While celebrating our Women's Wellbeing event over the weekend, we were mindful to take stock of the International Women's Day theme 'Choose To Challenge'. 

"A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let's all choose to challenge. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality." (International Women's Day, 2021)

To continue the conversation, we asked some of our amazing team members to share their thoughts on IWD.

Gill Townsend – Project Manager for Mind-Life

Q: What does it mean to Choose To Challenge for you?

A: Choose to Challenge means to stand up and speak out. It means to challenge the existing status quo where woman are not always fully recognised or believed or acknowledged for our contributions to society. It means not being silent about oppression or discrimination. It also means being brave and bold and proud.

Q: How will you Choose To Challenge in your role throughout 2021?

A: I’m fortunate in that my role as project Manager for Mind-Life is to lead a project that challenges the status quo around stigma and discrimination in the area of mental health.

Mind-Life’s main assumption is that an inability to live and lead a full life is not necessarily or simply because of the symptoms of mental illness, but much more from the reduced opportunities to exercise our human rights and live extraordinary lives.

This is particularly true for women. 

Daily my work is about disrupting the construct of “psychiatric disability” as we have known it - not by trying to change the person, but by challenging the narrative, creating resources and hosting events that build opportunities to LIVE different, THINK different and ultimately BE different.

Ross Wilson – Regional Manager for Community Based Mental Health Services

Q: Your take on IWD and why is it important?

A: Bridges acknowledges the invaluable achievements, contributions, strength, and entrepreneurial spirit of women around the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in our rural communities, and the North Burnett is no exception.

In times of natural disasters, economic downturn, and community loss it is very often the women of rural and remote communities who are there providing leadership, support, and assistance. 

International Women’s Day is also an ideal time to have a discussion on self-care and resilience building for the part of our community that are often at the front line, stalwarts, advocates and supporters of businesses, families, and their communities. 

To continue to be the leaders and strong advocates for community, protection of children and family and broader community issues one needs to look after their physical and mental health. 

Q: As a healthcare professional, what are some online tools or resources you would recommend to women wanting to prioritise their wellbeing?

A: We all need to take time out to recharge our internal resources (our bodies batteries). 

This can be difficult in our time poor lifestyles but, realistically if you can snatch a few moments to quite your mind you can notice improvements in mood, sleep and energy and focus. 

Some examples of quieting your mind are mindfulness and guided meditation. There are many phone apps that offer mindfulness exercises simply search for mindfulness in your google or apple shop or if you have streaming service you can find guided meditation playlists.

The internet is another great resource for gathering information about self-care and support. For instance the Department of Health have a website Head to Health that covers a range of topics including living a meaningful life supporting yourself and/or others

The Queensland government have also produced a website that promotes “me-time”, where you are the important person. A time that aids in lifting mood, promoting resilience, and equipping you to get the best out of you. 

This website has some great ideas for maintaining wellbeing.

So, we challenge you our reader, no matter what your gender or how you identify; what will you Choose to Challenge throughout 2021? What would you like to see change?

We would love to continue this conversation throughout the course of this year. So be sure to keep up with us on Facebook and tell us how you will challenge to fight for gender equality.