And If Today All You Did Was Hold Yourself Together, I’m Proud Of You

I saw this post on social media and I had to share it here. Always remember that you have the power within to overcome anything that comes your way ❤❤❤

DEPRESSION TIPS:

Shower. Not a bath, a shower. Use water as hot or cold as you like. You don’t even need to wash. Just get in under the water and let it run over you for a while. Sit on the floor if you gotta.

Moisturize everything. Use whatever lotion you like.

Put on clean, comfortable clothes.

Drink cold water. Use ice. If you want, add some mint or lemon for an extra boost.

Clean something. Doesn’t have to be anything big. Organize one drawer of a desk. Wash five dirty dishes. Do a load of laundry. Scrub the bathroom sink.

Blast music. Listen to something upbeat and dancy and loud, something that’s got lots of energy. Sing to it, dance to it, even if you suck at both.

Make food. Don’t just grab a granola bar to munch. Take the time and make food. Even if it’s ramen. Add something special to it, like a soft boiled egg or some veggies. Prepare food, it tastes way better, and you’ll feel like you accomplished something.

Make something. Write a short story or a poem, draw a picture, color a picture, fold origami, crochet or knit, sculpt something out of clay, anything artistic. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Create.

Go outside. Take a walk. Sit in the grass. Look at the clouds. Smell flowers. Put your hands in the dirt and feel the soil against your skin.

Call someone. Call a loved one, a friend, a family member, call a chat service if you have no one else to call. Talk to a stranger on the street. Have a conversation and listen to someone’s voice. If you can’t bring yourself to call, text or email or whatever, just have some social interaction with another person. Even if you don’t say much, listen to them. It helps.

May seem small or silly to some, but this list keeps people alive.

* At your absolute best you won’t be good enough for the wrong people. But at your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right ones. Remember that. Keep holding on.

* In case nobody has told you today I Love you and you are worth your weight and then some in gold, so be kind to yourself and most of all keep pushing on!!!!

***People don’t fake depression.. they fake being ok.

Find something to be grateful for!

US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.
800-273-8255

Even on your worst days you are always worth love and respect. Don’t ever settle for anything less

Prepared – Jill Scott

I been reading my old journals
Checking to see where my head has been
And I been apologizing to some people
Some bridges I needed to mend
And I been eating more greens
Getting my body alkaline, oh
I’m gonna be super fine
And I been lettin’
Been lettin’ some old ideas go
I’m making room for my life to grow
I just wanna be prepared, yeah

I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
I just wanna be prepared
Getting myself ready
For what’s comin’ for me yeah yeah yeah
I am (I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared)
I just wanna be prepared
(Prepared)

Hear me now
I been getting recipes off the internet
Most times they be banging
I realized they’re only good when I put
My lil’ spices all up in rices
I’ve been
You know I’ve been enjoying people who love each other
Husband and wife
Sister and brother
Father and mother
I let the queen inside
I let her shine
I been listening to God more
I been doing my chores

I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
I’ve been gettin’ myself together
For what’s, for what’s comin’ to me yeah
I just wanna be prepared yeah yeah yeah yeah
(I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared)
I just wanna be prepared
(Prepared)

For when I see him at the end of the isle
With that true heart and that real smile
Intentions pure
A love that will endure
I just wanna be prepared
I, I’m gettin’ myself together
For what’s comin’ to me comin’ to me yeah
I just wanna be prepared hmm
Oh
I just wanna be prepared

I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
Prepared
I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
Prepared
I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
Prepared

Mental Health Awareness Month

“Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health – take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself.” ~ Beyonce’

We’re always on the go, it seems like. Do we even pause and check on how our mental and emotional health is holding up? 

Self care is not self indulgence it is self preservation – Audre Lorde

Asking this same question myself, especially in this time of an ongoing pandemic, I want to share a few tips that definitely work for me:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

It can be as simple as talking to a friend or family member , inquiring about a baby-sitter for a night to yourself, expressing your emotions on any given day. If you feel that you want to speak to someone consistently, you can seek out a counselor or therapist.

Find an outlet that makes you happy and relaxes you.

