I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal and found interesting the fact that stress and fatigue are especially hazardous to women’s health. Women are hit harder due to socialized pressure to do for everyone else while putting themselves last. Not taking care of yourself, nor taking time for you takes its toll on your body’s immune system and its ability to fight off heart as well as other sorts of disease. In the article professionals from every walk of life discussed what led to their first heart attack. Taking on more and more for others while taking less time to care for themselves rang true with each of them.
Learning healthy ways to deal with anger, stress and frustration can improve your health as well as minimize your risk for heart disease. It’s not enough to take a pill or schedule a medical intervention; you need to make changes that will change your feelings toward yourself.
Here are some ways to rediscover what you enjoy and take time to love yourself.
- When you hear something that upsets you, whether it’s from a colleague or something mean you’re saying to yourself, stop and breathe in very slowly to the count of 4 and out slowly to the count of 5. Do this 3 to 5 times.
- No matter where you work, take time for you at lunch. Remove yourself from your desk or chair and walk outside if possible.
- Begin a gratitude journal and write often what you are grateful for. It can be very small or a large notebook, but it is important that you write.
- Identify three things you like doing that calm you down. Put at least one of those on your to do list for the day and make it a priority.
- Call a friend when you feel isolated or alone. Networking for women is their survival, and it’s important to talk with other women.
Women are compassionate with their friends, their children and their partner, but being compassionate with themselves can be difficult. Learning to become your own best advocate instead of your number one critic changes your attitude and capacity to love yourself as well as others.