As women, we often serve in many roles and capacities and rarely do we have time to stop, take a second to breathe, laugh or just question “what am I feeling today?” We’re depended on far more than we are expected to lean on others and often are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. Those closest to us might even call us “Superwoman”... We have great expectations to carry out! But, how does this image foster our overall well-being? Are we being taken care of mentally? Are we making sure to take care of ourselves?
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I reflect on the importance of assuring that we as women are not only thriving in our roles but also living a life in which our mental health is attended to regularly. You know the saying, “You can’t fill the cups of others until you first fill yours”? This concept reigns true across genders, yet many of us are living out a mantra that is contrary to this idea and we’re left feeling overwhelmed, burnt out and defeated. Once these feelings overpower us, they lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, low-productivity and more!
Thankfully, there are some preventative measures that we as women can take, before ever having to be faced with these mental health challenges. Here are a few:
- Make Time for “Daily” Self-Care - Even if it’s just taking 15 minutes out of your day to just sit in silence, with your eyes closed and pay attention to your breathing (shout-out to all my meditation lovers). This will not only give you a chance to become in tune with how you’re feeling throughout the day, but it’s also a great relaxation tool.
- Just Say “NO” - Setting boundaries don’t always come easy. We as women, are nurturers and take pride in being able to do a lot for others, often at the expense of ourselves. But going back to that quote again, “You can’t fill the cups of others until you first fill yours”. This requires having to prioritize what’s important and saying no when what’s being requested of us, don’t match our priorities. No is a complete sentence. It’s necessary. Use it often.
- Sweat It Out! - Not only is physical activity great for our overall well-being and appearance (I’m on the “get summertime fine” regimen myself, lol), but it’s also an extremely important contributor to good mental health. Endorphins are released each time you exercise, which positively improves your mood and emotional balance. Break a sweat, 30 minutes a day and you’ll start to notice a major difference.
- Eat Responsibly! - Believe it or not, the things that we put into our body have a major impact on our mood. You ever notice how weighed down and groggy you feel after eating sweets, fatty or fried foods? Now pay attention to how your body responds to more hearty foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, etc. Our bodies speak to us regularly and so do our minds! The things we feed it, reflect on our productivity, memory, sleep patterns and overall happiness.
- Be Patient and Show Compassion to Yourself - We’re not always going to get it right the first time... or even the second... or third time! We can be our worst critics, but it’s important to note that we don’t have to get it right every time. Beating ourselves up about the things we didn’t accomplish is counterproductive and instead, let’s reflect on ways to be better the next time around. This can even be worked on with a bomb therapist, you don’t have to do it alone!
Well, that’s all I have for you ladies, let me know which of these you’ve tried or plan on trying and how it’s working out for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Written by: Franchesca Fontus, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Owner of Purposeful Exchange Therapy & Consulting. I’m passionate about helping women thrive again and develop fulfillment in their lives. It's an honor to be able to offer a safe space for women to uncover their truths and attain overall transformative growth. Are you ready to make a change? Call me today at (954) 903-1676.