The year is coming to a close, and it’s that season when many of us are reflecting on the 12 months now behind us while looking forward to the next 12 coming up. Whether you’re big on New Year’s resolutions or not, there is undoubtedly value in occasionally taking stock. Year’s end is as good a time as any.
As I go through this practice myself, I know that one of my biggest priorities for 2022 is putting myself on the A-list. And no, this isn’t because I’ve suddenly become outrageously selfish and self-absorbed! Precisely the opposite, actually. It’s because I know that I must take care of myself first — physically and emotionally — if I’m going to be able to take care of anyone else. And it’s because it’s so important to me that I am able to take care of others, that I have to sometimes prioritize my own needs, especially my own health needs.
I know that many people — especially moms and women in general — struggle with this concept and often feel that putting themselves first isn’t right. But I want to encourage you to change your mindset. Making our own mental and physical health a priority may be in our own self-interest, that’s true. But it’s in other people’s best interest, too. Aging smart and well is a gift you can give yourself, and all those who love you, in 2022.
So, how exactly should you put yourself on the A-list? First, make sure not to skip your annual wellness appointments. You should also be sure to schedule your yearly mammogram and routine cervical cancer screening. If you have any other individual health concerns that require regular checkups, definitely schedule those, too. Medical wellness — for your mind and body — is essential. Staying on top of these preventive care appointments becomes even more important after the age of 35 because early detection is critical in preventing many illnesses and diseases.
I also find that I thrive when I take the time to exercise. Whether that’s for a run outside or a workout at the gym, getting the endorphins pumping, the blood flowing and the sweat dripping is a great release and recharge. It doesn’t actually have to be particularly long or strenuous exercise for it to make a positive impact, either. Even 30 minutes to yourself to take a walk is good for your body and your mental health. If you find it easier to get motivated with a friend, fantastic. Make an exercise date.
And don’t forget that wise old adage: When you make it look better, it will feel better too! Maybe a little silly, but let’s be honest, it’s usually accurate. So, if you’re feeling the need for a small spruce up, make that appointment to get your nails done or for a quick blowout. Take the time for yourself because you are important.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t address the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We now know that this virus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so handling all the related challenges is going to continue to be a part of our lives. Putting yourself on the A-list in this case means being patient with yourself as you adjust to this new reality. What it doesn’t mean is putting your needs aside. It’s important not to put off your routine health care. You have options. If you don’t feel great about going in to see your provider in person, take advantage of telehealth appointments to access care. Talk to your therapist over video. Keep six feet apart from your friend on your walks. You might have to modify how you do some things for yourself, but you can do it!
As we head into 2022, prioritize your health and well-being. You are worth being on the A-list. Everyone who loves you knows it. Don’t let yourself forget it.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!