All About Self Care
Listen in to a special recap from part one of a three-part webinar series called CARE is a Four-Letter W*rd, focusing on self care.
0:00:06.6 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m Home. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union, and we have a very special edition of our podcast today. And it focuses on a webinar that we’ve had, a webinar series on care. Care is the four-letter word for 2021. Today’s session focuses on self care, and how are we all doing during the pandemic? Let’s listen in.
0:00:31.1 LJJ: Well, the one thing that we have found through all of this pandemic is the stress that has been happening in our lives. Unfortunately, all of the positives that we’re talking about, there is absolute 100% documentation that people are choosing to do things that are making them feel better that might not be beneficial for their health. One of the studies that just came out that was focused on in the Pine Rest webinar at the Econ Club recently focused on alcohol abuse and drug abuse, and the fact that our alcohol consumption in the United States in the past year has gone up to, I’ll get the right number, but at the time I had, it was like 18 glasses a week. It’s detrimental to our health, but what it is showing is that we’re trying to cope in different ways. Pain is in our lives.
0:01:29.7 LJJ: Vonnie Woodrick is, as I said earlier, the chief executive officer of i understand love heals. I’ve known Vonnie for many, many years, and she started this organization because of her own personal journey with suicide. And I can tell you that I have known, even in the past month and a half to two months, the conversations having with people, whether they are team members and or family members that have reached out to say, “I need help.” Vonnie, one of the things that you talk about when we face the word “suicide”, people don’t even like to hear, so they kind of shy away and they don’t know what to do. You’re really breaking that barrier down.
0:02:15.1 Vonnie Woodrick: Yeah, thank you for noticing that and for having me here today to talk about it, because we have to normalize the conversation, bring it to everyday places, and put it as a part of our wellness plan, so we can understand. You know, we talk about the boundaries and all of the physical exercise, and what I have found out, we offer so many things that we can do for mental health, but people just don’t do it. You have to do it. So that’s my message on that, but I have created a definition petition to change the conversation and the narrative surrounding suicide. Suicide is currently defined as someone who intentionally kills themself. That is an outdated and stigmatized definition. And my proposed definition is the side effect of a mental brain health illness or pain. Pain is the common denominator of all suicides. We don’t talk about pain enough. We don’t talk about that depression is present in over 90% of suicide. I didn’t know that depression had a deadly side effect, and that side effect is suicide. We do not choose depression; just like we do not choose cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
0:03:42.9 VW: So, by changing that conversation, we can talk about where 54% of suicidal thoughts and actions come from. We just got done talking about finances. Financial devastation, financial loss, worrying about our jobs. Are we going to be able to pay our bills? Heartbreak. Did we go through a loss? Did we go through a divorce? For me personally, stress, stress induced. I had a cardiomyopathy, which was a stress-induced heart attack caused by debilitating stress. We need to recognize what pain can do to us. Bullying. Bullying doesn’t just happen in elementary school, in high school. It happens at home; it happens in the workplace; it happens at the gym. We need to recognize that the person that’s doing the bullying really has some deep-seated issues that they need to work through, and we cannot take bullying in the workplace. It has to be addressed; it has to be talked about, because it can cause those suicidal thoughts and actions. And when we’re seeing the ages 10 years old to 34, suicide is the second leading cause of death. And a lot of those, especially for those young, young deaths are caused by bullying, isolation. We are home alone. We are feeling more lonely. We don’t have people to talk to. We don’t want to share. Physical pain.
0:05:20.1 VW: I just had someone thought that they were diagnosed with cancer; they weren’t, but they went through that pain of, I would rather die than go through cancer and cancer treatment. Physical illnesses, other illnesses, can bring suicidal thoughts or actions. Any type of illness can as well. We don’t talk about it that way. We talk about like when sad, we back away. We don’t want to talk about it. Well, guess what? Every single one of us has experienced one of these things that’s listed here. Any single one of us can be at risk. So then it’s up to us; it’s up to us to ask our co-worker that’s going through a divorce, “Are you okay? You want to talk about it? I’m here.” But knowing that someone lost their job, “How can I help you? What could we do for you? Let me get you in touch with Consumers Credit Union. Let’s make a plan.” All of those things are so imperative to understand [to] change the narrative regarding suicide, mental brain. We are really focusing on trying to change mental health to brain health illness—just like heart disease is our heart, lung cancer is our lungs. Depression, mental health illnesses, addiction, are all of brain health illness.
