Ladies: to take better care of those you love, you need to take care of yourself first. But juggling a busy career with being the main caregiver for family members often forces women to push their own health concerns to the back burner.
It’s time to stop playing second fiddle. By being more proactive about your health, you’ll improve your physical and emotional wellbeing, allowing you to better care for the people who are most important to you.
Here are five steps all women should take to improve their health:
- Schedule a well-woman checkup – This is a great time to sit down with a physician to review your medical history as well as any current health concerns. It’s also a good time to make sure you’re up to date on important health screenings. These tests can help catch disease during its earliest, most treatable stages. Depending on your age, you may need a mammogram, Pap smear, colonoscopy or bone density screening. Many providers also do depression and anxiety screenings to help catch common mental health conditions.
- Eat a healthy diet – Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats will go a long way toward keeping you well. But it’s also okay to enjoy a treat now and then. It’s about maintaining a healthy balance and keeping portion sizes in check.
- Get regular exercise – The American Heart Association recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. It sounds like a lot, but I tell my patients they don’t need to do it all in one day. Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days per week. If that’s too much at one time, break it up into smaller blocks. Three, 10-minute blocks of exercise per day will also get the job done.
- Make time for yourself – Even if it’s just for five minutes a day, do a meditation or deep breathing exercise. Taking this time for yourself will positively impact how you feel throughout the day.