By Gloria Martinez. Above photo of Zumba Class, Photo by: Adrzej Rembowski.
We all have to shove through the daily grind. Waking up at 5 a.m., getting your kids off to school, working late for less money than you made ten years ago, then doing it all over again – welcome to adult life. But women may have a more intense grind to deal with than men. Women still get paid 80 percent of their male colleagues for the same work. Then, consider that 42 percent of women say they’ve faced gender discrimination on the job. With these issues in mind, here are some small ways women can help improve their overall wellness to help overcome the daily grind, difficult as it can be.
With all the pressures put on women, practicing self-care is essential to help ease stress and anxiety. While “self-care” is a relatively newish term, it basically means knowing your worth and treating yourself well. That’s not the same as indulging in instant gratification, of course, nor is it based on the notion that life’s reward is some form of happiness that, one day, will wrap around you like a golden cloud. Instead, you often achieve self-care through definite steps and healthy actions. These might include sleeping seven to nine hours a night, valuing your work-life balance, and following a healthy exercise regimen.
On that note, let’s talk about fitness, one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. Working out lowers your risk of stroke, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, heart disease, and high blood pressure, among other conditions. Also, it helps you sleep, tones your muscles, strengthens your joints, boosts your energy, and improves your outlook and self-esteem. Golf, judo, rugby, dance, bowling, basketball, water polo – each sport and exercise provides its own benefits. So what you do doesn’t so much matter as that you get out there and do it.
Have you heard of the “80/20” rule? It’s the idea that losing weight is 80 percent eating right and 20 percent exercise. However, you want to break it down; the importance of a nutritious meal plan must be emphasized. Note “nutritious” in that sentence. The last thing you want to do is starve yourself on a crash diet of saltines and water. Instead, vary your food intake regimen between fruits, veggies, whole grains, and omega-3 fish like salmon.
Also, take this into account: Nutritionists have identified the three main body types as ectomorphs (slighter physiques), mesomorphs (athletic shapes), and endomorphs (larger bodies). You trim down more efficiently the thinking goes when you identify the proper meals for your body type. For instance, ectomorphs are supposed to consume mostly carbs and less protein and fat. Mesomorphs should eat a balance of all three, while endomorphs should prioritize lean proteins and healthy fats. Consult your doctor or physical trainer to get the details on which meal plan is right for your body. Be sure to make the transition into your diet gradually so your body can adjust to the change.
As you make changes to your diet, it’s also a good idea to educate yourself about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut. According to researchers, when your gut’s microbiome is balanced, it can have several benefits to your overall health. Examples include digesting food properly, triggering positive emotions, and strengthening the immune system. By incorporating foods that can foster a healthy microbiome (bananas, yogurt, sauerkraut, garlic, etc.) and drinking plenty of water, you’re setting yourself up for better wellness.
Now, with all that said, don’t take this article as advice on how to be politely passive. Perhaps the best way to overcome the daily grind for women is to join a women’s support group. These types of groups can help you find a community of like-minded people and get involved in women’s rights movements. With luck, initiative, and idealism, you may be able to not just take care of yourself, but help women throughout the world overcome the daily grind.