For many women, the change from summer to fall is an opportunity to schedule health screenings, take on a new athletic pursuit, or revisit health goals. Here are ten tips women of any age can do to take care of their physical and mental health:
1. Schedule a well visit and health screenings: Have you seen your primary care physician this year? Schedule a check up today and make sure you are up-to-date on your immunizations and health screenings. Ovarian, breast, and colon cancer screenings are essential, and the timing of each screening is based on your age and medical or family history. Early detection can result in the best possible outcome. Here is information about some key health screenings:
- Mammograms are recommended to begin at age 40.
- Colonoscopies are recommended for those ages 45 and over.
- Cervical screenings are recommended for women starting at age 21.
2. Eat well. Eating balanced meals can add years to your life. Take a look at the foods you eat and see if there is an opportunity for healthier meals or snacks. Autumn is a great time for hearty soups packed with vegetables and protein. Here is an easy and delicious recipe for lentil soup. Also, learn about foods and recipes that can boost your immune system.
3. Reduce your risk of skin cancer. Wear sunscreen when you are out in the sun, even when the temperature is chilly. The sun’s rays can damage your skin year round, not only in the summer! Do a skin check once a month and look for any changes on your skin, including spots that have changed. Here is information on how to choose the best sunscreen.
4. Connect with others. Relationships are essential for mental wellness. Consider calling a friend you have not spoken with in a while. Invite a friend to go on a walk or a hike. Volunteer at a local food pantry or library. Volunteering and being with others can lift your mood and boost your health. Read these stress and anxiety reduction tips from Emerson’s Dr. James Street and Dr. Jennifer Nayor.
5. Get a good night’s sleep. Getting a sound sleep at night is essential for physical and mental health. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, talk with your primary care physician — there may be ways to get more Zs. Did you know Emerson offers sleep studies? Learn more about Emerson’s Sleep Center and how to obtain a sleep study.
6. Do what makes you happy. In today’s world, with the prevalence of social media, it is easy to compare yourself to others. Do what makes you happy. Take a break from social media if it does not make you feel good or if you find yourself spending too much time on your device. Think of what you could do instead to benefit your health! Visit our digital wellness page for tips and resources on making healthy choices with your digital devices.
7. Make time for mental wellness each day. Spending time outdoors exploring nature, painting a picture, meditating, practicing yoga, journaling — these are all ways to enhance your mental health. Work mental wellness into your routine for a few minutes each day. One tip is to set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier in the morning and spend that time in the quiet of the day doing something you find meaningful.
8. Say no. Women tend to say yes and make commitments more often, taking time away from other priorities. Know that you do not always need to say yes. Saying no can be good for your overall health.
9. Take a mental health day. If you feel anxious or overwhelmed with life priorities, pick a date on the calendar, circle it, and declare it a mental health day. You could start by celebrating World Mental Health Day on Sunday, October 10. On this day, spend time focusing on yourself and make plans to do things to help achieve your goals.
10. Exercise: Exercise is scientifically proven to improve physical and mental health and give you a more positive perspective. Start an exercise program that gets your heart pumping for at least thirty minutes several times a week, or rev up your current exercise routine. Check with your physician before beginning any exercise program. If you exercise outside, it will give you extra benefits of getting vitamin D in the sunshine!
Listen below to Emerson’s Haley Harrison, PT, DPT, a certified strength and conditioning specialist with Emerson's Sports Medicine and Performance team, about how to know you are ready to take on your athletic goals.
Subscribe to the Health Works Here Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and wherever podcasts can be heard.
How do you stay healthy? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tagging us on social media @EmersonHospital.