For most of my adult life, I’ve put my needs behind the needs of others. Especially regarding my family. I’ll run them around to all their activities, take them to appointments, and buy whatever they need. Since I run everyone else around, the idea of making appointments for myself is stressful. I would rather use that time of going to the doctor to clean the house or do one of the other hundred tasks that need to be accomplished.
At the beginning of November, I annoyed myself by making a bunch of appointments. First on my list was a dentist appointment. My kids are all caught up on the dentist appointments, but I haven’t gone in years. Thankfully, my brushing and flossing skills are top-notch, and I didn’t have any cavities. Next was a dermatology appointment. I’ve had a bump on my forehead for years and it was bothering me. The dermatologist confirmed it was a cyst and needed to be removed. I put a surgery on the calendar and went back to have it removed.
My least favorite appointment to make is a physical. I hate going to the doctor as so as it is when I’m sick, but making an appointment when I’m healthy is extra stressful. It had been many, many years since my last physical. I made the appointment and arrived. The doctor ran all the tests for someone in their late 40s, took blood, and I got a flu shot. Turns out, I’m pretty healthy. The hypochondriac in me was surprised.
My clean bill of health was a relief. It was good to get all my appointments out of the way. Now that I’m older, it’s important for me to make those appointments. It’s also nice to have the peace of mind that everything works properly.
I’m not alone in putting off appointments. A Harris Poll for Orlando Health stated that only 33% of men think an annual health checkup is necessary. Mayo Clinic’s website says that 40% of men will get cancer in their lifetime. According to the CDC, one in every four male deaths results from heart disease. It’s important we get those checkups regularly.
My kids count on me to do all the daily dirty work, but they also count on me to be there for the long haul. One of the best ways to ensure that is to take care of my health. This includes mental health. Besides making my physical needs a priority, I also meet with a therapist. My therapist helps me pick through feelings and helps me to understand why I respond the way I do and why I let certain things affect me more than others. Since I’ve been going to therapy, I’ve had a lot more peace of mind and self-appreciation.
I’ve also said “yes” to myself. Getting tattoos is relaxing for me, but also expensive. It had been a while since my last tattoo and I had some ideas for new ones. I made the appointment with my favorite tattoo artist and got some new ink. I also bought some new weights, because even though I’m making my health a priority, it’s still hard for me to take the time to go to the gym. With weights, I can lift in the same room with my kiddos. Sometimes, they even lift with me.
Making yourself a priority can look like a variety of ways. I’m not one of those that say you should be the top priority, because as a dad, that’s not the way to go. My kids will always come first. That doesn’t mean that my health and happiness should be an afterthought. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that I’m going to be okay is priceless and makes me a better dad.
It’s much easier for me to do things all at once and get them out of the way. If you struggle with making appointments for yourself, put all of them on the calendar in a short amount of time. Knock them out and get them over with. Make those doctor appointments and schedule some “Me Time.” You’ll be better for it.