Starting a new calendar year often brings commitments or resolutions to prioritize self-care…but what does that look like? At ASHwell, self-care means testing and medication adherence, sticking to regular clinic visits, and taking a holistic approach to healthcare. But here’s the thing: if you asked 100 people what self-care meant to them, you’d likely receive 100 distinct responses. And that’s exactly why people gravitate toward ASHwell; we’re never going to put you in a box and dictate what self-care means for you, set you up to fail with a medication schedule that just isn’t going to work out, or shame you for slipping up. Rather, we’ll work with you to figure out a treatment plan and medication schedule that meets you where you’re at.
One of the biggest, and easiest, steps you can take to prioritize self-care and reach your sexual health goals is knowing your status. Whether through the ASHwell Clinic or somewhere else, setting up regular appointments to get tested if you are, have been, or plan to be sexually active empowers you to be in full control of your health journey. Knowing your status sets you up to make informed decisions about treating or preventing STIs and working with your clinician on a healthcare plan customized to your needs. And from there, you’re able to work with your clinician to develop a medication schedule that you know you can stick to.
Medication Adherence as Self–Care
When it comes to self-care in terms of sexual health and wellness, medication adherence is pretty much a top priority. There’s no doubt that everyone starts with the intention to take their meds on the schedule prescribed by their physician, but things come up. That sneaky link calls just as you’re going to take your daily dose of PrEP, you’ve been working nonstop and forget to pick up your refill from the pharmacy, or, like the best of us, you have a million other things on your mind, and you just forget that you’re supposed to take your meds altogether. Face it: we’ve all been there. So how do we get from here to good self-care?
Talk to your healthcare team that’s prescribing the medication, to start. Especially if you get your prescriptions from the ASHwell Clinic, our team of clinicians is ready and willing to work with you as much as they can on medication schedules and alternative options. Grab a daily pill organizer from us or the pharmacy to keep better track of your meds and put them in a place that’s harder for you to forget. Next to your keys, by your toothbrush, on the kitchen counter, or even tied around your door handle.
Why is it all worth it? Look, we get that it can be tedious remembering to take your meds every day—in addition to everything else going on in your life. But by following a medication schedule that you set with your doctor, you’re managing symptoms, reducing the risk of contracting STIs, and feeling more like your authentic self. Every other part of your life gets a little bit easier when you’re practicing medication adherence and self-care. Sticking to your meds doesn’t have to be stressful, so if it is, reach out to get support.
Holistic Wellness & Self-Care Routines
ASHwell embraces holistic, whole-person care and champions integrative medicine and stress management as vital elements in our approach. We understand that self-care extends beyond a medication schedule—it’s about listening to your body, managing stress, and reducing risky behaviors.
In your journey towards sexual health and wellness, finding balance is key. Stick to your medication routine, but also be attuned to your mental well-being. Practice safe behaviors, like using protection during sex, while ensuring you stay consistent with your medications. It’s this comprehensive approach that can make your health journey smoother.
To support you in achieving your goals with minimal stress, consider working with a case manager or patient advocate. Explore counseling or therapy referrals, and don’t overlook alternative therapies. ASHwell is proud to offer NO COST access to holistic services, thanks to our partnership with AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. This means easy access to therapies that bring calmness to both body and mind.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to comprehensive wellness. Let ASHwell be your partner in tailoring a holistic approach that aligns with your unique needs and aspirations.
Intimacy, Support Systems, and Communication
We’ve all got that one diva who can’t resist getting into our business, but let’s turn that nosiness into something empowering. For a lot of folx, having a supportive friend or partner can be a game-changer when it comes to staying on top of appointments, maintaining a medication routine, and reducing risky behaviors. Even if you have a great relationship with your healthcare provider, managing your health and adhering to routines can be exhausting. The key is finding someone you trust—be it a friend, a partner, or a family member—and communicating openly with them about your needs.
When it comes to your private life, practice mindful intimacy. Whether you choose to hit up that booty call on the apps, stick with one or more partner(s), or cruise your favorite spots, do so with awareness. Knowing your status and being informed about the status of your sexual partner(s) is an essential part of mindful intimacy. ASHwell supports your holistic well-being, encouraging a sex-positive and informed approach to your life.
All in all, it’s important to remember that this is about you. Your health is in your hands and we’re here to help you navigate it every step of the way. Whether you’re hoping to get better about medication adherence, want to know your status, or need to destress with some acupuncture, ASHwell is ready to help you achieve your sexual health and wellness goals.