Stay Home, Stay Well: Celebrating Women’s Health Week
Written by: Arielle Karoub
Mother’s Day is upon us! Today also kicks off women’s health week (May 10th-16th), so let’s take this opportunity to remind women to make themselves and their health a priority. It’s never too early or too late to make conscious decisions about your health and start your health journey. When we can look at our health as a process and not as a destination, the happier we can become.
When we talk about health, we are referring to the whole body, including the mind. It is important to manage your mental health on a daily basis. Managing mental health includes observing how you are responding to stressors, daily activities, and life demands. It is about making the necessary life adjustments to create a manageable and realistic schedule and learning how to say no to things. As women, it seems like there is a natural tendency to cater to other’s and put their needs before our own.
Being in quarantine right now hasn’t helped existing feelings of loneliness or isolation. There is a sense of disconnection from people right now that a lot of us are feeling, so try and make it a goal to stay connected with your family and friends daily. Write down calendar reminders to call a friend once a week, or to check-in on your mom every morning to make sure she’s doing okay. Simple goals like that will create a lifestyle of putting your health and needs first. Now is the perfect time to make yourself a priority—especially your health!
One of the most common ways to stay healthy is by staying active. This means creating realistic goals that are attainable to achieve. For example, my goal is to walk my dog an extra ten minutes each day to stay more active right now. By creating realistic goals, it’s important to also take into account what you can achieve. There’s a sense of satisfaction when a goal is achieved or something that is crossed off a to-do list. This satisfaction will make you want to create even more attainable goals because you will want to reap the reward of accomplishing a goal, rather than feeling guilty or ashamed for not being able to complete a goal.
Once you start setting healthy goals for yourself, you’ll learn how to not only hold yourself accountable to these goals but also raise these goals to continue your health journey. If there’s a certain weight that you want to get to before summertime, what steps can you create today to get you to that ideal weight? If staying active is totally manageable for you already, think about other areas in your life where you can create a healthier version of yourself. For example, taking vitamins to build up your immune system is another way to maintain your health.
To boost your immune system, especially right now, think about your sleep patterns. For some, it can be difficult to fall asleep right away because you may have too much on your mind. Research shows that you should actually avoid any type of screens (phones, computer, and TV) up to one hour before bed. The light from the screens disrupts the body’s biological clock, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Is changing your bedtime routine something that you can try to create a better sleep pattern for yourself?
Remember that we are in the middle of a pandemic right now, so it’s important to be patient with yourself. It’s okay to have non-productive days as well. These health tips are just suggestions for you to try or possibly add into your routine to see if they will work for you. Since the pandemic is putting our “normal routine” on hold, it may be a good idea for you to try new self-care practices until things get back to normal. For example, if going to the gym every morning worked for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage your anxiety, going for a walk or trying a new work out at home may be something that you’ve had to adjust to.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started or to continue your health journey:
- Stay active—join our virtual NAMI Walk on May 30th!
- Eat foods that are healthy and nurturing to your body
- Journal how you are feeling
- Create daily affirmations to say to yourself
- Start a gratitude list
- Wear sunscreen outdoors
- Schedule your next checkup for preventative screenings
You can find additional health and wellness tips for women by going to womenshealth.gov.
Stay Home, Stay Well is NAMI Wake’s new blog and video series focused on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In our attempt to create a more mentally healthy community, we will be providing resources each week. We know this is a difficult time in everyone’s lives right now. Our hope is that you find helpful tips, information, and resources in this series on how to stay mentally well at home.