I haven’t been to my primary care doctor in maybe 3 years. I cancelled my physical when I was pregnant because I was going to the hospital so often. Even with an adventurous toddler, I’ve managed to stay pretty healthy with one exception.
It’s important for me to stay healthy not only as a mom but also as a self employed worker I don’t have the luxury of paid sick days. I know many people who are not self employed are in this boat as well, unfortunately.
As we get into the cold season, I’m sharing my best proactive self-care tips to living a healthy life.
#1. Stay well hydrated.
There is a lot to say about water and I’m not going to get into all the benefits but when it comes to stay healthy, water helps flush toxins out of your body. Here’s how:
Your kidneys need water to work. Kidneys eliminate toxins and waste products from the blood and urine, and process water-soluble toxins from the liver. If you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys won’t have enough fluid to function properly. Instead of flushing metabolic waste out through the bladder, your body holds on to toxins. You can detoxify simply by increasing your water intake throughout the day, and flushing accumulated toxins from your kidneys!
Therefore, it is extremely important to get the recommended 8 glasses of water a day. I prefer to drink half of my body weight in ounces which is a little more.
#2. Wash your hands but don’t be a germ-a-phobe.
According to the CDC, you should wash your hands after using the bathroom to help prevent the spread of diseases. You’re supposed to lather for 20 seconds in warm water. I admittedly don’t do this every time because I have a toddler and if I’m washing my hands for 20 seconds, it often means he is playing with the toilet bowl for 20 seconds. He’s gross, I know. If you’re going to use Purell or something like that, they suggest using at least a quarter size of gel. However in reality only 2% of microbes passed along are actually harmful to us.
The authors of “Let Them Eat Dirt” even says not to worry about washing your children’s hands after playing outside. Germs help build your immune system and not all of them are bad! I’m way more lax on hand washing during the summer vs the winter when it feels like everyone has a cold. I try to keep a pump of Babyganics hand sanitizer in my purse. The main cause for concern is when kids put stuff in their mouths. It’s the hand to mouth contact that spreads the bad germs, so pay close attention at music class for toddlers and babies when the toys are going around.
#3. Eat for nutrition, don’t think of calories.
When I think of calories, I tend to stress out which is not good for physical and mental health. I do not count calories and instead, I try to eat foods that are nutrient dense. Getting as many nutrients as I can into my body will help my body function as it should and hopefully stay healthy! Vegetables and fruits are packed with nutrients and you really can’t eat too many. They may not be the most appetizing on their own, so I’ll chop them up, roast them, add a little olive oil, salt and pepper and immediately they taste delicious (IMO lol). I don’t stress about salad dressing or nut butters anymore. They too are nutrient dense filled with heart healthy fats, just try to avoid ones with added sugar. This helps my mind stay at peace and I know I’m properly fueling my day.
There are so many health benefits to eating more fruits and veggies. Berries may boost brain health and peppers may help prevent parkinson’s to name a few. I love getting in my fruits and veggies is a smoothie, too as a meal on the go.
One study even says that if you eat 7 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, you just may end up happier!
When people ask me if they should sacrifice a workout or sleep, I always say to ditch the workout. This may be surprising but sleep is so important for health. Losing sleep can potentially lead to diseases like heart disease or diabetes, hurt job productivity, and even make you choose to eat larger portion sizes! Prioritize your sleep, especially if you are a parent and if the baby is keeping you from sleeping, consider working with a sleep coach/consultant, seriously. Aim to get at least 7 hours a night to help prevent against colds! I usually get between 6.5 and 8 these days and I can feel the difference all day when it’s closer to the low end.
#5. Take some me time.
Ok, so I know I just said to get some sleep but after Tommy goes to bed, I love to just sit on the couch, relax with a glass of wine and do whatever I want to do! I go to bed around 10/10:30 these days. Maybe I should go to bed at 9 but I enjoy this time with Nick or just myself. I do not get to go shopping alone very often or get my nails done, because often my “me” time is working out, but however you want to spend it, I think it’s important to be a little selfish and do something for you, for your mental health and overall happiness. Pre-Tommy I spent my me time taking a yoga class or meditating to slow down promote self awareness, now it’s usually a massage or getting my hair.
And if you do get sick and you’re like me and don’t have time to get to a doctor’s office, you finally have options!
Virtual Doctor’s Visits
I am a member of UnitedHealthcare and you can actually use your insurance to see a healthcare provider at home through your computer or smart phone. Virtual visits enable you to see a doctor whenever, wherever.
I could have used this when I came down with Mastitis in London earlier this year!
When small medical concerns arise, a Virtual Visit lets you see a doctor on your mobile device or computer whenever you need it. You can register at any time, then request a visit when you are sick to talk to a doctor immediately. You literally can get a prescription in 20 minutes or less.
I was convinced I had strep throat a week or so ago and was ready for my antibiotics but didn’t have the time to make it to my doctor with Tommy in tow. The doctor told me that I actually did not have strep throat but that it was just a new weird cold going around and that I would have a cough for 2 weeks. Sadly no prescription to speed up my very sore throat but it did finally stop hurting and the cough went away after 2 weeks.
Using Virtual Visits with your UnitedHealthcare plan is just $40 or less, which is actually less than what I would pay if I went in to see my PCP. They are able to handle minor medical issues with the hassle, from allergies to the flue, migraines to sinus infections and other issues in-between.
Signing up for a Virtual Visit with a doctor is quick, and easy – and there are two mobile apps available to provide a virtual visit; Dr. On Demand and Amwell mobile apps. It takes just 5 minutes or less for either app. Register for an account the same way you register for an email account. Entering your insurance information is fast and you can see a doctor immediately or schedule an appointment for a later time.
I think Virtual Visits are so amazing for moms who don’t want to deal with finding childcare so they can go to the doctor. I know so many people who just power through without ever getting a check up!
Have you tried virtual visits yet?
I’d love to hear about your experience below if so!
This post is sponsored by Mirum, but opinions expressed are my own.