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Weekly Wellbeing: Dealing With The Anxiety Of Being A Woman

Sarah Harris

The last few weeks have not only been eventful, but also exhausting. We went from celebrating female solidarity on International Women’s Day, to questioning a mother’s mental health status and allegiances to the nation after she publicly shared her struggles, to then dealing with the loss of a Sarah Everard, who was murdered by someone who was meant to protect us.

It’s undeniable that the last few weeks, more than most, it’s been incredibly difficult to be a woman. I know I’m not the only one who felt overwhelmed and burnt out a few days in.

I couldn’t fathom how we went from sharing empowering stories of friendship and womanhood, to then sharing details of experiences of assault and harassment just a few hours later.

I felt a sense of responsibility, not just as a woman but also as a woman of colour to reinforce my feminism and advocate for our rights

Scrolling through my social media feeds especially began to take a significant toll on my mental health. I was feeling so many emotions, from rage and anger to sadness and fear.

I felt a sense of responsibility, not just as a woman but also as a woman of colour to reinforce my feminism and advocate for our rights, but I also knew that if I didn’t take a moment to step out of this, I would end up breaking.

It’s definitely challenging when there’s a powerful movement taking place and you want to pour all of your energy into it when you can’t. There was so much I wanted to say and share after the horrific events surrounding Sarah Everard took place, but I also know how important it is to put my mental health first.

You shouldn’t feel guilty for prioritising yourself and you should never feel selfish for doing so. The last few weeks have been incredibly triggering, and every woman can personally relate to the issues that have been highlighted.

After a few days, I found myself unable to even go on my phone without feeling drained, so I knew it was time to take a step back. I deleted Instagram and Twitter and heavily reduced my screen time. I even avoided watching the news where I could.

Instead, I poured my time and energy into me and maintaining my mental wellbeing. I started and finished a whole book in the space of a few days, something I haven’t been able to do in years. I caught up on all the lectures I had missed since the term started and made a list of goals for the next few weeks.

I knew that by taking a few days away, I could come back in good faith and continue advocating for what was important

It’s not to say I didn’t feel a slight sense of guilt for not keeping up to date with everything that was going on in the world. In fact, I recognised that the fact that I was even able to withdraw myself from the moment was a sign of privilege and I was incredibly aware of the fact that there were thousands of women across the world who were unable to do so.

But regardless, I knew that by taking a few days away, I could come back in good faith and continue advocating for what was important.

There’s a huge amount of pressure on the youth of today to remain culturally aware and topical, but in doing so, we often find ourselves overwhelmed by the constant influx of negative news.

It’s important, now more than ever, to ensure that you consume news and information in a healthy way and if you do feel like it is getting a bit too much, remember that it’s okay to take a break.

As the nation collectively mourns and fights for the safety of women, the most helpful thing any of us can do is prioritise our wellbeing

If you find yourself really struggling and finding that it’s affecting your social life and academic work, speak to your module convenors and personal tutor. Remember that we’re all human and at one point or another, we’ve all been there, so whoever you turn to is most likely to be more than understanding.

Sarah Everard, like many of us, was just a girl who was walking home. As the nation collectively mourns and fights for the safety of women, the most helpful thing any of us can do is prioritise our wellbeing, so that we can continue fighting for change and raising awareness.

Below are some helpful links and contact numbers for anyone struggling or needing someone to talk to in these difficult times.

Nottingham Nightline – 0115 9514 985
University Mental Health Advisory Service – 0115 7484652
Samaritans – 116 123
University Counselling Service 
Support and Wellbeing Officers
NHS 24hr Helpline in a Crisis – 0808 196 3779
Turning Point Mental Health Helpline – 0300 555 0730
Text SHOUT to 85258

Sarah Harris


Featured image courtesy of Ben White via Unsplash. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

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