Dr. Jennifer Ashton on Self-Care & Mental Health

Dr. Jennifer Ashton on Self-Care & Psychological Well being


Jennifer Ashton, M.D., is kind of an achieved lady. She’s an Emmy-award profitable journalist who serves because the chief medical correspondent for ABC Information and the co-host of GMA3: What You Have to Know (GMA3). She’s additionally a doctor double board-certified in OB-GYN and weight problems medication, and she or he holds a grasp’s diploma in diet.

Ashton has written six books, together with her most up-to-date titles, “Life After Suicide,” “The Self-Care Answer” and “The New Regular,” maintains her personal medical observe and just lately launched a brand new journal, Higher, the place she candidly discusses girls’s well being points, together with menopause, psychological well being, sleep, skincare and weight administration. Like HealthyWomen, Ashton believes in empowering girls by sharing the most recent wellness and diet data, which is why we sat down together with her to debate the significance of being wholesome in thoughts and physique.

Our interview follows, edited for readability and size.

HealthyWomen: Why is sustaining good psychological well being so necessary for girls?

Dr. Jennifer Ashton: Research after research has proven that ladies, significantly these over the age of 40, have been disproportionately affected by anxiousness and despair because the Covid-19 pandemic. Ladies have to be proactive about their psychological well being and have common conversations with their healthcare supplier in the event that they’re experiencing signs of hysteria and despair, resembling bother sleeping, sleeping an excessive amount of, feeling anxious or worrying lots.

Everyone knows coronary heart illness is the main reason for demise for girls within the U.S., and we all know we ought to be taking steps to cut back our threat of coronary heart illness. But the truth is girls additionally have to be proactive about decreasing their threat of despair and anxiousness, each quite common situations which might be manageable and treatable.

Learn: 15 Minutes With: Nieca Goldberg, M.D., Talks About Coronary heart-Well being Consciousness >>

As a practising physician, I don’t suppose I’ve had a single affected person over the previous three years who hasn’t informed me how their psychological well being has been a supply of stress or concern for them.

HealthyWomen: Do you suppose there’s nonetheless a stigma or reluctance for girls to speak about psychological well being?

Dr. Jennifer Ashton: If girls are hesitant to deliver up these considerations, it’s necessary for them to understand that taking good care of their psychological well being is simply as necessary as their bodily well being.

I believe one of many huge issues in our nation is the best way we view well being and wellness. We’ve got a tough time with moderation and go from one excessive to a different, selecting to take both an all-natural treatment or a prescription remedy, once we actually ought to be taking a holistic strategy to psychological well being. If girls want remedy to deal with anxiousness or despair, I’m all for it, however as well as, they need to additionally communicate to a psychological well being skilled, observe a kind of mindfulness and interact in some sort of bodily exercise that may dramatically cut back anxiousness and despair. It’s not attainable to simply examine off one field and immediately be cured. We have to tackle each the basis reason for an individual’s anxiousness and despair and study completely different remedy choices.

Learn: 7 Wholesome Habits to Enhance Your Physique and Thoughts >>

HealthyWomen: In your e-book, “Life After Suicide,” you discuss the way you’ve skilled anxiousness at a number of factors in your life, together with after your ex-husband’s suicide in 2017. How did you handle your personal anxiousness?

Dr. Jennifer Ashton: After I misplaced my ex-husband, I used to be on prescription remedy for 2 weeks. I used to be actually doing the whole lot I may to maintain myself vertical for my kids and do my finest to not collapse. As we speak, I handle my stress and anxiousness by meditating every weekday morning, and I attempt to meditate on the weekend too. Meditating has actually made an enormous distinction in my life, however there have been occasions after I misplaced my ex-husband, and positively in the course of the pandemic, that I felt such excessive anxiousness that I needed to take a prescription remedy on a one-off foundation. I don’t have a look at that as being any completely different than taking Tylenol to deal with ache. By way of physiology, if anxiousness and despair are persistent and left untreated, they’ll result in a cascade of different bodily and psychological well being issues.

If somebody has extreme anxiousness that lasts day in and day trip, they’re churning out excessive ranges of cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline and norepinephrine that may injury their mind and vascular system and suppress their immune system. By addressing signs of hysteria and despair early, girls can save themselves from future well being points.

HealthyWomen: What are a few of the extra widespread well being questions or considerations that ladies ask you?

Dr. Jennifer Ashton: I believe by far the commonest well being questions focus on menopause, hormones, hair loss and weight/diet. In 2013, I returned to varsity to get a grasp’s diploma in diet and have become board-certified in weight problems well being medication as a result of virtually each lady has questions regarding a type of areas. I’m glad to see there’s extra consideration being paid to menopause, partially as a result of it’s the societal vibe of the time, but in addition as a result of right this moment many ladies live longer and growing older higher, making 50 the brand new 40 and 60 the brand new 50.

Watch: The three Levels of Menopause >>

For girls, speaking about menopause has grow to be extra acceptable and mainstream, however I believe everybody ought to be speaking about menopause, together with males. I additionally imagine it’s necessary to get trusted details about menopause from board-certified gynecologists and dependable well being specialists. Proper now, many individuals are turning to social media to get data, and people sources aren’t at all times credible and legit.

HealthyWomen: What recommendation do you may have for girls who need to keep good well being as they age?

Dr. Jennifer Ashton: I believe a very powerful factor, and I discuss this in my books and in my new journal, Higher, is one thing I name, “the trifecta of fine well being.” Day-after-day, your physique wants three issues: gas, which is our meals; relaxation, which is our sleep; and motion, which is our health and exercise ranges. Our our bodies are good machines, in order that they acclimate and alter to our existence. We have to continuously ensure that we’re giving our physique what it must maintain us wholesome. The way in which I describe it to individuals once they ask how I discover time to meditate every day, is “I don’t discover the time. I make the time,” which suggests waking up 40 minutes earlier in order that I can do 20 minutes of meditation earlier than my day will get away from me. Decide the self-care rituals which might be necessary to you and attempt to observe them most days.

Learn: Self-Care on a Price range >>

HealthyWomen: What’s subsequent for you?

Dr. Jennifer Ashton: Properly, in 2024 I’ve some thrilling initiatives deliberate within the menopause and diet house, and I believe my credentials in weight problems medication, diet and ladies’s well being actually place me to be uniquely useful to girls who’re going via weight points, menopause or hormonal points. I can’t say much more concerning the initiatives presently, however I’ll be releasing extra particulars within the coming months on my Instagram and on GMA3. Keep tuned!

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