My daughter’s suggested that I post self-care articles on Sundays to help boost my readership, which has ended up being a rather difficult journey for me. Until more recently, I had always given all of myself to everything around me, sacrificing what made me happy for my kids, my relationships, my friendships, and my job. I have a hard time saying “No.” When my kids were younger, I took time to enjoy myself, but I always felt guilty that I wasn’t in 100% mom mode all the time. I grew up hearing that taking care of yourself is selfish, that trying to look good was being vain, and that even looking for proper medical care was useless, because Doctor’s are just trying to take your money. I had heard those things all my childhood, and once I became a mom, I thought that being an adult meant sacrifice.
Once my kids got older and I started focusing more on my happiness, I was able to change my mindset to a degree. I wanted to be a role model for my kids and show them that you shouldn’t sacrifice your own happiness when you are in a miserable situation and that it is okay to take care of yourself. I did this relationship-wise, not beauty-wise. Nowadays, when I look up self-care, it is mostly about treating yourself to spa days, pedicures, and wine with the gals. That sounds like work to me, not fun.
SELF-CARE VS SELFISHNESS
So, one of the things I had to wrap my head around was the difference between self-care and selfishness. I have always encouraged others to take care of themselves, to take breaks when they need to with the kids, with their jobs, with their husbands. Taking a break and just giving yourself a moment to breathe and think about things sounds healthy to me. But, I know some who spend more time on self care than on others. Is self-care something that you “deserve” only if you are stressed beyond limit or is it something that you should be doing all the time, no matter what is going on in your life? It can be hard to determine what others are going through and how they interpret self-care, making it hard to make comparisons. So I googled to see what the difference is and wasn’t surprised at the answers. Self-care is something that:
...is done on purpose and with the intent to make yourself feel your best so that you can take care of others.
That’s right. If I need a girl’s night out or a pedicure just so I can escape the stress of family and work life, in order to relax me and make me a better mother, wife, and worker, then I am practicing self care. Now, I am not saying that doing those things strictly for yourself is selfish, I think that if you can afford to do something and it makes you happy you should do whatever you want. I am just trying to define self-care for myself based on my background of hearing that it is selfish to “treat yo’self.”
WHAT IS SELF CARE TO ME?
Now that I have defined it and explained it to you, hopefully in a way that doesn’t offend, but just lets you into my (often messed up) mind, you can see that I have NO idea how to create “Self-care Sundays” posts. I am no self-care master! But I am going to start looking inward at my own practices and also I am going to try new things for you and report back (DIY face masks??? OK…). But for the time being, I think that I should share with you my number one self-care advice, especially for those of you who are out on your own for the first time, and need some help.
Take charge of your medical health!
This is a very daunting task, but probably the most important of all self care. If you are a young woman, call a gynecologist and get your physicals set up. All genders need to make an appointment with a Primary Care Physician for yearly bloodwork, vaccinations, and physicals. Call the dentist and the eye doctor for check-ups. Your parents did all of this for you as a child, and once you are responsible for these things on your own, it can be scary. Where do you find a doctor? What is your insurance information? What is your medical history? I went for years without a doctor, even when I wasn’t feeling well, because I had no idea where to begin. And if you have even the tiniest bit of anxiety, like me and my daughters, you are even more unlikely to pick up the phone and make phone calls.
Where to begin? Let me walk you through the steps you need to find the right physicians for you.
- Finding a doctor: If you are still living at home, in your hometown, or somewhere near your parents, word of mouth is your first step. Ask your parents or others in your area who they recommend. Older people, especially, probably are established with someone and can tell you their honest opinion about the doctors in town. Just like online reviews, however, be wary of people who only have bad things to say about everyone. If someone has a bad experience, they are more likely to share that, than the good ones. You are looking for a general practitioner, someone who practices family medicine, or a Primary Care Physician. Often times, your insurance will dictate which doctor’s are available to you. This will limit the number you can choose from, which can be helpful. Depending on your insurance, however, you may have to go out of town to find a doctor, which may not suit your needs.
- Insurance: Your insurance is going to dictate all of your level of care, no matter what it is you want to do. Whether you are on your parents insurance still, your employers benefit plan, or medical assistance through your county, there are guidelines as to who you can see, what is paid for, and what you are eligible for. This is true for physicians, specialty doctors (gynecologists, dermatologists, etc), your vision and your dental care. You definitely need to try to understand FIRST which doctors are available under your plan.
- Setting up an appointment: So, your insurance gave you a list of doctors and you heard that a specific one is a good one. Next, you need to call their office and make sure they are accepting new patients. Have your insurance cards on hand, if they are accepting new patients, then you can tell them you are setting up an initial physical. They will ask you questions and will probably make sure they are covered by your insurance before they go any further. Don’t be surprised if your appointment is months away! If you aren’t having any serious health issues, just make the appointment and intend on keeping it. Once you are established, you won’t have to wait as long and you will be able to make more timely appointments.
- Medical History: Once you arrive at your appointment, you will have a LOT of paperwork to fill out (unless they send it to you ahead of time). Again, this is only going to be this much initially and whenever they need to update their records. You are going to need as much information about your family history as you can get. You may have to do your research ahead of time and ask your parents. They will ask you about your own medical history, too. If you can have your pediatrician files sent to them, that can be helpful, especially if you have had any medical issues, such as asthma, that may also need to be treated as an adult. You also need to know who in your immediate family has had cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, headaches, etc. You have to list who had these issues, as well, so you might say “paternal grandfather” for your dad’s dad having a heart attack. You need this information for most doctors, even your eye doctor and dentists, because a lot of these things can be hereditary and may affect ways in which they treat you and illnesses they look for.
As you can probably see, this stuff isn’t easy, but it is so important! Most of the time, when we are young, we think we won’t have any problems until we are older, but going to your regular doctor checkups will make sure to catch anything early on and will give you peace of mind as you age. The ultimate care you can give yourself is medical care. I know this is boring, compared to facials, blowouts, and margarita nights, but hey, I give out Mom advice first, and this is the best advice I can give! I will make sure to cover the fun stuff in others posts! I promise!
If you found any value in this post, please like it. Follow my blog if you haven’t already with your email for weekly updates. Comment down below or in social media and let me know if you have any other questions about finding a doctor and making appointments.