Polishing off the last of the Christmas cookies, and looking forward to the crowds of new members at the athletic club – must be New Year’s. The well-intended but infrequently-kept resolutions we often make when the calendar turns seem to be disproportionately about health: dieting, exercise, de-stressing. At the risk of hypocrisy (since I’ve never been big on the resolution-making myself), I’d like to suggest that we at Children’s take this opportunity to reflect on and make an effort to live up to our value of health this year. A few specific thoughts:
1. Check out the Healthy Rewards program. Given the substantial savings you can earn on your health insurance, I’m always surprised that everyone doesn’t participate. Sponsored by Employee Health and Wellness, this is program designed to encourage healthy habits including eating, exercise, and emotional well-being. It’s not always rocket science, but sometimes a little reminder or friendly competition is what it takes to make a change.
2. Wash your hands. I’ve pontificated about this before, but I remain flabbergasted that we are anything less than 100% compliant. Next time someone gets sick at work, remind them that a little hand sanitizer could have saved them a week of misery.
3. Don’t be a martyr. Speaking of being sick, remember that it is OK to be a patient sometimes. Physicians in particular are notorious for refusing to succumb, powering through fever, nausea, and fatigue. I suspect this may be shifting, as the previous machismo culture of Parris Island-style physician training yields to a more humane and realistic regimen, but it is still considered a sign of weakness to stay home when you are sick. We owe it to ourselves, and to the patients and families we put at risk, to lay low when we are ill.
4. Get moving. Sitting has been shown to be a risk factor for all kinds of chronic illness and shorter life expectancy. Perhaps the Zoo Interchange construction will get a few people to consider biking, walking, or taking the bus (and then walking to and from the bus stop) to work. When the weather allows, try having some one-on-one meetings in the form of a walk around the block. Take the stairs.
5. Be at your best.