Published on June 14, 2016

Take the time to focus on yourself

Ever felt there were not enough hours in the day?

Women stretchingLike many women, you may juggle family, a job and caregiving for a loved one. With so many responsibilities taking up your time, it’s easy to think your own well-being can wait.

But as the saying goes, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. And devoting even a little bit of time to your own health can make a big difference.

“There are things every busy woman can do to help stay healthy, and they don’t have to take up a lot of time,” says Primary Care Physician Aja Jackson, DO.

Start now

In fact, one of the healthiest things you can do takes only a few minutes:

Grab your phone and schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor right now if you haven’t had a checkup in a while. Regular visits with your doctor can help prevent many diseases or find them early, when they are often easier to treat.

Your doctor will:

  • Talk to you about which screening tests you need and when to get them. This includes life-saving tests for breast, colon and cervical cancer.
  • Take your blood pressure and see if you need to have your cholesterol or blood sugar tested.
  • Check if you’re up-to-date on all of your vaccines.

“Depending on your age and risk factors, everyone’s needs for necessary screenings and immunizations are different,” Dr. Jackson says. “Tell your doctor if certain health issues run in your family. This helps determine your screening needs as well.”

Remember: Checkups are all about you. It’s the perfect time to ask any health questions and to seek advice. Do you need help losing weight or quitting smoking? Are you feeling sad or stressed? Have you discovered a strange new spot on your skin?

And don’t be afraid to bring up topics like sexually transmitted infections or alcohol or drug use. No topic is too sensitive. Your doctor has talked about all of these things with other patients many times.

“We spend extra time at scheduled physicals going through questions that are important to you,” Dr. Jackson says. “No question is too personal or sensitive. Just ask!”

Take a few more minutes

Want more proof that positive changes don’t have to drain your time? Look at what else you could do in just a few more minutes
to help stay healthy:

  • Enjoy a fruit or vegetable snack. It’s one way to work more produce into your diet. A healthy diet reduces your risk for a long list of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers.
  • Call a friend. Connecting with people you care about can help reduce stress.
  • Apply sunscreen before you head outside, even in the winter months. It will help protect your skin from cancer.
  • Take a short 20-minute walk to clear your mind and get some exercise. Being physically active can help your heart and bones stay strong, and it can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Put your phone down, close your eyes and quietly relax for 5 minutes.

“Take time to focus on a healthier, calmer life,” Dr. Jackson says. “That’s something every woman deserves.”