Finding space for our mental health can be challenging with the demands of our everyday lives. During those moments, the greatest gift of self-love and compassion we can give ourselves is seeking out the support we need for our journey. Leighann O. is a Mother, Teacher, and Maker who is constantly giving to others. Read about her mental health journey and sharing these tools as a MyIntent Maker!
Leighann shares how her mental health journey started, “Being diagnosed with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) was the starting point of my journey towards regaining my mental strength. It began in 2016 after the birth of my son. Although I had always been a positive, even keeled person I suddenly found myself completely consumed with overwhelming anxiety and depression. I knew this was something stronger than the “Baby Blues” and sought help as soon as I realized this beast was bigger than I was capable of handling on my own. My therapist first introduced me to the idea of choosing a WORD or mantra and setting intentions to support my journey. It was life changing.”
As the years continued, Leighann shares, “Finding my WORD each year has become something I look forward to, and I usually start thinking about it around early November. I keep several journals and find myself thinking about what trait or motivation I need more of in the coming year. I think about what the year will hold for me and my family, who I want to be through each of those events, and what kind of support I might need to give myself to be that person.”
"Finding my WORD each year has become something I look forward to ... (I) find myself thinking about what trait or motivation I need more of in the coming year."
In 2019, Leighann started reading books from Mel Robbins, motivational speaker, author, and life coach, and noticed “her MyIntent bracelets and fell in love with the idea of proudly wearing my WORD and having the constant, daily reminder to live into its meaning. She discussed the importance of not only choosing a WORD, but being reminded of it every day.” Shortly after, she decided to become a MyIntent Maker and share her journey with those around her!
With a new Maker Kit in hand, she shares her experience using it with her fellow teachers, “I am a teacher so the majority of the use I have gotten out of my kit has been helping other teachers find their WORD. One story that will always stick with me is that of a close friend and fellow educator. She and her boyfriend were both pursuing their academic and personal dreams while being pulled in different geographical locations. They decided to go ALL IN together and not let the distance impact the strength of their relationship or their will to achieve their dreams. They’ve both taken major steps towards achieving those dreams and have grown stronger together through all of the hurdles and bumps in the road that have been thrown at them. My favorite part of helping someone find their WORD is that moment when I can tell that it just feels right. There’s a lightness that comes over them and I can see a physical change in the way they stand and in their facial expressions. They smile differently and I can tell that the WORD has resonated deeply with them.”
In addition to using her Maker Kit with her colleagues, Leighann has found cherished moments while using her Maker Kit with her second graders. She remembers affectionately, “My favorite way that I have used my kit was with a small group of second graders at my school last year. We made time at the end of our lessons to discuss the meaning and purpose of choosing a WORD. We talked about what kinds of WORDs were “action words” that helped us feel motivated to do something powerful or try something new. Then, students picked their WORD and set their intentions. We used a free resource from @teachcreatemotivate on Instagram and Teachers Pay Teachers to journal about our WORD, and I made each of them a keychain with their WORD.”
What is next for Leighann’s mental health journey? “My WORD is RESILIENCE. I chose this WORD for many reasons but mainly because it is a trait I want to model for my children. I am expecting my second child in late March 2021 and hope to make it through the postpartum period stronger and more resilient than I did the first time. I want my children to know that it’s okay to be knocked down from time to time but what truly matters is that they always get back up and learn from the experience. The quote that really resonated with me is by writer and Resilience Coach, Mary Halloway - 'Resilience is knowing that you are the only one that has the power and the responsibility to pick yourself back up.'"
Leighann’s Maker Pro-Tip: I tip is to be open. Share as much of your story as you feel comfortable sharing because when others hear your willingness to be vulnerable, they feel comfortable in sharing their own vulnerabilities and the conversations become deeper and more meaningful. These conversations are essential in helping others find their WORD and set meaningful intentions.