International Women’s Day (March 8) is the perfect day to take action on women’s health. We know, for example, that many working women struggle to juggle a home, family and life in general. This constant struggle means that they end up putting their health and wellbeing on the backburner. So how can women find a balance and make better decisions that will result in healthier outcomes? We’ve asked Anthea Gomez, our Director of Human Resources & Corporate Services (and top wellness advocate at Express Scripts Canada), for her tips on staying healthy and maintaining a successful work/life balance. Here’s what she had to say:
Women need to put their health first
If there is one thing that working women know, it is that it’s almost impossible to balance work, family and life in general. And, trying to balance it all, often means that our own personal health falls to the bottom of our priority list.
Because our lives are so busy and demanding, it is important that we adopt a healthy outlook and make better health decisions today to ensure better overall health in the future. Exercise and a little “me” time, for example, are great ways to improve health yet they always seem to fall to the bottom of a woman’s long to-do list.
The most important thing I have learned from trying to balance my own career and home life is that women have to learn to put themselves first and take the time to nurture themselves—even if that means taking only five minutes a day to quiet your mind or take a quick walk.
Start taking steps today to improve your health. We are all number one in our lives, yet we completely forget this fact when we are focusing on everything else that is life.
Making better decisions today will lead to improved health tomorrow
You don’t need to feel sick to visit your healthcare professional! Visiting your healthcare provider or talking to your pharmacist can help you stay healthy. Only you can decide to put your health first.
Did you know that something seemingly minor like sleep deprivation can not only impair your judgment and cause weight gain, but also increase your risk for heart disease and stroke—a leading cause of death among women in Canada. Some more sobering thoughts on heart disease and stroke from the Heart and Stroke Foundation:
More women than men die from heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease and stroke kills seven times as many women as breast cancer yet 37% of Canadian women perceive breast cancer to be the greatest health problem, compared to 13% for heart disease.
My tips to take control of your health
Start by incorporating healthy changes in small steps on a daily basis:
Find a quiet spot to sit for five minutes and focus on your breathing--this is especially helpful when practiced before attending meetings that require tough discussions at work or home
Make regular visits to your healthcare professional
Take a walk during the day or on your lunch break, if a formal exercise program doesn’t work with your schedule. Movement and fresh air clears the cobwebs that accumulate in our heads and makes us feel lighter.
Stay adherent to your treatment plan, if you are already on a medication therapy. This is key to ensuring a healthy outcome.
Eat well-balanced meals
Aim to have ten belly laughs a day--laughter is truly the best medicine
A healthy lifestyle can help you thrive throughout your life. Making healthy choices isn’t always easy. It can be hard to find the time and energy to exercise or prepare healthy meals. However, your efforts will pay off in many ways and for the rest of your life.
Note: This information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. You are encouraged to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.