How Current Events Have Affected Women's Health
While advancements in medicine are improving women's long-term healthcare options, COVID-19, global unrest, political division, and the declining US economy have seriously increased stress levels for almost everyone, particularly for women. When not managed properly, prolonged stress often leads to increasing health challenges, lower productivity and less joy and fulfillment.
During challenging times, it makes sense to take better care of your body and your mind. Stress and anxiety promote increased negative thinking that tends to feed on itself. When uncertainty abounds, it is important to identify your stressors and incorporate healthy behaviors to help mitigate them.
In a recent survey, 49% of women reported experiencing frequent stress. If you exhibit signs of chronic stress, now is the time to take action and do something about it.
Let's take a look at how current events may be impacting women's health. Read on to discover how to be proactive and protect your health during these uncertain times.
Current State of Women's Health Care
Statistics demonstrate a rise in cases of hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which indicates that the current state of women's health isn't optimal.
The rise is due in part to how we are perceiving and responding to the stressful events most have faced over the past three years that have impacted our behaviors around:
- Physical activity
- Social interaction
- Alcohol and drug use
Due to pandemic safety protocols, it was hard for women to access routine or specialized health care. Some providers could not see patients for routine health checks and did not offer tele-health options. Then there were other contributing factors, such as job loss, leading to health insurance loss.
Effects of Current Events on Women's Mental Health
A lot is happening around us, and it's sometimes hard to turn off social media and the nightly news. Seeking women's health advice is an excellent opportunity to get in tune with your body and mental health.
Too many women and girls deal with depression and isolation. Too much social media and influences of the outside world send messages that leave women feeling they aren't good enough.
Influencers tell women daily how they should look, what they should wear, and how they should feel. Social media drives conversations. If your opinion isn't in line with the majority of people, the backlash is instantaneous.
It's essential to have healthy social routines.
Reach out to friends to schedule a girl's trip. Watch movies at the movie theater instead of streaming services. Treat yourself to a day at the spa.
There are several ways to manage your mental health that does not require anti-depressants. You may be experiencing lingering mental health effects. Consult with a mental health professional if you feel unyielding anxiety and depression.
Women in the Workplace
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, women faced a variety of hardships in the labor market including opportunity inequality and the typically low wages associated with pink collar (education and healthcare) occupations. These industries saw a higher rate of employment decline than those that relied on blue-collar labor or manufacturing.
Furthermore, people were scheduled to work fewer hours, which meant that overall wages fell. As such, some women who had previously afforded essentials, such as food and electricity, found themselves unable to do so. The workplace has often been challenging for many.
Despite all the gains women have seen in the fight for equality, it's no secret that wage discrimination in some occupations persists and often leads to women working extra hard to prove themselves deserving of equal pay.
A 2018 study shows that nearly 50% of working women were employed in jobs where they earned low wages, in comparison to only about 37% of men.
Because of the changing economy, some women have been forced into jobs they're overqualified for and are seeing less pay than they would have gotten before the pandemic.
Working mothers face an extra level of challenge, as they typically bear the brunt of unpaid labor in their households. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, mothers who work full-time spend 50% more time each day caring for children than full-time working fathers.
Adding fuel to the fire, women tend to take on more responsibilities around the house, especially with regards to cooking and cleaning. This is due, in large part, to the lingering effects of gender roles from previous generations.
Financial Struggles Negatively Impact Well-being
The pandemic, and ensuing public policy have impacted the economy affecting employment opportunity/income and has contributed to significant price increases in energy, food, transportation, housing, and other goods and services we all need to live. This has placed a heavy burden on those with minimal savings and those living on a fixed income.
The government offered many programs to assist Americans through the pandemic. They included rent assistance, eviction moratoriums, expanded federal unemployment, and assistance for small business owners.
Following the expiration of programs within the CARES Act, some women experienced housing insecurities.
Some suggestions for those dealing with financial stress:
- Minimize discretionary expenditures (those that are not absolutely necessary to support you and your family).
- Address your debt. Pull your credit report to get a realistic assessment of who and what you owe. Have an openness to talking to your creditors and discussing repayment options.
- Consider job counseling to explore opportunities to increase your income.
- If all else fails, consider bankruptcy as a final option. However, you can often work out a payment plan with those that you owe that fits your budget.
Increased Violence Against Women
Sadly, too many women suffer in silence at the hands of the people who should love and protect them. Recent events have shined the spotlight on domestic violence, and sexual assault women and girls face in their homes.
