When we think of wellbeing, we often emphasize and prioritize physical health. Which, of course, is important. But we too often overlook the significance of mental wellbeing, particularly for women. Usually when I ask someone, “what is your mental wellbeing plan?”, they look at me like I’m speaking another language. And perhaps it is another language. It’s the language of mental health and wellbeing and it’s important to normalize it and move past the stigma of mental care and wellness.
The toll of neglecting your mental wellbeing can have profound consequences, affecting every aspect of life, from personal relationships to professional pursuits. It can affect your physical wellbeing as well impacting important basics like sleeping, eating and digestion. On the other hand, prioritizing your mental wellbeing can help you boost confidence in yourself, help you feel more empowered, and create more life fulfillment.
What is Mental Wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing is defined by the World Health Organization as an individual being able to cope with everyday stressors, work productively, reach his or her full potential, and contribute to their community. It’s about how move through life and react to its turbulence and feeling like you’re managing despite its challenges.
Another way of thinking about mental wellbeing is awareness of how you perceive life, if you find meaning and purpose, and experiencing a general sense of contentment. You give yourself space to experience things that bring you pleasure and you express and move through normal human emotions like grief and sadness as appropriate.
Why Is Prioritizing Mental Wellbeing Important for Women?
Women face unique challenges since we have been conditioned to prioritize caretaking of others and to think of caring for ourselves as selfish. Women in mid-life have particular challenges around shifting identities, hormonal changes, life transitions like divorce, empty nest or caring for older parents, as well as societal expectations and stereotypes related to aging.
Prioritizing mental wellness is a powerful tool for boosting confidence and self-assurance. It allows you to build resilience, cope with stress, and maintain a positive outlook, enhancing quality of life. When mental wellbeing is nurtured and prioritized, you are then better equipped to handle challenges, setbacks, and uncertainties. Self-awareness is increased and with a better understanding of your own needs you are empowered to set boundaries, make informed decisions, and pursue goals with confidence. By practicing self-care, seeking professional support when needed, and developing healthy coping mechanisms, you can enhance your emotional well-being, increasing your life and business success.
Additionally, prioritizing mental health allows you to build a positive sense of self. When you invest time and effort into self-care activities, you can develop a stronger sense of self-worth and acceptance. This, in turn, enables you to tackle insecurities and embrace your strengths and uniqueness. Confidence becomes an armor that shields against external pressures and stereotypes, allowing you to live authentically and pursue your passions wholeheartedly.
Consequences of Neglecting Your Mental Wellbeing
Neglecting mental health can lead to a range of damaging consequences that impact your ability to thrive and experience life success.
When you neglect your mental wellbeing, stress can increase significantly and if it persistently continues, can lead to chronic stress. Chronic stress can impact your physical health including digestive issues.
Chronic stress can also lead to burnout, resentment and irritability. This can impact your relationships, ability to communicate effectively, job performance, productivity and overall success, both in life and business.
Ways to Care for Your Mental Wellbeing
1. Decide your mental wellbeing is worth prioritizing. You’re the only one that can make that decision for yourself. It starts with you.
2. Manage your stress. Slow down. Decrease the to-do list. Don’t over commit. There are many easy ways to manage your stress. You can do it!
3. Practice mindful self-compassion. Be aware of how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing and then respond to yourself like you would a good friend, with warmth and compassion.
4. Journal. Many people struggle with journaling because they put a lot of pressure on themselves to do it the “right” way. There is NO right way when it comes to journaling. You can write as little or as much as you want. The important thing is to get stuff off your chest.
5. Move Your Body. I stopped using the “E” word a long time ago and instead I encourage my clients to focus on moving their bodies in whatever way feels right to them. And, to set realistic goals around types and frequency of movement to set themselves up for success.
6. Track Your Breathing. Often during the day, we lose connection with ourselves, and we forget to breathe or do shallow breathing. Instead, take time to connect to how you’re breathing and help yourself take a few deep breaths.
7. Take care of basic physical needs. Make sure you’re eating well, drinking water, using the bathroom, and getting plenty of rest and sleep.
8. Do activities you enjoy and bring you pleasure. Experiment with different interests and be curious about what brings you pleasure then do it often.
9. Develop morning rituals. Whether it’s meditation, reading, stretching or anything else that works for you, morning rituals can help you feel grounded and more empowered over your day.
10. Practice creative self-expression. Women are creative by nature. There is no arguing that. Spending time in creativity and art making is essential for women to move through emotions and stress, release and let go, feel more empowered and confident, and visualize new adventures. There is no need to have formal training or experience in art. Just let go and have fun!
WILD Woman Art Tip
Materials: Model Magic, clay tools (if available but not necessary)
Optional: Markers or paint
1. Take a moment to feel the clay in your hand. Notice what it feels like to hold it, squeeze it. Take some deep breaths and get grounded in your body.
2. Connect to moments when you have felt your mental wellness at an optimum. Connect to what it feels like in your body, how it benefits you, what it looks like when you're there.
3. When ready, use the clay to create an image of your mental wellbeing being nurtured.
4. You can use markers or paint to add some color to your image. I chose to make my mental wellbeing into a sphere being held by a loving heart. (Email me a picture of your final product after you complete the exercise! I would love to see it!)
Journal prompt: What is it like when I prioritize my mental wellbeing? Why is it important for me to do so? What steps can I take to prioritize it more?
The importance of mental wellness for women cannot be overstated. Neglecting mental wellbeing can have profound consequences on various aspects of life, while prioritizing it can empower women, boost their confidence, and lead to a more fulfilling and balanced life.
Myriam Martinez is a Women's Mental Wellbeing Coach, Creativity Mentor, Art Therapist, and stick figure artist based out of Northern California. She gently guides women to connect to their WILD while helping them connect to their creative power and prioritizing their mental wellbeing. Her calling in this life is to teach women the power and importance of putting themselves first, loving themselves fiercely, and tapping into their creativity in order to bring more happiness, success, and ease into their lives.
To learn more about Myriam click here: https://www.myriammartinezcoaching.com/