In the age of Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In”,
it’s sometimes easy to think that women today are finally getting ahead. There is no shortage of inspiring female role models to share with our girls and, looking forward, it seems like every career is open to them. And it’s true – in many ways (mostly in the Western world, let’s be honest), our girls have never had it so good. Our girls have freedoms, choices, possibilities, that were unimaginable a few decades ago. Our girls are in a position where they can dream really, really big, and aspire to truly have it all. Oh, for sure: it’s a good time to be a girl.
It’s also a hard time to be a girl.
Our current cultural messages to girls are numerous, overwhelming, and incessant – thank you social media!
You must be: ambitious, smart, successful, a go-getter, a hard-worker. You must also be: agreeable, polite, compassionate, sensitive, elegant. You must of course first and foremost be: perfectly beautiful, impeccably dressed, with the right haircut and the right shade of ombre-highlights-tye-and-dye of the season, the right brands, the right handbag, the right lipstick. But not too much.
And you must be ALL these things without breaking a sweat, batting an eye, making it seem like it’s all easy-breezy-beautiful. We’re all under a lot of pressure in today’s world. Our girls are under pressure most of all. They have to get the grades, dress the part, speak up in class, invest in high quality extra-curriculars, make healthy friends, be popular but not too popular, please the teachers, please the parents…
And yet it’s a fact that girls’ self-esteem plummets with the beginning of middle school. It’s a fact that rates of anxiety, depression and self-harm among teens are rising. A study of national trends in depression among adolescents and young adults published in the American journal Pediatrics found that the prevalence of depressed teens has increased by 37% – since 2014 alone. Our girls are facing both a tremendously inspiring future, and a heavy burden too large for their growing shoulders to bear.
So what do we do?
There are fortunately many ways to decrease anxiety and improve a wobbly self-esteem. The same tools adults use can come in handy for teens: exercise (the fun kind, not the win-at-any-cost-practice-until-you-drop kind), coaching, meditation, breathing, time outdoors or pursuing creative activities, are all excellent ways of channeling positive energy and letting go of fear and doubt.
Meditation and breathing for teens is a growing trend, and shows great promise in helping our teens manage their emotional mishaps and overloaded schedules. Yoga is also a powerful way for teens, especially girls, to acquaint themselves with their bodies in a gentle, loving way, and to learn the basics of breathing and relaxation.
Coaching for teens (sometimes going by the term “academic” or “motivational” coaching) is also a growing trend and can help teens struggling with a wide variety of issues: self-esteem, empowerment, leadership skills, but also struggling academic performance, social anxiety, lack of motivation or direction.
Our girls can have it all – but we can lend them a hand in deciding what they want to attain, how to get where they want to go, and how to do it with a happy heart and a peaceful mind.
Teen girls can join us for a three-part yoga and coaching workshop!
Sunday January 21st – 15h00-17h00: Part 1 – I am beautiful
Sunday March 28th – 15h00-17h00: Part 2 – I am powerful
Sunday May 6th – 15h00-17h00: Part 3 – I believe in myself
Venue: Dharma – 10 rue du Vieil Abreuvoir – Saint Germain en Laye
Price : 35€ for one / 90€ for all
Melodie Winter is a coach for teens. She specializes in accompanying women and girls, especially on questions of empowerment and self-esteem, motivation and success. She has many years of experience working with both women and girls, in international health and education. Through individual or group coaching, she helps women and girls find their grounding, (re)build positive self-esteem, set goals and forge ahead in life.
A graduate of Duke University, she holds a Master’s in Gender Studies (Women’s Rights). She is also an experienced teacher and university advisor. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gina McGovern : Yoga has been my path for the past 10 years and continues to sustain me through all the ups and downs of life. With Yoga practice I found a method to feel more grounded and peaceful, even in times of trial. The dedication it takes to practice daily, taught me about self respect and self love and to this day brings an unshakable joy and happiness into my life. I believe yoga is a powerful tool to help teenagers find their balance and have organised different workshops to create a space where everyone can express themselves in a safe, non-judgemental environment. With love and attention we learn to experience ourselves fully.