How Women's Health Month Suggestions Help Cancer Caregivers?
National Women’s Health Month observance is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office every May. Many ideas shared in May help women care for themselves to avoid serious illnesses. These ideas can also be implemented to help cancer caregivers. Here are some of the essential suggestions women should consider:
- Schedule primary care appointments annually
Schedule your annual preventative care appointments such as Pap smears, mammograms, bone density screening, cholesterol etc. Visit a board-certified primary care physician to ensure you receive all medical tests and vaccines.
- Make changes to your diet
Nourish your body by changing to or sticking to a healthy balanced diet with foods full of nutrients. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Consider a Paleo diet limiting the intake of carbohydrates and dairy. Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, and folic acid. Folic acid may reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a substance that is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. It is recommended that women consume up to 400mgs of folic acid daily. Fruits and vegetables are also a good source of essential minerals and fibers. For a healthier diet, reduce your intake of foods with trans fats such as fried foods or foods with saturated fats.
- Get active
Take breaks throughout your daily activities and include a 15-30 minute walk. This improves cardiovascular health and helps lower the risk of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension. Getting exercise has also stabilizes blood sugar and regulates insulin levels in your body which cuts down the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Getting active can also sharpen your thinking, learning, and judgment skills.
- Practice self-care
Self-care is “a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being.” Self-care is a conscious act performed by individuals to boost their emotional, mental and physical health.
Don’t get lazy with your self-care, and do not underestimate its advantages. Self-care can take many forms, but it is the simple act of connecting with yourself and pampering yourself through small activities that make you feel good and whole.
Try to make time to unwind from your daily obligations and check in with friends, family, and loved ones. And keep an eye out for sudden mood changes.
- Develop good sleeping habits
1 in 3 adults does not regularly get the recommended amount of sleep they need to protect their health. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a sleeping disorder. Sleep deficiency can easily lead to depression and heart disease. Sleep hygiene would go a long way to helping your sleeping habits. Begin by scheduling and sticking to a certain time for sleep. Create an easy routine to go along with it; for example, take a shower before bed and remove all electronics such as phones or TVs from your bedroom.
- Find healthy ways to manage stress
Emotional and mental stress exist in almost everybody’s life. Unfortunately, stress can take a physical toll on your body. Prolonged stress can lead to anxiety disorders, burnout, and even hypertension. Finding the right way to cope with stress can make for a better, more peaceful living experience. Ways to cope with stress can be mediation, yoga, or reading a good book.
You may also find peace when you spend a few minutes in nature or take a walk. It is crucial to find an activity that keeps you grounded and allows you to relax fully.
Find communities of people in similar situations for comfort and support, whether physically or online.
For cancer caregivers, Here to Serve is an excellent way to obtain support for you and your family, allowing you the time to meet a wide range of needs, medically and socially. If you or someone you know is a family with children recently diagnosed with cancer, GET HELP from Here to Serve so you can have the time to take care of your sick loved one and yourself.
By Rhoda Naman
All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.