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A Healthier New Norm

By Pebbles Mendoza

Everyone is talking about the New Normal for the 2020s and beyond. It seems like time has flown by so fast during the start of the virus that we barely realized when we had reached this point. We start wondering: where has the time gone, and what did we do with it?

We’ve been creating original, creative posts about living healthier and more productive days for the New Norm.

But we need to make some real changes this new period in our lives. It’s time for the ultimate “New Year’s Resolution” list. It’s best to prepare carefully now, so we can build up healthy habits that we can take with us not just to the new norm, but well into the next decade and beyond!

1. Instead of “dieting,” focus on what you eat

Dieting in Filipino culture seems to be intrinsically linked to restrictive eating. While part of a diet does involve cutting out particular varieties of food, dieting itself should not merely about restricting consumption. If properly portioned according to different food groups, meals can be plentiful and satisfying without excessive caloric intake. Four out of ten people in the NCR are overweight. In the entire Philippine population, obesity has reached 31 percent, according to a 2019 survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology. That’s enough to consider it another pandemic! What a scary thought…

Try this: Instead of restricting yourself, start portioning your meals. Make sure you have carbs, proteins, leafy greens, and fruit during every meal, in balanced amounts. Don’t withhold treats from yourself; you can indulge in them once a week, but in moderation. And it’s also important to listen to what your doctor advises you in terms of your body situation.

2. Get regular checkups

Most of us have heard friends utter the words, “I haven’t even seen a doctor in a year” or other equally long periods. Why should they, they say, when they are perfectly healthy? But one of the primary reasons why everyone should factor in regular checkups for health is that some diseases are unseen. Remember that the Department of Health has stated that the leading cause of mortality in the Philippines is through non-communicable diseases.

Try this: If you have a trusted family doctor, or if your health insurance provides you access to one, try to schedule an appointment every two or three months. While the world is still looking for a virus cure, try to find ways to meet a doctor regularly. Tell them about your health situation and get checkups for any signs and symptoms that something may be amiss. But physical health is not the only reason to see a doctor; you must make sure your mental health is addressed, too.

3. Mental Health is also part of staying healthy

The Philippines has long been considered the happiest country in Asia. We, as people, are famous for our smiles and carefree attitudes. However, the prevalence of mental illness throughout our population is something that we cannot ignore. There is a negative stigma around mental health that we as a nation are steadily beginning to know more and understand. The Philippines is trying to do its part by offering free mental health consultations in some hospitals.

Try this: Don’t bottle it up if you’re feeling under pressure. Reach out to someone willing to listen, who you trust, and who can understand what you’re going through. If your mental health problems are genuinely starting to affect you, don’t be afraid to ask about consultation among the free mental health programs in hospitals. It will save you a great deal of mental and emotional toll. You will be able to truly process the problems and issues that plague you and get some advice as you think about what to do next.

4. It’s crucial to take time for yourself

Time is fleeting. For many people, it’s all about the grind. There’s always the next appointment, the next workday, the next flight to catch... And then, after the days work, household chores and errands, you go to bed and do it all over again. Even weekends seem to fly by so quickly! The grind of working and toiling takes a toll on our bodies and minds. It’s essential to take a breather when you need it, recharge, and return refreshed. We have the most beautiful beach in the world. Make the most of it.

Try this: The reason we get vacation days at work is to do that: to have a vacation. Especially if you’re in a company that won’t allow you to liquidate any saved time off. Don’t forget to take time for yourself when you can. You can opt to spend it with someone or family, but you can also do it alone. De-stress with different varieties of anti-stress activities available around the island.

At the start of this new normal, we must remember to take care of ourselves better. Many of us may reason, “I don’t have time for that!” and we end up compromising our resolutions. But remember; we also can’t take care of the people we love if we are not well ourselves. It’s essential to look after ourselves and take the different steps needed to live happy and healthy lives.

Through being healthy, we’ll be better able to spend time with the people who matter and go through life with them. Whatever the future might bring in these new times, we can all walk into them with the glow of health and new possibilities.


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