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(Photo by Bran Sondre)

Often when we think of health, we think (quietly) about illness. We may also think of things outside of ourselves that show up as barriers to better health and well-being.

The barriers: Of Time. Of Money. Of Space. In this New Year, let’s invite ourselves into a self-loving journey towards be er health and well-being. In 2020, our health is in our hands.

Defining Health
First, what does health mean to you? Is it an absence of pain? Is it a certain body size? Or is it simply the safety of the body?

Here’s a touchstone for the first steps on our journey: Sit. Clear your mind and actually inhabit your body. How do you feel? Feet comfortably resting on the floor or ground, body comfortably supported, lower your gaze and take a breath. Feel your connection to the earth. In and out. Try that again.

Now, how do you feel and what does your healthy-self look like? Your map to increased wellness will have similarities to other lesbian, bisexual and queer women, but will always be uniquely your own and will certainly change over time. All the landmarks on your unique health journey are valid.

It may be helpful to think of this journey as a path towards balance. You can change the focus –comfortably adjusting as needed.

Here’s a few reminder landmarks that may help along the way:

Exercise

Walking 10,000 steps equates to about five miles a day, which is quite an increase for those who sit at a desk all day. It comes out to about 90 active minutes a day, which is three times the amount recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, in a study of 17,000 older women, a modest increase in activity significantly decreased the risk of death. Those who took around 4,400 steps per day had a 41% lower risk and this risk continued to decrease until about 7,500 steps, when the correlation between the amount of steps taken and the risk of death leveled off.

All in all, 10,000 steps is not a magic number. The key is moderate daily activity. According to the CDC, simply moving the body can help maintain heart health and reduce stress.

Sleep

Sleep allows your body to heal and regenerate. Sleep also allows you to dream and to vision…Get some sleep. A lack of sleep affects our mental health and the ability to think clearly. It also affects heart and digestive health. See some sleep hygiene tips.

Breathe. Please.

Notice your breath, you may be surprised that it takes some effort…Healthful breathing requires practice and attention. Your entire body and being will thank you!

Eat Well

Don’t rush. Take your time. You are feeding your precious self. Eat as clean and as unprocessed as is possible for you. Welcome whole grains, dark green and leafy vegetables into your bowl.

Drink Clean Water

Filtered when possible. 8-10 glasses a day is the goal.

Be with those who appreciate you just as you are. This means you too…

You know them, make time to receive and share that care

Turn off the noise

Remember, the devices are there to assist you, not to distract you from the reality of YOU. Relax, true quiet restores.

Some journeys need a support team and this one is no different. Choose your team with care. Remember, if your team is not performing well they may need to be replaced.

Medical Visits

Being treated with dignity and respect are a large part of the success of the relationship we have with our medical providers. Do you feel seen and heard? Do you feel you can ask questions? Is your sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression acknowledged in a way that is comfortable to you? If so, great. If not, seek out who you can bring on board who can be a real expert, and who can hear and support your goals to achieve a healthy you.

Some journeys need a support team and this one is no different. Choose your team with care. Remember, if your team is not performing well they may need to be replaced.

 

 

D Magrini
D Magrini
D Magrini is the Assistant Director of Community Commitment & Training at Whitman-Walker Health overseeing cultural competency trainings and education to grow a more inclusive community.