“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe you must become its soul.”
— Coretta Scott King
Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and our overall society. As women, we carry an indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, love, comfort, and courage in helping future women develop a long term vision of independence, autonomy, and respect.
In the United States, Women’s History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. The holiday had largely been forgotten until the late 1960’s, when a female activist organized a march in Berkeley, CA on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 1969.
President Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year and passed a resolution establishing the week as a national celebration. Six years later, Congress expanded the national event to cover the entire month of March.
The 2023 theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” This theme recognizes “women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media.”
The community of eating disorder treatment is filled with talented, courageous, and innovative women who are working to change the field for the better everyday. The goal is to embody a more diverse representative team and to challenge any stereotypes around individuals who treat eating disorders, but also who are suffering from an eating disorder.
Women’s Heritage Month helps remind us to continue to fight for equitable and effective eating disorder treatment for all. During this month, it is important to celebrate all the women in your life and stop to ask them how they are prioritizing their own mental health.
As women, we often are the caregivers to our families and friends, yet often we may overlook our own emotional, physical, and spiritual health at times. Our health is essential to our well-being and has an impact on our future legacies. Ensure the women in your life have the tools needed to put themselves first.
Check on the women in your life today and acknowledge their trials, tribulations, and celebrate their successes, no matter how small they may seem. In order to celebrate Women’s History Day we must take care of ourselves in order to show up as the best version of ourselves. Here are some ways we can assess if another woman is indeed, putting her needs first:
- Getting restful sleep (7-9 hours) nightly
- Practicing self care daily: meditation, yoga, writing, reading, hobbies
- Nourish your body
- Move your body (as advised by doctor)
- Finding a “tribe” of other women to be vulnerable with
- Find therapeutic support in a way that is helpful to you
- Surround yourself with positive, authentic friends/family that lift you up
- Set healthy boundaries when needed
- Drink more water
- When all else fails, maintain a positive attitude and practice gratitude
Kirsten Book, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, is a dual board-certified family nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in treating adolescents and adults struggling with eating disorders, substance use, and co-occurring disorders. Not only does Kirsten have the education and clinical experience, but she also is in recovery from an eating disorder. She uses her own personal experience to draw empathy, compassion, and humility when working with her patients. Kirsten has the unique opportunity to help improve an individual’s mental health, by not only utilizing medications and psychotherapy, but also by instilling hope, which she believes is just as powerful and effective as what any medication can do. Kirsten has an outpatient private practice in Chicago, Illinois. She also is licensed to practice in Arizona and Washington. Kirsten is also the Medical Liaison for IADEP (International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals), and she speaks at local schools to help educate the adolescents and staff about eating disorder prevention and treatment.