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40 Women Entrepreneurs Discover Self-care Spaces

Between the recommended mental health activities, there are self-care spaces. These spaces are moments in which a person halts their daily routine to do an activity which helps them rest or distract themselves.

Some self-care ideas include: reading a book, harvesting a garden, doing exercise, conversing with a trustworthy person, journaling, and listening to music; others like to do activities which requires some sort of concentration such as praying, meditating, learning how to play an instrument, embroidering, doing origami or crossword puzzles, and having hobbies. These healthy activities are the ones which bring joy, relaxation, and satisfaction to those that practice them.

The point is that it is an activity for oneself, hence the word “self-care.” Have you ever thought about what activities you practice for your self-care? The entrepreneurs who participate in the Women’s Empowerment Project (WEP) are surprised when we speak to them about a space where they can dedicate themselves to their own self-care. Growing up, these women are taught that they must provide attention and care to other people (their partner, children, parents, grandparents), their time is spent serving others.

It is a huge challenge to participate in this activity which WEP denominates as a “retreat.” The entrepreneurs must overcome many obstacles such as delegating their household responsibilities, planning their business days ahead of time and perhaps our biggest request is, when we tell them that they must come alone, that is, without their children. Many of them think: how will I communicate about this activity at home? Isn’t it suspicious that a woman says she must attend alone?

The retreat is an activity in which all of their attention must be focused on themselves, and when this is mentioned, the following question immediately comes to mind: Won’t I be too selfish for only thinking of myself?

The WEP plans to carry out the retreats away from the participants’ daily environment to reduce possible interferences as well as to help them experience being with themselves. A place that guarantees confidentiality and silence in the environment as well as contact with nature is sought and preferred, food for the entrepreneurs is also provided.

What was previously mentioned are key factors because in spaces like these, atmospheres of tranquility are created as well as an interior emptiness which invites reflection. Then the decision to provide food creates a break within them, and this simple action in and of itself is relaxing for those entrepreneurs who come from environments where these kinds of activities fall back on their shoulders.

The WEP team develops the activities around specific themes such as: Recognizing my Emotions, Stress Management, Pain Elaboration. They do this to help the entrepreneurs recognize how different situations brought forth by daily life impact one’s body and thought processes. In recognizing this, corporal techniques are carried out which seek to balance every reaction that can be activated in this encounter.

How would you feel to speak on topics that are based on exploring your life? Can you imagine how the entrepreneurs react in these spaces?

In this retreat we addressed the topic of Stress and Techniques to Manage it. The first activity was a massage, which they provided for each other through step-by-step instructions from a staff member. They then moved onto hand massages, which they also provided for each other, using oils to help with their hand and arm movements. This helped them discover that they can put something as simple as this into practice with someone at home. Next, they work on mindfulness techniques and when they are done, they take a break to comment on how they have lived out this experience.

When it is mentioned that the exercises can be done lying on a yoga mat and that it is okay to fall asleep, many astonished expressions are exposed to the person who makes that invitation. Many of them also follow the directions which include to lie down. Among the expressions heard, they say:

“Regardless of how tired I feel, I can’t lay down during the day because then my family assumes that I’m sick; therefore, I do not lie down or rest in order to keep them from worrying.”

 “I never would’ve imagined that many of my physical aches and pains could be controlled through these exercises!”

“With the exercise I fell asleep, however, it was a different form of sleep, my mind was blank, and I was really resting. I am content that this opportunity helped me discover how to rest.”

“These spaces help us conversate about the things that we as women face.”

Giving yourself a space in time to find oneself can improve the quality of your life and of your work.

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