May is a busy month! Not only do we have Mother’s Day and National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Week, it is also National Women’s Health Week as promoted by the Office of Women’s Health (Womenshealth.gov).
Let’s hear it for the gals!
It is important for everyone to take care of themselves. However it is my observation that many women put their health on the back burner. When our children are younger, it often feels as if our wheels are spinning: meals, activities, work, volunteering, housekeeping, maintaining relationships. It takes significant time out of our day. To schedule one. more. thing on our calendar seems daunting.
As we get older and our children are flying the coop, one would think free time would be available in spades. I am here to tell you that is not necessarily true. All of a sudden we find ourselves filling our calendar with more of the same – sans children. How does that happen? I do not have the answer to that; I am often left wondering what happened to my days. The old adage “time moves faster as you get older” is absolutely true. Yet, our health should have a prominent place at the top of our priority list.
Why is it important we stay on top of our health?
Coming from a nursing background, I am a huge proponent of preventative medicine. If we vaccinate, we can prevent serious illness such as influenza and meningitis. If we visit the dermatologist, we can find those pesky little pre-cancerous spots before they become disfiguring or worse. If we visit the dentist, we can prevent gum disease which can effect the health of our entire body, not just our mouth. In other words, by occasionally taking a small amount of time out of your day to visit with various health care providers, you could ultimately be saving yourself time, money, and heartache down the road.
Living a life of wellness is more than visiting the doctor annually or putting out that cigarette. Wellness is an integration, or blending, of many well-being dimensions. They work together to create a healthy balance of the many facets of our lives. The blending of these dimensions are what enable individuals to maintain good health. It is up to us, as individuals, to take charge of our wellness with the choices we make.
I thought I would take a moment to share what I do to maintain a level of wellness in each dimension. How many can you relate to?
Keep regular medical appointments for your dermatologist, dentist, primary care physician, gynecologist, and any other doc you routinely visit. Get that colonoscopy and mammogram as directed by your healthcare provider. I schedule my gynecologist appointment the same month as my birthday each year – I am guaranteed to remember to make that appointment. Good heath is a gift to myself.
Exercise regularly. I make it a habit to workout with my friends; not only do they keep me accountable, but my workout becomes play time. It not only boosts a person physically, but socially and emotionally as well.
Limit alcohol intake. Well, at least try. Okay, so today was a bad day. There’s always tomorrow. Best to keep it at a drink a day, however.
Do not smoke. If you do smoke, do not smoke around other people. Second-hand smoke stinks. I am pretty adamant about this; my dad, a non-smoker, died very young of lung cancer. Please do not put me at risk, too.
Having the ability to understand our own emotions and finding healthy outlets for those feelings helps us cope with daily issues. Finding friends to confide in, exercising, writing our feelings down, and talking to therapists are all healthy ways of recognizing and coping with our emotions.
I have found a lovely circle of friends with whom I can be myself with, but only a select few that I share my most intimate thoughts. Sharing sorrows and joys, frustrations and celebration with others helps us cope effectively. I also feel better after a relaxing walk or vigorous run. Screaming and yelling may feel good for that brief second, but is highly ineffective. Not that I would know…
Keep your mind stimulated by learning something new everyday, whether it is related to your professional interests or your personal interests. Be sure to fill your mind with stuff that is true and accurate…with the exception of fiction movies and books. Nothing like a little escapism to maintain your emotional wellness.
I spend my days writing, discussing, and reading information based on my occupation. I stay connected with others who share my intellectual interests. I also enjoy reading books of all varieties to keep my mind open to new ideas. I love a good story!
You don’t want to nourish your mind with junk information anymore than you want to nourish your body with junk food.
Keep a close circle of friends. Having people to connect with and share your world with is an amazing gift you give yourself. Support systems enable people to navigate through life’s highs and lows.
I have a few different circles of friends that I enjoy spending time with. Book clubs, work friends, bunko nights, running girls, workout girls…they all add something to my world. Reach out to others whom you know may not have those connections. Start a book club or enjoy a coffee break once a month with someone new.
Spiritual moments may occur in many environments: church, on a walk in the woods, while meditating, on a run. Spirituality is a personal thing. It helps people stay grounded and enables them retain their focus on what is important in their lives.
I find my most spiritual moments are when I am running alone and have time to contemplate. I feel refreshed and energized.
Whether your job is maintaining a household or running a corporation, never think for a moment what you do is not appreciated and needed. If you feel fulfilled by your work and are able to reasonably balance your life, you are in a healthy place.
I spend my time researching and writing about topics I feel are important and timely. My passion is educating and sharing with others so they feel empowered with information. I want them to feel they are not alone in their parenting journey.
Living and working in an environment in which a person feels safe and comfortable is conducive to well-being. Have you noticed recently that nurses, while taking your medical history, will quiz you about the safety within your home? They want to be sure you are living in a healthy environment.
As a citizen of my environment, I ensure my home is clean, safe, and pleasant for my family. Most of the time. Okay, sometimes.
Practice habits that enable you to live a life of balanced wellness. You are modeling this behavior for your children. They may appear oblivious to your lifestyle, but wait until they are adults and see what happens. Little snippets of you start shining though. For better or worse. Or both.
During this week of Women’s Health, what can you do to improve one of the dimensions of wellness in your life? Share with me in the comment box.
Me? I think I will work on my emotional wellness. It is time to do away with negative self-talk! Who would like to share a little wine and and a lot of wisdom with me?
(Photos courtesy Adobe Stock.)