From writing, painting, sewing to exercise there are many ways to relieve anxiety and stress. Take the time to enjoy your favorite hobby. For myself, I enjoy writing and working out. Exercise release endorphins and helps my mood tremendously.

Connect with other working women

I made a promise to myself to network more and meet other women that managed to balance work and home life. Attending seminars, zoom calls etc , I get the opportunity to connect. Don’t be shy to extend your business card to another, offering a meet-up for coffee/tea and just simply asking ” So how you do you make it work?” You may be surprised that the answers are similar or that you’re asked for input as well. It helps to know that you’re not alone.

Take care of yourself , first and foremost.

It’s easy to put your needs on the backburner when you’re juggling a million different things, but it’s important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure to schedule time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes each day.

Self-care is essential for maintaining your mental health, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Taking a hot bath, reading your favorite book, or taking a walk in nature can all help you relax and recharge.

About Damn Time – Lizzo

In honor of mental health awareness. http://www.whatwaist.com has a sale on their waist trainers code: Healthy15 I’ve purchased from them before and enjoy mine. Black, and cool neon colors as well.

Waist Define Band

Mental and emotional health are important for everyone, regardless of gender. However, women often face unique challenges when it comes to taking care of their mental and emotional wellbeing – so, if you’re struggling, please don’t take self-care for granted!

Worthy – India Arie

I know exactly what you’re thinkin’
I’ve had those thoughts a million times
I can see the question that’s behind your eyes, oh
You’re searching for your peace of mind

Now listen up to this truth
You are me and I am you
Every one of us is worthy
Baby girl, worthy woman
Every one of us is worthy

I know your life, I felt your pain
I know your joys and your shames
Sometimes it feels like life walks over you, oh
Like you’re a penny on the ground

But either on the ground or in your purse
The smallest piece still holds its worth
Every one of us is worthy
Baby girl, worthy woman
Every one of us is worthy
Baby girl, worthy woman
Every one of us is worthy

Worthy of love
Worthy of life
Worthy of saying no when something don’t feel right
This is a song for you
For all the ups and downs that life will put you through, oh

Now listen up to this truth
You are me and I am you
Every one of us is worthy, yeah
Baby girl, worthy woman
Every one of us is worthy
Baby girl, worthy woman
Every one of us is worthy

Baby girl, worthy woman
(Every one of us is worthy)
Every one of us is worthy
Baby girl, worthy woman
(Every one of us is worthy)
Every one of us is worthy
Every one of us is worthy
Every one of us is worthy

Just One Of Those Days

The definition of melancholy: a feeling of pensive sadness usually without any cause. Ive been trying to shake off the blues for a few days now. I think I feel it more because I’ve been in the house since I’m not driving at the moment. I will be, soon. I will also register for the spring semester at Dutchess during the first week of November. So I’m just stuck in a transition I guess and feel blah. Also, I am fully vaccinated and with that I guess I thought I would have superpowers but nope not even a headache..lol. Lately so many negative thoughts have been coming up. And I’m thinking to myself ” what does this all mean? Why am I ruminating and beating up on myself for the past?” For the record, I have always been the glass is half full type of person. I find reasons to acknowledge the pain in others when they’re not on their best behavior because that’s what it comes down to. Most often, anger is just hurt. So often, its just a bad day for most and its understandable. I try to keep a gratitude journal and practice meditation but there are some days where it feels like nothing works and I am uninspired to say the least. I think what needs to be clarified is the fact that it is allright to have these type of days. Its natural and doesn’t take away from the person you are. Sometimes, we don’t feel like engaging in housework, or exercise. Later for that phone call or text. You don’t want to be bothered and you don’t want to announce it to anyone either. I get it.

