Celebrating Women’s Health Week!
National Women’s Health Week starts each year on Mother’s Day to encourage women and girls to make their health a priority. Even during COVID-19 when many of us are at home, there are safe ways for you to stay active and healthy.
Women personify many roles in our lives. Two out of every three caregivers in the United States are women, meaning they provide daily or regular support to children, adults, or people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Women who are caregivers have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health. Preventive care can keep disease away or detect problems early so that treatment is more effective. Protect your health by identifying the care you may need.
Talk with your Health Providers
Regular check-ups are important. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some health services are being done either online or by phone. Talk to a healthcare provider:
- To find out what screenings and examsexternal icon you need and when. Explore the covered preventive services for womenexternal icon and other preventive care benefits available for women at no cost.
- If anything doesn’t feel right or is concerning. Use telemedicine, if available, or communicate with your doctor or nurse by phone or e-mail. Write down any questions or issues you may have and take them to your appointment.
- If you are pregnant or gave birth within the last year and you are experiencing urgent maternal warning signs.
Enjoy a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Learn the basics of healthier eating habits.
- A healthy eating plan includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat free and low-fat milk and other dairy products, lean meats, and is low in salt, saturated and trans fats, and added sugars.
- Women need folic acid every day for the healthy new cells the body makes daily. It’s also important to help prevent major birth defects when pregnant.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions and can lead to the development of chronic diseases. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation, which is up to 1 drink a day for women.
Physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It lowers your risk of heart disease which is the leading cause of death for women. With many people following social distancing guidelines, being physically active may seem hard. Here are five ways you and your family can be active safely at home:
- Find an exercise video online. Search the internet for exercise videos led by certified exercise leaders or trainers and match your interests, abilities, and fitness level. You can find videos to help you do aerobics, dance, stretch, and build strength. No gym or special equipment needed. You can also find videos created especially for kids and older adults.
- Work out with items you have around the house.Use full water bottles, canned goods, or other items for strength training if you don’t have weights around the house. Stretch with a towel. Walking or running up and down stairs (that are clear of obstacles to avoid tripping) can be a great workout.
- Make the most of screen time. While watching TV, your family can do jumping jacks during commercials or move along with the characters in a show or movie by walking or running in place.
- Family playtime is a great way to work in physical activity. Hula hoops, hopscotch, jumping jacks, and jump ropes are a great way for the whole family to get active. Games like hide-and-seek and playing catch keep everyone moving and having fun.
- Housework and yardwork count! Vacuuming, sweeping, gardening, and cleaning inside and outside where you live all count towards your physical activity goal. And you’ll knock out some items on your to-do list while gaining health benefits.
If you choose to do physical activity outdoors, remember to choose safer activities. When choosing safer activities, consider how COVID-19 is spreading in your community, the number of people participating in the activity, and the location of the activity. CDC recently updated mask guidelines for outdoor activities for fully vaccinated people. Learn more about how to safely return to enjoying many activities after being fully vaccinated on CDC’s COVID-19 website.
Prioritize Mental Health
Keep your mind and body healthy. Research shows that positive mental health is associated with improved overall health and well-being. It may be tough during the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain healthy behaviors and manage stress. There are some important steps you can take to get the support you need to cope with stress:
- Take care of your body.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Find a local support group. Support groups provide a safe place for people to find comfort. You are not alone.
- Recognize when you need more help. If stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row, or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:
- Visit the Disaster Distress Helplineexternal icon call or text 1-800-985-5990.
- Visit the National Suicide Prevention external iconor call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- Visit the National Domestic Violence external iconor call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
- Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Helplineexternal icon or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Practice Healthy Behaviors
Daily decisions influence overall health. Small actions can help keep you safe and healthy and set a good example for others.
- Practice social distancing and protect yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Get enough sleep for your overall health. It impacts how you feel and perform during the day. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Children and adolescents should get between 8 to 12 hours of sleep depending on age each night.
- Avoid distracted driving, which is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from the road. Each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
- Be smoke free. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects a person’s overall health. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers) or visit Smokefree Womanexternal icon for free resources, including quit coaching, a quit plan, educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live. Get tips from former smokers.