For National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, I feel confident there will be a great number of podcasts, posts, ads, blogs, microblogs, stories, reels, tiks, toks, grams, and tweets helping us embrace our inner beauty by buying new makeup, trying new workouts (in a new pair of faux-lemons of course), and pampering ourselves with any number of med-spa services. I will go on record saying I am ALL FOR all of the above! I love a good clickbait purchase as much as the next gal! And if you have tried any of those $20 Amazon leggings that claim to be as good as the $100 pairs, post them in the comments, PLEASE! But I just can’t kick the feeling our self-worth is not completely defined by the products, services, and clothing we purchase … I mean, maybe a little bit…but not completely. Truly showing up for ourselves might require a little more work.
Now that I have drawn you in with my charming, hilarious, maybe mildly belittling banter, let’s get down to some real talk. The world is HEAVY right now. No matter what your religious beliefs, political affiliation, thoughts on vaccinations, or lack of interest in all three, no one is immune to the unbelievable amount of stress we are all under as families, communities, and the country as a whole. I, for one, believe women’s abilities to intuit, feel, express, and communicate are our superpowers. I think of our hormones as a radar, constantly sending out signals to the world, and receiving tiny waves of information telling us when and where to direct our attention. Those who are not tuned in to our bat signals may pass us off as sensitive, emotional, dramatic, or (my LEAST favorite of all) overreacting. (PAUSE while my blood temperature settles from a boil…I must be on my period, right?) If you feel out of control right now, you are right. Things ARE out of control! And maybe just giving yourself permission to feel that way is enough. But if it isn’t, then ASK FOR HELP!
Here is a list of some places to start:
Talk to a work friend.
You know, the ones that know every detail of your personal life because you see them more than your “real” best friends, but you never really actually DO anything together outside of work. They probably have a pretty good perspective on what is best for YOU because they don’t have any side relationships with your family or other friends. Of course, your good old-fashioned besties work as well! But, sometimes, when we are sad or lonely or depressed or super angry, our normal “go-tos” don’t feel as accessible.
Try online counseling.
Turning to the interwebs when you are struggling emotionally may sound counter-intuitive. I DO recommend a break from social media, always, for whatever reason. But one of the beautiful things about the technological age we live in is that so many resources are just a click away. You can go full-on Zoom counseling or even just texting. This is especially nice if you are anxious about being in public or meeting with someone in person. It is also low commitment. Two or three sessions may be just what you need to get over the hump!
Seek out a mental health professional.
- St. Louis has opened its first-ever urgent care with a focus on Mental Health Services in St. Louis County. An article from 5 On Your Side by Mararianne Martinez says, “Patients seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues will no longer need an appointment. SSM Health is opening a hospital-based psychiatric urgent care…on the DePaul Hospital campus.”
- Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri can also provide some services at a scaled price and direct you to other mental health professionals in the area who work on a sliding scale.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
If, for any reason, you reach a point where the chaos of life seems too overwhelming, don’t suffer in silence. You may even buy into the lies that that no one needs you around, or worse, that your loved ones would be better off without you. Know that you are a woman of infinite value simply because you are alive. No heroine ever made it on her own, and you don’t have to either. Please use this number if you or someone you know and care about are struggling.
It got heavy, I know, but as we take this day to focus on Women’s Health and Fitness, it is important to focus on ALL women in every situation and what they feel or need today. Sometimes it is a cup of coffee and self-care, but all too often, we need more. These needs can be ignored, pushed aside by ourselves or others, or filled with something else that only temporarily eases the pain. We all need help all the time, even on our best days under the most ideal circumstances. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Take care of your head and your heart first. The rest will follow.