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Women's Health

Ten steps for a healthier you

Ten steps for a healthier you
May 2013

For most moms, taking care of others is second nature. Whether it's their kids, spouse or family members, women are great at helping other people. However, taking care of herself? That's another story.

Here's a little quiz for you moms: In the past month, have you:

-Postponed or cancelled a doctor or dentist appointment for yourself?

-Skipped a workout or skimped on sleep?

-Had a Diet Coke and your kid's leftovers for lunch or dinner?

-Missed a date with your spouse or friends?

-Felt tired, overwhelmed or overextended?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then this article is dedicated to you! May 12th -18th is National Women's Health Week, so read on for tips and advice all women can take to heart.

The basics

1. Don't skimp on sleep. "Get good sleep – an uninterrupted 6-8 hours a night," says Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, Director of the Indiana University Center of Excellence in Women's Health. She advises: "No caffeine after noon -- it disrupts your ability to get a good night's sleep. No animals in the bedroom. No children in your bed. All of that interferes with a good night's sleep."

2. Eat breakfast – and make it healthy.

3. Eat more "real" foods. Elizabeth Blessing, Co-founder and Chief Nutritionist for Green BEAN Delivery, advises moms go through their cabinets and get rid of food and beverages that contain high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils and food colorings. "These foods are highly processed and do not contribute to a healthy lifestyle," she says.

4. Exercise – even if the only "running" you're doing is with the vacuum! "Exercise does not require a gym membership," says Rohr-Kirchgraber. "Find ways to put exercise into everything you do -- if you have to take your child to soccer practice, bring your gym shoes and walk while they are practicing."

5.Don't put off your own health checkups. Go to the doctor if you're feeling under the weather, schedule biannual dental visits, annual mammograms, etc. "Get to your preventive visits with your primary care provider. Keep yourself healthy by getting checked every year and keep up with your vaccinations," says Rohr-Kirchgraber. Make your own health as big a priority as you do your family's.

Rethinking priorities

6. Speaking of family, consider simplifying everyone's schedules. Johnny doesn't have to be involved in multiple sports, and Molly doesn't need competing extracurricular activities. Your whole family will be happier with a little more downtime.

7. When you do find your schedule a little heavy, ask for help! Women are notorious for taking a "do it all" approach, and no one can do it all by themselves. "A family is a group, and, as such, all members are important and have to be included with the responsibilities," states Rohr-Kirchgraber.

8. Make time for your spouse and friends. Just like you schedule appointments, dance classes and soccer practices, schedule date nights and girl time!

Moms need "me time" too

9. Entertain your interests and passions. Take an art class, get involved in a book club: do something for you.

10. Make time for yourself – this is not selfish! Allowing yourself time to recharge actually benefits the whole family.

Remember: you're a mom, and your work is invaluable! "Women instinctively are care takers, so it is easy for their own needs to be pushed aside to care for others," says Blessing. "It is extremely important to take care of one's self so you can live a long, healthy life that's free of chronic disease and pain."

Tags: Health, In This Issue, Women's Health

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