- The pandemic has kept 60,000 Australians every day from getting the health tests they need.
- If this includes you, here’s how to create a catchup health action plan.
- We’ve curated a list of the types of health checks you should consider booking.
Hands up if you’ve had a COVID test in the past two years?
At the time of writing, 38,251,589 COVID tests had been performed around Australia since the pandemic started. That’s a lot of uncomfortable nose swabs.
But while Aussies have come out in full force to get COVID-tested, we haven’t gone for many of our other regular health check-ups. That’s especially true for preventive health checks, which have declined.
According to the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, the pathology sector has seen a 40% drop in routine pathology testing. This means that over 60,000 Australians every day aren’t getting the tests they need.
It’s no surprise: reasons that many of us let regular preventive health checks fall by the wayside include:
- fear of exposure
- lack of funds
- lack of convenient access
- not knowing how often you should have that health check-up
Plus, there’s another one we can all understand - and that’s burnout.
It’s time to make a health action plan
We really don’t want to interrupt your post-lockdown glow-ups. But if you’re one of the many who’s fallen behind on going for regular health check-ups, it’s time to catch up.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to make it a little less overwhelming.
Step 1 - Write a list
The first step is to get out a piece of paper or your planner, and write a list of all the health appointments you need. We’ve included some suggestions below to get you started.
Step 2 - Order them by importance
Once you’ve thought about what you need, re-order them from the most pressing to the least. Chances are that the checks you most need to prioritise aren’t ones you’re looking forward to, but do your best to be pragmatic here.
Step 3 - Start making appointments
While you’re trying to figure out how on earth you’ll get in to see the hairdresser, you may also want to start booking check-up appointments.
Obviously, you won’t be able to go to every appointment at once - but there’s generally no maximum timeframe for bookings. So what you can do all at once is make the bookings.
Figure out what timeframes work for you, then lock them all in during one sitting.
You can even aim to book one appointment per month over the next year if you want to. Just think about the sorts of timeframes you’ll need - logistically, *emotionally and financially.
*Health checks can be stressful - it’s not uncommon to be scared of going to the doctor.
Below are some of the check-ups to consider as you write your list.
Your GP should always be your first point of contact with any health issue, especially one you may have put off seeing someone about. Even if you don’t have any particular concerns, consider booking an appointment for a general consultation/check-up.
During your appointment, ask whether you need a:
- skin check
- general heart health check
- blood pressure check
- general bloodwork screening
When you book, let them know you want a general check-up. These can take a little longer than your average appointment.
It’s also recommended to see a dentist every six months, so book that too while you’re at it.
Life stage-related checks
Every age group has different associated check-ups. From vaccination boosters to vasectomies, think about the stage of life you’re in and assess your health needs.
Some checks to consider are:
- reproductive health checks
- sexual health screeners
- pap smears
- prostate checks
Preventive health check-ups in your forties will look different to those in your sixties.
Read our annual health check-up list for a more detailed age-related breakdown.
Mental wellness check-ups
After living through 2020 and 2021, appointments to support your mental wellbeing may be a good idea. Stress can affect everyone’s body and mind in different ways… and these months have been stressful.
This isn’t just about personal wellbeing. Ask yourself whether you need to address relationship conflict or support to help your kids navigate heading back to school.
There’s a good chance that your routine has changed throughout the pandemic. Unhealthy habits may well have crept in.
If – like many Australians – you’ve been working from home, now’s a great time to assess your routine, including what you’re eating and your office setup.
Depending on your needs, you might consider seeing a:
- personal trainer
New normal, new you
Although we all still need to be vigilant about COVID, it’s time (between post-lockdown catch-ups) to look at your health more holistically.
Let’s get started!
- Affirmations to promote calm
- Who’s ready for a post-lockdown glow-up?
- The new normal: It’s OK to want to take it slow
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board October 2021.