Rachel Coulter Ocampo

Mental Health Awareness Week: 8 Ways to Give Self-Care

As women, we tend to wear many hats: mother, daughter, sister, wife, colleague, advocate, and friend, to name a few. During our busy lives, we sometimes forget about the most important role we have: individual. The pressure we feel as women sometimes can cause anxiety, exhaustion, and depression because our lives can sometimes be overwhelming. Because we are so much to so many, it is important for our well-being to make time to practice self-care.

The concept of self-care can be quite overwhelming in itself, as society sometimes places certain expectations on the definition of self-care. For some it is yoga or Pilates. For me, self-care is journaling, listening to music, talking a walk, talking to a friend, eating a piece of candy, taking pictures, or my commute home. That is the time I take for myself to focus on me and not everything else happening in my life. Taking that time, whether it is 30 seconds or an hour, helps me make myself a priority, which is important. Self-care also happens through routine things like seeing the doctor or dentist, scheduling time to eat lunch (because this is something that does not happen if I let life and work get in the way), getting enough sleep, or even taking time to get ready in the morning. I have become aware of how rushing to get my family ready in the morning and then not taking time to get myself ready can have a negative impact on my day, which is not fair to myself. Making myself a priority is the ultimate self-care, because no one else is going to know what my needs are better than myself.

Today begins Mental Health Awareness Week (May 11-17). Here are some important thoughts on self-care that I have learned from being a woman, daughter, student, wife, and therapist:

  1. Self-care is empowering because YOU have control over YOUR life!
  2. Remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH! Decreased expectations and pressure on yourself can decrease stress/anxiety/depression
  3. Self-care is an individual process- find what makes YOU happy!
  4. Try new things! Taking yourself out of your comfort zone can also be empowering and exposes you to new experiences.
  5. Women who take care of themselves and practice self-care have less depression, anxiety, and health issues
  6. Laughing and being around those who lift you up increases endorphins, which decreases negative symptoms
  7. It is okay to say NO if we do not feel that we can or want to do something! Saying no helps decrease pressure and stress that comes with overextending ourselves.
  8. Respect yourself and do not let others negativity effect your mood!

Most importantly, self-care is what you make it! Whichever way you choose, make sure that the process is something healthy and not something that causes more stress to your life. Take the time to care for yourself so that you can be a better person for yourself and those in your life.

Learn more about how Kappa Alpha Theta raises awareness through the Sisters Supporting Sisters program , and the take a mental health screening to assess if you might need help.