As we are coming to the end of this blog series addressing Covid-19 and the vaccine, we want to empower you to become an EXPERT over your health. So, let’s talk about some of the things you need to get where you want to be when it comes to managing your health.
So many times we tend to prioritize other things instead of our health. Stressful jobs, family life, and consuming too much technology can take away the me-time that many of us need and require. Practicing self-care is not always easy and is usually last on the to-do list. Self-care is something you may often hear about in conversations with friends, family, co-workers, or even on social media. However, it is a term that has taken on different meanings in our community but ultimately it means taking action to preserve or improve your health.
When we finally set aside a little time for ourselves, reading a book in a quiet corner, taking a long drive, or even setting up an appointment to see our doctor, guilt can take over because of the time required to take care of ourselves. Do not allow that to stop you! Self-care is essential to your OVERALL health. Due to health disparities in the United States, Black and African Americans suffer from some of the most common diseases in America at a higher rate: Obesity, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer (highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers).
Black women experience maternal mortality at a rate two to three times higher than white women, and African American infants are 3.2 times more likely to die from complications related to low birth weight. Due to the stigma of mental health, only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. Holistically we want you to take care of yourself from the inside out, so below are a few lifesaving steps.
Addressing these large health disparities will take time, but you can start with yourself:
- Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet with Plenty of Fresh, Non-Processed Foods: Choose a nutritious meal with more protein and fiber and less fat, sugar, and calories.
- Drink Water and Stay Hydrated: Limit sugared beverages and drink at least eight glasses of water daily.
- Take Multivitamin Supplements: To make sure you have sufficient levels of nutrients; a daily multivitamin may be a good idea.
- Measure and Watch Your Weight: Obesity has been associated with increased risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more. Even moderate weight loss can make a significant difference to your health.
- Exercise Regularly: Even a little bit of physical activity can make a difference. Get up and move as often as you can. Take a walk and let that breath of fresh air in. Vitamin D is a mood changer and gives you the energy you need to get through the day.
- Use Sunscreen: Yes, Black people need sunscreen too. SPF 50, to be exact. We want to keep that black from cracking and skin cancer away!
- Go Easy on Alcohol: Drinking in moderation is ok. This means no more than 1- 2 drinks in a day.
- Avoid the Use of Cancer-Causing Agents: Do not use tobacco, vape products and drugs. That’s It!
- Reduce Screen Time & Sitting: Set a timer to limit your screen time and get up and move as often as you can.
- 10.Sleep, Sleep, and More Sleep: There is a strong connection between sleep quality, quantity, and your immune system. Getting enough sleep is not a luxury; it’s something you need for good health.
- 11.Limit Coffee Consumption: Although coffee has its benefits, there can still be too much of a good thing.
- Socialization: Independence is great, but keeping in touch with friends who are like family, and family that we love, is important to our health and wellbeing. Two years without closeness is enough. Go to dinner with friends, throw a family dinner in a ventilated or open space, or grab tea or coffee with a loved one. You won’t regret it!
- Take Time to Relax: Self-affirmations, journaling, relaxing in a hot bath, taking a short trip to a spa, or a long trip to a small island, are some of the many ways we can take care of our health; Do what brings you peace.
- Get in Tune with your Emotions: Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Take time to address your emotions and know that seeking therapy is perfectly OK.
- Make Sure You are Covered with Healthcare: In 2021, 11.8 percent of Black Americans had zero health insurance. How about you? Are you covered? If you don’t have health insurance now is the time to find out if and when you qualify to get some.
- Find a Primary Care Physician: Have a primary care physician you can TRUST. PCP Conversation Guide
You can’t wave a magic wand or pull a rabbit out of a hat to get the “perfect” health you hope for, but you can create a health plan to help you get there. Be intentional about your self-care and wellbeing. It’s OK to step away from the madness we call life and BREATHE. We shouldn’t have to wait to exhale, and self-care is the way to do this. It is important for everyone. An effective health and self-care plan tailored to your needs and lifestyle can help get you too happy and healthy.
Remember, this life you have is precious. If the last two years of COVID-19 have taught us anything, it’s that NOW is the time to Become an Expert Over Your Health. Find a primary care physician. Have a health plan in place. Take care of your mind, body, and soul. Finally, RELAX! You’ll get there sooner than you think.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.GOV) https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=61
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html
American Psychiatric Association (APA) https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/cultural-competency/education/african-american-patients
This blog is accurate as of the date of posting. Information changes rapidly, so check the state’s COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date info at coronavirus.wa.gov. You can also sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.
To become an expert over your health, please visit https://weconsiderwa.org/our-choice/ to download the helpful form to assist with your PCP interview, and to answer questions you may have; and for a list of qualified doctors to help you ger started on your wellness journey.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 5 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.
WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today: WANotify.org
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington State may be found on our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.