Living in a fast-paced society makes it hard for women to take care of themselves the way they should. Going to college full-time, working, making time for studying and, on top of that, trying to have some sort of social life leaves little extra time or energy to focus on other important aspects, like one’s health. Here are some quick tips women can easily incorporate into their busy lifestyle to protect their physical and mental well-being. Consider small changes to eating habits. One way to eat healthier is to decrease the intake of high carbohydrate foods, and increase the intake of protein and vegetables. If a person is choosing carbohydrates, eat complex carbohydrates like whole grains rather than the simple carbohydrates found in fruit drinks, candies, chocolates and sweets. Eat vegetables in abundance.
Another important step towards healthier eating is to watch the amount of fat consumed. Less than 10 percent of the intake should come from saturated fat and trans fat. Go for the good fats, like monounsaturated fats found in nuts and peanut butter and polyunsaturated fats found in foods like fish. Aim for three dairy servings a day to get the calcium needed. Remember, one serving is equal to eight ounces of milk or yogurt.
Keep in mind that protein is just as important for women as it is for men. A person should eat one gram of protein for every kilogram of his/her body weight. To find your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. A 150-pound person weighs 68 kilograms, so they would need 68 grams of protein a day.
Boost self-esteem and energy level through exercise. Exercise boosts metabolism as well as a person’s mood. Exercise does not only account for a person’s physical health, but is imperative for mental health as well. It can help relieve stress and improve memory and creativity. Try to exercise for about 20 to 30 minutes, three or more days a week.
A person can break it up in simple steps. Park the car further away from the destination. Walk to north or south campus instead of riding the bus. Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
Some signs of unhealthy relationships include unexplained bruises and injuries, chronic depression, low self-esteem, anxiety or jumpiness and/or excessive concern about displeasing a partner. Even one of these signs can indicate a troubled relationship.
If a female seems involved in a relationship like this, consider talking to her about it supportively. If you are involved in a relationship that might be unhealthy, do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. It is unfortunately a common occurrence, and it is not your fault. To learn how to help a friend or yourself, consider seeking advice at the Counseling Center by calling 610-436-2301, the Women’s Center located on second floor of Lawrence Hall, 610-436-2122 or via The Domestic Violence Center of Chester County’s 24-hour hotline at 610-431-1430.
Take charge of reproductive health. Visit a gynecologist annually for an annual exam and a Pap test. A Pap test is a simple test that can help detect, and possibly prevent, cancer of the cervix. Consider getting the HPV vaccine even if not sexually active.
Another easy cancer prevention tip is to perform self breast exams regularly. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer developed at a young age, and early detection is key to recovery. If a person is having sex, make sure to use a condom every time, even if on the pill or some other contraceptive method. Condoms are the only way to protect one’s self against sexually transmitted infections.
Be smart about recreational drugs. When it comes to drinking alcohol, women are biologically more susceptible to becoming drunk faster due to hormones and body structure. If one chooses to drink alcohol, make sure to eat meals high in protein before drinking. Alternate between alcoholic beverages and water to stay hydrated and pace the buzz.
In order to monitor how much is being consumed and to prevent drink spiking, always pour own beverages. Do not set it down unattended.
When going out with a group of friends, consider having one friend remain sober for the night so s/he can help keep the rest of the group safe even when not thinking clearly.
If a person is using tobacco, consider cutting back or quitting. The Wellness Center can help with a personalized plan, Quit Kits, free medication and other tools.
Do your part. Make health a priority.
Alyssa Walker is a student at West Chester University. She can be reached at AW609519@wcupa.edu.