Photo by Karolina Grabowska
It’s October! And that means it’s breast cancer awareness month.
Until last October, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Breast Cancer Awareness Month wasn’t on my radar.
But you bet it is now.
And so I want to use this opportunity to make a case for making time for preventative health care and screenings.
I can’t tell you the number of people I work with who are delaying medical and dental appointments because they are “just too busy”. And I don’t want that to be you.
Yes, I want to give you a few tips on how to make it easier to manage preventative health appointments.
But first, let’s take a deeper look at WHY we don’t always make, or make it to, those preventative health appointments.
You know what I’m talking about: it’s the dental cleanings, the eye exams, the annual well-visit (fka “the physical”), mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.
You’re busy, I get it.
And there’s nothing wrong…yet.
Routine medical appointments are a prime example of “important but not urgent”.
And, like all “important but not (yet) urgent” things, when the important thing does become urgent, you’re really going to wish you hadn’t waited.
So, why should you bother to make time for these preventative appointments?
Because the potential consequences are dire.
Using myself as an example, let’s just pretend that when my doctor gave me the referral for a mammogram, I didn’t make the appointment.
Maybe I punted on it for a couple of years.
Well, then my cancer would have been caught at a much later date, and may have been a whole lot worse.
As it were, we caught it early, stage 1, with preventative screenings.
So, how can you make it easier to stay on top of routine health-related appointments?
Here are a few tips:
Make the appointment when you’re there
- You’ve just got your teeth cleaned? Great. Before you leave the office, make your next appointment.
- Just got your moles checked at the dermatologist? Make that next appointment before you walk back out that door.
Add it to your task system
- Sometimes the doctor’s schedule isn’t open super far in advance, so add recurring tasks to your task list to schedule appointments on whatever schedule you need.
- Bonus points for linking to the doctor’s contact info in the task so you don’t need to look it up later.
Add a calendar notification
- Task lists not your bag? Add a calendar notification to schedule that appointment.
Schedule as far in advance as you can
- When you schedule appointments months in advance, it’s easy to work them into your schedule, and then you can plan around them instead of trying to shove them into an already busy schedule.
- By scheduling in advance, you have your pick of dates and times vs. being told, we can fit you in at 10:30 am on Tuesday the 16th, or whatever.
Write down the downsides of not making the appointment
- If you need a little motivation to make it happen, spend 2 minutes RIGHT NOW writing down the possible consequences of not taking care of your preventative health appointments. Here, I’ll give you a few freebies:
- Root canal instead of fillings
- Late-stage cancer diagnosis vs. early-stage
- Strained eyes and migraines vs. a new glasses prescription
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Etc., etc., etc.