0:06:38.2 LJJ: Well, Vonnie, I know that people… Number one, thank you, because it is a conversation that we have to have. We are open for chat. Anybody who has any questions for any of the panel members, please feel free to give us a chat. We would love to answer those questions now. One of the things that I think… What are you supposed to do? I think people are… I think they’re a little bit reticent of saying, “I want to help you,” because they don’t know if they’re going to make things worse. Is that a common concern, Vonnie?
0:07:08.8 VW: Yeah, I think that people are afraid of it. Suicide is a dark, scary subject, if we allow it to be. And one of the things when we change the way we talk about it is… And I understand we don’t say the word “kill”. Like, “Oh, my husband killed himself.” And in our definition petition, I’m petitioning that we talk about the illness rather than the act. So, let’s say my husband died of depression, and we can talk about the signs and the symptoms of his illness, rather than the number one asked question after someone dies is, “How did he do it?” Why do we have to ask that question? Why do we have to know? Why do you have to bring me to that moment? So, the way we talk, definitely “commit”, we don’t use the word “commit”. My husband didn’t commit a crime. Up until 1964, suicide was deemed a crime. We take that out. My husband died of depression. My friend died of alcoholism. We talk about the illness; that is how we’re going to change it. And, yes, Lynne, to answer your question, [chuckle] people are afraid of it.
0:08:12.5 LJJ: Well, it has been a just amazing conversation today, and I know that I love the fact that when we end, I just feel like I’ve got so many tips myself. I learned myself all of the things that we really do need to be talking about. We’re not done with COVID. We’re not finished. We want to be, don’t we? Don’t we all have the hope that we are at the point in time that life’s going to go back to normal? I love that every single person today, Nicolette, Vonnie, Amy, Scott, you all talked about how important it is to be okay with yourself and reach out for help when you need it, which is so important, so important. How about we have one last comment from each one of you? Scott, why don’t we start with you?
0:09:01.6 Scott: Yeah, I was actually… My mind went totally away from financial wellness and onto people wellness after listening to Vonnie talk. In December, I had a friend of a friend commit… die, pass away… Vonnie, I can’t even say it the right way. I’m still a little upset about it. I have a question more than a comment, and I hope you can help me with it. I know people, I see people that are close to me that I feel things are not going well with them. I’m afraid to ask them and have them say things are going well, because I don’t know what to do after that. Could you help me a little bit? Like if I say, “It seems like things aren’t going well,” and they’re like, “They aren’t, really they aren’t,” I’m afraid of that.
0:09:40.4 VW: I’m really glad that you asked that question because there was a time when I was not doing well, and I was telling my friend… They would say, “How are you?” And I’d say, “You know, I’m not doing really well.” And you know what they would do? They’d say, “Yeah, but you know what? I was going through this and I felt like that.” And I felt really dismissed, because they really changed the conversation and didn’t really want to know really how was I. And I think that the best thing that you can do is just ask the question, “You are? What is really bothering you? Do you need someone to talk to? Maybe I’m not the person that can help you, but let’s find somebody that can.” And on our website, we have tons of resources, tons of information under our resources and our downloads that really will help with… break that conversation. And you know what I find that’s most interesting, too, is that oftentimes when you share your story and you share something that you have going on, you become connected with someone that you didn’t probably, weren’t connected with before because they were able to relate to you on a whole different level, and it really opens up a conversation, but thank you for asking that question.
