January is the time when you hear so much about New Year resolutions. You’re advised to lose weight, cut out sugar, stop smoking, take more exercise, give up alcohol (at least for January) or stop eating red meat; the list goes on…

Of course these are commendable goals, but they can be pretty ambitious, especially in the midst of a pandemic. It’s been a long 12 months of following ever-changing health advice and the thought of giving up some of the things you enjoy most right now might seem unachievable.

2021 is going to be a year like no other and returning to so-called ‘normal’ life is sadly still a little way off. However, it’s not all doom and gloom! With the COVID-19 vaccine programme well underway and as we head towards the lighter and warmer days of Spring, there are lots of small, simple steps you can take to make a significant impact on your physical, oral and mental health to make you more prepared for whatever 2021 brings.

Small steps can bring big benefits

  1. Rather than attempt to make sweeping changes to your diet, try a few simple food swaps to get you started. Try and cut down on sugar and replace with healthier snacks such as fruit, plain crisps, plain yoghurt or chopped vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers or celery. This not only helps prevent tooth decay, it can also help you lose a bit of weight as well! Lots more good ideas are available on the NHS Change4Life website.
  2. In difficult times, having a beer or glass of wine can seem like a really good idea, but it’s easy to have one too many. Try and cut down on the amount you drink if you can. Remember that alcohol contains sugar, which will have an impact on your waistline and potentially damage your teeth and try to keep to the recommended daily alcohol limits which will help reduce the risk of more serious physical and oral health problems down the line.
  3. Getting outdoors into fresh air and natural light can work wonders for your mental health, especially if you’re feeling stressed. If your kids are at home doing remote learning, try to take them outside for a short walk at lunch time to make you all feel refreshed and ready for the afternoon. Remember – taking daily outdoor exercise is free, no need for expensive gym memberships!

Here’s to a positive future

2021 is undoubtedly going to be about defeating the spread of COVID-19 and staying as healthy as possible to enjoy better times ahead. It’s a time to stay positive and look after not just yourself, but your family and friends as best you can.

At 543 Dental Centre we continue to follow strict safety measures and protocols to keep our patients and staff safe at all times and we remain OPEN for urgent and non-urgent dental care during the latest national lockdown. Dentistry is considered an essential healthcare service and if you have an appointment booked you should continue to attend. If you need dental treatment please continue to book as usual, but please DO NOT ATTEND THE PRACTICE WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT. Full details about our COVID-19 safety procedures are available here.

Better times are definitely on the way so for now stay at home where you can, take some daily exercise and do your best to take care of yourself with healthy eating, a little less alcohol and a positive outlook. Here’s to a much better and healthier 2021!