Mental health is something that unites us all — no matter what your walk of life, the ups and downs of the human condition binds us together (and we think that is worth celebrating).
For Mental Health Awareness Month 2022, Alo is honored to serve as the community partner to the Westside Los Angeles chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI WLA) as we work hand in hand to amplify the discussions surrounding mental health.
Throughout the month of May, Alo is joining NAMI WLA in hosting collaborative community events in the Westside Los Angeles region, focused on normalizing the topic of mental wellness and finding support in the community.
It’s time we start having more conversations that celebrate our common ground and find connection in ways to grow together.
Join us this month as we turn the volume way up on the mental wellness conversation and learn to adopt a genuine love for our mental health journeys.
WHAT IS NAMI?
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to equipping millions of Americans affected by mental illness with the support, tools, and environment needed to thrive.
In 1979 around a kitchen table, a small group of families gathered for what was soon to blossom into NAMI. Now the nation’s leading voice on mental health — with Hailey Beiber as an avid supporter — this alliance involves 600 local affiliates with a community-focused approach.
With a mission to educate, advocate, listen, and lead, NAMI aims to improve the lives of those impacted by mental illness along with their loved ones. They envision a world where all people affected by mental illness lead healthy, fulfilling lives supported by a community that cares, and Alo is here for all of it.
In short, NAMI does it all: education programs throughout the country that provide families, individuals, and educators with the support they need, a toll-free NAMI HelpLine that creates a personal response system when needed most, advocacy that works to shape public policy, and public events and activities year-round that successfully fight stigma and encourage understanding.
As a leader with a remarkable track record of deeply impacting the lives of so many, it is an honor to join NAMI WLA in their mission during this month and beyond.
A Q&A WITH BRITT TURPACK, A NAMI PEER-TO-PEER LEADER
NAMI Peer-to-Peer provides a free, eight-session educational program for adults with mental health conditions who are looking to better understand themselves and their recovery.
Trained leaders with lived experience lead activities, discussions, informative videos, and, above all, create a safe, confidential space. Amongst goal-setting, confidence development, relaxation and stress tools, and enhanced communication skills, one past participant noted that they’ve “really learned how to cope with [their] triggers and is now on the path to truly loving [themself].”
Alo has had the pleasure of working with Britt Turpack for community events in the past, and this month we’re excited to hear her expertise as a trained leader of NAMI Peer-to-Peer.
A mental health advocate, speaker, and movement teacher, Britt assists people in finding inner peace and outer success. Trained at Brown University and certified as a yoga instructor, Britt takes a holistic approach of mind, body, and soul while inspiring mental resiliency and wellness.
Alo sat down with Britt to talk about the mental wellness journey and how to find appreciation and love for where we’re at.
1. What does it mean to prioritize mental health?
To me, prioritizing my mental health means giving as much love and attention to my mental health just as much as I do my physical and emotional health. It is the trifecta, and each part is deserving of care and compassion. Throughout my day I am constantly checking in with myself to see where I am at and what I am feeling. Knowing that the answers to those two questions are constantly changing. Sometimes half the battle is being ok with that. I often ask myself “what does my brain need?” and most of the time the answer is STILLNESS. Creating a moment of pause for myself. Truth be told, I can find STILLNESS in a lot of practices that seem quite simple—stepping outside and taking a breath of fresh air, disconnecting from my phone, lighting a candle and coming back to my breath and just sitting in quiet…and then my favorite, meditation.
2. How do you begin to develop a mental health toolkit?
Before discussing how to develop a mental health toolkit I think it is important to know WHY! Regardless of whether you live with a mental health condition or not…WE ALL HAVE MENTAL HEALTH! And we all experience stress. And when that stress occurs often times it is difficult to think clearly as to what is helpful to manage or work through that stress. That is why I believe in the importance of developing a mental health toolkit. Mine is a morning routine that I practice every single morning. It is such an essential part of my day, I have set really good nighttime boundaries (making sure I am in bed early enough to get enough rest), so I can ensure that I feel my best when practicing my morning routine. I am so ruthless about this because I know the importance of this for my mental wellness. I think of my morning routine as my anchor for my day. In speaking engagements, I compare life to an ocean wave…it is up and down and sometimes the waves are bigger on some days, but most of the time what life hands us is out of our control. And when we wake up, we don’t know what our wave is going to look like. So when I actively practice my morning routine, I can handle (to the best of my ability) whatever life throws at me that day.
3. What is digital wellness? And why is it important for our mental health?
In order for me to practice digital wellness (which is essential to my mental health) I must, MUST set boundaries with ALL SCREENS! Phones, computers, iPads, watches…any piece of technology with a notification.
I love social media and I have met so many people, specifically in the mental health space, doing incredible work via Instagram and digital communities but it is a necessity for me EVERY SINGLE DAY to set my phone down and schedule in non-screen time to give myself a break. Unfollowing people is another way to practice digital wellness as well. If someone isn’t making you feel good when you look at their content, YOU DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW THEM! That is real self-care in practice.
Shout out to my friend @livinlikelarz founder of HALF THE STORY who shares so many helpful tips around Digital Wellness!
4. How did meditation help you find acceptance with yourself?
I love so many of the wellness modalities…movement, sound baths, journaling, but for me meditation has been the most transformative. It created a container for me to witness all parts of myself. And by all I mean ALL! The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and everything in between. It has given me the opportunity to embrace this concept of duality and lovingly be in acceptance of all the parts that make up Britt. That acceptance led me to feel more liberated than I ever have before standing in the truest most confident version of myself. And that freedom led me to JOY and joy is my most favorite place to be.
5. Why do you call your mental health conditions your “superpowers”?
They allow me to FEEL in really big ways! Sometimes the feeling isn’t always positive. I live with anxiety and depression but I don’t let those two things define me in any way. I just consider it information. And knowing that part of myself also allows me to love in really big ways, to celebrate in really big ways, to laugh and to dance and have fun in really big ways and I LOVE THAT ABOUT MYSELF! I am sure if you asked anyone close to me, they would agree.
6. How did mindful movement contribute to your mental health journey?
As I mentioned above, meditation has probably been the most transformative practice in my mental health journey but I have a very special place in my heart for movement because it was in the movement space that I “got cracked open.” Meaning I became aware of my mental health conditions and really started on a journey of healing and recovery. Mindful movement is ESSENTIAL to my mental wellness. Movement is so wonderful because it physically gets you out of one space and into another and helps move through stagnant feelings. It helps emotions move through you, so they don’t get built up in your body. For me, movement is not just for the physical body but for the mind and the soul. I am loving Pilates because there is such a mind /body connection and a focus necessary throughout the practice that requires such presence. I am currently finishing a lagree certification very soon… so you will have to come find me!
For the full scope of Alo’s Mental Health Awareness Month 2022 programming, visit the Alo yoga Blog that outlines every touchpoint both IRL and URL!