Abusers often keep their partners isolated. Increased alcohol consumption, unaddressed mental illness, and feeling like they're losing their sense of control cause anxiety in abusers.
Access to abuse counseling, temporary housing, and family/friend support are some options to consider.
Political Unrest Promoting Division
Most people wouldn't think that politics could impact their overall health. But, the truth is, whether you are directly involved in politics or not, you hear about it on the news, on social media, and in your social, professional, and even religious circles.
One hot topic facing women as we approach the mid-term elections is the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Regardless of how you feel about abortions, you have a voice in the conversations. As with any political topic, understand that emotions can run high.
As we approach the mid-term elections, set boundaries on political discussions. You have the power to control the influx of information you receive. Standing on your core values will help you avoid contentious debates over issues and candidates.
Most important, know when to disengage to protect your mental health.
How to Maintain Your Health Despite Current Events
Setting healthy boundaries with unhealthy people you may interact with, and minimizing your consumption of current events content on the news and social media, is a great place to start. Here are some other tips you can easily apply to your life to reduce stress and go from surviving to thriving.
1. Movement for the Mind and Body
Regardless of socio-economic status and other external influences, exercise is a well-known stress buster and can improve your overall mental and physical health. Make time to get outdoors and soak in the sun.
Some free or affordable options include:
- Yoga-Inspired Workouts: Developing a home yoga practice is an ideal option. There are many free videos online, or you can pay a reasonable yearly subscription for unlimited sets that you can tailor to the exact time and intensity you need. Even if you only have time for a 15-minute session, your body and mind will thank you.
- High Intensity Interval Training: HIIT is an excellent choice if you want a thorough workout in a short period of time. You don't need any equipment, and you can find both free and affordable options online. If you have a little extra time, couple this with a brisk walk for added impact and some fresh air.
2. Eat Your Stress Away
Choosing the right kinds of foods can help reduce stress levels. For example, foods rich in magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids are particularly helpful. It just so happens that avocados are rich in both! You can find a wide range of recipes, from dressings to desserts, that incorporate this superfood.
Other foods that will help lower your cortisol levels include:
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Various fish
- Gut-healthy foods like Greek yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi
3. Quality Supplements
Supplements are essential to a healthy lifestyle, especially in times of prolonged stress. Check out our catalog for everything from nutritional detox programs, cognitive function, to sleep support.
Consider these supplements which can be helpful for women.
Comprehensive B-vitamin supplements support not only your stress response, but also energy levels and neurological function.
Fatty acids are essential for a healthy body. They regulate blood pressure, protect against heart disease, and support brain development in infants.
Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important because they help reduce inflammation in your body-which can cause pain and discomfort. You can find these fatty acids in fish oil or cod liver oil. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, try soybean oil or flaxseed oil.
Depressed people are most likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiencies. While sunshine is the best source of vitamin D, you can get it from other sources when you're not feeling well enough to go outside.
Talk to your healthcare provider about supplements if you're feeling depressed, or simply to incorporate more vitamin D into your diet to support your immune system. If you can get your hands on some tuna or beef liver, eat it! Your body needs vitamin D to produce serotonin and melatonin, both of which can help to improve your mood.
Some research suggests that deficiencies in folate can increase your risk for depression.
This vitamin is especially important if you're expecting a baby or are breastfeeding, as it's needed for the development of your baby's brain. Folate can also help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety in women who are pregnant. If you're not getting enough folate from food sources such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, and citrus fruits, talk to your healthcare provider about taking a supplement.
Magnesium flushes lactate out of your muscles, which can cause fatigue. If you're lacking magnesium, your body may be more prone to fatigue and depression. Ask your doctor about the recommended magnesium intake for your age to get an idea of how you can improve.
Women's health is about more than just the absence of disease. It's about feeling good, being healthy and vibrant, and taking care of yourself. The pandemic threatened these aspects of life.
Women's health is about maintaining your health despite your circumstances. Our mental state of mind affects our physical health.
Women's health is about maintaining a healthy balance and being in tune with your whole body.
Learn to eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of rest. It doesn't hurt to schedule self-care days at least once a month. Women should also become intentional about scheduling their well-woman annual health check-ups.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
We encourage you to take advantage of these FREE Wellness Resources on our website.
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The information, knowledge, and experience shared on this website is the opinion of SupplementRelief.com. This site and its content is intended to enhance your knowledge base as YOU MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTHCARE DECISIONS in partnership with your qualified health professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products referred to are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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