“Loving you is easy ’cause you’re beautiful . . .” Yes, you! YOU are beautiful!!! As you walk around today wishing everyone Happy Valentine’s Day and expressing love, remember the first person you must express love to is yourself. That’s right YOU! Remember her, the one the stares back in the mirror at you everyday? The one who has always been there no matter what? Yep, she needs your love too, more than anyone else in your life. Because if you don’t love her first and foremost, then you can’t really love anyone else.
YOU are the most important person in your life. I have always preached self-love to my girlfriends, my mother, and basically anyone who would listen. I feel THE most important aspect of a woman’s life is learning how to love herself. As much emphasis as she places on loving others, she must place that ten-fold on herself. When you love yourself, it shows to everyone. Through your walk, your talk and the way you carry yourself. Self love and self-confidence go hand in hand. People see it, sense it and often envy it. Since it is not easy for everyone to love themselves, they often try to bring others down with them. Remember, misery loves company but don’t give in to it.
We are all a work in progress, but the slight imperfections are what make us unique. So I say to those of us (including me) who are perfectionists and often hard on ourselves, relax! Embrace those qualities and learn to love them. If you ever expect someone to love all of you and accept everything about you, YOU have to do it first.
As you look in the mirror today and the next, try a few of these mantras to help you remember how great you really are:
YOU are an amazing woman.
YOU have overcome obstacles and challenges that could have broken you, but didn’t.
YOU are so strong.
YOU are a good person.
YOU are smart.
YOU are important.
YOU are loved.
Use these mantras to embrace the inner you or create your own. Do whatever you need to do to remind you that loving you is easy because YOU are beautiful AND fabulous, vivacious and a force to be reckoned with!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
This is a different type of post for me, but after watching Michelle Obama’s speech a few minutes ago, at the Democratic National Convention, I was compelled to write this post. I generally don’t discuss politics and health on my blog. I leave that to the policy folks. However, something hits you every now and then that is a must say. I just wanted to give kudos to Michelle Obama and her mentioning the importance of providing not just health care to Americans, but mental health. Many people may not have even caught that, but when you are daily striving for improved comprehensive services for women, you catch words related to what they need. Rarely do you hear individuals, let alone policy makers and politicians mention mental health when discussing health care. It is usually general health care services, which are absolutely critical and necessary, but mental health services are just as integral to our health and well-being.
As always I just give the facts:
- Approximately 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. (NIMH)
- Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44. (NIMH)
- Mental illness is a chronic disease and is often overlooked as such.
- The burden of mental illness is underestimated in the United States and a study in 2005 revealed that the U.S. could be ranked #1 for global mental illness.
- Stress and anxiety from the environment such as poverty, violence, and lack of social support can lead to severe mental health problems.
As someone who has a background in social work and public health, it is sad to know that the number of Americans who suffer from mental illness is more than likely higher. Why? Because so often do people 1) recognize symptoms of mental illness, 2) acknowledge they have a mental health issue, or 3) seek professional help or talk to someone they trust about any mental health issues they may have. Services and resources in mental health are critical to the overall well-being of individuals. So remember to fight for these service too, when you are fighting for access to quality and affordable health care. When you treat the mind, you treat the body.
Again, I say kudos to Michelle Obama for just merely acknowledging mental health services this evening as important and necessary for women, men and children living in this country.
Today in it’s July 23 issue, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released a study on how women who take antidepressants may benefit from the little blue pills-Viagra. Past studies have shown that Viagra has not really had a similar effect on women as it does in men. But this new study sheds a bit of hope, well at least for those who are taking prescribed antidepressants. The research involved 98 premenopausal women which found Viagra helped with orgasm. But the benefits did not extend to other aspects of sex such as desire or arousal.
Antidepressants are known to interfere with sex drive and performance even as the drugs help lift crippling depression. Changing drugs or reducing the dose can help improve sexual drive and performance, but many people, men and women, stop taking them because of the sexual side effects.
According to a report by MSNBC, a Pfizer Inc. spokeswoman Sally Beatty said the company currently has no plans to pursue FDA approval for using its drug Viagra as a treatment for female sexual dysfunction. The company ended its internal research on Viagra for women in 2004. While Viagra was found to be safe, the results were inconclusive, Beatty said in an e-mail.
As I said the other day, it is SO HARD BEING A WOMAN!!! So you are in a dark place called depression, and you try to improve your state of mind by taking medication. You are feeling like you are finally in a better place to then find out you have no sex drive or desire. WOW! Where does it end?!?! To all of my fellow women – keep hope alive and stay strong!
