May 13-19, 2018 has been designated as National Women’s Health Week. This annual celebration serves as a reminder to all women to make their health a priority by building positive habits for healthier lives. We spend so much of our time taking care of our children, our significant others and our aging parents that we often forget to take care of ourselves. I am asking each of you to take the pledge to make at least one step toward a healthier you.
There are many ways that we can do a better job of taking care of ourselves including but not limited to the following:
1. As a physician, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting well woman checkups and preventive screenings. Even though you may feel just fine, factors such as family history need to be taken into account. Giving yourself the opportunity to catch diseases in their earliest or precursor stages is much better than waiting for symptoms to develop signaling what might have been a preventable full blown disease. Do not let high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol sneak up on you! An ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure!
2. Get active and stay active by getting into the routine of exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Make an appointment with yourself and honor it as you would any other appointment to do something physical that you truly enjoy. You don’t need a gym membership to get in 30 minutes of activity. A brisk walk after dinner, strength training with free weights while watching your favorite show, or dancing around your living room to your favorite upbeat music are just a few ways to get your body moving.
3. Eat a healthier diet by ditching highly processed “junk” food in favor of more nutritious real foods like fresh vegetables and fruits. Make a conscious effort to decrease the amount if sugar not only in your own diet, but in what you feed your family. Remember that food is medicine! Everything you eat is either fighting disease or feeding it.
4. Try to avoid unhealthy and dangerous habits like smoking, drinking excessively, texting while driving and driving without a seatbelt.
5. Keep in mind that your mental health is as important as your physical health. Develop an attitude of gratitude and spend time in prayer and/or meditation on a regular basis. Make sure that you are getting adequate, restful sleep. Try to find ways to keep the stress in your life to a minimum by setting boundaries on others’ expectations of you as well as your own.
Remember that your loved ones are depending on you to be your best self!
Just as they tell you in every flight, it is important to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before attempting to help others.
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2 NLT