Today we celebrate the day that the 19th Amendment was certified in 1920. It was a momentous day that granted suffrage to women across the United States. Even 100+ years later, today provides an opportunity to reflect upon the triumphs and challenges that women face every day. As we celebrate women, commemorate progress, and look ahead to the work that still remains, we’re reminded that self-care is vital to the sustained pursuit of equity and justice. In this blog, we offer a few practices that can help you take an active role in your health and well-being, even when you’re short on time.
Movement has so many benefits for both your mind and body. Even if you only have 15 or 20 minutes to spare, try getting outside for a walk. Walking can lead to reduced stress, better sleep, improved mood, and increased focus. You can also try a Shaking and Dancing practice, which reduces stress and tension and releases emotion by using activity to achieve a state of relaxation, balance, and acceptance. Put on a favorite artist (or pop on a woman-powered playlist) and move to the rhythm, allowing all the stress and tension to melt away.
A self-expression practice can open up ways in which we can connect with our playfulness and intuitive wisdom. Allow all your responsibilities and expectations to fall away as you take time to draw, color, write or any other creative activity that brings you joy. Invoke your imagination, intuition, and empowerment as your creativity guides you. If you need some inspiration, start with the three-drawing technique. And remember, you don’t have to be Georgia O’Keefe or Frida Kahlo; stick figures are perfectly fine. This exercise is meant to encourage self-discovery and facilitate agency in your own healing.
Mediation can be one of the most powerful ways to release what no longer serves you. For both those who are new to meditation and the pros, we recommend our signature Soft-Belly Breathing practice, which quiets the stress response, making it easier to accept and put emotions into perspective. It can become part of your daily routine and remind you to check in with yourself. Be present, feel your body, and ask yourself, what do I need right now? You can combine this practice with self-expression and journal any thoughts and feelings that come up.
Many women face what seems like an endless barrage of requests and responsibilities–personal and professional–which can contribute to feeling burnout. We live in a world that emphasizes productivity and performance, which can be exhausting and lead us to believe we should constantly be doing something productive. But it’s essential that we allow ourselves time to rest, relax, and restore balance to the nervous system–whether that’s through watching a favorite movie or TV show, eating your favorite meal and practicing mindful eating, or one of the mind-body practices above.
Dr. Aviva Romm, in her webinar on women’s wellbeing, reminds us to “take the word ‘should’ out of [our] vocabulary.” On Women’s Equality Day, we invite you to take time to celebrate by “just being”–taking the time to focus on self-care and the things that bring you joy.