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Healthy Living

Healthcare is not just about medical treatments and therapies. A big part of staying healthy is maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

This page has information on diet, exercise and looking after your mental health.

A woman in an electric wheelchair walking her dog on the footpath.

Basic tips

Some basic things you can do to stay healthy (depending on your disability and particular needs) include:

  • exercising daily
  • eating well, including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • cooking at home
  • taking time to do things that are relaxing and enjoyable
  • taking anything you might need in an emergency with you when you go out. For example, spare medication, an EpiPen if you have anaphylactic allergies, a mobile phone.

Exercise

Exercising is important for everyone but doing exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or running a marathon. There are lots of different ways to exercise that can work better for your physical abilities and enjoyment.

Some exercise ideas might include:

  • stretching or walking for half an hour every day
  • joining a Yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi class
  • joining a a team to play a sport such as soccer, netball, cricket, cheerleading, underwater hockey, badminton and many others
  • travelling by foot or bike instead of by car if possible.
Tip: You can learn more about sport for people with disability on the Hobbies page.

Nutrition and healthy eating

What you eat has a direct impact on your health and everyday well-being. It is important to recognise that some women may have dietary restrictions and particular dietary needs. Generally, however, one of the best ways to make sure you are enjoying a healthy diet is to eat a wide variety of foods every day from these five food groups:

Photo of a woman holding a bunch of carrots
  • vegetables and legumes, like lentils and beans
  • fruit
  • cereals and grains, like wholemeal bread and oats
  • meat, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds
  • dairy products like milk and cheese or dairy alternatives like calcium-supplemented soy milk.

Other things you can do include:

  • limiting fatty, salty and processed foods
  • limiting sugary foods and drinks like lollies and soft drink
  • drinking lots of water.

The amount of each food you need will vary during your life, depending on factors such as how active you are and whether or not you are growing, pregnant, breastfeeding and more.

Australian Dietary Guidelines

The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide up-to-date advice about the amount and kinds of foods that you should eat to stay healthy.  

Tip: You can read and download the Australian Dietary Guidelines on the Eat for Health website (external link).

Mental Health

People often use the term ‘mental health’ to refer to different forms of psychosocial disability, like depression, anxiety or schizophrenia.

Mental health also refers to your everyday well-being, how you feel emotionally and your ability to cope with the stresses of day to day life. Looking after mental health is often something that is overlooked, but it is just as important as looking after your physical health.

When you experience stressful or traumatic events, it is normal to go through a period of poor mental health, but having ongoing issues with your mental well-being can impact significantly on your daily life.

Looking after your mental health

Some things you can do to look after your mental health include:

  • taking time for yourself
  • eating well
  • spending time with people whose company you enjoy, such as friends and family
  • taking up a hobby
  • avoiding people that are violent or abusive towards you
  • going to the doctor when you need to
  • practicing meditation (smart phone apps like Calm (external link) and Insight Timer (external link) can help).

Lifeline

Lifeline (external link) is a national charity that provides 24 hour crisis and suicidal prevention support for all Australians. If you are in crisis, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online (external link).

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue (external link) is a mental health support organisation. If you are struggling with your mental health, you can contact Beyond Blue at any time of day for support, advice and referral.
You can call them on 1300 22 4636 or chat online (external link).

Did you know?

You can translate mental health words and phrases into the Australian Indigenous language Pitjantjatjara using the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (Aboriginal corporation) Kulila! app (external link).

Important Resources

External website
Being a Healthy Woman
Information on how to be a healthy woman written in Easy Read.
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Eat for Health: Australian Dietary Guidelines
A website providing information on how to eat a healthy diet, including accessible fact sheets.
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External website
Inclusion Design Lab: It's My Choice Toolkit
A guide that empowers people to make choices about lifestyle, daily activities, support and citizenship.
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Council for Intellectual Disability: Easy Read Health Resources
This website has Easy Read resources about Coronavirus and staying healthy.
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Australian Department of Health
A government website providing tips for exercising and staying healthy.
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Where to next:

External website
Beyond Blue
Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health.
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Headspace
Headspace is a national organisation in Australia that offers services and support to young people stuggling with their mental health.
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Kids Helpline
Kids Helpline is a a national support line for people under 25. Kids Helpline can be contacted anytime for any reason.
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The Butterfly Foundation
A website providing support for eating disorders and body image issues.
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Lifeline
Lifeline is a national organisation that supports Australians in mental health crisis. If you are in crisis you can call Lifeline on 13 14 11.
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Find a Health Service
An online tool to help you find a near by health service that meets your needs.
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External website
Head to Health
A website with mental health information and resources for your needs.
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My Aged Care
A government website to help people aged 65 and older to find the support they need.
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Better Health: Healthy Living
A website with information on lots of different topics related to your health.
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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Information about the NDIS for eligible people with disability as well as their supporters and services.
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National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
The website for a national organisation representing 143 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs)
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Black Dog Institute: Healthy Mind
An Easy Read website with information and resources to support your mental health and well-being.
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Apps
Ngaanyatjarra pitjantatjara yankunytjatjara women’s council (Aboriginal corporation): Kulila! App
The Kulila! app translates key mental health words and phrases into the indigenous language, Pitjantjatjara.
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