Artwork for podcast The Selfless Syndrome Show
EP 212 Why Community is Important in Healing Hormones
Episode 21214th March 2023 • The Selfless Syndrome Show • Alexandra Swenson-Ridley
00:00:00 00:20:03

Share Episode


How strong is your support network of close friends that you can be open and real with? Personally, this is an area I've struggled with a lot as a career driven woman. Community is also something that plays a huge role in our over all health and hormone balance. 

This episode unpacks why community is so important to our hormones and gives you some things to think about to strengthen your own community. I also share some new things I'm working on and am really excited about because they focus on community at the core of our healing journey.

Links mentioned in this episode:

The Emergent Women 

Subscribe to Dr. Alex: 

Episode Transcript:

[00:00] So I don't know about you, but I have struggled through my adult life to maintain close friendships and relationships and community among other women.

[00:11] And I've been thinking about this a.

[00:13] Lot lately because this is also a significant part of having balance and having our hormones work. And we're going to unpack what that means today. But I also think that for those of us who identify as high achievers, we're driven and we're always after the next thing. That's a lot of what being a high achiever is about. It can be hard to prioritize friendship because we're already stretched so thin in our careers and in our personal and family lives. And so it's something that gets missed.

[00:52] Welcome to The Selfless Syndrome Show, where we help women executives and entrepreneurs rise through Adversity, connect to their intuition, transform their hormones, and get their energy back. This is the show where we go beyond asking how do I treat my symptoms? And instead examine how do I truly heal, transform my hormones, and change my life? We are here to bring you outside the box ideas, interviews, and action steps focused in the areas of health, relationships, and our career, all three of which have a huge impact on our hormones. My name is Dr. Alex Swenson Ridley. I'm your host, mentor, speaker, author, entrepreneur, and thought leader on hormones and work life balance for high achieving women. I'm also a wife's, mom, and stepmom to four boys and a furball. And I'm a woman whose own life experience and journey from Adversity and the resulting hormonal chaos to finding hormonal harmony has led to me helping other women break with convention and find the tools they need to not just survive, but thrive. Ready to dive in? Let's go.

[01:53] What I started to see and really have recognized, especially when I was writing my book on Selfless Syndrome that came out in January, is that we're missing this really important component that we were designed to be in relationship with others and in community. And I'm not talking about the pandemic or pre or being introverted or extroverted or that has nothing to do with any of this. There is something that we gain from being in relationship with others, particularly peers and those who we can relate to in a peer way. Women who get us and understand us, that actually helps us to de escalate from stress. We as women, go through something called tend and befriend. And the way I think about this is I'm going to tell you to share a little story here that I actually shared in my book. But I grew up in Vermont, which is actually where I'm recording this because I'm here helping my mom recover from a pelvic. Broken pelvis. But when I was a kid, we would go out and go hiking all the time. And there was a stay where we were driving to what was my favorite.

[02:57] Mountain because we drove up most of it and then only had a short.

[03:00] Hike at the top.

[03:02] But on the way up, she suddenly pulled over and she was like, we're.

[03:04] Here to my brother and I.

[03:06] And we were both, we were probably under ten at the time.

[03:09] And she gets out of the car and I realized that there are two.

[03:12] Or three bear cubs in the trees. And I'm watching her walk up and.

[03:17] My brother and I are freaking out.

[03:19] I have running through my head like, can I figure out how to drive the car if things go really bad.

[03:23] And we need to go get help?

[03:25] And I watch my mom and she's going to check it out to make sure the cubs are okay. But I'm like, Mama Bear's got to be there. And she was. And so all of a sudden we see my mom freeze and hear this huge roar.

[03:38] And I watch my mom kind of start to back away and I'm like.

[03:43] Oh my gosh, I'm about to watch.

[03:45] My own mother get mauled by a bear.

[03:47] But what happened and how this relates to what we're talking about here is that Mama Bear, before she just went on the attack mode and offensive, she did what, she stopped to make sure that her baby cubs were okay and then she addressed the threat, which was my mom.

[04:06] And by that time, my mom had.

