1 in 5 American women are diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD every year. While research shows that women and men have a similar likelihood to experience mental health problems, certain economic and social factors can put women at a greater risk of having mental health problems than men, and these factors can even deter women from seeking support for their mental health altogether.
Women are held to high standards when it comes to balancing the ups and downs of life with taking care of their health. The negative stigma surrounding mental health issues along with a lack of mental health related support from employers are key barriers to accessing mental healthcare services among women. This Mental Health Awareness and Women’s Health Month, Barton Associates aims to empower women to prioritize their mental health with 3 self-care tips that aren’t putting on a facemask or taking a bath.
Start a Shadow Work Journal
Contrary to popular belief, a woman’s glow doesn’t come from skin care products, it comes from the healing done within themselves. Shadow work comes from the term “shadow self”, as coined by psychologist Carl Jung, who believed that a person cannot reach fulfillment in life until they identify, and accept the unconscious parts of their personality that they do not want to face.
Shadow work itself is acknowledging and working to accept all parts of your psyche, light and dark alike, and can be done on your own or with the help of a therapist to guide you through. Keeping a shadow work journal is a safe and practical way to express all of your thoughts and emotions on paper without judgment. There are plenty of shadow work prompts, and even premade prompt journals which encourage you to dive deep into your fears, heal your inner child, and more.
Find a Hobby You Enjoy
Research shows that people who partake in hobbies are less likely to suffer from depression, stress, and low mood. It may seem obvious to some that having personal hobbies can boost your mental health, but for many, career and social life can often take control of life, leaving little time for time to be enjoyed alone.
It’s important to have hobbies to enjoy by yourself for a number of reasons: it helps you to discover and better know who you are as an individual, it shows that you can enjoy your free time alone, and can assuage the fear of loneliness by providing fulfillment from within, not from external sources. Hobbies can be found everywhere and in every aspect of life, whether you’ve discovered a love for cooking while making dinner, or a knack for DIY projects while fixing a broken chair at home!
Not every location providers travel to on assignment will have the same activities or facilities in the area as you may be used to back home. For example, if your hobby is yoga, finding a studio nearby in certain locations may be difficult. For these situations, you can always find a way to bring your hobby with you. You may bring your yoga mat and a laptop to tune into a class over Zoom, or even practice with a guided Youtube video. Additionally, for every hobby there are always online communities you can join to find ideas on how to bring it on the go!
Take Care of Your Physical Health
It can be difficult to get yourself up and moving or attend your healthcare appointments if you’re struggling with mental health issues, but there’s a reason why taking care of your physical health is one of the first recommendations you’ll get when seeking support for mental health related problems. Your physical health and mental health are innately linked to one another, and when you improve one, you improve the other.
For many, the amount of physical self care they are capable of doing while struggling with a mental health issue varies. Affliction with major depression, for example, can make it extremely difficult to carry out even smaller tasks such as taking a shower. But whether you only have the motivation to brush your teeth, or you have it in you to get outside and take a walk in the sun, taking steps toward taking care of your physical body will inevitably improve your health mentally as well.
For locum tenens providers who are traveling a lot, taking care of your physical health also means making sure that your healthcare appointments are scheduled far out in advance. Be sure that you either adjust your assignment schedule to accommodate for your appointments, or that your appointments are scheduled in between assignments or during vacation time. Telehealth is also a great option for big travelers if it’s a possibility with the type of appointment you need, and telehealth therapy options are also abundant, and easy to navigate!
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