There is no question that the last two years have done a number on all of us, both physically and mentally. Think about it. Our physical health has been put at risk with a global pandemic. Because of quarantine, people neglected exercise and physical movement while cooped up at home. But even more than that, our mental health has been challenged in very unusual ways. The isolation, loneliness, and day-in and day-out monotony forced many into mental health decline.
Every generation has been impacted by what the world has experienced recently. And now, with so many women facing mental health struggles, there is a crucial need to ensure that self-care becomes an essential part of overall health and well-being.
The Need for Self-Care
Self-care plays a significant role in maintaining mental health. It should be viewed as a priority, not a luxury.
A quick Google search of self-care methods would include:
- Regular exercise
- Relaxation techniques (deep breathing, stretching, or yoga)
- Digging deeper into your faith either alone or in a small group
- Healthy diet practices and hydration
- Adequate sleep
- Staying connected to friends and family
All of these ideas can help you improve your physical and emotional well-being, but self-care can go even deeper. Focusing on self-awareness affects our mental health as well.
Self-Care Relies on Self-Awareness
Self-awareness paves the way for proper self-care. It’s necessary to stop and think about how certain people, places, and circumstances make you feel. This practice can help you recognize patterns in your emotions and allow you to determine what is truly important to you. But what do you do with that information?
Build Better Boundaries
Creating boundaries for yourself is a form of self-care.
When you understand how to set and maintain healthy boundaries, you identify what you need and ask for it. Boundaries help you manage stress, care for your physical well-being, and create healthy personal and professional relationships.
Start here when establishing new boundaries(5):
- Enjoy some self-reflection to understand why each boundary is important to you.
- Start small and build from there.
- Set them early in relationships, work, home life, etc.
- Be consistent and steady, trying not to let your boundaries slide.
- Create a framework that can be adapted.
- Add extras as needed.
- Be aware of social media and others need to overshare. Boundary-crossing is no less valid digitally.
- Talk, talk, talk. Communication is key to others understanding your boundaries.
- Be your biggest champion and show yourself some love.
- Gain some perspective without going too far by over-thinking each boundary.
Give yourself some time to figure all of this out. The effort will be worth it.
When to Seek Help
Sometimes, life circumstances can become too overwhelming, and you may feel like you cannot cope. Remember that there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to your mental health. No one is superhuman.
If you find yourself experiencing any of the following symptoms lasting more than two weeks, seek professional help(3):
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite resulting in unwanted weight fluctuations
- Struggling to get out of the bed
- Mood Changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in activities you find enjoyable
- Inability to perform usual responsibilities
Don’t wait for your symptoms to become too much to handle. Make your mental health a priority. Contact A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic or talk to your healthcare provider immediately. We can point you in the right direction to help you care for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. You are worth it!
(1) Surgeon General Advisory
(2) Mental Health Surveillance Among Children
(3) Caring for Your Mental Health
(4) Why Self-Care is an Essential for Your Mental Health
(5) 10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries
(6) 5 Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life