Black women entrepreneurs, doctors, cosmetologists and mental health professionals shared advice for holistic health with more than 100 women at the “Women It’s Time to Heal: Expose, Medicate, Rehabilitate” two day workshop on Nov. 17 - 18 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital . 

The workshop was organized by Michele Lawrence of MicheleSpeaks, LLC, to bring Black women of different ages and backgrounds together to learn best practices for physical and mental health, and attack the statistic that “the leading cause of death for women stems from unresolved stress.”

“It was a vision that ‘there’s a healing that needs to happen for women and I need to be the catalyst for it,” said Lawrence. She explained that in the one year since starting her business, she’s hosted two other one day workshops - one for “finding your voice” and the other for “writing the vision.”

The healing workshop, said Lawrence, was the first that has been hosted over two days and was designed to answer “how do you keep you well as you’re unfolding this plan?”

In the workshops, panel discussions and keynote speeches, the women addressed a range of topics including stress, depression, self-worth, finances and physical health.

“I’ve been teaching about walking in your authenticity, being your best self, and doing your work on the inside before you start projecting on the outside,” said Andrea Lawful Sanders, the Saturday keynote speaker, who spoke on the topic of finding love. “Love yourself before you can find love from anywhere else.”

The two days also included a yoga session and breakouts of exercise between the talks. Lunch hour allowed the women an opportunity to fellowship and network.

During the closing panel discussion, the professionals issued a charge to the women.

“I love to say relinquish, relinquish, relinquish,” said Tracy Murray Moore, a career consultant and empowerment coach “Relinquish those people that hold you, drain you suck you dry. Relinquish those situations that don’t honor you. It’s okay to let things go.”

Cosmetologist Keasha Hanton encouraged the women to be careful about what they use on and put into their bodies.

“It’s time to take a back to basics approach to our health. Anything that goes onto the skin absorbs into the skin. Do your own research for your own life. For every ailment…there is a holistic approach.”

Retired banker and entrepreneur Pearl Trewick shared tips for women can begin their self care journey in manageable but meaningful ways. 

“Drink more water. Walk more. Talk to somebody - a good chat from the belly is always good. Laugh more. There is so much seriousness in this world. We have to laugh,” she said. “It really is about taking care of yourself. You have to consider your own worth.”

Dr. Deborah Witt, Medical Doctor and Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital added that the women should be more proactive about determining what is best for them as individuals.

“Get all the information you can on everything - whether it’s your illness, whether it’s how to go see a therapist, whether it’s how to take herbs, whether it’s how to do yoga,” she said. “We spend a lot of time listening to people tell us what to do and we never go investigate for ourselves.”

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