May 11, 2021
This week, May 9-15th is National Women’s Health Week, an awareness week that is observed in the United States and supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. Women’s health week is designed to raise awareness about health conditions that could impact women and girls of all ages. The 2021 campaign, “Ending the Epidemic and Elevating Women’s Health”, comes with a goal of women making their health a priority especially more than a year into the covid-19 pandemic. Our team has compiled a few tips to help keep you or the women in your life healthy!
Tip #1- Schedule your regular appointments
Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. This might seem like an easy tip, but many people pushed off routine physicals and check-ups during the the covid-19 pandemic for one reason or another and never rescheduled. You may have missed out on regular vaccines or preventative care such as mammograms, blood pressure screenings or cholesterol checks. After 15 months of the pandemic and the availability of Covid vaccines, now is a great time to re-schedule those appointments and check in with your health all around.
Tip #2- Eat right and exercise
Stay on a healthy track by eating right and exercising. A balanced diet is important to living a healthy lifestyle and improving your overall health. Instead of reaching for that package of processed foods like chips and cookies which are high in sugars and salt, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables or foods high in protein such as chicken and fish. Set goals for exercising that can be easily accomplished and grow your goals as you attain them. Reaching a fitness goal gives you a sense of accomplishment and more importantly, a boost of motivation. Sometimes smaller steps can be easier to manage when you are settling into a new exercise routine.
Tip #3- Do something to improve your mental health
Many people across the world are struggling with their mental health as a result of the pandemic. Some find it beneficial to speak with a therapist, while others can find small ways to improve their mental health each day. Simple activities like connecting with friends, re-connecting with your community, and finding ways to destress can effect mental health immensely. Take a few minutes each day to do something that you enjoy like reading a book, taking a walk, or simply sitting in a quiet moment. If you are finding that you need to talk with someone, call 203-756-8021 Ext. 3529 to speak with a behavioral health professional today.
Tip #4- Know your health risks.
There are health conditions that affect both men and women, but some conditions have a higher risk of affecting women over men such as breast cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis, depression and stroke. It’s also important to understand that a family history of certain conditions can also put you at greater risk for developing those conditions. Talk to your doctor about what your risks are and what you can do to lower your risk. To learn more about what conditions affect women more than men, check out this information from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Tip #5- Sleep is important.
Sleep is important no matter what age we are. Younger children need more sleep which can be anywhere from 8-11 hours depending on their age, while older adults only need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep daily. While we sleep our bodies repair themselves and allow us to reset for a new day, both mentally and physically. Reducing caffeine intake after a certain time of day and limiting screen time right before bed helps your brain to slow down and start relaxing for sleep. You can also try to set a bedtime and wakeup time to help establish a routine and stick to it as best you can. Find more sleep tips and tricks here.
Tip #6- Stop unhealthy habits
When we think of unhealthy habits we often think about eating the wrong foods or not exercising enough but there are other habits such as smoking and excessive drinking that can impact your health as well. According to the CDC, smoking can cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lung cancer, as well as emphysema and other respiratory issues. In addition to health risks to an individual who smokes, secondhand smoke can also be unhealthy for family members and pets living in a home with smokers. Excessive drinking can also have an impact on liver function and increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
Tip #7- Manage Stress
Stress is something that is pretty much unavoidable in today’s world and can have a negative impact on your health. Too much stress can lead to headaches, trouble sleeping, aches and pains, and if stress is prolonged, it can weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to viruses. Regular exercise, yoga, and meditation are great ways to help reduce stress and stay healthy. To learn more about managing stress, click here.
Tip #8- Protect your skin
Soaking up the sun can be a great way to get Vitamin D, but too much sun can actually harm you. It’s important to practice safe sun, which means wearing sunscreen and other items such as cover-ups, sun hats, and sunglasses to prevent your skin from burning. You should regularly check your skin and if you find a spot or a mole that looks suspicious or changes size or shape, consult your doctor right away. The American Cancer Society has a great guide on how to spot skin cancer, check it out!
Taking care of your health can be easy with the right knowledge, and we hope that these eight tips make it a little easier!
The StayWell Health Center Team