Advancing the Wellbeing of Women
As mothers, sisters, friends, wives, community leaders, employees and business owners, as women, we often take care of everyone else first and ourselves last, if at all. Most of us juggle several of the roles mentioned above at one time. Being so many things to so many people often fills us with joy, a sense of community and inclusion and a sense of belonging. Sometimes, however, it can also become overwhelming, emotionally wearisome and stressful. Moreover, negative feelings associated with these responsibilities can also result in “guilt” for feeling this way.
Every woman, no matter how good she is at juggling her various roles in life, feels overwhelmed at times. That is normal. What should not be normal is to feel more negative emotions than positive ones throughout the day, week, month or year. When that happens, it could mean that your emotional wellbeing is out-of-balance. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “There is no consensus around a single definition of wellbeing, but there is general agreement that at minimum, wellbeing includes the presence of positive emotions and moods (e.g., contentment, happiness), the absence of negative emotions (e.g., depression, anxiety), satisfaction with life, fulfillment and positive functioning. In simple terms, wellbeing can be described as judging life positively and feeling good.”
Natalie Kaharick is a JLNO Active member and Co-CEO and Chief Operating Officer for New Orleans College Prep. She is also a certified instructor for the Art of Living Foundation. Since 2005, she’s been teaching yoga, meditation and breathing techniques. She teaches donation-based meditation classes each weekend in New Orleans. “So often, our mind and emotions are racing, and our feelings begin to define our world outlook,” Natalie said. “Pausing and taking a moment to be ‘mindful’ can remind us that feelings and situations are changing. We can pause and be grateful for life’s beautiful moments and know that our challenges will pass.”
Natalie Kaharick, Co-CEO and Chief Operating Officer for New Orleans College Prep.
Photo courtesy of Natalie Kaharick
Mindfulness can lead to wellbeing. “Mindfulness is a state of mind that one cultivates through conscious practice,” Natalie said. “It allows you to pause and be present with what is happening in your day at any given moment.” Mindfulness is a powerful way to relieve stress.
Natalie offered her top three tips for achieving mindfulness and decompressing on the go. “When you’re stressed, time seems to be lacking. Find a few things that you can do that bring you back to yourself, but don’t require a huge time commitment. For me this looks like, 1) Pause. Close my eyes. Take a few deep breaths. There’s a reason mothers have used this advice for centuries. It works! 2) Change your surroundings. Take three to five minutes to walk around the perimeter of your office building, go stand in your back yard for a minute and catch some vitamin D. 3) Self-Massage - I’ll take a few minutes and just rub my forehead, temples, do some neck rotations or roll my shoulders.”
Focusing on living a mindful life and taking time for activities that bring us joy is one way to achieve wellbeing. “Oftentimes (women especially), think that we’re being selfish by doing something that we love,” Natalie said. “However, our state of mind impacts everyone we interact with throughout our day. It’s been my experience that I’m so much more joyful and have more to give if I take a few minutes to recharge my batteries.”
JLNO will host a monthly speaker series event from September 2016 to May 2017. The events will be open to the public and held on the third Thursday of the month and cover health, wellness and other topics of interest.