So many women struggle with their bodies and how they look. And the worst part is that the research shows that this starts early and tends to last into later life. Can you imagine being unhappy with your body all your life? It can be a confronting prospect to consider.
It can be surprising that sometimes the simple things can speed up recovery.
A recent study examined New Year’s Resolutions and what makes them more likely to succeed (Oscarsson et al., 2020). The authors reported that the most popular resolutions concerned health, followed by weight loss and eating habits. Continue reading “Making the most of New Year’s Resolutions”
Women are at higher risk of developing a range of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. One contributor is thought to be hormonal changes, as the risks increase periods of hormonal change. This includes Continue reading “Women, Mental Health, & Hormones”
Recovery from disordered eating is possible, although it can feel tough at times. While health professionals can view recovery in terms of symptom remission and reduction, Continue reading “Recovery from Eating Disorders”
When you fall pregnant, it is often a time of speculation about whether you’re having a boy or a girl. You might be excited to find out what you’re having through ultrasound or wait to find out at birth. You get asked what you’re having. And even if you choose not to share this information, people will guess for you. They might do this based on pregnancy symptoms such as carrying high or low, morning sickness, the type of food cravings you’re having, and more. And sometimes, you just know or have a feeling about whether you’re having a boy or girl.
Thanks to the media, it’s a fairly safe bet that most people can picture what a strong independent woman looks like. Many of us will know someone Continue reading “Rethinking the Strong, Independent Woman”
When you’re physically sick, your body needs rest to fight off germs and heal. You can feel run down, exhausted, or unable to do much when you’re sick, so you don’t. And when you push yourself to do things, it can be draining and make you feel depleted or worse. It’s a pretty simple formula: when you get sick (or injured), you rest to recover/heal.
When you’re depressed, the symptoms can be quite physical too. Feeling lethargic, tired, and like everything is effortful; on top of changes in sleep, eating, and more. So it makes sense that when you feel like you’re physically struggling due to depression, you would rest and do less to recover. And here is the confusing part: if you feel awful and tired because you’re depressed and then take the time to rest or do less, you won’t get better. Resting actually maintains that lack of energy, so that the depression will either worsen or be maintained. The irony is that doing things (particularly physical activity) will improve your energy levels, rather than depleting them.
It can feel overwhelming or too hard to consider doing things, like housework, seeing friends, exercising, or working. So what can you do?
Remind yourself that something is better than nothing, and set small daily goals to kick-start your recovery. For example, if it is too hard to do the dishes: set a timer and just do what you can in 10 minutes, rather than trying to wash all of the dishes. If it feels too hard to exercise, aim small: walk to the end of the street and back, or around the block. If seeing friends is too hard: why not try responding to one or two text messages that have been left unanswered. If it feels too hard to work or study: set a timer again and do what you can in 20 minutes.
When you start doing things, several things happen. One, it improves your energy levels and motivation. Two, you gain momentum- getting started is often the problem, but it gets easier to do more and other things when you do get started. Three, you get opportunities for that low or flat mood to change- and there often is some improvement, even if slight. And finally: you get proof that you’re not useless, worthless or all the other nasty things that your mind is telling you, which also serves to start weakening the depression.
When you’re sick, resting gets you back on track. When you’re depressed, doing things (however small) will help give you the energy and motivation to get back on track. It can be hard work, but well worth doing.
Many women experience intrusive thoughts or images in the weeks after having their baby. Intrusive thoughts involve some type of harm happening to baby, which can be really scary and isolating. Continue reading “Scary Thoughts After Birth”
Apprehensive worry involves worrying about the future, and it typically consists of focusing on worst-case scenarios. You see it all play out in your head: how making a necessary comment to your boss then somehow leads to you losing your job; how a routine medical investigation then means you are facing a horrible health outcome; how going for a job interview will result in rejection and humiliation; how spending time with your friends will somehow lead to everyone hating you. When you’re facing something that makes you a little anxious, it’s easy for your thoughts to take you to the worst-case scenarios, which will make you a lot anxious. And then you go over and over all the bad things that could happen, so the anxiety sticks around far longer than what is helpful. Continue reading “Managing worry about the future”
It’s really common to be apprehensive towards the end of your pregnancy regarding what will happen during labour. You do your birth plan, and hope things will work out ideally. Continue reading “Childbirth: The Good and the Traumatic”