IMG_3580 copyHow many times have you thought about “New Year’s Resolutions” every December after a wonderful season of indulgence, great parties, celebrations of love with family and friends? I know I have the same conversation with myself year after year. Actually, to be precise, there is a quiet voice speaking to me in the background, reminding me that what I must resolve to do for the newyear is the following:

  • Relax more, stress less
  • Exercise more
  • Take more time for myself
  • Eat more healthy
  • Be nicer to husband and daughter… (more the husband!)

Relax More. Dave loves to tell people and remind me that telling me to “relax” is like telling the sun not to come up.  The truth is, I continue to strive and achieve some state of “relaxation” by cleaning, organizing, catching up on all nonclinical work, getting through the to-do lists for our family, because once I can get most or all of this “done”, then I can “relax”.  I have learned that relaxation is a state of mind and being, not a certain “time” or “place” that I can get to after I have met all the self-imposed deadlines.  I can go about my “to-do” list in a relaxed state and not be irritable, cranky, and resentful at my spouse and child as I am doing them.

Stress Less.  As for stress, it’s also a self-imposed perception and what we react to that keeps us from managing ourselves better. When I experienced high degree of burnout, it was not living with AWARENESS that led me to feel so “stressed” all the time, exhausted, irritable, and just not emotionally or physically well.  No need to stress. Dave reminds me all the time, “no one is dying…it will be okay”. I am fortunate in that my career allows me to have an honest perspective as I can and have been faced with truly life-threatening, difficult situations, and every day I am reminded of how grateful I am for the health of my family when at work,  I share in the struggles experienced by other families with children who experience illness and suffering.

Exercise More. This year, Dave has faithfully worked out almost daily with the P90X regimen, and boy does he look great! I can also tell his attitude and overall state of being is better.  Year after year, I make the same excuses in my head and out loud, “I am so busy everyday,”  “I hardly have time to eat, even pee sometimes, let alone exercise! “, “by the time I get home I have so little time with Claire”, “I don’t have a “personal trainer”.  I secretly vilify those around me who simply have the “luxury” of time to exercise, don’t you see, I am a full time working mom!!! My husband inspired me. Watching his physical transformation, one day at a time, made me realize that if I cling to “my story”, nothing will ever change. Just like waiting to reach some state of “relaxation”, as if it’s a destination, I can’t simply continue to NOT exercise and hope to miraculously be physically transformed into some improved state of health.  So about 2 months ago, I started doing P90X 30, (30 minute version instead of 60). Deep down, I wanted to do it for Dave if not for me, because I know he loves me and wants me to be healthy. I also wanted him to enjoy a wife who looks great, even at age 44!  So, one day at a time, 30 minutes, DVDs and Tony Horton (he and some of the people can be annoying since they make everything look so easy with their 8 pack abs!).  I skipped some days when I just couldn’t make it happen, but it didn’t stop me from trying to any day that I could and certainly on weekends.  Who wants to admit that their spouse is right? I did, happily. I can see my arms be more toned, and my thighs, and as body parts ached which never ached before, I am proud of myself.

Take More Time for Myself. Instead of picturing some vacation of several day stretch of being stranded on some secret island without distraction, this is now almost daily. It comes for me in the form of 5-10 minutes, even when driving to work, with my favorite song playing.  Some days when I drive one hour to a satellite clinic, it’s a whole lot of time to enjoy the Florida landscape, sun, sky, swamp, fields, and simply be thankful of my life and all that is it.  Dave and I also have gotten into watching shows on “Netflix” like “Sherlock”, and I indulge in shows like “The Paradise”.

Eat More Healthy. Since I am passionate about food and the need for us to save our children by teaching them to consume less sugar, make better choices, this is the easiest one of all.  For me, the “healthy” is really not about what I eat, but that I have to eat, as in 3 meals a day.  I have spent decades living on 1 meal a day and this coming year I will make some changes.  Dave had surprised me with a fridge in my office last year for Valentine’s Day, but it’s been empty so we will stock it soon. I will do a better job bringing lunch, so that even on busy surgery days I will keep my sugar steady. Can’t wait to go “snack” shopping (spicy ramen doesn’t count!)

Be Nicer to Husband and Daughter. Every day, I am aware that I give my best to my patients and their families, and co-workers. At the end of the day, it’s so easy to not be at my best and get “lazy” when it comes to the two most precious people in my life. Well, in 2015, I vow to be more gentle, patient, and give more undivided attention to Dave and Claire. I want to, and I need to. Giving them undivided attention allows me to get away from work and is the only way for me to have some type of “not so balanced” balance in my life. I will treat them as I do my patients if not better, as long as I focus on that I know they’ll be treated like royalty.

What are your resolutions?

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Dr. Julie Wei is a pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist and the author of A Healthier Wei. As a mother herself, Dr. Wei is a passionate advocate for improving children's health through better diet and dietary habits. She has been committed to helping parents learn how to eliminate their child's ear, nose, and throat problems simply by reducing excessive sugar and dairy intake, as well as minimizing habitual late night snacking. She hopes to raise awareness for the need for accountability by both medical professionals and parents to ensure that children are not prescribed or take unnecessary medications long term.

When she is not in the clinic, operating room, or conducting research, you will find her in the kitchen preparing food with love along with her daughter Claire. If you sit next to her on the plane, she will likely share with you information about how to minimize choking hazards in young children, and many other tips for improving your child's health.