This week is Post Natal Depression Awareness Week, and while that wasn’t something I was aware of when I first sat down to chat with today’s guest, it does not surprise me in the least. The more I chatted with Chelsea Pottenger the more parallels I uncovered between her story and mine, and the more I realised that our experiences of post natal depression and the resultant changes in the way we lived were an important part of that story.
Chelsea is now a mindfulness practitioner who works with large corporations to create a culture of productivity, self-care and strong boundaries in the workplace. She is also currently studying a Doctorate of Psychology and Neuroscience, as well as a Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing. Chelsea is an advocate for meditation and self-care, an ambassador for both the Gidget Foundation and RUOK day, a business owner and a mum. And while she now has created a life that allows her to find flow and long-term balance, it wasn’t always the case.
In this episode Chelsea and I talk about her life pre-PND, the hectic nature of her work, the ways she self-medicated to deal with stress, the perfectionism and comparisons that drove her to constantly work harder and strive for the next level of success, and the inevitable crash. We get pretty deep in to Chelsea’s experiences, and while it may be difficult listening for anyone going through a similar struggle, or anyone who has experienced mental health issues before, I also think that shining a light on these experiences is one of the most important things we can do.
Chelsea talks about the changes she made in learning how to be present, to meditate, to let go of the expectations and shoulds that used to drive her, and the benefits of living a more values-aligned life.
We also talk about the practicalities of her own time management, and how she strikes a long-term balance across work, family, health, community and down time, and why it may not be “slow” but it certainly is intentional.
As a workplace mindfulness expert, I also ask Chelsea about how we can incorporate mindfulness practices in to even the most cynical of offices, and she has some wonderful, practical tips on what to do in your own day-to-day that will help create pockets of slow (yes, even on the busiest of days).
This is such a great, practical, honest conversation that really does cover a lot of ground. I loved Chelsea’s honesty, as well as her endless optimism in the face of incredible challenges.
I’d also encourage anyone who is struggling with their mental health to get in touch with the organisations Chelsea mentioned in today’s conversation. Specifically, The Gidget Foundation and RUOK Day. These organisations have some incredible resources, and are a great place to begin when you know you need support but don’t know how to go about getting it.
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