May is Women’s Health Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. In this post, we will discuss women’s mental health and how we can support each other instead of comparing ourselves to others.
Everyone has faced many challenges over the last two years. However, for women, there are unique challenges that have exacerbated mental health issues, including navigating COVID, working from home, and certain expectations. Additionally, women experience anxiety and depression at higher rates than men. It is essential to talk openly about Women’s Mental Health and how women can take care of each other.
What prevents women from supporting one another?
The majority of women can tell you how it feels to walk into a room and feel judged by another woman. The experience is painful. So why do we do it? There are several reasons:
- Competition and comparison with other women. Comparison and competition come from the evolutionary thought that you want to mate with the best partner, have the most beautiful offspring, etc. Social factors reinforce the “only room for one” mentality.
- The competition and judgment we have with ourselves. Women don’t really compete with one another, but with how they view themselves. As we look at others, we tend to look at them as better versions of ourselves (smarter, more organized, more patient, more assertive, more driven, more attractive). Our own worth and self-esteem are unsteady.
Self-criticisms and insecurities are often what keeps us from being empowered and feed judgments. As a result of our own self-esteem, we can project thoughts and feelings that can be detrimental. Comparing ourselves with others does not serve our well-being or the well-being of others. So, how can we shift this perspective?
What can women do to empower one another?
During Women’s Health Month, we can come together and empower one another. But before you can empower others, you have to empower yourself! Know that you are powerful, competent, and worthy, just as you are. We are stronger when we are empowered! Second, recognize that another woman is not a threat to you; she is just as competent, as wonderful, and as powerful as you are. Boost her confidence. Recognize and verbalize her strengths, and let her know what she is great at. Support and encourage her. Also, be honest and open towards other women. Our friendships become stronger as we find common bonds, challenges, and successes. The more we play into the unrealistic, unhelpful facade, the more we remain trapped.
We can empower women in several important ways, including:
- Confront negativity and female exploitation online, with friends, and at work.
- Observe the messages, sexualization, and expectations surrounding body image.
- Get to know and follow people who build women up. Listen to music, watch shows, and be around women who make women feel empowered.
- Encourage female colleagues to speak up for themselves, demand equal pay for equal work, and be brave.
You can celebrate Women’s Health Month by building up the women who have made an impact on your life. By supporting other women, you are also supporting their mental health. Please seek help if you are struggling. Counseling can help.