I am nearly 30 years old (insert panic emoji here) and after wandering blindly through my twenties, the decade has revealed a short list of “essentials”. There are lists like this all over magazines, Twitter Feeds and blogs– from the Thirty Things Every Woman Needs by the Time She is Thirty to The 5 Things Every Woman Should Have in Her Closet.
But my list isn’t about possessions or material objects. While, yes, I own some key pieces I love too much (Burberry cape, anyone?), I feel strongly that I didn’t limp my way through my twenties just to look back and say, “Gosh, all that learning and the most important is a pile of stuff.” Pffft – bo-ring.
Therefore, below are five things I feel every woman should have – regardless of age.
1. A Good Night’s Sleep
Everyone is constantly busy and tired. Of all my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, I do not know one person who ever says “I am so well-rested and have so much free time on my hands! Every day is a leisurely stroll through the park.” Ha! Wouldn’t that be nice? Conversely, daily conversations with friends typically go a little more like this, “How are you?” “Oh, fine – I am just so tired.” Well, no wonder! With constant commitments, deadlines, things to do, people to see, chores to do, devices to interact with and NetFlix Original Series to watch, we all have a lot on our plates. But the more tired and worn down we get, the deeper we sink into the terrible cycle of exhaustion and burnout. As a result of our over-stimulated lives, more and more research continually crops up, vehemently arguing the importance of sleep. Some of the benefits of sleep include*:
- Being happier
- Having better sex
- More easily building muscle
- Learning better
- Staying fit
- Lower risk of depression and anxiety
- Healthier skin
The list goes on and on, and I am certain most people can attest to feeling better and more alert after a good night’s sleep. While each person’s sleep needs vary, the average person needs around eight-nine hours a night; I, on the other hand, prefer nine to ten. If you fall in that camp and continually find yourself flopping into bed around 1:00 a.m. and getting up at 6:00 a.m. to hit the gym (or, heck, slowly dragging your bum to the shower and dreading the day ahead), GET MORE SLEEP. Easier said than done, but totally worth it.
The resources available on the topic of sleep seem limitless, and below are just some of my faves:
- Three TED Talks That Will Convince You to Get More Sleep
- The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington
2. A Relaxation Process
There are some people in the world who seem immune to stress, and to those blessed individuals I say, “Congratulations.” The rest of us, however, experience stress every now and again: From deadlines to children to finances to aging parents, there is a lot to tense up over.
Thus, I firmly believe it is imperative for every woman (and person, for that matter) to find a relaxation process that works for them. For some, that may be daily morning yoga; others, weekly massages or a 5-mile run. Sometimes just a 10-minute walk outside can do the trick. Whatever it is for you, find it and practice it. Know what not only works for you, but what you and your body need. There is a litany of apps, books, specialists and resources out there to help you explore your options and integrate them into your life.
3. Someone to Talk To
Best friends. Mom. Trusty therapist. Mentor. Having someone to talk to and listen is a huge thing to have in life. As much as I love my alone time and thinking through things myself, having someone to act as a sounding board or advisor is critical. From work stress to relationship topics to personal issues, having a person – or 15 – to go to when you need help is a priceless asset and one from which you can always benefit.
4. A great gynecologist / Medical Professional
This may sound like an odd one, and will probably make some people uncomfortable, but I feel it needed to be said. Having a good gynecologist that you trust, respect and feel comfortable with is crucial. Whether she is an MD, NP, ND or holistic physician doesn’t really matter – just find a (licensed!) gynecolgoical confidante, and suddently life just seems a little bit better, even if you see her / him only once a year.
5. Patience with Yourself and Confidence in Yourself
So, I could of snuck two into one here, but they seemed so closely related I figured I could sneak it in. This is a big one, and probably the hardest thing to 1. Learn 2. Practice and 3. “Master”. If you personally have mastered having patience with yourself and confidence in yourself, I whole-heartedly appluad you and think you should go celebrate. For the other 99% of us, just trying is truly the first step. I have so many amazing, talented, intelligent women friends, all of whom struggle with one or both of these things. And while I feel this is something both men and women should practice, I have noticed that the women in my life have a bit harder time than the gents do. As women, we are socially conditioned to second-guess ourselves, work hard to prove ourselves and constantly beat ourselves up when even the tiniest thing goes wrong. Just starting the process of having patience, showing yourself kindness and feeling assured and confident is a great step – and the sooner you start it, the “easier” it will get with time.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
*Citation: Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-sleep-is-important-2014-12