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Self-Care as a Path to Empowerment: Prioritizing Women's Mental Health

Depression is a serious and, unfortunately, very common occurrence for women today. This condition is so common that nearly one in ten women in the United States report that they experience major signs of depression every year.

One reason for this challenge has to do with the psychological and physical makeup of women, making them more likely to be diagnosed with mental health illnesses than men. While these statistics might be alarming to some, they are a valuable reminder about the importance of understanding and practicing self-care habits. Women's mental health must be taken seriously!

Estimated reading: 3.5 minutes

A young woman relaxing on the couch with her dog as self-care.

Why Self-Care Isn't Selfish

Much of society has deeply ingrained viewpoints (biased or not) of a woman’s role and the associated characteristics of their responsibilities when balancing their work and family life. These perceptions often lead many women to put others before themselves, even more than what might be reasonable for their own mental health.

While always making sure others are taken care of is admirable, without taking the time to keep themselves energized and renewed, women can often experience quick burnout that negatively affects them both physically and mentally. This state then leads to considerably less energy, patience, and the mental clarity needed to handle the important responsibilities they may have.

Therefore, self-care is an essential practice and shouldn’t be undervalued. Self-care gives people the time they need to recover and heal from the many internal and external challenges they experience daily, helping them function optimally.

The idea of self-care isn’t designed to make an individual feel like they’re better than those around them and neglect important people or responsibilities in their lives. Rather, self-care is an accountability in itself, allowing someone to center and repair their mind and body so they’re able to give their very best self to those around them.

Different Types of Self-Care

There is no written guidebook on exactly how to practice self-care since what works for some women may have a different effect for others. The important thing is that an individual can take the time necessary to understand what they need and prioritize exploring different techniques to help them restore their well-being.

Although there are many different self-care techniques women can take part in, below are some of the most common self-care needs and associated activities to help support them:

  • Physical - The human body isn’t designed to operate effectively without rest and relaxation. Self-care techniques in this category involve eating healthier food, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
  • Emotional - Everyone’s emotional state is different and shaped by their various experiences in life. Some ways to help manage emotions include emotional regulation, creating healthy boundaries in life, creating support networks, or journaling.
  • Mental - The mind is incredibly powerful and can impact the positive or negative feelings individuals experience day to day. Practicing mindfulness, meditating regularly, and not allowing negative thoughts to persist are effective ways to help improve mental clarity.
  • Social - Human interaction is part of our DNA. This genetics is why meaningful connections in life can be another critical element of self-care. These can come from close friends and family members, work colleagues, and members of the community.
  • Spiritual - Spirituality can be an important part of many people’s lives, and strengthening these values can be another form of self-care.

A self-care practice: women doing yoga outside by a lake.Practical Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care

While there are several different ways women can practice self-care, the crucial part is to establish the right routine and stay consistent.

Below are some helpful tips individuals can follow to make sure they are prioritizing self-care in their lives:

1. Start Small

Although self-care does require an investment of time, it doesn’t need to distract individuals from their other responsibilities. Even when practicing 5-10 minutes of self-care a day, there can be long-lasting positive effects.

2. Keep Self-Care Scheduled

Routine is helpful for achieving meaningful results from self-care habits. Consistency is key when it comes to self-care, and it should be viewed as important as any other scheduled appointment or daily task. It’s recommended that people block time in their calendars so they can focus all of their efforts on the self-care activities they’ve chosen.

3. Reframe Your Mindset

Over time, self-care shouldn’t be considered an “as-needed” repair tool. No different than the necessities of eating and sleeping, self-care is indispensable, which can require a shift in mindset. It’s not just an optional activity. The benefits of doing so can lead to long-term health benefits.

4. Ask for Help When Needed

Even though the term “self-care” is associated with an individual exercise, it doesn’t mean others can’t be involved. Individuals may need to ask for help from friends or family members to help them care for certain activities while focusing on their self-care routines.

They may also work with a professional to help them care for themselves and overcome obstacles. In either scenario, asking for help when needed should be encouraged and is never something someone should avoid.

Empower Your Body, Mind, and Emotions Through Self-Care

Self-care is an important part of repairing both mind and body and shouldn’t be viewed as a one-time activity only needed when things get tough. A strong feeling of empowerment comes from living a more balanced life, and individuals who prioritize this are much more likely to face new challenges with added resilience.

By following the practical tips discussed when adding self-care routines into their own schedules, they can live happier, healthier versions of themselves while being fully present for those around them.

Do you want to grow in emotional intelligence? Emotional self-care is often overlooked but the more we learn to listen to and regulate our emotions, the better we feel!

Yes, teach me emotional intelligence!

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Guest Blogger: Dr. Hannah YangGuest Blogger: Dr. Hannah Yang
Visionary and healthcare entrepreneur by passion, Licensed Psychologist by training, Dr. Hannah Yang loves creating new possibilities in the world of mental health and wellness. Dr. Yang established Balanced Awakening in 2015 as a niche psychotherapy practice for women. As Balanced Awakening flourishes in Chicago, and soon Miami, she also loves to tap into her passion for design and Feng Shui to create fabulous environments for herself, her team, and clients.

Posted in Brain Fitness, Mindfulness and Perspective, Emotional Intelligence & Fitness, Habits for Health

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