Making Self Care a Priority is Not Selfish



One out of two women reading this article is not making the time to focus on her health – which one are you?
Do you write “Get flu shot” at the bottom of your to-do list every year, but never manage to cross it off? Do you postpone scheduling health screenings because you’re too busy balancing work and the needs of others, and there simply aren’t enough hours to get it all done?

If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. When GCI Health partnered with Redbook magazine and HealthyWomen, we polled more than 1,000 women between the ages of 30 and 60 about health habits for themselves and their families. We found that nearly half just don’t make their own health a priority.

This is because women feel caught between their health goals and what others expect of them. While we’re often the ones making the healthcare decisions for our families, we’re not quite as proactive when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Thirty percent of the women we surveyed skip regular health screenings, citing their job as the main scheduling conflict. A whopping 80 percent feel like there’s no way to delegate their family’s healthcare, and more than half admit that they feel stressed out even thinking about it.

It can all start to feel like a vicious cycle. When you don’t take care of yourself, it negatively impacts your ability to care for your loved ones. Our survey revealed that women who don’t make time to get their important screenings, like mammograms, pap tests, eye exams and blood pressure, end up having more health issues later in life.

At GCI Health, we’re committed to partnering with HealthyWomen to turn these statistics around. We kicked off the #BeHealthiher movement to encourage women across generations to prioritize their wellness and, for the past year, we’ve been giving them tools to become a “healthier her” for themselves, their families and society. We’ve also been reaching out to employers and encouraging them to make sure their employees, both women and men, are taking time to address their health and schedule doctor appointments.

As cold and flu season ramps up and hectic holiday schedules leave us with even less free time, prioritizing your health is more important than ever. As our survey also revealed that 97% of women say their stress levels are moderate to high, here are a few ways to slow down, check in and take better care of yourself.

Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate. If you have too much on your plate at work or at home, ask for help. Give yourself permission to let go of tasks that are standing in the way of healthier habits.

Schedule that Checkup. Don’t wait for a window of opportunity, make one. Schedule a doctor’s appointment and communicate your availability to your bosses, colleagues and family. Having it on the calendar is a mental commitment that will make you feel more accountable to your health.

Take a Mental Break. Don’t be afraid to slow down when you’re feeling overworked, sick or stressed. Go for a walk, meditate or take a day off work if you need to recharge. You’ll be more focused when you return.

Get Social. Posting a photo of your self-care moment on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter could inspire others to prioritize their health. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #BeHealthiher.

Remember, even small steps like these can help you take a more active role in managing your own well-being. When you put your health first everything else falls into place – so don’t wait!

Written by: Wendy Lund