As we go through our careers, we all experience the pressures of needing to succeed, over-achieve and exude the attitude that we can do it all; after all, Rosie is our hero. But the reality is that we are human, and the pressures we put on ourselves eventually do catch up with us. At this very special MadWomen event, speakers shared experiences, exercises and meditation techniques to remind us that self-care isn’t a special treat, rather a necessity to keep our minds and our bodies sound.
Alexis Jones - Producer at Zeus Jones
Alexis started her presentation by stating that she was not a self care expert by any means. However, we soon realized although that was true, her story and her experience regarding her personal self-care journey proved she deserved to be on the stage.
Just like many of us, Alexis pulled out all the stops to get into the advertising industry, eventually landing an intern position at mono after a lot of networking and dedication. Once she got into her role, she quickly felt she needed to work twice as hard just to keep up, bridging the gap between her ambition and her “utter lack of experience.” She also shared that she was scared to ask for help because she didn’t want people to think that she was incapable of doing the job. Does any of this sound familiar? Of course it does, we’ve all been there!
But long hours and high stress catch up with all of us, including Alexis. After experiencing a number of negative symptoms (symptoms she rationalized like many of us would), she finally went in for a doctor’s appointment. That’s when she was diagnosed with Graves’ Disesase, an autoimmune disease that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones. She eventually had her thyroid removed, but even during all of this, she was eager to take the least amount of time off of work. Looking back, she realizes this was ridiculous but, honestly, when I heard that, it sounded like something I would do.
She ended her presentation by stating that, although we may not believe this to be true, there is strength in knowing you can’t do it all and we should know it’s okay. We are human and there needs to be a balance between ambition and self-care.
Biggest Takeaway: When it comes to your health and well-being, no one else is going to take stake in what’s important to you but YOU. Be sure you take it.
Nicole Lange - Acupuncture and Holistic Educator
Having spent the last 15 years practicing as an acupuncture and holistic educator, Nicole is an expert in the self-care biz but, just like the rest of us, she too falters at taking care of herself.
No matter what industry we work in, it’s more and more common that we push ourselves to excess. We have turned into a culture that idolizes work and staying busy. Rosie the Riveter is our hero and we’ve fully adopted the mindset that, not only “yes we can,” but also that we can even do more! This mindset has actually changed our perceptions of how we even view self care. We think of it as a luxury to take time out for ourselves. It’s even seen as an unwanted obligation to use PTO or to help prevent illness, as we had just heard from Alexis. So perhaps it’s time to reframe things. Perhaps it’s time to think of self care as radical and revolutionary and just plain badass.
Just like Yin and Yang symbolize balance, so should our lives. When life is out of balance, in either direction, it’s just not sustainable. Because of this, Nicole ran us through some simple acupressure exercises that we can do at home or in the office to help bring calm, reduce stress and treat symptoms like headaches. If you’d like to know more about acupressure exercises, feel free to contact Nicole via her site.
Biggest Takeaway: We need to start believing that balance is badass.
Angela Johnson - Group Account Director at BBDO MPLS and Yoga Instructor
Wanting to find some sort of balance for her Type A personality, Angela decided to try yoga. After falling in love with it and making it part of her regular workout routine, she decided to become a yoga instructor and has since found it as something that helps ground her and allows her to let things unfold as they should.
During her time on stage, Angela ran through a variety of chair exercises that one could easily do at work or at home when needing some time to rest and regroup. I personally found this session invigorating. The moves were really easy to do. It only took about 10 minutes to do the “workout” and I can see how Angela finds it grounding. If you’d like to chat with Angela about coming into your work to go over these moves, you can reach out to her via LinkedIn.
Biggest Takeaway: It doesn’t take much to do self care! Be sure to find time to “treat yo’self” when you need it.
Suzy Shaak - Yoga instructor and Intuitive Healer
Just like with Angela, Suzy also ran through exercises with the audience (which is why you need to join us!). Because Suzy offered more of an experience than a speech, I don’t have very many notes on this session. However, I will say, if you struggle with rest and relaxation, Suzy may be able to help you. After her session, everyone was ready to take a nap, which, for some people who are extremely stressed, is a lifesaver!
Biggest Takeaway: Take a few moments in your day to pause and be still and be calm. It’s not always easy to do but, with the right exercises, you may be able to achieve it!
/written by Gabi Winkels
/photo by Aqua Fox Photography