We talk a lot about self-care as it relates to balance, setting boundaries and taking time for self. Of course, all of that is not just important but essential, but self-care is also about taking care of yourself physically. You can eat right, you can exercise, but you still need to go to the doctor … regularly.
A lot of us only think of the doctor or the dentist when there is a problem. Acute pain means it’s time to see a doctor. Strange fluids emanating from some orifice, call the doctor. Yet, regular office visits are essential.
An annual visit with blood work can reveal high cholesterol, high levels of blood sugar. Discussing symptoms and concerns with your doctor before they reach a crisis level can possibly prevent a crisis from occurring.
But we don’t need just an annual check-up. Ladies, we also need to visit the OB/GYN annually. And, if you are over 40 or have a family history of breast cancer, we need to make sure to schedule an annual mammogram.
Men, I’m not letting you off the hook because as unpleasant as it may be, you need to make your prostate health a priority and that means an annual prostate check-up if you are over 50 or earlier if you have a family history.
Likewise, cleaning at the dentist every six months can detect cavities, gum disease and other problems before they become emergencies.
Scheduling all of these appointments can be a pain especially if you are juggling them around your work schedule. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Start Early: Aim for the first appointment of the day. You can get in and out before the doctor has time to get backed up. Many dentist’s offices are open as early as 7:00, so you might be able to get in and out and not even be late for work!
Ask for Late Appointments: Some dentists and doctors have late days where they are in as late as 6:00 or 7:00, see if you can schedule an appointment then. Of course, if weekends are better, ask for those as well.
Spread Them Out: Don’t try to schedule all your appointments for around the same time. Spread them out throughout the year. Do this and missing some time from work won’t be as big a deal.
Use Reminders: When we change the time (springing forward or falling back), I know it’s time to schedule my doctor’s appointment. When it’s around my birthday (September), I schedule my annual check-up. OB/GYN and mammogram are scheduled around Mother’s Day.
Despite our recent health care debates, we still have some of the best health care in the world, so if you can, take advantage of it. Good health is essential to good self-care.