Ten Tips for a Healthy 2024: A Discussion with Dr Michelle Hardie-Murphy and Ashling Doherty on the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast
For the first episode of 2024 on the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast, we had the pleasure of discussing healthy resolutions for the New Year with Dr Michelle Hardie-Murphy and Aisling Doherty, both Senior HSE Health Promotion and Improvement Officers.
As we ushered in the New Year, we acknowledged that it is often seen as a time for renewal and reflection, with many people taking this period to make healthy resolutions. We delved into the importance of setting realistic goals, finding enjoyment in healthy behaviours, and the significance of celebrating small achievements.
Michelle emphasised that behaviour change requires capability, motivation, and opportunity. The HSE works closely with community partners to provide opportunities for healthy behaviours, such as physical activity and nutrition courses. Starting small and setting realistic goals is crucial. Aisling added that honesty and self-reflection are key to setting achievable goals.
We highlighted the importance of enjoyment and routine in sustaining healthy habits. Finding activities that bring joy and allow individuals to lose themselves in the moment, such as playing sports or going for a walk, can have a significant impact on mental health.
We also touched on the importance of incorporating healthy behaviours into daily routines and having the necessary equipment or ingredients readily available. Partnering up with someone or joining social groups can make the journey more enjoyable and increase accountability. Family members can play a role in holding each other accountable.
However, it is also important to be flexible and adapt to changes in circumstances or setbacks, without self-punishment. Setbacks are a normal part of life and can be expected. Some setbacks can be anticipated, such as holidays or busy work periods, and can be planned for in advance. We encourage listeners to be kind to themselves and not beat themselves up over setbacks. Instead, reflect on what can be learned from the setback and how to improve in the future.
Life happens, and it’s important to be kind to oneself and roll with the punches. Regular reflection and reassessment, considering what has worked well and what may need to be adjusted, are crucial to sustain healthy changes. Life happens, and it’s important to be kind to oneself and roll with the punches. Making healthy choices can be challenging, especially when there are external factors beyond our control, such as the availability of healthy eating options in our neighbourhoods. However, opportunities for behaviour change do exist and building on our knowledge and skills is important.
We discussed the many free resources available to help support your goals, such as the HSE’s Quit services, and how they support individuals through the process of quitting smoking. We also referenced the HSE’s Stress Control program, which will be available again in February, and other supports on www.yourmentalhealth.ie for those who may need it were also mentioned.
We discussed the importance of finding support and resources within one’s own community to promote and improve overall well-being. We encourage people to explore what is available locally to guide them towards healthier behaviours. Community supports and motivation are crucial in helping individuals make positive changes.
We emphasised the importance of tracking progress and celebrating small wins to stay motivated and on track with healthy behaviour changes. Tools like diaries, smartwatches, and pedometers can be useful, but visual reminders, such as a chart on the fridge, can also mark achievements. Celebrating achievements in ways that align with the desired behaviour change, such as going on a new walk or exploring nature, can have a positive impact on mood and mental well-being.
In conclusion, starting small and setting achievable goals is key. To listen to the full podcast, click here.
Remember, it’s not about perfection, but progress. Here’s to a healthier 2024!