Actress Lena Dunham sends a message

Actress Lena Dunham sends a message

While being told to take care of your mental health shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s something that tends to make its way to the back burner. And actress Lena Dunham is once again calling out to America to take a hold of their mental well-being.

While the Girls actress has shared about her anxiety disorder in the past, she recently spoke to Glamour magazine to tell her most recent experiences with burnout, stress and learning how to value mental health. Dunham said, in the interview, that women tend to have the worst work/life balance and always put their families, children and careers over their own well-being.

She admitted to Glamour that she was guilty of the same: “I felt like I had to be the person who answered emails the fastest, stayed up the latest, worked the hardest. As much as I loved my job, I really… injured myself in some ways.”

Dunham makes a call to women to always look out for their own best interests.

She told Glamour that on her next endeavor, she plans to go into it with the “strength that comes from… valuing your own body and your own mental health.”

Laura Bein, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist with Advocate Medical Group Behavioral Health in Oak Lawn, Ill., says that Dunham is representative of how we all often feel.

“We tend to feel like we need to keep striving to be better in many areas of our lives rather than sometimes acknowledging the strides we have made or how well we are already doing things,” she says. “We often focus on what to change in the future, which takes away from our being able to enjoy and experience the present moment.”

Dr. Bein says it’s important to actually budget daily time for stress management rather than to just happen to come across a break where we can take some time for ourselves.

“If we pencil it in to the calendar, set an alarm, etc., we are more likely to honor that time and focus on enjoyable activities and reducing stress,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be big; it can be sipping and actually tasting your coffee with your phone off, or actually listening to your favorite song rather than answering the phone, zoning out, or rushing to the next thing on your list. It’s important to do this because stress is like filling a balloon with air… if you don’t let some out, it pops.”

Dr. Bein says emotional stress is toxic to the body. “Psychological symptoms can cause poor sleep, upset stomach, increased physical pain, headaches and a range of other physical symptoms (often unpredictable ones). Stress can cause existing physical health problems to be exacerbated, as well. This can cycle into more stress because now our body isn’t working the way we want it to.”

Dr. Bein suggests that if you have resolved to reduce your stress, like Dunham, to try simple tips like disconnecting and making yourself a to-do list.

“If we have a visual reminder of things we want to accomplish or activities we want to be involved in, we are more likely to know where to start once we unplug,” she says. “We often start scrolling and clicking links online out of boredom or to put off doing other things, so if we plan ahead and structure time more effectively, we can feel more productive and be more connected to enjoyable activities, thus allowing for some stress relief.”

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  1. While Lena Dunham has a point, perhaps we should look to other celebrities who are honest abut their mental health. Lena Dunham is not a person that Advocate should be highlighting. She admitted to sexually abusing her younger sister in her autobiography and she is hailed as a feminist icon despite excluding women of color.

  2. Why is she still in the US? Why hasn’t she kept her promise to leave now that Trump is President? I don’t understand why Advocate would publish an article featuring this loud mouth. Probably not the best choice.

  3. How embarrassing! Using Lenas “logic” on a hospital newsletter? This is an uneducated young woman who does not value life in her recent quote stating she wished she’d had an abortion. Are you nuts? Who writes your content? Isn’t there a better influential young woman to use as a healthy advocate other than someone who promoted abortion? Very Careless Advocate Organization. I thought your organization valued life?

  4. I don’t care what celebrities have to say about medical issues, and certainly not what Lena Dunham of all people has to say. Please use reasonable sources for your articles. It’s great hearing what Dr. Laura Bein has to say on this issue, but please do not hold Lena Dunham up as a role model that any of us should listen to. Poor choice in this article.

    • I agree with everyone of the prior comments. Who writes this content? What a poor poor example to use in your article. Glad you actually used a professional’s opinion within the content of the story but to lead this story with a Hollywood celebrity

  5. I am also surprised that we would promote anything Lena Dunham has to say. She recently stated that she hadn’t had an abortion, but wished that she had. Is that who want to give us advice on mental health?

