Celebrating Women’s Health: A Wellness Journey
By Bizzell Editorial Staff
“Communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women.” – Michelle Obama
Every May, beginning on Mother’s Day, we observe National Women’s Health Week, to highlight a few of the many factors that contribute to a woman’s overall well-being, such as nutrition, exercise, regular, preventative care, and mental health.
First observed in 2010 by the Obama administration with the goal of raising awareness about common conditions that affect girls and women, this week has become an integral part of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) mission to educate people about a variety of health concerns that affect women. As awareness has spread, the OWH has continued to expand its resources and encourage women to prioritize their health, today and every day, especially as we adjust to the new post-COVID-19 environment.
Consider the following 5 healthy tips for your wellness journey.
- Visit your doctor regularly for preventative care. Your primary care physician can play an active role in your health goals beyond just an annual visit. Consider talking with your doctor about any family medical history that you find relevant and ask for their advice on a healthy lifestyle.
- Go outside and enjoy the sunlight. Sunlight is essential for processing Vitamin D, which plays a vital role in the body’s absorption of calcium, a particularly important nutrient for women https://owh-wh-d9-dev.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/documents/fact-sheet-nutrition-and-women.pdf. In addition, research shows that spending time in nature, often called “forest bathing,” helps lower stress levels Antonelli M, Barbieri G, Donelli D. Effects of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) on levels of cortisol as a stress biomarker: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Biometeorol. 2019 Aug;63(8):1117-1134. doi: 10.1007/s00484-019-01717-x..
- Get active and moving. Exercising is a great way to focus on both physical and mental health. Activities like running, walking, or swimming are great ways to improve heart health and enjoy the outdoors. Exercise and dance have been shown to help reduce stress levels and raise endorphin levels. When exercising, especially outdoors, it’s important to remember to hydrate. Drinking water has numerous health benefits on its own, and avoiding dehydration during the sweltering summer months is essential https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/physical-activity/index.html#:~:text=Being%20physically%20active%20 can%20reduce,even%2010%20minutes%20a%20day.
- Take a break and get rest. Research shows that women need more sleep on average. Getting at least eight hours a day of sleep will lower your stress levels, help with mood regulation, and allows the body time to repair itself https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/good-mental-health/sleep-and-your-health#1.
- Watch your stress levels. Stress impacts both your physical and mental health. Extended periods of high, unmanaged stress can weaken the body’s immune system. Stress also contributes to poor sleep, depression, anxiety, migraines, and many other health conditions. Consider mindfulness techniques or other stress management resources to reduce your stress levels https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/good-mental-health/stress-and-your-health.
 Antonelli M, Barbieri G, Donelli D. Effects of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) on levels of cortisol as a stress biomarker: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Biometeorol. 2019 Aug;63(8):1117-1134. doi: 10.1007/s00484-019-01717-x.