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A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search
to find that voice can be remarkably difficult. 

– Melinda Gates
Black and white image of three ladies Photo of Congress
Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

In the early twentieth century, Emmeline Pankhurstled
led the suffragette movement to get British
women the right to vote.
Her voice, accompanied by the voices of
thousands of other women, was finally
heard in 1928 when women over the age
of 21 were granted a vote. 

Decades later, British women and women
around the world, use their votes to voice
and support views, opinions, and ideas that shape
modern society. 

The voices of Emmeline and the women who come before us echo through
history to remind us how important it is to speak up for ourselves and others. 

What happens when you lose your voice?

We often need to speak up when we feel a boundary has been violated. 

Reinforcing a boundary can conflict with your desire to be accepted
or avoid conflict and punishment. If you have had negative experiences
while advocating for yourself and being assertive, you are likely to shy away. 

But as Malala Yousafzai once said
‘We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.’ 

When you remain silent, you internalize the emotional fallout and lose
your self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence. And to deal with the distress,
you will be forced to rationalize behaviour that does not align with your
values and beliefs.

How To Find Your Voice

Women Who Run With the Wolves Book Cover
Photo by Guilherme Almeida on Pexels.com

Even when your voice has been muted, ignored, and
punished, you can reclaim it, stand up against a bully, and
negotiate a better salary.
Here is what you can do: 

1.   Understand Your Body. 

If your boundary is violated, you may experience a physical or
emotional nudge to speak out.
You may feel your breathing quicken or feel a lump in your throat. 

Understanding these nudges prevents you from interpreting
the sensations as threats and helps you identify instances
when you need to speak. 

2.   Avoid Apologizing And Over-Explaining. 

If you aren’t used to standing up for yourself, you might notice yourself
apologizing or overly explaining your motives. These actions often steal
focus from your message and accomplishments and water down your

Apologizing when you are wrong is the right move, but avoid doing
it unnecessarily. And always remember that speaking up is a right, and
those listening to you are not doing you a favour, so do not make excuses.

3.   Identify Trigger Phrases That Prompt You To Speak Up. 

The emotional or physical nudge you get to speak out often resembles
a fight, flight or freeze response. If you are prone to flight or freeze
responses, the following phrases might help you speak up. 

4.   Know Your Rights

Women speaking

Women often fail to speak out because
they do not know their rights, especially
in the workplace. Understanding company
policies and escalation procedures will
give you the confidence to stand up for
yourself in case of a violation. 

5.   Use “I” Statements

When communicating your feelings or needs, try to use
“I” statements rather than “you” statements. For example,
instead of saying “You always make me feel upset,” try saying,
“I feel upset when I feel like you are not listening to me.” 

Such statements help express your feelings without placing blame
on the other person.

Do Not Be Silent

A safe book with the words You Can't Find Your Voice If You Don't Use It
Photo by Hussein Abdullah on Unsplash

Overall, finding your voice involves taking
the time to understand your thoughts, feelings,
and values and expressing them confidently and authentically.
It creates a path to a meaningful life
and allows you to tell your story and take up space. 

Madeleine Albright once said

It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that
I have it, I am not going to be silent.

Do not be silent either. 

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.”

Barbara De Angeli

Do you ever feel like you can’t catch a break? That your days are full of chores, meetings, and people? Well, you are not alone.

A seated women looking at the mountain

In today’s fast-paced world, there is little time to slow down and relax. And this is especially true for women. We nurture their families, make career moves, and maintain social schedules without skipping a beat. But in truth, most women, yourself included, can do with a break. After all, there is more to life than being superwoman. And what better way to take a break than spending some time by yourself. 

Let us look at why being alone is important and how you can slow down and refocus your energy. 

Why is Alone Time Good for You?

“Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own.”

Oprah Winfrey

Solitude is known to increase mental health and life satisfaction. This could be a chance for you to:

Focus Inwards. Take this chance to slow down and focus on your thoughts and feelings away from the world.

Unleash Your Creativity. There is a reason why creatives prefer doing solo tasks. It is a chance to let your mind wander and test out different ideas. 

Build Mental Strength. Alone time gives you a chance to practice mindfulness and fortify your mind against stress and depression. 

Practice Self Love. Solitude allows you to learn more about yourself. Think of it as a chance to practice self-love, identify your values, and explore your passions.

