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I’m sure, by now, many of us have heard that rather infamous quote that’s been circulating around. Although the author of the quote is not mentioned, it has still wildly resonated within our hearts and sparked inspiration in many of us. It says, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” Why do those four short sentences carry such significance to us? I believe it’s because when it comes to knowing strong women, we don’t have to look far to find them.
Whether it’s the women who’ve raised us, the women before us, or the women around us—we can all find a woman that we admire who has also directly influenced the trajectories of our lives. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating strong women—throughout history and in the modern-day – who inspire and teach us.
We asked our employees to tell us about these women. Here’s what they said:
I take in a book a week, but a book that I have appreciated most recently is “Lead from the Outside” by Stacey Abrams. She has appeared for me as a new model leader that is part public servant, part executive, part philanthropist, part community organizer and part matriarch.
Most of us try hard to place people in buckets. And what is surprising and refreshing about this book, and her work in general, is that it’s impossible to put it in any existing bucket. By using all her leadership identities, she has been successful in driving toward outcomes that many thought to be impossible. This is inspiring for me because I am certain that my leadership path is divergent and that I often call on a broad range of energies to achieve results. I used to think I was an outlier, and maybe I am. But Stacey affirms that if I am an outlier, I’m not the only one.
I’m inspired by Naomi Osaka because of her amazing character and the way she uses her platform to stand up and speak out about what she believes in. She has taught me what it looks like to have physical, mental, and emotional strength both on and off the tennis court. - Diane Dah-Young Hahn
My biggest inspiration has always been Surya Bonaly. I was always fascinated by ice skating when I was a child, but seeing a beautiful, graceful, dark-skinned woman pioneering in the space always thrilled me. Her ability to perform elements that no one else could and make them look effortless, whether judges awarded her points for them or not, drove me to do my best, whether I was recognized for my effort or not. Just like Surya, my success is mine and no one can take it from me or dull the shine.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What Ruth has done to foster and ensure representation, resonated with me at an incredibly early age. I learnt from her that each of us have a role to play in the improvement of our communities and society at large. Her public service is akin to so many, however, her gender allowed her to open dialogue and change laws that will continue to cause positive ripples for decades ahead the world over. I would like to see a world where our children go about their day with equity for all, and without limiting beliefs, to finally be at one with our fellow humans regardless of gender and creed.
There are many women to admire throughout history, and who are making history today. The most directly influential to me was my grandmother. A member of the first nursing class graduating Boston College, an Army Lieutenant during World War 2, and mother of seven; I admire her confidence and tenacious spirit. From the importance of being close to family, to the difference between passing judgement and setting personal boundaries, or how to make chocolate cookies – she taught me almost everything I know about the person I hope to be.
My mom inspires me daily. She is very caring and so selfless. She raised 5 children on her own while my dad commuted to work in the Silicon Valley. She always chooses her children. She's taught me patience, to always try your hardest, and to pick yourself up and try again if things do not work out.
When I think of all the amazing women throughout history (and there so many!), one who comes to mind is Maya Angelou. Her civil rights activism, along with her overall tenacity for optimism and hope throughout her life continues to inspire me each day. My favorite quote “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” is framed on my office wall as a reminder to see past the surface of what we see, hear and do and look deeper to understand, listen and connect with others both personally and professionally.
It’s hard to choose just one. Jane Fonda and her environmental activism is inspiring. Not many celebrities are willing to go to jail for their activism. Laverne Cox has been so strong and vocal in her representation of Black trans women.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg is also a favorite. I never got to meet her but her strength, and determination to make our nation a more equal one has always been an inspiration.
I had an opportunity to see Maya Angelou speak during my first year of college, and she really changed my life. She made me see that there was a lot of injustice in the world that I wasn’t paying attention to, and she was the reason that I decided I wanted to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Debora Burgard, PhD, FAED (otherwise known as Dr. Deb) inspires me endlessly with her decades of body activism and work as a psychologist + eating disorder specialist. I admire her tenacity and perseverance in fighting for representation of marginalized communities within the movement. Her lessons are infinite!
A woman who inspires me is Ava Duvernay. She is a powerhouse in the movie industry as the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe and the first African American woman to win the best director prize at the Sundance Film festival in 2012. As a community leader she uses her talents to tell the stories of the black experience and uplift the voices of black filmmakers. She is also completely unapologetic in her fight for inclusion and diversity for women in the director's seat by allowing up-and-coming female directors to direct episodes of one of my favorite TV shows Queen Sugar. Ava is a living example of how creating an environment for women to work together and be seen with the same equity, can spark a positive change.
I was trying to be thoughtful of who I admired (and not too cliche) and it came to me. Of course, it's my younger sister! Her name is Maki and although she isn't as well-known as Michelle Obama or Princess Diana, she's affected my life in ways I can't even name. She's the most thoughtful, resilient, purposeful, and intentional person I know. And whenever I've wavered on anything, all I need is her advice to know I'm headed in the right direction. She's 7 years younger than me but she teaches me so much about the kind of person I hope to be.
