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Resolution Refresh: Three Ways to Hit Reset on Your Health

January 04, 2021

Each New Year’s Eve, millions of Americans bid farewell to the past year and look forward to a fresh new start on January 1. This year, however, ringing in the new year was radically different as many of us celebrated long-held traditions virtually – or not at all – and braced for post-holiday spikes in COVID-19.

The pandemic has indefinitely changed how we live, work, communicate, and interact with one another. Now, more than ever, it’s time to take a comprehensive approach to health and wellness. Here are three ways to hit reset on your health – and there’s no better time to start than now.

Prioritize Your Emotional and Physical Health

The National Institutes of Health reports that the emotional impact of living with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, fear of recurrence, and the daily stress of living with physical symptoms can create new or worsen preexisting emotional distress for cancer patients. Furthermore, in a survey by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), nearly half of cancer patients surveyed – 45% – said the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. Talk to your physician if you or a loved one are experiencing depression or anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider whether getting counseling or mental health care, including via telemedicine, would be helpful.

When it comes to physical health, preventive screenings are the single most effective way to detect cancer early, often before signs or symptoms occur. Yet, cancer screenings dropped dramatically during the pandemic, leading to delayed or missed diagnoses. ASCO reported in October 2020 that two-thirds of Americans surveyed delayed or skipped a scheduled cancer screening as a direct result of COVID-19. Skipping screenings can adversely impact your long-term health. Make a commitment this year to schedule and keep your annual screenings and wellness check-ups.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Healthy Diet

With more time at home during the pandemic, many people have discovered, or rediscovered, a love of cooking. Some have also discovered the convenience of grabbing extra snacks throughout the day. Stock your pantry with healthy staples and make it a point to plan meals on the weekends to set yourself up for a healthy week ahead. Keep your meal rotation fresh by trying a new recipe weekly and bulk up your soups and salads with hearty vegetables. Your body and your mind will thank you.

Commit to Staying in Touch With Family and Friends

Among the challenges of living with cancer are feelings of loneliness and isolation. Cancer patients and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of complications from viruses, like COVID-19, adding layers of social separation that may magnify loneliness. Eight in 10, or 81% of people with cancer, and 60% of Americans have limited their contact with others to reduce their risk of contracting the virus, according to ASCO. Reach out to a loved one and ask for regular phone calls or video chats. Everyone is going through this together. By finding the strength to reach out for help, you may learn that others in your social circle are struggling too.

We are living in an unprecedented time – but there remains hope and anticipation for good things to come. Texas Oncology wishes good health and happiness to all in the year ahead.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.