Simple, Healthy New Year Resolutions

Ring-a Ring-a roses
Pocket full of poses
Husha, busha
All fall down
This ditty and the game are an integral part of growing up. As part of an urban legend, many also believe that this refers to the Great Plague of London of 1665, a time when people used to fall down (die) sneezing.
Assuming it to be true, and I know that this is very depressing for the first piece of 2010, this little poem quite aptly captures the current plague of stress in our lives; first Mr. Ranjan Das of SAP and now Mr. Ravimohan of Reliance – here yesterday and then gone tomorrow; poof, just like that!
And like them, we have a large number of high-performing, type A individuals in our city, working 18-20 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, sleeping 4-5 hours, multi-tasking, traveling 10-15 days a month, drinking after work and sometimes during work, along with power naps, power lunches, power vacations, wedded to the laptop and/or the Blackberry, and constantly bothered about numbers, toplines, EBITDAs, governance and the next quarter.
Stress like this kills…
This problem is all-pervasive. While we are all gung-ho about our country’s projected growth rate over the next decade, we also have the dubious distinction of being high achievers with respect to diabetes, hypertension and similar chronic diseases, across all levels of society. Young aspiring achievers, middle managers, professionals…each and everyone seems to be falling prey to the “work hard, party hard, sleep less” syndrome.
And so perhaps the only New Year resolution that many of us should make is to “slow down, pull back and sleep more”.  Here’s my list of related simple resolutions.
Simple (in no particular order)
1. Eat only as much as needed.
2. Don’t smoke.
3. Exercise – any amount is fine, even half an hour a week, though more is better.
4. Sleep – a minimum of 7 hours.
5. If you must drink, then do so with moderation. Don’t get drunk. Don’t eat fried food with the alcohol. Don’t drink and drive.
Simple, but needs a shade extra effort.
1. Spend time with family.
2. Take breaks.
3. Try not to lose your temper – there is a difference between controlled anger and just completely losing it.
4. Meditate
5. Have sensible working hours. The French work 35 hours a week and still manage to be productive.
6. Give time to old friends.
And, if you need, there is enough help out there, in the form of social movements such as HelpYourBody (www.helpyourbody.in), which is trying to raise awareness about these health issues, hoping eventually to make our workplaces and us, healthier and less stressful. But eventually, it’s still our responsibility.  Granted that we may not have much control over the occurrence of accidents and cancer, but there is still a lot we can do to take care of our physical and mental health.
Being healthy is not just about not being sick or dying. It is also about being well enough so that when we grow old, we do so without too much disability and without ending up being burdens to our children and society.
If we want to live and die with grace, we need to live healthily. Now!

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