YOUR Health & Wellness: Building Healthier Habits in 2023

Jan 27, 2023 at 11:10 am by RMGadmin

with Dr. Jacqueline Gentry of Williamson Health

A new year is a fresh start—many of us have the resolutions to prove it. If you have resolved to build healthier habits in the new year,
Williamson Health’s Jacqueline Gentry, M.D., offers a few healthy habits tips to help make that resolution a reality. 
#1: Cultivate Community  
“Having community in our lives — a group of people who have things in common and care about each other — increases our quality and quantity of life,” Dr. Gentry says. Gentry advises her patients to find groups that share similar interests, which could include running groups, church, book clubs and more. “But remember, social ties don’t happen overnight,” Dr. Gentry cautions. She says it generally takes between fifty to ninety hours together to build deep, lasting relationships with others. 
#2: Limit Screen Time  
“We often go to social media for a dopamine hit,” Dr. Gentry says. “Shares and likes affect the reward center of the brain, but data shows in the long-term, social media is increasing rates of depression and anxiety.” She recommends setting limits on app use, but also scheduling purposeful time away from screens, including phones, laptops and televisions. “Build rituals around healthier activities, such as going on a walk, playing with your pet, talking with a friend or reading a book,” she says.  
#3: Take a Closer Look at Your Favorite Products 
“I highly recommend being more aware of what ingredients are in your toiletries and cleaning products,” Dr. Gentry says. “Just because something isn’t 100% natural isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it’s important to be aware of the long-term effects of the ingredients.” Dr. Gentry advises consulting, which can be a helpful tool in determining how household products affect personal health or impact the environment.  
#4: Set a Sleep Schedule
“Our bodies were designed to have routine,” Dr. Gentry remarks. “Having a set wake and sleep time sets us up for success.” Want to build some healthier sleep habits this year? Dr. Gentry recommends avoiding blue light before bed (so turn off that TV or iPad), optimizing your bedroom for peaceful sleep and avoiding vigorous exercise too close to bedtime. To see how your sleep hygiene measures up, she suggests visiting 
#5: Prioritize Heart Health
February is Hearth Health Month, so now’s the perfect time to refocus on practical steps to keep your heart healthy. Schedule time for regular exercise, but also think about ways to add short bursts of vigorous activity, like taking the stairs or chasing your kids. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week. Dr. Gentry also recommends a Mediterranean diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and limits processed foods. Dr. Gentry notes that poor sleep has been linked to heart issues — even more reason to clean up your sleep routine! 
#6: Don’t Over-Think Healthy
“We often over complicate healthy choices,” keep it simple — eat plenty of vegetables, get in regular exercise and build strong relationships. All of these help us to live longer and happier lives. Rather than cutting out what you can’t eat, consider healthier additions to your diet,” Dr. Gentry advises. “Sometimes it’s easier to set new goals of what to add in, such as eating five different types of vegetables each day, rather than cutting foods out of our diets,” she says. 
Dr. Gentry and the physicians at Williamson Health are here to help you meet your goal of living a happier, healthier life. To learn more or find a trusted medical provider close to home, visit 
Dr. Jacqueline Gentry is a new primary care physician at Williamson Health’s clinic in Nolensville. Originally from Memphis, she focuses on integrative and preventative medicine. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, traveling and volunteering with the Friends of Adziwa Foundation. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Gentry, call 615.791.2300.