It’s that time again. The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate things and make changes in your life for the better. There’s nothing like a good list, so here are a few recommendations from the doctor.

1. Reduce your screen time. You know what I’m talking about – time spent gazing into your phone or ipad. If you added up all the minutes of your day spent checking pointless statuses and browsing funny cat videos, it could be a sizable chunk. There is evidence that time spent focussing on near objects such as phones is leading to much higher rates of eyesight difficulties in our population. It’s good for your eyes to focus on distant objects such as a frisbee at the park.

2. Stop drinking sweet drinks. They are poisoning you and making you fat. So-called “diet” drinks are no better – they may not have any calories, but they still fool your body into thinking you’ve had a massive sugar hit, leading to surges of insulin release, which eventually leads to diabetes. If you’re thirsty drink water or herbal tea, and forget the sweet stuff – you’re sweet enough already!

3. Find out about PrEP – if you have any unprotected sex, even just occasional or accidental, PrEP can protect you from HIV infection. It’s safe and easy and affordable. Information is available at

4. Get moving! Lack of exercise is a major cause of poor health in our society. To those of you who say you have no time, remember that even a little extra movement can make a difference. Don’t be the person who stands still on the travelator! Take the stairs! Set your alarm an hour earlier and go for a run. It won’t kill you, in fact it might save your life.

5. Do something for others. Becoming a volunteer and offering service to others can be life changing, and will improve your mental health, self-esteem and outlook on life.

6. Be grateful. Take stock of all the things you have in your life that you can be thankful for. There are more than you think, and they’re not necessarily things!

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