Staying Well as a Woman By Diana Poirier

When we decided to make this month’s newsletter about “women’s health”, all sorts of things popped to mind.  I mean, as women we have TONS of things to consider in terms of our health, don’t we?  But after sifting through various topics and ideas, I decided to take a completely different tact.  You see I have a lot of life changes heading my way.    Plus I suddenly realized that I’m in my 50th year of life!  Really???  Wow…  So I have decided to take advantage of my age.  Below, I present to you “Diana’s thoughts on staying well as a woman – from the vantage point of 50”.

Without a doubt, unquestionably, the number one challenge I see facing women is not having time for themselves.  Now there are a lot of names for this challenge – making time for yourself, working out more, eating better, having more girl time, getting more sleep,  making time for a hobby, self care, self love, being heart centred – the list goes on.  But the bottom line is that the majority of women lean heavily towards being care givers and putting others’ needs before themselves.  Stereotyping I know, but I’ve seen it too often.  Women are often trying VERY HARD to be GREAT at everything and take care of everyone.  Sound familiar?  Then read on.

Now ask yourself this question.  Do you want to live well – with health and wellbeing – into your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s?  Do you want to be a healthy and happy companion to your friends, partner, kids, aging parents?  If you answer yes to any of that, and hopefully you have, then I have a few suggestions.   No magic bullet here, but hopefully some food for thought.

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Image by Josephine Wall

First, understand that mind/body connection is incredibly real and a very big part of being healthy and living well.  In other words, positive relaxed thoughts are as important for your body & health as actual physical & environmental wellbeing (e.g. good food, rest, healthy air, etc.).  If you don’t believe me just check out Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute.  They are doing active research and clinical applications of the mind body connection – in their case called the relaxation response.

Second, take a step back and really get in touch with your feelings.  Mull over what you would like to bring into your life.  What are you yearning for?  What would feed your spirit or feed your body?  Generate lots of ideas – you may come back to them all eventually – wouldn’t that be great?  And cover the whole range – fun stuff, crazy stuff, quiet stuff, healthy body stuff.

Then thirdly, choose one item from your list and decide to make it happen.  Don’t stress over how, when and where.  Just tell yourself that you deserve it and that somehow you will make it work.  Then open up whatever you use to track your calendar and block out some time in about a week.  Name it “self care”.  Have it repeat every week forever.   The point here?  You’ve thought about what you want.  You’ve made a commitment to yourself.  Now you’re carving out a little time and space in a manageable way to start making it happen (I suggest an hour to start).  Because you will likely get tied up with work, daily chores, kids, family commitments, etc and you will soon forget about  your self care item.  The calendar will remind you!  Added bonus – if its electronic you can even add lots of alerts and fun emoticons!

Then away you go!  Slowly but surely, start to bring some “you time” into your life.  Take it slow, don’t create more stress.  But make it happen.  You may be surprised how much fun it is, how great it makes you feel and how suddenly all those chores and to do’s still get done or don’t seem as important anymore.  And to all you wonderful women out there – I wish you all the best in finding more health and well-being in your life.