Mental Health is a topic that is often overlooked and underestimated in our society. The statistics that alarmingly reflect such conditions as stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions are on the rise. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime. *Unfortunately, for many of us, a certain level of stress and anxiety may prove to be part of our daily routine. It builds and builds with sometimes, nowhere to release it…*(American Psychiatric Association).
The ramifications from stress can impact every aspect of one’s life, from both a personal and professional perspective. Whatever happens at home can easily be brought into the workspace and can affect the way in which one carries out their work responsibilities. At the same time, work stressors can equally affect what may happen outside of the company doors with family and friends and other activities. It’s a cyclical pattern that, although may not be able to always be alleviated, can be managed.
Studies have proven, and my personal info gathering during Project She events and workshops have corroborated, that the most stress induced areas of our lives are created from the following factors: Family, Work/Career, Health and Financial. These factors may include factors (distress) such as (but are not limited to):
- Sickness/Death in the family
- Job Stability
- Too much workload
- Failing Health for self or loved one
They can also manifest in positive ways (eustress):
- Purchase of a home
- New job or position
- Birth of a child
Some are self-induced:
- “I Can Do It ALL” Syndrome
- Perfectionism/unrealistic expectations
- Inability to say “NO”/Failing to be assertive
- Multiple role conflicts
- Difficulty expressing anger
- Need for approval
- Need to prove to oneself
As a result of these more common stressors, they can manifest themselves in various ways to include (but are not limited to):
- Anxiety/Depression – 40 million Americans have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders (American Psychiatric Association) and 332 million people worldwide live with depression every day (Adaa.org). Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression and more likely to suffer from anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorders.
- Weight Issues (undereating or overeating) and the associated disorders with each
- Female sexual issues – problems with menstrual cycles, decrease in sex drive, and pregnancy
- Heart Conditions
- Mood Swings
*(Women’s Health, 2019)
Given all these situations, factors, conditions, whether it is because life is happening or self-induced, we must find ways to manage these stress factors.
In May, through my Project SHE platform, I hosted and moderatedThe Accountability Workshop ~ The Stress Effects which talked about these very same factors and solutions as it relates to stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions.
With the help of experts in their field to include RJ Lisander of Lotus Seed Meditation and Beth Vickers of Healing Stones, they guided the guests through some meditative techniques and helped us to understand how to manage the energy around us. We also had Dr. Tammie Moore, PhD, HSP-P of Western Wake Counseling to participate in a panel discussion, along with a few brave mental health advocates who will share their mental health journeys.
Consider implementing one or all these activities below to alleviate stress in your life:
- Meditation– it doesn’t have to be on a mat or in during a yoga pose! It can be for 3 minutes at the start of your day to set the tone and mood for what is to come; it could
be five minutes in a conference room to sit still and gather thoughts…or think about absolutely nothing. Maybe a 15-minute walk outside on a beautiful day just to get some fresh air or feel the breeze to provide that afternoon pick me up to get through the rest of the day. Just a few minutes can change the mood, focus and attitude.
Personally, I now being my day with what I call “morning me time”. I escape to my quiet place in the house before everyone awakens and the busyness begins to meditate, read a few passages from my book and set my intention for the day. I have to say that it has really helped me to begin my day with a different attitude and focus.
Get Social! Make time for yourself outside of the job and family! Go out with girlfriends for a glass of wine or dancing or maybe take a few hours to go out alone – dinner and a book at a favorite restaurant is an awesome way to recharge! Girl time has bene proven to be very beneficial for personal growth and stimulation and as it pertains to how you handle/cope with other responsibilities as mom, wife, caregiver, professional, etc. We don’t do this enough for many reasons – guilt, time, exhaustion. Schedule it on the calendar just like you do your other important appointments. Make yourself a priority. No one else will!