By Mindy Lucas
The Women’s Wellness Weekend at USC Beaufort’s Center for the Arts is back and not a moment too soon.
With more and more women serving in multiple roles due to the coronavirus, it’s now more important than ever to stop and take stock of our health.
And now participants will have not only a weekend but an entire week filled with activities dedicated to “elevating, empowering, enlightening, and enriching women,” event planners say.
Postponed from last March, the event is now set for March 20-28 and will feature a variety of lectures and workshops on such topics as meditation to time management to healing trauma.
The event will also include a Women’s Only 5K Race/Walk in Port Royal, and an opportunity to help build a home for a local family with Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity.
In addition, South Carolina’s head epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell will serve as the event’s keynote speaker.
Having worked in public health for over 28 years including as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, Dr. Bell is currently the director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control.
She will talk about the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and communities and what can be done to control the pandemic.
Others who were on the original lineup for the event are also set to return, including Board Certified Gynecologist Dr. Eve Ashby and Healthy Living Programs Director for YMCA of Beaufort Denice Fanning.
Dr. Ashby will speak in-person on menopause, nutrition and the changes women go through in their 40s and 50s, a topic she talked about with Lowcountry Weekly last year.
Symptoms for menopause can often start years before a woman has her last period, Dr. Ashby said last year, and many patients are in their 40s when symptoms can start to become noticeable.
“I hear that in my office constantly,” she said. “‘(They say) ever since I turned 40, I can’t get the weight off. Or, ‘Ever since I turned 40, I don’t enjoy sex with my husband even though I love my husband,” she said.
In addition, symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, painful intercourse, weight gain, insomnia and depression, may be treatable individually, either with medication or some other type of therapy or lifestyle change, as opposed to automatically seeking out hormone therapy.
That’s why it’s important to recognize when something is occurring and learn what can be done about it, she said.
Dr. Ashby’s talk will delve into the latest on menopause treatment, the controversies surrounding hormone replacement therapy, who should have it, what are the risks and what are the benefits.
She’ll also talk about other changes, such as weight gain and depression, that women may experience as a result of menopause.
“I really think it’s important for women to take their own health into their hands,” she said, adding that often she sees mothers, wives, or caregivers, who put their own health last.
“They’ll put everyone’s care in front of their own,” she said. “But you can only be as good for your family if you’re OK.”
Denice Fanning who will lead a session on time management and stress reduction said the idea that women are overworked and under cared for is nothing new, but the importance of women’s health – and caring for one’s self in particular – has become increasingly important in today’s stressful times.
“And I think that the emphasis has shifted on not necessarily being a certain body weight, but the ability to be healthy and strong,” Fanning said.
IF YOU GO
Women’s Wellness Weekend is March 20-28 at the Center for the Arts with some events taking place off site. Activities and events will include health and wellness workshops and lectures. Keynote speaker Dr. Linda Bell at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 20. Seating for in-person attendance will be limited/ spaced apart for social distancing. Some sessions can be seen in person while other sessions can be livestreamed. Participants can purchase a conference pass to watch any or all sessions for $20.
The Women’s Only 5K Race/Walk kicks off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 27, in Port Royal, on a certified 5K course. Participation is limited to 250 runners/walkers. Participants are encouraged to dress up as a woman who has been influential in their lives. Cost information available online.
Habitat Women Build is March 20, 23 and 25. Participants who want to volunteer to build a home for a deserving local mother and daughter along with Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity can sign up to participate in this event. Cost information available online. For more information on all activities, call (843) 521-4145 or visit www.uscbcenterforthearts.com.
Above: Keynote Speaker Dr. Linda Bell