Practicing self-care is an important habit when maintaining a woman's healthy lifestyle. We have all had moments where we feel overwhelmed, stressed, or over-tired. Without self-care, these experiences become more common. But what exactly is self-care?
Marcy Mulconry, MD, OBGYN at Rochester Regional Health, explains the importance of self-care for women and the various aspects you should consider for your routine.
“Are you finding things within your day, week, month or year that make you feel happy?” Dr. Mulconry asks. “If you’re not feeling happy or fulfilled, are you exploring what else you should or could be doing?”
Improving your life and happiness starts with self-care, but those things aren’t always easy to focus on, especially if you don’t enjoy doing them, explains Dr. Mulconry.
"It’s important to be mindful and to pause and think about what it means to put yourself first—to focus on your own needs, and that's where self-care comes in."
Self-care has several components:
1. Conventional self-care: Schedule regular primary care visits and always have up-to-date immunizations and screenings
2. Physical & emotional health: Maintain a healthy lifestyle, both physically and emotionally
3. Fulfillment and happiness: Ask yourself if you’re setting aside time to think of your personal needs over others
Busy lives can lead to a lack of self-care, so it’s vital to pay attention to your health and wellness needs on a regular basis. Dr. Mulconry provides a list of questions to ask yourself at least once a day:
“Many women put others first. As we get older, we get better at procrastinating when it comes to our own health,” says Dr. Mulconry. “I try to remind my patients that they have to come first for the big things like health, wellness, and happiness. Then you can be better and stronger.”
To keep-up with health and wellness, women should schedule annual visits to their OBGYN for a well-woman exam. Annual exams help prevent problems before they occur or find problems early so they’re easier to treat and less likely to pose a serious health risk.
“A well-woman exam has many different components of wellness, including long-term medical history. Emotional wellness generally takes up a large part of the exam.”
Dr. Mulconry outlines a typical well-woman exam below:
An annual wellness exam is not only about physical health. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, your OBGYN is equipped to meet your needs and discuss mental health.
The importance of health and wellness carries on beyond an annual appointment. Taking time out of a busy schedule to check in with yourself and understand your needs is key to maintaining overall well-being.
Dr. Mulconry recommends tools like calendars, checklists, reminders and meal planners to keep a healthy diet and exercise on track.
“For those who struggle with lifestyle changes, start with baby steps and work your way up. Plan out time for yourself to read a book or do whatever it is that makes you happy.”
As a partner, supporting women and helping them get appointments and tasks on the calendar is the biggest help. Dr. Mulconry emphasizes that offering to give your time while loved ones are at their appointments is paramount.
And of course, she reminds women that asking for help is very important and always okay.
Call your OBGYN office or 585-922-LINK to schedule your well-woman annual visit today!