October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I had the pleasure of hosting a Facebook Live event on Saturday with my friend Kim, who is a breast cancer survivor. We had some technical difficulties and our sound quality was iffy, but we talked about different ways to make your home a healthier place for everyone in your family.
Today I thought I’d share some simple hacks you can implement to make your home healthier, particularly as it pertains to cancer risks.
- Stay physically active. Think about what you enjoy as you think about physical activity. Not everyone is a runner, and that’s okay. Maybe you like to play frisbee golf, or you’re a hiker or you’d rather paddle a kayak. Do the thing you prefer for your health. If all else fails, try an app like Couch to 5K or this 12 week workout plan on You Tube. I like walking my dog, and fortunately that gets done almost every day. If you keep everything you need near your workout spot, you’ll have fewer barriers to getting out the door. I have known people who sleep in their workout gear so they’re already good to go when they get up in the morning. If you don’t like exercising in the rain, designate space in your home for a treadmill or exercise bike. No excuses friend. It’s time to get active
- Look out for your mental health. This includes finding ways to stay connected, even in these strange Covid times. Isolation can be a killer in terms of your mental health. Call your mom, your best friend or your sister-or all three! Phone calls are virtually free and it’s always good to touch base with people you love. There is nothing wrong with connecting with a counselor or therapist if you need to. There are even online options for you! If you have a health concern or even an addiction, seek out a support group like Celebrate Recovery to overcome your hurts, habits and hang-ups.
- Quitting tobacco of all kinds helps turn your health around. This is both a no-brainer and a difficult thing to do. I have heard that tobacco is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, but this is the number one thing you can do to help yourself be healthier. A few tips: talk to your doctor, call your local quit line, find someone who will help you be accountable and find something to do to keep your hands busy while you’re learning to live without the nicotine.
- Eat healthfully. Having a pantry full of good-for-you foods helps you to make good decisions when time is tight. Making sure your pantry is well organized so you can easily see what you have really makes a difference here. Start making choices in the grocery store that include more fiber, lower fat, a variety of nutrients and a rainbow of produce. I’ve found that ordering groceries for delivery or pick-up reduces the number of items I buy on impulse. I’m less inclined to splurge on ice cream or candy bars when I’m not actually in the aisles.
- Keep track of your calendar. Be sure to schedule a mammogram every year. Early detection is a vital part of overcoming an unwanted diagnosis. Additionally, make sure you’re meeting with your doctor on a regular (at least yearly) basis. We are far enough past the beginning of the pandemic to know of safe practices for visiting the doctor. Don’t put off your medical needs out of fear. If your schedule has a little extra time in it this month, start scheduling those appointments!
This topic hits close to home. I’ve had friends overcome breast cancer, and others who have overcome other cancers. I’ve also lost friends and family members including my mom to cancer. I currently have three friends in the battle right now. From my vantage point, I can pray for and support them, and boss the rest of you into making good decisions for yourselves. Take care.