Take responsibility for your health and well-being

The new year is traditionally a time for taking stock, reflecting on the past 12 months and making resolutions for the year ahead. 

If your health is your main concern, you may be thinking it’s a good time to see your doctor for a check-up. 

However, your health is largely in your own hands and the only person who can put healthy habits into practice is you.

Taking control of your health has many benefits. One of the main contributors to stress is feeling out of control. 

If you blame your partner, your income, your job or your family for your poor health then your stress levels will soar. Taking control will reduce your stress and, in turn, increase your sense of wellbeing.

There’s another important issue we need to think about that contributes to poor health, and it’s called sitting. 

We sit getting to work, we sit at our desks at work, we sit when we eat and we sit watching TV. 

Too much sitting is a health hazard, and a good New Year’s resolution is to move more: look for opportunities to walk, stand and be active.

We all need a better balance in our lives. A weekly routine of healthy eating, regular exercise and social contact will enhance your health, energy levels and enjoyment of life. 

Involving other people in your New Year’s resolution is a good idea. Start a daily walk with a friend, join a healthy cooking class or challenge a mate to give up smoking or cut back on the alcohol. 

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has a wealth of healthy ideas and information. Visit www.dva.gov.au and search for health and well-being. There’s information about day clubs in your local area, where to find interesting physical and social activities, a wealth of mental health resources and much more. You can also call DVA on 133 254, or 1800 555 254 from regional Australia.

Let’s be positive about ourselves and who we are, because we are very well off. It’s a truism that it’s much easier to complain than to applaud.

Dr Graeme Killer,

principal medical adviser,

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

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