"Taking care of yourself doesn't mean 'me first', it means 'me too'." ~L.R. Knost
Leaders, you are navigating your company and people through the most uncertain time in our lifetime. With the constant starts, stops, ups, and downs, one thing can bridge to the other side of this crisis: YOUR presence and energy.
As we prepare to turn the page on 2020, put together a game plan to care for yourself in 2021. Call it planning, strategy or even resolution, you can use this model of supporting your team to build your own health strategy.
Components of a Personal Health Strategy
A personal health strategy has three legs to the stool:
- Health Literacy is the preventative leg of the stool and it focuses around education in the areas of health, healthcare system function, and use of insurance products. Commit to regularly educating yourself on these topics. Some examples could include a new podcast, books, webinars, blog (subscribe below - wink), or other training programs that refresh your energy and commitment to yourself.
- Healthcare Navigation is the active support system if/when you need outside help. Surround yourself with people and resources that support your personal health journey. Examples may include health coaching, primary care physicians, mental health counseling, and tools to find the right services.
- Healthcare Finance is how you pay for the support to optimize your health. This can be pro-active planning that relates to the services that surround you. This could be out-of-pocket/cash, insurance, or some combination.
Tips to Manage Healthcare Spending
- Understand your needs and benefits. Taking the time to evaluate your recurring or expected healthcare services for the upcoming year lead right into how to plan financially to support those.
- Create a better primary care physician (PCP) relationship. In many circle of the healthcare system, the relationship with the PCP has degraded due to a variety of influences. Improving that relationship will touch all thee parts of a personal health strategy, including your total healthcare spending. It may be as simple as establishing a PCP, if you don't have one, or extend to scheduling time to evaluate your long term health goals with the support of your PCP.
- Use tax-free finance tools. Health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts provide an outlet for pre-tax financial resources. Maximize those to the extent you can to take advantage of the opportunity to use pre-tax money.
- Review your medical bills. Depending on the resource, studies show up to 8 out of 10 bills have at least 1 error. Errors may be simple, like a missing middle initial, all the way to incorrect diagnosis or service provided. Getting to know the billing process and questioning adjudication of your bills can bring confidence and ensure proper payment.
- Take care of yourself. Wrapping up where we started, taking care of your personal well-being creates the capacity to care for others. COVID-19 significantly impacted those with chronic conditions, including those with preventable lifestyle-related illness. Monitoring your nutrition, exercise, mental health, stress, and sleep patterns can boost your immune system. Most importantly, reach out for any support proactively.