Put yourself and your health first this winter

November 19, 2021 Providence Women's Health Team


In this article:

  • Stress can be caused by having too much of something – too many responsibilities, tasks, etc. Burnout is caused by not having enough of something – time, resources, support to complete those tasks.

  • Women can find healthy ways to cope with stress and burnout, while protecting their health.

  • Self-care is an important part of managing and improving your physical and mental health.

  • Take steps now to get prepared and boost your immunity for the upcoming Flu and COVID season.

Did you know that women spend an average of 20 hours more than men every week caring for children, cleaning the house, cooking or arranging meals – all while potentially still managing a career?

It’s no wonder, then, that women often feel the crunch from stress and burnout – two things that sound the same but are actually quite different.

Simply put, stress is caused by too much – too much work to do, too many items on a to-do list. Burnout is caused by not enough of something – not enough time or energy to tackle all your responsibilities.

Learn more about the difference between stress and burnout.

Fortunately, there are many effective and healthy ways to help you cope with your stress and take time to take care of yourself. Here, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite resources and articles that help you put your health first.

Coping with stress

When you’re feeling stressed, what are some of the ways you tend to cope? Are the ways you cope healthy? It can be easy to turn to unhealthy habits when you’re feeling overworked, tired or just plain grumpy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for women. After all, we’re often the ones juggling schedules during quarantines, helping with schoolwork and communicating with schools – all while still managing our daily responsibilities for work, home and family. One way women have been coping is by drinking more – an unhealthy habit for sure. Instead of unwinding with a glass of wine, try a new relaxing evening routine or pick up a new hobby.

Find out how you can break the cycle of an unhealthy habit.

Still looking for healthy ways to relax and unwind from a stressful day (or week or month?) Check out these 5 great ways to help yourself feel better.

Getting through fluvid season (yes, that’s a thing) 

This time of year can be tough for women. The holidays are coming up (something women typically manage); days are getting shorter, darker and colder (which can lead to seasonal affective disorder); and flu season has arrived.

This year, we’re battling both flu and COVID-19 – setting us up for a busy ‘fluvid’ season. Thankfully, last year’s flu season was one of the mildest ones in history, largely because of lock-down orders, mask mandates and limited gatherings outside the home. However, experts are predicting this season could be a double-doozy with flu and COVID-19 cases.

Roll up your sleeves for vaccines

The flu and COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in slowing the spread of these viruses. If you haven’t already been vaccinated for both the seasonal flu and COVID-19, now is the time. Still have questions about when and where to get these shots? We’ve got you covered with the latest information. 

Fight the flu with these resources

COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions

On the fence about getting your children vaccinated?

Yes, it’s safe to get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time

It’s okay to put yourself first. Here’s how.

There’s a reason flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. That’s because if you don’t help yourself, you’re not going to be able to help others.

That idea can be challenging for women to accept. We’re used to putting others’ needs before our own: kids need to get to practices, dinner needs to get on the table, work reports have a hard and fast deadline.

When women are facing competing demands for their time and energy, it’s often their own needs and wants that get put on the backburner. Many of us need to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that it’s not selfish to take a step back and do something that brings us joy.

Not sure how or where to start? Here are a few great articles that may be able to help.

If putting yourself first feels weird, read this (Source: Self Magazine)

Michelle Obama on why women need to put themselves first (Source: GMA)

Why putting yourself first improves your happiness and productivity (Source: NBC News)

Take care of yourself

Self-care isn’t just important for your mental health. It’s a key part of your physical health. After all, stress can have serious effects on your health including putting you at a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and even diabetes. And, just as importantly, high levels of prolonged stress can weaken your immune system. No one wants that as colds, the flu and COVID-19 cases could potentially start ticking up again.

Give your immune system a boost by eating right, managing stress and putting yourself first (at least from time to time). Here are a few great tips to get you started.

Eat more folic acid

Folic acid isn’t just for pregnant women. It has powerful effects on your immune system. Learn more.

Fuel up with a smoothie

Fruits and veggies are key to giving your body and immune system the energy it needs to fight off illness. Discover how you can eat the rainbow.

Take tips from other mothers

Check-in with some fellow moms who have been there, done that when it comes to caring for kids and themselves during cold, flu and COVID-19. Read more.

Get a goodnight’s sleep

Your body heals and recovers every night – which in turn supports your immune system. Create a healthy bedtime routine that will help you catch plenty of ZZs.

Make time for self-care

Recharge with a little time to yourself. Not sure what to do? Here are 76 great ways to get started.

Ask for help

There are only so many hours in the day, and who wants to spend them stressed, worried or burned out? The best thing you can do to help find relief is ask for help.

  • Talk to your partner about pitching in more.
  • Assign age-appropriate chores to kids.
  • Hire out help if you can.
  • Streamline activities.
  • Say no to new responsibilities, tasks or events.

Most importantly, if you feel like stress and burnout is affecting your health, talk to your doctor. Together, you can find better ways to manage your stress and stop it from interfering with your good health.


Find a doctor

Our doctors at Providence can help you mentally and physically manage the holidays and your overall wellness year-round. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory. Through Providence Express Care Virtual, you can also access a full range of healthcare services.

Related resources

Beyond stress: Women and burnout

Is COVID-19 making women drink more? Research says yes.

Women and stress: 5 ways to beat it

Helping kids face change and uncertainty

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Women's Health team is committed to providing useful and actionable insights, tips and advice to ensure women of all types can live their healthiest lives.

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