The Busy Girl’s Guide to Managing Your Health

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Working at a doctor’s office gives people the impression that you’ve received medical training the same as any nurse. I have to remind people over and over that I’m not a doctor, and I cannot give medical advice. But I have picked up a couple of useful tips that I wish more people knew about managing their own healthcare.

The biggest complaint I receive from patients is that they don’t know how to communicate with their doctor, and they often come away from their appointments with only a vague understanding of their problem. Even though you may feel like you’re being rushed, you need to speak up! You have a right to know and understand what’s going on with you.

You’re also allowed to do your own research although I urge you to proceed with caution- there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so take what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt. I don’t advise trying to diagnose yourself, but I do encourage gathering more background information so you can ask the right questions during your appointment. Your doctor might also be able to provide with a starting point in your research, or have access to resources that may be able to provide you with more information and/or support.

Managing your healthcare is really a collaborative effort between you and your healthcare provider (see here for more reasons on why this is important). They have the knowledge and experience to diagnose and treat ailments, and you have the working knowledge of your own body and mind to help decide what treatment is best for you. Should you take your doctor’s advice? Probably. But they don’t always have time and funding to do the legwork to seek out second opinions, treatment opinions, alternative therapies, or insurance resources you may need or want. Sometimes it’s up to you to take the reins.

Being an active and engaged patient also helps improve your relationship with your doctor. Be honest. Share things about your life. These are all important methods of communicating what’s going on with you, and it actually might make a big difference in the long run.

It’s also the nurses, pharmacists, therapists, counselors and support staff like myself that are assisting the doctors behind the scenes. The more they know you the better they understand what your healthcare needs are, and these relationships in turn might help give you insight into the inner workings of your particular healthcare system.

Going to a doctor’s office can be scary and intimidating- believe me, just because I work for a doctor doesn’t mean I feel any better when I see my own- but knowing what to anticipate, understanding more about the system, and building a working relationship with your doctor can hopefully lead you to a clean bill of health, as well as a sense of empowerment.

And that’s the kind of thing that in my job that keeps me satisfied.

KBwB-BFlower-50I firmly believe that the key to staying healthy is leading a balanced lifestyle. It’s something I’m constantly trying to achieve in my own life, and from time to time I like to share my trials and tribulations here.

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Fabulous Reads for the Single Girl

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This one is for the single ladies- all those super awesome independent ladies that live by their own rules and don’t let their lives be ruled by their relationship status (or in this case, lack thereof).

In fact, I read an article recently that predicted the rise of the single female professional, and how they would eventually take over the workforce.

Who knows? Girls really might end up running the world.

Here’s some of my my favorite fabulous reads for all of you fierce females out there:

One of the quintessential books for single women would of course have to be Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved it as much as every other woman that read it, but I think her follow-up, Committed, is definitely underrated. Part essay, part memoir, it’s a pretty interesting look at the institution of marriage and how it has shaped our culture.

If that doesn’t make you re-think the way we look at weddings and marriages these days, then you’ve got to take a look at Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages in Literary London 1910-1939 by Kate Roiphe. You’d be surprised at how many marriages were just as messy as modern ones, except their society had a much lower tolerance for things that are more readily accepted today: Mistresses! Open relationships! Polymory! If you’re a bookworm and you like gossip, this one is for you.

Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel is another walk through history with a different slant: in it she chronicles the trials and tribulations of the single woman, starting with the spinsters who were put into homes as an act of charity, to the working women of the early 1900s forced to room together in tiny, cramped rooming houses with marriage as they only means of escape. If anything, it will remind you of the privilege you have of being a single woman who is able to read this at her leisure right now.

If you read any book on this list, I hope it’s On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone by Florence Falk. I read it after a really bad break-up and it was a real epiphany; even if you’re in a healthy, committed relationships I think it’s still an important read. Even though it’s aimed at widows or women going through a divorce, it’s not really a book about grief, or life after marriage. It’s about learning how to enjoy your own company, the importance of exploring one’s own interests, and ultimately fostering a healthy relationship with one’s self. As women we place far too much of our self-worth on our relationships and what we can give to other people. Folk’s message is a gentle reminder that being alone allows one the time and space to give back to yourself.

