#happylife: Self-care in 2020, one month at a time

Self-Care solution walks you through challenges to better health in 2020

SPOKANE, Wash – At the start of every year, a lot of people make grand resolutions for how to improve their lives. Those resolutions often get broken before Valentine’s Day. But, a new book offers a simpler approach, grounded in science and dedicated to helping you succeed.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton is a busy mom, physician and Chief Medical Correspondent for ABC News. She struggled with finding ways to improve her health and found herself giving advice to her patients that she wasn’t following herself. So, she tried giving herself small challenges that would both improve her health and well-being, but would also lead to small – and, even big – improvements.

“With all our stress and our busy lives and what we do for everyone else, I feel like we need self-care now more than ever before,” said Dr. Ashton in an interview with 4 News Now last week. “I know I did when I started this experiment.”

That experiment led to a book, which hit the shelves just before the new year. The Self-Care Solution is designed to help you get healthy and better your well-being, one month at a time.

“I really designed these things to be accessible and easy for everyone,” Dr. Ashton said. “Woman, man, old, young, fit, unfit, you name it. It can be really palatable and important for everyone.”

The challenges are broken down into three categories: what we eat/drink, how we move and from the neck up, which includes things like sleep, meditation and mindful tech.

“Mindful tech was hard for me,” said Dr. Ashton of what is now her challenge for the month of August. “My kids accused me of being too much in my device and that’s a harsh wake-up call for any parent.”

The book can be read all at once or one month at a time. Each challenge is backed up by science. For example, it begins with “dry January”, the practice of not drinking alcohol for the entire month. While not only including what abstaining for a month can do for your internal health, Dr. Ashton also notes the improvements in her skin and a flatter belly during the month without alcohol.

The challenges include a month dedicated to sleep, increasing hydration in June and ending with December devoted to laughter. Each month, Dr. Ashton says, builds on the others, so at the end of 2020, you end up looking back at a healthier you.

“10 or 12 years ago, it was all about self-help,” she said. “And that is really predicated on the idea that something is wrong with you that needs fixing. To me, self-care is the kinder, gentler version of that. Which is, wherever you are now is great. But, we can do little things that cost nothing that are easy to do anytime, anywhere that can really produce short-term and long-term positive effects on us.”

You can read more about Dr. Ashton’s challenge and more about the book here.