As August and the summer of 2018 wind down, college and public school classes begin, and we prepare for another month and a new season, one question we can ask ourselves is: how well are we?
Our health is important. We women serve many roles: daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, employees, maybe employers, students, wives/girlfriends. We juggle many plates. We are gifted; one of those gifts is being a multi-tasker. A lot is asked of us, and we often need to manage many things at once. However, we also often sacrifice our own health, both physical and emotional, to manage those numerous things, including meet others’ needs. Such juggling and caregiving often causes stress. When we women experience stress, it can affect both our physical and emotional health.
How Stress Affects Women
According to WomensHealth.gov, stress affects women in ways similar to men, including trouble sleeping and weakening our immune system. However, stress can also impact women differently, including headaches (like migraines), heart problems, and severe PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Women are also more likely to experience depression and anxiety due to stress than men.
Stress can affect pregnancy. Even though tension during pregnancy is common, prolonged, elevated levels of stress can cause high blood pressure and heart disease, which, in turn, can cause pre-mature birth and/or low birth weight.
These are reasons why women need to practice self-care.
What is Self-Care?
According to Encyclopedia.com, self-care is “the practice of activities that are necessary to sustain life and health, normally initiated and carried out by the individual for him- or herself.” These include physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual. Having a plan to address taking care of yourself in such a holistic way can be a good idea. For example, a physical self-care plan could include eating a healthier diet; taking a walk during your lunch break and/or after work; and getting the right amount of sleep. Your emotional self-care plan could include developing supportive relationships, engaging in activities or hobbies you enjoy; and writing down three good things that happen each day. Counseling or finding a supportive person to work through difficult situations may also be an important part of your plan. You may need to set boundaries, saying “no” at times and ridding yourself of toxic relationships. Those choices, too, show self-care.
Taking care of oneself is not selfish; if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you care for others? Take time for yourself; it’s time well-spent to re-group and better handle the challenges which come your way. Developing self-confidence and courage is vital. Think of women throughout history who showcased perseverance, poise, and pluck, women like Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Malala Yousafzai.
Make Positive Choices
Every woman is capable of making positive choices, including decisions that improve wellness. A positive attitude, a confident nature, a warm personality, a forgiving heart, and a zest for living are inspirational; several of the women previously mentioned exhibited some or all of these traits and continue to inspire us today.
August is Wellness Month. As the month closes, make the positive choice to take care of yourself, physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually. Learn from the past and make plans for the future. Grow your inner strength and confidence. Exhibit bravery. Be an inspiration as many other women were and are.