Women and Wellness is one such topic that is most neglected in a progressive country like ours. We have dedicated an exclusive day for women because even internationally there was a need for it. In 2021, there is a paradigm shift happening. Women are finally being treated as equals at work and home. The World Health organization in 2017, sent out a report stating that India is the most depressing country and most of it came from the women population. This made us ponder about the importance of mental health and wellness in a woman’s life. This article will explain the importance of women’s wellness and some tools to get started.
Women have always been socially conditioned to take care of the family, in this process most of them rarely get the time to look after themselves. There are a number of causes for this. Wellness has been an alien concept in our country until the nineties however, thanks to the internet and social media we have come around and have started prioritizing wellness as a lifestyle. Well, to start your wellness journey, you need to be familiar with the concept of wellness.
According to American Psychological Association, “wellness is a term that refers to an optimum level of health and fitness that allows an individual to function actively and fully over the full range of life activities” wellness also includes how we grow physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Although we may have heard this time and again, we are often confused about what it means to us and how to take simple steps to get started.
Wellness can mean different things for different people. For some of us, getting a good job can mean wellness, as it satiates the primary need for survival. For some of us, being in a committed relationship can mean wellness and for others working on themselves.
Wellness, in psychological terms, means an amalgamation of these things put together. It is the ability to work through difficult phases in life and try to find a middle ground in order to promote sound mental health.
According to Everyday Health, a massive survey was conducted to understand why women hesitate when it comes to taking care of themselves. The staggering results revealed that more than 60 percent of these women did not care about wellness because factors like financial health and sex took precedence. The trivial factors included stress, poor mental health, weight gain, body image, and stress & anxiety.
Let us quickly look at some recent mental statistics about women and their mental health:
- Depressive disorders account for close to 41.9% of the disability from neuropsychiatric disorders among women compared to 29.3% among men
- Leading mental health problems of the elderly are depression, organic brain syndromes, and dementias – a majority are women
- About 80% of 50 million people affected by violent conflicts, civil wars, disasters, and displacements are women and children
- The lifetime prevalence rate of violence against women ranges from 16% to 50%
These spine-chilling statistics help us understand the need for women to treat their mental health as the biggest priority today.
Let us explore some of the responsible factors for the above mentioned statistics:
- Financial health: women have a lot of financial responsibilities irrespective of their status quo. For single mothers looking after their children is the highest priority and providing for them takes precedence over taking the time out to practice self-care and self-love.
- Sexual health: physical wellness is in congruent with sexual health. According to WHO, this is also a major cause for not practicing wellness as 70% of women find it difficult to communicate their sexual needs to their partners.
- Binary Parenting style: Women are strongly conditioned by society to follow a particular mode of behavior, for eg: if a woman decides to not get married or not waiting to have kids then she is treated as an outcast or probably chooses a profession apart from these default choices is also rarely accepted. Parenting styles and societal norms precondition a woman to always devote her energy to her family and place their needs over hers.
- Stress and anxiety: Studies have shown that women are more prone to anxiety because of the various roles that she juggles with from time to time each role demands her to present and requires “ quick-fix” solutions. Hence, women are most often in a perplexed state of solving trivial issues.
- Not knowing where to start: We all want to care for ourselves but do not know where to begin with. Caring for ourselves is often seen as being selfish. Since women are perceived as unconditional entities, it gets very difficult to draw the line and get started on our wellness journey.
To tackle the above-mentioned concerns,
Use these simple wellness hacks, to begin with:
#1 Make a vision board
Writing it down always helps in helping us kick-start our journey towards anything that we set our minds to. Grab a cardboard and start writing and answering the following questions.
- What will make me feel good?
- What should i focus on
- Where and how can I fit a regular wellness practice in my daily life?
- What simple practice excites me, which I can commit to?
- Why do I need to do this in the first place?
#2 Goal Setting
This is a very important step for habit formation. To take up any wellness activities, we need to assess if the Goals are SMART. It is best to ensure that the goals are very specific for eg: I want to write a book, this sounds vague rather ensure you come up with a specific timeline to it, say in the fifteen days I will complete two pages. Goals must always be measurable so ensure you have timeliness that have measurable parameters.
Finding “Me” in this hustle culture might be a little too difficult, however, sparing five minutes for yourself and your priorities can help you go a long way.
Start with simple to-do lists for yourself, just ticking these lists off can help you get started on your wellness journey.
#4 Breathing and relaxation
Breathwork has magical power in improving our mood on a daily basis. Before you begin the day, try finding some quiet time and engage in simple breathwork. The 555 breathing technique helps you recenter and focus. It’s also a great way to connect to yourself on a deeper level.
#5 Get moving
As a starter, get some form of physical activity for at least a minimum of ten minutes a day. Studies have shown that increased physical activity has led to a significant increase in endorphins (Happy Hormone).
#6 Get a good support system
Wellness requires us to stay consistent, and good motivators/supporters can help with this. Ensure that you surround yourself with positive people who help you stay on track.
#7 Reward yourself
After starting your wellness regime, ensure you reward yourself periodically to stay committed and excited to achieve your wellness milestone.
#8 Talk to a professional
If you are unable to find free time or have a lot of responsibilities on your shoulder, then it is very important for you to speak to a professional. A therapist can help you organize your mind and time effectively
#9 Practise Self-care
In this already critical society, take the time out to be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Go pamper yourself every once in a while, not because it’s a luxury/privilege but because you truly deserve it!
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
A. To start anything can be nerve-wracking, start where you are now and pick up one simple activity that you can take up starting today. Keep a timeline to it and push yourselves to achieve it every day.
Q. I do not have the time to engage in any wellness journey. What do I do?
A. I completely understand and empathize, however you may want to look at wellbeing as one of the chores that you mandatorily have to take up in order to promote your well-being.
A. There is a common misconception around mental health concerns. Typically, people reach out only during a crisis intervention stage however this causes more damage than damage control, instead talk to a professional to understand what works for you and how to stay committed and motivated through the journey.