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Four Doctors’ New Year’s Resolutions

Illustration by Neil Stevens
Illustrations: Neil Stevens

Sanjeev Lulla

Internal Medicine

NorthShore University HealthSystem
I want to make more time for keeping in touch with friends by calling or visiting them, and less through social media and texting. Social interaction is critical to good health. Humans are social beings. We derive support, meaning, and enjoyment, as well as create memories, from our interactions. This resolution was motivated by my own recent health issues, including hospitalization and colon surgery. My friends and colleagues were a tremendous source of support. I want to apply those lessons to my patients, too. I find myself, during each visit, spending so much time on the computer typing away with notes. I want to pay more attention to the patients themselves, feel more connected to them.

 

Illustration by Neil Stevens

Jacob Bitran

Medical Oncology

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
I’m going on a much higher protein diet. I want to make sure I eat a gram of protein for every pound of my body weight over the course of each day. You need protein in order to make red and white blood cells and cells that are important in the clotting of blood. You also need it to maintain muscle mass, which is very important as you get older, in terms of your overall metabolism. With Frosted Flakes in the morning, you’re basically eating sugar. Instead, I have four ounces of salmon. I poach it a few days in advance, portion out my breakfast, and eat it with a piece of whole-grain bread and coffee.

 

Illustration by Neil Stevens

Monica Christmas

Obstetrics and Gynecology

UChicago Medicine
I recently sent my daughter to college, and I realized that much of my life has been about taking care of her and being dedicated to my career and patients. I haven’t spent enough time looking at how I want to stay healthy and vibrant. I feel best when I practice yoga more frequently, so I’ve been trying to do it at least four to five times a week. Although I enjoy all genres — actually, I hate being hot, so I don’t practice Bikram — I prefer vinyasa and Ashtanga. It provides an excellent workout and calms my spirit. I’m rejuvenated yet peaceful, and in better shape now than I was in my 20s. Not to brag, but I can do backbends, headstands, and handstands at 47.

 

Illustration by Neil Stevens

Thasarat Sutabutr Vajaranant

Ophthalmology

Eye and Ear Infirmary at UI Health
When patients ask me what to do to improve their eye health, my response is to improve one’s general health — mind and body. I came from Thailand, and when I was a student, we meditated together in class. The teacher would actually say, “This is a time for meditation.” We didn’t really understand at the time, but it helped us to learn how to calm ourselves and just relax. I have such a fond memory, so I recently started meditating again to reduce stress. I prefer a quiet place with good ventilation — if possible, outdoors. I sit down on the ground cross-legged, close my eyes, and put both of my palms on my knees while trying to relax my body. Then I focus on my breathing. With my son — he’s 9 — we try to meditate together before bedtime.

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