I would love to see a greater societal shift toward validating, acknowledging, and learning about mental health. While we are making progress on this, the stigma around mental health is still real and debilitating to some. Imagine if we treated mental health care like medical care, and it was fully accepted to talk with someone about your feelings the same way it is to get treated for a disease or get a physical for a job. This shift will take work, but the impact could be significant.

With all that’s going on in our country, our economy, the world, and on social media, it feels like so many of us are under a great deal of stress. Parenting, in particular, can be stress-inducing. We know chronic stress can be as unhealthy as smoking a quarter of a pack a day. It is also challenging to be a present parent when your relationship is under stress. What are stress management strategies that parents use to become “Stress-Proof? What are some great tweaks, hacks, and tips that help reduce or even eliminate stress? In this interview series, we are talking to authors, parenting experts, business and civic leaders, and mental health experts who can share their strategies for reducing or eliminating stress. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ryanne Mellick.

Ryanne is a child and family therapist with over 10 years of experience in mental health. She provides mental health services with an integrative and mindfulness-based focus to ensure an individual and collaborative approach. Ryanne is passionate about helping others improve their mental well-being through simple and effective self-care activities.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!

My career path started as a small child. I am the oldest of three siblings and have always felt the need to be a helper and to take care of others. I remember being a teenager and thinking that I was going to be a neurosurgeon and save lives every day. My ambitious goals were quickly depleted when the hard sciences proved to be more difficult than the social sciences. After my dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed away quickly following his terminal and grim prognosis, it was the helping professionals along that journey that solidified my choice to become a therapist.

What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?

I would tell myself to trust my instinct more and follow what I know is right. I have an internal compass and feeling for a reason, and to lean into that. I would tell my younger self that everything will work out, even with the heartbreak and trauma, you will come out on the other side with more resilience, happiness, and appreciation for life.

None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?

I would thank my daughter for making me a parent. She has taught me so much about who I am, and who I want to be, as a mom, woman, wife, friend, and human interacting with others in this world. Our world can be cruel and cold, and I want to show up intentionally with compassion, empathy, kindness, and warmth.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?

I am working on a parenting course to help guide parents on topics such as mindful and intentional parenting, child development, and healthier and more effective ways to interact and engage with their children. My website is also full of current in-person workshop offerings, and the hope is to add virtual options in the future. You can find more information at www.ryannemellick.com

Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about stress. How would you define stress?

I would define stress as a feeling that is physically, mentally, or emotionally based. Stress is when we feel “off” or dysregulated, we are irritable and agitated, we want to stay home and shut the world out or feel like we just need a good cry. These are signs that our body is telling us to time to slow down, regroup, and re-enter the world in a healthier way.

In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. So what has led to this chronic stress? Why are so many of us always stressed out?

We are constantly put under stress at home, at home, in our social interactions, and with the expectations that society has placed on us. Yes, we’ve learned how to get our basic needs met, but we haven’t effectively been taught the basics of stress and what the stress cycle is. The stress cycle doesn’t go away the second the stressor goes away; it has to run throughout nervous system, and we have to intentionally process and release that stress. This is why chronic stress is exists. We don’t know how to release the stress because we’ve never been taught. We’re also not given the time to do so due to the expectation that we have to move onto the next task.

What are some of the physical manifestations of being under a lot of stress? How does the human body react to stress?

One of the biggest signs of being under a lot of stress is a shift in your mood and ability to manage your own mood. Are the little things causing you irritation and to be short with people? Are you noticing that you are wanting to isolate and withdraw from people? Is your sleep being impacted? The physical manifestations will look different for each person, and it may be one symptom or a cluster of changes.

Is stress necessarily a bad thing? Can stress ever be good for us?

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. Stress is part of being human, it demonstrates our ability to have feelings and emotions. The stress of being under a deadline, for example, can be helpful to people who thrive in high-pressure, high-stakes situations. Stress also protects us and keeps us safe. In a dangerous situation, stress causes our most vital organs to slow down to keep up alive. I think there’s a misconception that being stressed is a bad thing, when in reality, it’s about how we react and respond to the stress.

Is there a difference between being in a short-term stressful situation versus an ongoing stress? Are there long-term ramifications to living in a constant state of stress?

A short-term stressful situation impacts our body and nervous system differently than ongoing, chronic stress. Short-term may be almost rear-ending a car in traffic, or watching your child fall off their bike. Our stress hormones spike quickly to prepare to protect us and reduce once we realize that we, or our child, is okay and not injured. Long-term stress happens when the safety aspect is not realized. This is very common with war veterans who were placed in very stressful, dangerous situations, for long-periods of time. The body is constantly on alert and in protector mode, without the ability to regulate and find safety. The effects of long-term stress include difficulty with inter- and intrapersonal relationships, emotional dysregulation, and/or fears that something bad or dangerous is always on the verge of happening, and sleep troubles. This is not a full list but provides an understanding on the impacts of long-term stress on our mind and body.

Let’s now focus more on the stress of parenting. This feels intuitive, but it is helpful to spell it out in order to address it. Can you help articulate why being a parent can be so stressful?

Our one job, or responsibility, is to keep this growing human-being alive. That in itself is stressful. Add to that, the responsibilities of being an adult and functioning in a world with increasing demands, the stress gets piled on and up without much relief in some cases. Raising children is hard work. Parenting is hard work, and we don’t get a manual or instructions on how to raise our child. I think recognizing that our children are individuals, and each child may need to be parented slightly different, can also add to the stress of parenting.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?

I do! I will give you one of each:

  1. Book: A colleague and friend of mine, Lindsey Konchar, MSW, wrote a great book about coping skills called “I Got 99 Coping Skills and Being a B*tch Ain’t One.” Her book is full of 99 different coping skills, the research behind their effectiveness, and practical ways to implement them into your life. I highly suggest this read for anyone looking to expand their coping skills toolbox.
  2. Podcast: Expanded by To Be Magnetic. This podcast is about neural manifestation and ways that we can retrain our subconscious and heal our inner child. I truly believe that we are created by our experiences and those experiences live in our body. This podcast helps us to unwind and change the narrative to live with more joy, peace, and as our true authentic self.
  3. Resources: this may not be a typical resource but spending mindful and intentional time with my family and daughter bring me so much joy. Putting down the phone, going on a walk, and engaging in meaningful interactions, and watching my daughter learn and grow, are what bring me joy.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to see a greater societal shift toward validating, acknowledging, and learning about mental health. While we are making progress on this, the stigma around mental health is still real and debilitating to some. Imagine if we treated mental health care like medical care, and it was fully accepted to talk with someone about your feelings the same way it is to get treated for a disease or get a physical for a job. This shift will take work, but the impact could be significant.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

You can find me on Instagram @ryanne.mellick and my website is www.ryannemellick.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.