reflections on the New Year

22 Jan

Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions.* Some even keep them. But I like to think of the New Year as a good time to assess things: what is going well? What changes would I like to make? What kinds of things do I hope for the next year?

In terms of your health, this is a good time to start asking those questions, because you’re past the crush of the holidays; many of us have a slower-paced lifestyle through January and February, which you might be able to use to take stock of your lifestyle and your health.

In case you are interested in evaluating your own health as the new year begins, here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:

1. Am I happy with my progress toward controlling PCOS and any other health problems? (This really is about progress, by the way, not perfection. PCOS isn’t something that goes away, but you can think of your life choices as management choices. Are you happy with those habits and decisions?)

2. Do I have a doctor I trust? This is important, because many of us feel trapped by insurance or convenience or whatever, so we don’t feel that it’s feasible to look for a doctor who has more expertise or whose approach more closely reflects our own. But your doctor is important, and if you don’t have at least one good doctor in your corner, maybe your project for 2012 could be looking for one.

3. Do I have a specific health goal? For a lot of PCOS ladies, that goal is conceiving a baby (or at least maintaining the health habits that would be most likely to lead to conception). But if that doesn’t apply to you, you might still benefit from thinking about a concrete goal. My goal for 2012, for example, is to establish (or, more accurately, re-establish and solidify) a habit of exercising five days a week. I have done well at this in the past, but it is the first thing to go when my schedule becomes hectic, so my goal is to maintain that habit even when time is tight.

4. How do I feel? This is a hard question sometimes. How DO you feel? Are you tired or energetic? Are you feeling burned out, or have the holidays left you refreshed and ready for a new year? If you are feeling tired and depleted (or if you are suffering from a specific health problem that’s bothering you), then maybe self-care needs to be at the top of your 2012 list of priorities.

These questions are general, and that’s intentional. You will need to think about your own experiences here and figure out what’s most important to you. If you ARE trying to conceive a baby, for example, you might want to make a specific commitment to keeping a full and accurate chart (try to help you track your cycles and judge how well your PCOS management regimen is working.

In a lot of ways, specific resolutions can be difficult, because they seem like rules. This time of year is a natural time to evaluate, though: things move more slowly, and you’re waiting for spring to appear and give you a new sense of vitality, right? Well, be ready for it. Take some time to take stock of what you want out of 2012.

* One of my 2012 resolutions is to keep up this blog. Last year was rough, but I finished my Ph.D.–and now I have more time and more mental space, so 2012 is the year!


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