Who’s taking care of you? For many women, nurturing others is second nature. This marvelous trait has probably done more for the survival and advancement of humanity than any other human characteristic. However, constantly putting others’ needs ahead of your own can have serious, even deadly, consequences. And you can’t take care of anyone else if you’re out of the picture.
As a woman, you need to nurture yourself, too. That’s not being selfish — it’s being prudent. You know the routine, but do you follow it?
- Schedule all recommended health screenings.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Get regular exercise.
- Don’t smoke.
- Drink in moderation, if at all.
- Take private time to unwind and decompress.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
The first one is essential — especially if you’re having trouble following the other six. Because even if you’re managing your weight and staying healthy, you may have health issues lurking beneath the surface that, as of yet, present no symptoms.
Vive la Différence
Women have more complicated anatomy than men and different health issues. For instance, while diabetes affects women and men in almost equal numbers, it affects women differently. Women with diabetes have higher risk for heart disease, blindness and depression. And chlamydia, a common STD that infects both men and women, has the potential to permanently damage a woman’s reproductive system. It can lead to infertility or a potentially fatal tubal pregnancy.
Take it seriously if your doctor or health care provider recommends screenings for chlamydia, cervical cancer, breast cancer and/or diabetes. Almost every cancer patient has a better survival rate when the cancer is caught early. And did you know that cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent, with regular screening tests and follow-up?
Take care of yourself — for yourself and those you love. Do the things you know you should. If you mess up, don’t get down on yourself. Schedule all recommended health screenings. Remember: You can’t take care of anyone else if you’re out of the picture.