Now that you’ve decided not to have any more children, it’s time to focus on enjoying your life with your new family. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure these years are the best (and healthiest) of your life.
Taking good care of your physical health can help you prepare for a full and active life ahead. Below are a few tips to ensure your body is as happy and as healthy as possible.
Options change as you do If you’re not planning to have another baby, you need to think about birth control.
As you get older, your birth control needs change. The birth control that worked well for you when you were younger may not work for you now. Talk to your provider to make the best decision for your future.
Download our Life Planning Tool to develop your vision for your future.
30 minutes of healthy
- Stronger heart, muscles and bones
- Less stress
- Better sleep
- Higher energy
- Healthier weight
- Fewer illnesses
Stick to it
Choose an activity you enjoy. Try dancing, yoga, walking or practicing a team sport like basketball and soccer. Just make sure you do it for 30 minutes every day. Ask a friend to join you. You’ll be amazed at how fast time flies!
If you can’t get to the gym, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Enjoy a brisk walk after dinner or do squats while watching the nightly news. No matter what you do, the key to staying healthy is staying active.
For additional resources on exercise and activity, scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Enjoy a healthy menu
A great way to be healthy is to eat healthy. Lean protein, vegetables and fruits should be the foundation of your family’s diet. Look for whole-grain options in breads. Stick to fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat versions of dairy products. Drink plenty of water. Avoid foods with high salt content, as well as those high in saturated fats.
Get additional help with nutrition with the resources at the bottom of this page.
Put down the puffs
Take the first step to a healthier lifestyle with the decision to quit smoking. Do it for yourself and your family.
It’s important to remember that every smoker is different. To be successful, you don’t need a one-size-fits-all plan. You need a one-size-fits-one. If you’re ready to start, we recommend you take a look at My Quit Plan. It can help you choose the plans that make the most sense for your life.
Early withdrawal symptoms are often the biggest hurdle for those wanting to quit smoking. But often, symptoms and cravings will pass in about 20 minutes. If you don’t make plans for handling withdrawal, success will be more difficult.
Medications can make it easier
Medications like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or other medications have been shown to double chances for success.
Discuss these medications with your clinician and together you can find the 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)
While the first two weeks are often the most difficult, it’s important to view these times as the beginnings of a healthier life.
Find support for success
Quitters who gain the support of family and friends and take advantage of counseling programs have the best chance of success. So, don’t keep your plans to quit a secret.
Resources like the Texas Quitline are convenient and flexible. Trained counselors talk to you over the phone and help create a quit plan built just for you. You’ll get tips that help you overcome your barriers as well as support that will help offset cravings.
Remember to reward yourself for each day that you don’t light up
A reward of some kind, like renting an online movie or calling a close friend, helps to remind yourself that what you’re doing is important. And it is!
For more help and resources around quitting smoking, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Manage your chronic conditions successfully
Problems such as diabetes, mental illness, obesity, high blood pressure and thyroid disorders can be managed successfully. Work with your primary care provider to find a specialist who can help you find solutions to your daily challenges. There are many treatment options that can help you maintain or improve your quality of life.
Get checked for STIs
It’s important to have regular screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) Even if you or your partner don’t have symptoms and feel fine, you can still pass on infections. Talk to your provider and seek treatment of STIs if needed. Untreated or undiagnosed STIs can go from treatable conditions to life-threating issues.
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.
Gather information and tips to help you create your new non-smoking environment so you can stay smoke-free. For starters, visit the American Cancer Society.
Learn more about the different types of STIs and how to avoid contracting them.
Make sure your surroundings support your healthy lifestyle. Follow these guidelines to avoid exposure to toxins, hazards and conditions that could affect your health.
When you’re at home or work, avoid dangerous substances. These include pesticides, cigarette smoke, solvents, asbestos, lead and industrial chemicals. Be sure to cook all meat thoroughly. Avoid raw, unpasteurized milk and cheeses to prevent infections.
Financial issues are one of the leading causes of stress in the home. Work with your partner and learn how to manage your money together. Working together, you and your partner can create a healthy home built on trust, support and respect.
Before they were your support network, your partner, friends and family were your social network. Remember to take time and enjoy a night out with friends or a movie night with your partner. Go out and have fun every once in a while. It’s good for you.
Getting help for violence and abuse
If your partner monitors your activities, tries to stop you from going to work or seeing friends and family, abuses you or publicly humiliates you, you are victim of domestic abuse. However, these are not the only examples. Violence can take many forms.
If you are experiencing violence or abuse in your home or work environment, we urge you to visit Womenshealth.gov to find resources 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).
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 a listing 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.
Reduce stress to make sure your emotional and mental health don’t harm your physical health.
Stress can cause high blood pressure and weight gain. Spend time now to figure out what helps you reduce stress. It will pay off throughout your life.
Face the stress
Address whatever is causing you stress as soon as possible. Then create a plan to find a solution. Sometimes, this requires the help of friends or family. In some cases, counseling and therapy may be required.
Control your breathing
Most people take shallow breaths when stressed. However, deep breathing is much more effective. Using abdominal breathing helps your body relax and mange a stressful situation. You can also try a meditation or yoga class to learn additional ways to relax.
Sleep, sleep, sleep
It’s not enough to sleep. It has to be a good sleep. Experts say a good night’s sleep lasts seven to eight hours. To fall asleep faster, relax long before the lights go off. Turn off your computer or mobile device. Read a magazine. Sing your children a lullaby. Get some fresh air. And remember to turn those lights and television off. A dark room makes for better sleep.
Get your sweat on
Grab some sweats and get ready to move. Whether it’s a long walk, a hard cardio workout or some simple yoga positions, exercise makes you feel better and happier. Want to make it more enjoyable? Invite a friend or start tracking your workout progress through an online fitness tool.
Could it be more than just stress? Sometimes it’s stress. And sometimes it’s something more.
It’s important to know when stress starts becoming something more serious, including depression and anxiety. These are critical medical problems that affect many people each and every year.
If you are feeling sad, hopeless or have empty feelings that won’t go away, these could be symptoms of depression. It’s important to remember that there are many other possible symptoms including, but not limited to, having trouble sleeping and feeling detached.
You may be suffering from anxiety if you find yourself worrying too much, feeling powerless and having panic feelings that won’t go away.
And while it’s not easy, the right thing to do for yourself and your family is to ask for help. Discuss your feelings with your nurse or provider. They can get you the help you need. You can also call the National Lifeline for Support at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
For more information on getting help, the Texas Department of State Health Services has information here.
You can combat stress through the help of a support group. Learn more with this tool from the Mayo Clinic.
Review these informative documents to help you manage stress.
Educate yourself on the symptoms and treatment methods for depression.
Learn more about mental health issues that affect women and treatments for those issues.
Life Planning Tool
Identify your goals for the future. Discuss with your partner and see where you want to go, what you want to see and where you want to end up. With the Life Planning Tool, you and your partner can plan for a future based on your hopes and dreams. You can download it here.