Living Well

New Year, New Approach to Self-Care

Randy Rossignol, M.D.
New Year, New Approach to Self-Care

As we start off the New Year, we tend to make unrealistic health resolutions that are hard to stick with. Try to take a different approach and make your resolution overall health, both physically and mentally. Here are five simple steps for better self-care:

Practice Healthy Eating

Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best weapons for fighting obesity and diseases. Here are a few recommendations that will reduce your risk of developing health problems:

  • Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ to 3 cups of vegetables every day. Vegetables and fruits of different color are a good source of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber.
  • Cut back on high-fat foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fat, and saturated fat. Use liquid vegetable oils in place of soft or hard margarine or shortening.
  • Go lean with protein. Choose low-fat or lean cuts of meat and poultry. Also, vary your protein by choosing more vegetable sources, such as beans, lentils, peanuts and soy.

Visit Your Physician

It’s important to see your doctor for a regular wellness visit, which is typically a yearly check-up. A wellness visit is designed to improve your health and prevent diseases or uncover them as soon as possible, when they’re easier to treat. Some of the most important numbers to know include your blood pressure, lipid profile, blood sugar and BMI. You may be feeling healthy, but there are usually no signs of pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol without being tested.

Get Screened Regulary

Older male physician discussing next steps with male patient

Regular cancer screenings help with early detection and prevention of cancer. Screenings check your body for cancer before you have symptoms. Common screenings include mammography, colonoscopy, prostate specific antigen, pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV). Be sure to talk to your physician about which screening is appropriate for you based on your age, overall health, and medical history.

Move Your Body

To be fit, you do not have to exercise intensely for a long time . Experts recommend just 30 minutes of physical daily activity, can radically improve the way you look and feel, both physically and mentally. Start slowly and gradually build up to 30 minutes a day.  Choose an activity you enjoy, such as walking your dog or hiking.

Practice Mindfulness

Woman meditating in yoga class

Practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress as well as depression. It can help you better manage anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. The idea of mindfulness is that life should be lived in the present moment. Research shows it can boost your well-being and improve quality of life. Mindfulness changes the concentration of gray matter in areas of the brain involved in learning, memory, regulating emotion and more.

There are several ways that you can practice mindfulness.

  • Body scan—slowly guide your attention through each part of your body and notice the sensations that you feel.
  • Mindful yoga—a type of yoga that combines gentle stretches and movements that are linked with your breath.
  • Mindfulness meditation—while seated, notice your breath and expand your awareness to your senses (sounds, sight, taste) as well as your thoughts, emotions, and other feelings in your body.

Dr. Randy RossignolDr. Randy Rossignol is an Internal Medicine physician at Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. After earning his medical degree from Louisiana State University(LSU) School of Medicine in New Orleans, he completed his residency at LSU Health Sciences Center in Baton Rouge. Dr. Rossignol joins practice with Dr. Lege and Dr. Occhipinti at Crescent City Physicians Primary Care Clinic on the campus of Touro Infirmary. For an appointment call 504-897-7999.