Sunday, May 10, 2015

Women's Health Week

I'm sitting here on Mother's Day and my heart is aching as I think about the amazing Moms I know who have left our world too early. We moms tend to be a selfless bunch, putting everyone else first and ourselves as just an afterthought. And that's partly what we are supposed to do. But most of us carry it too far. We tend to everyone else's well being and neglect our own.

Mothers' Day kicks off the National Women's Health Week. And I'm a little irritated that there hasn't been much info anywhere about it. As a matter of fact, I was informed about National Women's Health Week by Oscar Health Insurance of New Jersey and New York. They created the infographic below to make it easy for women to know the vital checkups needed in every decade of life.

So, I will do what I can to encourage you, Woman, to call your doctor NOW and schedule that appointment that you've been putting off. And once you've done that, here are some actions you should be doing regularly to ensure great overall health:

Physical Health
Exercise Regularly. Move your body in a way that makes you sweaty and happy. You don't have to be in a gym for 2 hours or take an hour long spin class or run 5 miles. Find something active that you love to do and do it. And if you don't think you like to do anything active, remember what you did when you were a kid. Ride a bike. Put on your shoes and just run for a bit. Climb a tree. Play some basketball.

Eat Healthy. Stop dieting. Just eat real food. Vegetables, meat, nuts, seeds, a little fruit. If dairy and whole grains don't make you feel bad, then eat them, too. Enjoy your food-- chew it slowly and savor it. Eat in moderation. If it's processed and packaged, avoid it. You'll be amazed at how much eating well will improve your mood.

Drink Water. Just plain water. I'm amazed when people say they don't like the taste. It doesn't taste like anything-- but that's ok. Your body needs a break from the overly flavored, overly sweetened stuff we're used to consuming. Drinking water will help flush out toxins and revitalize the body.

Sleep More. E-I-G-H-T hours. Just try. Sleep is healing and new studies are showing that lack of sleep can be connected to weight gain and other undesirable consequences.

Mental Health
Read. When was the last time you read something for pleasure? Reading will help occupy your mind, engage your brain and tickle your imagination. Can't handle a 300 page novel? Try some short stories, or venture into the Young Adult (or even younger) section.

Dream. Don't just rely on TV shows to spark thoughts of what could be. Think about what it is you love and what you would like to live. Create your bucket list and begin living it.

Meditate. Just be still. Don't fear silence. Use an app to help you relax and guide you through meditation or find a quiet place to let your thoughts quiet and drift peacefully.

Unplug. Schedule some time away from technology. Turn off your phone (do this every night while you sleep). Go outside and enjoy nature. Visit a local park or nature preserve and take some people with you. Have some real, face-to-face conversation.

Spiritual Health
Thank. Be grateful and be deliberate about it. Some years ago Oprah made the idea of keeping a gratitude journal popular. It does the heart and soul good. Sitting down and setting before you a list of the people and experiences for which you are thankful can improve your mood and set a new tone for the day.

Forgive. Life is too short to hold grudges. There are physical negative implications for unforgiveness.
Love. Don't just do or say it. Show it. Practice kindness. Look for opportunities to share.

Believe. Belief in God allows me to acknowledge that there is a greater force at work in the universe. I am not in control. Evil will ultimately be punished. Good will ultimately be rewarded. And there is a love that is true and pure and real and powerful. I can rest easy knowing that the One powerful enough to create the vastness of the universe and the intricacies of the human body loves and accepts all who love Him.

Find out more about National Women's Health week here.
Call your doctor today and schedule a check up!

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