Saturday, October 29, 2011

Finding Time: The Balancing Act of Healthy Boundaries

As women, we take on the world.  We have so many roles we love and enjoy:  mother, daughter, wife, aunt, professional roles, and the list goes on.  Our schedules are filled to the brim, and then some.  We love our lives, yet having too much to do can take a serious toll on our bodies if we do not occasionally say “no”.  Saying “no” or “not now” can also be a liberating experience, especially if you suffer from “people pleaser disease”.  We need to honor and love ourselves enough to draw healthy boundaries, create balance, and know that the world will go on if there is one or two events we don’t volunteer for, a meeting we can’t make, or the dishes wait a few more hours to be put away.

Part of creating healthy boundaries is in taking charge of your health.  Regular gynecological exams are crucial for any woman’s wellbeing, yet I see it time and time again how these appointments are canceled, put off, or in some cases, ignored altogether.  There are so many reasons for not making and keeping your doctor’s appointment, but no real excuse for not taking good care of your health.  How can we as women take care of so many others if we are not taking proper care of ourselves?

Many times, people who rely on us as caregivers or as support may not realize the burden they place on us, because we never complain.  If we never draw healthy boundaries, we will forever be asked to do more, give more, and work more, even to the breaking point.  It’s not that we don’t want to give, but there is always a limit to creating and sustaining a healthy life.

I think it’s important to remember that a gynecological exam is an hour or so either once a year, or if you are a patient with higher risk factors, perhaps every 4-6 months.  It’s not much to ask that people respect your need to have regular medical care.  If you have children, you make sure they always see their pediatrician on time.  Why should it be any less important for you?

On the day of your appointment, don’t try to cram a whole bunch of to do’s either before or after your appointment.  Give yourself the needed time to get to our office at a leisurely pace, and do not rush.  While we try to respect everyone’s time and get our patients in and out as quickly as possible, we will not skimp on any patient’s care to make things run faster.  

I want my focus as a gynecological physician to be on my patients’ care more than their schedules.  I am also a busy mom, wife, employer, and member of the community.  Yet when I am here in the office, I am a physician first.  As much as I dislike charging cancellation fees for missed appointments, I have to somehow minimize the effect of them on my practice as a whole.

So, please take the time to honor yourself by honoring your body.  Take the time to take care of it.  The emails, phone calls, texts, soccer games and meetings will all be there when you are done with your appointment, back in the game and ready to participate.

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