It’s easy to be overwhelmed during the holiday season. There’s financial anxiety associated with the never-ending gift lists, family gatherings… family… and finishing up those pesky tasks at work you’ve been putting off. The best thing you can do to get through it all is to look after yourself. And if that means having another pig in the blanket at the company holiday party, you do it. Guilt-free.
We are bombarded with constant articles floating around the web at this time of year, telling us to swap that delicious cocktail for a healthier wine spritzer or encouraging us to have a healthy meal before going to a party, but who has the time! In all reality, we are running from work, applying lipstick in the elevator heading to the next networking holiday event to talk to other equally exhausted colleagues.
"When we practice those habits daily, our behavior starts to change and before you know it, you are taking the stairs toting an almond milk latte without even thinking about it."
One thing everyone can do to save money and spend less time interacting with the healthcare system: see your Primary Care Physician at least once per year. By seeing your PCP on a regular basis, you’ll be better prepared to live a healthy lifestyle, catch issues that may arise early, and reduce your chances of chronic disease — all of which reduce your costs and amount of time you spend dealing with the healthcare system.
Recent data suggests that adults in the U.S. are visiting the primary care doctor at a rate of 25% less than they were in 2008 and the number of folks who don’t go at all has grown to 46%. Using our own sample of more than 10,000 members at TouchCare, we found that people who visited their PCP at least once in the previous 24 months consumed, on average, $700 less per year on healthcare.
Do you know why these articles aren’t helpful? They are addressing unhealthy habits with a temporary solution. Taking care of yourself should be a year-round practice. Don’t wait for the “new year, new you” articles to come out (eye roll). Healthy habits don’t have to start in January and end before Spring. When we practice those habits daily, our behavior starts to change and before you know it, you are taking the stairs toting an almond milk latte without even thinking about it.
What I do know, is that no matter how many emails I see about financial wellness or tips for staying away from the party snacks, I can’t be stopped from buying my boyfriend that expensive gift he’s going to love. And no, I won’t put down that second… or third slice of pizza because I have worked hard all year to enjoy myself in moments like this.
People have a tendency to go overboard, but if you look at your health like a marathon, not a sprint (whether that means an actual marathon or a Netflix marathon), and you take care of yourself all year round, you are entitled to loosen the purse strings or belt loops a little.
It can be hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle with so many stresses, pressures, expenses, and options for how to treat any given problem. These days, it’s common to see wearable devices or fitness trackers. You’ve probably heard of numerous diets, fads or trends — some of which you may have even advised people to try without having done so yourself! All of those things might help in some way, but there is no more proven cost-effective way to manage your health than having an active and regular relationship with your PCP.
At the end of the day, there is a huge amount that consumers can’t control when it comes to healthcare in America. The one thing we can control is managing our relationships, and there’s no better one to maintain than one that could save you money, and possibly, your life.