Living a healthy life often feels overwhelming. And when you have a busy schedule, managing doctors, insurance, and lifestyle choices may seem like too much to handle.  Fortunately, with a few simple steps you can better manage and advocate for your personal health. Here, Dr. Sandoval with Root Cause Resolutions explains more about how you can advocate for the healthy lifestyle you want and need.

Understand Your Situation

The first step in effectively managing your health is understanding your situation. If you have a diagnosed health problem, research it. Make sure your information is from reliable sources, such as:

  • Government organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Research institutions

If you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms, keep a log to use at your next doctor’s appointment. Having this information handy will help your doctor get a better idea of your situation.

In addition to understanding any medical conditions you have, it is important to understand your health insurance coverage. Speak with your insurance agent, human resources department or insurance company if you have questions about your policy. If possible, set up an online account with your health insurance. In many cases, you will be able to find a doctor, pay your premium, see your usage, and review your benefits all online.

Care for Your Mental Health

No one knows your mind like you do. Although friends and family may be able to tell when something seems off, it’s up to you to self advocate when you notice signs of depression or anxiety that won’t go away. It can be scary to admit that you need help, but know that people don’t always need medicine to move past these times of poor mental health. Seek out a caring and empathetic practitioner like Dr. Sandoval who can help you process your feelings and identify the root cause, so that you can return to the healthy, balanced person you were meant to be.

Engage in Healthy Activities

Your daily activities have a significant impact on your health. For this reason, it is important to make healthy behaviors part of your routine. Do what you can to work in more physical activity. Do short exercises when you have a few extra minutes. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk after dinner. Stretch before bed. Keep in mind that small chunks of activity throughout the day add up.

If you live in an area with a high walk score, meaning that you can easily walk to different stores, shops, and restaurants, then make it a point to walk to any engagements you have nearby.

You should also work toward eating a balanced diet. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods, but limit the sugar, salt and saturated fat in your diet. Try healthy substitutions to improve the nutritional profile of your meals.

Keep Your Home Clean and Organized

Cleaning the house often falls down our “to do” lists when we get busy, but there are some very important benefits to maintaining a tidy home. We bring germs and viruses into our homes (and bodies) every day, so it’s best to regularly clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces. Try to avoid store bought chemicals though, as they can add to health problems. Instead, use household ingredients, like baking soda, vodka, tea tree oil, and vinegar as alternatives.

Keeping your home organized also has positive benefits. Research shows that clutter increases stress and anxiety, so avoid these stressors whenever possible. Consider switching to digital recordkeeping, and create an organizational system that makes it easy to put things back where they belong.

Take Charge of Your Health Care

Regular doctor’s appointments and preventive care are important for good health, but Creaky Joints reports that at least 25% of Americans do not have a primary care doctor. This is a doctor that can perform routine exams, treat minor illnesses and refer you to specialists for more complex problems. Ask friends and family for recommendations, and look online to find a physician that accepts your insurance and is taking new patients. Read reviews if available.

Do your best to communicate effectively with your physician. List your questions and concerns before the visit, and take the list into the exam room with you. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to repeat something or speak more slowly. If doing so would make you feel more comfortable, bring a loved one to the appointment with you.

If you don’t have insurance through an employer, see if you are eligible for Medicaid or insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can search online for someone to help you enroll in the Marketplace. If you are eligible for Medicaid, apply through your state Medicaid agency or the Health Insurance Marketplace. Keep in mind that some states do not participate in the national Health Insurance Marketplace. In this case, go to the website for your state-based marketplace.

Be the Advocate You Need

Managing your health can be challenging, but it is important. Understanding your unique situation, increasing your physical activity levels, and taking charge of your health care are all key elements of a healthy lifestyle. By taking these steps, you are well on your way toward becoming an effective advocate for your health.

Guest article witten by Sheila Olson,  FitSheila