The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is “Choose to Challenge!” – which I find quite appropriate since this is a year when women are faced with choices that challenge almost every part of our lives. There are new paradigms at work, home, schooling, caring for parents or others (who normally would be in daycare or having outside resources which are no longer available). And then there is house work, cooking, cleaning etc., which add to the already mountains of responsibilities we have. Challenge after challenge. Sometimes we are blessed with a great partner or family member who works beside us. Sometimes not. In either case, it can become easier for us to just settle and not go after what we need because our lives are upended. Some days it feels like there is not a lot left for us to give back to ourselves.
Just Get Through or Thrive?
How can we not only ‘get through’ and stay sane, but also thrive? This article is not to tell you How To do this all. There are tons of articles on the ‘how to’ for you to find. What I want to convey now is that you need to make yourself a priority. Period. Set boundaries. Set time for real self-care. Be committed to you at least once a day. This is about making a promise to yourself because unless you do that, all of the articles out there will be of no help unless you accept that you MUST take care of you. Stop settling for any less.
Finding Inspiration from Women’s Stories
When we look back at just the history of women in the U S, the stories of women who have been challenged by the hardships of daily life, and also who challenged the system around them, are abundant! From the women who took their families and pulled up stakes to go across country in covered wagons, to the courageous women struggling with the terrible slavery of themselves and their families, to women who had the tenacity and perseverance to stand up for the Vote and started the Women’s Suffrage Movement to women going through the Great Depression – there are boundless stories we can learn from which will support us in getting though our challenging times. All of these stories are about women warriors- which I doubt they would have thought of themselves that way.
Resilience in Us All!
I am reading the Four Winds right now by Kristin Hannah. She writes about how the lives for everyone during the Great Depression and the years of the Dust Bowl were almost unbearable. It was daily survival in the truest sense – food, shelter, money, work – all of which were scarce beyond imagination. And the impact on the women – the mothers, grandmothers, daughters – well – the word ‘challenging’ does not even seem to come close to describe how these women were able to survive and still take care of others. And yet they were able to find how to keep going on. What we can learn from them is that we have such a deep capacity for resilience – it is really unlimited.
Smile More. Laugh More. Everyday.
Take a few minutes to read even a small article which will inspire you. Write down what you learned from then and then what it is you need right now. Next write down just one action you will take everyday to use your resilience to make your life a bit happier. Smile more. Laugh more. Hug more (where you can). And mostly love yourself more. I know the women who preceded us probably didn’t think so much about the concept of self-love. But something inside was so driving them to live differently and so they found their resilience to move forward. I do know that by following their instincts for survival and for making things better for themselves and to those important to them, they brought about small and enormous changes that made a difference. Learn from others. Learn from ourselves everyday. There is a ‘warrior’ in each us longing to come out.
Photo credit – I took this photo at the Orvieto National Archaeological Museum in Orvieto, Italy. I discovered that the ancient Etruscan women were a strong and powerful part of their society and we can go back to ancient times and learn from them as well.