The health of a woman is often impacted by trying to balance a million different things at once. This can mean ignoring any warning signs that your body may be giving you to slow down and take precautions, which can have devastating mental and physical effects. [Read more]
To achieve and maintain optimum health, micronutrients mustn’t be overlooked when making food choices.
Listening to your body and taking the time to keep up with annual checkups are often pushed to one side when kids and other responsibilities take over. But stress, illness and burnout are real, debilitating issues that can be avoided if you consciously take the time for a little self-care.
Stress and anxiety are natural responses to impending danger. Way back when we had to worry about being attacked by wild animals in our caves, it was useful. But today, stress is often self-inflicted because of the high expectations puts on them by society to be on top of their game as career woman, home managers, and parents. Under these pressures, women just don’t switch off as much as they should to re-charge.
If this sounds like you, you might recognise some of these warning signs that you need to take it easy (and no, greying hair isn’t one of them!):
If you know that your life is too fast-paced, taking time out every now and then is not going to help much. Decompressing needs to be something that forms part of your daily schedule. Banish any thoughts that if you’re sitting still and meditating then you could be doing other things. That counter-productive and will only increase your stress levels.
Give yourself permission to do at least one of the following every day:
Mediation helps to clear the mind, calm breathing and improve oxygen flow to the brain. It also helps you to “not sweat the small stuff”.
It releases oxygen and nutrients to your body’s tissues and improves your heart function, which in turn, gives you more energy. This doesn’t just mean jogging. Walking, dancing, swimming, cycling are all great ways to get your blood pumping and put you in a good mood.
Yoga stretches your muscles and steadies your breathing which helps you to calm down and resist your body’s “flight, fight or freeze” responses to stress.
Many people are either stress eaters or stress starvers. Either way, you’re not feeding your body the right amount of nutrients to perform optimally. So, try to focus on eating just three healthy meals a day. Even if they are small meals, make sure you get in a mix of the good stuff like leafy greens, proteins, legumes, nuts, and fruit.
Because it’s often harder to sleep when you’re worried or busy, you may find that you’re pushing yourself to go to bed later by quickly finishing up some work, cleaning up, watching a few episodes of a series you’ve missed. But if life throws you an extra curveball when you’re functioning on minimal sleep, you may default to feeling overwhelmed by it, rather than kick into full control mode.
When you’re in a heightened stress state, you often feel so overcome with everything you’re thinking about that you lose perspective, and things can seem much worse than they actually are. Talking to a professional can help to unpack, sort, separate and work through everything that’s going on, and in a calm environment.
Women’s health and their bodies are complicated, and so many of these symptoms may overlap other causes such as menopause. So, it’s worth seeing a doctor if you are affected by any of the above, and make sure that you keep your annual check-up appointments.
Stress, depression and anxiety are often used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be.
Stress can be managed by making lifestyle changes. Anxiety and depression require stronger, individualised methods of support. In some cases, this could mean a combination of both therapy and medication to help prevent worsening symptoms, which can be devastating and ultimately, life threatening if there are suicidal thoughts associated with it.
Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked! Women are more prone to having a stroke than men, and this could be that they not only share the same risk factors, but also have additional risks such as pregnancy and HRT.
Heart attacks are associated more with men than women, but it’s more fatal in women, and in some countries, heart attacks are the leading cause of death. Symptoms different between men and woman, and are sometimes less obvious like pain in the back and the jaw which means no obvious clutching of the chest to alert people to what’s happening.
We’ve all heard the jokes about ‘wine time’ to manage a stressful day, but increased alcohol intake has been linked to people with higher stress levels, and the consequences of high levels of alcohol consumption has known to increase risk of some cancers, including breast cancer, and heart attacks.
Women suffer from UTIs more often than men because they have a shorter urethra which allows bacteria to easily start an infection in the bladder. While these are common, they can be very painful and left untreated can cause fever and delirium. A UTI will often require a dose of antibiotics to help clear them up quickly.
This may seem like an obvious one for aesthetic reasons. It goes beyond just having a lovely set of pearly whites. Gum disease can affect your heart.
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but your health as a woman really is more important than anything else. If you’re not looking after yourself, you won’t be able to effectively look after anyone, or anything else. And this could be your children, your team at work, your relationships with your spouse and friends, and just your own mental health. Look after yourself in small ways each day, and you’ll find yourself able to take care of the bigger things, too.