I once read a suggestion to time one’s annual medical visits with one’s birthday, and while I realize this sounds like the saddest celebration ever, it makes a certain sense. “Linking” or “habit stacking” is scientifically proven to work because attaching a new routine to an established one allows you to tap into a neural pathway that is already lit up and working for you. You’re not going to forget your birthday (are you?) so now it’s just a matter of attaching some routine check-ups.
I also like this concept because it’s all about showing some self-love in the most basic and perhaps overlooked ways. No, it’s not going to pamper you like a pedicure or delight your senses like a chocolate cake, but taking a few hours to mind your general health (and get ahead of any potential problems) is a testimony to how much your care for your body and your future.
My birthday was Sept 22, and I turned 38, which seems an age in which visiting a doctor is prudent 😉 Full disclosure, I have not received any care besides well woman exams…maybe ever in my adult life. Sure, I feel good, but there was that very subtle anxiety deep down as I wondered if maybe something could be lurking, undiscovered.
I found a provider online: I checked reviews, located a clinic close to my home, and opted for a female provider based on my personal preference. Then I called and made an appointment, verifying that my insurance would be accepted. The wait may be several months, so plan ahead if necessary!
My appointment was Sept 14. I was surprisingly smart enough to fast, without being advised to do so, and ended up giving 3 vials of blood that day! The call I received about a week later saying all my results were normal was a great gift indeed. Now I can relax, knowing that I am truly healthy and that my lifestyle is working for me (e.g. no high cholesterol from my paleo diet *rolling my eyes*)
Now I’m on the other side of my birthday, dental groupon in hand, ready to make another appointment. I already scheduled my next physical for next September. I’ll never have to wonder when I’m supposed to see the doctor, and I know that taking care of myself is the best gift I can give or receive, this year or any.