The New Year is a time of new beginnings, renewal and restarting after the holiday period. For many it can be a time to set goals and make idealistic plans for the year ahead. However, as the pace of life quickens, it is more important than ever to create space and time for habits that maintain a healthy mind and body.  

In the first of our Connecting to Care Changes Lives Blog Series, meet some members of our Uprise Health Behavioral Health and Mental Health Coaches and Clinicians whose work is centered on equipping people with the skills, tools, and confidence to become active participants in their care.  At Uprise Health, we want to empower you to care of yourself, your friends, family, and others during the year ahead. 

Look out for yourself, first.  

Dr. Darryl Huels is an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Clinical Team Manager at Uprise Health. As a leader for our EAP Care Team, he explains the importance of filling your own cup before you can help anyone else.  

“The holidays can be both an exciting and stressful time. Working for an EAP, we see the effects that this time of the year can have on us. There is an increase in calls from people experiencing holiday “blues,” stress, family problems, grief, and other struggles. During the holidays, we tend to be even more focused on all the things that we must do, the people we must see and take care of, and the money that we must spend, etc. We are so focused on everything and everyone else that we neglect to take care of ourselves. 

I have learned through my work how difficult this is for people to do. You cannot pour from an empty cup. If you end up using all your emotional resources on others, you will end up having nothing left for yourself. You also will have nothing left for others.  

As you head into the New Year, focus on self-care. This does not require an elaborate plan; self-care can be as simple as taking a deep breath when you notice you are becoming stressed, taking a walk, having good sleep habits to name a few. When I take care of myself, I am a better husband, a better father, a better son, a better coworker, and a better friend!” 

Keep moving every day.

Pedro Gago is a Nurse Team Leader at Uprise Health. His work spans mental health and chronic illness with an emphasis on helping people to better manage their health holistically. He explains the importance of making movement a priority.

“I usually recommend members, family, and friends to stay active and if possible, to start your day with some type of physical activity. Be it a short walk before work, a workout at the gym or any other type of activity in the morning. This sets you up for success to start your day in a healthy and positive way plus you feel better. 

It is not always possible to accomplish this goal daily, but the main thing is to make it a priority and any day you do, it is better than not at all. As Tony Robbins stated, “motion creates emotion.” Changing your physiology means changing your mental state and feeling better mentally and physically.

Slow down and enjoy family time. 

Maribel Alvarez-Vargas is a Nurse at Uprise Health. Her work focuses on the physical and mental facets of managing a chronic condition. She explains the importance of taking the time to enjoy family and friends.

“I think the biggest thing that people should do going into the New Year to improve physical and mental health is to take the time to slow down and enjoy each other and family. The way the world is today, all of us are so busy running this “rat race” we call life; we often forget about the most important things. Especially right after the holidays when so many people feel there is so much pressure coming from different areas of their life.  

We put so much physical and mental strain on ourselves trying to focus on all the things that “have to get done.” In actuality, the best and most important thing that we can do especially after the last couple of years is take a step back and remember what is most important to us. The best way to enter 2022 is focus on positive living, laughing, and loving. Keep in mind that this affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life!

Create small moments of peace.  

Beth Rockoff is a Certified Health Coach at Uprise Health. Her work guides members to develop a care plan that is tailored to their needs as well as coordinating with other care partners. She describes the ways in which we can each find peace each day, and the importance of making space for these moments.  

Find your moments of peace to renew and restore. Whether it is listening to music on the way home from work, setting aside time to put your phones and tablets down for at least 30 minutes a day, going for a walk, or just getting outside for a breath of fresh air. Find an app on your phone for relaxation, calm, or meditation if you have no idea where to start. Count your blessings. Smile at the people you encounter. If it is beyond your control to change, let it go. It is a New Year. We have another chance for a new beginning.”