I find peace in music. I have a genuine love for all genres so my playlist varies. I love old and new school artists and a close friend introduced me to a number of unknown artists that do not always get radio play and I have to admit, some of the best songs I’ve listened to. Its something about a song and lyric that speak to you and for you about any particular topic. Lianne La Havas has several songs I love. Here’s one I enjoy: Midnight but I recommend the entire album. Amazing that she has the same album done solo without any arrangements. Beautiful 😍

Many times, I find myself thinking about my life and how much progress I’ve made. I have come a long way but still have so much to improve upon. It’s one day at a time for anyone whose trying to succeed but lately with a global pandemic, it can feel overwhelming. I’ve never had a crowd around me or had a large group of friends. Even in high school, I remember having a “clique” that I ran with and I was just fine with that. I considered myself a “loner” in many ways. I found pleasure in reading novels rather than talking over the phone. There were times where I told jokes in order to take the attention off of me and make others feel more at ease. I guess I was afraid that if people got to know the real me, what I enjoyed in my spare time etc, I wouldn’t be “cool” or have as many friends. I loved to write as well. I kept a journal along with reading favorite novels. One of my favorite books was a series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder called ” Little House On The Prairie”. As a young black girl from the south bronx, it would seem that I had nothing in common with Laura, but I could relate in many ways. Having two sisters and a brother as well as both parents in the household. I would become so immersed in the stories that I often missed my mom calling me for dinner. Another favorite of mine was Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I often saw myself in Harriet, going around observing everything and jotting it down it my notebook. I never had time to “feel’ loneliness or wonder why certain friends and I weren’t chatty anymore. I had my notebook and I’d create short stories or poems about any and everything. Books can be a great source for a mental getaway. Currently I’m reading a novel by Bernadine Evaristo ” Girl, Woman, Other” I think I will do another post about the novel soon. Barnes and Noble and even your local library may bring some comfort. Its worth a try.

As I went to take my 1 year old puppy Remy for a walk today I noticed that my Brown Sugar Box arrived. This subscription is awesome. Every month it’s a shipment of various products that celebrate sisterhood, empowerment and I also love opening gifts so its perfect for me lol. This month featured champagne flutes, a wine stopper, always a different t-shirt and other goodies. Head on over to http://www.izzyandliv.com and see all they have to offer

I need to mention Remington of course! We call him Remy and we love him. He’s full breed Pekingese and full of energy. Its true that pets can be a great source of comfort. To watch him grow from 3 months until now has been great.

I believe that you should do whatever makes you feel better in regards to your mental health as long as its not a detriment to yourself or anyone else. If this means lounging in bed all day so be it. Allow yourself to feel. We live in a society that likes to place blame and shame for having moments of doubt , anger, anxiety or even fear. The key is your response to these emotions and how you can process them in order to get a breakthrough. Sometimes the work requires a third party professional and thats fine. If you are at that step and realize this, you should feel a sense of progress because asking for help is a sign of bravery. We talk about self-care but so many of us don’t realize how simple it can be. Taking a moment to do something just for yourself can be a mood changer. It can be as quick as an affirmation to acknowledge that you are not feeling like yourself.

Statements such as : I choose me!

Everything I want is everything I should have!

I choose to do great things today!

I love the skin I’m in!

I will think in abundance not scarcity!

I find that the second I start to focus on an action that will bring me back to gratitude I start to feel better. And ready for the next day., even if not all together overjoyed but the best part is that I tried. You can do it too!

The Greatest Wealth Is Health

People tend to think about wellness and immediately think in terms of physical health but it is often so much more. Wellness is a mix/integration of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. We should strive for health, of course, but it’s more about living life to the fullest. Wellness is a personalized approach that allows you to become the best version of yourself. It is not always easy because we have different battles to face but learning how to utilize some coping techniques can be beneficial. Now that we are facing a pandemic, there are various emotions of anxiety, uncertainty, even anger. I want to share a few tips that can help you boost your wellness & even de-stress.

Journaling

As a teenager, I’ve always loved to write things down. From a simple grocery list to forming a diary, it was imperative for me to be able to see things in black & white. It was finding the calm in the chaos and becoming in tune with whatever emotions came about. It was a daily check in, even if most days I could only form a sentence. It is sincerely a therapeutic technique, giving room for reflection and creativity. You may have a short or long term goal you’ve been thinking about. Make an outline, checking off as you reach each step. How about a place to keep your most cherished moments/memories? A space where you can let out all your emotions uncensored.

