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.
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:
- vegetables and legumes, like lentils and beans
- 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).
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 (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 (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).