I’m sending Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Women’s Health Week greetings to my global mothers, sisters, aunts, wives, grandmothers, and teachers. It’s hard to have a memory without recalling a loving mother-like figure providing comfort, reassurance, and guidance to me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the outpouring of love and tender affection from the women in my life. My definition of mothers and motherhood encompasses women who physically gave birth to a child, aunts who raised them, adopted mothers who poured out love to their children, teachers who are the mother figure at school, grandmothers who glued the family unit together, and girlfriends. I recognize that Mother’s Day can be sad for some persons, or a trigger for unpleasant memories for others. Regardless of the triggers associated with this day, as women, we can champion another cause- women’s and girl’s health. When we champion female health, we do so with a broader vision in mind. A healthy female becomes a healthy caregiver, possesses a positive social conscience, are breadwinners, educators, and entrepreneurs. A woman’s health includes her mental, physical, emotional, educational, and financial well-being. For a woman to proactively shape her environment, all aspects of her health must be intact.
I believe in women supporting women because women play pivotal roles in the family, community, and the workplace. We are the backbone of society. We, however, often place ourselves at the bottom of the list for everything that relates to self and our healthcare. It’s important to note that we cannot pour from an empty cup, so self-care regimes help to replenish the container with the substance that we need to share. On this Mother’s Day, we commit to taking care of ourselves. In celebration of the various roles that we play as women, let us take care of our health and the health of other women and girls in our family and community. Raise awareness during National Women’s Health Week (May 10-16, 2020) about the critical aspects of women’s health and embrace the opportunities to share evidence-based information, encouraging words, a smile, and acts of kindness.
During National Women’s Health Week, make your health a priority by taking a few minutes today to make a self-care plan, if you don’t already have one. To achieve overall health, we must take baby steps to our goals, even if there is a diagnosis that has changed life as we know it. The FDA Office of Women’s Health has resources and tips to guide you through the self-care journey. For more Visit https://www.fda.gov/consumers/womens-health-topics/women-and-diabetes
The following 8 steps are a guide to creating a healthy self-care plan:
- Visit a health care provider for a well-woman visit (checkup), preventive screenings, and vaccines. Learn your numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, and your A1C (average blood sugar over 3 months).
- Get active. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise each day to reduce the risk of heart attack, better manage our weight, and lower blood cholesterol levels to acceptable levels. Regular exercise, whether it is gardening, dancing, walking, swimming, or the gym, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Exercise helps to build stronger bones, muscles and joints, and lower risk of developing osteoporosis. Stronger bones also lower the risk of falls.
- Eat healthily. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose nonfat dairy and lean meats and limit foods that are high in sugar and fat.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Practice safe behaviors, such as not texting while driving, and taking steps to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections.
- Quit smoking. Diabetes makes you more likely to have health problems like heart disease, eye disease, stroke, kidney disease, blood vessel disease, nerve damage, and foot problems. If you smoke, your chance of getting these problems is even higher.
- Watch your alcohol intake. The American Diabetes Association says that women who drink alcohol should have no more than one drink a day and men should have no more than two. Alcohol can make your blood sugar go too high or too low. Check your blood sugar before you drink and take steps to avoid low blood sugars. If you use insulin or take drugs for your diabetes, eat when you’re drinking. Some drinks — like wine coolers — may be higher in carbs, so take this into account when you count carbs.
- Meditate. According to studies conducted by Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, mindfulness affects many aspects of our psychological well-being—improving our mood, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety, emotional reactivity, and job burnout. By meditating, we learn how to quiet the mind and focus on the breath that flows through us. Some people use meditation as a part of getting connected to God or a Spiritual Source, while others use it to still the mind. Either way, coming out of a meditation session always leaves you refreshed and energized.
Having listed the above steps, I want to highlight that every woman is different, and therefore each of us has different needs and responses to those needs. You will stick to a healthy self-care plan if you enjoy it. Play around with combinations of activities that work for you. When you find the right combination, work diligently towards your healthy lifestyle goals. Self-care and a consciousness of health will become a part of your lifestyle if you do it daily.
This week pass along the blessings of a mother’s care and devotion to young girls and women in our lives. This National Women’s Health Week, think about where you are on your health journey and where you want to go. Whether you’re focused on getting regular physical activity, eating healthier, or managing your stress, you get to choose the next step on your journey and how you get there. Share in the comments below how you #FindYourHealth, and follow the hashtag to find inspiration from others!
Happy Mother’s Day.
Women and Diabetes
Lifestyle Changes to Control Your Diabetes
Five Ways Mindfulness Meditation Is Good for Your Health https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_ways_mindfulness_meditation_is_good_for_your_health