0:10:49.0 Scott: Thank you. Now, I’ll make that last comment, then we’ll be done. I always think of my dad as being a pretty smart person, and I take his advice a lot. And when I’m listening to this seminar, I’m going to say his advice again. It was always, “If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, take action,” is what he’d always say to me. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, take action. And I would say that would be my comment today. If you’re stressed about your paycheck, take action. If you’re stressed about your health, decide that you’re going to take some action, and I think you’ll feel better because you’ll feel like you are empowered and in control. If you just decide you’re going to take some action, even if it doesn’t completely solve the problem, just take that first step. It makes you feel more in control, and in my experience, it’s helped me deal with that.
0:11:32.8 LJJ: Awesome. Amy, what are your thoughts?
0:11:34.2 Amy: Lots of thoughts, I think. I loved what Scott just said about take action. I think the thing that keeps coming back to me is I read something early on. So, we’re going to say a year, around nine, 10 months ago, about we’re in the middle of this pandemic, and somebody says… everybody keeps commenting, “We’re all in the same storm.” Well, that’s true, we are all in the same storm, but we’re all in separate boats, and we’re all dealing with this a little differently, and we’re all having different struggles, that I think Lynne, you even mentioned, somebody might be lonely because maybe they’re alone. Other people are struggling because now everybody’s home and that might cause issues, whether serious or not. And I think the thing that I have been trying really hard to do over the course of the last year is to not only have grace with myself and how I’m feeling and dealing with this as we… from day to day, but just really remember that not everybody’s experiencing this the way you are.
0:12:46.9 Amy: So kind of like Vonnie said, it’s like, “How are you? And is there anything I can do for you?” Or just listen and be there. And I think part of it is just we’ve talked … We didn’t talk about it here, but a lot about just recognizing emotions and feeling them, like not trying to put them away, but actually experience those emotions and try to come out on the other side, so that, hopefully, someday, we can learn from this last year and become better people because of it. Because, honestly… at the same time, it’s like Scott said, if you’re up against something, what little steps can you take? What little thing can you do? The gyms are closed for most of the year, and now they’re open, but if you’re not comfortable there, what are you going to do? I can’t go out to eat. Okay, well, maybe you can create some fun foods at home. Whatever it is, little steps to just enjoy can help in a lot of ways.
0:13:54.0 LJJ: Amy, I think you make such a good point about what it is that you’re feeling, but it is something that you have to do for yourself. And Amy, I really appreciate you talking about this. Vonnie, you got the last words before we say so long to a wonderful self-care presentation.
0:14:12.0 VW: I think that acceptance is key. I think that we need to accept that where we are, and I think that we’ve all probably come a long way from a year ago. I think it’s extremely important that we find ways to express gratitude throughout the day, even if it’s just the sun that’s shining, we have to recognize gratitude. I think a daily affirmation… in 21 days, you can change your brain thoughts. I tell myself I’m wonderful and amazing every day. Tell yourself you’re wonderful and amazing every day or find something for you. And the last thing that I want to leave everyone with is that you don’t have to be alone. If you’re struggling, resources and help are available. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend, go to a doctor, go to the emergency room, or call the 1-800-273-TALK helpline that’s available 24/7.
0:15:03.7 LJJ: That’s awesome, Vonnie. Well, all I can say is, Scott, Amy, Vonnie, you are all wonderful and amazing. And we really thank you. Adrienne, I’d also like… She’s behind the scenes, Adrienne Marks is our executive producer back there, making all the bells and whistles happen, so Adrienne, thank you so much for all that you do for us. OnSite Wellness, thank you so much for being our partner in this wonderful care series. Next week, we’re going to focus on team care, and that is who are you leading in your family, in your work environment, maybe even a kids hockey group that might get to practice with their masks on. All of the things that you do on a day-to-day basis that bring team into play and how to make sure that we keep our own leadership skills so that we can help our team.
0:15:52.2 LJJ: Thank you so much for joining us. If you’d like to watch the entire webinar on self care, head to consumercu.org/events. Again, have a wonderful week, everybody, and if you have a topic you’d like to share, please share it with us. Lynne Jarman-Johnson. Money, I’m Home, with Consumers Credit Union.