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PSA: It's The Perfect Time Of Year To Schedule All Your Doctor's Appointments

It's a gift that Future You will thank you for, believe me.

One thing I've learned about scheduling my doctor's appointments — which I hate doing — is that you just have to rip the Band-Aid off.

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It's so easy to put off going to the doctor for routine checkups when you're in fine health. Like, no one is holding you accountable or reminding you that it's been a liiittle bit too long since your last physical or eye exam. And life is busy!

But honestly, putting off making those appointments can spiral pretty easily. As silly as it sounds, if it's been a while since you've been to a doctor, it can be hard to get back on the horse! IDK about you, but I definitely feel a little bit nervous and embarrassed crawling back after a long absence.

So one thing I've gotten in the habit of doing to make my life a little easier is just knocking it out at the beginning of the year — either by scheduling them all in January, or by making a plan for the rest of the year.

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Both methods have their pros and cons and it kind of depends on who you are as a human, as well as things like your schedule and budget.

If you're more of a "let's just get it over with" person, taking a day off from work and going to all of your yearly appointments is so satisfying. Like, boom, you're done. For the year. In one day! The downside is that you never know how long you'll be stuck in a waiting room, and you might wind up rushing between appointments. I've cut it close a couple of times in the past.

If you'd rather (or need to) spread them out, scheduling ahead is also a legit option. I know what you're probably thinking: How can you schedule things for an entire year when you have no idea what your year is going to look like? The good news is, appointments can be rescheduled. What scheduling ahead does is guarantee that in three months when you're due for your dental cleaning (or whatever), a reminder will hit your inbox that it's ~around~ the time to get it done. And if the particular date you picked doesn't work, you can still swap it!

If the idea of making actual appointments months in advance really weirds you out or sets your anxiety on edge, schedule reminders in your personal calendar instead and make the actual appointment when the time comes.

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If you're ready to do the thing, here are a few appointments to think about scheduling:

• Your general practitioner for your annual physical.

• Your dentist. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but according to the American Dental Association, you should proooobably get cleanings twice a year / every six months.

• Your optometrist. The American Optometric Association recommends a visit to the eye doctor every two years for general eye health stuff, but depending on your history or if you notice a change in your vision, once a year might be more fitting.

• Your gynecologist (if you have a vagina). The good news is, you've probably heard that you should get a Pap test yearly, but good news: the average suggestion is once every three years now! Check out the full guidelines for more information. Even if you're not due for a Pap test, though, there could be other reasons to hit up a gyno. Are you due for an STI test or a check-in about birth control, maybe?

• Your dermatologist. Maybe you have a goal of taking better care of your skin in 2019 or are due for a skin exam (mole check, people!) — either way, put it on the cal.

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Psssst: Now is also a great time to schedule non-yearly appointments you've been meaning to get around to, like finding a therapist or visiting a specialist about a problem that's been bugging you forever.

Like, while you're on a roll, you might as well. This time last year, I rode the wave of my appointment-making energy to finally hit up a psychiatrist and an endocrinologist, and guess who's now on antidepressants and found out she has an autoimmune disorder and a hormonal disorder that are now being treated ? (Spoiler: It's me and I'm a lot happier and holy shit, do I wish I didn't procrastinate on those appointments. Go to the doctor!!!)

In conclusion, New Year's resolutions are hard to keep and there's lots to do, but this is a really simple way to start 2019 off on the right foot.

As we head into the new year, we're talking about all the ways to make your life and the world around you a little bit better. Read more Do Better 2019 content here.