7 ways to be happier and healthier this year.

“New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on our own strength and ability to change our lives,” says Sherry Schwartz-Banner, NP-C, a family medicine provider at Lake Regional Clinic - Eldon. “Instead of depending on determination, we should include a plan for support in our goals.”
Following are seven resolutions aimed at improving health with support ideas included.

1. Quit smoking.
“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to kick the habit,” Schwartz-Banner says. “Getting help through counseling or prescription medications can double or triple a person’s chances of quitting successfully.” Lake Regional offers a monthly support group to help: Commit to Quit meets at 10 a.m. on most Saturdays. If you plan to attend a meeting, please call 573-302-2253 by the Thursday before to confirm that week’s meeting.

2. Cut your stress.
You know constant stress is bad for your health. But instead of stressing over feeling stressed, get help managing it. Lake Regional offers several support groups to help people stressed by a chronic condition, including groups for people with cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, breathing problems and a previous stroke. Lake Regional also hosts a monthly Depression Support Group and a Grief Support Group for people facing various losses, including illness, death, divorce and other difficult life events. Find dates and times at lakeregional.com/events.

3. Visit your primary care provider.
“If it’s been more than a year since you’ve had a thorough checkup, get that exam scheduled today,” Schwartz-Banner says. Your primary care provider can alert you to potential problems and offer advice for reaching health goals, including losing weight, improving fitness and quitting smoking. If you don’t have a primary care provider, find one at lakeregional.com/physicians.

4. Get screenings.
Your primary care provider also can use your checkup to explain the screenings you need. You can get many of these screenings for free or a minimal fee at one of Lake Regional’s community screenings and health fairs. Mark your calendar now for the Cardiovascular Screening, 7:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Lake Regional Hospital; the Westside Health Fair, 7:30 to 10 a.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Elks Lodge in Laurie; and the Osage Beach Health Fair, 7:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Osage Beach Elks Lodge.

5. Get on top of a chronic condition.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you know it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice — but you might feel overwhelmed. Steps for Better Living is a six-week class that will help you manage your condition and live as well as possible. The class meets from 1 to 3 p.m. every Wednesday, March 13 through April 17 at Lake Regional Clinic – Eldon. Lake Regional also offers a Chronic Care Management Program; learn more about it at lakeregional.com/ccmp.  

6. Learn how to save lives.
Make your friends, family and fellow community members safer by learning how to respond to a medical emergency. Lake Regional offers several classes to help you save a life. Along with standard First Aid and CPR classes, the hospital provides Stop the Bleed, a 90-minute course that teaches bleeding control techniques. Lake Regional also offers parents and grandparents a free Infant CPR class, and the hospital will host a Youth Mental Health First Aid course 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Find dates for all training events at lakeregional.com/events.

7. Volunteer.
You’ve heard it said people receive more than they give when they help others. Studies show that is true when it comes to health. Potential benefits of volunteering include a decreased risk of depression, reduced stress, increased physical activity, more social support and even a longer life. Lake Regional Health System Auxiliary is a great place to volunteer — in fact, the Missouri Association of Hospital Auxiliaries named it a 2018 Auxiliary of the Year. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at lakeregional.com/volunteer.  

Anita Harrison is a PR specialist at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach.