Top 40 List of Things Every Woman Should Know

How to:

Respect yourself.
Protect your physical health and your emotional well-being. Demand respect from others, and stand up for yourself when needed. Be willing to stand up and demand respect for others.

Believe in yourself.
Surround yourself with people who support you and build you up. And remember this lesson from Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”

Be heard.
Practice how you communicate most effectively — whether at work, at home, or in community organizations — and how to deal with being interrupted.

Accept a compliment. 
Do not try to deflect. Stop. Just say, “Thank you.” That’s it. Cat-calls don’t count as a compliment.

Say “no” unapologetically.
You can still be polite and kind, but be firm. Try: “I’m not taking on any new commitments right now.” “I have to pass.” “I cannot make that work.” Saying “no” helps you remain focused on the commitments you have already made, whatever they are.

Build a budget for your household.
Online tools such as Mint.com take you through a step-by-step process and can help track your spending and identify when and where you go over your budget.

 Ask for a promotion and a raise.
Research shows that women are less likely to ask for a promotion and raise than men are. Evaluate your contributions, do your research, set up a meeting, practice, and ask for the raise you deserve. The only thing your boss can tell you is “no.” You still got practice. Your company is still on notice of your contributions and your expectations. And you have the feedback you need to decide whether you want to continue working for the company or take your talents elsewhere.

Negotiate to buy a car.
Know what you want and how much you want to pay before you go into the showroom or go for a test drive. If one dealership can’t deliver, there’s another dealership down the street.

Check the oil and put air in the tires.
Or sign up for roadside assistance. Don’t ever put yourself in a position where you could end up stranded.

Read a print road map.
Google Maps won’t help if your phone is dead and you don’t have internet access.

Get a passport.
Paris is always a good idea, and it’s nice to know that you could catch a flight tomorrow, in theory, anyway.

Start a campfire.
There’s something primal about this one. It’s a basic survival skill, though you hope it’s not ever really necessary beyond making s’mores.

Swim.
It could save your life, or someone else’s.

Cook a signature dish.
We aspire for our signature dish to feature a local, fresh catch, but, realistically, it’s pancakes.

Order a good bottle of wine confidently.
This is one of those cases where you need to know what you like in order to get what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask the server or sommelier for help, but be prepared to give her some information that will help her help you. Do you like red or white? Fruity or earthy? Light- or bold-bodied? Know the price you are willing to pay.

Take a good selfie.
And be able to edit a photo to post on Instagram. Selfies might not be an essential life skill, but let’s face it: Whether you are taking photos of yourself, or your children, or to promote a business or an organization, you need to know how to take a strong photo, do some minor editing and post it on social media.

Break the ice.
It’s as easy as, “Hello, my name is…,” though sometimes it feels so much harder. Don’t worry about what people might think about you. Just remember that people like to talk about themselves. Ask questions.

Improvise.
Channel Tim Gunn on “Project Runway,” and “make it work!”

Be present.
Put your phone away when you’re with friends and family. If you are too tempted to scroll your Instagram feed, put your phone in a safe place in another room.

Meditate.
Close your eyes. Breathe deep, and relax. Find whatever it is that helps you clear your mind and recharge. Repeat as often as needed.

Pleasure yourself.
It’s empowering.

Let go of mommy guilt.
It’s OK to focus on work. It’s OK to take time for yourself. Embracing your whole self and taking time to recharge makes you a better mother.

Enroll in a health care plan.
Forget the contentious politics for a minute. Just know what your plan covers and what it doesn’t. If you don’t have insurance, research all your options.

Deal with setbacks.
There’s been a lot said about how to teach your children grit. But recovering from failures and setbacks and continuing to move forward gracefully is a hard lesson that we all need to learn. Grit requires learning from your mistakes and believing in yourself.

Grieve.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” about coping with her husband’s unexpected death offers lots of insight into ways people grieve and how to support friends and family members who are grieving. Her advice for others: Don’t avoid the elephant in the room. Say something. Show up, and do something specific.

Ask for help.
If you feel anxious and overwhelmed. If you are thinking about suicide. If your partner is abusing you. If you have been raped. You are stronger than you know, and asking for help is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Call 911 if there is a medical emergency.

National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
National Suicide Prevention: 800-273-8255
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

Know:

Your credit score and what you can do to improve it.
Most common credit rating systems use scores ranging from 300 to 850, according to NerdWallet.com. In general, an average credit score is 630 to 689. A good credit score is 690 to 719. You can get your free credit score at www.nerdwallet.com. The inquiry won’t affect your score.

The difference between a 401(k) and an IRA and how to invest in them.
The simple answer, according to NerdWallet.com, is that a 401(k) is employer-based and an IRA is self-directed. If your company matches your 401(k) contribution, you should invest up to the match to take full advantage. If you don’t have access to a 401(k) or your company doesn’t offer a match, you should consider investing in an IRA or a Roth IRA. Talk with a financial adviser about which is best for you.

The answer to the question: “Tell me about yourself.”
Start with your strengths and accomplishments, not your job title or your relationships.

What others did in the past to pave the way for you to own property, go to work, vote and determine your own future.
The passage of the 19th amendment on Aug. 26, 1920, gave women the right to vote, but the fight for equal rights in the U.S. began at least as early as 1848 when the first women’s rights convention was held. Throughout the movement, women’s rights have been closely tied with the fight for civil rights for African Americans.

Who your senators and representatives are and how to contact them.
Your U.S. senators are Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott.
Contact Sen. Graham at his Mount Pleasant office at (843) 849-3887 or find more contact information at  www.lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-senator-graham.

Contact Sen. Scott at his North Charleston office at (843) 727-4525, or you can fill out a form at www.scott.senate.gov/contact/email-me.

Most of Charleston County falls in the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina, which is represented by Mark Sanford. You can contact him at his Mount Pleasant office at (843) 352-7572 or get more information at sanfordforms.house.gov/contact.

To find all your elected officials, visit www.usa.gov/elected-officials.

When less is more.
This can apply to almost all parts of your life from what you wear to what you post on social media to how you decorate your home and how you manage your workload. We’re not suggesting you fully ascribe to Marie Kondo’s advice about throwing away anything that doesn’t bring you joy. Be it is liberating to simplify your life whenever possible.

When to let go.
Of toxic friends and relationships. Of a dead-end job. Of unrealistic expectations. See how liberating that feels!

Your happy, safe place.
It might be a place you go. It might be wherever you can listen to music or do yoga or dance. It might just be a state of mind. Go there when you need to.

Your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S. Your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels can indicate whether you are at risk, and improving them can help you reduce your risk of a heart attack.

Your birth control options.
Educate yourself about all of your options. Then make a decision that’s right for you and your body.

Basic first aid.
The Red Cross provides adult and pediatric first aid courses online and in classrooms. Visit www.redcross.org/take-a-class/first-aid for more information. You can also learn CPR and water rescue through Charleston County Parks and Recreation. For more information, visit https://ccprc.com/1304/CPR-Rescue-Training.

Basic self-defense.
Several martial arts studios offer women’s only classes. Charleston Taekwondo offers a free one-day women’s self-defense class every couple of months. The next class is 12:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Mount Pleasant studio. To register, call 843-849-8018. Charleston Krav Maga offers a six-week Women’s Only Empowerment session. The next one starts Aug. 9. For more information, visit www.charlestonkravmaga.com.

What you believe in.
Politics. Values. Religion. Know what you believe. Write it down, if it’s helpful. Your values will help guide life’s most important decisions.

Your worth.
In every way that word implies.