Our Planned Parenthood and Melody Health expert health care and community education team share simple ways to be healthier for the new year.
After another challenging year, most Americans are ready to say goodbye to 2021 and ring in 2022. Health is always a priority heading into a new year, especially while enduring a pandemic, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more important than ever.
With so many people including health and wellness into their resolutions, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties (PPOSBC) and Melody Health medical staff shared their tips to be healthier in the new year.
1. Protect Yourself from COVID-19 and the Flu
Most people know the preventive measures for COVID-19, which also apply to the flu: (1) avoiding large crowds and gatherings, (2) wearing a mask, (3) social distancing, (4) frequent handwashing, and (5) staying at home when you feel sick. Our expert team, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated including the COVID-19 booster shot. We also recommend that everyone protect themselves from the flu to avoid a potential “twindemic.”
"With cases on the rise again, getting vaccinated and boosted is the best possible way to keep yourself from becoming severely ill from COVID-19. And while the coronavirus is top of mind for most everyone right now, we can't forget to get our flu shots as well," says Dr. Janet Jacobson, Medical Director, Vice President of Clinical Services, PPOSBC.
You can get your COVID-19 vaccine and/or flu shot at PPOSBC. Visit MyTurn to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot, or call to make an appointment to get your flu shot at 714-922-4100.
2. Annual Wellness Visit
While scheduling your annual Wellness Visit doesn’t necessarily sound like the most fun thing to do in the New Year, it’s an important piece of keeping your overall health on track, and an opportunity to address any concerns that you may have.
"Not only is your Annual Wellness Visit a time to make sure that you're in good physical health, it's a great time to talk to a provider about starting or switching birth control, getting screened for STIs, or even discussing healthy relationships and emotional wellness," says Dr. Shayne Poulin, M.D., PPOSBC.
Annual Wellness Visits are especially important for people who have a family history of certain types of cancers or have tested positive for HPV.
3. STD Screenings
As part of your Annual Wellness Visit, it’s important to ask your doctor about getting tested for STDs if you’re sexually active. STDs are really common—and it’s estimated that people ages 15-24 account for half of all new STDs each year.
Getting tested is important because lots of people who have STDs don’t have any symptoms. If left untreated, STDs can lead to serious health problems, but fortunately, STDs are preventable, testing is simple, and most are easily treatable.
“For those who are sexually active, getting tested for STIs is one of the most important things a person can do to protect their health. When someone tests positive for an STI, they should seek treatment right away – and inform their current and past partner(s) so these individuals can get tested and treated as well,” says Amy Streavel, Senior Director of Community Education & Outreach.
4. Make Mental Health a Priority
Protecting your mental health has been especially critical during the stress of the pandemic. There’s no shame in seeing a mental health professional. If you have symptoms of depression or anxiety, there’s no reason to suffer in silence. There are treatment options available, and Melody Health is one resource that can help with cognitive behavioral therapy which can help you think about things in a new and more helpful way.
“Not only do we provide a safe place for patients to receive confidential and compassionate reproductive and primary care, we are now able to serve as a support when it comes to their mental health,” says Dr. Shayne Poulin, MD, PPOSBC.
Our providers are here to help. To learn more about mental health services at Melody Health, visit Melody Health or call 714-922-2490 to make an appointment.
5. Exercise Regularly, Eat Healthier, & Get Plenty of Shut-Eye
Staying physically healthy has many benefits, including boosting cardiovascular and muscular health and fighting disease. Exercise can also positively affect your mental well-being by helping the body relieve stress and reduce depression. Try to squeeze in the minimum American Heart Association-recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, plus at least two days on which you do muscle-strengthening activities.
In addition to moving your body, your diet plays a significant role in your overall health. It provides your body with essential components for it to function properly. Eating the wrong diet may cause your body to become undernourished, overweight, or at risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Your body requires a healthy diet for it to work normally, incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet as they can protect you from several diseases.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many people’s sleep patterns, but it’s important to keep a regular sleep schedule and get about seven to eight hours of sleep a night. By getting a good night's rest you build a healthy immune system. Giving you barriers against developing a disease, so it’s important to prioritize sleep. Establishing a regular bedtime and wake-up time, avoiding caffeine later in the day, turning off electronics before bedtime, exercising regularly, and paying attention to the possible signs of sleep apnea can help your overall health.
If you're interested in talking with a provider about how to practice a healthier lifestyle when it comes to diet and exercise, you can make an appointment with Melody Health.
With our expert team’s recommendations, you’ll be on track to living a healthy lifestyle in the New Year. Our providers at both PPOSBC and Melody Health are here to help you every step of the way and provide you with high-quality, compassionate care at low to no cost.
Our doors are open to all regardless of personal circumstances or ability to pay, and we offer same-day, next-day, and weekend appointments so you can get the care you need, when you need it.
Visit PPOSBC.org for more information or to make an appointment.