Women's Health Week
From a Therapist’s Point of View
What comes to mind when you hear that word? Is it a doctor’s office, illness, or disease? Or exercise, medication, and nutrition? “Health” encompasses multiple meanings, but rarely is mental health part of the conversation. So let’s explore a different kind of health check: in honor of women’s health week, let's delve into ways we can connect our bodies and minds to sync with our hearts. Let’s go!
It Starts With You
I challenge you to make a list of the characteristics, experiences, and interests that define YOU, and from that list develop self-care goals. So often as women, we get lost in the shuffle of meeting the needs of others in our lives and-somewhere along the way- forget who we are. Allow yourself an opportunity to put on paper your heart’s desires. Ignore the “cannot”, “should not” or “impossible” thoughts you might experience while doing this. When you are finished with the list, start to identify the barriers throughout the years that have prevented you from prioritizing yourself. Take that list and identify one or two habits or behaviors you can start implementing today.
Yes, that word can be hard, but you can do hard and brave things. Let’s talk about some steps you can take towards meeting your health and wellness goals from that list. Some of these items might seem so simple and “duh!” and others might be harder to implement. Whatever the case, personalize it to you. Try to refrain from using words like “impossible” or “no way” as you look through the list. Rather, lean into those fears and tell yourself that you are worthy of time for yourself. Be gentle with your thoughts.
Putting “You” Back into Your Life
Here are a few ideas of how to incorporate YOU back into your life:
- Listen to a podcast, book or music. Find a podcast series that interests you, pop in some headphones and listen while you are doing the dishes or taking a walk. If podcasts are not your thing, try an audio book or paper book. Either way, reading and listening sparks creativity and imagination. Who doesn’t love THAT?
- Let the sun touch your skin. Get outside! Even if it’s not warm where you live, take a few moments to walk outside. Try this simple grounding technique: what do you smell, taste, feel, hear, and see?
- Movement: Stretch, mediate, walk. What sort of movement interests you? It does not have to be hours on an elliptical or a strength training program. Try to aim for 30 minutes every other day.
- Bake or cook something new. YUM! Create a meal plan for 1-2 nights a week and try something new. Exploring new taste and cooking experiences are another great way to support creativity and stress relief.
- Connect with friends and family. Support systems are vital to your wellness. Who in your life are you able to meet with regularly, and who in your life can you meet with virtually? Share your goals with these people.
- Find a therapist. Some areas in your life might be overwhelming, and connecting with a trusted therapist can help you navigate yourself back to you. You can find a therapist through Psychology Today’s website, your insurance provider, or your healthcare professional.
Depending on the season of life you are in, it may not be feasible to incorporate ALL of these ideas at once. It can be helpful to identify the barriers to why they are not possible and work with a support person to see what is possible. Whether you choose from the list above or create your own, identifying a few activities each day that are for you will support your mental, physical, and emotional health.
Remember: there is no health without mental health.
Lauren is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Pennsylvania. Lauren is uniquely trained to work with couples and families. In addition to being a therapist, Lauren is a mom to Henry and Catherine and a wife to Anthony. She enjoys traveling, reading and day dreaming..Connect with Lauren!e-mail: LBillingermft@gmail.comwebsite: https://www.churchrdcounseling.com