Let’s share knowledge this Women’s Health Week 2023
Some days feel like they drag on forever. But others fly past in an instant.
A click of the fingers. You are five years old. It’s your first day of school. Your backpack is almost as big as you are. The classroom is loud, and your ears shake with screaming and laughing children. Another child sits next to you. You decide to be best friends for the rest of your life.
Snap. 12 years old. High school. Your best friend is gone—another school, or maybe you had a falling out. Red dots spot your face. You want to hide them. Do you steal make-up from your mother’s bathroom drawer? You feel wrong in your body. Everything is the wrong length, the wrong size, too big, too small. Your tummy feels funny.
Snap. 14 years old. Your first job. Your first paycheck! You are buzzing with excitement, but you question some days if the money is worth the stress. The customers are rude. Their coffee is too cold, too hot, too frothy, too sweet, too burnt, never right. Your brain hurts. They yell at you, scream, spit in your face. You want to cry. Why is everything so loud again?
Snap. 16, 17, 18 years old, and suddenly you are graduating. Are you relieved to finish school and leave it all behind, or are you sad? This network of support you have known for the last twelve years, gone in an instant. What are you meant to do next?
Snap. 20. Are you in university? TAFE? The token female in a trade? Every day feels like too much. Too many assignments, too many feelings, too many expenses, too many two-minute noodles. You are tired all the time, but there is so much life to live, so many big things to experience for the first time. There’s no time to sleep when the world is so alive.
Snap. 30. The nine-to-five slog is real. How did you get here? Maybe you have children, one or two or three that sap all the hours from your day. Or maybe you are watching your friends get married, buy houses, move to the suburbs, while you are still here, working full-time and struggling to pay the rent. Is that wrong? Why does it feel so right, then?
Everyone’s life is different. Yet despite the millions of unique experiences and choices we face daily, so many of us encounter the same anxieties. The stresses of our bodies changing, our sleep escaping us, our minds and emotions simultaneously expanding and collapsing, all whilst striving to maintain balance.
Now, think about this:
If you could go back to any moment in time, what would you say to yourself?
Women’s Health Week is held from the 4th to the 8th September 2023. This year is all about sharing knowledge.
We asked our staff to reflect on knowledge shared: what’s the best advice you have been given? What knowledge do you wish you had known earlier?
Here are their answers.
What knowledge will you share this Women’s Health Week?
I wish I knew the power of self-belief and self-care: you cannot change the behaviour of others, but you can change your own. Challenge the status quo and never let where you come from dictate your narrative.
The best advice I have ever been given is to ask yourself, “Will this still bother me in six months?”
Looking back, I would tell myself two things: one, to study harder and don’t give up. And two, if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t.
I would go back and say to myself to follow your passion and your gut instinct, and don’t let other people influence your life choice decisions.
Trust in the timing of your life. You are where you are meant to be in your journey. Comparing your journey to those of your peers, friends, or family can be harmful. We are all individuals, so why should we expect our journeys to be similar?
Some days are hard, and that is okay. Don’t hide from those days. Let yourself sit in the hard moments and feel the big things. And then get up and keep going. Maybe not today, or even tomorrow, but soon. There is always another good day on the horizon: an uncontrollable laugh, a kind smile, warm hug, conversation you never want to end, beautiful sunrise that seems to stretch on forever. Life takes practice, so take the time to enjoy the breeze on your face and photograph the rainbows. The little moments are just as beautiful as the big ones.
Going back to any moment of time in my life, with the benefit of hindsight, initially sounds very appealing. My first thoughts? Don’t worry about your weight, or how you look, or the clothes you wear. That would be the biggest piece of advice I’d give myself. I spent so many years hating the way I looked, wanting to be thinner, wanting to fit in. Imagine all the things I could have done with all the time I wasted!
But on reflection, I don’t want to go back to my younger self. Everything I’ve experienced has led me to this point, to the person I am now. Going back in time would change this. Don’t get me wrong – my life hasn’t always been sunny and carefree; I’ve definitely lived through some very difficult times. But everything I’ve experienced has led me to this point, to the person I am now. I like the person I am now, some days more than others, but overall, I think I’m doing okay.
I was given some advice a couple of years ago that has really stuck with me and helped to build my own confidence in my professional life. We can get so caught up in our failures or how far we have left in our journey before we get to our goal that we can forget to look back at where we have come from and celebrate the success of where we are now.
By giving some time for myself to reflect on what I’ve learned over the last couple of years, I can see how much I’ve grown and am grateful for all the challenges I’ve overcome to be where I am today. To help me with this reflection, I keep a photo of my uni graduation day on my vision board to remind me of where I started and allow me to recognise how much I have grown.
I wish I had known about my own self-care practices earlier. When I practice self-care, I am more resilient, calm and capable of managing my stress levels. For anyone not sure where to start or what might work for them, I would recommend the book Self-Compassion by Dr Kristin Neff which shares different ways we can show care and kindness to ourselves in practising self-compassion.
Discover your tomorrow this Women’s Health Week
EPIC Assist has been supporting people with a disability, injury, mental health condition, and health condition to find and keep a job they love for over 30 years.
When you choose EPIC Assist as your Disability Employment Services (DES) provider, we put your goals first and help you find a job that is right for you, your health, your lifestyle, and (most importantly) your happiness.
Every day, we make an incomprehensible number of small decisions and actions that affect who we are and where we will be tomorrow. So, in honour of Women’s Health Week, why not take a moment today to make a decision just for you?
You don’t need to have a ten-year life plan mapped out to put yourself first. All you have to do is believe in a tomorrow.
If you have a disability, injury, mental health condition, or health condition, get in touch with EPIC Assist today to find out how we can help you discover your tomorrow.