Navigating the holiday season requires a determined mindset, and so does advocating for your own health. You might be surprised how much they intersect.

Most people are pretty busy during the month of December, and that makes it even more important to learn our 3 Steps Detect. You’re putting up the decorations, shopping for gifts, and feeling like you need to spike the eggnog to make it to New Year’s, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your health in the process.

Keep our 3 Steps Detect in your mind this holiday season so you make sure you are taking care of you as well.

Make your list

Whether a gift is for your children, spouse, siblings, parents, neighbors or co-workers, you have to pay attention to each of them to try and give a thoughtful gift. Some relatives are harder to shop for than others. We all know how that goes! Either way, the better you know a person, the easier it is to find them a good gift. It’s the same way with knowing your body and being able to recognize health changes.

Step one of 3 Steps Detect is to know what your normal feels like, which then makes it easier to identify health changes. If you know what your normal sleep pattern is like, your energy level, bathroom habits and other details about yourself, it makes it easier to notice when something’s wrong. There are also screening methods to help you identify the early warning signs of cancer, such as skin, breast and testicular self-exams.

Don’t delay

Once you have your list of presents to buy, it’s better to be proactive than procrastinate, right? If you wait to go to the mall on Christmas Eve, you’re waiting in big lines, with slim pickings and then you’re inevitably stuck in holiday traffic trying to find which store still has a Roomba in stock. With a plan and action, the experience doesn’t have to be so painful.

Step two of 3 Steps Detect – the 2-week rule – teaches you how to plan. Two weeks should be your deadline for when to get a health change checked out. Most people recover from a sickness or minor injury within two weeks. Any illness when addressed early often results in better treatment options and an easier recovery. Don’t postpone a doctor appointment until a less busy time of the year. Being empowered means making time to take care of yourself!

Sharing is caring

The better someone knows you — your personality, your hobbies and interests — the more likely they can find just the right gift for you. The same principle applies with your doctor. The more you share, the easier it is for your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis. Being able to communicate openly and honestly with your doctor is vital.

December is one of the most difficult months to advocate for your own health, because you’re thinking about a lot of other people, too! But don’t wait until the New Year to focus on yourself. After all, the most cherished gift of all is your good health!

What’s in it for you?

Much more!