This year, May 9th through 15th is National Women’s Health Week. Led by the U.S. Department of Health and human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, this weeklong health observance reminds women and girls to make their health and mental wellbeing a priority and to take care of themselves.
Women are often caretakers and wear many hats as they balance work, family, and community responsibilities. According to the CDC*, two out of every three caregivers in the United States are women, meaning they provide daily or regular support to children, adults, or people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. In the home, women balance responsibilities for meals, doctor’s appointments, childcare, vacation plans, and more with their own personal needs. Women who are caregivers have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health.
Our leadership team consistently emphasizes the importance of mental health and self-care with our staff and encourages everyone to utilize their PTO, participate in quarterly physical challenges, and take advantage of our Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).
So, what is self-care? Self-care is an individualized practice to maintain good physical and mental health. It can include a wide range of activities and habits based on what makes each individual feel cared for. We asked several of the women on our team to share what self-care means to them, and the activities and rituals they participate in to take care of themselves.
- “Self-care for me means carving out enough time to accomplish one thing I want to do and completing it. This might mean just five minutes to walk around my neighborhood, or 30 minutes on my Peloton bike. It’s important because as a working mom, I’m never truly at a state of rest. I’m always thinking about what needs to be done. Just those few minutes to myself gives me a bit of calm in the storm. I practice self-care by riding my bike, watching HGTV and dreaming about the house I would build myself, and watching funny videos on TikTok. I do not watch the news… there’s too much negativity and I try to stay away from watching anything that can trigger me.” – Paris B., Community Liaison, Connector
- “Every few months I complete a self-care assessment to determine if I am taking care of me. This assessment allows me to gauge the balance in my life beyond exercise and diet. It also allows me to be insightful regarding my spiritual, mental, and emotional health practices. Self-care, for me, is doing anything that I find enjoyable, relaxing, or stimulating. It can range from taking a long walk while listening to a motivational message or music; to taking time off from work to complete a home project. I am very intentional about self-care because I recognize that I am most energized, resilient, and productive when I have placed myself as a priority on my “to do” list. I also recognize without self-care, my body will send me negative feedback physically, mentally, spiritually and/or emotionally.” – Kim F., Director, MATCH
- “Self-care to me means, making sure my cup is full before pouring into others. It’s important for me to be present in all my roles and show up as the best version of me. My self-care practices include prayer, a daily skincare routine, bi-weekly maintenance appointments, and monthly massages. I also make sure that I treat myself to something new on a regular basis.” – Ardena H., Medical Representative III, Eligibility
- “Self-care is taking steps to reassure yourself that you are not only welcome in this world, but that you truly belong and that your existence is important on its own merit. Self-care can come in many forms, and you have the power and authority to determine what it looks like for you. It is an essential part of life because we as human beings deserve to feel loved and worthy in our own eyes. My self-care consists of running to sweat out the stressor of each day, hiking to feel more connected to nature and our history, writing lists to feel more grounded and clearer about my intentions, and getting together with friends to smile and remember how amazing the people I surround myself with truly are! Showing up for others and others showing up for me is my love language, so keeping those who reciprocate my presence in my circle is extremely important to my own self-care as well!” – Maeve L., Care Coordination Associate/Community Health Worker, Baltimore Health Corps
- “Self-care means a recharge for my energy and mental health. I have found that it’s incredibly important to me to make self-care practices part of my daily routine to feel creative, productive, and best able to manage stress. I enjoy going for a walk around my neighborhood before and after my workday. This has been a great way to re-create a daily commute during remote work. I usually catch-up on podcasts or an audiobook while I walk. It gives time to get ready for the day and then unwind in the evening while getting some fresh air!” – Caitlin M., Director of Development and Major Giving