By Sarah Hornby
March is Women’s History Month – a time to honor women of the past and celebrate the contributions women make each day. We prioritize celebrating others, but how often do we recognize our individual achievements or even check on our own wellbeing? With the stressors and responsibilities of daily life, or busy times like Mardi Gras season, women often lack the energy to invest in their own mental wellness. In fact, many women feel guilty or selfish for prioritizing themselves.
Despite facing some of the biggest risk factors for mental health conditions, women often hesitate to put their needs first. From a higher prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder due to violence to challenges associated with pregnancy and motherhood like postpartum depression, a variety of unique factors put women at risk of poor mental health.
I encourage you to use this month’s emphasis on celebrating women to prioritize your health and wellness.
Try to put your mental health needs first this month. This can encourage healthy habits and lead to improved wellness for the rest of the year.
TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED:
• Set healthy boundaries with others. Ignoring your boundaries for others’ benefit can leave you feeling drained and unhappy. Saying “no” to protect emotional and mental space can improve self-esteem and facilitate healthier relationships.
• Practice positive self-talk. Many women feel pressured to meet certain beauty standards. Negative self- image often translates into anxiety, depression and an increased risk
of unhealthy behaviors. Implement positive affirmations into your wellness routine. This tool can help redirect negative thoughts and reduce stress.
• Prioritize mind-body wellness. Simple physical activities like deep breathing or short walks can have a big impact on mental health. Many women struggle with feeling overwhelmed,so activities that benefit overall wellness can help ground you and reduce stress, which leads to improved emotional health.
• Incorporate self-care. Self-care
isn’t one-size-fits-all, but the idea of pampering benefits everyone. This could look like watching your favorite show, lighting candles or just getting some sleep. By taking time to put yourself first, you’re finding healthy ways to cope with stressors and manage your mental health.