5 Important Yearly Check-Ins for a Healthier You
Here are five check-ups to complete at least once a year as part of a health-conscious lifestyle.
Everyone knows to visit the doctor and dentist at least once a year, but there are additional measures you should be taking to keep your body in its best shape. Other check-ups can improve both your daily life and your long-term health. Some of these are easy to overlook, but a little maintenance can save you larger troubles down the line.
Best 5 Yearly Check-Ins for a Healthier You
1. Vision Checks and Eye Health
Going to the eye doctor is vital even if you don’t think you have bad vision. Serious diseases of the eye such as glaucoma and cataracts are degenerative, meaning they start out subtle but worsen over time. The 2018 National Health Interview estimated that over 30 million Americans experienced recent vision loss.
An eye doctor can catch these conditions early and save your vision. Comprehensive eye care is especially important to keep up with if you wear glasses or contacts. Don’t put off your next exam in favor of ordering your previous prescription off the internet. Using an outdated prescription can strain on your eyes, making it harder to correct your eyesight in the future.
2. Updating Skincare
Your skin changes chemically as you age, so take inventory of your skincare products at least once a year. As most people age, the oil barrier on their skin becomes thinner. When this happens, gentler cleansers tend to perform better than harsh ones marketed toward teenagers and young adults.
Remove any expired products and consider switching up your routine by season based on your needs. (Remember that sunscreen is important year-round, however.) You should also consider changing your skincare if you move from a humid area to a dry one. Brands change their formulations often, so don’t cling to old favorites if you’re no longer loving the way your skin looks and feels.
3. Designing a Relaxation Routine
Chronic stress is a bigger health problem than many people realize. According to Harvard Health, high levels of day-to-day stress raise your risk for a variety of serious health conditions including hypertension, depression, addiction and obesity.
While it’s impossible to avoid stress entirely, there are many concrete actions you can take to reduce daily stress levels and improve your long-term health. In addition to getting your eyes checked and examining your skincare routine, see if you can thoughtfully integrate a relaxation routine into your daily schedule.
Relaxation can take many forms. Here are a few ideas for relaxation routines that can be fit into your morning, evening or afternoon:
- Morning yoga
- Ten-minute stretch before bed
- Lighting a favorite candle for a short meditation
- Drinking tea
- Listening to a favorite song
Experiment with different combinations until you find the most effective and pleasant relaxation techniques for you. Keeping to a set daily ritual can further reinforce the calming effects of these activities.
4. Mental Health Check-Up
Keeping on top of your mental health is as vital as looking after yourself physically. Depression and anxiety can be harder to detect than many people assume. Once a year, check in to see if you’re experiencing any of these common symptoms:
- A lack of energy even though you’re eating and sleeping adequately
- Excessive worrying thoughts that interrupt your day
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability with no clear source
- Lack of enjoyment in activities you usually find fun
- A desire to stay in bed or isolate yourself from others
Mental health issues can arise from trauma or grief, but they can also come about without an obvious source. Untreated mental health issues can harm both you and your relationships. Stay aware of your mental health with a journal so that these symptoms don’t sneak up on you.
5. Sleep Quality Check
Sleep is an essential part of health that’s easy to overlook. If you struggle to fall asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or feel tired throughout the first half of your day, your sleep quality may be poor.
Reading a physical book or meditating before bed instead of looking at screens can be a quick fix. You can also invest in blackout curtains or a white noise machine. Remember to replace your mattress and bedding once every 6 or so years, as well.
Time spent looking after your health is a wise investment. The saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ definitely applies to many health conditions, from chronic stress to vision problems. Checking in with these five aspects of your overall health will keep you on the right path.