The holidays and 2021 are nearly over. With the passing of the winter solstice,  we can celebrate the daylight increasing a little each day.  So now is the time for New Years’ Resolutions, or at least reflecting on positive changes for 2022.  We are creatures of habit, so why not pick positive ‘good habits.’  Eat healthy, get rest, reduce stress, exercise, get involved and of course, practice good oral hygiene.  Rather than make a rigid resolution, go easy on yourself, and make any change a regular, enjoyable part of your life. 

COVID relief

Be smart about COVID in 2022.  Be vaccinated with a booster against COVID.  Get the yearly flu shot and other recommended vaccinations. Wash hands thoroughly and often.  Continue to wear masks and social distance where appropriate.  But also, carefully begin to engage socially for mental health and the enjoyment of life with others. 

Stress relief

Stress relief is extremely important and becoming more and more difficult in our speeded-up world.  Keep a balance in life between activity and rest.   Make time for rest and sleep.  Use exercise, mediation, yoga, and music, singing or dancing to release stress.  You can pick your own attitude every morning, so pick an uplifting joyous one.  Have fun each day.  Have humor and laugh!  Laughing has been shown to boost the immune system, reduce stress and lower blood pressure.  Make time for family, friends, and make time for love and romance.  

Exercise

Keep moving.  Moderate daily exercise improves our circulatory system, heart, lungs, brain, muscle strength, and lymphatic system. Evolutionary biologists believe the need for daily moderate activity is built into our bones, heart, and being.  Dancing, walking, bicycling, running, swimming, and gardening are all great movement activities.  Sweating is wonderful for toxin removal either from exercise or the sauna. Making exercise part of your life is all-important!  I believe that it should be called a Fun-out instead of a Work-out.  With a “fun” attitude, maybe more people would make exercise a regular part of their life.

Healthy eating

Eat a balanced diet with reasonable portions, combining protein, carbohydrates, fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables.  Preferably use polyunsaturated fats especially olive oil, eat complex carbohydrates rather than simple sugars and eat lean meats, nuts, beans, and soy products.  Try eating organic foods without chemical treatments as much as possible. Avoid processed foods. Chew smaller food portions thoroughly, savoring the flavor, rather than eating vast quantities quickly. Use smaller plates and bowls to reduce portions. Antioxidant foods or vitamins, high in vitamin C and E are good for cancer prevention, including moderate amounts of red wine and chocolate.  Drink lots of good water.  Our bodies are 98 percent water, so quality water is important.  Breathe good clean air. Here are some healthy eating tips:

Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.

Eat grass fed and pasture raised animals.

Eat local well-grown food from healthy soils.    

Pay more; eat less, quality over quantity.

Eat slowly; savor your food. Stop when full.

Avoid processed foods. 

Homemade meals, rather than fast-food and restaurant dining, is healthy and economical.  Changing our eating habits away from a fast-food diet is not simple, but it is becoming easier.  Having your own garden or being part of a community garden is one of the best solutions to eating better and improving the environment. Co-op food programs are also a good source of local healthy food. It is impossible to be perfect but trying to eat healthy is the key.

Get involved

Getting involved has been difficult the past two years with COVID, but now helping in the community is viable again.  Consider helping with a children’s program, such as the Education Foundation or the many community sports programs.  Seniors, check out the senior center for activities. Maybe join a crafts or arts group, the community center has many great programs, like pottery and glass glazing classes. 

There are many ways to give back, through church giving programs or one of the many wonderful service groups. I am a member of the Rotary Club of Rancho Cotati. 

During my younger years, I was active in the 20/30 Club.  Both service clubs are rewarding by giving back to the community, helping children, and supporting peace and friendship throughout the world.  

Important to keep your mouth clean 

Brushing and flossing are ‘good habits.’  Keeping the food debris off the teeth and gums after eating is an important part of good health and prevents decay, gum disease and tooth loss.  Anything that can be done to improve oral hygiene is a good habit to embrace.  Brushing after every meal, flossing twice a day, an electric brush, a water pick, an air flosser, toothpicks, small interproxial brushes, nonalcoholic mouth washes, fluoride rinses and drinking and swishing with lots of water throughout the day are all positive oral habits. Preventing gum disease is vital for the health of the entire body, since gum disease is correlated with dementia, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, ulcers, and pre-term births.   Gum disease can be prevented with good oral health habits and regular professional cleanings.

Have a Great and Healthy 2022!

ENJOY LIFE AND KEEP SMILING!

George Malkemus has a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. Call 585-8595, or email info@ malkemusdds.com.  Visit Dr. Malkemus’ Web site at http://www.malkemusdds.com 

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