Me Before You Helps You Too! Why Self-Care is Not Selfish

Showing yourself some daily love and kindness is far from being selfish. Self-care promotes health, prevents disease and allows you to maintain balance to find your personal wellness and live a healthy life.

What exactly is self-care?  Plain and simple, it’s taking care of yourself: physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Self-care is the deep and personal commitment you make to yourself on a daily basis in order to stay healthy inside and out.  It is choosing to make healthy choices every day, not just once in a while.  Many chronic diseases including high blood pressure and type 2  diabetes can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a normal weight. No cancer is 100% preventable but according to the CDC, you can lower your risks of breast, cervical, colorectal, lung and skin cancer with managing your personal risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices.  

Taking care of yourself is loving yourself and self-love is especially important in perimenopause and menopause. Midlife women notoriously put their work and family first, neglecting their own needs.  Sound familiar?   What may not sound familiar is knowing that as women transition into menopause, those hormonal changes increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.  Taking the time you need to live a healthier life is clearly not an indulgence.  Even small changes in your daily habits add up to a healthier you.

Make your health a priority.  You only have one you, it’s ok to love yourself.  Maintaining a diet full of fruits and vegetables, avoiding excess weight gain, exercising regularly and limiting drinking alcohol can all decrease your risk of chronic disease.  Allow yourself the time to learn to cook healthy colorful food, develop an exercise routine or practice meditation.  Set aside a few minutes each day to reach out to friends and loved ones to strengthen your mental well being and sense of belonging and support.

Schedule that wellness exam you have been putting off because you are busy.  Use that time to learn about your health. Then make sure you follow up and get your recommended screening testing completed including any lab work, mammograms/ultrasounds and Dexa scans for bone health.  Book a virtual hormone health check up with a menopause specialist to learn about signs and symptoms of menopause even before they happen. Already transitioning to menopause? Prepare yourself for hormonal changes in your body and learn lifestyle interventions that can ease your transition and prevent chronic disease.  Preventing disease is the key to preventing trips to your pharmacy!  Taking charge of your hormonal health is a form of self-care and promotes healthy aging.

Living a healthy lifestyle does take discipline but remember all self-care does not have to be hard work.  Fostering your mental and emotional health  to decrease your stress is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Enjoying healthy activities that bring you pleasure nurtures your mental well being.  So next time you wish to soak in the tub, head to yoga or treat yourself to a massage, do it guilt free!  

Taking time for yourself restores your balance, reinforces your commitment to living a healthy lifestyle and helps you find personal wellness.  Self-care is self-love. Practice it everyday. You are worth it!

Barbra Hanna, DO, FACOG, MSCP

Barbra Hanna, DO, FACOG, MSCP

Dr Barbra Hanna, a board-certified OB/GYN and Menopause Society Certified Practitioner has 25+ years experience in women's health. She founded MyMenopauseRx to fill the void in menopause healthcare.