Vioree dedicates herself to discussing women’s mental health as well as other disorders that are more common in women such as depression and anxiety. She strives to help women work through hardship/trauma, overcome mental challenges, and strengthen their mental health.
Can you tell everyone, who is Vioree Brandon-Nettlesford?
Vioree Brandon is a certified transformational life/widow coach, two-time author, speaker, and TV host of “Widowed and Winning” (airing on the CW, FOX, and WSFL-TV). Using her expertise and experience with loss (as a widow myself), abuse, and trauma, she helps others rediscover their life’s purpose in order to step into their winning lifestyle.
Can you tell us about your worship academy, Divine Worship Dance Academy, and why you were led to open it?
The Divine Worship Dance Academy is my first love. While heavily involved in the church, I saw there was a need for teaching the ministry of dance and all it encompasses. As a solution, I opened a dance academy to teach others how to use their bodies as a vehicle to glorify God through sacred arts.
Understanding that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, do you believe that worship through dance helps some people?
I absolutely believe that worship through dance helps people because it helped me. I went through a period of my life where I suffered from deep depression, and it was worship through dance that kept me. Dance is a place of peace, calm, and release. Some people do yoga, meditate (which I do as well), and more. However, dance is great because it releases stress and hormones associated with stress, increases confidence, improves your cognitive ability, and reduces depression and anxiety.
As a certified transformational life coach, can you give us three subtle signs that someone is battling mental challenges and language that can help support them?
It is important to keep in mind that there are many forms of mental health challenges. Sometimes the signs are obvious and sometimes they are not. Some signs include paranoia, anxiety, and extreme mood swings. Other mental challenges, which I refer to as “Code Red”, are silent screams for help. Those signs include social withdrawal, extreme eating/sleeping habits, and long-lasting sadness/irritability.
Putting language to these mental health challenges can sometimes be difficult for the person who may be struggling and the person who’s offering to help. Some tips include: Setting aside time with no distractions and allowing the person to talk without interrupting them. Remember you are there to listen, not to offer advice, or to give your opinion. Allowing them to vent and release their worries can help them hear themselves, their pain, and where they are on their journey. They require a non-judgmental space to express themselves.
Another tip can be do not try to diagnose or second guess their feelings. It is important to be a support system and just that. You are not a professional that has the license to diagnose, so be careful about assuming and applying our opinions as it is fact. Be the support system.
Lastly, keep your language neutral by asking questions like, “Tell me how you feel” instead of “It looks like you are feeling low.” Give them time to answer, and not ask too many questions. This will require patience and being a great listener.
What are some types of mental illnesses that are unique to women?
This is a great question! Some challenges that are unique to women are Prenatal Depression: which occurs following conception, or up to 1 year after birth. Another can be Perimenopausal Depression: Natural Hormones fluctuate when leading up to menopause. This last one is important because we chalk it up as PMS, but indeed it could be something called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in a week or two before your period starts. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts.
What are some steps that women battling mental challenges can take each day to improve their mental state?
This is one of my favorite questions! I give tips on my Instagram (@iamvioree) every morning on how to maintain your daily mental health. First, you need to get at least 8 hours of sleep. Listen, I know we as women wear many hats, but it is important that we are well rested to seize the day and show up as our best selves. We cannot do that weak, tired, and worn down. Next, meditate or find quiet time with just you and God. This allows your mind to reset, decreases anxiety and stress, and reduces age-related memory loss.
How can life coaches support women during mental health challenges?
Life coaches are here to view your life from a different perspective and help you become more proactive/productive in setting goals & achieving them. We help women become more confident and encourage them to live outside of their comfort zone, all while discovering their true purpose. My mantra is: Walking in my winning lifestyle. Embracing the process and celebrating each win.
What advice can you provide to women that aren’t sure if they need to get a life coach or therapy? The advice that I would give women is that if you have a question about if you should get help, then you should. Listen to your body. Listening to your body will inform you if you need to speak to someone. Often, we think body aches/pains are physical, but they can be mental/emotional. We just must pay attention.
What would you like our viewers to gain from this interview?
My main objective is to help women understand that mental health challenges can affect anyone. I know what depression feels like because I went through it, my mother committed suicide because of it, and my brother also suffers from mental illness. It can be an uphill battle, but once you are up the hill you will be able to see life from the top instead of feeling like you’re living from the bottomless pit. I want women to understand that you are not alone, you are not crazy, and you can and WILL overcome.
How can people connect with you?
My socials are @iamvioree or www.vioreebrandon.com
Photo Credits: Kellie Finch @Kfinchphotography