Let's make some plans, shall we? Health plans that is. Let's begin the new year together with a healthy start. But, what else would you expect from The Health-Minded? After all, I don't want to disappoint.
I am kicking the new year off with a series, Health Plans, that will include a few suggested action items to take each month to becoming better organized for your health. Those words - "getting organized" - can bring on some pretty hefty groans, I know, but, fear not! I won't overwhelm you with a long "to do" list. Instead, I will break down a few actions you can choose to take each month to make improving your health and keeping it easier, aide you in achieving your goals and offer some tools to do just that as well.
Some tasks will only take a few moments, some may not even apply to you at all, but others may take a bit of effort, I admit. But, all of them, I can assure you, can help you be a healthier version of you and keep you living the healthy life!
How Being Organized Can Make You Healthier
1. You may smile more.
Stressed-out people don't smile much. Being organized can bring on a big grin and lower your stress and thus lower that major contributor to chronic disease. Sometimes you can't even detect stress in yourself, but I bet it is there. Now, I can't promise you that being organized will eliminate every stressful situation in your life. It won't. But, it can help avoid additional stress. That, it will do. When you are better organized about being able to find important medical documents, making appointments and keeping them, preparing a nourishing meal, sticking to an exercise plan, making better connections, and even taking a vacation, you will feel less stress and better able to focus on other things. Hopefully, more meaningful or fun things.
2. Watch your energy climb.
Constant disarray can make one feel overwhelmed, unmotivated and inadequate. None of that is good for your mood, self-concept, productivity and puts a real damper on your joie de vivre. When you have a plan and carry it out, you can find time to experience all that life can offer and focus on things you enjoy or that require your undivided attention.
3. You may improve your numbers.
Being organized can help lower your blood pressure readings, improve your cholesterol levels, lower the scale and more! For one, when your kitchen is stocked with healthier choices and your grocery shopping and meals are planned, you will eat better and be on your way to creating some great numbers!
4. Your family and friend links strengthen.
Being organized in the health department allows you to be a better parent, spouse or friend. You feel better with your healthy habits and are fostering good health in your children and partner as well. Lack of time management skills can cause those you care about to suffer stress from missed appointments, forgotten forms and unhealthy meals. Being organized allows you to be there for them and their needs as well as yours.
5. Rest easier.
You will sleep better if you are taking better care of your health and not worrying late at night about what you missed. Sleep quality and quantity affects your emotional balance, creative thought process and mood. Being organized can help provide the peace of mind needed to sleep longer and deeper at night.
How to Assemble a Health Care Team that Works Best For You
1. Take a picture.
Start the year off by asking yourself, what did you do this past year for your health that you were happy about and worked well for you. Do you want to continue it? What aspects do you want to improve on this year? Write it down for you to check in with yourself this year from time to time.
2. Make entries on your calendar.
Schedule all your regular check-ups, annual tests and procedures for the year, including your dental appointments. Do this for yourself and anyone else you are responsible for in your family. You can always reschedule them if they turn out not to work for you, but at least you have them in the books. If you need to reschedule, choose another date - don't just cancel the appointment. Here is a link to what doctor visits should be scheduled annually.
3. Update your contacts.
While you are making those appointments, enter all your health team members on your contact list on your cell phone. This includes all regular doctors, dentists, physical trainer, gym, pharmacist, yoga studio, etc. in your cell phone contacts for quick access.
4. Choose an ICE.
While you have that cell phone and updating your contact list, make sure you have someone designated as your emergency contact (In Case of Emergency or ICE). First responders and hospital personnel always look for this on cell phones. Here is more information on that.
5. Shop around.
If needed, begin to check out new health providers, doctors, yoga studio, chiropractors or other members of your health team. If you are not happy, try someone new for a better fit.
For instance, if you are not satisfied with your gym location, choose one or two others to check out this month and compare. If you wait too long for appointments and need more attention from your doctor, perhaps you should consider concierge medicine, which I wrote about here. In addition, here are some specific questions to ask any type of new health care provider to help you find a better solution as well.
6. Ponder a bit.
Take five minutes and start a list of all medical questions you have. Add to the list as necessary and keep it on your phone or somewhere you will be sure to have when you have those scheduled appointments.
7. Create a health/medical file.
Make a medical folder for yourself and for each family member if you have not done so already. Just create them for now. More on this later.
Not too bad, huh? Seven steps for January. I knew you could handle that. You have all month after all to complete them and some steps you just begin and not complete just yet. We are off to a great start!
Happy New Year, Everyone, and Best Wishes for a Super Healthy 2015!
For Even More On The Topic . . .
- Working on improving your productivity? Try these actions to take when you have moments to spare.
- Nutrient dense foods are a great way to get more bang for your healthy-eating buck. Try adding these to amp up your nutrition.