Last week a coworker asked me a question and I responded, “We’ll see, I’ll be 35 this year.” I instantly froze . . . . It was my first time saying that out loud.
Most people think I’m younger than my actual age; I joke it’s because I’m short and talk fast. Neither of those qualities are changing, so this birthday feels a little comical and surreal.
Another part of me is excited to turn 35! The last five years have been busy, I’ve invested a lot of energy in advancing my career and expanding my family, and I haven’t slowed down to take it all in.
Looking ahead to the next five years, I see the best version of myself. Nothing happens by chance, so I made a plan to support my future self.
I’m sharing the seven things I’m doing for myself to celebrate turning 35. Hopefully you’ll feel inspired to add something to your list to support your best self!
1. Find a Primary Care Provider
Between pregnancy and wellness incentives at work, I’ve had labs checked plenty. What I haven’t done is build a relationship with a provider. I never worried about having a primary care physician (PCP) until something came up and I wanted a provider who knew me . . . but that person didn’t exist. I decided enough is enough and scheduled my annual physical with a new provider.
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Now that I’ve found my person, I’m relieved to have someone who listens and has a personality I enjoy. I’m hopeful my initiative will also keep my husband on schedule with routine visits.
2. Find a Dermatologist
As a fair-skinned blonde, I’ve had many sunburns and my history puts me at an increased risk for skin cancer. After watching a dermatologist talk about moles on IG, I scheduled an appointment with a local dermatologist with great reviews.
My plan is to start with a head-to-toe skin check and see where things go. Having a second pair of eyes on my moles will hopefully address anything early.
Bonus: I’ll finally have a personalized skin care regimen.
3. Reduce Stress . . . Like, Actually Reduce My Stress
Last year I started a gratitude journal and resumed reading for leisure. I recently changed jobs and have better work-life integration.
Despite all the effort, I’m still stressed. Chronic stress takes time to return to healthy levels, and I’m determined to get there.
My three focal points are adequate quality sleep, physically relaxing, and utilizing a mental health app through my health insurance.
I consciously relax my muscles head-to-toe two to three times per day for 10 to 15 seconds. I’m amazed by the impact this exercise makes in my physical stress and demeanor. The mental health app is helping me develop deescalation skills for moments when I feel the most stressed.
4. Exercise and Stretch Consistently
I’m guilty of being “too tired” to workout. Many days I’m overwhelmed and don’t prioritize myself like I should.
This year, I’m not standing in my own way. I changed my strategy to be more realistic and less idealistic. I strength train the two days I work onsite plus two days of cycling or yoga at home. I’m starting to stretch before bed to relax, even three minutes is an improvement!
What I’m not doing is emotionally beating up myself if a workout doesn’t happen. My goal is simply to give 100 percent when I work out and be consistent week to week.
5. Stretch My Nutrition
Even dietitians need to focus on nutrition, and my weak spot is variety. My family eats many of the same foods on repeat, and I’m ready for excitement on my plate!
My strategy is to try one new recipe per week and expand our list of “regulars.” I’m focusing on new ingredients, spices, and cuisines to challenge my family’s palate and have fun. Also, hopeful to develop new kitchen skills along the way.
6. Complete a “No Spend” Year
This is the one thing I never thought I would achieve. I’m an online stress shopper who enjoys fashion. That’s a double whammy!
I challenged myself to a “no spend on myself” year for 2023 and have done surprisingly well. My impulsiveness and self-imposed financial stress have really improved.
Another positive is viewing my wardrobe with a clear vision. I’m more honest about what I’m wearing (or not) and can clean out items with fewer emotional struggles. I also started a list of items I’d like to own so I have goals when I do want to shop.
Note: This does not include shopping for household necessities or clothing for my son. I also earmarked money to update my husband’s wardrobe as a gift. He’s not a shopper, so I’m earning interest on him, too. 🙂
7. Have Fun
Last summer was my first solo event since my son was born. I came home and told my husband, “I had so much fun and just felt like ME!” He encourages me to schedule time with friends outside of work, yet I always feel guilty leaving my son.
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That ends now!
I’m slowly planning lunches and outings to do non-mom things. I’m also calling friends instead of texting — hearing someone’s voice can really lift your spirit.
Turning 35 may feel surreal for a while, but my goals to stay healthy and balanced feel solid. I’m leaning into myself more and prioritizing things I enjoy.
Hopefully you find inspiration in my list and do something for your health too!