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Queen Latifah, Mental Health and Coworking



Way back in 1989, Queen Latifah dropped “Ladies First” on the world.

The song called for the elimination of stereotypes and giving women due respect. It balanced smart insight, a contagious groove, a spirit of unity that Latifah always brings, and a pinch of the metaphysical.

As she raps:

Who said the ladies couldn’t make it, you must be blind
If you don’t believe, well here, listen to this rhyme
Ladies first, there’s no time to rehearse
I’m divine and my mind expands throughout the universe

The song was the soundtrack for many dances, road trips and crazy parties in high school, my college years in Colorado, and beyond. It’s an undeniable jam that was way ahead of its time.

Ahead of the Curve Again

Now Queen Latifah is ahead of the curve again with a new commercial for Cigna. In it, she talks about the rise of stress and how physical health and emotional health are more connected than we think.


Is anyone more relatable than her to destigmatize mental illness? Does anyone not like her?

At one point in the commercial, standing in a kitchen ablaze with burned food everywhere, she comments, “I call this dish, ‘stress.'”

I can so relate. I get that some people cook to relax. I’m not one of them.

Latifah encourages people to be more open with their doctor about how they feel emotionally.

It’s good stuff, and a step in the right direction to help get us all talking about the mental and emotional effect of living in a fast-paced, always-on, always-connected world.

Because it gets crazy, right?

Keeping Calm in a Crazy World

In my own world, I work every day to keep a calm internal state. This is easier said than done sometimes. Just this week, I broke down on the side of the road because a rat had nested in my engine.

I was not calm.

I do wellness things proactively because, when I don’t, I end up wrestling with anxiety that makes everything feel overwhelming.

I meditate every day, I do light yoga pretty regularly, I avoid sugar, I walk a lot, I make space for alone time and I try to take a big picture perspective on things instead of getting blown about by every micro-stress.

Circle of Support

I also have a community of supportive people I can talk with about what’s going on in my life.

Having trusted friends who listen without trying to fix the problem has kept me from bottoming out many times.

There’s something cathartic about just naming the things that are weighing me down. It tends to diffuse their power.

Coworking and Community

Since coworking spaces are already full of people who are generally engaged and community minded, it seems like a natural next step to give people a space to talk about what’s going on for them—not their marketing or networking spiel—but what’s really going on.

What could that look like?

Weekly fail wails? A monthly wellness check-in? A community commitment to check on each other, like CheckYoMate?

Are you doing something like this in your space? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Email me or comment below.


Coworking space operators: Subscribe to the Coworking Out Loud Newsletter to get industry insights, resources and content tips sent to you every Thursday.

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