Women’s Mental Health
Three quarters of mental health issues are established before the age of 24, and young women have emerged as the highest-risk group for mental ill health. Many factors can influence this including caregiving responsibilities, social isolation, hormonal changes, and experiences of physical and sexual abuse.
Ways to Support Yourself
If you’re struggling with your mental health, remember that self-care is essential. The tips below may help to support your wellbeing:
Build a Support Network
Stay connected to people you trust and cultivate a social support network – no matter how big or small. It’s a great way to feel more content and supported. If you don’t currently have a support network in place, why not join one of our weekly wellbeing groups or a local Facebook group? Or if you’re a parent or carer, you could attend a baby and mum group.
Pursue Hobbies & Interests
Allow yourself time to pursue your hobbies and interests. A hobby can be any activity done regularly during spare time for pleasure. This could include reading, playing sports, crafting or being in nature! Your hobbies are a way to express yourself, which helps you feel more grounded and connected to who you are.
What we eat and drink can impact our mood. A good diet supports our mental health, gives us more energy and will help us think more clearly.
Try to stay hydrated by drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day and by eating a variety of fruit and vegetables which will add a good range of nutrients to your diet. Frozen, tinned, dried and juiced fruits and vegetables all count towards your 5 a day – and can often be cheaper to buy too!
Visit our Recipes page for nutritious and tasty meal inspiration.
Get Enough Sleep
Poor sleep can increase anxiety and worry, and affect our ability to manage our emotions.
There is no set amount of sleep that is right for everyone but the average is between 7 and 9 hours sleep a night. It may be difficult getting enough sleep if you’re a parent or carer, but aim to get enough sleep to feel rested. Keeping a good sleep routine by going to bed and waking at similar times each day can help with this.
Enjoy regular physical activity
Studies show that regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety, and plays a vital role in improving the quality of life of people experiencing mental health problems. We are all drawn to different forms of physical activity that feel right for us. Consider exploring options such as yoga, walking, badminton, or engaging in a team sport like hockey.
Hormones & Mental Health
Reproductive hormones can fluctuate throughout our lives. These changes can be more noticeable at certain times in a woman’s life, such as:
- Puberty. During puberty, a teen’s body begins to release hormones that weren’t previously present. This can cause feelings of confusion, anger and sadness.
- Pregnancy. Hormones change rapidly during pregnancy. These hormones help your body support a growing foetus. It’s common to feel tearful, irritated and tired during pregnancy.
- Postpartum. Hormone levels can fluctuate wildly after childbirth. Sometimes, these changes can lead to serious mental health issues, including postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and, rarely, postpartum psychosis.
- Menopause. While every woman’s experience of the menopause is different, many find they have symptoms in addition to their periods stopping. These can include changes to your physical health (such as hot flushes, headaches and low sex-drive), and your mental health (such as mood swings, anxiety and feeling low). Treatment includes hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or talking therapy. Speak to your GP about what’s best for you.
Ask for help
Perform regular check-ins with yourself regarding your mental and emotional health. If there’s a time when you’re not feeling yourself, reach out for support. It’s okay not to be okay.
You could talk to your partner, friend, colleague, or your GP. You can also call Bath Mind on 0808 175 1369 any day of the week between 9am and 11pm for mental health support. Samaritans’ helpline 116 123 is also there for you – it’s open 24/7.