This month we are privileged to highlight one of Serenity’s own therapists, Ryanne Mellick, MA, RYT (She/Her/Hers), Mental Health Therapist, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Pediatric Specialist. Ryanne is featured in Authority Magazine in an interview with Maria Angelova, MBA, author, motivational speaker, and body-mind expert.
Ryanne is a child and family therapist with over 10 years of experience in mental health. She provides mental health services with an integrative and mindfulness-based focus to ensure an individual and collaborative approach. Ryanne is passionate about helping others improve their mental well-being through simple and effective self-care activities.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about you and your personal background. Can you please share your personal story? What has brought you to this point in your life?
I have always had an interest in how the mind works and from a young age I knew that I wanted to work with people. When I was in my mid-20s, my father was diagnosed with a terminal and aggressive form of cancer that took his life very quickly. During the six weeks between my father’s diagnosis and his passing, he received the best care possible from a variety of practitioners. It was this experience that solidified my desire to work in mental health. What started out as an interest has now become a passion and I am so thankful that I get to support others through the highs and lows of life.
What is your “WHY” behind what you do? What fuels you?
I do this work for the spark that you see in a person when they realize that things can be better. I do this for the parents that are struggling with their child’s behaviors, for the teenagers that feel overwhelmed by middle and high school, for the adults that have experienced trauma or loss and are lost. Watching someone experience joy, happiness, or a sense of calm for the first time has such a big impact on me and is what fuels me every day in this line of work.
Sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake or failure which you now appreciate has taught you a valuable lesson?
As a person who married and divorced their high school sweetheart at a young age, I can say that this failed attempt at marriage has taught me so much about life. Not only did I learn so much about myself as an individual, but I also learned about the life that I wanted to create and live forever. It taught me that things don’t always go as planned, or as you may have dreamed when you were younger, and that is okay. Life will turn out okay, you will be okay! Personally, for me, it’s turned out better than I could have dreamed or imagined, and I am grateful for the lessons I have learned along the way.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Compassionate, empathetic, and calm are three character traits that have been instrumental to my success. Collectively, these three traits allow me to do the work that I do in mental health from a place that is non-judgmental, non-critical, and creates a space for individuals to be vulnerable and explore thoughts and feelings that they may not otherwise be able to. I find this translates into my personal life as well and being mindful of the importance of remaining calm and empathetic in difficult life situations.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now? How do you think that will help people?
I am in the early stages of creating a guide for parents and caregivers on how they can best support themselves and children through difficult situations. Primarily focusing on mindful parenting/caregiving, behavior adjustments and modification, and social and emotional learning. I hope this guide will benefit a great deal of people ranging from parents and caregivers to teachers and other helping professions.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, about the interface between self-care and mental health. From where you stand personally or professionally, why are you so passionate about mental well-being?
This is a fantastic question! Personally, and professionally, I am passionate about mental well-being because we can all benefit from a little extra support. This doesn’t have to be in the form of weekly therapy sessions with a professional and it also doesn’t have to be treating yourself to a new spa service every week. There are so many great resources to tap into when it comes to supporting our mental well-being, and I am passionate about sharing those resources. I am also passionate about mental well-being because the stigma around mental health still exists, and it causes barriers that many people can’t break through. If we only factor in the last three years, we have been bombarded by negative news, layered trauma, and a great deal of uncertainty. This alone is enough to shake someone’s mental health, and then if you add in other experiences or traumas, it only compounds the effects. Mental well-being should be accessible to all, whether it’s in the form of professional therapy or as simple as watching a reel or TikTok on a breathing exercise.
Based on your research or experience, how exactly does self-care impact our mental wellness?
Self-care is one of the simplest ways we can impact our mental wellness. Self-care doesn’t require a significant number of resources, which can be barriers for people. Self-care provides the individual with the opportunity to take ownership of their mental wellness in ways that work for that person, and creating autonomy is an effective way to boost mental wellness on its own. Positive impacts from self-care can include changes in mood, less irritability, increased feelings of self-worth and confidence, boosted energy, and decreased symptoms related to anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns. A key point with self-care is that it’s not a one size fits all practice. There’s a trial and error that may happen until you see the positive effects and find which forms of self-care you truly enjoy.
Here is our primary question. Can you please share your “Top Five Selfcare Practices That Each Of Us Can Use To Improve Our Mental Wellness”?
Absolutely! Here are my top five self-care practices:
Breathwork — my all-time favorite because it’s built into our bodies! The main goal is to slow your breath while breathing deep into the belly to help stimulate the nervous system.
Journaling — this doesn’t have to be a mundane practice. Journaling can be as simple jotting down a few thoughts to clear them out of your brain.
Body Movement — even if you move your body for as little as 30 minutes per day, you will see the benefits of increased mood, focus, and motivation. Get up and go take a walk around the office or your neighborhood!
Hydration — fuel your body with water each day, we need water to survive and it’s an easy way to increase your focus and boost your energy.
Self-love — we all could use positive affirmations and a boost in our confidence and self-esteem. Find a saying that you enjoy and post it up on a mirror, in your car, or on your desk and repeat it to yourself a few times each day.
Can you please share a few of the main roadblocks that prevent people from making better self-care choices? What would you suggest can be done to overcome those roadblocks?
Realistically, self-care doesn’t have to take a ton of time or require many resources and I think that’s where people often get stuck and don’t follow through. Let’s use breathwork as an example because it’s quite simple and efficient once you can get out of your head about it. We hear the word breathwork and imagine that you have to be sitting in a quiet, serene, peaceful place with tapestries and fancy cushions. Or, we think we have to be in a yoga studio! Neither of those are the case, would it be nice? Sure, but those scenarios aren’t necessary. Breathing is innate in us; it’s built into our autonomic nervous system. The goal with breathwork is to activate the nervous system in order to help it reset. The simplest way to do that is through intentional deep breaths that get into the diaphragm. At a minimum this can take a few seconds or upwards of minutes depending on many breaths you take. Same with body movement, hydrating, journaling, and practicing self-love. The intention and quality are what matter, not the quantity or amount of time we spend on it.
In one sentence, what would you say to someone who doesn’t prioritize their mental well-being?
You cannot support others effectively if you are unable or unwilling to support yourself.
Thank you for all that great insight! Let’s start wrapping up. Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does this quote resonate with you so much?
“It is what it is.” When I was 25, my dad, who was 48 years old, passed away very quickly following a grim cancer diagnosis. Throughout his life and his 6 weeks of cancer treatment, continued to say, “it is what it is.” There are experiences in life that we can and cannot control, learning to recognize that and being able to acknowledge those situations changed how I react and respond to people and experiences, and essentially changes my life.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? They might just see this, especially if we both tag them.
Read More About Ryanne Mellick and her services on Serenity’s website: https://www.serenitybhw.com/ryanne-mellick