Do you feel like you’re in control of your own health? A lot of women feel like they don’t have much say over their own health or that they aren’t as healthy as they want to be. Being in touch with your health can give you more control over both your body and mind. You can be in tune with how you’re feeling and how healthy you are, and make the best decisions to be as healthy as possible. If you feel like you’re not as healthy as you could be or you just want to know more about your health, take a look at these tips for getting better control.
Find a Doctor You’re Happy With
One of the most important ways to take care of your health is to ensure you’re cared for by medical professionals you are happy with. Not all doctors are the same, and a lot of women can find themselves seeing a medical professional who they feel doesn’t listen to them or take them seriously or isn’t providing the care that they need. Sometimes finding the right doctor (or any other medical professional) requires trying out a couple and finding one that works for you. This can be true for everyone from therapists to gynecologists. If they’re not working for you, look for someone else.
Advocate For Yourself
As well as finding medical professionals who you’re happy with, it’s also important to be able to advocate for yourself. Even when you have found doctors who treat you well, you still need to be able to speak up and fight for the care that you deserve. It’s an unfortunate fact that women are often not taken seriously by medical professionals, and the situation is worse for women of color. If you are able to stand up for yourself and insist on getting the care that you need, you might be able to get better results when dealing with doctors and other medical professionals.
Track Your Cycle
Your menstrual cycle plays a big part in your health and wellbeing. Periods, hormones, fertility and everything that comes with these things can affect both your physical and mental health, as well as different areas of your life. One of the simple ways to have more control over your menstrual cycle and reproductive health is to track your cycle. Using a simple period calculator will give you important dates like an estimated time for your next period and peak fertility dates. You can also use a period tracking app, which you can use to track your periods and fertility over a longer time. It can help you to keep track of symptoms before and during your period, as well as know when you’re ovulating and most fertile.
Know the Important Ages for Tests and Screening
As you get older, there are more standard medical tests and screenings that you can benefit from. This usually starts with cervical screening, which the American Cancer Society now recommends should begin at age 25 and should occur every three years. However, they recommend an HPV test every five years, with a pap test every three years or both an HPV and pap test every five years as acceptable alternatives. Other tests that you might need as you get older include mammograms, which the ACS says you should have annually from age 45, blood pressure tests, colon cancer screening, and vision and hearing tests.
Examine Your Own Body
As well as going for official medical checks, it’s smart to examine your own body. You can spot signs of health problems or concerns that you can then take to a doctor if necessary. For example, performing a regular check of your breasts will help you to spot any irregularities, including lumps, bumps or changes to the skin or your nipples. You can also check your skin and any moles that you have, keeping an eye out for any changes. Consider your health in general too. Is anything different? Does it not feel right? If you’re unsure, it’s better to get it checked.
Check in with Your Mental Health
If examining your body is important, so is checking in with your mental health. It’s important to allow yourself to stop and think about how you’re feeling sometimes. If you don’t, you can suddenly realize that you’re very overwhelmed or you could find yourself acting in ways you wouldn’t usually without really knowing why. When you’re more in tune with your emotions, you can keep a better watch over your mental health. Seeing a therapist will also help you to examine your thoughts and feelings on an ongoing basis. You don’t have to have a mental illness or significant problems to benefit from seeing a therapist.
Self-care is a way to not just look after your physical health, but your mental health too. It can range from doing simple things like maintaining your hygiene to doing extra stuff to take care of yourself, like allowing yourself time to relax and deal with stress. Self-care can involve a lot more though, from being grateful for the positive things in your life to practising mindfulness. When you practise self-care, you can look after your body and also take care of your mind. Treat yourself as a whole person that has many different needs and take care of yourself before you do so for others.
Be More Thoughtful of Your Diet
Eating the right diet is all about giving your body the fuel it needs. It doesn’t have to be about losing weight or even avoiding putting on weight, but you should think about having a healthy diet that’s full of the right nutrients. You might already enjoy a healthy diet, but it could be a good idea to take a close look at whether you’re meeting all of your body’s needs. Are you getting enough energy to power you through the day? Are you getting all of the vitamins and minerals that your body and brain require? Taking a multivitamin can help, but it’s also a good idea to get as much of what you need from your diet as you can.
Find a Fun Way to Exercise
Statistics show that women are generally less active than men. An analysis in The Lancet Global Health found that 31.7% of women around the world are inactive, compared to 23.4% of men. You might feel like exercise is something that you have to force yourself to do. Maybe you’ve never really found it fun, especially if you had a bad experience with it at school. However, even if you don’t enjoy going for a run or lifting weights at the gym, there could still be an activity out there that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be something that you typically think of as exercise. It can be anything that gets you moving.
Rethink Your Sleep Schedule
A healthy sleep cycle is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you’re not getting enough sleep, it can affect you in a number of different ways. A lack of sleep can affect your mood and mental health, and it can also cause changes in your physical health at the same time. Better sleep can help you to feel happier and healthier, and it can even improve your appearance. You should make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, which is usually a recommended seven or eight hours of sleep each night. It’s also important that your sleep is restful and that you’re not waking up a lot.
Keep Track of Your Health Record
If you want to take control of your health, keeping your own personal health record is smart. You can access your health records from your doctors, and many will now even allow you to access them online, but it can also be useful to have your own record of your medical history, health conditions, medications, and other important information. It can be helpful to give to new doctors, especially in emergency situations, to take traveling with you, or even if you want to dispute some information that your doctor has. Your family’s health history is also smart to know, as many health conditions can have a hereditary element.
Make Plans for the Future
Finally, if you want to take control of your health, you should start thinking about the future. There could be times when you might be unable to make decisions for yourself, whether it’s because you’re unconscious or unaware of what’s happening or there’s another reason you might not have the capacity to make decisions. Thinking about these situations in advance is a good idea if you have specific wishes that you would want to be fulfilled. This could include what you want to happen in an emergency situation or what type of care you would receive if you needed long-term care. You can consider issues like insurance and finances, as well as advance care planning and appointing a health care proxy who can make decisions if you can’t.
Every woman should take control of her health, making her own choices and decisions and deciding how healthy she wants to be.