April is National Black Women’s Health Month. This observance was created to raise awareness and promote healthy lifestyles amongst African American women whom disproportionately suffer from heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The goal is to encourage physical activity and oral health care to achieve better health outcomes amongst black women. This month I have posted tips on caring for your hair while developing an exercise regimen and foods to eat. In this post, I wrap up our tips and provide continuing practices for wellness.
- Practice Oral Hygiene. How are your gums feeling, boo? Practicing good oral hygiene is more than just brushing your teeth twice daily. It includes flossing and visiting a dentist twice per year for a cleaning and exam. I learned in one of my exams that flossing isn’t enough for my oral health. Now I use interdentals to clean the tight spaces between my teeth where the floss was falling short. This helps reduce my chance of developing cavities. Untreated cavities can lead to tooth loss and inflamed gums can occur when there is poor flossing. I also make it a point to never go to bed without brushing and flossing my teeth. As my dental hygienist put it, “You’re baking all the food particles in your mouth overnight.” Yuck! Wouldn’t you like to chew taffy at age 60 and not worry about it pulling your teeth out? Practice oral hygiene today.
- Proper Sleep. Lord knows this is an area I need to work on. Your body needs sleep to replenish itself daily. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system and leaves you more susceptible to colds. It also impairs your ability to make wise decisions. Practice good sleep hygiene by doing the following: 1) Eliminate blue light one hour before bed time aka no screen time in bed; 2) Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day including the weekends; 3) Create an environment conducive to sleep such as dim lights, cool room, and a sleep mist [Bath and Body Works sell sleep mists or you can make your own using distilled water, witch hazel and essential oils]. You also want to avoid stimulating activity or food at night, so no caffeine or going for runs right before bedtime.
- Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a great way to add calm and healing to your day. After a long day at work or a tiring evening home, step into the bath after adding a few drops of lavender essential oil or place eucalyptus oil in the shower and breathe in deeply to feel the tranquil effects. You can make a shower mist and use essential oils to stimulate, calm, or heal you. There are many books you can rent from the library or buy from a bookstore that can teach you the various benefits and how to use essential oils. I like going to the Los Angeles Public Library to rent books or Barnes and Noble to find specialty books.
In conclusion, creating good habits will aid you in living a healthy lifestyle. Let’s intend vitality in all aspects of our lives. What small or big change will you make? Maybe it’s reducing your pop consumption to twice weekly, using honey instead of sugar to sweeten your drinks and foods, exercising 30 minutes daily, or menu planning. I love reading your comments; please let me know how you’re creating a healthy lifestyle and happy last days of National Black Women’s Health Month!