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June Review and Summer Checklist

Friday, July 6, 2018

Checklist

The end of the school year brings all sorts of assessments.  Reading, writing, and arithmetic tests give teachers a snapshot of what children learned over the last year and what still needs practice.  While our kiddos were growing up, my husband and I did our own assessment every June.  It wasn’t a formal written assessment but rather a conversation.  It always started with the same basic question, “How did this past year go?”  When I think back on those talks, the health and well-being of our family was at the core of the conversation.  Were we too busy?  Did we need to cut out some activities?  Did we all get enough sleep?  How many times a week did we manage to eat together?  Did my husband and I exercise?  Did we play as a family?  Those conversations resulted in some changes over the years including limiting our children’s extracurricular activities, scheduling in date nights, and making double batches of soup, stew, and chili for easy, nutritional meals after sports.  While life still got in the way and some weeks were hectic, in the grand scheme of things, these small decisions helped us stay healthy and relatively balanced. 

Whether you have children in school or not, the summer is a great time to regroup and review.  It is the halfway point of the year.  The best laid plans, wishes, and goals of January many times have gone by the wayside.  Sometimes, taking a step back, assessing, and setting goals is helpful.   Here are some questions to ask when gauging your health and well-being.

Physical Health Check-Ups

  • Do you know your numbers?  Blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, blood sugar.
  • When was your last physical, complete with blood work?  Check with your doctor and insurance to determine when to schedule one.  
  • Do the children need physicals for school or sports?
  • When was the last time you saw the dentist?  Professional cleanings every six months are recommended.
  • When was the last time you had your eyes examined? Check with your doctor and insurance to determine when to schedule an appointment. 
  • Are there any specialists you see?  If so, do you need to make an appointment?
  • If you are a woman, have you seen your gynecologist in 2018?  Had your mammogram?
  • Have you been screened for colorectal cancer?  The American Cancer Society recently reported that cases of colorectal cancer among those under age 55 increased by 51% between 1994 and 2014.  They are suggesting that screenings start at age 45.

At Home

  • Do you limit your screen time?  Your children’s screen time? The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use, except for video chatting, for children younger than 24 months.  For children ages 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming.
  • How much sleep do you get on a regular basis?  Sleep needs vary with age, but generally speaking, young children need around 11 to 12 hours each night, teens need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours and the average adult needs only between seven and nine hours per night.  (sleepfoundation.org)
  • Do you walk or do some other form of exercise for 30 minutes or more, five times per week?  If so, awesome!  If not, how and when can you incorporate more exercise into your life?
  • Do you incorporate fruits/veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins into your meals?  If so, good for you.  If not, what is your strategy for including more healthy foods into your diet? 

Change happens slowly but surely if you consistently incorporate new habits.  After you review these questions, determine one or two priorities because trying to do everything can be overwhelming.  Then set some goals for yourself.  When setting goals, keep the following principles from the University of Minnesota’s wellness site in mind.

 

 

  • Stay Flexible.  If you don’t meet your goal, it doesn’t mean you failed—it means you need to modify the goal.
  • Keep Positive.  Try working toward something (e.g., trying new vegetables), rather than against (e.g., avoiding all sugar).
  • Be Concrete.  Having a specific task or deadline to meet can help produce feelings of pride and accomplishment.  For example, make physical appointment by Monday or walk three times per week. 
  • Remain Harmonious.  If you are setting multiple goals, make sure they do not conflict with one another.  For example, if eating dinner together is a priority, scheduling a 6:00 exercise class might be a conflict.  

 

 

 

 

Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville, NY.  To discuss this article or other health topics, contact Lorraine at

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville, NY.  To discuss this article or other health topics, contact Lorraine at

 

 

lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. 

Media Contact

Mary Sue Dehn

(585) 335-4323

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