If you've been following me for any amount of time then you know that I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness. #Breakthestigma is a huge passion of mine. As women I feel like we are constantly putting pressure on ourselves to have "it" all together. We set ourselves up in a way that can only end in feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. The bar of "having it all together" is NOT attainable. This is not my opinion, it is a promise, a fact. There is not a woman alive who has it all together, every single one of us struggles in our own way. For most of us, we silently suffer under the weight of our self-criticism. Ladies, let's stop this shit! Let's acknowledge our limitations, set realistic goals, and talk about the fact that some days (or weeks, or months, or years) we are a big hot mess. We feel depressed, we feel anxious, and we feel defeated. If we all say these things out loud that unreachable bar will hopefully begin to taunt us a little less. We will be able to hear our sisters, peers, and role models voicing the same thoughts and feelings that we deal with. To me #breakthestigma is about recognizing that there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to my mental health. It is recognizing the astounding data that tells us that over 23% of women worldwide suffer from an anxiety disorder, and over 10% of women in the United States (estimated to be 300 million people worldwide) suffer from depression. In my opinion one of the biggest goals of #breakthestigma is realizing that I am, we are NOT alone.
I was blessed to meet @drradishabrown during a cooking class at Paleo Numyums last year. Even just speaking with her briefly I could tell that she was a woman's woman. She's the kind of person that champions all females and wants nothing more than to see all of them succeeding at life. When we message she addresses me as "Sis" not babe, girl, or lady (which are my usual go-tos when I'm addressing someone on social media). This may seem trivial, but I think it speaks volumes to who she is and what it is that she is trying to do. I can tell this about her, and honestly I barely know her.
Radisha has helped me to remember that as women we are sisters. As a Christian I believe we are Sisters in Christ, we all are children of a loving God. Even if you're not a believer, though, I'm sure you can ascribe to the idea that we are Sisters in life. If we can buy into this idea, really truly and deeply- y'all, I think that we can improve the quality of life for women everywhere. Let's lift each other up, and support each other. Let's celebrate each other's victories, and hold out a hand to pull each other up when we see someone knocked down.
As your Sister I want you to know that you must invest in yourself. Investing in yourself doesn't mean spending loads of money on massages and Mani/pedis for self-care (although l am completely about that life). What I mean specifically is to check-in with yourself often and find out what it is you need to feel better or feel your best. From there commit to giving that to yourself. Here are some examples.
Example 1: Are your physical limitations and struggles bringing you down? Commit to eating better, or working out. Commit to making and keeping an appointment with a doctor who can help you. Commit to what you need in your individual situation.
Example 2: Have you let your depression and anxiety go unmanaged for too long? Get your ass to the doctor. Take the meds. Find a therapist or counselor, because I swear to you that they are game changers. Whatever your role is in life- wife, mother, boss lady, friend-- you can not fill that role to the best of your ability if you aren't making your mental health a priority.
Example 3: Are you so overwhelmed with obligations and commitments that you can't remember the last time you relaxed and had fun? Start saying "No". If the thought of volunteering for the book fair at your child's school causes you to break out in hives, DON'T DO IT. If you want to start living a life outside of your Mom-mobile then tell your kiddo that a family break from extracurriculars is necessary. It might not seem like it at the time, but I promise that they will still love you.
Whatever it means to you- invest in yourself.
If you live in the CSRA, Georgia, or South Carolina and are interested in how you can invest in yourself I strongly encourage you to attend the Wellness Warrior event happening February 1st at Savannah Rapids in Augusta, Georgia. My sister, Dr. Radisha Brown's brain-child. It is a full-day event that will feature some amazing guest speakers, demonstrations, and exhibits. The day will help you check all of your boxes- mental, physical, nutritional, and spiritual wellness.
Dr. Rashida specializes in the link between your mental health and your physical and nutritional goals. She has invited Onnie Sanford (one of the coolest chicks I know), the owner of Paleo Num Yums to address healthy eating habits. Yogi goddess Bethany Smith will be there leading yoga. Skin expert, Stacy Washington has been invited to share her knowledge so your outside can be as fabulous as your inside. Cindy Foster will be sharing thoughts on mental health and mindfulness, and last but not least Minister Nikita Davis will be there to talk about the connection between spiritual health, and living a healthy life.
You deserve to to be taken care of, and the person who can do that best is you. Attending this event is a great place to start if you want help figuring out what it is you need and how you can go about making a plan to invest in yourself. Another thought I had was that if you are a leader in any way be it a boss, teacher, coach, or youth leader this would be an excellent opportunity for you. You'll be able to gain more insight into nurturing this essential part of the women you lead in order to help them find within themselves their best life.
If you take anything away from my message I hope it's that you are not alone. Wherever you are, whoever you are, I am here for you if you ever need me. Just reach out.
Hey y'all! I'm Layne, a 30-something Southern Belle trying to navigate this craziness we call life. I'm a wife, mom of 2, and all around hot mess. I'm passionate about mental health, and love everything having to do with fashion. I'm living a super blessed life, and I love sharing it with you.