[04:07] Made it back to the car and or was far enough away that Mama Bear didn't charge her. And my mom got back in the car and we watched as they all ran across the road and went on their merry way. And that thing that's in neatly wired in all mammals and humans were part of that is as females and as women. And we do this a little differently than men. This is something that is specific to us when we're under stress, when there is a threat, we need to make sure our people are okay and then we need to de escalate. And so where an animal in the wild will shake it off, that's literally a thing. If you've ever watched like my dog, whenever he wakes up in the morning, he shakes his whole body to just kind of reacclimate his nervous system. Animals do that. Humans, we tend to sit down and talk about it. And if it's to our husbands, they look at us and say, I don't know what to say. And we say, we just want you to listen. But it's part of the cycle of how we de escalate from stress. And for those of us who are high achieving women and struggling with what I call selfless syndrome, what selfless syndrome is, is our wiring has gotten hung up in the modern day world. So we are constantly tending to everyone and everything around us. It's all about our focus is on everyone and everything else. And that's an innate response and something that's naturally wired into us. However, we are missing the opportunity to befriend and a big part of that. And that's what leads us down what I call the selfless syndrome cascade and to overwhelm and exhaustion and eventually resignation that nothing is going to change. And a huge, huge missing piece is community. And so I've really been thinking about this because in my own experience, when I moved to Alaska and finished graduate school and chiropractic school was like, I've thrown into the real world where the rest of us all live. But when you go from a place where you have some commonality, some common thread that holds you together and you have that kind of community established for you, it can be hard to reestablish it on our own. And like I said, it can be really hard to prioritize those relationships and that piece of the pie. And so I've been dwelling on and focusing on a couple of things while I've been traveling and I'm going through some shifts in how I do things in business in general. And some of the questions that I've been asking on social media and through email have been things like how do you learn best and what kind of support do you need? And I find so many women that end up working with me in a coaching relationship, it's because they need accountability. And then I launched a group part of that process and it's like everyone really enjoys and gets a lot out of being in relationship with others and getting input and feedback from others and they need that connection is like an added layer of just healing and knowing they're not alone and all of these great things. And then the final piece that I just happened to ask about thinking about it is how we learn best. And for a lot of us, especially when we're driven. I'm one of those weird people like online courses. I think it's only like 10% of the world actually finishes all the material in an online course. I finish like three over the weekend because I'm learning some new stuff. So I'm an anomaly to this, I know, but for the most part, and I've seen this in my program, which I've combined, I've always combined one to one coaching and an online portal and course where there is an obscene amount of information and most people don't finish it, let's just be honest. And even in not finishing it, they still experience great and amazing results. But I've been looking at like, how do women learn best? And I got from most people it was a combination of being able to do stuff on their own and having like a live component where they get to show up and have some accountability and what all of this has led to. We have community and we have the importance for it, allowing us to de escalate our stress. I did not tie this to our hormones yet. So let's do that really quick. Stress and cortisol, the hormone that comes from stress that's produced by your genitals, messes with all of our hormones. It messes with our digestive system, our thyroid, our sex hormones, our sex drive, all our sleep, all of it is affected by cortisol. And when we live in a world where we're never de escalating enough, we need certain levels through the day. But when we're never de escalating enough and the rise and fall of cortisol isn't happening like it's supposed to, our body gets out of whack and our hormones start to suffer, not just from going through menopause, but even before that. And we have all of these symptoms and our mood is off. We have anxiety. We are snapping at our family and our kids are yelling at coworkers. And all of a sudden we don't recognize who we really are in the mirror anymore. We feel like we've lost ourselves and we have no energy and we're just kind of like existing but not thriving and not loving our experience of life. And I'm really naming as root cause of this a lack of connection and community and that opportunity to be able to de escalate and just befriend and have people in your corner and people.

[09:35] That you're connected with.

