No one likes to go to the doctor. It can be nerve wracking and uncomfortable, but there are other reasons why you should avoid the doctor’s office. It can be expensive, whether you have health insurance or not. In addition, the more you visit the doctor, the more likely you are to experience medical malpractice. With medical errors the third leading cause of death in the United States, it’s definitely something you should think about.
That’s not to say you should avoid the doctor altogether, but if you follow the tips on this list and are in good health, you can greatly reduce the number of trips you take to the doctor’s office every year.
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Move Your Body Every Day
Everyone is always talking about exercise as a way to stay healthy, but what focusing on the concept of exercise ends up doing is making people think that if you aren’t hitting the gym, you aren’t building healthy habits.
Instead of focusing on exercise, simply focus on moving your body every day. That might mean something as simple as doing stretches when you wake up in the morning or going for a walk in the afternoon. How you move your body isn’t as important as whether you move your body at all. Find something you enjoy doing and you’re more likely to do it every day.
Eat a Varied Diet
Just like the concept of exercise often scares people away from moving their bodies in ways they enjoy, so too does the concept of a healthy diet keep people from eating well.
Eating well doesn’t have to include any kind of diet at all. Instead, you should focus on eating a varied diet. That means eating many different kinds of foods every single day. Eating a whole tray full of cookies can be bad for your body, but so can eating a whole bunch of bananas!
Include vegetables, fruit, protein, dairy, and even sugar in your daily diet. When you stop telling yourself certain foods are off-limits and you have to eat more of the foods you don’t like, you’ll find that you naturally eat fewer sweets and crave more vegetables over time.
Get Quality Sleep
Everyone talks about getting around eight hours of sleep every night, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the goal. Instead, you should focus on getting quality sleep. Eight hours of tossing and turning isn’t as good as getting six or seven hours of quality sleep.
The trouble is, getting quality sleep can be tricky. Getting good sleep is something you have to commit to over time. It includes:
- Creating a wind-down routine and sticking to it every night
- Creating a dark, cool, quiet atmosphere
- Using pillows and blankets that are right for your sleep style
- Going to bed and getting up at around the same times every day
Get a bad night of sleep? Contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t mean you should take it easy the next day! You have to train your body to know that rest is for night time, not the day time, if you want to get quality sleep every night.
Prioritize Your Daily Hygiene Routine
Hygiene is a sometimes overlooked way to stay healthy so you can avoid the doctor’s office. However, it really is the best way to keep germs at bay that could make you sick.
Wash your hands a little more often, and make sure you’re washing them the right way by washing under your fingernails, washing your wrists, and scrubbing for the right amount of time.
Regular bathing is important, as is wearing clean clothes. Some things you might not have thought about include changing your bed sheets every week and changing hand towels at least once a day.
Put Your Safety First
The most costly trips to the doctor include trips to the emergency room, and most of those trips are the direct result of an accident. That’s why you should always put your safety first.
A few things you should do to make sure you put your safety first include:
- Never use your cell phone while driving
- Avoid walking around at night alone
- Don’t DIY with tools you aren’t skilled at using
Age and ability should be considered as well. For example, seniors may need grippy pads in the bottom of the bathtub, while someone with poor eyesight may need a nightlight for the hallway.
It might surprise you to see maintaining friendships as a way to boost your health and stay away from the doctor.
Adults who have a strong social support system are at a reduced risk of a wide variety of health problems. Friends can keep you more active physically, and they can keep your brain sharp as well.
The number of friendships you haven’t isn’t as important as the quality of those friendships. Reach out to an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while or participate in community events to see if you can find one or two friends who can be there for you, through good times and bad.
Maintain Your Mental Health
Modern science is only beginning to understand how mental and physical health interact, but it’s something previous societies and alternative health practitioners have known for generations. Things like stress and depression can impact everything from your blood pressure to increasing your risk of experiencing a heart attack.
There are tons of ways you can support your mental health. Ideas include:
- Spend time out in nature
- Focus on things you’re grateful for
- Find a way to laugh
- Spend time away from social media
- Dance and sing
- Spend time with a furry friend
- See a therapist
It’s not that you should avoid seeing the doctor altogether, it’s just that you shouldn’t go more than you have to! Stick to your annual appointment, but reduce the number of times you make other appointments for health concerns by incorporating the ideas on this list into your daily life.