Women in Health: Dr. Susan Lee

AdventHealth’s Dr. Susan Lee

The Women in Health series is presented by AdventHealth

Actionable Ways to Meet Women’s Health Goals in 2022

Early in the new year, many women are focused on what they can do to be healthier. This “new year, new me” mindset often comes with resolutions to exercise more or eat healthier—which if we’re honest, many give up after a few weeks or months.

This sometimes happens because health advice is often generalized to fit both men and women.

“Women are unique creatures, and general health tips don’t always apply—especially during the stages of adolescence, pregnancy, and menopause,” says Susan Lee, a family medicine physician with AdventHealth Medical Group, who has practiced for nearly 30 years. “Important areas of overall female health are complex, as women are generally more emotionally driven, nurturing, and sensitive.”

As you make health goals for the upcoming year, Lee says it’s important to identify what truly matters—often resolutions fail if there’s not a change in heart or mindset inspiring those goals.

“In the new year, we all make—or at least contemplate—resolutions or changes that we would like to see happen in the upcoming year,” says Lee. “This can include healthy eating habits, weight loss, regular exercise, etc. In my experience, those things don’t happen unless there is a change of heart that goes along with those resolutions. Only when we address our spiritual and emotional side do we really make that kind of lasting change.”

While body-focused resolutions like healthier eating, weight loss, and exercise are sometimes helpful, those goals are easier to reach when our emotional health is prioritized. According to Lee, here’s what you should look out for to meet your social, mental, and physical health needs:

Many of us have experienced social isolation during the pandemic. In 2022, it’s time to prioritize social activities (while still being mindful of personal and community health). The human mind and body need social interaction to stay healthy. Studies have shown social isolation is more detrimental to health than obesity, smoking ten cigarettes a day, or drinking too much alcohol.

Conversations with other women about relationships, life events (especially the hard times), and health remind you that you’re not alone. Finding common ground and exploring one another’s gifts and talents draw inspiration, and you might even get some tips on exercise routines, recipes, child care, home remedies, and more. Women from all walks of life can help one another navigate experiences unique to womanhood.

Women are often multi-taskers, which can be taxing on mental and overall health. A lot of factors go into taking care of mental health, but here’s where you should start:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep is essential.
  • Spend time outside in the fresh air and sunshine. 
  • Exercise is a great stress reliever. To see the best results, exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week. It matters less what you’re doing for exercise and more that you are doing it. 
  • Take time each week to engage with real people and unplug from electronics. 
  • If you are struggling with your mental health, always reach out to your doctor.

Good nutrition is vital to general health, preventive care, and immune system boosting. Books such as South Beach Diet, Wheat Belly, and The Virgin Diet are great resources for meal planning. Watch out for refined and processed foods, GMO’s, added hormones, and added antibiotics. Our immune systems may treat these foods as foreign,  resulting in physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, gut issues, joint pain, weight gain, and more. 

For some people, supplements are important for optimal health. Vitamin C, zinc, quercetin, selenium, magnesium, and vitamin D are essential for cellular health. For energy and cognitive function, probiotics and humic and fulvic acid supplements are a great help. These natural approaches to health can be used alongside traditional medicine to help prevent and treat disease. Seek guidance from your doctor to help determine what supplements your body may need.

Here’s to a happy and healthy new year, and may we all reach our health goals!