As we navigate the next phase of the pandemic, it will be important to prioritize our health and well-being. It is understandable if ongoing self-care fell by the wayside through the events of last year, but now is the time to get back on track with your healthcare. Taking these steps can help keep you at your best in the year to come.
Schedule routine visits. If your check-ups were postponed last year, you are not alone. But now is the time to schedule any missed appointments, including:
- Dental cleanings
- Annual check-ups with your primary care provider, OB/GYN and others
- Skin cancer checks at your dermatologist
- Eye exams
- Preventive screenings
- Routine specialist visits
- And more
Get out your calendar, make time to call your providers’ offices to set up your next visit, and confirm anything you may need to bring along. Scheduling all these visits in the same month may make it easier to remember in the future as well – think of it as your “healthy me month.”
Check your network. While making these appointments, double check that your current providers are still in your health insurance network. This can change from year to year, so if you haven’t visited in some time, it is important to verify before your visit (and an unexpected bill). The provider’s office should be able to tell you, but you can also check with your insurance plan.
Take stock of your prescriptions. Open up your medicine cabinets and take inventory of your medications. Confirm if any have expired over the last year and safely dispose of any that have, including both prescription and over-the-counter. Also review if any prescriptions need to be refilled at the pharmacy or renewed by your provider at your next visit (that you just scheduled).
Review spending accounts. Do you or your employer contribute to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for healthcare or a Health Savings Account (HSA)? As the halfway point of the year approaches, now is a great time to review your balances. Do you have enough to get you through the rest of the year? Can you add more? Keep in mind you can use these accounts to cover prescriptions, provider visit copays, and more expenses related to your healthcare. Keep note of how your spending is going to help you determine how much to contribute moving forward as well.
Establish healthy habits. The combination of quarantine restrictions with the added stress and uncertainty of the last year derailed many people’s healthy routines, including nutritious diets and exercise. As the weather improves, this is a great opportunity to re-establish daily walks and other outdoor fitness activities. Farmers’ markets will also be popping up soon, providing places to enjoy fresh air and seasonal, healthy produce. Take small steps to help get back into a rhythm.
It may feel overwhelming trying to get back on track, but breaking it up into pieces will help make it more manageable to prioritize your health in the year ahead.