May is Women’s Health Month. We want to help you get and stay healthy – and that starts with you taking control of your health and wellness!
According to the Office on Women’s Health, the guidelines for healthy living by age have the same basic foundation: eat healthy, be active, see your healthcare provider for regular checkups, take care of your mental health, and avoid unnecessary ricks such as drinking or texting while driving. You can find a breakdown for healthy living by age here. But we can also walk you through the basics easily.
Make sure you’re using guidelines like The MyPlate Plan to get yourself started on the right path. The MyPlate Plan, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shows your food group targets and how much to eat. Their website will even help you create a plan based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. You can also find it in Spanish!
Being active can be hard to fit into every day life. However, if you dedicate at least 30 minutes of activity for 5 days a week you can easily start yourself on a path to a healthier you. If you’re struggling to think of how to add in at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, remember that moving more and sitting less is a great place to start. And there are many ways to achieve this health benefit. Check out some options here from the CDC.
Get Regular Checkups
No matter your age or health level, seeing a provider for regular checkups is vital to staying healthy. Work with your healthcare provider by providing them information on how you feel, what your goals are, and what you’ve been doing to stay active and healthy. Your doctor or nurse can help you ensure you’re getting the proper preventative screenings and answer any questions you have, as well as ensure you’re up to date on any immunizations. If you are overdue or are looking to change your provider, schedule an appointment with us online today.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
When we are younger, our stresses can include finding a job or finishing school. The idea of being financially independent or finding our own way in the world can cause anxiety and stress. As we get older our stresses change and often times revolve around other people such as the families we have created, or aging parents we need to care for or worry about. Our responsibilities shift and can cause fatigue and stress. As we go through life the way our mental health may be affected ranges. For instance, researchers believe that most mental health conditions begin earlier in life, usually before age 25. When we enter our 70s and beyond, if we have serious health conditions arise, we’re statistically more likely to develop depression. No matter what your age is – our mental health is always an important piece of overall health and there are ways we can prioritize ourselves and our mental well being at every age. For a breakdown, please see WomensHealth.gov.
No matter how old you are, however, there are a few suggestions that can help you practice self-care for your mental health.
- Make a list of small acts of self-care you can do daily.
- Check in to see if you need support or help dealing with daily life.
- Stay connected with family and friends.
- Make time to unwind and focus on activities you enjoy.
- Support caregivers in your life. If you are a caregiver, take time for you.
- Pay attention to changes in your mood.
If you or anyone you know needs help, reach out to the SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Avoid Unnecessary Ricks
Staying healthy also includes not taking risks that could increase your chances of suffering injury. Distracted driving is a great example of one way you can reduce your risk. Don’t text and drive. Drive and arrive safe. Further reduce your risk for disease by stopping smoking or never starting. If you need help quitting contact the QuitLine.
Additional Ways to Stay Healthy
Additional ways you can ensure you are prioritizing your health include getting enough sleep. According to Harvard, 60% of women fall short of the goal of 7-9 hours a night. Their tips for getting the rest you need include:
- Create a sleep sanctuary
- Nap only if necessary
- Avoid caffeine after noon
- Get regular exercise
- Avoid backsliding into a new debt cycle
Women who are caregivers, according to the CDC, are at a greater risk for poor physical and mental health; and 2 out of every 3 caregivers in the US are women. Caregivers should manage stress, seek extra support, and focus on their mental health by taking time to unwind, connecting with others, and learning how to cope with stress.
While we focus on women’s health for the month of May, it’s important every month of the year. Take this month and use it as a reminder to care for yourself so you can continue caring for others.