- There is no normal or right way to think, act, behave or live - what matters is to live a life you are happy to live.
- There are also habits you can adopt to make life a little easier for yourself and other women around you.
- Here's a list of 10 habits you can choose to adopt to get you started on a path of self-actualisation and joy, according to Aimee Miller, marketing and sales manager at rent-to-own company, Teljoy.
1 - Normalise that 'normal' doesn't exist
Let's set things straight from the start; there is no normal. There are merely social constructs around what women should study, when they should marry, whether they should have children and countless other things. Your way is your normal and that is genuinely the only normal that matters.
2 - Normalise financial independence
Financial independence is the key to empowering women. Normalising financial freedom is about making smart decisions, saying no to debt, saving where you can and taking charge of your money.
3 - Normalise supporting other women
"Girl, I've got your back" needs to be the mantra of all women everywhere. We can't expect support if we don't start by raising each other up. Support takes on many forms - it's encouragement, congratulations, a kind note, an attentive ear, speaking up for her, believing in the power and impact of the collective.
4 - Normalise talking about the physical stuff
Periods, sex, birth and breastfeeding are all normal physical things that happen to women and that are okay to talk about. Women run companies and countries, but we breastfeed in the broom cupboard at work, or fake a "headache", when, in fact, it's crippling period pain that's got us off our game.
5 - Normalise complimenting women
Whether it's on their appearance or on the quality of their thinking or decision making, let's normalise letting women know when it's a job well done. By the same token, we also need to normalise accepting a compliment graciously with a simple thank you and quiet appreciation for the kind words. It's not "normal" to respond to a compliment with "oh, this old thing" or "I wasn't sure if it is a valid point".
6 - Normalise including women in the conversation
For centuries women kept their mouths shut and others spoke on their behalf, making decisions without consulting them and not bothering to ask for their opinion. Luckily it's now 2020 and women are central to the conversation. While much of the world has accepted women's places at the table, we're far from a perfect equality and must remain mindful of including women.
7 - Normalise saying no
Respect when others say no and mean it when you say no yourself. Learning to say no without explaining yourself is one of the most empowering things a woman can do for herself. This goes for everything from saying no to inappropriate advances from a colleague to not wanting to do lunch with your in-laws. Importantly, it's also normalising the no to yourself for the new car you can't really afford (see point 2 above) or taking on a voluntary project that you know will cause you sleepless nights.
8 - Normalise talking about mental health
We rarely hesitate to talk about physical health, be it a back injury or persistent chest pains, but think twice before revealing our feelings of being overwhelmed, sadness, anxiety or hopelessness, which can be far worse and harder to treat. Mental health issues are on the rise worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation. While there's much policy work to be done, we can all contribute to normalising mental health by talking about it in an informed, but sensitive manner to help reduce the stigma.
9 - Normalise taking time out
All work and no play didn't just make Jack a dull boy. It makes Jill an exhausted girl unable to live her best life. Taking time out is as important as working. Make your down-time a priority and really switch off. Answering work calls after hours, working every weekend and never getting more than six hours sleep a night doesn't need to be normal.
10 - Normalise not wearing a bra
Wear it, don't wear it! It's your choice - because you don't have to if you don't want to. Beginning and end of story!
What other habits do you think we should normalise? Tell us here.
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