It’s the first month of the New Year, and now that we're done celebrating it's time to reflect and choose and make resolutions. It’s also time to schedule wellness appointments and make a few purchases. Here’s a list of 10 things you must do at least once a year… why not do them now?
Whether you’re 18 or 80, you need to see your family physician once a year for a complete physical exam. And it doesn't matter how many healthy foods you've stuck to all year. Bring a list of questions you might have, so you don’t forget anything, and if your doctor doesn’t offer it, ask for a cholesterol check, blood pressure reading, and also a Pap smear (or at least a pelvic exam). Make sure your prescription medications are still current. It also wouldn’t hurt to talk about your weight, if you think it might be an issue. Maybe he could give you a few tips or rules about weight loss. I tend to put off my annual physical, but it’s important — make sure you do it, and I will too!
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As we grow older, our eyesight begins to fade. I first noticed the change in my late teens, at the Department of Motor Vehicles. By law, your eye doctor must give you a copy of your prescription so you can purchase your glasses or contacts from whomever you choose, but the prescription is only good for one year, so make sure to have your eye exam before you run out of fresh contact lenses!
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If you’ve already lost your milk teeth, then the teeth you have now are the last teeth you’ll have… unless you want dentures! So take good care of them by flossing, brushing, and rinsing well (and by not smoking!). Be sure to see your dentist at least once each year for a good cleaning not just for whiter teethbut so that he or she can track and treat any developing problems before they become serious. And this wouldn’t be a bad time to buy a new toothbrush, too!
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Did you know most over-the-counter and prescription drugs, as well as cosmetics, have expiration dates? So give your medicine cabinet and bathroom drawers a thorough cleaning each year. Throw away old or unused prescription drugs, but absolutely DO NOT flush them down the toilet or rinse them down the drain! Also throw away any nail polishyou’ve had for more than a year, and any cosmetics that have gotten flaky, sticky, or hardened, especially anything that’s going on or around your eyes, like mascara.
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This one’s my favorite, much more fun than the feet-in-the-stirrups doctor visit. At least once a year,clean out your closet and dresser(s). Make a pile of the things you haven’t worn in more than a year, and another pile for the things you’ve been saving for when you lose weight. Get the girls together for a clothing exchange, and if there are any of the “weight loss” clothes left, donate them to a charity. When you do lose that last ten pounds, you’ll deserve new clothes, not out-of-date cast-offs, right? Be sure to clean out your collection of handbags, shoes, belts, and other accessories, too! Anything scuffed, worn, or dated should go…
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Whether you like it or not, the anti-perspirant and deodorant we use gradually leaves yellowish stains in the underarms of our favorite white blouses. Sometimes it’s so gradual, or we love the blouse so much, we don’t part with them soon enough, and end up wearing pit-stained shirts far longer then we should. Each year, examine your white blouses and throw away (don’t donate) the ones with even the most subtle stains, even if you always wear them under a jacket or sweater. Then, and this is the best part, buy new ones! Buy a short-sleeved one and a long-sleeved one, and maybe, if your budget allows, a sleeveless one, just for fun!
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I’m sure that right now, I have about 50 files on my desktop I just don’t need any more. These files just take up space on my computer, and over time, they can slow it down. When you spend so much time on the perfect laptop bag and accessories for your computer, why not spend some time each year to delete the files you don’t need, then run a defragmentation program to help with any speed issues you might have. This would also be a good time to update and run that all important virus protection software…
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If you’ve never had your car detailed before, you must do it as soon as you can! It’s not just a good washing inside and out, it’s more! The detailers will clean parts of your car you never knew could get dirty! They may even find that earring you lost last summer, and a pile of loose change you could easily use for a cup of coffee…
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If your car is more than five years old, it’s a good idea to take it to a trusted mechanic for a tune up, or at least a “check up,” once a year. They’ll check the engine, the transmission, the tires, the brakes, the exhaust, and a million other things, and will also likely give you the diagnostic results for free. And you'll know whether you need a new car or no. Ask them to prioritize whatever repairs they recommend, then pick away at them over the span of the year. Safety first!
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Is your passport current? How about your driver’s license? Do you know where your birth certificate, proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and Social Security card are? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, now is the perfect time to update your papers, or replace them if they’ve gone missing. Why wait until you need them for a surprise romantic weekendin Barbados, and are panicked because you can’t find them?
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I’m sure there are about a dozen other things you need to be sure to do at least once each year, but these are a very good start! What other resolutions did you swear to stick by? Which of these did you forget or just not get around to in 2009? What else are you sure to do each year? Please let me know, so I can add them to my list!
Top Photo Credit: Occhidaorientale [Mi votai all'inquietudine]
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