14:21 22 Dec 2023

Kyiv welcomes Women Power Forum devoted to women's health protection amid war

At the Women Power Forum held at Pochayna Event Hall, top-notch experts discussed key issues related to preserving women's physical and mental health during wartime. 

They provided practical advice to the attendees, emphasizing various factors affecting women's health and offering proven strategies to combat stress, applicable even at home, Rubryka — an official media partner of the event — reports.

The forum was hosted by Yevhen Mazur, a practicing psychologist, psychotherapist, and founder of the "Short Lectures" project. The event opened with remarks from Inessa Kravchenko, the visionary behind the Forum and a Ph.D. in philosophy, and Alexander Filonenko, a Ukrainian philosopher and Orthodox theologian.

The forum moderators included:

  • Maryna Kinakh, civic activist and expert in television social projects.
  • Vita Pasichnyk, chief editor and founder of the "Ukrainki" magazine.
  • Aliona Danilova, founder of the Ukrainian Women's Battalion.
  • Natalia Sivak, founder of the Mama Plus Ya Foundation, which provides assistance to orphaned and war-affected children.

Special guests at the event included composer and pianist Paul Solonar, performer Maksym Borodin, and the "AKTORSTVO" theater.

Various aspects of physical health were discussed at the forum. Nutritionist and fitness trainer Viktor Mandziak explained how constant stress can impact physical well-being and shared rules for healthy eating and stress management through exercise.

Psychologist and sexologist Yulia Damochkina addressed the issue of combating decreased libido due to war.

Natalia Leliuk discussed the unique aspects of women's health during wartime, offering practical advice for pregnant women and those planning pregnancy. She explained how stress during war can affect women's health, noting the distinction between normal and pathological reactions, with the latter potentially leading to PTSD. She said:

"There are two types of reactions to stress — a normal reaction and a pathological reaction, which can be acute or chronic. Unfortunately, in the conditions of war, the latter leads to the development of PTSD. PTSD includes both psychological and hormonal manifestations, as well as manifestations at the physical level. Speaking about women's health, the main cost for balance for survival is the colossal energy expenditure that occurs during stress. Also, there is a cessation of long-term projects. For example, pregnancy is a long-term and energy-intensive project — if a woman doesn't have enough energy, she cannot conceive. Many women experienced the disappearance of menstruation at the beginning of a full-scale invasion due to stress. If this lasted only a few months, it's a normal process — the body entered an energy-saving mode. It's concerning if the cycle hasn't resumed after six months. In such cases, it's advisable to consult a doctor."

Beauty concerns were also addressed. Andrii Vahanov-Dashkov, an anti-aging therapy doctor, discussed the factors influencing the preservation of youth. Dermatologist Liudmila Fedorych provided skincare advice in the context of chronic stress.

Vladlena Avierina, a cosmetologist and head of the Averina Clinic for Dermatology, Cosmetology, and Gynecology, shared insights into aesthetic cosmetology trends for 2023.

A separate panel focused on mental health. Neurologist Ksenia Voznitsina shared her experience in building resilience during wartime, emphasizing the importance of optimism and social support in promoting mental well-being. She said:

She explained:

"An example of our resilience is the sense and truth — we fight for our land, we are on our land. It's important to nurture resilience, and here we're talking about engaging in a conscious cause, about a sense of purpose and meaning in life. It's crucial to distinguish between two things: optimism and social support. Both optimism and social support are not just ephemeral words; they are tied to bodily processes. It's very beneficial when a person has optimism. Optimism comes in two forms. Dispositional optimism — when it just exists, regardless of the situation. This is an internal property. Then, there's situational optimism, where a person can apply it in specific situations. It needs to be cultivated and nurtured within oneself. Negative emotions, when there is very little optimism, trigger our sympathetic system. It significantly narrows our focus to only one solution. On the other hand, positive emotions activate the parasympathetic system, allowing us to broaden our perspective, see multiple ways out of a situation, call on people for support, weigh everything, and find that solution. To live happily, people need other people. Invisible traumas don't heal on their own. Healing is only possible with the help of others. Therefore, with good social skills, a lot of oxytocin is produced during communication, which, once again, activates the parasympathetic system."

Psychiatrist Anton Semenov addressed the crucial issue of psychological adaptation to war and new challenges, focusing on how to deal with aggression, fear of death, and loss. Psychologist Volodymyr Naumenko brought attention to the contemporary issue of the postponed life syndrome, where individuals defer everything until after the war. Practical advice for quickly getting oneself back on track was also provided during this panel.

The final panel delved into the topics of self-development and self-help.

Neurologist Viktor Machyshyn shared practical non-pharmacological methods to manage stress and burnout. Obstetrician-gynecologist Lyubov Makarenko, an Ayurvedic medicine specialist, offered a modern perspective on women's health through the lens of ancient Ayurvedic knowledge.

Aromatherapist Khrystina Kurhanska, the founder and inspirer of DoLadu Mental Health Lab, discussed aromatherapy as a tool for psychological self-rehabilitation.

Inessa Kravchenko, the visionary behind the Women Power Forum, highlighted the success of addressing essential issues and providing practical answers to women's concerns through the experiences of top experts. She expressed gratitude to the guests, speakers, sponsors, and partners, emphasizing that the forum not only answered questions but also provided an opportunity for unity and strength.

"We managed to address important issues, provide answers to what concerns women from practical experience from the best experts," said Inesa Kravchenko, the inspirational force behind the Women Power Forum. "All the raised topics for women are timely because a woman must be in her element. And amid the plethora of crucial advice, we were able to approach what is truly most important — it's very close and usually consists of simple things. Such as self-care, breathing. I am very grateful to the guests, speakers, sponsors, and partners. The forum became not only a response to questions but also an opportunity to feel together, to sense what unites us, to feel our strength.

Attendees and participants of the Women Power Forum praised the event for its high-quality content, professionalism, and honest approach to the theme.

"Such forums are worth their weight in gold right now. It was nourishment for the soul and food for the intellect," commented visitors.

In other news, at the KyivBookFest, medical journalist Darka Ozerna shared simple yet not obvious methods for taking care of one's psychological health. Rubryka also highlighted the importance of mental and psychological health for Ukrainian defenders and veterans, showcasing new solutions for their support.

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