April 21st, 2018

To Your Health: It’s a new year, so time for some new routines in your life

By Gillian Slade on January 2, 2017.

The start of a new school year would see me relish the new books I acquired. I loved writing on the first page of a scribbler in my best cursive script, carefully controlled.

A new year is a little bit like that even if you don’t believe in establishing new year’s resolutions. Calling it a fresh start or a new opportunity can be a little less daunting and perhaps even exciting.

There are numerous physical and mental benefits linked to starting anew. You can put the old behind you, which is a freeing concept.

As lovely as the Christmas decorations were, by the end of the first week in January we are ready to declutter, dust surfaces and get organized.

In fact there are all sorts of benefits when it comes to trying something for the first time. The older we get the less inclined we are to try new things. We drive the same route to the grocery store because we don’t have to think about it nor plan our route. We stick to the same place to shop because we know which aisle to the things we need — well, some of the time anyway, until management changes everything around to annoy us.

I have a cousin who took this to the extreme. He had a menu for the week that simply repeated itself every week thereafter. Monday was spaghetti night, Tuesday was meatballs and so on. He had exactly the same thing for breakfast every day. It made shopping very easy because he used the same shopping list every week.

How boring. This approach excludes creativity and provides nothing stimulating for the brain.

Take a different route when you drive to the shops. You will see different things that stimulate your brain. Try a new recipe with ingredients you have not used before. Order something at the coffee shop that you have never had before. You will be a more interesting person to talk to with new ideas and new experiences. Your brain will be stimulated.

What so refreshing about this approach is that you are not committing yourself for the whole of 2017. Sadly my school books reveal the perfect script on Page 1 slowly dwindled to the untidy hand about 10 pages into the book. That’s OK though. Trying is better than never trying at all.

Happy New Year. Here’s to trying something new and here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her by email (gslade@medicinehatnews.com) or call 403-528-8635.

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