Prioritize Your Health

Do you remember the routine airline pre-flight instructions? "In case of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop from the overhead console. Please apply your mask before assisting others." In other words, being able to breathe and help others as needed during an emergency requires that you take time to put your own mask on first. The same idea applies to personal health maintenance. Making a priority of maintaining your health can not only contribute to your quality of life, but also let you continue your efforts to care for and engage with family and friends.

Parents often put their own wants and needs on hold, prioritizing their time and resources for other family members. Letting someone else have that last piece of pie, or relinquishing the remote control are reasonable concessions to our families. However, we sometimes feel that carving out time or resources for personal health maintenance is somehow being self-centered, or at least use that perspective as an excuse to skip recommendations that we want to avoid. But, taking the time to take care of your health is not being selfish. As you take care of your health by monitoring weight, getting exercise, completing recommended screenings and exams, and keeping immunizations current, you are actually safeguarding the most important resource you have to offer to your loved ones: yourself. Good health not only allows you to enjoy a robust life of activity and independence, but also enables you to participate in the lives of family and friends. While we are not able to predict or control all of the potential health barriers in life, our day-to-day efforts truly do impact our long-term health. We don't make health decisions just for ourselves. Our families also reap the benefit or challenges of our choices, whether we mean to involve them or not.

During COVID-19 concerns, completion of routine health maintenance was temporarily delayed secondary to availability issues or personal concerns about virus exposure. As life trends back toward normal again, getting back on track with "catch up" health maintenance needs to be a priority. For example, national health organizations are concerned that there will be an increase in diagnosis of advanced cancers that could have been identified with earlier screening exams, such as colonoscopies or mammograms, that were missed or delayed during COVID restrictions. Exercise routines may have gone by the wayside as gym memberships or exercise classes were on hold, resulting in higher weight readings on your scale, as well as alterations in mood, sleep, or blood pressure. Seeing your primary care provider for a routine exam will let you discuss recommendations that are specific for your age and general health. If you haven't been seen in the past year, you are overdue for a clinic visit.

Taking care of your health is a gift that you give to your family, now and into the future. Let's remember the way the airline prioritizes your status. Taking care of others starts with taking care of yourself. You don't have to wait for an emergency situation. Today is a great time to start.

To schedule an appointment with a Sidney Health Center Primary Care physician or advanced practice provider, call the clinic receptionist at 406-488-2510 or visit the Sidney Health Center website at for a complete listing of services offered across the continuum of care.


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