Part one of this series was aimed at giving us an overview of what mental wholeness means and how it affects women; with mums as our core focus. If you missed it, read it here
In this part, we’ll be tackling areas in our lives that affect our mental health.
Certain Areas that Affect our Mental Health
1. Body Image:
This describes our perception of our physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from the perception. It may be positive or negative and can be influenced by individual or environmental factors.
Quite a number of women dislike their bodies. Some wish that they could enhance certain parts. Some women are not comfortable in their own skin and need others to validate them.
I’d like you to think about this thoroughly; if you don’t love who you are, what you look like, why should any one?
You may be on the journey to that healthy and beautiful body, but in the meantime, please love the body you are in.
In the words of Amy Bloom, ‘You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed and you are beautiful’
How can one learn to love their body?
- Live the body that you are in. It’s not healthy to hate the body you are in. Accept it, then find out ways to live with it.
- Find out what parts you are not comfortable with. The truth is almost all of us have a body part that we wish looked better.
I wish I had a flatter tummy. But in my journey to getting there, I still need to love the body that I am in
- Ask yourself if it is something that will be possible to work on and if you are ready to do the work. The work may be exercise or good restrictions or both.
Self-esteem is your subjective emotional estimation of worth. It is affected by your dissatisfaction with self or your achievements. Personal or environmental factors may also affect it.
The first step to nipping low esteem in the bud is by identifying it. Some traits of low self-esteem include:
- Needing validation from others at all times,
- You rarely ever feel good enough,
- You depend on relationships to help you feel good
- You always feel defeated when a set back happens
- You sometimes feel the need to put other people down to feel good about yourself.
- You rarely ever feel good about yourself or your abilities.
- You almost always put yourself as second place
It is important that we all learn to love and appreciate ourselves and our journeys.
Be your own biggest cheerleader mama.
Rest and self care are so important. We’re known to take care of everyone since 1800. Everyone except ourselves.
But sometimes, the most selfless thing you can do for yourself is to be selfish.
You need rest, to sleep, relax and be tended to.
It’s especially tough if you don’t have help but remember that if you overstretch yourself, no one will get the benefits of your care because at the end of the day, you cannot serve from an empty vessel.
Sleep is very vital. Ensure you get adequate sleep.
If you are having problems with your sleep, please try the 10 commandments of sleep.
In the words of Hippocrates: “Let good be thy medicine and thy medicine be good.”
The rules of food are that it must be:
- Healthy and
- Right for you.
Eat to fuel your body, not to feed your emotions. If you are having problems with your intake, please get help. You may need to see a nutritionist to help you ration your meals so that you eat right.
Remember that every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.
Some women have issues with sex either because of their upbringing, previous traumatic experiences or due to underlying sexual issues which may not be unrelated to stress, childbirth or dissatisfaction with their bodies.
If you have issues with sex, talk to your Partner, who I am hopeful will be understanding enough. If the issue is with your partner, you may need Couples’ Therapy and may need to talk to a therapist. There are sex therapists in Nigeria, believe it or not.
6. The Internet:
The internet can be a blessing or a curse depending on how we use it. Some relationships have become better with it, some relationships- even marriages have collapsed due to the persistent/constant of use of social media.
It is important to have rules around our use of social media. Here are some to guide you:
- Have timelines,
- Don’t compare your life to another person’s al ternate reality,
- Don’t believe everything you see,
- Develop yourself with Social media
I think that CAREER is another area where women struggle and they sometimes struggle for different reasons including feeling they are not good enough, smart enough, talented enough.
The best way to avoid job dissatisfaction and career stagnation is to continually evolve and develop yourself mama.
- Focus on your path.
- Take your leave to avoid exhaustion.
- Make the workplace conducive for other women like you if you are in the position to.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is nothing weak in asking for help.
- Don’t bully other women.
- Help other women develop and be strong
- Outsource what you can’t manage, you can’t do everything at all times. Find people you trust to help you out with chores around the home and care of the children, but ensure you are in charge.
In Part 3, our focus will be ways in which you can help someone around you who just might be struggling with a mental health challenge.
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