As a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, I have a special appreciation for the many ways therapy can support a healthier lifestyle. I also realize there are a lot of people in the world who struggle with the thought of asking for help, particularly when it comes to mental health.
Because I believe it’s so important to maintain open dialogue and to do everything we can to collect the resources and strategies we need to enhance our mental and emotional well-being, you can imagine how much I loved seeing Dr. Ashley D. Anderson’s blog post, ‘Five Reasons We All Need Therapy.’
Dr. Ashley D. Anderson has a PhD in Nursing and has held various other titles over the course of her lifetime, including international runway model, actress, radio personality, and pageant competitor.
Today, she’s wife to NCAA and NBA Champion, Derek L. Anderson Sr., mom to two precious little boys, and the co-founder of Athena Health and Wellness. I’m so excited to have her as my guest today! Let’s get to it!
Nina Westbrook: Tell us how you came up with the concept of Athena Health and Wellness and the two main things that you feel the women of Louisville need to know about the services you offer.
Ashley Anderson: The concept for Athena Health and Wellness came from years of experience both as a patient and a health care provider. We wanted to create a space where women would feel comfortable or “at home” and, above all else, empowered in their health care decision making. Mind, body, and spirit are the key components to health and we want to ensure that the women of Louisville have the option to invest in the care of all three under one roof.
AA: We never rush our patients and want them to know that we will be by their sides through the entire process. We take pride in the amount of time our providers spend with each patient getting to know them and addressing their specific health care needs. We block out an hour for each new patient to make sure we’re offering comprehensive care so that we can create a health plan that best suits them.
NW: I love how open and honest you are about the idea that everyone needs therapy. What inspired you to share your thoughts on this topic?
AA: Thank you for that. Seeing patients who struggle with mental health but refuse to see a therapist inspired me to be more vocal about the need. I’ve always believed that we have to attend to our mental health just as intentionally as we do our physical health. The health of the mind directly influences the health of the body.
Over the years, I’ve realized that there is still a significant amount of shame and fear about engaging in therapy. We simply don’t talk about it enough and it must be normalized. No matter where you come from or how you grew up, you’ve experienced things in your life that frame the way you see the world — negative and positive. Our daily stressors and traumas also have a hand in impacting our ability to truly be well. Everyone needs a therapist at some point in their lifetime.
NW: What advice would you give someone who is starting out on their own mental wellness journey?
Be honest with yourself about the importance of self-care and schedule it consistently.
Find the right therapist. Every therapist isn’t YOUR therapist. You must feel comfortable with the person you’re removing your mask for. I’d encourage you to ask people you trust for recommendations and then “speed date.” If someone isn’t a good fit for your personality, needs, and value system, keep looking.
Create a daily outlet to release stress. Reading and exercise are my favorites, but maybe it’s art or being outdoors for you. Find something that you enjoy and strategically incorporate it into your daily life.
NW: On your website, you talk a lot about essential oils. How do you incorporate oils into your daily wellness routine?
AA: Essential oils have changed my life and the way I practice as a health care provider. I use them daily for things like energy, detoxification, immune support, hormonal balance, mood, stress management and discomfort. I normally start my day by taking frankincense, OnGuard, copaiba, and Adaptiv internally to promote healthy cellular function, protect my immune system, decrease inflammation and keep me calm respectively. I also apply different blends topically instead of using perfume. I apply calming oils like lavender and Balance in my mask during the day and ingest different citrus oils (lemon, wild orange, grapefruit, tangerine,etc) in all of my water to maintain alkalinity in the body as well as gently detoxing the liver and kidneys. At night, I diffuse the Serenity blend for restful sleep!
NW: Anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t touched on yet?
AA: I’d like to emphasize the importance of having truth-tellers in your life. Whether it’s mental or physical health, goal setting and attainment, or relationships, you need people around you to hold you accountable. I’m beyond thankful for my sisters who will bring my feet to the fire if they see that I’m not taking care of myself or falling short of who I say I am. We all need those people in our corner. Your circle can make or break you!