Latinas are known for our strong family roots, we are solid mothers, daughters, sisters, comadres and friends. This segment of Self-Care is not only one of our favorites, it is probably the most important one because as Latinas taking care of ourselves is the last thing on our list.
In your 20’s you feel invincible, every part of your body is at its best and you can pull all-nighters to study, to party or both! This is the age for fun, and risk but also for prevention, this is where you set the tone for the rest of your life. It is the time that is most easily neglected in self-care because we just don’t see the need, yet it is the best time to develop great healthy habits that will make the decades to come smooth sailing. At this age you want to exercise and push your physical limits, drink water and protect your skin from the sun to slow down the aging process, as much as we like the sexy tanned look, sunblock is your bff.
In your 30’s, you begin to gain the confidence that comes from higher responsibility, and by now you are probably a mom if you chose to have children. All this adulting comes with higher levels of stress, and no safety net, because mom and dad are now only there for real emergencies. (The new pair of boots that was code blue in your 20’s has lost its powers completely). And yes, your body is beginning to change as well. At this age you need to continue the great habits you developed in your 20’s and begin implementing strong self-care techniques such as meditation, me-time, and maybe even therapy. In this decade it is all about mental health to help you keep balance in the newly acquired higher sense of responsibility while enjoying the better things in life. Make time for your friends and extended family, at this age, if you are married, it is easy to get lost in the homelife routine- so make sure to add fun to the mix.
In your 40’s you are ready to take on the world, by now you have seen it all and very little surprises you anymore. You are probably established in your career and your children are teenagers and young adults that can help around with the chores of the household. Sadly, this is also when pre-menopause and menopause start creeping in and you might experience all kinds of hormonal and emotional shifts, this is where the good physical and self-care habits you developed in your 20’s and 30’s begin to pay off- or… if you did not develop those habits, this is where it shows how important they were. Not to worry, if your well-being habits are not all there as they should be, you still have time in this decade to strengthen them and build from where you are. Drink lots of water and exercise regularly, if you haven’t been doing it, this is the time to make it a routine. And for the love of God-GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS ANNUALLY from now on.
In your 50’s and 60’s you begin to take it a little bit slower, you no longer carry the same weight as you did in your younger head-of-household years, and you are so solid in your career that you are now at a place where you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. This is a time to master your craft, explore new avenues and teach the younger generations, perfect for becoming a mentor or joining your favorite charity’s board of directors- that’s right, pass it on, pay it forward! This is a time to let go of all the control, you don’t need to be everything to everyone anymore. Allow others to help around, to share the load giving you some room to try new things such as traveling. Your body however, may not have the same stamina as your dreams so be gentle with it. Reinforce your vitamin intake and keep exercising your body and your mind. Regular check-ups are a must and paying attention to your body is absolutely crucial.
Because human life expectancy is now longer than ever, thanks to technological advances, it is ever more important to start early in caring for ourselves and planning for a long future. This includes our physical health as well as our emotional health. So go ahead, wherever you are at is the perfect place to start.