In the busy modern world, as women, we tend to put pressure on ourselves to do it all. Many of us have to balance work, look after kids (or your other half, which can be just as full on), cook, clean, as well as try to make time for your friends!
This lifestyle of endless multitasking and stress leaves little time and energy to allocate to your own wellbeing, which can have disastrous effects on both mental and physical health.
In New Zealand, the major health issues we face as women include heart disease, cancer (particularly breast and cervical) and osteoporosis – not good. However, by improving your lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of developing these health issues and manage health issues that you may already have – so it is time to take action!
Here are our top tips for getting some balance, and promoting good health:
1) Eat way more veggies
- Add greens such as spinach into your smoothies
- Cut extra vegetables when preparing meals to keep in the fridge for a snack
- Roast a big batch of mixed veggies to last you for a couple of days – you can add them into salads for lunch, pop into a frittata or use them to make an omelette.
2) Include good sources of calcium and iron
It is all too common for kiwi women to fall short of these vital nutrients.
- You can find calcium in dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese, as well as canned sardines or salmon (with the bones in).
- Seafood, such as mussels, are a really great way to get iron. Chicken and white fish also have a little iron too.
- Good plant sources of iron may include: legumes, like kidney beans and chickpeas; tofu and dark leafy green vegetables. Having foods rich in vitamin C at the same time as these plant-based sources of iron is a great idea, as it helps your body to best absorb the iron from these foods. This could be achieved by having fruit straight after or with a meal (kiwifruit, oranges and berries are particularly good), or having lemon, orange or lime juice squeezed over your greens, green leafy vegetables or the dish you make with legumes. For more on the iron content of food, click here.
3) Sit down to eat – mindfully
- Try to focus on what you’re eating, chew each mouthful thoroughly, and stop when you are full.
- Avoid eating at your desk or while watching TV – it can be all too easy to over-eat if you are distracted.
4) Focus on getting quality sleep
- Unwind before and have a little time away from the TV, computer and your phone. Try reading a book, listen to music or even look into meditation.
- Get to bed earlier – I know this can be much easier said than done, but setting a goal of an earlier bed time can be well worth it!
5) Opt for more alcohol free days
- Try non-alcoholic options like soda water or herbal tea, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping, as alcohol can interfere with deep restorative sleep. Check out this blog for some more ideas on how to break the cycle when it comes to boozing.
6) Get Moving!
- Exercise helps to protect you from many diseases and can do wonders for your mental health too.
- This may be vacuuming the house one day and heading outdoors for a walk the next – just make sure you do something each and every day! Also, try to include some other weight bearing exercise such as jogging or working out with weights, as this helps to protect against osteoporosis.
Good luck and enjoy happy, healthier living!