Make Your Health a Priority
What are your top priorities? Your kids? Relationships? Work? Maybe a little social media and sleep?
Where does your health happen to fall on that list? If you’re like many women, it regularly drops to the bottom when life gets busy – and we all know how busy we are these days.
Ninety percent of women in the United States are responsible for healthcare decisions (for themselves and others), according to a study conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians. If you want to be able to make good health-related decisions and take care of others, you simply have to take care of your health first.
If your health isn’t high enough on your list, the following three tips can ensure that it’s at least a little closer to top of mind every day:
1) Set a goal. It doesn’t have to be running a marathon on every continent. Maybe it’s a 5K with your neighbor or trying one more vegetable every week for three months. Make sure that your goal is specific, time-oriented and achievable. Likewise, remind yourself of your goal every day – whether with sticky-notes, electronic reminders, encouragement from family and friends, or simply envisioning it first thing every morning. Then be accountable to yourself and regularly remind yourself why you set this particular goal.
2) Tackle the little things. Sometimes the big things feel overwhelming – that’s why they are called the big things. However, if you take just five minutes to tackle some of the little things – making your annual doctor’s appointment, applying sunscreen, wearing your seat belt, going to bed 20 minutes earlier – you will notice how they add up in a meaningful way. Take just five minutes a day to start and focus on one or two healthy habits – deep breathing, writing in a journal, stretching out your lower back, making that appointment. Eventually, five may turn into 10 minutes, and 10 into 20 or 30, simply because healthy habits tend to feel really good.
3) Make it fun. No one wants to feel like they have to do something just because it’s good for them. When you make health more enjoyable, however, you will stick with your good habits for the long term. Take a walk with a friend. Get a massage. Try a new dance class. Take a healthy cooking class. And give yourself permission to have fun along the way.
“As women, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, colleagues and friends, we sometimes find ourselves giving and giving without replenishing our own stores of energy, purpose and wellness,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner. “Sometimes I have to schedule in fitness or a date night, but it’s always worth the effort. You deserve to look and feel good from the inside out.”