Last month, I was asked to be part of a panel that took place on June 4th, at the Prioritize U event hosted by self-care specialist Aisha Moore (www.selfcarebyaisha.com), and held at the IIDEA Group LLC in Manhattan. The panel was targeted toward women of color—particularly women of color who are juggling multiple obligations in their lives—and it had an admirable and important objective: to teach women how to handle stress “like a pro." Aisha Moore provided a comprehensive presentation regarding self-care, and explained its many components. The second panelist was yoga instructor Deanna Green (www.missdeeyoga.com), who informed the audience about the positive effects of yoga, and how it can be incorporated into a busy day. My own goal as a panelist was to educate the audience about mental health, and about how many people who suffer from depression and anxiety wait close to ten years before seeking or accepting treatment. In addition, I wanted to convince the audience how important it is to eliminate the stigma connected to getting mental health treatment, particularly in the Black and Latino community.
This event provided an integrative approach to mental health, and the knowledge shared was useful for sustaining physical health as well. The participants were engaged, asked great questions, and shared moving experiences, many of which confirmed my observation that we have a long way to go to break the stigma associated with seeking help. The event’s combination of self-care specialist, yoga instructor, and mental health provider was the perfect way to grab the audience’s attention, because these different sectors complement each other well, especially for our ultimate goal: to improve the quality of life for our population through emotional wellness education.
It was rewarding to see women of color acknowledge both the importance of self-care, and the fact that mental health is one of its critical components. There is always more work to be done on eliminating the stigma attached to mental health care, but the positive response from the audience encouraged me to continue doing the work that I do. I was also pleased at the positive feedback that we got from the group, particularly about all that they learned from us at the panel.
I encourage you to create a self-care plan today.