Cheers to a more prosperous and healthy year ahead! New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies: They’re fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain.
Each January, roughly one in three seafarers resolves to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of these mariners actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75 percent of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46 percent) are still on target six months later, a 2016 study found. It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you’ve swept up the confetti, but it’s not impossible. This year, pick one of the following worthy resolutions, and stick to it. Here’s to your health!
Improved health is almost always at the top of our New Year’s list and the same goes for just about everyone we know. The reasons are clear. The better your health is, the better you’re able to progress in all areas of your life. You greet the world each day with greater comfort and energy. Along with opening up your physical potential, your mental capacities expand as you enjoy the benefits of improved mental health, significantly reduced stress and a better disposition.
Here’s our list of resolutions for your healthiest year yet: Exercise with Regularity
It’s time to start an exercise routine that sticks and it’s also the perfect time to increase the frequency of your workouts if you haven’t been sticking to a regular one. Exercise comes with dozens of health benefits, many of which you lready know. Show yourself some self-love by exercising for greater focus and mental sharpness, increased energy, better coordination and balance, improved sleep and a happier mood. You’ll even feel more alive and look much younger!
When you’re not working at sea, don’t leave exercise behind. Continue a regular workout routine so you’ll continue your momentum while on board a ship. Of course, working out at the gym is a lot easier than working out in the smaller dimensions of your cabin, but when there’s a will – there’s definitely a way! Look into workouts designed to give you maximum results that can be used in the smallest of spaces. You’ll feel better, look better and enjoy better health. It’s certainly worth the effort.
Tip: Choose exercises that you actually enjoy, this will make all of the difference in determining your odds for success.
The fact that this is perennially among the most popular resolutions, it suggests just how difficult it is to commit to it. But you can succeed if you don’t expect overnight success. “You want results yesterday, and desperation mode kicks in,” says Pam Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life. “Beware of the valley of quickie cures.”
Also, plan for bumps in the road. Use a food journal to keep track of what you eat and have a support system in place. “Around week four to six…people become excuse mills,” Dr. Peeke says. “That’s why it’s important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times.” Share Your Feelings Keeping your stress and problems bottled up inside is a quick way to end up with mental health woes and even symptoms that can affect your physical health. It’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable sharing everything with family, friends or fellow crew. Visit us here at Seafarers’ House to speak to one of our chaplains. They are the best listeners and they’re totally non-judgmental. They can offer some guidance if that’s what you’re looking for or they can simply lend their ears – it makes a world of difference!
Feel like old friends (or family) have fallen by the wayside? It’s good for your health to reconnect with them. Research suggests people with strong social ties live longer than those who don’t.
In fact, lack of social bonds can damage your health as much as alcohol abuse and smoking, and even more than obesity and lack of exercise, a 2010 study in the journal PLoS Medicine suggests. In a technology-fixated era, it’s never been easier to stay in touch—or rejuvenate your relationship—with friends and family, so fire up Facebook and follow up with in-person visitation.
Resolution: Slow Down with Sugar
Sugar in the form of such foods as fruits is healthy and beneficial to our bodies and minds. However, most forms of sugar we find in food today, particularly snack products, are processed. Processed sugar is unhealthy and actually dangerous for the body, presenting such potential health issues as weight gain and diabetes. Replace sugary snacks with fruit, nuts and other healthy alternatives. Just as with exercise, opt for the snacks that you love to improve your odds of long-lasting success!
Afraid that you’ve failed
too many times to try again? Talk to any ex-smoker, and you’ll see that multiple attempts are often the path to success. Try different methods to find out what works. And think of the cash you’ll save! (We know you know the ginormous health benefits.)
“It’s one of the harder habits to quit,” says Merle Myerson, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City. “But I always tell people to think of how much money they will save.”
Save Money, Be Healthy
Save money by making healthy lifestyle changes. Walk or ride your bike to work, or explore carpooling (That means more money in your pocket and less air pollution.).
Cut back on gym membership costs by exercising at home. Many fitness programs on videogame systems like Nintendo’s Wii Wii Fit Plus and Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect Your Shape Fitness Evolved can get you sweating.
Take stock of what you have in the fridge and make a grocery list. Aimless supermarket shopping can lead to poor choices for your diet and wallet. Cut your stress
A little pressure now and again won’t kill us; in fact, short bouts of stress give us an energy boost. But if stress is chronic, it can increase your risk of—or worsen—insomnia, depression, obesity, heart disease, and more.
Long work hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress, says Roberta Lee, MD, an integrative medicine specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City, and the author of The Super Stress Solution.
“Stress is an inevitable part of life,” she says. “Relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations are all things we tell ourselves we deserve but don’t allow ourselves to have.” “Stress is an inevitable part of life,” she says. “Relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations are all things we tell ourselves we deserve but don’t allow ourselves to have.”
Help Those in Need
We tend to think our own bliss relies on bettering ourselves, but our happiness also increases when we help others, says Peter Kanaris, PhD, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association.
And guess what? Happiness is good for your health. A 2010 study found that people with positive emotions were about 20 percent less likely than their gloomier peers to have a heart attack or develop heart disease. Other research suggests that positive emotions can make people more resilient and resourceful.
“Someone who makes this sort of resolution is likely to obtain a tremendous personal benefit in the happiness department,” Kanaris says. In Vino Salinas (In Wine there is Heath)
While much has been written about the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol, too much tippling is still the bigger problem. (In fact, binge drinking seems to be on the rise.)
Drinking alcohol in excess affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures.
Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast.
Live simply, laugh often and wine a lot!