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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Wilmington-area support group holding free self-care workshops for women [Free read]

The Inspiration Lab is hosting free self-care workshops and a small business happy hour during its “Self-care Week.” (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy The Inspiration Lab)

SOUTHEASTERN, N.C. — Find time to unwind, relax, and check in with yourself as shelter-in-place orders begin to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Free mental health resources are available, including a 1-800 hotline now open to all individuals in need of crisis counseling.

Related: ‘When we get through this’: Voices from Wilmington’s restaurant industry [Free read]

For women, local entrepreneur Stephanie Lanier has opened up several normally membership-only services to the public free of charge. Starting Tuesday, Lanier’s The Inspiration Lab will host two virtual self-care workshops and finish the week off with a small business happy hour Friday.

Each workshop will be lead by Lanier, with the Zoom happy hour offering a time for reprieve and connection for small business owners. Because the workshops are virtual, they are open to any woman who wishes to log in.

The Inspiration Lab

The Inspiration Lab serves as an authentic (now virtual) place where women can freely acknowledge life’s stressors. Self-care is strategic, Lanier said, not selfish. If you burn yourself out, in turn, you’re less capable of taking care of your loved ones. “People count on you,” she said. “Self-care is really meant to take care of yourself so you can take care of other people. That’s the purpose of it.”

Lanier owns the female-centric Lanier Property Group, which merged with Intracoastal Realty last month. In 2015, she founded The Inspiration Lab, a membership group that focuses on connecting working women in the Cape Fear region.

A licensed clinical social worker, Lanier pivoted to real estate as a way to manage mounting bills that piled on due to her son’s medical interventions. Through The Inspiration Lab, Lanier merges her background as a social worker and experience as a small business owner to help foster personal and professional relationships for working women in the community.

“What I couldn’t understand, is why I couldn’t at a real estate conference just talk about my real estate business growing and my concerns about fertility,” Lanier said. “Because they actually, in my life, fit together.”

When she felt no room to explain the nuances of her personal and professional life, she made room for it through The Inspiration Lab. Since starting the project, the group has grown to include 320 members.

“These things are intimately intertwined. Can we just have a real conversation? You bring your whole self to work and your whole self home,” Lanier said. “Why are we not talking like that? From a social work perspective, that makes total sense.”

Though there’s a lot of laughing and crying during meetings, Lanier said they’re also tactical. Small business owners share tips and lessons. Friday, there will likely be a conversation centered around figuring out the recently-signed $2 trillion stimulus bill. “We’re teaching each other and supporting each other and it’s collaborative,” Lanier said. For each session, participants will be encouraged to take time to read through the lab’s self-care workbooks.

“We want to be a soft place to land and a strong place to launch,” she said.

Tuesday, March 31: Self-care workshop on Facebook live from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday, April 2: Self-care workshop hosted on Zoom at noon (check The Inspiration Lab’s Facebook page for details on how to register)
Friday, April 3: Small business happy hour at 4 p.m. on Zoom.

For more information, visit The Inspiration Lab’s Covid-19 page.

Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee Still at

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