Today we wanted to share wellness and health information with you because your health is critical to your performance as a mom, friend, partner, spouse, daughter, and to YOU! And because we truly care about the wellness of all the women who enter our centers, pregnant or not. And these days with the pandemic happening, wellness has never been more important or more relevant.
With COVID-19 on everyone’s minds, all of us are worried about contracting the virus. But our bodies have a secret weapon to fight viruses off. And depending on how well you take care of this weapon, you can overcome a virus pretty easily, or not.
We are talking about the immune system. Your immune system does exactly what it sounds like: it helps makes you immune to sicknesses. If you support it and care for it, your recovery is far more effective because you can fight off viruses easier than someone who has a weakened or compromised immune system. It’s amazing to have a virus-fighting machine inside of you, right?
Maintaining total body health supports the immune system and every other part of wellness. So let’s dig in and talk about 6 areas you can improve in your life today!
1. Healthy Weight
Someone who is highly overweight will struggle with sickness and diseases more than someone who is slightly overweight or at an optimal weight. More than half of the battle in weight loss and maintaining weight is what we put in our mouths. Eating the right foods can kick start our metabolism, burn body fat, and give us the energy to work out. (They also support your immune system! Things like onions, garlic, and ginger are superfood tools to help your body fight sickness.) The key to losing weight is to eat fewer calories than you are burning. Starting today, you can make simple changes in your life for weight loss. Things like parking at the end of the parking lot, taking the stairs, eating less sugar, and doing things you enjoy are all great ways to start weight loss.
2. Good Nutrition
A balanced diet should include dairy like yogurt and Keifer, grains like rice, quinoa, whole-grain bread), protein (eggs, lean chicken or beef), fruit and veggies, and healthy fat. Yes, there are “healthy fats” your body needs to burn “bad fats” and your body needs them for optimal brain function. Fats like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, are all great options for cooking oils. Walnuts, avocados, sunflower seeds, peanuts, peanut butter, and salmon are great “fatty” snack and meal options to get those Omega 3 oils too!
Remember, a well-balanced diet will ensure you are getting all the minerals your body needs to function. If you are worried you are deficient in minerals, talk to your doctor about doing blood work and take a multi-vitamin.
Obviously, exercise is highly important. Fresh air clears your head and a workout releases endorphins (happy hormones) that make you feel good. Go on a brisk 30-minute walk every day. Or do laps in a pool! If you don’t like working out or don’t have the time to, try doing extra little things in your day like parking at the far end of the parking lot and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. One influencer suggests picking 3 of your favorite songs and dancing until they are done playing. Who says exercise can’t be fun?!
Having a strong body will help you have a strong immune system, too. Exercise is so important for almost every part of your wellness, not just for weight loss.
As South Floridians, everyone knows we need to hydrate. But it’s super important to know why. Hydration can kick start your metabolism and burn more calories. It flushes out toxins (hey, helping that immune system!) Water makes you feel energized, too! Try to drink 5.5 12 oz bottles or glasses of water every day (or more if you are outside and sweat a lot.)
5. Smoking and Alcohol Use
If you have never smoked, don’t start! But if you are a smoker, it’s a great time to quit. Smoking can cause lung and skin cancers and doesn’t do much for your overall health. Weak lungs from smoking put you at a higher risk for respiratory viruses like COVID, too. If you need help quitting, call Florida’s toll-free Quitline to get more information and assistance to quit: 1-877-822-6669
Likewise, alcohol has many of the same side effects of smoking. If you drink too much too often it is associated with certain cancers in the breast and throat, damage the heart, and cause liver failure. Alcohol is something to be enjoyed within limits, but if you have problems staying within your limits, it might be a good time to ask your doctor for help quitting permanently. Your life is too precious to lose to a drink.
Women should drink no more than one drink per day, and only by adults of legal (21+) years of age.
6. Mental Health
Stress and depression can cause major physical effects in your life, affecting digestion which can trigger bad skin days, mood swings, weight gain, and weakened immune system. This is why mental health is so important for your overall physical (and immune) wellness.
The best ways to improve mental health start with your social life. Engage your brain by staying connected to your close friends and being active in your community. Friends make you laugh, and laughing is an important part of health. Many
studies show that people with a wide range of social contacts get sick less than those who don’t and are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s / dementia at an early age.
Take time to do things that you love (hobbies) to help with stress and maintain a balanced life. If you don’t have a hobby, craft stores have staff members who are more than happy to show you (or even teach you) a new hobby! Pinterest and magazines are also great resources to discover hobbies: become inspired! A hobby doesn’t have to be expensive. As long as you enjoy it, that is all that matters.
If you have some spare time, volunteer at a homeless shelter, school, animal shelter, or help a friend in some way. Helping others makes a person feel good. Think about topics you are passionate about and Google to see how you can get involved. These days, every cause has a place to volunteer and help make changes in the world that are important to you.
At the end of your day (or at the beginning of it), take a few moments to release any stresses you have and focus on the here and now. Stretching is really good, too! “Smell the roses”--feel the warm breeze on your face, notice the cloud formations above you. Focus only on the good things going on around you. Happiness is something that we consciously choose to do. It doesn’t just happen. The best way to frame your mind to receive happiness is to stop and take a few moments to be thankful.
Mary's Pregnancy Center has many health resources we offer women. Call us today to ask us if you qualify for a FREE women's wellness exam or if you have any other needs or concerns.