Who is your biggest fan, cheering you on and supporting all that you do? Is it you? Well, it should be! The most important person to recognize your value and worth will always be you. We are each first and foremost, responsible for ourselves. In order to care for and bring good to others, we need to believe in and care for ourselves. Your first step in a self-care strategy is to realize that you are special and valuable. You are taking care of the gift that you were given — the gift of life. You were given the gift of a physical body and you should treat it with respect. Value yourself by preventative health, eating well and exercising and adding a spark to all that you do which increases your self esteem. Treat yourself to music and dancing, good books, warm bath, long walks, laughs, and even cries. Welcome affection from others. Allow people to know and listen to you and share compassion and empathy with them. Always remember to pamper yourself. Treat yourself to whatever it is that makes you feel feminine and beautiful. You deserve it! Maintain a spiritual practice that allows you to be in touch with yourself, whether it is through meditation, yoga, reflection time or prayer. There is no other you in this world, so you must cherish yourself!
Women’s General Health Concerns and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
By being aware, you are already on your way to reducing your risk. Now take action to protect yourself from ailments like heart disease, lung cancer, and breast cancer which are leading causes of death among women. Tips to protect your general health:
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fresh vegetables, whole grains, fiber, and omega-3’s.
- Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats.
- Maintain a normal healthy weight.
- Don’t smoke and avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and second-hand smoke.
- Manage stress and stay socially active.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
- Maintain your check ups and screening tests. Monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
- Share your family history with your physician.
- Perform your monthly self breast exams and get your mammogram.
- Have a yearly physical.
- Always tell your doctor about all of your medications including prescription, over-the-counter, herbals, and vitamins.
- See your gynecologist for a breast exam and a pap smear.
Women’s Basic Health Screening Checklist
Age And Tests
- 18 – physical exam, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, first yearly pap smear, pelvic exam, HPV DNA test
- 20 – tetanus booster, monthly breast self-exam, yearly doctor manual breast exam/physical
- 35-40 – mammogram, thyroid hormone test
- 40 – glaucoma test
- 45 – fasting plasma glucose (sugar)
- 50 – influenza vaccine, colonoscopy, fecal occult blood test, total body skin exam
- 65 – bone mineral density test (osteoporosis), pneumonia vaccine
This is not comprehensive or a substitute for your doctor’s advice. Guidelines for screening will vary depending on your unique situation and history. These and other medical tests may be performed earlier based on your doctor’s discretion, family history, or other risk factors. Always consult with your doctor.