This week, all across the nation, we are celebrating National Women’s Health Week. The movement was started by the Office of Women’s Health to highlight pressing issues in women’s health and to empower and encourage all women to make their health a priority. Not only this week, but every other week focus on your health and the health of the other women in your life by using some of these tips to start enjoying a healthier lifestyle.
- Invest in your health first - Whether you go for monthly massages or a weekly yoga class, investing time and resources in your health should be a priority. Far too often, we as women, put others first. Investing in your health might mean forgoing a night out for a yoga class or taking your lunch to work every day to pay for your monthly massage. While finding the time and money can be difficult sometimes, purchasing package deals or coupons can save money in the long run. Consider including these costs in your monthly budget to prioritize this type of spending. Trust us, your mind and body will thank you.
- Use your vacation days – Americans are notorious for not utilizing vacation days. Last year, an astounding 41% of American’s didn’t take the vacation days they were given. Even more unfortunately, women tend to take fewer days than men. While vacation trips can be stressful, it is important to recognize that a simple long weekend or an extra day during the holidays can do wonders for your mental and physical health. It isn’t necessary to go anywhere to realize the full benefits of taking a day off from work. Free days give you time to focus on your specific tasks, goals, or ambitions, not your employers. And remember, breaks are good for work productivity as well. So go ahead, sit at the beach on a Monday!
- Schedule regular medical checkups – Regular trips to the dentist, primary care physician, or dermatologist can help to avoid serious medical illnesses that could be prohibitively expensive down the road if left untreated. Preventative care and well-women checkups are fast becoming a priority for doctors as they recognize the hefty burden placed on the health care system if patients avoid regular checkups. Nothing has to be wrong to understand more about your body and collect quality data about how your systems are functioning. Developing a rapport with your doctor can make these appointments enlightening and helpful, not stressful.
- Exercise regularly and nourish your body - We all know the drill; eat your vegetables, avoid excess sugar, hit the gym daily, and consume alcohol in moderation, but putting these activities into practice can be close to impossible, especially with a family. However, if you take it slow and don’t stress the small stuff, the transition to eating well and incorporating exercise into your routine will prove much easier and more likely to last. Try prepping food on Sundays, taking the stairs to your office, walking the dog for a bit longer or practicing a yoga video with your children. Don’t stop there, read more here from Parents Magazine about how to exercise with kids in fun and easy ways.
- Share with friends and family – After prioritizing yourself, recognize that you still have time for others. Make time for your book club or a special evening with friends. Creating strong support networks and safe places to share are essential for maintaining mental health. Get involved in ways that are important to you and your family. Most importantly, enjoy this time in stress free environments and close to people you care about.