There are plenty of reasons to take care of your health. Below you’ll find more information to help you stay healthy — for life!
Do you want to feel better, look better and have more energy? Here are a few tips to keep your body healthy and in great shape.
Options to consider
Even though you’re not planning on having a baby, there are still some things to think about, like how to make sure nothing gets in the way of the exciting life you’ve planned. One important part of this process is contraception, or birth control.
To learn about contraception and how it could fit into your future, download our Life Planning Tool. Make sure your form of birth control works for you. If you’re having trouble remembering to take it or having side effects that are stressing you out, talk to your provider.
Get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Exercise is a great way to get rid of stress and keep your mind and body healthy. The benefits of daily exercise include:
- Stronger heart, muscles and bones
- Less stress
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Healthier weight
- Fewer illnesses
Get active with a pastime you enjoy. Whether it’s walking, yoga or a group fitness class, there are lots of fun exercises and activities to get your body moving. Just make sure you do the activity for at least 30 minutes to make it worth it for your heart and muscles.
Ask a friend to join you and really make the time fly by. If you can’t make it out, try exercising at home. All you need is comfortable clothing, a workout mat and a fitness app or video to get started.
You can also build physical activity in your everyday life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Walk for 10 or 15 minutes before or after lunch. When shopping, park your car at the far end of the lot and walk the extra distance to the store entrance. It’s all about moving more in your day!
Find more exercise-based information at the bottom of this page.
Put better meals on the menu
You are what you eat. A lot of lean protein, vegetables and fruits should be a major part of your family’s diet. Dairy products can be included, but switch to fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat versions. Drink plenty of water and stay away from foods with lots of salt, as well as those high in saturated fats.
Healthy weight for a healthy life
In Texas, about one in three women your age are obese. The negative — and potentially deadly — effects of being overweight and/or obese are scary.
Obesity increases the risks of numerous types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But they can be avoided. With a proper diet and exercise, you can lose weight and enjoy a healthier life — with a brighter long-term future.
Get your daily vitamins
Health professionals say that you should take a multivitamin every day with at least 400 mcg of folic acid, even if you’re not planning to get pregnant. This nutrient helps you keep your energy level up and gives you stronger nails and shinier hair.
Get more personalized nutrition and physical activity resources at the bottom of the page.
Start a smoke-free life
Quitting smoking isn’t easy and the cravings that go with it can make quitting seem impossible. But you can do it! The first two weeks of your smoke-free life are the hardest, but your cravings will start to go away after that. A great place to start is My Quit Plan, which gives you great tips for quitting.
Think about medications to ease your withdrawal
There are many medications that can make ease your cravings for cigarettes. Talk to your provider about your options and find one that works for you:
- Nicotine patch (available by prescription and over the counter)
- Nicotine gum (available over the counter)
- Nicotine inhaler (available by prescription)
- Nicotine lozenge (available over the counter)
- Nicotine nasal spray (available by prescription)
- Bupropion SR (available by prescription)
Get support from family, friends and experts
Research shows that people who share their goals and ask for help (especially from other friends and family members who have quit themselves) have a better chance at quitting than those who try to do it alone.
The American Cancer Society Quitline is a great place to look for help and can double your chances of quitting for good. Trained experts will work with you and help make a quit plan that is right for you.
Find a medical home
Creating a medical home is an important step to your future health. Find a primary care provider that you trust. Share your medical history and work together as partners to make sure all of your medical needs are met. This includes yearly check-ups, STI testing, birth control and other regular care.
Keep track of chronic conditions
If you have diabetes, mental illness, obesity, hypertension and thyroid disorders, it’s important to stay on top of it. If not, they can quickly get out of control and mess with your future plans. But with the help of a clinician, you can keep these issues in check. So YOU can decide what you’re doing with your future.
Get checked for STIs
It’s important to get checked for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) regularly. Even if you or your partner feels fine, you can still pass on infections. Talk to your provider and seek treatment of STIs if necessary. Untreated or undiagnosed STIs can turn into life-threatening issues.
Resources Work out best with your friends? The Center for Disease Control has some great tips for staying healthy with your friends.
