As one of the best websites for women in Hawaii, Bodhidevi talks and writes a lot about nutrition and exercise. Nourishing and challenging yourself from the outside in is one of the most essential methods of self-fortification. But caring for yourself goes far beyond yoga, cardio, and kale. Truly prioritizing your health also requires that you work from the inside out, fostering the emotional health and mental resilience necessary for tackling life head-on, courage and integrity intact. To do so, you must be your own best advocate–that is, you must care and stand up for yourself instead of relying on others. When you become your own best advocate, you become independently wealthy in strength, mind, and spirit.

We wouldn’t be one of the best websites for women in Hawaii if we looked only to women’s physical health and neglected women’s empowerment. At Bodhidevi, we want you to feel empowered not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually. This week we discuss just a few of the mental and lifestyle changes you can take in order to become your own best advocate.

Trust Yourself

In theory, trusting yourself really shouldn’t be a difficult thing to do. You have full autonomy over your decisions and a complete understanding of your perceptions. Shouldn’t you be able to trust yourself more than anyone else?

You should. But that doesn’t mean you do. We live in a world where facts oscillate and constance is fleeting. From unreliable media and an unpredictable sociopolitical climate to the mitigating comments and condescending doubts of others, it can be hard to trust the ground you walk on.

As a woman, it can be particularly difficult to trust yourself sometimes. People may downgrade your experiences, deeming your innate, intuitive perception mere indulgent, irrational grandeur. Women are often told that they’re too emotional or that their trepidations are unfounded. It is not uncommon for others to utilize a woman’s distrust of her own emotions and perceptions to their advantage, to deceptively deny what seems a blatant reality.

One of the best things that you can do to be your own best advocate is to trust yourself. Your intuition is an evolved, adaptive response, one that allowed our ancestors to survive. What our cavewomen ancestors lacked in testosterone-fueled aggression, they made up for in an energetic responsiveness that allowed them to care for their young and respond to changes in their environment. Instead of eschewing that innate response, we should embrace it. If you have a gut response to something, listen to it. Trust yourself. You shouldn’t allow yourself to be fully engulfed by your intuitive assessments, but you shouldn’t stifle or ignore them either. Our bodies are responsive to positive and negative energies, and they are constantly attempting to relay those messages to our brains.

Learn to Say No

Saying yes is a powerful thing. If you don’t say yes to new challenges and new experiences, how can you expect to grow? Saying yes means ushering new lessons, memories, stimuli, and hurdles into your life. It means being uncomfortable for the sake of expanding your mind and strengthening your resilience.

However, as one of the best websites for women in Hawaii, we are here to tell you that learning to say no is just as important as learning to say yes. When you say yes to too many things, you are bound to deplete your energy stores. Working a full time job, parenting two children, exercising for two hours a day, going on a diet with your friend, and heading a charity campaign may sound productive and exciting, but constantly going and doing without any time to relax is unsustainable.

Further, even when you do take time for yourself, you’re mind will remain buzzing and chatty. Having seven ever-growing to-do lists in your brain is overwhelming, even if you’re taking rest in the physical sense. Plus, if you spread yourself too thin, you won’t be able to devote the energy to truly excelling in any single arena. And that may leave you feeling not just exhausted, but also less confident.

Saying no, like saying yes, is a powerful thing. When you say no to a project or commitment, you are effectively stating that you value yourself, your energy, and your time enough to spend it carefully and deliberately. You demonstrate your belief that your health and time should not be subsumed to another endeavor. That your energy is intrinsically valuable and yours to do with as you please. In saying no, you take autonomous control over your life. You preserve your ability to decide what it is important to you.

Prioritize Self Care

Being your own best advocate requires confidence, work, and discipline. Any one of the many websites for women in Hawaii will tell you that. But it also requires being gentle, accepting, and loving with yourself. One of the best ways to practice compassion for yourself is to establish a regular routine of self-care.

Self-care means different things for different women depending on their lifestyles and attitudes. For some, regular exercise and good nutrition is the best way to nourish and energize both body and mind. For others, relaxation and occasional indulgence in a treat may be the best way to express compassion for oneself. Broadly speaking, a self-care practice is one in which you advocate for your own physical and mental health. Physical self-care can include a regular sleep schedule, regular exercise, healthy diet, meditation, rest days, massage, yoga, a hot bath, or a spa day. Mental self-care could include journaling, keeping up with friends, establishing regular alone time, going on a walk, taking a vacation, seeing a therapist, or attending a women’s support group.

Tune into yourself. What parts of you feel depleted? What parts of you are hurting, or angry? And in what parts of your life do you feel incomplete? Answering these questions will help give you an idea of the types of activities you should incorporate into a self-care routine. A good self-care routine re-energizes and heals, filling in the unhealthy lacks and gaps that we may suffer from.