On day 121 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I practiced preventive care by going to the doctor.
Typically, we go to the doctor for two main reasons: to treat an illness or to prevent one from occurring. When we’re faced with symptoms that don’t respond to basic self-care strategies, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to seek expert medical guidance. Yesterday, my self-care activity was going to see my doctor.
But knowing when to seek professional help can be a challenge. A study in 2011 found that 42% of primary care physicians in the US believe patients are receiving too much care. So, how do you know when to go and when to stay put? (If only it were that simple.) There’s no simple rule of thumb when it comes to knowing when to seek care; it’s something we must all decide for ourselves. And that’s where self-care comes in. Part of executing a comprehensive self-care plan involves knowing yourself well enough to know when something isn’t quite normal. And when in doubt, go.
Establishing a trusted relationship with a primary care physician is a critical piece of a comprehensive self-care plan. Staying well is a team effort. While each of us is responsible for making our own health-related decisions, we can make better decisions when we surround ourselves by a competent care team.
Who is on your care team?