When it comes to our health, we women sometimes struggle to put ourselves first. We tend to think we can get to our health at some later date. It is important for us to remember if we are going to be our best, brilliant and bold selves we need to focus on our health. This often involves having hard conversations about what we all need to do to stay healthy. These conversations tend to be around our physical health, our mental health, or our community health. Sometimes we believe that we should struggle on and not make waves, but when we reach out to other women we find nothing is impossible for us to achieve.
Conversations Around Physical Health
All too often we dismiss the importance of going to our health appointments. We forget to get annual checkups, or we fall behind on our regular gynecological appointments. While few of us would say these appointments are the highlights of our lives, we need to get over any negative feelings and go anyway. These are good opportunities to have conversations with our doctors about health issues such as cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, or breast cancer which might run in our families. The good news is if we have these conversations, we can increase our chances of discovering a problem when it is still small and more easily treated. These are also good times to have conversations with our doctors around our diet and lifestyle as well as any plans for a family.
Conversations Around Mental Health
It is important that we start having conversations about the mental health struggles that women experience. While we can struggle with traditional mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, or stress we also struggle with some challenges unique to us as women. Examples include postpartum depression, infertility, and miscarriage. All too often these struggles are pushed under the rug, never to be spoken about. If we don’t have these conversations, we can’t know how those we are close to are really doing. While these may seem like sensitive subjects when someone we know is suffering being seen can make all the difference. The more we all feel comfortable telling those we are close to when we are not feeling ok the more we can build a community of support that will be with us through thick and thin.
Conversations Around Community Health
All too often in our family lives, personal lives, and careers we can feel like we are all alone. All alone breaking glass ceilings. All alone dealing with others who do not have our best interests in mind. In order for us to succeed individually we have to make sure that we are supporting each other collectively. When we climb up the ladder of success we must reach back and help the next woman who is following us up the ladder. Since climbing can be so hard, we sometimes fall in the trap of thinking that we can only succeed if we leave everyone else behind. What we find is that it really is like the old proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” Only if we all go together will we succeed. This means we need to support all the women at our places of work, in our churches, and in our wider communities. We need to remember it has never been a competition between us and other women.
If we take care of our physical, mental and community health we will be able to shine like the amazing women that we are. Talking about each of these areas can be uncomfortable and have its own challenges. We might wonder if having these conversations really makes sense long term. The answer is a resounding yes! If we want to be our best selves and help our friends and family be their best selves, we need to have all these conversations even if they are hard. The more we normalize these conversations the more no one will feel unable to ask for help when they need physical, mental, or community support. We women need to always support each other because all too often no one else will.