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Beginning of the year healthcare checklist for 2021

Following what felt like the longest year of everyone’s life, 2021 is finally here! Although we have no way of knowing what this new year will bring, we do know the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit our access to the outlets we normally use to meet our health and wellness goals for the year. Instead of focusing on things that are out of our control, we want to help you make a plan for the year with a health checklist that you can use to get ahead of your health goals.

Here are the top 5 things you can do to set yourself up for a healthy new year (and believe it or not, check off your to-do list before the end of this week):

1. Make a health and wellness plan for the year

Instead of “new year, new me” think of this year as a next step in your journey to reaching your health and wellness goals. Not a reset, but a recharge. It’s time to celebrate the progress you’ve already made—both the big and the small wins—and build onto it!

Think about your personal health goals and what actions you can take this year to take better control of your health. Maybe that’s getting more sleep, drinking more water, spending more time outdoors, or incorporating more better-for-you recipes in your weekly meal plans. Set weekly and monthly goals using the SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, relevant, and time-based) Goal systems, then track your progress with a health journal, goal tracker, or app. Discuss your long term goals with your healthcare provider, who can provide additional insight, support, and resources.

Want to get results your body can count on, but don’t know where to start? Check out this blog about our memberships to help you understand which Everlywell test could deliver the results you need to better understand your health.

2. Start or update your health records

Your health record is an important and confidential way for you and your healthcare provider to track your health history. This includes all of your past and present medical conditions, family history, illnesses, treatments, vaccinations, prescriptions, and more.

If you’ve visited multiple healthcare providers or taken a new lab test (like one of our at-home lab tests) since your last visit with your primary care provider, you should update your health records to ensure your information is up to date. In addition to health-related updates, you should also inform your provider if any of your personal information has changed, including your name, address, phone number, etc.

Lastly, log in to your digital patient portal or request a copy of your file from your doctor’s office so you know what is included in your records. This way, you know what needs to be updated in the near future.

3. Understand your benefits

Whether you chose to stick with the same plan as last year or you are new to the insurance world, familiarize yourself with your benefits package at the beginning of the year. Take the time to comb through the provided information about your coverage to understand how to use your benefits and what is covered as part of your plan—and reach out to your benefits provider if you have questions.

All health insurances are different, so it's important to determine what services or portion of services (routine check-ups, medical appointments, mental health resources, prescriptions, and medical equipment) your plan covers. Some packages may even include fitness memberships and digital wellness resources like the Calm or Headspace app.

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can use your funds for a variety of health and wellness products and services, including our at-home lab tests. Check out our FSA/HSA shopping guide to find out what surprising products may be covered by your health account.

4. Sign up for a health membership (but the right kind)

Your favorite gym may still be closed down due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, but there are other ways to make gains this year. We’re talking about health subscriptions that will help you get the results you need to stay on top of your health goals.

These days, there is a subscription for pretty much everything—vitamins, birth control, contact lenses, skincare, and more. But have you thought about how a monthly subscription could help you take control of and stay on top of your health?

Our Control membership is perfect for the health guru wanting to stay on top of their health, the person who wants to check their levels more regularly, or the one who just wants to save over 70% on an Everlywell test every month. Whatever goals you have, our membership can give you access to the test results you deserve to help you get there.

Read the breakdown of our membership programs to help you find out which of our memberships may be a good fit for you.

5. Schedule all of your annual check-ups

There’s a lot more to checkups than just your annual visit to the doctor. In addition to your routine physical, check on other important aspects of your health. This should include any additional screenings related to your preexisting conditions or illnesses (as recommended by your healthcare provider), dental, vision, and other age- or sex-specific screenings, like mammograms and pap tests.

With your healthcare provider, discuss any outstanding vaccinations (and the possibility of getting a COVID-19 vaccine), update or refill your prescriptions, and collaborate to make a health and wellness plan for the upcoming year (see to-do list item number 1). And of course, bring your Everlywell results with you! Our lab tests were created with you, the user, in mind—but they don’t serve to replace necessary face-to-face time with your healthcare provider. Your test results can help you gain insight into different aspects of your health and wellness and you should collaborate with your healthcare provider to understand how you can take action on your results.

We still don’t know what the new year will bring, but with the improvements and advancements in telehealth and telemedicine, you can still get the care you need virtually.

Bonus: Make a tentative vacation calendar

Fun, but not-so-fun fact: According to the U.S. Travel Association, more than half of Americans don’t use their paid time off and in 2018, 768 million vacation days were left unused.

Although there is no way to tell what 2021 will bring and beach-side vacations may still not be a realistic option for those looking to take time off, you still deserve to break away from work. Even if you’re just traveling to the next town over for a weekend getaway, or you’re planning a staycation at home. If you plan to get away in the coming months, consider these safety tips for traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your mental health plays a big role in your overall well-being, so take the time you need to recharge throughout the year. Whether that is by taking a half-day every once in a while, taking an extended weekend trip to visit family, or going on a week-long vacation.

Mark your calendar with days you know you’ll want or need off, and set reminders throughout the year to take your PTO. You deserve it!