Woman looking at a reflection of herself

Reflecting on the year that just ended is a healthy exercise, as we transition from what may have been a superlative year for some or a disappointing journey for others. Thinking about the highs and lows helps us decide how to make the most of the next 12 months.

This is especially helpful when it comes to setting and sticking to health goals.

Last year I set out to lose some of the “Covid 15” I gained by starting the year with a five-day ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet. This well-known program works to reset your metabolism and jumpstart weight loss. It reminded me that I do not have to eat so much at mealtime, and that eating slower and more mindfully works to lower overall caloric intake.

I am pleased to report I have since lost eight pounds, and I can repeat this monthly for the next two months to reach my ultimate goal. Research shows that ProLon is a way to hit the reset on aging through calorie restriction and a great way to promote stem cell production. If you are interested in a five-day ProLon reset, call us here at the Barr Center for Innovative & Regenerative Therapies and ask for Eileen. The only patients who would not do well with this program are those allergic to nuts and uncontrolled diabetics.

Weight loss may not be top of mind for you but as you plan your own personal strategy for the year ahead, here are several health goals to consider.

Schedule your wellness appointments for the year. Keeping your body in optimal shape should be at the top of every health-goal list. Routine check-up visits can help detect potential health issues before they become a problem. This offers the best chance for getting the right treatment quickly and avoiding any complications. Dedicate time in January to set up routine appointments with primary care, specialty care, dental and other health providers. If you are interested in a functional medicine assessment to identify the root causes of pesky symptoms, call us to schedule an appointment.

Check in with your mental health. Maintaining your mental health and a sense of emotional balance is just as important as your physical well-being. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression increases the risk for several physical health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Mental health can change over time as well, especially for those facing chronic medical conditions, longer work hours, caring for a relative or experiencing economic hardship. For a list of CDC-recommended helplines and resources for those seeking mental health services check this link.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques are very helpful, and it is easy to formulate a daily mental health reset with activities such as walking outside, listening to relaxing music and gentle exercise like yoga. If you need a reboot, you can also consider stopping by Hang 10 Drips for the Swell IV drip protocol which helps with depression and anxiety. We also have vagal nerve stimulators available for you to try. Understanding the mind-body connection is key to overall health and you can also learn more in my book Outsmart Your Pain! The Essential Guide to Overcoming Pain & Transforming Your Life.

Address chronic pain. Too many people live unnecessarily with neck, shoulder, hip, knee and back pain. You do not have to live this way. Many nonsurgical, non-opioid treatments are available, including interventional spine procedures, sports medicine and regenerative medicine. At the Barr Center, we help our patients determine the root cause of their pain. Then we take an integrated approach to address it. Our treatment methods vary and include comprehensive movement and postural analysis, Osteopathic manipulation, physical therapy techniques, spinal injections, regenerative medicine and lifestyle changes. Make it a priority in 2023 to achieve long-term pain relief without relying on pharmaceutical treatment.

Get moving. You don’t have to be an athlete to be fit. Simple physical activity, such as walking, yoga, and taking your dog to the park, is one of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health. It helps with weight management, reduces the risk of disease, strengthens bones and helps you sleep more soundly. Anyone who plays pickleball or takes a dance class will tell you that exercise can help with your mood and cognitive health too.

Hydrate! Water is a miracle drug. It hydrates your skin, lubricates joints, promotes healthy kidneys and can stave off digestive problems such as constipation and heartburn. Aim for eight to ten 8-ounce cups a day. And when you need a reboot, give IV vitamin therapy a try. My partners at Hang 10 Drips can customize drips with essential fluids, electrolytes, vitamins and antioxidants to get you back on track.

Establish a sleep routine. Sleep hygiene is important for physical and mental health. Our bodies need good quality sleep to heal. Create a routine that helps you relax and unwind before turning in for the night. Many physicians suggest that setting the room temperature at 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit is best for achieving a restful sleep. Avoid use of computers and iPads before bedtime and be sure to silence your phone before turning in. Use of CBD and Melatonin can also be healthy options to help optimize sleep patterns. The Barr Center offers private-label, organic CBD products that can help. Stop by our practice for more guidance.

Enjoy meaningful connections. Having and maintaining friendships and group connections help us thrive. The Mayo Clinic notes that such connections can have a major positive impact on your health and well-being. Friends and community groups can boost your happiness, reduce stress, improve self-confidence, and reduce the risk of health problems such as depression and high blood pressure. Make a point to schedule friend dates and group activities on your calendar. Come by Hang 10 Drips and experience our community drip room. Some people call it the “‘Hang 10 Social Club.”!

I hope these suggestions help you create your own fun goals for a happy, healthy 2023. Think how satisfying it will be to tackle the ones that are most important in achieving a healthier, happier you.