What's Your Health Style?

What’s your health style? Are you a total wellness rock star, healthy-ish, or a little too laid back? (Take our quiz to find out!)

Personally, I know I’ve been in the healthy-ish category for a while. Some days, it’s more the "ish" than the healthy. But I’m working on it! I see myself as a work in progress. I think that’s probably true for most of us. We all know that there are small tweaks we can make to improve our health. There are the obvious ones, like eating better and moving more, and while those are key to a healthy lifestyle, there are other steps that we don’t talk about as much that can help us reach rock star status. What are they? Here are four that I’m focusing on this National Women’s Health Week (May 14–20) and beyond:

Make your well-woman visit an appointment you want to keepOWH Acting Director Nicole Greene

I know an annual checkup isn’t an ideal way to spend part of your day, but liking your doctor can make a big difference. I don’t mind going for my well-woman visit because I actually like my doctor. I trust her, and she knows me — and my medical history. It takes some planning, but I make my appointment well in advance.

Having a relationship with your doctor can make it easier to talk about your health, and those conversations are what the visit is all about. It’s a time to discuss how you’re doing and how you’d like to be doing. Then, together, you can come up with a plan for reaching your health goals. If you’re not sure where to start the conversation, print out your National Women’s Health Week checklist and bring it to your next visit.

Discover healthy ways to de-stress

The pressures of work, family, friends, and the million other things we have going on can be stressful (to say the least). But how we handle stress has a major impact on our health. I recently had to reflect on my coping techniques, because they included a little too much coffee, bread, and wine. My energy was dropping and my weight was starting to rise. This, of course, only added to my stress! That’s when I knew I needed to find healthier ways to relax. When things feel overwhelming, I take long baths and light candles of my favorite scents. I spend time reading, hanging with friends, and getting cozy on the couch in comfy jammies. Also, I swapped morning coffee for decaffeinated tea, and I opted not to keep wine in the house during the week. The result? My energy is back, and I feel so much better — physically and emotionally. What works for me won’t work for everyone, but finding new, healthier ways to deal with your stress will have a big impact on your day-to-day wellbeing.

Expand your skin routine

With the warm weather comes the sun — and the bugs. When it comes to a summer skin regime, sunscreen is a must. Tanned skin is damaged skin, so lather on the sunscreen. You can take it a step further and wear long sleeves, sunglasses, and hats and seek shade whenever possible.

Here’s my less obvious skin care tip — keep the bugs away! Unfortunately, bugs can be more than annoying pests. For example, mosquitoes can carry the Zika virus. Zika virus can be dangerous for pregnant women because they can pass it to their unborn babies, leading to possible birth defects. That’s why pregnant women should avoid traveling to an area with Zika. In my case, I got Lyme disease, a bacterial infection from the bite of an infected tick. Now, I take lots of precautions to prevent bug bites when I’m outside, including wearing bug spray (on top of your layer of sunscreen) and choosing clothing that keeps me covered. Specifically for ticks, wear light-colored clothing so they’re easier to spot, and after a hike, do a full tick check and take a shower.

Put your phone down

Is your phone always going off? Maybe it’s a text message or an alert that a friend posted something new to social media. With all these updates, I found myself reaching for my phone a little more than I thought was good for me. I started by deleting some of my social media apps, and wow! What a difference. I didn’t realize how much stress trying to keep up with everyone’s updates was causing me. If you’re worried your friends will get annoyed that you’re not as active or as responsive, just give them a heads up that you’re cutting back.

This change also removes the desire to check my phone at stoplights, which I see people doing all the time! Using your phone while driving not only endangers you, but everyone else on the road. In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Do yourself and those around you a favor — put your phone away when you’re driving. It could save your life.

I hope you’ll join me in taking steps for better health this National Women’s Health Week. We can reach rock star status together! Start by learning your health style, and then get specific ideas on what you can do for a healthier you.