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Ladies – this one’s for you!

National Women’s Health Week is May 10-16, 2020 and we’re reaching out to all the ladies in West Orange! Now’s the time to be a proactive champion for your health.

First things first, if you haven’t already, get your well-woman exam or annual physical. Well-woman exams are an important part of being proactive to take charge of your health and include screenings like: MammogramCervical Cancer & Pelvic ExamBone DensityPreconception CounselingPregnancyOsteoporosisMenopause, and Mental Health.

There’s no time like the present, and a full check-up keeps you in the driver’s seat and in control of your health journey. Oh yeah, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your doctor has your back.

Your health journey is unique, and we know you’ve learned many lessons along the way. Let’s celebrate women by sharing the valuable advice they have for younger generations about all things health and wellness.

A Letter from Women to Their Younger Selves

We asked a few wise ladies from their 30s to 80s what they would say to their younger selves in regards to physical health, mental health, relationships, skincare, hair care, and more! Here’s what they said:

Dear, Younger Self:

“Just a note to my younger self. Thank you for getting a well-woman exam when you were 16. It has made all the difference for staying on top of my health over the years, but at the same time you should avoid being in the sun too much and use sun screen regularly. You’ll pay the price later, like I have. Make sure you start exercising regularly too. The older you get, physical activity is so important. So start now! Most of all what I want to say to you is be happy and put a smile on your face. Life is good the older you get.”

– Kathy, 56

“So many things I wish I could tell my younger self… stay out of tanning beds and wear sunscreen: skin cancer is no joke. Learn how to save money and make a budget. You will have a good paying job one day and it is important to have a good foundation with saving and planning for the future. Learn the power of saying no. It’s okay that you don’t always make people happy, you need to do what’s right for you!”

– Ashley, 35

“A letter to my younger self. You have a long journey ahead and need to take care of yourself by eating healthy and exercising. Stay away from the sweets and sugar. They are a terrible temptation. Make sure you decide what’s important to you and what’s not. Dwelling on small stuff can be a waste of energy. Finally, keep your mind strong. Life is full of surprises. You have to learn to not be overwhelmed and get depressed. Always keep a smile on your face and think positive. Remember, it’s one day at a time!”

– Marilyn, 80

“There are two pieces of advice I’d love to give my younger self. #1 – Stop stressing over the small stuff! I wasted so much energy and time in the past being worried about things that I couldn’t control. It didn’t make me feel any better, and by now, I can’t even remember most of what I was stressed about. #2 – Stop tanning! I used to lay out in the sun all day trying to get the perfect tan. Now, I’m trying to protect my skin in whatever way possible.”

– Lesa, 42

“1. Really choose to LIVE in the moment and enjoy every step of the journey more, instead of focusing on the end or a particular time or event to happen, the journey is life… enjoy it!    2. Make more time for Grandparents and Family, time will take them way too soon…….ask them about their childhood and growing up, I find myself treasuring the time I have now with those still alive… but it makes me sad I didn’t prioritize more time in my younger adult and parenting days to make the trips to visit more or attend reunions!  3. Embrace faith and really dive deep, it is the answer to everything.”

– Tracy, 59

“I would tell my younger self not to lay in the sun to bake without sunscreen! We used to use dark tanning oils that had no protection and we got sunburnt all the time. I would also say don’t be afraid to try new things even if they seem scary. Oh, and don’t worry about what other people think of you!”

– DiAnn, 54

“I would tell my younger self to learn how to use mindfulness. Life is stressful and as a woman I think we feel as if we have to take it all on or fix it all, stress takes a toll! Your mental health is fragile and needs to be cared for. In terms of healthy relationships: You are deserving of a great partner, be picky, don’t be afraid to stand on your own until that person stands out as the one. You are stronger than you think and you’re worth it! Get all your annual checkups: mammograms, gynecology, physical, eye exam, skin exam, dental check. Knowing your baseline and maintaining your health can save your life!”

– Marcia, 55

“The healthiest relationship you need to have is with yourself. Without that, any other relationship will be behind the “8-ball”.

– Theresa, 59

“If you are not feeling right about something or feeling anxious, talk to somebody you know well and trust. Practice good hygiene, very important.”

– Karen, 80

“The first advice I would give my younger self is to NOT get married too young! I got engaged at 18 years old, and got married at 21. Two months later, I found out I was pregnant. Everything happed too fast and I never had the opportunity to enjoy my twenties, thirties and forties. Right now, I’m trying to live out my golden years. The second advice I would give to my younger self is to avoid relaxing your hair. As a young child, my mom would relax my hair because my hair was hard to manage. I continued to relax my hair as an adult, but stopped twenty years ago.  I didn’t realize the chemicals it contains and how dangerous it is for you. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it. I would keep my afro.”

– Luz, 55

“This is what I would tell my younger self. Everything does not need to be perfect. You spend so much time worrying that everything goes well, that you do not enjoy yourself. Also, spend more time with your parents. They will not be here forever. If you lose your parents suddenly like I did, you will regret missing out on those opportunities.”

– Gayle, 62

To all women out there, make your future self proud and prioritize your health now! We want to hear your advice too. Let us know what you’d tell your past self below.

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