What does women’s health mean to you? To me, it means many things. A healthy body and mind. A long, fulfilling life. Being a positive role model to my two daughters.
Getting there is the sum of many small parts. Even the smallest change to your daily routine can make a difference on your path to healthy living. I’m not perfect and do slip up from time to time. On the whole, however, I’ve incorporated many positive changes to improve my own health and well-being. It’s something I actively work on daily.
I’m a work in progress. Adding a few healthy habits means that I’m striving to be the best I can be and showing my girls how living a healthy life can easily be achieved.
Here are some of my personal rituals that I’m actively pursuing on my quest for healthy living.
1. Daily Multivitamin. I’m a worrywart and always feel concerned that I’m not getting all the essential vitamins and minerals from food alone. Taking a daily multivitamin helps alleviate that worry. I take Equate Women’s Formula Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement from Walmart Canada. It’s designed for women and has me covered with all the essential nutrients my body needs.
2. Take a daily probiotic. I started taking probiotics several years ago after my naturopath recommended them to me. They help keep the “good” bacteria present in my body. I usually take it when I take my daily multivitamin.
3. Meditation. I started meditating a few months ago and it’s been life-changing. I find it helps my stress level and calms my anxious mind. I spend 15 minutes every day meditating and I’ve been getting better at it the more I practice.
4. Exercise. With summer coming up, I’m realizing that I need to shed some of those pesky winter pounds. I started walking in our neighbourhood with my husband. It feels great to get outside in the fresh air and I find it helps me sleep better at night. Exercise is good for the body and soul!
5. Don’t skip meals. I used to be horrible at skipping meals. I’d miss breakfast or lunch and then gorge myself at dinner time eating way too much. Life is hectic and I know we’ve all been there. I’m loving Equate High Protein Shakes for those busy days when everything is rushed. I can keep my energy up, give my body nutrients and not skip meals. My favourite flavour is strawberry!
6. Get enough sleep. Easier said than done, I know. I strive to go to bed at the same time every night. I have a bedtime ritual that helps me relax and unwind. It involves a nice, hot bath and a good book. I look forward to it each day! Getting enough sleep helps me feel alert the next day and improves my mood. I’m cranky if I don’t sleep well!
7. Taking “me” time. As moms, we put the kids needs before own. It’s easy to forget that we matter too. I’ve been striving to take time out of each day to do something nice for myself. It could be something simple like taking a bubble bath or giving myself a pedicure. Relaxing goes a long way towards your physical and mental health.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I always tried to do it all myself, but then I realized that I was burnt out. I needed help and had to ask others to chip in. Ask your kids or family members to give you a hand with the housework or meal preparation. Right now, I’m looking into hiring someone to come in every few weeks to clean my house. It will take a load of stress off me to have that help!
Now that I’ve shared some of my healthy routines, I wanted to also provide you with these 10 Essential Tips for Women’s Health by Sue Mah, Registered Dietitian.
1. Get enough iron. Iron helps form the hemoglobin in your red blood cells which carries oxygen from your lungs to every part of your body. When you’re low in iron, you’ll feel tired, look pale and may develop anemia. Aim for 18 mg of iron a day. Vegetarians need almost double that amount. Food sources: meat, poultry, fish; beans, lentils; spinach; iron-fortified breads, pasta and breakfast cereals.
2. Count your calcium. Your bone density actually continues to grow until about age 30. Calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong. Aim for 1,000 mg of calcium every day. Food sources: milk, fortified soy / almond / plant-based beverages; cheese, yogurt; edamame beans, tofu, navy beans; almonds; collards, kale.
3. Focus on folic acid. Taking a folic acid supplement before you get pregnant helps reduce the risk of birth defects that affect the baby’s brain and spine. If you could become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, take a supplement of 400 mcg (0.4 mg) of folic acid every day. Food sources: dark green vegetables; orange juice, cantaloupe, papaya; peanut butter, sunflower seeds; beans, chickpeas, lentils; enriched bread, pasta and breakfast cereals.
4. Consider a multivitamin supplement. With a fast-paced, busy lifestyle, it can sometimes be tricky to get all the nutrients you need from food alone. Consider taking a supplement such as Equate Women’s Formula Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement. It contains a range of nutrients to help maintain immune function, maintain healthy skin, and help in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums. Talk to a Registered Dietitian for personalized advice about supplements.
5. Get social with food! Celebrate the joy of food by cooking and eating with your kids, family and friends. Ask the kids to help you pick out veggies at the grocery store. Start a cooking club with friends. Take a stroll to the weekly farmers’ market together.
6. Stay fueled on the go. Missed a meal because you were too pressed for time? We’ve all been there at one point or another. Keep your energy levels up with a ready-to-drink nutritional shake like Equate High Protein Shake. A serving offers 225 calories, 25 essential vitamins and minerals, and 12 grams of protein.
7. Ditch the diets. Diets are out and healthy, wholesome eating is in. There’s absolutely no need to feel guilty over a glass of wine or a piece of cherry cheesecake every now and then. Have a healthy relationship with food and tell yourself it’s OK to enjoy these treats in moderation.
8. Let movement be your medicine. You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking. Prolonged sitting may increase your chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Regular activity is also a natural stress buster. Find activities that you enjoy and work up a good sweat. Hot yoga, anyone?
9. Practice the 3 Ps: Prioritize, Plan, Pace. Life moves fast. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect or get everything done in a day. Prioritize your tasks so that the most important ones get done first. Then, plan your “To Do” list. Finally, pace yourself to avoid burnout.
10. Get a good night’s sleep. Not only is sleep deprivation tied to possible weight gain, but it’s also linked to a higher risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night. As a new day dawns, you’ll feel refreshed, energized and ready to take on the world!
With International Day of Action on Women’s Health coming up on May 28th, now is a great time to take a look at your own personal health goals and ask yourself this important question, “What does women’s health mean to you?”. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this very important topic!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the “What Women’s Health Means to Me” program. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.