Though the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still felt by people all over the world, women face additional and distinct mental health challenges that can impact their overall wellbeing every day. Let’s look at some of the ways in which women’s mental health is unique and how you can nurture your own good mental health.
Women’s Mental Health is Unique
Taking care of your mind is important for everyone, but mental health can impact women in unique ways. For example, women are much more likely to develop anxiety and depression, which could lead to further problems with their physical health, too. “Unlike their depressed male counterparts,” Everyday Health warns, “women tend to develop problems with alcohol abuse within a few years of the onset of depression.”
Natural hormonal changes may also impact women’s mental health, including perinatal depression, perimenopause-related depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This is why paying attention to your moods, anxiety, and stress levels — as well as prioritizing self-care — is important as your body goes through changes.
This piece of advice is commonly stated, but not everyone is clear on what self-care is, or how to fold nurturing their mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing into their daily lives. It’s easy enough to advise someone to simply go for more short walks, or get enough sleep, but self-care can be understandably difficult to accomplish.
For example, many women have time-consuming jobs, childcare and households to manage, or feel guilty for taking care of themselves. But even if you aren’t experiencing immediate distress, regularly practicing self-care helps you prepare for and overcome potential future stressors.
The mind and body are intertwined, so it’s important to take good care of both. Physical self-care can include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Exercising regularly doing something you enjoy
- Eating nutritious food
- Regularly visiting healthcare providers
- Drinking lots of water
As the name implies, this category of self-care focuses more on your mental health. This can include anything that stimulates your brain and helps you practice self-compassion. Examples of mental self-care include:
- Participating in fun, relaxing activities
- Practicing gratitude
- Cultivating a positive mindset
- Getting outside
- Setting healthy boundaries
“Negative” emotions are valid and normal, but it’s important to practice healthy coping mechanisms while you experience them. Emotional self-care allows you to feel your emotions while expressing them in ways that are nurturing to your mind and body. You can do this by:
- Connecting with friends and family for support
- Surrounding yourself with motivating quotes
- Engaging in rejuvenating activities
- Practicing relaxation techniques or meditation
- Interacting with a pet
Seek Professional Support
Women have a significant risk of experiencing mental illnesses, including eating disorders, postpartum depression, and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This makes it very important to reach out for support if you feel like your symptoms are becoming overwhelming. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms for more than two weeks, consider speaking to a mental health professional:
- A sudden change of appetite
- Struggling to concentrate
- Having trouble sleeping
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks
- Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
Mental health is an essential part of gynecology, and our team of professionals want to help you overcome any obstacles affecting your overall wellbeing. To discuss potential treatment options for mental health challenges, schedule an appointment online or by calling us at (404) 352-2850.