Women’s Health Conference Helping Community Members Manage Stress

Pillars of health include exercise, nutrition, mental health and spirituality

FARGO, N.D. — Women take a break from their normal routines to focus on putting stress aside and have a better well-being at a Women’s Health Conference.

When someone feels stressed, their bodies act as if they are getting ready for war.

“Just think back to when we were cave people. There’s a lion outside the cave. Your body thinks it’s going into battle. So, it’s going to hold onto all its calories, all its energy, it’s going to hold on to all that excess weight, it’s going to make your sugar go up,” said Jean Marie McGowan, internal medicine physician at Sanford Health.

It’s a feeling Eliz Greene know all too well. When she was 35-years-old and seven months pregnant with twins, she had a heart attack.

“I woke up from that knowing that I had been given this wacky story for a reason and I’ve spent almost two decades now traveling the country encouraging women, particularly, to pay attention to their health is a really under addressed risk factor for heart disease,” Greene said.

To avoid heart disease and other symptoms associated with stress, the Women’s Health Conference is meant to help women manage the stress they experience whether it’s in their job, family or community.

“People feel pretty darn good. It’s a very uplifting day, it’s very motivational day. People feel inspired,” Rachel Asleson, a Women’s Health Conference committee member, said.

“I’m also getting married this weekend, so I wanted kind of a day off just to take it for me and do some self-care and hang out with other women that are interested in taking care of themselves too,” Michelle Vasicek said.

Taking good care of your body means having all the pillars of good health, including balanced nutrition, spirituality, exercise and mental health.

“It’s really important to make sure your mind is in the right place because once your mind is in the right place, the rest of your body is just going to follow,” McGowan said. “When you’re under stress, your mind is trying to protect itself. It doesn’t want all the stress right here in your brain. It’s trying to dissipate that.”

Whether that means enjoying some peace and quiet to feel at ease or constantly doing activities to make you forget about the stress, it’s about finding the right fit.

“It’s finding out what works for you individually, not feeling bad that you’re not meditating person. That’s okay. Find the thing that works for you,” Greene said.

The conference has been helping women find ways to reduce their stress since 2013. Next year’s Women’s Health Conference will be held in Bismarck.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, North Dakota News