Women, take care of yourselves!
Whether it’s a perceived lack of time, lack of worth or lack of support, many women feel that it is impossible to concentrate on taking care of themselves in addition to everyone else they feel they must take care of. Mothers and grandmothers have an especially difficult time feeling generous toward themselves, often neglecting their own health and boundaries in order to indulge others around them. What these women must understand is the profound impact that self-care can have on their bodies, their relationships and their peace of mind. Self-care can include anything from a bubble bath with candles, to simply practicing positive thoughts for five minutes a day. Studies have shown that self-care greatly reduces stress, thus improving the overall quality of life.
Women self-care: Positive Thinking
The Mayo Clinic recently published an article outlining how helpful positive thinking can be in terms of reducing stress and improving health. Central here is the importance of positive self-talk, which is defined as the endless thoughts that run through a person’s head on a daily basis. If the majority of these thoughts are positive, then that person is more likely to engage in optimistic thought patterns, therefore reducing their stress and anxiety. The benefits of practicing positive thinking range from lessened chances of cardiovascular issues, to lower levels of depression and a greater immunity to common sicknesses. Positive thinking does not require a great amount of time but does produce great health benefits (Mayo Clinic, 2011).
Women self-care: Impact of Neglect
An important fact that many busy women fail to acknowledge is the negative impact on those around them when they are unhappy and burned out. A mother who neglects herself to the point of depression and unhappiness has a harder time caring for her family. A woman who constantly works for others without taking time out to care for herself is not only hurting her body and mind but also limiting the amount of good she is capable of doing for others.
A study was conducted that looked at caregivers of a spouse between the ages of 66 and 96. The study found that those who were experiencing mental or emotional strain were 63 percent more likely to die than those of the same age who didn’t have caregiving responsibilities (Schultz & Beach, 1999). Being mindful of one’s own well-being is a catalyst for optimal health, both inside and out.
Ways to Care for Yourself
There are many types of self-care options available for women:
- manicures and pedicures
- baths with music and/or candles
- women’s social groups or Bible studies
- exercise: group classes or individual activities
- reading a novel
Along with self-care indulgences, optimal health comes from regular, healthy life choices. Be sure to create time for a healthy diet, adequate exercise and plenty of sleep. Making these a part of a daily routine will optimize health and help decrease overwhelming stress.