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by Erin Weaver

Everyone knows about the importance of keeping a romantic relationship fresh. You could throw a pebble and hit eighty self-help books about healthy love, sex, and romance practices, but what about healthy relationships with your friends? Female friendships are beautiful, supportive, and deep-rooted bonds which can withstand their fair share of ups and downs, but that doesn’t mean you should expect them to take care of themselves. As a farming woman in particular, your friendships can be integral to keeping you connected and engaged in a life away from your home. So why not nurture them by taking some bonding time off the farm and out in the world with your girls?

Being on the road and away from home offers up brand new bonding opportunities for you and your bestie (or besties!). The odd phone call or coffee date can keep your friendship moving, but it won’t provide the sort of deep bonding sessions that strengthen your relationships with your girls over time. Taking a couple of days or a week away gives you real time to spend together, giving you and your friends the chance to discuss more than the standard news and gossip from your everyday lives. What’s really going on in your friend’s life? These longer periods of time together, away from your usual routines, gives you the time to really open up to one another.

And if your friendship has weakened, or you’re working through conflict? Traveling can be a hugely valuable way to heal any wounds your relationship has suffered. Obviously you don’t want to hit the road with a friend you’re currently feuding with, but friendships that are in the recovery stage can really benefit from some time away from the environment where all that conflict took place. Out on your own, you guys can make space to talk through any lingering resentment and spend quality time bonding without distractions like work, family, and third-party friends. A new setting is neutral ground where you can fall back in bestie-love with each other.

On top of all that, it’s just so fun! Traveling with friends is a completely different experience to going on holiday with your partner, your family, or solo. You’ll get the chance to hit up exciting restaurants, try new activities, and make amazing memories that will last a lifetime. How often do you get the opportunity to do that with your girls? If you are lucky enough to be able to take a trip with a friend, don’t miss out on the opportunity for all that quality girl time.

Travel can change you as an individual, but it’s also the perfect way to reconnect with your girls and strengthen those all-too-important female friendships. It’s easy to prioritize romantic partners and family when it comes to holiday time, but think twice about your chosen travel buddy next time you’re going to hit the road. Traveling with your friend might be the best thing that you do for yourself, your bestie, and the bond that you both share.

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Organize Your Medical Paperwork

If you’re like many people, you struggle to remember all the medications and supplements you are taking, or maybe you have a pile of medical records and bills that desperately needs to be filed. Don’t panic. There are a variety of ways to organize your medication information that will save you time and your sanity.

List Medications and Allergies

A simple thing to organize is your list of allergies and medications for each household member. These can be typed up and printed out to fit in your wallet or purse for easy access when you visit your doctor. There are many websites and blogs that offer free printables for logging medications and allergies, and some pharmacies even offer this service for their customers. It also helps to keep a backup copy at home with the rest of your medical records.

Compile a Medical History Notebook

Using a binder or a plain notebook, list in chronological order all your operations, medical procedures, and acute and chronic conditions. When it’s complete, this will make filling out doctor’s office paperwork a breeze, because your entire medical history is already compiled. If you’re compiling records for all family members, make sure each person has their own notebook or file. These can include immunization records, blood types, organ donor information, allergy and medication lists, and legal paperwork such as advanced directives.

Sort Medical Bills and Receipts

While going through your medical paperwork, you may find medical bills and receipts mixed in with test results. It’s important to separate actual records, such as test results, from bills. Both tend to pile up fast, especially if you’re managing any chronic conditions. Whether you file your bills in a hanging file system, a binder, or online, it helps to keep them in chronological order. You’ll probably have copies of Explanations of Benefit (EOB) from your insurance company for each medical service that was filed to your insurance. When possible, place them with your medical bills for each service. Separating medical receipts from other records will help during tax season if you are able to deduct them on your taxes.

Digitize Your Records

Once every family member has their own medical records folder, then it’s a good idea to digitize your records. You can do this by scanning documents to your computer in your spare time or ask one of your tech-savvy children to do this. If you don’t have an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier, then you can purchase a small scanner especially for saving paperwork. They can range in cost from $80 to $400, depending on your needs. It’s important to save the records in easily recognizable file names, such as John Smith Appendectomy March 2016 or Kaitlin Smith Tonsils July 2017. After they’ve been digitized, save them in multiple places, such as a flash drive, CD, or a cloud program such as Dropbox or Evernote. Once they are backed up, shred the papers you aren’t required to keep, and this will free up valuable space in your home.

Organizing paperwork, especially medical paperwork, can be confusing and overwhelming, but it can be made easier. If you focus on one thing at a time, before you know it your medical records will be easy to access. And the next time you get sick, you can focus on getting better instead of dealing with all the paperwork.


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