WHY EUSTRESSIN'?: ALEXIS LONG-DANIELS
Social media can be a very useful tool. It’s always a pleasure to connect with people who have passion to help others address their mental health challenges. A little over a year ago, I connected with Alexis Long-Daniels, a graduate student who is studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Not only is she a graduate student, but she is also an entrepreneur. I was able to catch up with her to see what unique stressors she experiences.
HEY ALEXIS, WHY EUSTRESSIN’?
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING/ HOW LONG?
I am currently in my second year of graduate school studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and I am also an entrepreneur, in the second year of running my photography company, L.O. Photography.
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUR PROFESSION?
Yes, I think about my mental health constantly, especially the self-care aspect. I’m always trying to stay up to date on the best self-care techniques and new things I can try to better my mental health.
WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR JOB THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THAT OTHERS MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?
Being an entrepreneur especially one that is just beginning can be difficult. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be great at all times and always give 110% to my clients. I am always critiquing myself and my work to the point where I will work on it for hours until I feel like the idea is perfect. While that pressure produces great work, it causes stress and a consuming feeling of fear and worry. My clients probably never know how stressed I am while preparing for each session and how my mind is constantly spinning with ideas but it's always happening. Stress, anxiety and the aim for perfection are three of my largest pressures.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WHEN TAKING ON DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES?
I started considering my mental health on a more in depth level when I started my counseling program. I always thought I knew a good amount about mental health which is what made me so passionate about it but when I entered my program it opened up a whole new world of information for me and I found out how much I was missing in my personal life.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE STRESSORS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
Honestly, on a daily basis its hard to remind myself of my self-care techniques that help manage stress. But I often try to pray constantly throughout the day, take the time to wind down and do nothing, talk a walk outdoors or write down my thoughts in a bullet journal when I feel myself getting anxious. Doing these things keeps me conscious of what I’m thinking and if it's something I need to correct.
HOW DOES BEING MENTALLY HEALTHY HELP IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK OR ON THE JOB?
Being mentally healthy keeps me aware of what's going on in my mind and what cognitions need to be corrected. If I am able to think about what I am thinking about, I can better control my stress and anxiety levels. Often times we fear the unknown and then realize there was nothing to stress or worry about, to begin with. My ability to stay on top of my mental health allows me to control my thoughts and in turn control my stress. When I am able to control my thoughts and stress I am able to give my clients top of the line service. I am able to think clearly and bring their ideas to life.
WHAT DOES EUSTRESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AT WORK? AT HOME/AWAY FROM WORK?
Working under pressure is definitely Eustress for me. While this is a true trigger for stress and anxiety, it allows me to get in the zone and solely focus on one project until it is finished. Working this way allows me to use my stress as a positive way to get work done. Often times I’ve found that working under pressure has produced some of my best work. I personally love a good challenge. When I give myself a challenge it makes me want to work even harder to achieve a goal. When I start to think of life as a game that I am trying to win, I am able to challenge myself and work harder to reach the finish line.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD TELL SOMEONE JUST STARTING IN YOUR PROFESSION OR A YOUNG PERSON WHO ASPIRES TO BE THE PROFESSIONAL THAT YOU ARE?
If I had to tell a younger person aspiring to be in my profession one thing, I would say always ask questions and be a sponge. I'm constantly learning new things because the state of mental health in our society is always evolving. It is important to stay on top of what's new in our profession in order to provide the best services to clients.
Any other information you want people to know?
I'm always open to questions, I love when people reach out to me to pick my brain. Contact me if you ever have any questions/concerns about mental health or even photography! We’re all learning together.
I'm currently working on a blog site that will encompass everything from lifestyle, mental health, food, and community service. Be on the lookout for the Living Outloud movement!
HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION?