Stay Happy & Healthy on Your Transition into Adulthood
Life is full of transitions, and one of the more life-changing ones occur when you graduate and go out into the world as young adults. This next life stage can be a time of excitement, but it can also be a time filled with uncertainty. Now, more than ever, it's essential to have a transition plan in place, whether you are entering the workforce, going off to college, or starting another big adventure.
You'll also experience a lot of changes in the months ahead. You may notice that you have extra time in your schedule, and more freedom to make your own decisions. During this time, it's important to consider healthy lifestyle choices. With that in mind, we're offering the following tips for our seniors and their parents during this pivotal time of life.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
In high school, you had a fairly set routine. Now, you are in charge of making your own choices and setting a new schedule.
• A structured schedule can help with good habits. It's never too late to start!
• A routine can help you to stay organized and on top of deadlines for work or school.
• Set alarms and notifications on your phone for reminders, especially when your parents aren't there to remind you.
Cooking and choosing meals on your own without a parent's assistance can be both exciting and challenging.
• College cafeterias and workplace take out can be sources for fast, but often unhealthy foods. Meal prepping and planning can help organize your week to avoid the temptation of these quick meals. Remember, occasional treats are okay.
• Try new foods often, and cook something creative.
• Choose 3 healthy meals per day. Limit high-calorie foods and sugary beverages.
You may have had athletics and other after school activities to keep you active and fit. Now, it's up to you to find actives you enjoy and keep you healthy.
• Plan time in your daily schedule for physical activity like going for walks, running, or getting a gym membership.
• Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
• Physical activity helps not only your physical health but also your mental health as well.
• Remember to drink water during your day.
Once you've entered the workforce and earn income, its time to consider your cost of living and expenses.
• Make a weekly and monthly budget. Know how much money you have to spend on personal items, as well as necessary items.
• Make sure you know when your bills are due and set reminders so you won't forget.
• It is never too early to start saving money for future expenses (both planned and unplanned) to ease stress later on.
No matter where life takes you, it's important to always know your surroundings, whether on a college campus, in a new neighborhood, or when you're traveling.
• Have a list of emergency contacts easily accessible – including both personal contacts and local resources.
• Build a community of friends – join new clubs or try new activities.
• Let other people know where you are going and what time you should be home, especially roommates.
• Talk with your parents about how often you plan to check in with them – this may look different for everyone, but it can be a source of comfort for you both.
• If you are having a tough time for any reason, reach out to a trusted adult.
When moving away from home and living with a roommate, there can be times of conflict when differences arise about preferences in living styles.
• Discussing "house rules" upon moving in together can help address potential difficulties before they occur.
• Have open and honest communication and find non-violent ways to resolve conflict.
• Set aside a dedicated area for studying. Your bedroom may not be the most productive place to do so. Try out a study room, the library, or a coffee shop.
• Make sure you are getting enough sleep - at least 7-10 hours of sleep is recommended.
• Always feel free to bring concerns to a trusted adult or RA – they are there to help you!
We all know that medical costs are often unexpected – health insurance can lower your out-of-pocket expense if you get sick or injured and require medical care. No worries, there are many options for health insurance coverage after you graduate, but they may vary depending on whether you are entering the workforce or going to college.
Why do I need health insurance?
Health insurance can cover medical care, dental health, and eye care, depending on the type of plan you choose. Check out this helpful video on health insurance. It breaks down important insurance concepts, such as premiums, deductibles, and provider networks. It explains how individuals can purchase and obtain medical care when enrolled in various types of health insurance, including HMOs and PPOs.
• Your employer may offer health insurance if you are 'full time' or deemed 'benefits-eligible.'
• The human resources department is available to discuss your cost and coverage options. You will often have a few different plans to choose from.
• Cost is taken out of your paycheck each month, regardless of whether you need to use it that month.
• Make sure you're familiar with the health and mental health support services on campus.
• Most colleges offer a plan that students can purchase.
• If health insurance is required, it can often be waived if you are covered under another health insurance plan (i.e., workplace or your parents).
Additional health insurance options include:
• Continued coverage under your parent's insurance until your 26th birthday.
• A college's health insurance plan if it is available.
• An employer's health insurance if employed and benefits-eligible.
• Health insurance 'marketplace' plans by visiting HealthCare.gov.
For those that may qualify for Medicaid:
• Known as MassHealth in the state of Massachusetts.
• Additional information can be found on the Mass.gov website.
If you get sick or injured and require medical care, it's important to know your personal medical history, as well as your family history. Some suggestions include:
• Keep a list of current medications and any allergies that you may have.
• Have an updated immunization record on file at home.
• Know your personal medical history, including illnesses, surgeries, and injuries - keep a list with dates of these somewhere accessible. Try keeping them in a note on your phone, or in another safe place.
• Have a list of medical history for your immediate family members.
• Always have your most updated health insurance card on you, and bring it to all medical appointments.
Keeping all your annual doctor's appointments after graduating is important for your health and wellbeing.
• Be sure to have a consistent primary care provider established.
• Consider transitioning from a pediatrician to a family/adult medical provider when over 18 years old.
• Preventative care appointments are important once a year for the entirety of a person's life.
Mental Health Appointments
If you are feeling overwhelmed by this transition, talk with your primary care provider or another trusted adult about this.
• If a mental health provider already sees you, discuss what a transition plan might look like a few months before it occurs.
• Will you continue to see them for care?
• Will you transition to another provider closer to work or school?
Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health? As part of your preventive dental care, you should:
• For optimal oral health brush your teeth at least twice a day.
• Floss teeth daily.
• Rinse with approved mouth wash.
• Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, limiting snacks between meals.
• Avoid the use of tobacco.
• Schedule dental cleanings every 6 months.
Eye Care Appointments
Just as you see your primary care provider for an annual physical, you should also see your optometrist for an eye exam.
• At least once per year, more if necessary.
• Have an updated contact lens or eyeglass prescription on file.
How do I access physical healthcare?
When you're sick or injured, it's important to seek care. Primary Care, Urgent Care, or Emergency Care? Not sure where to go? Consider these options:
• Your primary care doctor will provide you with consistent care from sickness with annual visits and preventative care practices.
• Focus is on same-day visits for illnesses when your primary care doctor is not available.
• Often open longer hours than primary care.
• Immediate assistance for medial emergencies 24-hours per day, 7-days per week.
• Please do not hesitate to call 911 if rapid care is needed at any time.
Campus Health Centers
• Many college campuses have health centers and mental health resources specifically designed for students, which often including doctors, nurses, and/or counselors.
• These centers can provide students with illness-related care directly on campus.
• Easy to access, especially if you're going to a college far from home and appointments with your primary care provider, is not possible.
Employee Health Centers
• Employers often have care sites for employees, known as employee health or occupational health centers.
• These are employer-specific sites, so check with your employer for more details.
• If you sustain a work-related injury or illness, be sure to let your workplace know immediately.
If there is a medical emergency, please call 911.
This information was compiled on May 13, 2020. All policies and laws are subject to change at any time, which may render information in this presentation invalid. Please consult your state's website for the most up to date information.
The information in this presentation is not intended to substitute medical advice from your healthcare provider. Please consult your medical provider for further information. Our School Based Health Center does not have any affiliation with the resources mentioned here and is intended for reference purposes only.
Please be aware that downloading apps and resources mentioned may have fees or other consequences as applicable, download and use them at your discretion. Our School Based Health Center is not responsible for any consequences that should incur from the use of these products.
If you're looking for additional resources
that will help you thrive as you get ready
to leave high school, check out Set To Go.
It has tools and guidance to help you
feel "set to go" – whether you go to
college or straight into a career.
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