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Celebrate Women's Health Month by Caring for Yourself

By Judy Freedman

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May is Women's Health Month, so if you haven't done anything to take care of yourself this month, then I ask you to take a moment to stop, breathe and be.

My yoga teacher N sometimes reminds us that “we are all human beings and that we should spend more time being instead of constantly doing.”

Now that I am retired from my full-time corporate job, I am learning to adjust to a more flexible schedule—however, I still often feel like I need to be doing rather than being. Maybe it's because I spent 30-plus years doing—taking care of my kids, taking care of my spouse, taking care of my mom, taking care of work, taking care of everyone … everyone, everyone, everyone … but myself.

Sound familiar? Most boomer girls are great caregivers to others but are not great caregivers to themselves.

During the past six years, after losing my spouse, selling my house and emptying out my nest, I've tried to make an extra effort to take better care of myself. It hasn't been easy, but I've learned a thing or two along the way.

Now, as part of May Women's Health Month, I'm going to share some of my tips with you.

  • Do Your Daily Exercise: Every morning I get on my stationary bicycle and pedal away. Now that I am not working, I pedal for 30 minutes. When I was working full-time, I used to pedal for 15 minutes each morning. It's a great time to catch up on my pile of magazines. Throughout the week, I sprinkle in other forms of exercise like yoga, weight lifting and walking. (During the week, as a special treat to soothe my sore muscles, I get a massage because my friend D is a great masseuse or I take a warm bath with Epsom salts and fragrant lavender oil.)
  • Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables: I used to do public relations for V8 Vegetable Juice many years ago and ever since I always try to eat or drink my five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. A 100 percent fruit juice, smoothie or piece of fruit for breakfast, blueberries for lunch, salad and more vegetables for dinner. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I should also add my daily serving of dark chocolate covered raisins—raisins are a fruit aren't they?
  • Take Time to Smell the Roses: I went to the farmer's market to get a sweet potato for dinner. On my way to get the sweet potato I stopped in the flower gardens to see all the beautiful flowers. The colors of the flowers were magnificent, truly magnificent. In addition to my sweet potato, I bought a pot of pink flowers and put the pot in front of my house. Now the pretty flowers brighten my day every time I go outside. (Hopefully, I will remember to water my flowers throughout the summer so that they will not die and will continue to brighten my days all summer long.)
  • Talk to or Listen to Your Friends: My friends help me celebrate my good times and help me manage my bad times. My friends provide fresh perspectives on caring for my loved ones or thoughtful advice when it comes to making some of my big and little life decisions. Sometimes it's great to just talk to my friends and have them listen. Yes, I've learned that listening is not only a good leadership skill for business but a good friendship skill to develop and share with others.
  • Sleep More: Ever since I had kids, I don't get enough sleep. And definitely as a caregiver during the past 30-plus years, sleep deprivation took its toll on my mind, body and spirit. I've seen a sleep doctor, taken sleep medicines and remedies and some nights I just cannot fall asleep or stay asleep, thanks to my menopausal moments. During my life after 50, I'm determined to get more sleep. It's a top priority for me, and it should be for all boomer girls who want to age gracefully.

So, so, so … what are you going to do to take care of yourself during this month and during your life after 50?

This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.

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