Working women are always on their toes and house wives are lost in their household chores. From prehistoric times men are seen as providers and women are seen as carers. Over time with things evolved ,women have taken up equal job roles in the society and some women are leading nations. But has the outlook of gender roles changed in our minds? Not just men, have women ever stopped believing in the gender roles long assigned by the society ?
Women and men are different not only physically but also psychologically. There is a difference in the way both of them process information and react to it. Given the same stressful situation , both cope differently, women may cope by ‘taking it in’ and have depression or anxiety and men cope by ‘taking it out’ with anger and alcohol and drug use. These physical and psychological differences are further compounded by societal assigned gender roles with social conditioning and power structure. Women have higher rates of incidence and persistence of depression and anxiety,which are a huge global burden.
How often do women priorotize their needs over theirhusband’s or children’s? little do women realise that prioritizing her needs is not being selfish but will make her feel complete so she would fulfil her roles better. The societal outlook of women’s role as carers have also made them hesitant in seeking help for their own problems. Why is that we still don’t understand that people who care, need to be cared too?
For long, women are portrayed as strong and enduring. So a woman is made to believe that however she feels she has to endure the pain and control her thoughts and emotions and not complain or seek help. It has to be understood that through various reproductive stages of menstruation,pregnancy,breastfeeding and menopause a woman is physiologically prone and also with the hard wired gender roles of the society and violence- depression,stress and anxietyis no longer ‘imagined’. Depression and other common mental health disorders are real.
The theme of women’s day 2021 is ‘Choose to challenge’ meaning that the women are responsible for their own thoughts and actions and they challenge the world everyday. Challenging the adverisites,inequality and the world at large by women should begin with challenging her own thoughts actions and beliefs. Challenge herself when the ingrained culture says she should not be her priority,she cannot have burnouts, it is only her duty to take care of others, prioritizing her needs only means being selfish and may be her needs can wait. Challenge begins here.
So currently, we are looking at women as a group of people with high mental health burden and low help seeking.It is essential that women take care of themselves. Simple tips of self care are women should learn to prioritize their needs at times and remember that that wouldn’t necessarily disappoint people around. Yes,she is good at juggling roles,but should haverealistic goals and clear boundaries, and there is nothing wrong in saying NO if it is something beyond her limits. Even if you stretch a rubberband too much, it is going to give way. And remember neglecting yourself to take care of somebody else may seem like an act of love but giving from a place of emptiness only leads to resentment towards the other person and eventually towards yourself. Its is good to have a supportive social network to fall back and relax and also find time for exercise and to take care of your health, to do what keeps you happy also. Self care is the hardest to do when you need it most.
So celebrate yourself not just today but everyday and remember emotions are your strength not weakness don’t hesitate to reach out and seek help. Take care of yourself. Happy women’s day!