It is the end of January. Does that mean you are too late to squeeze one more resolution for the new year? I don’t think so. The beginning of each year is the perfect time to set goals, make changes, have a fresh start, let go of bad habits, get that skin glow, lose weight and learn new skills. While it is an exciting exercise to set new year’s goals, committing to the process that would ultimately get you to achieve those goals is a challenge for many of us.
There are many tools available such as vision boards, year planners and journals that are used to remind and motivate people to stick to their goals throughout the year. This year I decided to create a digital vision board. I chose this tool because it was the most trending on various social media platforms. This version makes perfect sense to me because I always have my mobile phone with me, it is easier to remember and act according to the plan.
While I was working on my vision board, I decided to go through other people’s vision board/goals to gain inspiration. I noticed that the three most common goals are related to improving health i.e. to lose weight, eat healthily and join gym/exercise more. While this is all admirable, I was specifically looking for goals related to sexual and reproductive health. As a woman, I strongly feel that sexual and reproductive health needs to be a priority and included in one’s personal life goals.
As you may know in this blog, we use the word purse as a metaphor for a vagina to encourage open conservation about sexuality and sexual and reproductive health issues. Like me, if you wish to improve on this area of your health. Here’s what I put on my vision board – feel free to add them to yours.
- Take a look in your purse (vagina): if it has been a while or you are at least age 21 and have never visited your health care centre to get your purse looked at, this year please set a date. In this visit, you can expect to be physically examined by a healthcare professional, who may recommend a preventive screening test called a Pap Smear. This test involves taking samples from your purse and cervix in order to see whether there are any signs of cervical cancer and other infections such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Pap Smear should be performed every few years, according to your provider’s recommendation.
- Give your purse some love: new year, new you, new purse! If you are thinking of giving your purse a little pubic hair trim, please make sure that you use safe tools or products to avoid infections.
- Know and maintain your HIV status: Start the new year by taking an HIV test. Based on the results, work with a healthcare professional to develop a plan to prevent or manage HIV and take control of your life moving forward. In some countries and cities, you can purchase an HIV test kit and do a self-test in the comfort of your home. There is a lot of information provided in this blog or in the public domain around HIV/AIDS for support.
- Embrace your girls more: October of each year is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Educational materials encourage women to do a monthly breast self-examination (BSE) by rubbing the breast around to feel whether there are any lumps. Instead of waiting for October, put monthly reminders on your phone to do BSEs that assist with possible early detection of lumps.
In 2020, join Inside My Purse movement in making #womenshealth, #HIVprevention, #SRH, #MySRHPurse and #WomenPower top priorities.