In our last Blog Barton Healthcare Staffing kicked off National Nurses Week with our video on The History of Nurses. But did you know that May also marks two other important national observances? Indeed, the month of May is also known as Mental Health Awareness Month and Women’s Health Month. With so much to celebrate in May, it might be hard to choose which cause to observe this month. We here at Barton Healthcare Staffing believe that each one of these observances deserves recognition, and that’s why this week we are spotlighting the importance of prioritizing mental health for women.
Not only do social and socioeconomic conditions make women more likely to suffer from mental health issues, but women are twice as likely to experience PTSD and anxiety than men. Women also face barriers to accessing support for mental health issues, such as the negative stigmas surrounding mental health and the high expectations women are already subjected to in balancing their families and careers.
This Women’s Health and Mental health Awareness Month, Barton Healthcare Staffing is sharing 3 tips for women to not only prioritize their mental health, but themselves.
Write in a Shadow Work Journal
Despite what one may think, a woman’s glow doesn’t come from the products she puts on her skin, it comes from the healing done from within. Shadow work comes from the famous psychologist Carl Jung, who believed that a person cannot reach fulfillment in life until they identify, and accept the unconscious parts of their personality that they do not want to face, and coined the term “shadow self”.
Shadow work itself is acknowledging and working to accept all parts of your psyche, both the good and the bad, and can be done on your own or with the guidance of a therapist. Keeping a shadow work journal is a safe and practical way to express all of your thoughts and emotions on paper without judgment. There are plenty of shadow work prompts, and even premade prompt journals which encourage you to dive deep into your fears, heal your inner child, and more.
Find a Hobby You Enjoy
Research has shown that people who partake in hobbies are less likely to suffer from depression, stress, and low mood. It may seem obvious to some that having personal hobbies can boost your mental health, but for many, career and social life can often take control of life, leaving little time for time to be enjoyed alone.
It’s important to have hobbies to enjoy by yourself for a number of reasons: it helps you to discover and better know who you are as an individual, it shows that you can enjoy your free time alone, and can assuage the fear of loneliness by providing fulfillment from within, not from external sources. Hobbies can be found everywhere and in every aspect of life, whether you’ve discovered a love for cooking while making dinner, or a knack for DIY projects while fixing a broken chair at home!
Not every location that travel nurses venture to on assignment will have the same activities or facilities in the area as you may be used to back home. For example, if your hobby is yoga, finding a studio nearby in certain locations may be difficult. For these situations, you can always find a way to bring your hobby with you. You may bring your yoga mat and a laptop on your travels to tune into a class over Zoom, or even practice with a guided Youtube video. Additionally, for every hobby there are always online communities you can join to find ideas on how to bring it on the go!
Take Care of Your Physical Health
It can be difficult to get yourself up and moving or attend your healthcare appointments if you’re struggling with mental health issues, but there’s a reason why taking care of your physical health is one of the first recommendations you’ll get when seeking support for mental health related problems. Your physical health and mental health are innately linked to one another, and when you improve one, you improve the other.
For many, the amount of physical self care they are capable of doing while struggling with a mental health issue varies. Affliction with major depression, for example, can make it extremely difficult to carry out even smaller tasks such as taking a shower. But whether you only have the motivation to brush your teeth, or you have it in you to get outside and take a walk in the sun, taking steps toward taking care of your physical body will inevitably improve your health mentally as well.
For travel nurses and clinicians who are constantly switching locations, taking care of your physical health also means making sure that your healthcare appointments are scheduled far out in advance. Be sure that you either adjust your assignment schedule to accommodate for your appointments, or that your appointments are scheduled in between assignments or during vacation time. Telehealth is also a great option for big travelers if it’s a possibility with the type of appointment you need, and telehealth therapy options are also abundant, and easy to navigate!
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