A Feel-Good Way to End the Year

(graphic from the Healthy You in 2022 campaign by the State of Alaska Department of Health)

So I recently finished a most-of-2022 assignment with the CDC Foundation in service to the State of Alaska Department of Health helping create the commissioner-requested Healthy You in 2022 multiplatform project, designed to help people shift from hyper-focus on the pandemic to positive steps forward in their lives. It was my great honor to be part of this really special effort with truly wonderful people. (Note: Almost all 3,500 “surge employees” with the CDC Foundation finished their contracts October 15. I’m now spreading my wings in a unique new direction.)

The on-staff team recently completed the final deliverables. That includes the Q4 assets of social media posts, the final of four quarterly video series (in a horizontal version for YouTube/Facebook/Twitter and a vertical version for Instagram Reels), and monthly blog posts directly informed by behavioral health experts. (See the final blog post, with all the links, at the end of this post.) You especially don’t want to miss the inspiring, up-tempo public service announcements, such as this one, created in partnership with an agency:

Per our ambitious plan, they also created an hour-long compilation video of all the videos from the year (and yes, of course there’s one that features a bike). These short videos feature real Alaskans doing things they love that make a difference for their physical and mental health.

These little stories are super feel-good, folks, and we need that now more than ever. They may also inspire you to set a new wellness goal for yourself for 2023.

The video compilation is available for you free of charge to share on a loop in your medical offices or business break rooms — or as a viewing with your friends and family. Here ya’ go — view it embedded below or on Vimeo. I love this (and miss my Alaska team a ton):

Note that this week had the shortest day of the year. Nowhere is that more pronounced than Alaska. As the light now comes back a little more each day to Alaska and everywhere, let’s also bring it back more fully to our health and wellness in 2023. Start with one step forward, and go from there. You are not alone.

FYI, I’ll be doing a post soon about Alaska and how we have so much to learn from them, as they are experiencing climate change at three times the rate of most other places. The intersection of climate change and public health will curl your toes. Take action now to boost your health in every way possible. It can help you, well, feel good when a lot of things around us feel bad.


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Find Your Path to Better HealthReflect As we get closer to bringing back the light this winter, it’s a great time to reflect on our year and what we learned from Healthy You in 2022. Whatever your health journey, we hope that something we shared—about physical activity, mental health, nutrition, sleep, or goal setting—helped you take at least one step toward creating new, healthier habits. We also hope you also know where to turn when you feel like you could use some help (short answer: 988 or Careline Alaska), including during the often-challenging holiday season. We leave you with a few final tips and some inspiration as well as our Healthy You in 2022 website. We hope our blog posts, videos and other resources continue to help smooth your way. And now, as we gratefully conclude the year, we share wisdom from fellow travelers to help fuel the rest of our way. You don’t have to climb every mountain5 tips for moving forwardPass the popcorn!You don’t have to climb every mountain(but you can still reach your goals)Harlow Robinson in the Chugach Mountains above Anchorage Harlow Robinson climbed every mountain: all 12 of the highest peaks in the Front Range of Southeast Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. In 24 hours. Twice in his life. But you don’t have to. You only need to climb the small hill in front of you today. Work. Health. Family. Whatever it is that needs your attention, one foot forward at a time. (And, when that feels like too much, stop to catch your breath, like Harlow is doing in the picture above.) Harlow, who is the founder of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and the executive director of Healthy Futures, grew up in rural Alaska, where being active and playing outside was a way of life and three-day family backpacking trips were normal. You may remember him from our 22 Ways to Move blog post in the first quarter of our Healthy You in 2022 campaign. He’s also featured in one of the videos in our new series, How I Persist with Harlow Robinson.   After years as a competitive runner, Harlow became interested in the challenge of climbing those dozen 5,000-foot peaks, self-supported, when he realized there was not a set route for climbing all of them in succession. He could approach it like a puzzle and find the best way for himself and his unique strengths. That’s a piece of advice that Harlow thinks applies to everyone: “Your path is your own,” said Harlow. “Start where you are in your wellness journey, set reasonable goals, and move forward at the pace that works for you.”  Set new goals He cautions people, especially children, not to get stuck thinking of themselves as either athletic or not athletic. Physical activity is recommended for everyone, every day, and there is such a wide variety of options. But not everyone is in a situation where it’s easy to access the time, a safe space and equipment they may need to participate in an activity. Harlow suggests: “Seek mentors, activity buddies, and role models” (like these Healthy Heroes).” Take advantage of free opportunities, such as public parks and recreation centers, as well as grants for children, such as Healthy Futures Game Changers and Kicks for Kids that enable sports participation. Keep a fitness log for a month and track progress. Celebrate every success.” Harlow also cautions you to keep a heads-up for changing priorities over time. With his kids now teens and family time increasingly precious, Harlow has pivoted away from competitive commitments to be more available for family activities, like hikes. Allow yourself and your goals to change as well. 5 tips for moving forwardLive your dream Goals may be hard to set and keep, however, if you are struggling with your mental health. In the video below, Jennifer Morgan Smith, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), shares concise and compassionate tips for creating a post-pandemic emotional survival kit. We decided to include it here because Jen mentions setting realistic expectations, just like Harlow did. Here’s the quick summary; keep these in mind as you set and pursue your goals: Learn to live with uncertainty.Be kind to others and yourself.Take time to play and laugh.Set realistic expectations.Reflect on your experiences. Pass the popcorn …Our final gift to you is a very special package: Think of it as video inspiration or a virtual movie screening. It’s a compilation of all our Healthy You in 2022 videos from throughout the year. These were first released as individual videos, grouped by the series titles How I MoveHow I Thrive, How I Nourish, and (for our current series) How I Persist. Nearly 60 minutes long, you can let this video compilation roll in the waiting area of a health care clinic or view it over the holidays with friends or family, classmates, coworkers or teammates. Download and have a watch party. Vote for your favorites. Maybe even – hint, hint – get inspired for your New Year’s 2023 resolutions. Find the compilation here on Vimeo.  For tips and links about healthy habits and goal-setting, continue to follow the Alaska Department of Health on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. To access helpful content and links from throughout the year, visit our Healthy You in 2022 website any time. Now, take care – and try to add a little bit more play to your day, no matter what age you are! Snow angels, anyone?  spreadyourwings: Health You 2022. Activities, minds, bodies, habits.
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