How to feel more empowered as a woman
We’ve all been there, plagued by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. These feelings can consume us, leaving us feeling unempowered, unmotivated and sometimes even hopeless. Whilst it’s perfectly normal to feel this way from time to time, there are many things that you can do to get out of that slump and feel more empowered in your life.
Often, when we are feeling overwhelmed or emotionally depleted, our confidence and self-esteem can take a knock. This can sometimes mean we tend to see ourselves and the world around us in a more negative and critical light, feeling less able to take on the challenges that life inevitably throws at us. When these negative emotions do come up and you find yourself being self-critical, try thinking about what you would say to a friend in a similar situation. Think about those things that you are good at and be kinder to yourself - we often give far better advice to others than we do to ourselves.
Self-care for women
People often overlook the importance of self-care, seeing it as indulgent, or a pass time for those with plenty of free time. However, one of the best things you can do for yourself is taking care of number one. If you are exhausted and overwhelmed, it will be even more difficult to be there for friends and family. Work or life stress means we often feel the need to work late, or have a hard time switching off in the evening, particularly when so many of us are now working from home, overworking ourselves isn’t helpful and is ultimately unproductive.
- Practice mindfulness – through breathing exercises, or meditation (we’d recommend having a quick browse on YouTube for some guided routines)
- Relaxing on the sofa and watching that show you’ve been meaning to see
- Locking the door and running yourself a big bubble bath
Whilst there are a number of ways to keeping a positive mindset in changing your daily habits, there are also many practical ways in which you can relieve stress and tension:
- Light a candle & relax- using essential oils or burning a scented candle can help relieve tension and relax Choose scents such as lavender, lemon balm and chamomile, which are calming and soothing, run yourself a hot bath or pick up your favourite book and relax.
- Write down your worries- one way to relieve tension is by writing down your worries and daily thoughts, as well as to do lists for the next day. You can also write down things you are grateful for, such as your health, friends, family, and career. This will help you reflect on the positivity in your life.
- Practice meditation- meditation makes us feel happy, and can relax tension and pain we are feeling in the body. The art of practising meditation must begin with you finding a quiet, comfortable space and focussing on your breath. Deeply inhaling and expanding your body at the same time, then exhaling slowly. Try and focus on your body and not the distractions you may have around you, this helps us with the notion of living in the moment.
- Listen to soothing music- listening to music can have a relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental sounds can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and stress hormones.
Sleep and stress
During particularly stressful parts of life, it can be all too hard to “switch off” at the end of the day. You can often find yourself still running through all the things that need to be done during the evening at home. Technology has a large part to play in this, from permanently checking-in to emails; taking work calls out of hours, and updating your social media status, chances are you’re experiencing ‘smartphone overload’. Stress and sleeplessness are a growing, driven by 24/7 connected lives and balancing life’s increasing pressures, and a survey by Rescue Remedy® has shown it affects 73% of people at least once a week. Repetitive thoughts, restlessness and vivid or disturbing dreams are all signs of stress. Stress and sleeplessness are also a vicious cycle – the more stressed you feel, the less you sleep and the less you sleep, the more stressed you might feel the next day.
If you’re feeling particularly tense or are struggling to cope with something, try these exercises from The Stress Management Society to help settle your mind and your breathing before you fall asleep:
- With a deep breath in, raise the shoulders towards the ears and hold them raised for a few seconds (you will be able to feel the tensions that may be accumulating in the shoulders), now take a long slow breath out and drop the shoulders down. Repeat this several times.
- Place the fingers of both hands at the base of your skull; apply slow circular pressures from the base of the skull to the base of the neck.
- Now close your eyes and relax the muscle of the face. Be aware of your eye muscles, your jaw and your forehead. Place the fingers of both hands on each side of the temples and slowly massage in a circular motion. Repeat several times.
- Finish by cupping your hands over your eyes and holding for several seconds. This helps to release tension and tightness in the face.
Stress relief and exercise
It may seem obvious but staying active is one of the best things you can do for your emotional wellbeing, to feel more energised and more motivated. When we feel emotionally strong, we are more likely to feel energised and when we make the time to exercise, we often feel a positive impact on our mood as our body releases feel good chemicals called endorphins. Exercise also boosts the production of serotonin, known as the happy hormone. But sometimes the obligation to exercise can be the cause of stress and dread. That’s why it’s so important to find something that you truly enjoy, so that it doesn’t feel like another task to add to the to-do list. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy that isn’t going to overwhelm you, but that will help you take care of yourself.