Dr Clare Morrison

Article by Dr Clare Morrison

Five healthy New Year ‘Themes’ you can start today!

Happy New Year! If you’re like the majority of people, you’ll have the best of intentions for 2019. In fact, you’ve likely made a few New Year’s Resolutions – perhaps you’re looking to lose weight or quit smoking for good – or simply just spend more time relaxing with family and friends.

However, according to statistics, only eight percent of people actually stick to their resolutions – after all, it’s tough to suddenly make massive changes, which is why it’s better to think in terms of themes rather than hard rules. After all, strict rules are guilt-inducing, easy to break and even to give up on all together!

So, without further ado, here are our top five healthy New Year ‘Themes’ for 2019…

Time out

Stress kills. Ongoing exposure to chronic psychological stress can trigger inflammation, leading to the immune system to be over-activated and potentially to autoimmune disease. In fact, some sources claim that stress can even leave you more susceptible to cancer. Other conditions chronic stress is linked to include: heart disease, post traumatic stress disorder and depression. This is why the theme of ‘time out’ is so important for many people this year – especially if you are someone who suffers from stress due to overworking, depression, or simply genetic tendencies. Sleep, socialising, relaxation and taking vacations are all things that should be made time for.

Cutting back on alcohol

If you’re a big drinker, it could be a big ask to quit the booze completely in 2019. Especially if your work or lifestyle demands that you socialise and drink with others. In the UK, we tend to overdo drinking, which is why we should take tips from our continental cousins – in France a glass (or a couple) of wine, is just part of life with food here and there. So if you’re out with colleagues and the pressure’s on, just take it easy and don’t overdo things. Even try to have a couple of weeks without drinking at all. Of course, you could always go the full whack and quit completely; but too many people expect too much too soon without help, and when they inevitably fail, jump quickly back on the wagon. Don’t be that person.

Sleep time

Did you know that not enough sleep can actually kill you – over the long-term, that is. Chronic sleep loss can put you at risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and irregular heart beat. Not only does sleep deprivation cause accidents, it can also make you less effective at work and in life generally. So why not make one of your New Year ‘themes’ to get more sleep? Of course, you could be someone who falls into a deep slumber as soon as your head hits the pillow, every time, without fail; but if you’re like most of us, getting the right amount of sleep can be a bit harder. For the appearance-conscious among you, a lack of sleep also ages your skin and can give you under-eye bags – so unless you’ve got the excuse of having a small baby, this is not a good look…

Say yes to physical activity!

If you’re looking to make weight loss a key theme for 2019, you could start by getting some daily physical activity. For those not used to making this a priority, start with just a brisk stroll everyday for 30 minutes, and then you can always move onto ‘harder’ exercising later. In fact, why not find what you love and make it into an opportunity to exercise? Do you enjoy nature? dancing? Whatever floats your boat, try to do a little bit everyday to get your blood flowing!

Cut back on cigarettes

If you’re a smoker, you could well have ‘give up smoking’ as your main New Year goal. Easier said than done – but you’re certainly not alone. Around 80 percent of smokers are looking to quit, but success is low. To improve your chances, why not join a group to support you? The NHS has an app here, and nicotine patches and our favourite choice Champix, can assist you when it comes to reaching your objective. And once again, don’t unnecessarily criticise yourself if you slip up – it happens. Smoking 10 cigarettes a day is better than smoking 20, smoking one better than five etc. It’s all about improving slowly but surely.

We hope that this article has inspired you to successfully introduce your preferred 2019 themes into your life. The idea is to not expect too much of yourself too soon, and to maintain your goals over the long-term. Otherwise you could find yourself staring 2019 in the face, without any progression – not a good outcome!

Good luck!


Stop Smoking Treatment

Dr Clare Morrison
Dr Clare Morrison
Experienced General Practitioner in Hampshire since 1995, with particular interest in Nutrition, Obesity and Smoking Cessation.
Originally published January 16 2019, updated July 05 2019