Happy National Women’s Health Week! The initiative, now in its 16th year, is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health in an effort to empower women to make smart choices to improve their health. All week, prominent figures in the media and the government are blogging for WomensHealthMag.com about the importance of making healthy decisions. Today’s guest blogger is Nancy C. Lee, the director of the Office on Women’s Health. Sometimes it feels like being healthy is just a list of things we shouldn’t do. No eating this, no drinking that, no doing this, no doing that. The no’s can steal the joy right out of everyday life. What if we told ourselves “yes” instead? National Women’s Health Week is all about shouting a resounding YES! to living a healthier life. Yes! to taking care of ourselves, body and mind. Yes! to preparing for the future. Yes! to making better choices. While you may need to make different kinds of changes depending on your age and stage of life, all women can make small changes for better health. 1. ACTUALLY Eat Healthy You’ve heard this one time and time again. So what’s stopping you? There are tons of recipes, cooking tips, and meal plans (with shopping lists!) to choose from. You can even get the kids on board. In your 20s? Now’s the time to get in the habit of healthy eating. Learning to eat well now will make it a lot easier to keep eating well throughout your life. 2. Get Active, No Matter Where You Are You know you need to work out, but it doesn’t have to be in a gym. Spend a little more time doing the things you love. For example, walk the dog a little bit faster, for a little bit longer every day. Little steps can lead to big changes. If you love dancing, take a dance class. Or if you enjoy socializing, join a tennis team, or start a running group. In your 30s? It’s not too late to fit exercise into your life and develop a routine. The exercise will help with stress, too. 3. Pay Attention to Your Mental Health This one can be tough, especially for women who juggle work and family. After all, if it was easy to lessen stress, wouldn’t we all be doing it? When you’re feeling stressed, try stretching, deep breathing, or talking it out with a friend. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else. (Here are some ideas to get you started.) In your 40s? Perimenopause might affect your sleep, moods, and sex life. Talk to your provider about how to deal with your symptoms. 4. Get Regular Checkups and Preventive Screenings One of the best ways to reduce your risk for illness and disease is to see your health care provider regularly—before you get sick. In your 50s? Ask your provider about which cancer screenings you need and how often. 5. Use Smart Judgement Every time you text while driving or ride a bike without a helmet, you’re making a dangerous choice that can have a big impact. Choose healthier options instead! Take time to enjoy your drive, and make your phone call or send your text message when you safely reach your destination. Grab your bike helmet when going on a ride and take solace knowing that you will get to your destination safely. Your decisions can help keep you healthy. No matter your age, quitting smoking is the one of the best things you can do for your health. These apps can help! This National Women’s Health Week, I challenge you to say yes—to a healthier you, at any age!