What do you think of when you hear the words “self-care?” Self-care by definition is “care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.” Here at Southdale ObGyn, we encourage our patients to practice self-care. It is important for women of all ages to address self-care now because learning to really care for yourself is a process that can take years. It may sound silly because it seems so obvious, but often we prioritize everyone and everything OTHER than ourselves. We put friends, socializing, school, hobbies, and sports ahead of the basic things that create good health, such as eating a nutritious diet, rest, relaxation and more.
When thinking about self-care, you can break it down into five general areas: Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual.
- Physical self-care includes healthy eating, adequate exercise, good sleep habits, and personal hygiene.
- Intellectual self-care includes seeking knowledge by reading, writing, attending classes and participating in new experiences.
- Emotional self-care is about being kind and forgiving to yourself, doing something to relax at least once every day, taking time every day for yourself, and managing your stress.
- Social self-care is about spending time with supportive friends and people who lift you up, standing in your own personal power and being YOU, and communicating your feelings to others in a healthy, compassionate way.
- Spiritual self-care is about finding a balance between “being” and “doing,” connecting to nature or a higher power if that exists for you, and yoga or meditation.
Nutrition is another important aspect in every woman’s life. First and foremost, when it comes to healthy eating, there’s no such thing as perfection. We all enjoy sweets and things that aren’t good for us from time to time…so don’t deprive yourself! A healthy relationship with food includes moderation and occasional indulgence in addition to striving for healthy habits. That being said, here are a few guidelines to help you make good choices when it comes to your food. Keep in mind, these are general guidelines and may not work for everyone depending on allergies or sensitivities:
- Aim for 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily; remember, a serving size is typically ½ cup. Have one cup of carrots or grapes and you’ve just had two servings!
- Shake it up! Variety is key with fruits and vegetables, as well as with many other foods. There are lots of options out there; give them all a try.
- Aim for WHOLE grains when you eat grains. Whole grains are foods like whole wheat bread, brown rice, cornmeal and oatmeal. Refined grains are foods like white flour and white rice; some of the healthy nutrients have been removed.
- Include nuts, seeds, eggs, legumes/beans, meats, fish, poultry and dairy in your diet if tolerated; they all offer many important nutrients for your overall health.
- Avoid smoking!
- Drink adequate amounts of water (drink at least half your body weight in water ounces daily).
- Avoid soda, artificial sweeteners and refined sugars as much as possible.
- Consider a multivitamin if your diet is unpredictable and may be missing key vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, vitamin D and others. Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for bone health. Your bones will be done growing by the time you reach your mid-20’s so building bone strength in your teens is important. There are many important vitamins and minerals that your body needs; if you have questions about nutritional supplements, please ask us.
We are here to answer your questions about self-care, nutrition, your menstrual cycle, health concerns and much more. Our caring and knowledgeable physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives understand the importance of developing healthy habits for women of all ages.
Written By: Krista Bernhoft Margolis, NP