Women go on 'Journey to Rediscover Yourself' at city forum
A number of experts and panelists shared their views on how to maintain mental health and strike life-work balance at a forum themed "Women to Women: Journey to Rediscover Yourself" on Wednesday.
As part of the celebration marking International Women's Day on March 8, the event, held at the Shanghai Film Museum, was organized by The Expatriate Center and the Consular Spouses Shanghai.
The event was also supported by City News Service, a local news and service platform.
The panel discussion started with a workshop where women were first told to look at themselves in a mirror for two minutes.
"After COVID, a lot of women members told us that they were going through a rebuilding, renewing, and also a recovery process, for the country as well for the people. As the woman is the heart of the family, business and everything else, so when she is not in the right place, then everything else gets affected," Linda Painan, chairperson of The Expatriate Center, told Shanghai Daily in elaborating on the rationale of the workshop.
Hence this event aimed to help women rediscover and present themselves, followed by talks given by specialists and practical tips from some women panelists who have proven to be very strong in their career and family.
"At the workshop all women were expected to gaze at themselves in the mirror for two minutes, which proved to be very really difficult – after a while, my eyes started to shift, because I didn't want to look at myself and address the issues I have," Painan noted.
She said now that Shanghai has fully reopened post-pandemic, the pace is getting faster, and a lot of women are finding it difficult to keep up with the speed of modern life.
If the women could properly identify their problems (by looking at the mirror), then they could profit more from the subsequent panel discussions where some women shared their stories on how to manage life-work balance.
"The point is to come together, help each other, share stories with one another. So we need to get women involved in opening up first, because we are always good at covering up a lot of things, always wanting to look good, but deep within us, there is a lot of things that need to be taken care of," Painan suggested.
In his speech at the forum, George Hu, president of the Shanghai International Mental Health Association, explained the high correlation between social relationships and happiness.
Given what has happened or is happening in these turbulent times, Hu said that mental health has taken center-stage in the conversation about what it means to be a healthy individual, or a healthy community.
He pointed out that the quality of relationships is more important than quantity, forgiveness and reconciliation are healthy, while living with conflict is extremely detrimental to health.
Since positive social relationship sharpens memory and other cognitive functions, he advised women attendees to keep their mobile phones at a distance in order to maintain positive relations.
In her speech titled "Lessons in Rebuilding," Emma Leaning, Shanghai Daily columnist, elaborated on the importance of rebuilding – to build something again after it has been damaged or destroyed, citing from her own experience during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
Nearly 90 people attended the event, among them about 20 consular spouses as well as some corporate leaders, professionals and volunteers.