  6. There is value to much of the information in this article, and I think everyone can benefit from the info given, although I completely agree that Lena Dunham is an awful choice to promote mental wellness. This woman has been outspoken with some very negative sentiments. I am all for people taking charge of their bodies & minds, but perhaps being on the public platform and using it to make a show depicting pretty much nothing except doin’ it is not the best way to make a statement or spark a positive change in the world.

  7. I too discount anything Dunham says. An unsavory person who glorified abortion ?

  8. Lena Dunham’s opinion on anything is irrelevant , just because she is an actress should not give her more exposure to the public with her idiotic comments and sick actions. Granted, most liberalism is a mental illness and perhaps showing poor Lena as a mentally challenged person would help people make the decision not to follow that train. However I fault the author of this article for using the poor choice of Lena Dunham as an example in an Advocate Healthcare newsletter, she should have used someone else.

    • C’mon John, tell us how you really think! This site is for liberals as well as conservatives. “..Most liberalism is a mental illness” is an opinion best kept off a medical page. How easy, and equally untrue, to substitute “conservative”…. I don’t know this actress from Adam, or Eve, but I know we are all as susceptible to mental illness as she, regardless of political leaning.

  9. WOW! I hope everyone who knows so much about Lena knows just as much or more about how to help those with mental health issues. Maybe time would be better spent calling your governor/senator and ask why funding for mental health services keeps getting cut.

    • Yeah….. so mental health funding has been cut since at least the late 90s. Did you know that? Where was everyone’s concern then?? And I do agree that Lena should NOT be profiled as an advocate for mental health.

  10. Health enews editor January 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm · Reply

    Thank you all for your comments. The views of celebrities are by no means a direct reflection of Advocate’s views. Health enews is a news source. The goal of our site is to report on trending news and health topics and educate and inform our audience on wellness issues we feel are important, such as mental health.

  11. Wow! Now I am supposed to take any Health eNew has to say serious. You focus on a person like this when there are so many wonderful people in the world that has something to say. Who is she to give advice to anyone with what she has done in her life.

  12. If Lena Dunham made statements on behalf of a reputable medical organization, that would be something of value. The problem here is that Lena has a disturbing history of admitting to sexually abusing and victimizing her younger sister, as well as making very bizarre statements. The Glamour article is just her personal thoughts and ideas, which should not be taken as medical advice.

  13. Nice pile on guys. Anybody out there who likes this girl?

    Mental illness can strike any of us. I bet every one of you knows someone who suffers from it. At least she can admit to her own faults.

    Let he who is without guilt, or who is perfect in every way, cast the first stone.

    • Liking or not liking this celebrity is irrelevant. As health professionals, we hope that the health news reporting that comes from the organization for which we work focuses on real news, not the opinions of actors and pop culture. Of course we all cross paths with many people who experience some form of mental illness (and many of us have our own struggles). No one who is objecting to the use of this particular woman in this article believes they are perfect. Quite honestly, Lena can choose to do what she wants; I just don’t want to hear about her opinions in a newsletter that should be focusing on real news and advice from actual medical professionals. Is there a difference between Advocate Health enews and Buzz Feed? I would hope so.

      • Let’s hope that there is someone out there, outside of our medical bubble, that sees this article, knows this actress’s work, respects it, needs mental health counseling, and feels moved to seek out that help. Otherwise the whole healthe news endeavor is a load of posturing inside an echo chamber. Kudos to the author of this article for choosing such an apparently controversial actress as this one.

  14. I’m unsubscribing purely on the fact I opened an email and saw Lena face.

  15. I’m absolutely floored this is the woman we’ve chosen to highlight regarding mental health – or ANY issue, for that matter. She’s a disgrace to humanity and certainly not anyone I’d be taking any advice from, at all, what so ever.

    Choose the “celebrities” you highlight, more wisely.

  16. In a past issue of this “publication, a (talentless) Kardashian was referenced. Another person with zero credentials or creedence in the eyes of most people.

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About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.