10 Health Skills Every Woman Should Know By The Time She’s 25
Okay, so you officially left the college bubble a few years ago and have since settled into your big-girl job in your city (or town) of choice. You’re getting the hang of what it means to be an independent, functional adult… most days. And on the others, it can feel like a total crapshoot. This list is for those off-kilter days, the ones when you need a little reset and a reminder of what feels necessary and what actually is necessary to take care of yourself in the best ways possible.
1. Find a fitness style that works for you… and stick with it.
You don’t have to be a runner if you hate running or take boot camp classes if you can’t stand working out alongside other people. But you do need to take the time to figure out what kind of physical activity you enjoy and make sure you integrate it with your weekly routine. Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest favors you can do for your health — physically, mentally and emotionally. So keep breaking a sweat and feeling good about it.
2. Establish healthy sleep habits.
If staying physically active is at the top of the health priority list, solid sleep hygiene should come in at a close second. Getting proper rest each night is critical for the body’s rebuilding processes, it increases your quality of life and ups the chances that you’ll live longer. So take your evening routine seriously. Know when it’s time to ditch screens for a good book, make your bedroom a cool and quiet sleep sanctuary, and aim for that seven to eight hours of shut-eye each night.
3. Meal prep for the week ahead.
Here’s another big one. You don’t need to be a master chef now (or ever, really) if that isn’t something that interests you. However, you do need to know how to make simple, nutritious meals for yourself and do it often — for your health and for your wallet. We’re literally talking about brewing a cup of coffee, baking a pan of chicken and assembling a simple salad here. All require minimal skills, but provide maximum payoffs. Plus, taking the time to explore in the kitchen will help you learn so much about the nutrition you put into your body.
4. Stay on top of medical checkups — all of them.
There’s more to your health than an annual physical (and many people don’t even get that far). You need to have your bloodwork done to look for potential nutritional deficiencies while you’re with your internist checking your glucose and cholesterol levels. You need to see an ophthalmologist every year even if you have perfect vision. You need to see a dermatologist for a full-body skin check every few years (once a year if there is a history of skin cancer in your family). And you need to see the dentist for teeth cleaning twice a year. So get those dates in your calendar — no excuses.
5. Be aware of how much alcohol you consume a given week.
This isn’t a fun one to track, we know, but it’s important. Honestly look at how many happy hours, bar nights and weekend brunches you attend in a week and count how many alcoholic beverages that means you consume during that timeframe. If the tally exceeds seven drinks, consider dialing back the booze-centric social engagements and suggest other fun ways to bond with your friends. Or keep your social calendar as is and just cut yourself off when you know you’re reaching a healthy limit rather than getting hammered. Your call.
6. Take care of your skin.
It might not seem like a huge deal right now, but how you treat your skin — and not just your face but your entire body — will matter immensely in the long run. And taking care of yourself today means avoiding way more than wrinkles down the line. So whatever you include in your personal skincare routine, keep it a priority. Always remove your makeup before bed no matter how tired you are, always wear at least SPF30 when heading outside and take moisturizing seriously.
7. Keep a tidy home.
You don’t have to be a super-organized neat freak, but you doneed to care take of your space — especially if it’s limited like most urban dwellings. Keeping your home clean and tidy helps keep you physically healthy (goodbye, unwanted germs), as well as mentally calm (so long, clutter). Sorry to sound like your mother here, but yes, you do need to make your bed every morning and leave the sink void of dirty dishes before you go to bed at night. It matters.
8. Make a budget (and keep it balanced).
It’s just scary how many people don’t have a budget at all let alone attempt to stick to one. And then so many of us complain, “Where is all of my money going?” and, “Why am I always broke?” It’s about time you sat down, mapped out your necessary expenses, how much you want to spend on “fun” things and how much you want to save each month. (Spoiler: that last amount should not be zero.) And then match that with your post-tax monthly income. You’re probably going to have to make some adjustments, and the sacrifices will likely be made in the “fun” category, but such is life, friends. Welcome to real adulting.
9. Spend time with the people who make you the best version of yourself and ditch the rest.
At this point in your life, if you can barely carve out enough time to take a daily shower, then you probably can’t afford to waste time on old friendships that only seem to bring the older you down. So as uncomfortable as it might be, honestly access your life relationships every so often and make sure that those accounted for are truly offering you as much as you offer them. It’s okay if your BFF list shrinks. It will continue to condense and expand throughout each phase of your life — it’s not something that’s meant to remain stagnant.
10. Know the importance of unplugging and self-reflection… and do it weekly.
This one often seems like the biggest challenges for us millennials, but it is by far one of the most important skills to cultivate sooner rather than later. Exercise that will power to ditch your phone (even if just for 30 minutes a day) and sit alone with your own thoughts. Let yourself feel uncomfortable in where your mind wanders some days, and feel uplifted by where it takes you on others. Either way, setting aside this time for meditative self-reflection is the only way to arrive at your true place in this world, understand it and come to feel at home there.