Now, more than ever, self-care matters. National stress levels hit unprecedented levels this year, according to results from a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, and many people responded with unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating and drinking alcohol.
Experts know, and endorse, self-care as one of the most important ways we can safeguard our physical, mental, and emotional health, especially when times are tough. For women, this is even more important, says Dawn Trussell, PhD, an associate professor at Brock University in Vancouver, Canada, and coauthor of a study on women, self-care, and health. “In comparison to men, women often use relationship labels such as mother, daughter, wife — and prioritize obligations related to these roles — before meeting their own needs,” Dr. Trussell says. For those reasons, gender role expectations can be an obstacle for women when it comes to self-care activities, Trussell says, not only in whether they participate, but also how much they enjoy and can fully benefit from it.
With that in mind, take some time to celebrate yourself or any other woman who is important to you. Self-care can mean many things, but overall it means “taking the time to do things that help you live well,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The organization also notes that “even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.” We asked experts in various fields across the wellness sector how they like to de-stress and unwind, and here are some of the suggestions they shared: