Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
Nearly 80% of women put their own health needs last, especially behind those of their family members. It’s time we change that.
During the week of May 10-16, we celebrate National Women’s Health Week. Health and wellness have come to the forefront for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this month, we urge women to take their health into their own hands. Here are five health habits that can improve a woman’s health.
Maintain regular check-ups. Make an appointment with your local nurse practitioner for an annual checkup. As people follow social distancing guidelines, telehealth has become a more prevalent way to see a health care provider. Call your provider and ask if they offer telehealth services.
Increase physical activity. It’s important to prioritize exercise and take movement breaks throughout the day. If you are staying home, try to follow workout routines online, take a walk around your neighborhood wearing a face covering as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or engage in other activities such as bike riding or running. Exercise can also help you sleep better at night.
Eat a healthy diet. Nutrient-rich foods reduce the risk of disease and increase energy. Keeping a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, dairy, protein and whole grains can help you maintain your health. Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should also add folic acid to their diet.
Ensure you sleep enough. Adults should get at least seven or more hours of sleep each night. In times of stress, it’s important to sleep enough, as it helps your body recover and stay healthy. Having trouble sleeping? Try to go to bed at the same time each night, decrease the use of electronics before bedtime and avoid large meals before you go to bed.
Following general safety rules. During the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing requirements and other safety precautions have been put in place. Maintaining six feet of distance from others in public places, wearing face coverings and washing your hands regularly can help you avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic is a challenging time for everyone; however, women continually prioritize the needs of others, and not just during a health crisis. National Women’s Health Week is a reminder that women need to pay attention to their health, too — just as much as they do the rest of their family’s health. By following these simple tips, you can help keep your health on track.