This year for National Women’s Health Week, we tip our hats to all that women have done during the COVID-19 pandemic — and remind women of all ages to make their health a priority.
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has been tough on everyone. However, many women have stepped up and taken on extra responsibilities, often putting their own well-being on the bottom of their “to-do” list.
Whether managing their children’s virtual education, caring for older loved ones, or juggling work and household responsibilities, women take care of others every day. This week, Hackensack Meridian Health is reminding women that they can’t take care of everyone else if they don’t take care of themselves first.
It’s like they say on the airplane: You have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others!
Hackensack Meridian Health internal medicine specialist Nora Tossounian, M.D., has seen the results of women putting their health on hold during the past year to care for others.
“Postponing preventive screenings such as wellness checks, mammograms, and gynecological exams can have serious consequences, including diagnosis at a more advanced stage of illness,” said Dr. Tossounian.
And because substance use and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression have been on the rise during the pandemic, Dr. Tossounian said it is especially important for women to seek help if they are struggling.
“Because women often wear many different hats, some may be having trouble coping with economic, emotional, and logistical stressors associated with the pandemic,” said Dr. Tossounian. “We want to encourage women to seek the mental health care they need — so they can be their best for the people they love.”
Pamela Schultz, M.D., Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist with Jersey Shore University Medical Center, said preventive gynecological care is especially important for the early detection of female reproductive cancers, as well as benign conditions that can affect a woman’s health.
“Having an annual gynecological exam and following your doctor’s recommendations for mammograms and Pap tests can help to detect breast and cervical cancers early when they are easier to treat,” said Dr. Schultz. “We understand that women are busy, so we make it as convenient as possible to schedule appointments for preventive screenings.”
Dr. Schultz also said there is no reason for women to postpone preventive care due to COVID-19 concerns.
“All of our enhanced safety protocols that were created during the early days of the pandemic remain in place,” said Dr. Schultz. “Our facilities are safe and ready to care for women in our communities.”
To the women who sacrifice so much to care for the well-being of others, taking care of yourself isn’t just empowering — it’s selfless, and it’s smart!
Upcoming Virtual Well-Being Programs for May
To help you jumpstart your commitment to your own well-being, we have lots of great virtual programs to help you get started:
- Grounding Meditation, May 6
- Mind-Body Skills, May 6
- Women and Heart Disease, May 6
- Nutrition for Self-Care, May 6
- What is Crohn’s Disease? May 6
- Eating the Mediterranean Way, May 11
- Mid-Day Mindfulness Meditation, May 18
- Gynecology Conditions, What Your Doctor Can’t Tell You in 15 Minutes, May 19
- Breast Health Awareness, May 21
- Women Over 50: From Hot Flashes to Healthy Bones, May 22
- Getting Ready for Summer: Exercising the Right Way!, May 27