September 7, 2021 by Kendra Finn, DO

Dr. Kendra Finn is a Family Medicine physician at Daniels Health Center, St. Peter.

Whether you’ve sent the kids back to school or you’re coming up for air after a busy summer with family, friends and travel, September is a good time for women to check in with themselves. Ask yourself how are you feeling? Women are really good at taking care of others and ignoring our own health.

One of the best ways to set yourself up for good health is to schedule your well-woman visit. Well-woman visits with your primary care provider are recommended every year. Make a quick call to your clinic to see when you are due for your annual check-up.  

A physical exam is an important part of a well-woman visit and we may recommend routine screenings for cancer such as a mammogram for women over age 40 and earlier for women at a higher risk for breast cancer. It may also be time for a blood test to check your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This simple test can help us catch cholesterol issues or pre-diabetes early when there’s still time to prevent health conditions that can affect your quality of life.

This visit is much more than a physical exam. We also address your mental health. Are you feeling depressed or anxious? Are these feelings keeping you from living your life and doing things you used to enjoy? Let’s face it, our world has been off balance lately and that affects all of us in different ways. Be honest with your primary care provider because we can help. 

We also want to talk with you about your health, health history and life. You may have noticed some changes in your health habits. Remember, you can always get back on track. We can help you set realistic health goals that make sense for you and your lifestyle. Your goals can include healthy eating, physical activity, better sleep and quitting smoking.

Summer is often filled with barbecues, ice cream treats and a few more cold beverages than usual. When it comes to healthy eating, start by adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal. It’s a great time to enjoy veggies from the garden and farmers’ markets. Don’t expect to change all of your eating habits overnight. When we deprive ourselves, we tend to fail. That’s why setting realistic goals that you can achieve is so important.

Your primary care provider can also help you set physical activity goals. September is a good time to get outside and enjoy walks in your neighborhood, parks and trails. Above all, move in ways that bring you joy. Walking, dancing, swimming, yard work, hiking, biking, yoga, playing with the kids! Find ways to move more and sit less.

With the days getting a little shorter, you may want to look at your sleep habits. Good sleep hygiene such as unplugging from electronics 30-60 minutes prior to bed time can make a big difference. You may find it a lot easier to wind down and fall asleep when you skip the social media scroll before bedtime. Healthy sleep is essential for physical and mental health.

Be well!