep by establishing a consistent bedtime routine and creating a comfortable sleep environment.
Maintain a positive attitude as much as possible and manage stress. Take time for self-care, whether that's practicing meditation, reading a book, or simply relaxing in a warm bath. Practice gratitude by writing down three things you're thankful for each day. Your primary care physician is also an important resource if you’re struggling with your emotions.
Connect with others in a healthy and balanced way. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends and family, whether by phone, text messages, or in-person visits. Connect with others by joining a club or organization that aligns with your interests. Or volunteer your time to a cause that's important to you.
Keep learning and thinking from new perspectives. Gain a new skill by taking an online course or signing up for a class. Read a book on a topic that interests you. Engage in activities that challenge your mind, such as puzzles or brain games.
Connect with your inner self. Consider the practice of mindfulness by setting aside time each day to focus on the present moment. You may want to reflect on your personal values and beliefs.
Be mindful of the environment. Spend time in nature to help boost your physical and mental wellbeing. Caring for the environment can also be an act of self-care, such as recycling or composting to reduce waste.
Value your work contributions and strive for a healthy work-life balance. Set career goals and develop a plan to achieve them. Seek opportunities for professional development, take a course or attend a conference. Increase job satisfaction by finding more meaning in your work or making connections with coworkers.
“The journey to wellbeing is ongoing and each of us follows a unique path,” says Hopkins. “Strive for progress, not perfection.”
For more health and wellness information visit ExcellusBCBS.com.
Joy Auch (585) 238-4374
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 4,000 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.