WHY EUSTRESSIN'?: KELLY DAVIS
I used to think that I was in this fight all by myself. It wasn’t until I started to speak on issues that I have dealt with in life that my eyes were opened to others that have dealt with some things as well. Not only have they dealt/dealing with things, they are also making moves to help others. I was introduced to Kelly by a mutual friend. Kelly’s passion to make the world a safe place for individuals living with a mental health challenge is hard to miss and it is actually a breath of fresh air.
I was able to connect with Kelly to see what unique stressors she faces as a Yoga Teach and Mental Health America’s Manager of Peer Advocacy, Supports and Services.
HEY KELLY, WHY EUSTRESSIN’?
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING/ HOW LONG?
I’ve been working at Mental Health America for two years. I currently work as the Manager of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services. Outside of MHA, I’m a yoga teacher.
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUR PROFESSION?
Constantly! My biggest focuses now are promoting peer support, MHA’s new National Certified Peer Specialist certification, and innovation on college campuses. So constantly 😊
WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR JOB THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THAT OTHERS MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?
Because I have a long history with mental health challenges and have certainly not figured everything out, it can be difficult to have that be the only thing I focus on whether at work or outside of work. However, this also blesses me with having work that is very personal and meaningful. Keeping boundaries in helping or help-related professions is key.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WHEN TAKING ON DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES?
I have a long history with mental health challenges, but it wasn’t until I lost most of the things I cared about as a sophomore in college that I started to take it very seriously. If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t contribute or participate in my life in the ways that I want to. Even though I still struggle with finding the balance between all that I want to do, it was an important lesson that I don’t want to learn again.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE STRESSORS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
I practice yoga, exercise, meditate and pray. I make sure I fill my mind with good stuff, whether through audio or reading, so I am always learning new techniques for stress relief and personal empowerment.
HOW DOES BEING MENTALLY HEALTHY HELP IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK OR ON THE JOB?
In a field with a lot of pain and trauma, the only sustainable way to help other people is to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Staying mentally healthy gives me the opportunity to give back and to try to improve a system that fails so many.
WHAT DOES EUSTRESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AT WORK? AT HOME/AWAY FROM WORK?
I love public speaking and promoting recovery in all aspects of my work. The ability to talk to others about how my diagnoses and experiences weren’t the end of the world, but something that propelled me to live a much fuller life than I otherwise would have is so exciting to me. Away from work, I love dancing, singing, yoga, and being outside.
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?
Nobody in this whole world really knows what they are doing so don’t feel like a fraud or like you have to wait until you are ready or have the degree/job/experience/etc. to contribute. Breaking the rules is how progress is made.
Any other information you want people to know about you and what you're up to?
I’m currently promoting peer support at Mental Health America and working on projects related to college mental health, including our new Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council. I LOVE talking about this stuff so please don’t hesitate to reach out
HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION?