Focusing on your mental health as the fashion season winds down

We often stress how important it is to look after our mental well-being, urging everyone to keep a close eye on their mental health. However, it’s pretty common for us to overlook those who appear to have it all together. You’ve probably heard people saying, “Your life is so great. Why would you be going through mental struggles?” Models and fashion insiders aren’t strangers to this kind of scepticism.

It’s easy for individuals to become entranced by the allure and luxury associated with the lifestyle of a fashionista. The glamorous Instagram posts, lavish, all-expense-paid journeys to exotic locales, and the free products they receive from brands might create an illusion of happiness and an enviable existence. However, numerous models have been candid about the overwhelming stress accompanying their work in the fashion industry. They’ve shared how the relentless pressures of their profession have taken a toll on their mental well-being, causing a significant decline over the years.

No one is immune from mental health issues. In fact, people in high-performance industries, like the fashion industry, are highly susceptible to mental health challenges due to stress and other accumulating factors surrounding the work they do. People in the fashion industry are 25% more likely to develop mental illnesses than people who work in other industries. This does not come as a shock, considering the unique stressors runway models and fashion personas face while working.

“Imagine the whole world judging every pore on your body—who trains you to deal with that?” – Adesuwa Aighewi

The fashion world’s glitz can overshadow the reality faced by models and fashion icons. We often idolise them from a distance, leading to uninformed criticism of their appearances while they grapple with issues like impostor syndrome, anxiety, body dysphoria, and eating disorders. Behind the glamour, they rarely catch a break.

Mental illnesses are more common than we realise. The World Health Organization reports an estimated 970 million people worldwide struggle with at least one mental disorder. Recognising this likelihood is crucial, particularly in the fashion industry, where mental health issues are prevalent. By prioritising mental well-being, we create a safe space for open discussions without judgment or stigma. Adut Akech, in speaking openly about her depression, said, “I know there are so many people out there who are going through the same thing I am.”

Tips for stress management

With stress listed as a significant trigger for mental health issues, we must find ways to create a work-life balance and manage stress at work and in every other aspect of our lives. Here are a few tips to handle stress-inducing situations.

Learn to say ‘No’

It might sound simple, but saying “no” can be challenging for many. Setting boundaries and turning down commitments you can’t handle can significantly reduce stress. It’s okay to say no to things you’re not confident you can do without overwhelming yourself. Only take on what you’re sure you can handle.

Stay hydrated

When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol, which causes your adrenal glands to become exhausted. Drinking water can help reduce cortisol levels and provide temporary mental and physical relief.

Take breaks

We could all use short breaks during the day to help us de-stress. These little pauses allow us to catch our breath and relax, even if it’s just for a moment. Taking these breaks helps us stay on top of our emotions and prepare for what comes next.

Practice gratitude

By taking a moment to appreciate the things you have achieved, you shift your mind from the things that stress you out while you’re at work. Take time to savour your little pockets of joy.

Imagine a world where we all prioritise our mental well-being, where seeking help is encouraged instead of stigmatised. Picture a place where we understand that addressing mental health challenges is crucial for a fulfilling life. Mental wellness should be considered a top priority in all high-performance industries.

Now, let’s take this journey together. Let’s pledge to champion our mental well-being, talk openly, and be there for those in high-pressure jobs. Through this, we empower ourselves and others to lead happier, healthier lives unburdened by untreated mental health challenges. Always remember, it’s crucial to work hard and reach your goals, but you must also ensure a sound mind and good health along the way.


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