[09:37] And so there's two things I want to share with you. One is just a stress for you, the importance of engaging and finding your people wherever you are and for some that might be online. I know I have struggled with where I live. Not that there's not amazing people up there, just with making the time. And especially in business, it's been hard to connect with other women who are doing business the way I do and all of that. And so in those ways, I've had to branch out into the online world just to have that piece. But for those of you listening, I want to challenge you to really think about and examine where are your people, how connected and tuned in are you to that? Do you have support system and someone you can call or meet up for a walk or have a cup of tea? I won't say drink a glass of wine because that's something that will also affect if your hormones are off, you want to be avoiding that as much as possible. But are you creating and do you have the opportunity to befriend? And if not, I'm challenging you to. And this goes for myself too, because I'm really great at hiding in my house these days since I started working all online. Like, what things can you do to get yourself out there? And I've worked with clients on this. We've made lists of different meetups they could do or classes they could take or you want to engage in activities and in things, even if you don't know anybody there that shares an interest. And from there you can start to develop and strengthen some of those relationships. And I would say it's been really eye opening and challenging for a lot of people. Just going through the pandemic and now coming out of it, of the isolation, like a lot of people really didn't do well in isolation. And it shows in our health and in our mental health and in our physical health, and all these things are tied together. So that's, number one, I encourage you to do that. Number two is I have taken all of these deep thoughts and things I'm pondering and transitioning through and really looking at what impact I want to have in the world with this podcast and with what I help women work through. I'm not the hero of anyone's journey. It's providing a framework for you to go through and find success and find ultimately transformation. And the big things I always hear from women are like, I have so much energy, I don't know what to do with myself. Dr. Alex who doesn't want that problem? Or finally losing weight when it hasn't been coming off for years and years and nothing you've tried has worked or really getting connected to your passion and purpose and having really solid relationships with your spouse and your kids, having your kids know you as nice mommy or your coworkers, get to know the real you. It's about this transformation into becoming who you really are in the world and allowing that to come through and not having it be buried in stress and in constant go go and in really losing ourselves to the fast pace of the modern world. And to me, that is what Emergent Woman is. That's actually the name of my business and I might change the name of this podcast to signify that, but Emergent Women are women who are in the process of becoming in the process of transformation. And so I've been looking at how do we create something that fosters that kind of culture and brings in the missing piece of connection? Because I feel like when I've brought that into what I've been doing more, the healing has been deeper, the ability, the changes have been longer lasting, the quality of the conversation and just the depth that we're able to go to has been something new. And I also want it to be available much more widely than it has been because I've always been kind of in this world of more high ticket coaching and there's nothing wrong with that. However, and I'm super creative and want to bring more things, I want to bring more people and all of this. So all this to say what I've come up with, and this is the first time I'm sharing this and this is going to be something that will be completely live and launched at the end of the month and we're going to go all in on March 31. Everything will be up and running and we'll be ready to go. But I've created what I'm calling the emergent Women Circle. And this is a place that is community driven and connection driven first. And in it, you get to not only connect with all the other women who are on this journey, becoming the emergent woman, going through the journey of becoming who you really are, your truest self, the best you with the body and the confidence and the hormones and all of the things to support the real essence of who you are. And inside of that there's so many amazing things. I don't want to go on about the features, but essentially I'm creating this place where all of that lives, along with all of the courses and material and everything I'm going to create in the future, which I am going to be creating something related specifically to the journey of Menopause this year that will come to that community first. And so that is a place where you can come and be safe and be felt and be held and be friend and have that connection and that space and even have the ability to meet up with people who are in your area. There's ways and the platform that I'm using to do all of that. So the Emergent Women's Circle is combining community with guidance through the journey that I've been using with women for the past five or six years and has helped them achieve the results that we talked about earlier of having. So much energy they don't know what to do with. And their bodies being something that they're confident and feel great in again and better relationships and really being connected to their passion and purpose. And so you have that framework and that access, plus live support for me in the form of events, special events that we're going to create, special experiences we're going to go on together. We're going to do like an energy spa every week. Or you come to these things as much as you want to, but there will be opportunities to interact with and get questions answered, like Q and A stuff, just coaching support, Ttax, T meet ups and workshops and all kinds of just incredibly fun stuff. But I'm so excited about creating and building in a culture with you. So if you're excited about this idea, like go to wherever you're listening to this from, just know it's in the show notes. And I made this simple so you can go there, but go to And there's not like a big sales page or anything yet, it's just you're just giving me your name and telling me you're interested in knowing about it when it launches. So there's a little one page deal that will share slightly more than I just did and you can type in your name and your email and I will keep you posted as it comes together and as it forms. And I'm really excited and I know one of the main questions I'm going to get is, okay, Dr. Alex sounds amazing. How much does all this cost? So what we're doing is because I want the reach to be large and wide, is, you know, this is nominal. It's not even what you would spend on coffee in a month. I think we spend about $150 on coffee every month if you're a normal coffee drinker and going to the stores. And so this is for the first 100 women that come in as founders of this whole thing. It's $59 a month. You stay as long as you want to stay. You get what you want to get out of it. And my goal is that really we get to create a community and even pockets of community that really help just support and serve each other as we all go through this transformational process to emerge into who we really were born to be who we are, where we're going and creating the internal environment within ourselves to really support that and have it be reality. So again, check out and I'm really excited about launching this thing. So you will be hearing some more about it in the coming weeks. But I just wanted to give a preview of what's coming up and really stress whether you join my community it's not mine, it's our community. Whether you join the Emergent Women Circle community or really work on fostering community around you in the way that you feel most supported and like, you need know that this is a huge component of healing of your hormones working the way they're supposed to, and of you really feeling well again. And it's as important as it is to stress time for ourselves and what we need, this is also one of those things that we really, truly need that we haven't talked about a lot. So I hope this serves you and we will see you next week.

[18:51] Thank you so much for tuning in to the Selfless Syndrome show. It is for listeners like you that I continue to show up every week to share new ideas, interviews, and action steps on rising through adversity, connecting to your intuition, getting your energy back, and balancing your hormones. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to subscribe and leave us a review. You can do this on whatever platform you...