Why you shouldn’t do resolutions

Happy new year, everybody! I’m wishing you a year of peace, health, and happiness. And will be blogging to promote you going to get it yourself!

What is your why? Are you over resolutions yet? Chances are, like resolving to make more money this year, if you don’t work at it, being happier, getting your house organized, getting to a more comfortable weight, etc. aren’t going to happen. What do you want/need to happen? How can you get there?

This year, my why is high cholesterol. No, I didn’t start working on it today, yes, I am renewing my commitment to healthier habits today. This is not my first go-round with high cholesterol. I had a high reading prepuberty, when in junior high we got to get lunch ala carte instead of standing in line for the tray. Once I stopped eating Doritos and milkshakes for lunch, it got a lot better. And since the late aughts, I was on a three year cycle. 1: Test high, diet like crazy 2: test well, diet less 3: test a little higher, stop dieting 1: test high, lather, rinse repeat. Except, after my 2016 test, my dad got diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. As you can imagine, I didn’t diet for shit that year, and 2017 gave me another very high test.

I really like dairy. I like cheese, ice cream, milkshakes, sour cream, Mexican crema, clotted cream, chocolate milk, really, all of it. I am eating yogurt every day, and the rest is a treat, maybe once a week or so. I’m really trying to get realistic identifying a snack versus a treat. I’m a good Texan, love a rare steak, but I am limiting my beef intake. I eat salmon once a week. I’m supplementing with fish oil and vitamin D (which I did test low). I’m a decade older than when this started, and my willpower for dieting isn’t what it used to be. So I knew I needed to exercise.

Which brings me to taking time for yourself. I know, not everyone has the privilege of time. I would guess at least 70% of my patients wouldn’t need to see me if they would slow the eff down. I know, we all have bills to pay. But in the same way financial planners say, “Pay yourself first!” I am saying, take care of yourself first. Put the mask on you before you put one on your kid, lest you fall unconscious, you know? So, four days a week, I am taking a mid day break. I work out, I eat lunch, I shower, if the timing works out and I have an extra hour, I do laundry, and then I come back to work, refreshed for the second half of the day. Tuesday through Thursday, this happens at lunch time. On Monday evenings, I stay late, so I take my break at tea time.

I get retested at the end of April, so stay tuned! What are you working on this year?

keeping your nose clean

I love my neti pot! It took years for my friend to convince me to try it, but I have since convinced at least 3 others, including my mom. I wish I’d known about them in college.

A neti pot is a small vessel, ceramic, plastic, or metal, in which a warm saline solution is prepared. The pot has a long spout, around which you seal one nostril. The solution is poured through your sinuses, going in one nostril and draining out the other. “It’s amazing,” my friend told me, “you look in the sink and go, ‘That used to be in my head.'”

While I have yet to see truly scary things pour out of me, I do have a much better time of it with congestion and other allergy symptoms. And it was a lot easier to learn than I thought! If you can swim with your face in the water, you can definitely neti. It isn’t much harder than washing your face. There are just a few crucial things, water temperature, salt concentration, and only breathing through your mouth.

It is easiest to use a neti pot in the shower, because you have good temperature water (the brain freeze from using a neti pot with cold water is way worse than eating ice cream too quickly) and you don’t have to worry about splash. In this case, I recommend using a plastic model. Some neti pots come with pre-measured packets of salt. I have a little plastic jar that stays next to my neti pot; I fill it with mostly kosher salt and a bit of baking soda to buffer it. 1/4 teaspoon will create a fairly strong solution in a 1/2c neti pot.

So you have a warm solution mixed in the pot, now lean forward a bit, put the spout to one nostril, turn your head so that nostril is on top, breathe through your mouth, and let gravity do its thing. It kind of tickles at first, just don’t breathe through your nose! Then, gently blow the remaining water out of your nose, and repeat on the other side. I try to neti at night, but if I have to in the morning, I hang my head for a bit and try to force the water out of my sinuses; there is usually a little bit remaining.

Why would you do this crazy thing? If you suffer from any of the tagged conditions, if you tend to get nosebleeds from dry air, it can help! When you have a sore throat that’s above your throat so a lozenge is useless, this feels great!

Sometimes the nose is so stuffed that nothing goes through. There are a few options for this before you reach for that addictive spray. Similar to the neti pot, there are squeeze bottles with one-way valves (preventing backwash) to pressure the solution through. There are powered devices that also add force to the solution. And of course, acupuncture.