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Celebrating Women’s History Month and Resilience

     

Women’s History Month highlights the contributions of women to events in history and modern society. Initially a weeklong celebration in 1980, it quickly evolved into a month in 1987 when the nonprofit organization, National Women’s History Project (NWHP) successfully lobbied Congress. Today, Women’s History Month is celebrated during March in the United States and other countries and corresponds with International Women’s Day on March 8. The 2019 theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.”

Women’s contributions to society include strategies learned by overcoming traditional and ongoing obstacles placed in their way. Foremost of these is resilience. Merriam-Webster defines resilience as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Resilience may come easier to some women for multiple reasons.

  • They have been expected to multi-task
  • Social norms expect women to lead child care and family care
  • They don’t receive recognition as CEO of Home/household
  • Workplace disparities in terms of promotion and pay equity

Everyone reacts to life challenges differently. Not everyone shows the same behaviors, which may range from mild to severe in nature and can last for varying durations. Being able to spot those behaviors can help you determine whether you should work to strengthen your resilience.  Below are some of the key signs that indicate that your resilience might be eroding.

  • Lifestyle changes like lack of sleep, overeating, tardiness, lack of exercise and substance abuse
  • Relationship conflicts (spouse, children, friends)
  • Overreaction to normal stress
  • Other people (friends/family) notice changes in your personality

Being resilient helps in all walks of life. Once learned, you can always draw upon your past experiences to manage and overcome tough times. Below are some strategies for women to help strengthen their resilience:

  • Take care of yourself: As women, we nurture people around us. It is also important to take care of ourselvesDaily physical activity, healthy eating, sufficient sleep, mindfulness and taking time to recover from exhaustion are essential for both short-term and long-term resilience. Ask for help or space before you need it. Learn to find meaning and purpose into your life. For some, meaning and purpose comes from religion or family, while others engage in service projects, volunteer work, or hobbies.
  • Set and Keep Boundaries: Boundaries are the limits we set within our relationships that allow for safe and appropriate connections.  Be assertive in your approach and communication and learn to say “no.”
  • Gratitude and Journaling: Spend time regularly thinking about what you are grateful for and then express that gratitude to colleagues, friends, and family. Regular journaling can foster resilience. The process of writing and reflection creates self-awareness, encourages learning and improve adaptability.
  • Social Support: A strong social network provides support to get you through life challenges. Nurture relationships with your family, friends and colleagues. Seek mentorship. If you are an introvert, resist the urge to isolate yourself when feeling down. Instead, spend time with a close friend who won’t drain you of energy.

By improving resilience, it enhances the mental health and well-being of women and the lives they touch.

 

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Patients and Families

 

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