Category Archives: Women's health

Sleep: A Healing Tonic

One of the best tonics to promote healing is sleep. Yet far too often the bedroom functions as a multipurpose area where you watch TV, use the computer, pay bills, sort and fold laundry, and do numerous other sleep-interrupting tasks. Your bedroom is not merely a place where a piece of furniture called a bed resides. It is the restorative chamber where you recharge, quiet frayed nerves, regain composure, and center yourself once again.

Consider relocating the TV into the living room. Find more suitable spaces for other items not related to sleep. An assortment of covered baskets in all sizes, styles, and colors can become storage containers for many task materials. This yields a three-fold benefit: getting back a truly functional bedroom, organizing unsightly (but necessary) projects, and adding a personal flair to other rooms.

Here are some hints to help restful sleep come more easily*:

  • Keep regular hours. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, including weekends.
  • Develop a sleep ritual. If you do the same things before you go to bed each night, it will train your body to get ready for sleep.
  • Take some time to relax and unwind before you go to sleep. You may try stretching, relaxation exercises, a hot shower or bath, meditation, or a cup of herbal tea to help you relax and prepare for sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol or other stimulants in the evening.
  • If you are taking a diuretic, try taking it in the morning. Diuretics increase urination, and this may keep you up at night.

Question of the week: What have you found that helps you sleep?

*Tips on getting a good night’s sleep provided by Targeted Health Solutions, MediResource Inc.

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Filed under Lifestyle, Self-Care, Wellness, Women's health

What Have You Done For YOU Lately?

You’re a busy woman, playing so many roles in life. A mother, partner, worker, confidant, problem-solver, listener, breadwinner, master-planner, nurturer, chauffeur, tutor…the list could fill the page! Every waking moment you are revving in high gear taking care of others, and you spend many a sleepless night continuing to stress over all that remains to be done. Yes there are many rewards, but giving your all to others is exhausting!

You cannot keep pushing and neglecting yourself, without it taking a toll on you—mentally physically, and spiritually. This fast-track pace is not sustainable—at least not in a healthy fashion.

What about what YOU need? What have you done for YOU lately?

The demands of your busy life won’t go away. But how you approach them, and how you take care of yourself in the process can change. It’s about self-care. Investing the time and resources necessary to maintain balance and support your health in the process.

When we speak of self-care, it is more than going to the spa, the weekly manicure and pedicure, or the occasional “retail therapy” to lift your spirits. Self-care is a way of thinking and prioritizing that takes care of your most valuable resource—YOU! Self-care is a lifestyle; routine choices and behaviors that provide your mind, body, and spirit with the sustenance needed to function best.

Many women think of self-care as selfish. Nothing can be further from the truth! Viewed another way, taking care of yourself and being at your best is the optimal way of fulfilling your responsibilities to others.

So WeSpeakLoudly is starting this blog to open up a conversation with you about self-care, wellness, and your health. We’ve got lots of information to share including practical tools and tips to improve your health and well-being. We’re regular women just like you who struggle everyday to “walk the talk” and take better care of ourselves. The posts you’ll find here are “battle-tested,” doable, practical, real-world solutions to the complex issues we face everyday.

We are hoping you’ll make WeSpeakLoudly your self-care accountability buddy. Let’s meet here every week for encouragement, fresh ideas, the latest news on women’s health and well-being. We’re building a community of women who support each other—just like you! Comeback next week for Self-Care Tip #1—Sleep!

Question of the week: What have you done for YOU lately?

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Filed under Self-Care, Wellness, Women's health, Women's Support

The Pap Is NOT The Only Test You Need To Prevent Cervical Cancer!

January is Cervical Cancer Month. Here’s your reminder to schedule your cervical cancer screening test. As uncomfortable as you may feel with your feet up in the stirrups, and the speculum inserted in your private parts (yuck!) I strongly urge you to take a few extra minutes and request another test too.

It’s the HPV Test. If you’re 30 or older, the HPV Test is essential to ensure that the two strains of human papillomavirus (or HPV) that cause cervical cancer are detected.

Most people get HPV sometime in their life. The HPV that causes cervical cancer and genital warts is passed by skin-to-skin contact with the genital area. You do not have to have intercourse to get it: any sort of mutual sexual activity can expose you to HPV. Black women in their middle and senior years have the highest incidence of cervical cancer. And just because you are in a monogamous relationship, you are not immune from having HPV.

Just like a cold virus, HPV is usually cleared on its own in a short time. But if HPV does not go away, cervical cancer can develop. But unlike a cold virus, HPV usually has no obvious symptoms. So it takes diligent attention to regular cervical health screenings to make sure HPV is found early.

The HPV Test looks for HPV, the virus that causes abnormal cell changes. the test can be performed from the same sample as your liquid based Pap or can be collected in a separate tube at the time of your Pap test. It is the ideal companion to your cervical health regiment. By having both the Pap and HPV tests, you and your doctor can monitor any cellular changes in your cervix and the presence of HPV.

Believe me my sistahs, there are far too many women who have their Pap Test every year religiously and still their cervical cancer goes undetected. Even more tragic, are the many women who haven’t had any cervical cancer screening or do so infrequently. Are you one of these women?

Cervical cancer is 100% preventable! But it is up to you to take action. Educate yourself! Request the HPV Test! Remind all the women in your life to get their screening annually. To learn the guidelines about getting the HPV Test and take a tutorial on cervical cancer, visit the cervical cancer page on the WeSpeakLoudly website.

Two additional resources that I highly recommend are Tamika & Friends featuring the courageous journey of cervical cancer survivor Tamika Felder, and the digene HPV Test with detailed information from the developer of the HPV Test.

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Filed under Black women, Cancer, cervical cancer, Reproductive Health, Women's health