MEET DR. KELLY VINCENT – PSYCHOLOGIST, MOTHER AND OUR NEWEST #SMASHTESSFAM MEMBER
It is Mental Health Awareness week, and we believe mental health should be an everyday conversation, not just one week in the year. The pandemic has affected everyone differently - whether you’ve experienced anxiety for the first time, or just can’t see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we think talking about our mental health is so important and the first step in pursuing better overall health.
We learned recently from our friends at BC Women’s Health Foundation that 73% of women in BC report negative health outcomes from increased caring or concern for loved ones as a result of the pandemic. This stat was staggering to us and made it clear that what many of us have been feeling is a much more common issue than we’d thought.
Like any good bestie, we always want the best for our #smashtessfam – so we reached out to Dr. Kelly Vincent - a psychologist, holistic therapist and yoga teacher - to get her insight on how the pandemic has changed her industry, the best tips for supporting your mental health, and how she #Rompssohard!
You’re a psychologist – have you seen a change in folks surrounding their mental health and how they prioritize it over the past year?
Oh, my goodness, yes. I think so many have recognized the importance of acknowledging their mental health needs support. My practice has seen a huge spike in people reaching out, which is amazing! I think we all could benefit from therapy (I am a little biased, haha). But yes, I do think people are making it a priority because they had to with the impact of the pandemic. And then they recognize how good it can feel and continue to make it a priority.
It’s Mental Health Awareness week – what does that mean to you?
Well first, I think it should be Mental Health Awareness week every week! :-) Our emotional health is SO important, as it applies to every aspect of our life. We are talking about our hearts and minds after all.
To me, it means that we take a step back from our busy, productive lives and check in with ourselves. How are we feeling? What do we need? What do we need less of? What would nourish our mind and body? We live in such a go-go, hustle-type culture, but at what expense? Making our mental health a priority is so vital for long-term well-being.
Also, I think Mental Health Awareness week is about decreasing the stigma around getting support. It should be normalized in everyday conversation. For example, if someone opens up and says they have been in therapy, we should be supporting and celebrating their efforts. Seeking support means great strength, not weakness.
What advice would you give to someone who hasn’t seen a psychologist before but wants to start putting their mental health first?
I would first say, yay for you! I would remind them that anything new can be a little scary at first, but to remember that we all need a little support from time to time and it absolutely doesn't mean you are weak, defective, broken or "crazy." Life throws us so many challenges and at times, it is very difficult to navigate alone.
When searching for a therapist, I would highly encourage them to focus on the fit. The fit is SO important! Initially, take a look at their websites to get a feel for their specialty. Then you can schedule a consultation call to get a sense or vibe over the phone. Ask them as many questions as you need to understand their style, approach, and experience. If you get a feeling this may be a good fit, continue to assess during that first session. Ask yourself, do I feel comfortable with this person? Do I feel safe? Do I feel supported? You are investing your time, energy and money into the experience, so you want to make sure you will get the most out of the experience.
As a psychologist yourself, how do you put your mental health first?
I have my own therapist, who I love! I also make sure I am attending to what my mind and body need on a daily basis. Am I perfect at this practice? Absolutely not, but do I continue to try each and every week, yes. I try to engage in different coping skills and strategies depending on my week and what I need, such as: using my journal, moving my body, integrating stillness through yoga or meditation, connecting with loved ones, and deeply breathing throughout my day!
For those who have been working from home and unable to go out much during this pandemic, what tips and tricks do you have to support their mental health is being taken care of?
First, let's just recognize the strength you've had to get you to this point. I am sure there have been a lot of days where you question how you would get through it, but you have! Remember, you are doing the best you can in a really intense situation.
When it comes to tips, I think it is so important to find what works for you. There are so many skills and strategies out there and I'd encourage you to try them on and see what fits, figuratively. :-). When we find a few that really resonate it can make all the difference.
My top coping skills include anything that allows stillness (meditation, mindfulness moments, gentle yoga, etc), externalizing thoughts through writing or journaling, exercise (HIIT workouts to release energy), connection/engagement with others, limiting social media scrolling, getting lost in a good book or movie, hydrating, breathing exercises, and positive self-talk. Lately, I've been diving deeper into Buddhist philosophy, and I find that so helpful, as well!
Who inspires you?
My son, Caleb. There are days where I wonder if I will survive the toddler tantrums, but his energy, kind-hearted nature, willfulness, bravery, and lovable personality make me want to be a better person every day. He inspires me to keep learning, growing, and challenging myself. The state of this world inspires me to raise him in a way that focuses on respecting himself and others, valuing compassion and kindness, and to contribute to this world in a positive way.
What is your fave way to rock your Romper?
Throw on a little tee underneath or just go the classic way (especially if it's hot!), as it is so versatile, comfortable, cozy, and easy to move in. I have a toddler, which means I am always on the move. Pair it with some mules or sneakers and I'm ready to go!
What does your ultimate Sunday look like?
Well, these days it is all about chasing my 2-year-old :-). He is super active, so we are usually out and about enjoying fresh air and the local parks. However, if I had a day to myself, I think the ideal would focus on slowness. Causal breakfast, reading, moving my body, and soaking in the sun!
Fave pump-up song?
Ooooh this is a hard one, as there are so many! Okay, so this is a little embarrassing to admit, but I am a sucker for POP2K on Sirius XM. Pretty much anything teeny-bopper from the 1990s and early 2000s, I am game. I may have had a slight obsession with NSYNC back in the day. I would say any female-related anthem song gets me jazzed up too!
What does being a part of the #smashtessfam mean to you?
I love being part of something that has a focus on sustainability and female empowerment. The #smashtessfam seem to celebrate women for who they are while spreading the message of supporting one another. I also appreciate the focus on making women feel comfortable in their own skin through the clothes they wear!
Whether you think about your mental health daily or not, we hope you take this week to check in with yourself and see what you need. It could be reaching out to a friend, a psychiatrist or spending some alone time. Just make sure you’re doing what’s best for you!
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