Many of the clients who come to see me are women showing signs of burnout. Being there for everyone else takes its toll, and they feel guilty for taking time out for themselves. Over time, I’ve developed more of my services to help women carve time out of their busy schedules for rest and relaxation, but I realised that the conversation needed to go a lot deeper than just making time for a warm bath or meditation.
Women are increasingly expected to ‘be strong’ and multi-task, and this is having a noticeable impact on overall mental health. We need to get to the root of why women feel ashamed about self-care.
Improving the Conversation
I began to raise awareness of current challenges which affect female health and wellbeing, such as shaming, discrimination and exploitation and I now do this through my Let’s Talk Lady Business website™ and social media.
I encourage healthy conversation where those challenges exist, which includes creating opportunities for learning on subjects such as pregnancy mental health, domestic abuse, menstrual health and menopause, and including women’s rights at work.
Words like “I’ve got my period” can feel awkward to say, but because menstrual health is a taboo subject, women and girls are suffering. Research by Plan International UK shows that one in 10 girls have been unable to afford sanitary wear, and 48% are embarrassed talking about their periods.
Period poverty isn’t about not being able to afford branded products. In the UK the research shows some women and girls can’t afford even the cheapest sanitary wear. We also know women living in domestic abuse may have a partner who confiscates their sanitary products as a means to control them, and other females in the house. Because they are embarrassed to talk about it, these women and girls miss school or work.
Thankfully organisations like Red Box Project, Bloody Good Period and Street Cramps are working hard to break the stigma. Organisations like Refuge can also help support those affected by Domestic Abuse.
Socially, we find different ways of saying that we’re experiencing our natural monthly cycle like “Aunt Flo is in town” or “I’ve got the decorator’s in”. It’s one of the reasons why I created a clothing range which focuses particularly on menstrual health, and aims to change the conversation – to help stop period shaming and end period poverty.
To view the clothing range – nicknamed #PeriodClothing – just click here. A percentage of profits from the featured range goes to some of the charities mentioned, and other causes we become aware of. You can also follow the conversation on social media at ‘Let’s Talk Lady Business™ on Facebook and Twitter.
© Delphi Ellis 2019