Special focus: Women’s Health Month
In August we celebrate Women’s Health Month, with the focus on issues that touch women’s everyday lives.
Having friends is an important part of life – especially for women, who thrive when they have strong, supportive female friends. This week we’re celebrating female friendships by taking a look at how you can support your girlfriends by helping them stay safe and healthy, and live well.
Girlfriends’ Health and Support Tips
Eat healthy when getting together
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a piece of cake at a birthday celebration or special occasion, try to make healthy choices in what you eat and drink whenever you meet up with your girlfriends. Remember that it’s a lot harder to say no to less healthy food options when your friends are indulging, so be mindful when you or one of your girlfriends are trying to make good food choices. A healthy weight contributes to good health now and also as you age.
Get active while having fun
Exercise is great for your body and your mood – and even more so when you do it with friends. Use the time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company while getting your heartrate up and enjoying the health and mood-boosting benefits. Committing to exercising with a friend will also help you stick to a routine.
Help your girlfriends through hard times
We all go through tough times, which can make us feel lonely and isolated. A friend who is suffering from a chronic or mental illness, who is stuck in an abusive relationship or dealing with the loss of a loved one may lead a complicated life for a period of time. Do what you can to be supportive and encouraging, and recognise that it may be a challenging time for you and your friend. Be informed and take care to maintain your own mental and physical health.
Help before, during and after pregnancy
Battling to conceive, falling pregnant with your first child and the first 6 months after baby is born are often very stressful periods in women’s lives. Support and encourage your girlfriends who are struggling by giving them practical advice, allaying their fears or just listening when they need a sympathetic ear. And once baby is born, simply pitching up and helping with the dishes, washing or house cleaning will go a long way.
Empower each other to take control
If one of your girlfriends is not taking care of her health, is being careless, or is putting herself or others at risk, let her know, or tell someone who can help. Encourage her to get professional help if it’s needed, and support her throughout her recovery.
Don’t let alcohol, tobacco or prescription drugs come between you
More and more women are binge drinking (four or more drinks on one occasion), and in the process putting their health – and even their lives – at risk. Meanwhile, prescription painkiller overdoses are also a growing problem among women. Drinking excessive alcohol, smoking and abusing prescription drugs are bad for your health and can be very dangerous. If you see a friend struggling, or find yourself unable to cope without any of these substances, ask for help and get information about drug and alcohol treatment programs in your local community.
Be a great role model
Be a good example to your girlfriends by getting regular check-ups, screenings and other health care you need. Try to manage your stress, get enough sleep, take steps to live a healthier life and don’t forget to take time to enjoy the little things.