We get it. You’re busy. You’re running around caring for everyone but yourself. But that can backfire. It doesn’t have to be hard. Just take a few minutes and look at this list. These things are so simple and yet some of them can be lifesaving.
1. Move Your Body – When you’re over-worked, over-scheduled, over-tired — or dare we say all of the above? — The last thing you want to hear is that you should get to the gym. But the good news is that moving a little is far better than not moving at all. Even if it’s just for ten minutes, do something. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk over to that colleague’s desk instead of sending an email. Studies show that just ten minutes of walking a day can help boost a woman’s heart strength and overall fitness.
2. Get to Know Your Breasts – You’ve seen the posters. You know you should, but do you really examine each breast once a month in the shower? The American Cancer Society says that from age 20 on, all women should be told about the potential benefits and limitations of breast self-exams so they can do what seems right to them. Those who choose not to do regular exams “should still know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to their doctor right away,” the group recommends.
3. Monitor Your Moles – May is Melonoma/Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month. Checking for skin abnormalities is very important. When looking at moles, pay attention to the ABCDEs – asymmetry, border, color, diameter and whether or how any given mole is evolving. Try to check once a month when you’re doing your breast self-exam. Use a mirror or have a friend check your back. Don’t forget the sunscreen either. Even if you have a dark complexion, you are still at risk for skin cancer.
4. Track Your Period and Sex Drive – A recent survey found that many women still don’t understand basic reproductive concepts (like when ovulation typically occurs). But paying attention to your cycle makes it easier to alert your provider to any abnormalities. Be aware of potential red flags such as abnormal bleeding or change in heaviness of flow. And don’t ignore sexual health concerns. Issues with painful intercourse, lubrication and sex drive are often put on the back burner. But, they can be signs of a more serious problem. Don’t be afraid to bring up your concerns with your health care provider.
5. Floss – Seriously, it’s one of the easiest things you can do to maintain good general health. Oral health has far reaching implications. Periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease (the number one killer of women in the United States). Some studies have found that gingivitis may be a risk factor for preterm birth, as the bacteria can trigger an immune response causing contractions and dilation. Find a dental pick or floss that works for you and carry it with you in your purse. Besides maintaining good oral health, who hasn’t gotten a piece of food stuck in their teeth during the day and wished they’d had some floss?