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Nancy Rudner Lugo: Superwoman could be healthier

Nancy  Rudner

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“Women hold up half the sky” and everyone else!

Are you a woman who spends plenty of time and energy taking care of everyone else? That’s pretty common. In fact, many women take care of everyone else and forget to care for themselves.

For example, while every woman older than 40 should get a mammogram every one to two years, one in five women in Florida older than 40 have not had a mammogram in the past two years. Are you that woman? Do you try to be superwoman — caring for others and just not getting around to taking care of you? Women caring for others are less likely to get the care they need for themselves.

A 2011 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows that women ages 45 to 64 have the lowest well-being of any age group or gender, and are worse off than women a generation ago. Why? Caring for aging parents and younger children, caring for everyone and getting to work on time — being superwoman takes a toll. Care giving can be positive — giving that all-important sense of purpose, meaning and connectedness — but it also takes time and energy. This can often result in prioritizing caring for everyone else and neglecting your own care.

What to do?

Carve out time for yourself every day, even if it is in only five-minute increments. Quiet “me” time. I know, easier said than done.

Take good care of yourself with a healthy diet rich in vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Go get that check up you have been postponing.

Add some exercise. I know, it might sound crazy to cope with your overfilled life by adding exercise, but even 20 minutes a day can give you energy, release stress, build muscles and heart strength.

Ask for help. Don’t try to do it all.

Maitland resident Nancy Rudner Lugo is a nurse practitioner and president of Health Action, offering workplace health consulting and nurse coaching. Visit www.healthaction.biz