Taking Care of Yourself and The Health of Your Family
When it comes to their families' health, women rule the roost, making 80 percent of the healthcare decisions. Women also are more likely to be the primary caregiver when a family member becomes ill or disabled. In fact, women devote so much time to others' health, they often overlook their own. Just as airlines advise adults to put on their own oxygen mask before assisting others, women need to remember they won't be able to help others if they don't take care of themselves.
Make Time for Yourself
In today's world, most women will agree that there often is not enough time to meet all of life's demands. This is particularly true when it comes to healthcare. Whether single, married or a mom, those you love and care for tend to turn to you for attention and answers when it comes to healthcare. And with the aging of the baby boomer population, many women find themselves caring for their own families and aging parents.
Even if you're not caring for multiple generations, juggling the demands of work, family and home can be overwhelming.
There's no question you have to take care of yourself. Here are a few tips about some health issues you should focus on to keep you healthy and enjoying life.
Manage Your Stress
Too much stress can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure, depression and weight changes. To keep stress from having an unhealthy impact on you, try these relaxation tips:
- Check out. Just a few minutes a day doing a relaxing activity, such as listening to quiet music or reading a book, can help you unwind.
- Get your zzzs. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night.
- Engage in exercise. Park far from the store or walk around the block. Exercise is a great stress reliever.
- Learn to say no. Even the best multitaskers can't do it all.
- Talk it out. Talking with a friend or professional therapist can help you work through your feelings and find positive ways to handle stress.
Make Time for Breast Health
Taking good care of yourself doesn't have to be time consuming. Spending just a few minutes a month on a breast self exam is an excellent first step. Once you establish a routine for self-exams, it will be easier to recognize unusual changes. When combined with yearly clinical breast exams and mammograms (for women age 40 and older), these few minutes can help detect breast cancer in its early stages, when it's easier to treat.
If an exam or mammogram shows anything suspicious, the MedStar Franklin Square Breast Center can provide you with the answers and treatment you need-in a timely and compassionate manner.
Tune in to Your Heart
As the heart and soul of your family, it's important to remember your heart health. While some women still consider heart disease a man's problem, the reality is heart disease is the leading cause of death in U.S. women. Women also are vulnerable to stroke. The good news is you can help lower your risk for both heart disease and stroke with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Just 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week can make a significant difference. To eat right, choose fruit, a variety of veggies and whole-grain snacks whenever possible. When planning your family's meals, select lean or low-fat beef and chicken and opt to bake, grill or broil your meat and poultry instead of frying it. If diet and exercise cannot keep your blood pressure or cholesterol at healthy levels, your MedStar Franklin Square doctor can suggest other options and medications that may help.
Make Time to Care for You
We've provided just a few helpful tips to keep you healthy and vibrant. As you can see, simple steps—like getting regular checkups, exercising and eating nutritious meals—can help keep you healthy for years to come. Through it all, MedStar Franklin Square will be at your side. That's good news for you—and your family.