This year, the theme for National Women’s Health Week is, “Forward Focus: Achieving Healthier Futures Together.” They chose this theme to address the fact that over the past few years, so many women have put off taking care of their health and wellness needs. Prioritizing your health is a MUST for all women – to help you feel better now, to help you live longer and healthier, and to help you take care of your loved ones and friends.
In light of this year’s theme, here are our top five tips to a healthier YOU:
1. Get Your Screenings!
Preventive care is essential for your health. Regular visits to your doctor to get important screenings such as breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, colorectal cancer screenings, etc. will save your life – literally. That’s because health screenings help catch things early, when they are most treatable.
For instance, up to 75% of colon cancers could be avoided with regular screening and other healthy behaviors. It is estimated that 106,180 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2022. This number could be 26,545 instead if everyone got their screenings for this type of cancer. Moral of the story? Get screened, regularly, as advised by your doctor.
2. Take Care of your Mental Health
Stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, overwhelm… these can take an enormous toll on your health and well-being. Taking care of your mental health should be as high a priority as other areas of your well-being, such as fitness and nutrition. Here are three simple ways to take care of your mental health:
Self-care is exactly what it sounds like – taking care of yourself! There are many ways to incorporate self-care into your daily life. Ultimately, it’s about choosing things that make you feel better! Here are a few options to get you started:
- Take a long, hot bubble bath.
- Go for a walk in the park.
- Watching a funny movie / comedy special.
- Curl up with a good book.
- Get a good night’s rest.
- Practice deep breathing.
- Incorporate a daily morning stretch routine.
- Take regular breaks from the computer.
Resilience is something we all need in times of crisis and stress. Thankfully, we can teach ourselves to be more resilient. Building resilience is kind of like building muscle. It takes time and daily practice, but any of us can do it!
If you want to build resilience, we recommend focusing on these four main areas: connection, wellness, healthy thinking, and meaning. And, of course, seek help when you need it. To learn more, read this article about resilience from the American Psychological Association.
We can all afford to be a little kinder to ourselves, especially when it comes to how we talk to ourselves. Even if we are a considerate and kind person towards others, our own self-talk can often be degrading and hurtful. We say things to ourselves we would never dream of saying to another person, especially someone we cared about! Learn how to challenge your own inner critic by listening to our podcast with Psychotherapist, Joanna Kleinman, author of the best-selling book, Dethroning Your Inner Critic.
There is no shame in seeking professional help for mental health issues. If you or someone you know is experiencing changes in thinking, mood, behavior, and/or thoughts of self-harm, reach out to The SAMHSA National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
3. Get Moving
Our bodies were made to move. In fact, they NEED to move to maintain their health. That’s why our third tip to achieve a healthier you is to get moving!
At EnvisionWell, our motto is: Everybody is different and every BODY is different. It’s YOUR body, YOUR health, YOUR life! There are so many ways to move your body and be active. Figure out what types of movement bring you joy and incorporate them into your daily routine. For fun and creative ideas on different ways to move your body, jump over to another article: Add Movement to Your Daily Routine: Top 5 Tips to Get and Stay Active!
4. Nourish Your Body
As the popular saying goes, “You are what you eat!” In all seriousness, there is a large amount of evidence demonstrating that the food you eat greatly affects the health of your body. This is not about ‘dieting’ or restriction, neither of which are sustainable ways to maintain a healthy weight. Rather, it’s about giving your body what it needs to function properly by nourishing it with whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, as well as fish and meat if you are not a vegetarian.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to eat healthier in a way that is sustainable and enjoyable for YOU. Following the principles of intuitive eating can be helpful in finding a nutrition style and diet that works for you. Check out our blog about intuitive eating to learn more!
5. Continue to Protect Yourself Against COVID
While we all wish it was over, COVID-19 is still here. It’s a new disease, with new variants that keep rearing their ugly heads, and it’s important to continue to protect yourself. The best protection is vaccination, and staying up to date with booster shots. It is also advised that you stay on top of the COVID numbers and risk in your community, as well as anywhere you travel, taking the necessary precautions. If you have underlying conditions that make you more likely to get very sick with COVID-19, take extra measures to protect yourself.
In closing, remember this: the future, healthier YOU is created moment by moment, in the decisions and choices you make. So don’t worry about all the healthy decisions you’ll need to make in order to reach your goals. Just focus on the choice that’s right in front of you, in this very moment. If, at times, you falter, don’t worry! The next moment is right around the corner with an opportunity to choose differently. Health is a marathon, not a sprint. Just keep moving forward and try your best.
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