Opinion » Editorial

One last toast ...



Have you recovered yet?

Here we are in the dark days following the brightness of the Christmas, New Year's Day and other holidays and let's face it, most of us are all feeling we overdid it just a bit.

Too much chocolate, cheese and cannoli—not to mention all the celebratory toasts made and clinked to as well ... sigh.

There's a reason this time of year sees a host of New Year's resolutions made around health.

I felt a push toward my health resolutions after reading a bit about what my body has been going through in a recent Globe and Mail column (and I should clarify that I am practically a teetotaler and I'm still feeling a bit toxic).

After a night of revelling, wrote Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall, you awake and find that "... while you slept, without truly resting, the cells that are your body became acutely inflamed, turning your organs rigid and therefore unable to absorb water and nutrients. In desperation, your system has sucked moisture from your brain, shrivelling it horribly. So now your shrunken mind is pulling at the membranes attached to your skull, tormenting your head while tugging at the very fibres of your being.

"Then there's all that hydrochloric acid (more commonly known as paint thinner) gurgling in your stomach, and the formaldehyde (a byproduct of breaking down methanol) being released into your system. To deal with all these toxic invaders, your liver has sent out kamikaze troops called free radicals, who don't know when to stop. So now, in trying to save yourself, you've got rogue killers roaming through your body, looking for fights wherever they can, causing all kinds of pain and nausea until your brain stops thinking of water and begs for mercy instead."

Now, that explains everything.

Bishop-Stall has been asking why humans do this to themselves, and is there a hangover cure, as he travels around the world (to get some answers, you'll need to get his book The Morning After and One Man's Quest for a Cure).

"The fact is, after all this time, I just don't know: Are hangovers good or bad? Why do we keep on having them? Are they affecting us worse than ever, but for vital reasons —an evolutionary necessity, or just a leftover, meaningless scourge?" he ponders.

I do know that for most of us, waking up a few times feeling as described above can boot us into overdrive on the New Year's resolutions front.

But beware! There is little doubt that setting up lofty goals and ambitions on this front will inevitably thrust us into the try, fail, repeat cycle that so many psychologists warn us of every January.

It's been 30 years since John Norcross and Dominic Vangarelli conducted a study of what happens to all that New Year's resolution-making and discovered that most never make it. At one week's time, they found, 77 per cent of those questioned were still hanging in but only 55 per cent were left standing at the end of a month. Two years later, only 19 per cent had actually succeeded.

According to a Forbes magazine article this week, "Forty percent of Americans will take stock of their year and make a declarative statement of their intentions for the year to come.

"Eighty percent ... will fail within 30 days. With only 8% of resolution makers actually seeing follow through."

But change may be on the horizon. According to an article in The Guardian this week, about $348 million has been lost by U.K. dance clubs in the last five years as partygoers look for a different experience than drinking and dancing.

"A new breed of nightlife is taking their place, with food, games and even exercise trumping the hedonism of dancing to DJ mixes," stated The Guardian.

Said Stuart Forsyth, the event manager of Mint nightclub in Leeds, which will close in February after 20 years: "Kids now are more financially aware and more health aware than what we were going into the '90s and the (2000s). I know a lot of kids who will be going to the gym instead of staying up all night."

I'm not convinced that we will see this change here in Whistler, but as you head into 2019 I would argue that it never hurts to put health and well-being at the top of your list.

But remember: Be patient, set specific realistic goals, make it manageable and short term, if you don't hit your "perfect" goal within the specified time frame have a sub-goal that can be achieved more easily so you don't get discouraged, and involved family and friends for encouragement.

Happy New Year.