Even though Women's Heath Week is over, it doesn't mean you have to stop exploring the different ways to be healthy. Whether you lobby your representatives on issues of women’s health like the Wisconsin women did at their Health Policy Summit, attend a workshop or event like the group of women at the Carl Vogel Center, tell a friend about something you learned, go for a run, eat an apple, or do something else completely – it is all a fabulous part of our country’s effort to be more conscious of the health issues women face on a daily basis. Know that whatever you do, you are part of a nationwide movement to make women’s health a priority from the ground up - starting by feeling good about yourself!
Here are four more ideas to help keep you going:
1. Schedule an appointment for a general check-up
This year’s theme for National Women’s Health Week was “It’s Your Time” – time to become concerned about your own well-being and give priority to your personal mental, emotional, and physical health. Take the time to ensure that you are up to date on your immunizations and health screenings; remember that health is not just the absence of sickness. Preventative care provided in these general check-ups is crucial to maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
2. Write a letter to the editor
In this frustrating era of divided government and outrageous radicals, politics are getting more and more personal, especially when it comes to reproductive rights and women’s health. Writing a letter to the editor is a great way to make your voice – as a constituent, a patient, a caregiver, a parent, or simply as a woman – heard. Letters are usually 200-250 words long, depending on the newspaper. Perhaps something happened in your community that you feel strongly about or there is a perspective of a recent national event you believe wasn’t fully represented. Write about your own opinion on the status of women’s health and the way our nation is or is not dealing with the challenges. It’s up to you. Express yourself! If you are interested in this, and would like ideas of what to write about – please don’t hesitate to message me.
3. Insert healthy foods into your week
It is hard to feel good about yourself and your body if you are not fueling up with nutritious, balanced foods. Fast food weighs us down and makes us sluggish – and it drains our wallets. What is so delicious about that? One of the hardest things about making sure you can eat a healthy diet is time management. Shopping for fresh produce and cooking can be time consuming, but if you can dedicate at least one chunk of time to planning a food schedule--which nights will you cook dinner? What will you cook? When will you shop for ingredients?--it will become easier to squeeze nutrition into your week. Create a meal plan that is appealing and realistic for your own budget, taste buds and time-constraints. Your waistline, conscience and wallet will thank you for it. Moreover, you will be helping to enforce healthy eating habits for your family.
4. Treat yourself to some stress-free, alone time
All day, you focus on scheduling, accommodating, planning, facilitating, supporting and encouraging others. There is nothing wrong with this role, which can truly be fulfilling and feel-good on its own. But it is extremely important-- whether in observance of National Women's Health Week or as part of your daily routine--to ensure that you have a period of time when you can detach from the many things happening around you. Perhaps this is your morning coffee before anyone else in your home is awake. Maybe you like to go for a walk or run around the block. Or read before bed. Or do yoga. Anything that allows you to touch base with yourself, re-energize and become mentally stabilized. Stress can have many negative physiological impacts if it becomes overwhelming--hypertension, lowered immunity, anxiety/depression--and allowing yourself to focus on what you need, physically and emotionally can counteract some of these consequences.
The bottom line is, whatever you do to feel good – do it now and do it often. Don’t wait for a National Week celebrating your health to take matters into your own hands. It’s your time!