As you take care of everyone else’s needs, don’t forget your own.
Women often find that the people and responsibilities in their lives take priority over focusing on themselves. When caring for children, aging parents or a partner (or all of the above), it’s easy to get caught up in all there is to do for others. Commitments related to work, school, family, friends and community involvement also vie for your time. But no matter how busy you may find yourself, it’s also important to take care of yourself. After all, if you’re not feeling well physically or mentally, you’re not much good to anyone else anyway.
Here are 5 important tips that can help you stay healthier:
- See a doctor regularly. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why it’s so important to get an annual physical. During these exams, you blood pressure will be checked and you may be sent for bloodwork to identify markers that provide insight into your health, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, iron and more. You’ll also have an opportunity to talk about any health-related issues that may concern you. Even if you feel healthy, don’t skip these appointments. They serve as a baseline so you can monitor whether things change as you age. Request an appointment here.
- Don’t forget screenings. When you have that routine doctor’s appointment, discuss any screenings you may need, such as a mammogram, Pap test, colonoscopy or skin cancer check. The types of screenings you need, and how often you need them, will depend on your age and other risk factors. Request an appointment here.
- Pay attention to subtle signs. We get it, you’re busy and maybe you can’t stop for every little ache or symptom. But some very serious health conditions may only present themselves with subtle signs, so pay attention if they appear. For example, if you notice more fatigue than usual, can’t tolerate physical activity as much as you used to, are short of breath or have pain in your arm, jaw, back or chest, it may be a sign of heart disease. Don’t ignore these signs—mention them to a doctor.
- Take care of your mental health. You take care of everyone else, but don’t forget numero uno—you. If you are feeling sad, anxious, stressed or hopeless, talk to someone you trust. Finding ways to relax, de-stress and have fun may also help. If your usual bag of tricks doesn’t change your mood or your attitude, it may be time to seek treatment from a licensed mental health professional.
- Give yourself grace. You’re a cheerleader and an avid supporter for the people you love, but you should play the same role when it comes to you. Give yourself permission to make mistakes or to be less than perfect. Believe in second chances. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself and doing the things you need to do to be happy and healthy.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 19, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD