Women’s Wellness: The Importance of Self-Care

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For many women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, life is very demanding. Between working, caring for children and older family members, and tending to household needs, there seems to be little time for much else. When you are always focused on helping others, it quickly becomes easy to neglect your personal well-being. 

“Women frequently disregard their own health for long periods of time because they tend to put others first such as their spouse, children, parents and friends,” says White-Wilson Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Mary Jean Middleton. “While proactively caring for yourself does consume precious time and energy, it is important to understand the benefits and how prioritizing your own needs can help you in the long-term.”

Women at every age are faced with a multitude of life changes and challenges, both of which can be positive and negative, explains APRN Middleton. The status of parenting, family roles, metabolism, work, interpersonal relationships and hormones all fluctuate throughout a women’s life, and ignoring the body’s needs can often lead to heightened levels of stress or depression, as well as cause more serious health issues down the road.

“Self-care looks different for everyone,” says Middleton. “For example, I have young children and work full-time, so taking a break with a paperback book or playing with my dog allows me some quiet time to myself and an opportunity to take stock of my physical and mental well-being. Making time for those activities helps me decompress and recharge so that I am ready to face whatever life throws my way next.”

The benefits of maintaining your physical and mental wellness can include decreasing the risk of anxiety and depression, improving sleep, bolstering brain health and cognitive function, and benefiting the overall quality of life, elaborates APRN Middleton. Finding what works best for you and then sticking with it will help you discover and fulfill your unique needs.  

Here are some simple examples of how you can include self-care in your day-to-day life:

  • Get moving. Walking, practicing yoga or playing a game can bolster heart health and decrease blood pressure levels.  Strive to get 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day. This can be something as simple as a brisk walk. 
  • Read a book. Taking a break from your phone or computer screen can increase productivity, learning and awareness.  
  • Take a bath. Soaking in warm water before bed can elevate your mood and help you sleep better.
  • Get an annual check-up. An annual wellness exam is a time to address changes in your body and catch potential issues early. Putting these off will only lead to more stress and possibly more issues later. 

APRN Middleton emphasizes that you should not underestimate the power of self-care. Always give yourself priority when divvying up your time and energy because doing so will ultimately strengthen your capacity to focus on those around you. Be sure to visit your primary care provider to receive your annual wellness exam as well as talk through any questions or concerns you may have about your overall health and wellness. 

Mary Jean Middleton, APRN provides comprehensive care at White-Wilson Medical Center in Destin. She works with patients to treat and manage a wide range of urgent health conditions and offers same day appointments. Learn more about APRN Middleton and her approach to patient care here