Yesterday I was at the mall and every store was promoting Women’s day! I am certain you’ve seen the hashtag on social media posts or heard a host on television referencing it. We are all familiar — at least on a surface level — with the International Women’s Day. I was less familiar, though, with what the special occasion stands for and why it’s held each year on March 8. So, I set out to educate myself and this is what I now know.

In short, it’s exactly as it seems… a day devoted to women everywhere.

Of course, that’s a simplified definition. International Women’s Day is, in fact, a dynamic day dedicated to highlighting the social, economic, cultural and political accomplishments of women. It is also rooted in raising awareness of the issues that women face across the spectrum and, accordingly, advocating for gender parity.

What is interesting is the fact that the International Women’s Day has a theme each year. The theme for 2016 was Pledge for Parity. In 2017, it was Be Bold for Change. In 2018, the theme was Press for Progress and in 2019 it was Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change. This year, it’s “#ChooseToChallenge.”

That led me to think of all the challenges and stress women face these days, from work to finances to hustles and keeping on top of our busy lives. Developing women’s self-esteem has, for that very reason, become a crucial part of their personal development since women’s place in society has mostly been inferior compared to men’s. Feeling good about yourself as a woman means that you have to set realistic standards to overcome the obstacles in our fast -changing society. Women are predisposed to low self-esteem because of thing or another.

Art therapy is a good choice for women to help themselves be more centered and calmer. You can practice art therapy even if you aren’t too skilled. It is less about the final product and more about the process of accepting and exploring your emotions. Using art therapy as a form of self-care can help you embrace mistakes and cultivate self-compassion. It can help you connect with others and discover what you really need, all of which are ways of nourishing yourself and maintaining good mental health.

If you’re ready to introduce art therapy as a way to practice self-care, the following activities are a great starting point.

  1. Draw your mood – If stress and anxiety have got you down, try drawing exactly what that mood looks like. Try not to tell yourself whether it’s right or wrong and let your mind go. Express the mood through colors, shapes or any images that come to mind. Notice how it feels in your body and imagine it flying away as soon as it came. Taking a few moments each day to focus on your mood in a creative way can be a great self-care routine.
  2. Blindfold drawing – Think of something in your environment, whether it’s a loved one or an abstract thing like a tree and draw it without looking at your paper. If you need to blindfold yourself, do so. The drawing can be realistic or abstract. The idea of drawing without looking is to help let go of outcomes and become less attached to them. You may feel uncomfortable at first but continue to cultivate self-compassion for yourself and keep going. Self-care IS self-compassion.
  3. Create a collage of emotions – A great therapy practice is to acknowledge, honor and hold space for your emotions, especially negative ones (that we tend to push away). If you’re feeling stuck, create a collage based on that emotion using old magazines and newspapers. Look for images, colors and shapes that express how you’re feeling. As a general rule of thumb, the collage is more about processing the feeling than whatever it is you’re making.

Time to get creative with your self-care routine. Self-care is becoming important for women to make a priority because having a routine can boost self-esteem and improve mental health and your overall well-being. Self-care is more than just bubble baths, manicures and a 60-minute massage. It’s about making sleep a priority, meditation, moving your body, spending quality time in nature or with family members.

It’s also about art.

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