An apple of her parent’s eyes, a doting wife, a superhero Mom, a sister with motherly instincts – a woman plays multiple roles throughout our lifetime. Though she might act as if she has transcendental powers, a woman also needs the same care and love that she showers on others.
The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on women’s schedules, leaving most with no external help. Yet, everyone depended on them for everything – be it for domestic work or emotional support for the family. Women tend to ignore their needs and bear the brunt for it in the form of poor mental health. The need to always put others first is so ingrained in women that they still feel reluctant to voice out their discomfort.
However, it’s now time for women to say no to the endless to-do list and prioritise their mental wellbeing. As per the World Health Organization, 1 in every 5 women experiences some form of mental illness. Women are more susceptible to mental health issues in comparison to men as they don multiple hats.
Though we have the support of counsellors today and people have started seeking the support of therapists openly, mental health issues are still hushed and silenced. Strangely, these differ between men and women due to societal constructs. When men are more vocal about their feelings it can often be manifested in the form of disruptive or antisocial behaviour. But most women internalise their feelings, which could lead to depression, eating disorders, and self-harm.
Some common symptoms that should ring an alarm are:
- Experiencing the feeling of sadness without any reason
- Foggy mind
- Excessive fear or worries
- Extreme guilt
- Drastic mood swings
- Withdrawing from friend circles
- Difficulty in sleeping
“A problem well stated is half solved.” After identifying the signs, one must understand that just like a physical ailment is treatable, so is mental illness. It’s important to know that it’s okay to seek help, and that we must not wait for a nervous breakdown to reach out.
What are some things one can adopt to stay in the pink of health, mentally and physically?
Put Yourself First
When you love yourself, you can be a vessel of love for others around you. No one benefits if you give 110 percent to others and end up being depleted, sick and depressed. Regularly schedule exercise or a workout routine for yourself. Pick healthy eating habits and avoid the fast-food trend as a quick fix. Good nutrition and exercise must be the topmost priority to manage daily stress.
Learn To Relax
Have some relaxing exercises at your fingertips when things seem overwhelming. Something as simple as a deep breathing exercise can do wonders and ease the strained nerves. Keeping yoga videos or a meditation app handy on your phone for those moments could help in diffusing stress. Mindfulness is like a muscle that needs to be trained and with practice, you will learn to relax and let go of what is beyond your control. It’s a conscious reminder to take it easy and understand that the world won’t come to a standstill if you take a day off or relax a bit in the midst of a busy schedule.
Ask For Help
Too often, women feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But it is a gift you give to yourself when things seem too much to handle. Instead of holding your stress and worries in your head, it’s best to ask for help from your family members or colleagues, or speak to a trusted friend and offload your suppressed emotions, but also be mindful of their capacity during that process.
Indulge In Your Passion
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl, with a drab outlook. So each week, ensure you do at least one thing you are passionate about. It could be dipping your fingers in paint or letting the brush do the magic. Pursuing any other activity of your choice like dancing, singing, writing, cooking, writing, and so on, frees one’s soul from the daily stresses and makes one’s soul soar. Incorporate something fun, entertaining, and interesting to help you truly thrive inside out.
Maintain A Gratitude Journal
Daily, try to focus on the positives and in no time, you will see the good manifesting in your life. Maintain a gratitude journal and regularly write about things you are grateful for. Stick to it as a habit and the negative narrative of your life will be replaced with hopefulness and optimism.
Improve Your Sleep Quality
Sleep is the best medicine for dealing with stress and mental health ailments. A good sleep is often the answer to your foul mood. Make getting good sleep a priority and avoid screen time at least an hour before sleeping. Practising light relaxing techniques or silent reading before sleep enables one to get a peaceful sleep.
Be With People That Make You Feel Happy
Take time out to meet your friends. Most times, following our schedule seems like the best option. But when the blues feel overwhelming, call up your friends and meet up for a coffee. Research states that meaningful friendships have a benevolent impact on your mental well-being as they build resilience to deal with day-to-day stresses with a smile.
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Indulging in any physical activity or exercise improves blood circulation and regulates breathing. It increases the level of oxygen, which in turn improves brain functioning, calms the nervous system, cleans the lungs, and improves sleep quality.
Self-care is a must for a happy and healthy you, both mentally and physically. Take time out for a spa treat, walking in green grass barefoot, journaling in a corner, aromatherapy, bingeing, watching your favourite sitcom, etc. Time spent with yourself can recharge your battery and help you offer your best to the people around you. You also need some downtime to repair and replenish yourself.
Eat Well And Include Necessary Supplements
Our bone density, calcium, and vitamin D start to fade as we grow older. Go for a regular checkup of these parameters and take the right supplements to maintain good health. Adopt antioxidant-rich foods like garlic, berries, green tea, cinnamon, amla nuts, and seeds as it will help you reduce the oxidative stress in your body. Avoid the intake of refined sugar, processed foods, dairy, and gluten. At the same time, be sure to include the apt seasonal vegetables, fruits, millets, lentils, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
As women, while fighting our hardest to earn some well-deserved recognition, we also tend to be hard on ourselves. But in a world where work pressure, child-rearing needs, and other expectations from a woman are growing with every passing day, we need to remember to be kinder to ourselves.