I’m inspired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. I was first so impressed with her when she brought her newborn with her to The UN General Assembly. I used to go with my principal there every year in my past life, and I was so moved by the example she showed for working women, and hoped she opened a lot of men’s eyes. Prime Minister Ardern is proof that in countries where there is a woman leader, the response to Covid has been more effective. She is a genuine leader that stresses solidarity and is a shining example for all leaders everywhere.
Since 1992, April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. It was established to help shed light on the issues behind stress, teach us how to fight it, and create methods to overcome it. While this initiative has existed just shy of three decades, this year it seems particularly important.
With a year under our belts in pandemic mode—a lot of us had to get creative when it came to keeping our cool. On top of that, everyday stresses didn’t just magically disappear during this time either. Just think about it—have you ever been in a situation that was overwhelming? Maybe you’ve had a looming deadline or a to-do list that seems, well...totally un-doable? If you’ve ever felt you were in over your head, please know you’re not alone—you never are. At one time or another, we’ve all been affected by stress—although each person may manifest it differently. Me? I'm definitely a frequent rider on the "hot mess stress express."
There are many ways to help combat stress—some of us seek out support from friends and family, while others find solace in taking up meditation or unwinding with a relaxing yoga class. Whatever helps you find peace, just keep doing you. But also know we have some resources to help you overcome stress whenever the need arises.
Here are some blog posts that are always available to you when you feel a little stressed out:
When in doubt, breathwork expert and sound healer, Shanila Sattar, always has tips to help ground yourself—especially in times of need. In this blog post, she gives you the recipe for incorporating self-love into your daily routine by encouraging us to ask ourselves these questions: How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love? As we all know, self-love defines and redefines itself for everyone over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it aims to restore the mind, body, and soul through deep, guided meditation. The way it works is like the way a power nap helps one feel refreshed during a particularly exhausting day, except you aren’t technically sleeping. I describe it as a long-form of savasana—anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. (Real talk: savasana is one of the best parts of practicing yoga, am I right?)
TLDR: I learned that I could conquer stress in a matter of minutes with Yoga Nidra.
Are we safe in saying this last year brought up a ton of emotions the likes of which we did not plan for? The good, the bad, the “unprecedented”—our hearts and minds have been taken on a wild rollercoaster ride, and for many of us, our mental health is suffering. With our minds running in thousands of directions, it’s hard to notice our own needs. Yes, our attention to the goings-on of last year is vital but caring for ourselves is as important as ever. Here are some tips from our favorite yoga instructor, Dani Schenone.
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last year is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves. Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.
If you've got those familiar feelings of stress and anxiety coursing through your body right now, you're definitely not alone. We get it. Times are uncertain, our mental health is taxed, we're doing what we can to reduce stress and anxiety in general, and relaxation has taken a back seat. It’s no secret that stress is proven to weaken our immunity, so now more than ever, it's important to relax, deal with what's happening, and find the coping mechanisms to help you reclaim your mental health and reduce your involvement in stressed moments. Let's deal with stress and anxiety together and see what we can do to reduce them.
Meditation will change your life if you let it. The pace of our modern life is at least ten times what it was just 10 years ago. Technology improved our lives but also created a more frenetic and stressful pace. If we decided to stop, breathe, and become more mindful, we would reduce stress and experience much more enjoyment in each moment of our everyday lives.
There’s always something to worry about. Whether it’s our career, relationships, dating, or trauma, we go through moments that bombard us with negative thoughts that can make us feel anxious and stressed. Our worries may often define our choices, our view of the world, or ourselves. This doesn’t mean they are faults, flaws, or downfalls—we just need to practice managing them in a healthy way, placing deserved value on self-care. Yoga is only one connection. Check out these seven yoga poses that can help your mind and body when you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or overall stress.
We’re all guilty of our routines and habits running our lives at one point or another. We’re all guilty of being attached to our schedules and our to-do list. We’re all guilty of running on a loop every now and then. As the energies of 2021 continue to shift, we get to ask ourselves the intentions of why and how we are participating in the places we are participating in, the thoughts we are thinking, the habits we are cultivating, and the communities that we are a part of. This intention and mindfulness process can not only shift our own experiences but of those around us as well.
If you have found meditation to be useful in trying times, right now is an incredible time to also try virtual sound baths to receive the deep sound healing benefits. As many of us are processing a variety of emotions as a collective—stress, worry, fear, anxiety, uncertainty—we can start to cause long-term damage to our bodies, especially to our immune and nervous systems. Giving ourselves self-care in a way that is easy, non-intrusive, and simple, can be the perfect way to help your body restore.
These resources aren’t the only thing we have to help you deal with stress—they’re just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are tons of classes available to you on the Mindbody app and through Mindbody Flex to help you reignite your calm whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. And always remember, at the end of the day, your best is always good enough.