By Nicole Goben MS, RD, CDN
Not only is Mother’s Day a time to appreciate and honor your mother but it’s also the start of National Women’s Health Week! In this day and age women and mothers tend to be spread thin; between work and parenting, their own health concerns tend to drop off the to-do list. National Women’s Health week is intended to encourage women to put themselves first and make their own health a priority.
Some steps you can take to improve your health are:
1. Make sure you’re up to date with your yearly checkups and preventative screenings.
2. Take steps to improve your diet:
a. Grab a water bottle instead of sugary drinks like soda or lemonade.
b. Choose to snack on fruit or vegetables instead of chips or vending machine food.
c. Host a potluck salad bar at work to encourage co-workers to eat healthy as well.
3. Get active! Spring is the perfect time to increase your activity level, no need to hit the gym when you can simply get outside and get moving:
a. Organize a walk at lunch with your co-workers.
b. Get your family outside to play yard games such as kickball, bean bag toss, capture the flag or relay races.
c. Look up nature trails in your area and take a friend with you for a hike.
4. Pay attention to your mental health
a. Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
b. Take time to do activities that relax you like reading a book, listening to music, doing yoga, coloring or painting.
c. Try aromatherapy scents. Lavender, chamomile and sandalwood are the most relaxing.
d. Get out in the sunshine: Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase levels of serotonin, which improves mood and focus.
e. Once again, exercise! Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep and ward off anxiety and depression.
5. Avoid dangerous behaviors such as smoking, binge drinking and distracted driving (e.g., don’t use your cell phone in the car).
So, when Women’s Health Week comes around May 13th, try a couple of these tips to improve your health, and encourage the mothers and women in your life to do the same!