May 12 marks the beginning of this year’s Mother Day celebration. And while everyone knows Mother Day as a time when they can honor the love of the first woman in their life, not many realize that Mother’s Day is also the beginning of National Women’s Health Week.
Many people typically celebrate Mother’s Day by spending time with their mother or by getting them something special for the occasion. However, if you’re looking to celebrate Mother’s Day in a unique way that your mom will appreciate, then supporting the cause for women’s health is certainly the way to do it.
As women around the world join in the advocacy started by National Women’s Health Week, this article takes a brief look how it all began, what this week is all about, and how you can participate in this week-long celebration of promoting women’s health.
History of Mother’s Day
The tradition of celebrating motherhood has existed all the way back in ancient times. The Greeks paying tribute to Cybele and the Romans honoring the festival of Hilaria are both examples of this. Another festival called Mothering Sunday was celebrated by early Christians and can be attributed as one of the precursors of Mother’s Day.
Mothering Sunday was typically celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent and had practitioners travel to the church closest to their home (known as their “mother church”) for a special service. Eventually, Mothering Sunday moved away from its religious roots and saw children give flowers and other tokens to their mothers during this time.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that we would see the modern incarnation of Mother’s Day became an institution in the United States. Ann Reeves Jarvis organized local clubs as a way to teach mothers how to better care for their children. These clubs rallied mothers during time and was even a strong proponent for peace during the factions that fought in the Civil War.
The efforts of Ann Reeves Jarvis served as a strong inspiration to her daughter, Anna Jarvis, who was determined to see Mother’s Day become an official holiday that needed to be added to the national calendar. She organized the first Mother’s Day celebration in May 1908, where thousands of people joined in the event.
Jarvis wrote petitions to newspapers and politicians, advocating for Mother’s Day to become an official holiday. In the following years, many states began celebrating Mother’s Day as an annual holiday and Jarvis even started an organization named Mother’s Day International Association to help promote this day.
Her efforts finally bore fruit in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson approved of Mother’s Day becoming an official holiday. The new holiday would be celebrated on the second Sunday of May moving forward.
Today, Mother’s day has become one of the biggest holidays celebrated around the world. While other countries have their own ways of celebrating Mother’s Day, there has always been one day dedicated each year that honors the sacrifice and hard work that mothers put in for their children.
About National Women’s Health Week
National Women’s Health Week coincides with Mother’s Day each year and encourages women around the world to prioritize their health. This year marks the 20th celebration of the event from May 12 to May 18, 2019. Taking point on spreading the word about National Women’s Health Week is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH).
The OWH has joined with various celebrities, athletes, and other high profile personalities, who have taken up the cause for women’s health and have volunteered as ambassadors in its support. The government organization has partnered with various other federal groups and supporters that help hold events, spread the word on social media, and ask their respective members to join in celebrating National Women’s Health Week.
The OWH website also has various custom promotional assets that anyone can use to show that they support the cause for women’s health issues.
Five Ways to Participate in National Women’s Health Week
There are many things that women can do to support National Women’s Health Week. Since living a healthy lifestyle takes top priority during this time, here are just a few suggestions that can help support this particular cause.
Get an Examination and Take Preventive Care Measures
Getting regular check-ups is a good way to detect any potential health issues that can occur. Many conditions like urinary tract infection can still be managed properly with the right treatments, especially if it’s detected early. Preventive care can go a long way when it comes to treating various diseases. This is why it’s recommended to always get regular screenings to detect any possible health problems and seek the proper treatment while it’s still early.
Have a Balanced and Nutritious Diet
Many underestimate the value of a healthy diet, so this is one aspect of healthy living that is usually the most neglected. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping an eye on your daily calorie intake, it’s important to take other things into consideration like adding vegetables for the added fiber, cutting down on fatty foods, or choosing foods with less sugar in them.
Pregnant women especially need to be more particular with their diet. Making sure they intake enough folic acid on a daily basis can ensure that their pregnancy will be less at risk from complications. It’s recommended to consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, which can be taken in the form of pills or in the food that they eat.
Finally, it’s important to make sure that alcohol consumption is done in moderation. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to many harmful health issues in the long run. For women, drinking a single bottle of beer or a glass of wine a day shouldn’t be any problem and can even have some improved health benefits as long as this isn’t done in excess.
Get in Shape and Exercise
When complementing a good diet with regular physical activity, then you can expect improved health benefits and lower the risk of health conditions like heart disease. Hundreds of thousands of women die each year from complications due to heart disease—something that can be drastically reduced if people take the time to incorporate some exercise into their daily routine.
It’s recommended to do at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity a week to keep you in shape. You can break this up into smaller intervals throughout the week, if you find yourself lacking the time to do this in longer sessions.
Practice Proper Stress Management and Maintain Good Mental Health
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that one in ten women in the United States suffers from depression, which is usually tied to unhealthy amounts of stress. Proper stress management is essential in maintaining good mental health. Many studies link good health and well-being with positive mental health. Individuals who are able to successfully cope with stress are able to succeed better in life and can manage daily activities more efficiently. Conversely, overwhelming stress can push people into a delicate mental state that can be detrimental to their overall health.
Go Online and Spread the Word
Promoting women’s health has never been easier thanks to social media. The OWH has several hashtags dedicated to National Women’s Health Week. Women are encouraged to share their health-related stories on their preferred social media platforms by using #FindYourHealth and #NWHW.
By spreading the word about the importance of women’s health, more individuals can join in this advocacy and promote a healthier lifestyle to everyone following them on social media. Public health professionals and employers who are interested in supporting this campaign are encouraged to organize their own events promoting women’s health during the week and get the word out to everyone within their influence.
In the end, becoming a champion for women’s health is a shared responsibility that everyone can easily join in. Mothers especially understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, and they’re more than happy to share this valuable lesson to their children and the people around them. If you’re looking for unique a way to tell your mother that you love them, then becoming an active participant during National Women’s Health Week is a great way to do so.
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