Why is it that you seem to get “the blahs” more in the winter than in the spring or summer? It’s not like there is anything necessarily wrong with your life or in your life, but you just sometimes feel like you have less energy than usual. Well at least that is how I feel and I am sure many of you can relate. Sometimes you just don’t feel like doing anything . . . cleaning the house, working, or reading a book. Lying on the sofa or in the bed is just so much more appealing, isn’t it? The paranoia in me got me to thinking “am I depressed and don’t know it?” I haven’t even had the urge to write, which is why the blog has been slightly lacking over the last two weeks. I always know there is something wrong when I don’t want to write and my only desire is to consume chocolate chip cookies and watch Hitch for the 7th time.
So I started doing a little research and found that what I have been feeling is extremely common. According to a Canadian study, 90% of the people they surveyed indicated they had the winter blahs. Not to be confused with the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder, which is a form of depression. With shorter days in the winter, we get less sunshine and less Vitamin D, which is known to improve individuals’ moods and reduce depression. (Just think how great you feel on a beautiful sunny day). Did you ever wonder why you may be more cranky, moody and sluggish from November to March? Well it has a lot to do with not so many sunny days to wake up to, lots of nasty weather, and less opportunities for being outside. It’s also a time where we are not as physically active. Almost everything I read indicated that some form of exercise is great for curing the “winter blahs.” I must say the last couple of days I have worked out and it has helped a bit. So as I try to kick these blahs, I thought I would share with you my thoughts on what may help us all through these not-so-great days. Here are a few of my suggestions and a few from different sources that I thought were good.
- Find something that you like to do that will get you up and moving, or just take your mind off of feeling blah. Try a new recipe or give your bedroom a new look. A new activity may improve your mood.
- Open the blinds or curtains for some sunshine and crack the windows for a bit of fresh air. Release the stale and dry air that is lingering in your house that may be making you feel cooped up and sluggish.
- Exercise or do some form of physical activity. Try a new exercise class like Power Yoga or Cardio Funk. Salsa dancing is on my list! The energy you will get from exercising is definitely a mood-lifter.
- Visit friends you haven’t seen in a while. Catching up with friends just makes you feel good, especially when there is laughter involved. A good laugh is priceless.
- Take your vitamins. We need our vitamins even more in the winter months to help fight off viruses and colds, as well as maintain our energy. We are definitely more sluggish in the winter and vitamins help a lot.
- Meditate and massage. Do both! Clearing your mind and releasing tension from your body can help increase your positivity. The blahs can often lead us into negative thinking. So staying positive is important.
- Do something different with your look. Get a haircut, try a new hair color or wear a color you don’t usually wear. This will surely brighten your mood and get people to notice that certain “Je ne sais quoi” about you.
My eyes are swollen, my heart is filled and my mind racing after watching tonight’s episode of Extreme Home Makeover. I don’t know about you, but I think just about every episode has brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes, I find myself sobbing over the stories of these families and how much a new home can truly ease even an ounce of pain. Well, this evening touched on an aspect of women’s health, where the EHM team built a new home for a family who suffered the loss of a mother/sister due to domestic violence. Not to mention the four kids previously lost their father to a tragic car accident a few years ago. What is even more sad, is the oldest daughter was in the car with her father and in the bed with her mother, when her ex-boyfriend shot her.
This post is not intended to make you sad, but to make you aware. Domestic violence is an aspect of women’s health that is often overlooked as such. It is generally seen as “that man and that woman’s business.” It is left to the authorities as their problem in the middle of the night. It is not something one wants to get involved in. However, our involvement is key. Domestic violence is a health issue that affects the mental and physical health of millions of women annually, as well as their children. It takes the lives of many through death or years of scarring. According to statistics, on average more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends each day in this country. Children who are witness to domestic violence or living among domestic violence are not only susceptible to being abused, but also more likely to continue the cycle of violence.
But it is also a health issue that is preventable through awareness, improved laws, and access to quality comprehensive services for victims. Domestic violence is an issue that affects all communities, all races and ethnicities, and all socioeconomic levels. It is an issue that touches us all in some form whether personally because of a woman we know who has been abused, maybe the stories we have heard, or you know it firsthand. I just ask, if you ever come across a purple ribbon, tie it around your finger so you won’t forget about the millions of women and children impacted by domestic violence. Be the voice of those who have been silenced.