May 8-14, 2016 is National Women's Health Week!
Did you know that? I was unaware until my news feed on Twitter was flooded with posts and reminders. Our health should be our number one priority in life, yet many times we let it fall on the back burner because we just don't have time or we feel fine so nothing must be wrong. I will be the first to admit I am guilty of not making it a top priority, however that is about to change. I want to live a long, healthy life and be around for a while, don't you?
When you visit womenshealth.gov this week you are able to choose an age bracket and it will list out steps that will help you live a better life. At 29 I fall in the last year of the 20's and am on the cusp of joining the 30's. As you can see there are many similarities and a few differences.
Why am I sharing this with you? If I haven't take care of my health who am I to tell you to take care of yours? Because by sharing this I am holding myself accountable. It is important that as women especially we know "we can do it all" includes taking care of your health, career, personal lives etc..If that is what you believe and many I am sure do.
Here are the following areas I am going to work on. I am not a doctor and the information shared here is from my own personal research. Please consult your physician with any questions you may have.
1) Preventive Screening- When I turned 25 my Gynecologist informed me that it was time for my first Mammography. My exact response, "I'm 25 are you joking? I have no signs and I have been doing a self exam for the past two years since my mom passed away." It was that moment when he looked me dead in the eyes and said, this is for early detection. My mother was diagnosed 30 and I needed to start preventive screenings 5 years earlier than her. So with a referral in hand off I went to a radiology group for my first of yearly mammograms. I will be honest I have not had one since 28 and I know I need to change that and I have an appointment for one next month. It is time to really take this seriously.
2) Get Active- I follow plenty of fitness bloggers and I always say that would be cool or I would love to take that class or try that exercise. Then I let life get in the way. Last year I worked hard to lose about 25 pounds only to face yet another layoff and find myself back up. I am not happy to admit it but I have started working out again slowly. Walking and running in my development and hitting the gym 2-3 times a week. I also just started a part time job a yoga studio which I hope will also be helpful for my next topic.
3) Mental Health/Stress/Sleep- I am not sure that I should lump them in one bullet however I feel they go hand-in-hand. As I mentioned above I just started at a yoga studio and I hope to incorporate some classes and learnings into my daily routine. Speaking of the one consistent thing currently I am doing is meditating 10 minutes when I wake up and 10 minutes before bed. Let me tell you, I see a difference in how quick I speak, how anxious I get and how to calm myself down before flying off the handle. May also happens to be Mental Health Awareness Month for those who didn't know. We need to #StopTheStigma of mental health. Before seeking out a therapist and opening up to family and friends I fought in silence. That was the worst thing I could do. I would sleep maybe two hours a night. I would constantly find myself wide awake at night stressing over every little aspect of life. After finding a good therapist I was able to start coping. This process has helped with relationships, career goals, and personal goals. It has made me realize I am not alone and neither are you. I want to tell you I get 7-8 hours of sleep but I don't. If I get 6.5 I am happy and that works for me. Anything less I and I struggle to get through the day. Again, I am working on this and will for as long as I need.
4) Eating healthy- I went to Johnson & Wales University, a school known for their culinary program. 9 out of 10 times I'm asked if I was a culinary major and work in the food service. My old response was "I burnt pasta (which really happened) my freshman year" so no I am not a cook and stay far away from cooking. Now my new response is "I'm not a huge fan but cooking healthier meals motivates me to change my eating habits and enjoy the process." I don't cook everyday but I do try to cook a few meals here and there. I'm not afraid of the kitchen anymore and I am learning to embrace the challenges of cooking and seeing what I like and dislike. Currently I am loving Salmon, Tilapia and healthy stir-fry. And Salads...give me all the salads! Incorporating vegetables was easy, fruit on the other hand is harder as I am not a huge fan and find it hard to stick to fruits I like.
5) Alcohol & Smoking- I am not a smoker and never have been one which for me is good news since cancer runs rapid through my family. Alcohol on the other hand is more social for me; however I do sometimes find myself over indulging and every once in a while will do a detox. I would rather just work on a path of healthy choices when drinking and really working to eliminate it when using it as a clutch. A nervous person a drink has always helped me to relax in settings such as gatherings where I don't know others. I don't plan on cutting it out, just cutting back.
I took the pledge, will you take the pledge? What areas do you want or need to work on?