I’m not knocking relationships; it can be really nice to have a partner. But it’s my firm belief that relationships only work if you can still remain true to yourself, and your own interests and values. They key is finding someone that you can learn and grow with along the way. If you’ve found that person, great. Still searching? Sometimes people enter and exit our lives for good reason; most of it is just meeting the right person at the right time.

But if you’re still feeling bad, consider this: you get to have the bed all to yourself.

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I love to read and I love sharing my favorite books with you. (For more reading inspiration click here or here.) Don’t forget to friend me on Goodreads either! Btw: These lists are totally my own creation and I was not paid or perked to share my opinions with you by any author or publishing company.

 

Blips

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I have this theory that everything happens all at once. Maybe you’ve noticed this pattern too in your own life. Sometimes all it takes is for one thing to go wrong and suddenly other things start to come at you, one after the other, picking up speed until your life seems to have snowballed into one screw-up so giant you feel like there’s no way out.

I like to call these life moments “blips” because when you’re in the middle of one it feels like you’ve stepped into a blip in the time-space continuum; like you’re standing still and the world just keeps on moving faster around you at a pace that’s impossible to match, and you feel frozen in place because you just cannot believe that all of this is happening to you all at once.

I experienced a blip recently about six weeks before Christmas so if the above sounds familiar to you, please know you’re not alone, because I’ve been there. I won’t get personal, but a bunch of things happened in my life in such rapid succession it made me feel as if I had run face-first into a brick wall. The sensation of being stuck is difficult to handle; it’s a nightmare for control freaks like me whose self-worth rides on the amount of things that can be accomplished in one day.

As someone who blogs about trying to find balance in all the busy-ness that life throws our way, it may surprise you to read that I still quite haven’t figured it out myself. I’m not here as a teacher, and I don’t want to come across as flawless because I’ve been there before, time and again: I’ve worked too hard, stayed up too late, blew people off, flaked out on deadlines and far too frequently worked myself to the point of exhaustion, sometimes teetering on the verge of burnout.

Even so, balance is something I strive to learn more about because I think it’s a process more than it is a destination, and true balance is about finding the ability to ride the current of life while managing to keep your head above water. There will be waves, yes, but there will also be moments of calm. Sometimes we’ll be able to surf those crests with grace; other times, we lose our footing and that “blip” in time is enough to make us fall under and temporarily lose ourselves.

But somehow, somehow, we humans always seem to have the incredible knack of finding our way back to shore, no matter what life throws at us. We adjust our footing, learn from our mistakes. We try again. We ride that wave.

For me, blogging about balance is a collaborative effort. It involves sharing and learning from our struggles, encouraging each other when motivation or inspiration strikes, and showing patience and understanding when the drive isn’t there, or it all gets too much to handle. Reading and researching ways to find balance, and imparting some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my own experiences is a way that I hope to contribute to the ongoing conversation that’s happening now about why we’re running this rat race to begin with. It’s a conversation that I hope to continue to have with you all in the upcoming year, and I hope you lend your voice to it as well. Achieving balance means something different to every person, and sharing our stories gives us the opportunity to learn from each other and create our own definitions of a balanced life.

There will be blips. We all have them. And when you do, we’ll all be there for you, myself included.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and balanced 2017 to you all. May your year be blip-free.

KBwB-BFlower-50In case I didn’t stress it enough above, I am not perfect- I’m still learning every day new ways to treat myself better and achieve a happier, healthier lifestyles. What are some of the solutions that have helped you? I’d love if you dropped me a line or commented below and let me know. We can all benefit from each others knowledge!

I’m still catching up with all of my comments and emails, so please be patient with me as I try to get back to you. I love reading each and every one of your messages and I hope they never stop arriving!

I hope to share even more about my struggles (and successes!) in my quest to find balance in my own life. In the meantime, click here for some of my previous thoughts. Part of achieving that balance, in my belief, is trying to maintain an organized and productive lifestyle. I’ve got lots of thoughts on that too, here and here.