May 5, 2021

Self-Care for Women

By Extension Associate Professor, Cindy Nelson

Woman reading a book

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers who do so much for their families. Take time today, and in the future, for some much need self-care. Self-care refers to taking care of yourself by doing anything that contributes to overall wellness:  physical, mental, spiritual, intellectual, etc. (Glowiak, 2020). Self-care is important to help women overcome stress, burnout, and fatigue, as well as everyday life challenges. Self-care can help you refresh, rejuvenate, and recharge (Coaston, 2017). 

Research indicates that consistent self-care can increase concentration, diminish depression and anxiety, decrease stress and frustration, and increase energy and happiness. Self-care can positively affect our physical health by decreasing stroke, cancer, and heart disease (Glowiak, 2020). Taking time for yourself can help you become a better person and parent.

The biggest barrier to self-care is time. Here are some ways to increase the success of personal self-care:

  • Give yourself permission to engage in self-care and plan a specific time for it
  • Enlist the help and support of family and friends
  • Make self-care intentional and consistent
  • Personalize your self-care routine to fit your lifestyle and needs

Create a self-care plan that will benefit you personally. Here are a few suggestions of effective self-care activities (Wei, 2017):

  • Breathe-try some deep breathing techniques or guided breathing exercises to help calm the mind and reduce stress
  • Exercise-physical activity can boost mood and increase energy
  • Sleep-create a healthy bedtime routine to achieve a more restful sleep
  • Eat well-adequate nutrition is linked to the prevention of inflammation in the body, which can contribute to chronic stress
  • Stay socially connected-prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness by spending time with family and friends
  • Read-reading can help you relax as well as provide you with valuable intellectual stimulation
  • Express gratitude-make a “thankful” list, write a note of appreciation, or verbally express gratitude to help you focus on the positive things in life
  • Spend time outdoors-spending time in nature can add a depth of peace and calm along with increasing Vitamin D that you can get from sunshine
  • Unplug-limit technology use and model appropriate behavior (Self-care, n.d.)

While parenting responsibilities and duties can often be exhausting, taking time for self-care can help you regain energy, find happiness, and focus on what matters most (Choate, 2016). Self-care can help enhance healthy family associations, improve parenting relationships, and promote overall well-being (Self-care, n.d.). 

Additional Resources