When it comes to maintaining good health, it's difficult to do it all on your own. At some point, you might see a physician because you're feeling sick, hire a personal trainer to help shake up your exercise routine or schedule an eye appointment because you're having trouble seeing while driving at night.
Having a "personal care team" might sound like something for the rich and famous, but the concept is less about luxury and more about taking charge of your health and having experts around you that can help when needed. Overwhelming stress, anxiety, injuries or health scares can pop up at any time, and when they do, the last thing you want to do is spend hours researching health care professionals. Instead, consider building a personal health care team before you need it by asking for recommendations from friends and family, and searching online for trusted professionals in your area. Whether you visit with them regularly or just on occasion, it's time to think: Who are the health professionals you'll want on your team?
Even if you're the person who never gets sick, it's still a good idea to establish a relationship with a primary care physician. This person treats a wide variety of health concerns. You'd likely visit them first for acute illness and injuries. They can also help manage chronic conditions, do yearly well-checks and blood work, or refer you to specialists, if needed.
There are several different specialists that might not seem necessary right now, but if the need arises, you'll want to have someone you trust that can see you quickly in your back pocket. In some cases, it can take months to get a new patient appointment, so it's important to establish that relationship ahead of time. A dermatologist, for example, addresses a wide variety of skin issues, including skin checks to reduce your risk of skin cancer, education on how to minimize sun damage and more. Every woman should have yearly check-ups with an OB/GYN, who not only deals with pregnancy and childbirth, but also screens for cancer and addresses other female-specific health issues throughout life.
Good oral health is another important part of your overall health, so you should visit your dentist for a cleaning and dental checkup every six months. An optometrist can check your vision yearly and prescribe corrective eyewear, if necessary.
Personal trainers are not just for the super-fit or super-wealthy. If you lack the motivation to work out on your own, like variety but don't know how to create a program, or have very specific training goals, you might benefit from hiring a trainer. A registered dietitian can also be a valuable resource, whether you're perfectly healthy or have specific medical issues. Registered dietitians learn about your health history, food preferences and habits to create a customized eating plan to help you reach your goals. Even if you don't meet with a personal trainer or RD regularly, establishing a connection with one or just having their contact information on hand means that they can be on standby when you need advice, guidance or just an extra dose of motivation.
There are many reasons people seek out therapy, whether it's dealing with significant emotional issues or having an outside perspective on things going on in your life. Even if you aren't experiencing big problems, talking about how you're feeling can help you gain new insights and learn coping mechanisms while providing an outlet to help deal with life's ups and downs. In addition to seeking professional help, surrounding yourself with a few (or even just one) trusted friends and family members creates a support system you can rely on when you want to celebrate something good or vent about something negative.
Think about everything you want to do with your life. In order to make your dreams a reality, it's important to take care of your mind, body and soul, and you can't always do that alone. A personal care team can offer the support you need to keep moving forward and stay in your best physical and mental shape.