Black women are the most vulnerable in the workplace to stress related illness because they are underrepresented and undervalued, they face discrimination, lack opportunities for advancement and general economic hardship. Black women suffer from a host of physical, emotional and social issues associated with working in male dominated organizations. In many cases non-Black women face greater challenges than Black women. The stereotypes that Black women are strong and can handle anything is wrong. We should be stronger than our obstacles.
Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for black women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. With our annual Red Dress Brunch approaching and February is Heart Health Awareness Month, it's time to discuss the truth about how black woman suffer from illnesses, diseases in silence inside the work place.
Black Women: Get Your Heart in Check
Cardiovascular diseases kill more than 50,000 Black women annually.
Stroke is a leading cause of death among Black women.
Among Black women ages 20 and older, nearly 59% have cardiovascular disease.
Only 39% of Black women are aware that chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack; only 33% recognize that pain spreading to the shoulder, neck, or arms is another potential heart attack sign.
Among Black women ages 20 years and older, nearly 58% have high blood pressure and only around 20% of those women have their blood pressure under control.
The American Heart Association reports that black women are disproportionately affected by heart disease and stroke, which makes survival rates lower. Unfortunately, many of the risk factors for developing heart disease overlap with those for being overweight and physically inactive, leading to higher incidences of hypertension and diabetes in black women. Black women don’t have any particular genetic traits that can increase their risk for heart problems as much as living a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices can during middle age.
So how can you get your heart in check?
When Mill Davis, a board member of The National Women's Empowerment Ministry and program manager created her "Peace Break", she was able to break away from drama on the job with a quick 15 minutes of deep breathing and relaxing. Her self-care system is an important tactic that helps combat stress as it can cause decreased performance, which can lead to more stress and anxiety. This self-care strategy can be adopted by anyone -- whether you work from home or in the office. It's vital to detach from work and realign with your inner self.
"We can't be anything to anyone else if we're not giving ourselves the same level of support and caring for ourselves as well. I've really learned over these years, that the hustle and bustle wears you down and now is really more about centering focus. Really giving my time to God for him to speak. And listen, because that's a thing. We're always talking. We have to stop and listen."
We can all relate to the stress today's society puts on women - employees, entrepreneurs, mentors, mothers, and so much more. When stress becomes chronic, people often turn to unhealthy behaviors. There are healthy coping mechanisms to combat stress, including physical activity, meditation, Spirituality, and faith mechanisms such as Mill's "Peace Breaks''.
Join the conversation at the Annual Red Dress Experience, February 16-18th for 3 Days of empowerment, improvement, and intelligence with 100 women as we come together to collaborate and develop the heart of tomorrow's leaders.