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A Holistic Look at Mental Health Wellness with a Capital Alumna

Challenging the mental health stigma has been Sykora Zabel-Karr’s battle cry long before establishing her new mental health coaching business. With the ability to look at health through a holistic lens, Zabel-Karr hopes to help people expand their awareness of present wellness needs and give them the tools to move forward.

Zabel-Karr graduated from Capital in 2018 after earning her degree in Exercise Science, and then earned her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary in 2020.

“Capital pushed me to be open-minded and to view the world from different perspectives. I think those lessons have really play a part in how I practice as a mental health coach,” said Zabel-Karr. “I try to focus on the holistic perspective of health. That’s the basis of holistic wellness, being able to take the dimensions of wellness, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, and see that everything is interconnected.”

Zabel-Karr’s experience with physical and mental health services has allowed her to approach health differently than traditional health-care providers.

“My work experience has been very holistic. I’ve seen the gaps. There should be a balance to make health customized and personalized to the person, understanding that all areas of our life really do balance each other,” she said. “It’s not always fifty-fifty. I feel like when I say balance that’s what people immediately think. It’s all about where you are in your life. What needs need to be met at that point in time.”

As a transfer and commuter student, a sense of balance was essential to Zabel-Karr’s education while at Capital.

“I’ve been that college student who had to work and really work to prioritize my life. Things like my education and work came before family, friends, or even a social life, and I had a hard time with that,” said Zabel-Karr. “I had to learn how to give myself space. I needed to learn how to prioritize my life in order to achieve my goals.”

While it may have been a hard lesson, it’s one that she hopes to pass on to her clients through her new company.

“Mindfully Well was created to create a safe space to process everyday mental health challenges. People experience imbalances every day. It’s no different than getting a cold when you’re talking about physical health. It you’re stressed out and having a bad day, it’s okay,” she said.

Zabel-Karr, a military spouse, hopes to work with anyone 18 and older who just “wants to improve their overall mental well-being.”

“I think it’s important for people to know that mental health isn’t just psychological. It’s a mix of our psychological, social, and emotional health. People think mental health and just think about thoughts, but it’s so much more than that,” she said.

“A lot of the everyday mental health challenges that I see can be broken down into personal values, boundaries, lack of communication and emotion. A lot of people already have the skills to cope with everything. They just might not be using them in a healthy way. It’s important to be assertive with your boundaries and work on your communication skills. Try to help others understand where you’re coming from. That way, you can build a really great support system around you.”

To learn more about Capital’s Health and Wellness initiatives, go to https://www.capital.edu/health/.

To connect with Sykora Zabel-Karr on LinkedIn, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/sykora-zabel.