Check out HealthyPlate.gov for more great reasons why you should keep up your exercise routine.
Create a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan with the USDA’s SuperTracker.
Learn more about the different types of STIs and how to avoid contracting them.
Living in an unhealthy home or working in a stressful workplace is not good for your body. Follow these steps for a healthier lifestyle:
When you’re at home or work, avoid chemicals like chemicals like pesticides, cigarette smoke and asbestos. Be sure to cook meat well and avoid raw, unpasteurized milk and cheeses — your belly will thank you.
Money can cause major stress in a home. Learn how to handle it and work through issues together. You and your partner can build a healthy home that supports each other’s needs.
Talking is an important step to building a healthy relationship with your partner, family and friends. Healthy relationships are built on respect, open communication and the freedom to be comfortable, happy and honest.
For more resources around keeping your home healthy, scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Create a support system Life is hard. Each day, stress can affect your mind and body in the wrong way. It’s important that you don’t feel like you have to face stress alone. Find a friend, a family member or a co-worker who can help you work through the hard times. Whether they have answers or just listen to what’s on your mind, having a friendly and helpful ear can make all the difference.
Getting help for violence and abuse Violence against women can happen anywhere — including home or at work. Many times, abuse comes from someone the victim knows and trusts.
You may be experiencing abuse if your partner:
- Continually watches your activities, in person or on social media.
- Tries to stop you from going to work or seeing friends and family.
- Tries to control your money, your medications (including birth control), what you wear or your eating habits.
- Hurts you physically or threatens to do so.
If you are experiencing violence or abuse, visit Womenshealth.gov to find resources and information to protect yourself. You may also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or (206) 518-9361 (Video Phone — for callers with hearing impairments).
Resources Learn how to reduce your exposure to chemicals by downloading the CDC guide, “How to Reduce Your Exposure to Chemicals at Home, Work, and Play.”
The Texas Council on Family Violence provides information on making a safety plan and a list of family violence service providers across the state. These providers can offer critical services such as 24-hour emergency shelter and advocacy for victims of domestic violence.
Your emotional and mental state of mind affects your physical health. Stress can give you higher blood pressure, make you gain weight and is one of the biggest challenges to better health.
We’ve gathered some great ways to reduce your stress, keep you balanced and support your daily well-being.
Confront stress head-on It’s usually best to face what’s bothering you head-on. Try to work through the issue, resolve it and move on. Sometimes, facing it alone or relying on friends or family isn’t enough. It’s important to seek help like counseling and therapy when you need it.
Take time to breathe When you’re stressed, calm down by taking deep, slow breaths. Try meditation or listen to soft music. Don’t worry about things you can’t control and avoid putting too much on your schedule.
Get a good night’s sleep According to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, it’s important to try to sleep between seven and eight hours every night. You’ll fall asleep more quickly if you start slowing down about an hour before you lay down for the night. Remember to turn off the lights so your body realizes that it’s time to sleep.
Get your sweat on A hard workout, long walk or even a simple stretch can go a long way toward lowering your stress level. Set an alarm to remind yourself and invite a friend along to make working out more fun.
Sometimes, stress signals depression For many people, normal stress can turn into depression and anxiety. These are real medical conditions that need professional attention. Some of the symptoms of depression are:
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness that won’t go away
- Worrying too much, feeling powerless and having panic attacks
- Trouble sleeping
- Persistent feelings of detachment or emptiness
It’s not always easy to ask for help, but it’s the right thing to do. Talk to your nurse or provider about your feelings so they can get you the help you need. You can also call the National Lifeline for Support at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
Resources See what the CDC says on the importance of sleep.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has information on mental health and how to cope with issues here.
One good way to fight stress is with support from others. Learn how with this tool from the Mayo Clinic.
Find plenty of printouts and worksheets to help you manage stress.
Learn more about the symptoms and treatment methods for depression.
Learn more about general mental health issues and treatments.
Life Planning Tool
Be sure you download the Life Planning Tool. Continue to plan for your life ahead. Set priorities, map out goals and plan adventures. Your life is for you to live. Don’t let anything get in your way.