Here Are Some Fun Alone Time Suggestions

There are hundreds of fun activities that you can indulge in. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.  

candle light
photo by She The King

Have Your Own DIY Spa Time

Spa days are a great way to unplug and unwind. Unfortunately, getting pampered can be costly, but that should not stop you. You can create a DIY spa day and get some premium home relaxation. There are several tutorials on DIY home spas and a range of affordable beauty products and gadgets. Some DIY spa time will soothe your body, improve your sleep, relax your mind, and boost body image. 

Karaoke. Be The Star of The Show!

If you want something fun to spice up your solo time, consider listening to your favourite music and hosting a solo karaoke night.  Listening to music can uplift your spirits and stimulate your brain. Plus, singing along has been known to have numerous benefits like improving memory and breathing. It can also be a cathartic experience that helps you release intense negative feelings. 

Learn a New Instrument

Taking up a new instrument is always fulfilling and can be a great way to improve your skillset. Unfortunately, learning a new instrument can be difficult and embarrassing, especially with a critical audience. Luckily, there is a better way to learn. Solo time is the perfect time to play your nasty tune until you perfect it. 

Solo Date Night

Dress up, slap on some make-up, and walk into your favourite restaurant. Despite the stigma of eating alone, it is often an empowering and fulfilling activity. You get to savour each bite without interruption and enjoy your own company.  

A lady looking al paintings at a museum

Visit a Museum or Exhibit

If you are into art and culture, consider spending your solo time at a museum or art exhibit. Both activities are a playground for your imagination and can offer a tranquil and insightful time. You will also have a chance to choose your itinerary and move at your own pace, spending more time on pieces you enjoy without being whisked away. Visiting a museum improves your imagination and creativity. So do not be afraid to bring a sketchbook along. 

Go To a Movie or Musical

Going to the movies or seeing a musical alone can be a rewarding and refreshing solution to your busy schedule. Sure, there are people around you, but you do not have to interact with them.  

A lady cooking

Experiment In the Kitchen

Contrary to the idea that solo time is all about relaxing and winding down, it can also be a time to try out new recipes or create a unique dish. 

Binge Watching a Series

Perhaps the most popular form of alone time is binging on a Netflix show for a couple of hours. This is especially easy if you need to relax your mind. After all, TV is the perfect form of escapism. 

Treat Yourself Like A Queen

Most of us are conditioned to self-hate or rely on outside validation to feel worthy. You can break that cycle by changing how you perceive yourself, practicing self-awareness, and self-love.

Pamper yourself, buy some flowers, and practice positive self-talk. Even with your shortcomings, It is important to show yourself kindness. More importantly, applaud your achievements. This will have a positive effect on your confidence and outlook. Always remind yourself that you are worth loving, flaws and all. 

Meditate Or Pray

Solitude creates a perfect atmosphere to get in touch with your spirituality. Meditation and prayer can ground your emotions, increase positivity, and give you a sense of fulfillment. Let’s take a deep breath, clear your mind and focus. 

Sip Some Tea or Wine

There are assortments of calming and relaxing tea blends that would make a solo evening magical. Alternatively, you can pour yourself a glass of wine or fix yourself a cocktail. Next, pair your tea or wine with slow music, aromatic candles, and a good book. Alternatively, you could also use this time to journal to declutter thoughts and feelings.

A lady looking at a bright sunrise

Watch The Sunrise or Sunset

Watching the sunrise or sunset will pump new life into your soul. You can find peace and calm in all the brilliant colours as you sip your favourite beverage. 

Let The Fun Begin!

Venturing into the world of solitude often seems overwhelming. But, give it a try and find out by yourself that you are much braver than you give yourself credit for. 

by Beatrice

“None of us can know what we are capable of until we are tested.”

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

In 1926, 19-year-old Gertrude Ederle swam across the English Channel in 14 hours and 34 minutes. Her time was 1-hour and 59 minutes faster than the previous men’s record.

But before she broke this record, she had been wrongfully disqualified in 1925 when her coach had her recovered from the Channel because he thought she was drowning. But instead of taking this setback to heart, Gertrude tried her luck again. Her resilience propelled her through the icy waters and right into the record books.

Not only had she broken the men’s record, but she also inspired numerous women like Florence Chadwick, who would break her record in 1950. Gertrude Ederle and countless other women in history serve as a reminder that women can change their stories for the better.

You see, the world will always throw punches at you. It could be a failed audition, the loss of a loved one, a bad break-up, or the onset of an addiction. Either way, you need to dust yourself off and keep going.

Why Is Resilience Important?

