Celebrate National Women’s Health Week by making your health a priority
By Dr. Jennifer Pofahl, Chief of Women’s Health
I can’t tell you how often my patients say that they just don’t have the time or energy to take better care of themselves. Between the ever-increasing demands of work and managing a family, it’s easy to see how women feel overwhelmed and can’t fit another thing into their busy lives.
This week, May 14 – 20, is National Women’s Health Week. Created by the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the program strives to empower women to make their health a priority and provide resources to help them on that journey.
Some key messages from the program:
Start slowly by choosing the stairs over an elevator, parking in the back of the lot, or taking a short walk at lunch. And remember that many household activities — gardening, vacuuming, and even playing in the yard with your kids— counts as a physical activity.
A simple trick to eating better comes in the form of a brown bag. Packing your lunch gives you more control than grabbing something on the run. Choose healthy options, such as chicken and rice or a sliced turkey sandwich, and opt for snacks of fruit or veggies.
Visit the U.S.D.A website ChooseMyPlate for healthy eating tips, recipes, and more.
Catch some Zs
More and more people fall short of the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Shut off the television and mobile devices well before you turn out the lights. Likewise, don’t exercise too close to bedtime. Some people find meditation helps them relax before bed.
Find — and practice — your personal stress buster. It might be curling up with a good book, walking hand-in-hand with a loved one, or belting out a tune on karaoke night with some friends.
And remember it’s okay to modify your expectations. For example, we may want our homes to look like those featured in magazines, but that’s easier said than done, particularly if you have a house full of children.
Avoid unhealthy behaviors
If you smoke, please speak with your provider, or contact the Maine Tobacco Help Line, 1-800-207-1230.
Likewise, if you text and drive, please put the phone down when on the road.
Get out your calendar
Finally, make an appointment for a well-woman visit and preventative screening. These annual visits are important allies in your quest for a healthy lifestyle, and can also help ward off illness.
It’s worth a visit to the National Women’s Health Week website, where you’ll find great tips for women of all ages, as well as a short quiz about your lifestyle.
It’s not easy to find time, but as the saying goes, we’re worth it. And I’m going to take my own suggestion and commit to 20 minutes of yoga practice tonight!