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Making Moms Matter

Women who place their own health as a priority have family's interest at heart

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"Sadly the tendency is to immediately turn to mood stabilizers for stress relief," says Dr. Beckwith. "I advise first trying activities to blow off steam and find personal enjoyment. Doing so allows us to be better listeners and caregivers, as well as improves the coping skills we need to deal with the endless challenges life presents."

Even taking in the enormous amount of helpful health information from the media can be stressful. Dr. Beckwith suggests turning to the guidelines established by medical governing boards. "These recommendations are based on sound clinical research, and are a valuable resource." For example, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force website (www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/recommendations.htm) offers screening timelines for every health concern. "Know the conditions you are at a high-risk for due to family history and their warning signs," says Dr. Beckwith. "Every young woman should be prevention-minded, such as taking calcium for bone health and using sunscreen, as well as being mindful of optimal nutrition and weight. Breast and gynecological exams are a must. Taking time for yourself every week will increase awareness of what your body is telling you."

Everyone agrees that family caregiving should be high on a mother's list of priorities. Yet when her own needs are rarely addressed, physical and psychological wellbeing suffers. Optimal health begins by establishing regular times to nurture your physical, emotional and spiritual self.

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Tags: Health, In This Issue, Parenting

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