Resilience is your ability to bounce back and adapt to change. It does not erase the difficulties or the feelings of grief, distress, and anxiety. Instead, it allows you to survive tough times. Think of it as a form of self-preservation. It enables you to push past a situation that could be detrimental to your health, mental wellness, and success.

For most women, resilience is not just the ability to get back up. It is a journey through which they reconnect with themselves. It is a chance for them to learn their strengths, discover their inner beauty and become the best versions of themselves. The world around you may be indifferent to your problems, but you need to deal with them head-on. Resilience shines a light into whatever dark space you are stuck in.

Gertrude could have chosen to wallow in self-pity and watch her potential drain away (especially since most people did not believe that a woman could swim so far). But instead, she tried again. So, whenever you feel yourself shy away from adversity, ask yourself, what is the trade-off?

Will you be trading in your dreams for a comfortable but unfulfilling life? Or are you trading in your confidence, independence, self-esteem, happiness, and stability?

By developing a spirit of resilience, you will shift your perception and respond accordingly to difficult situations. So, instead of trading in your dreams, your self-image, confidence, and happiness, you can choose to grow during a period of uncertainty.

The Face Of Resilience

A red flower growing on a train rail

So what does resilience look like, and do you have the potential for it?

Well, resilient women embody a collection of traits and actions that help them recover from difficulty. These traits include optimism, gratitude, a positive self-image, emotional intelligence, and an internal locus of control. Granted, these traits don’t come naturally to many women. This could be because of traumatic experiences that make it difficult to find strength.

Similarly, depression, anxiety, and unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking make it harder to develop a can-do attitude. But the good news is that you can overcome this. As Maya Angelou says:

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” -Letter to My Daughter

Resilience is like a muscle… it just needs some practice.

Nurturing Resilience, Beauty, And Growth

Everything will be okay

During stressful periods you can experience: mood changes, disrupted sleeping patterns, poor digestion, memory loss, weight fluctuation, and low self-esteem.

This can impact your internal system, making you susceptible to hypertension, heart diseases and other stress-related ailments. In addition to this, you may experience long periods of depression and be too distracted to take proper care of yourself. As a result, your body may show signs of neglect and health problems. You are likely to look exhausted and run down, which affects your self-esteem and confidence. But once your resilient nature kicks in, your outlook will change and allow you to take better care of yourself. Here’s how.

This can impact your internal system, making you susceptible to hypertension, heart diseases and other stress-related ailments. In addition to this, you may experience long periods of depression and be too distracted to take proper care of yourself. As a result, your body may show signs of neglect and health problems. You are likely to look exhausted and run down, which affects your self-esteem and confidence. But once your resilient nature kicks in, your outlook will change and allow you to take better care of yourself. Here’s how.

A. Self-Care

self care tiles

You can reclaim your beauty and grow by creating a self-care routine that includes a beauty regimen and calming sensory experiences like yoga and listening to music. Self-care habits such as getting enough sleep, eating better, exercising and grooming yourself improve your energy levels, control your mood and boost your self-esteem.
It may seem vain, but taking good care of your body can help you feel more beautiful and confident in your abilities.

B. Boosting Resilience
It is hard to think clearly when you are down. Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to boost your strength.

Stay optimistic – A positive mindset reduces stress, allowing you to think clearly and make decisive decisions. It also encourages productivity and reduces negative thought cycles.

Manage stress – Stress management keeps your body and mind healthy. You can manage your stress levels by getting enough sleep, exercising, journaling, and doing breathing exercises.

Practice an internal locus of control – You should distinguish between things you can control and those you cannot. This allows you to focus on the things you can directly impact like your feelings, thoughts and actions. You can then create a realistic plan and improve your sense of resilience and control.

Accept failure – Failure is a part of any process. But instead of taking it to heart, treat it as a form of positive feedback. You can then work on improving your coping strategy.

C. Sharing Your Experiences
Women find strength through shared experience. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. According to a study by Avon, 32% of women said that shared experiences gave them the strength to overcome difficulties. A further 36% said that sharing their stories helped reduce feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. Sharing your situation with others can provide some insight and helpful ideas. Plus, you can be a listening ear to someone who needs it.

a lady pointing her finger with an expression of you got this

You Got This

Resilience thrives in chaos. Despite how bad it gets, remind yourself that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The trick is to look beyond the pain and the hurt and visualize a life full of happiness, fulfillment, and success.

So, dust yourself off, you’ve got this!

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