Cooking

Ok, I admit, I’m no chef (lol). Through the years, I’ve learned to make meals for my teenage daughter and myself but had never taken a full interest in the process. It’s a great time to experiment and purchase a few recipe books. I have one here: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Food-Love-Healthy-Inspired/dp/0804137935 & I will try it out very soon. I am good at baking but as I read more about sugars, fats etc, I’d like to find alternatives and still have tasty cakes/pies. If cooking is your thing, challenge yourself to make something complex or perhaps try that new vegan dish you’ve heard about. It’s a great hobby and one of the best ways to connect with family/loved ones.

Meditation

Meditation is often said to be a good way to boost your mental capacity. Taking a few minutes each day to quiet your mind and focus on the present. It is more powerful than people think. Whether its guided or on your own, meditation works to release the stress hormone, cortisol. This is due to the fact that meditation teaches you to how to control your thoughts, actions. It can be as simple as sitting in your favorite chair or on the floor, closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Don’t get frustrated when you find that your mind wanders, it will happen. Allow the thought to pass and re-focus on being present. With time, your mind learns to block negative emotions and focus more on the happy ones. 

Exercise

Along with meditation, regular physical exercise has many benefits. Having a gym membership is cool but that can feel like an impossible routine unless you have a partner. At this time, you can find ways to stretch, along with other methods, at home. There are many online workouts you can join in on along with tutorials on how to remain active. Right now, my gym, planet fitness will have daily workouts for FREE online http://www.planetfitness.com

Reading

I love books! It is such a habit with me that even while I eat, I have a novel open and I’m into a chapter. It has always been a form of escape as a child and now as an adult, I enjoy it even more. You can find something great in all genres if you’re willing to explore. A few titles I’ve read:

The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho

House Of Waiting- Marina Tamar Budhos

Anything by Renee Watson, recently “Piecing Me Together”

I could go on with my list but go with what draws you in, a topic you find yourself curious about, whether its fiction or non-fiction. Also, there are many online book clubs. You can find others who share the love of reading, connect with different reviews etc.

If you to start to feel increasingly overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You can seek out a local therapist or counselor. I believe many are now doing video calls & texts to check in. Text HOME to 741741 for FREE 24/7 confidential support. You will be connected to a trained crisis counselor.

Be Well!

Wash Your Hands

WASH YOUR HANDS: A POEM BY DORI MOONLIGHT

By Dori Midnight March 17, 2020

We are humans relearning to wash our hands.

Washing our hands is an act of love

Washing our hands is an act of care

Washing our hands is an act that puts the hypervigilant body at ease

Washing our hands helps us return to ourselves by washing away what does not serve.

Wash your hands

like you are washing the only teacup left that your great grandmother carried across the ocean, like you are washing the hair of a beloved who is dying, like you are washing the feet of Grace Lee Boggs, Beyonce, Jesus, your auntie, Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver- you get the picture.Like this water is poured from a jug your best friend just carried for three miles from the spring they had to climb a mountain to reach.

Like water is a precious resource

made from time and miracle

Wash your hands and cough into your elbow, they say.

Rest more, stay home, drink water, have some soup, they say.

To which I would add: burn some plants your ancestors burned when there was fear in the air,

Boil some aromatic leaves in a pot on your stove until your windows steam up.

Open your windows

Eat a piece of garlic every day. Tie a clove around your neck.

Breathe.

My friends, it is always true, these things.

It has already been time.

It is always true that we should move with care and intention, asking

Do you want to bump elbows instead? with everyone we meet.

It is always true that people are living with one lung, with immune systems that don’t work so well, or perhaps work too hard, fighting against themselves. It is already true that people are hoarding the things that the most vulnerable need.

It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes less and not go to work when we are sick.

It is already time that we might want to know who in our neighborhood has cancer, who has a new baby, who is old, with children in another state, who has extra water, who has a root cellar, who is a nurse, who has a garden full of elecampane and nettles.

It is already time that temporarily non-disabled people think about people living with chronic illness and disabled folks, that young people think about old people.

It is already time to stop using synthetic fragrances to not smell like bodies, to pretend like we’re all not dying. It is already time to remember that those scents make so many of us sick.

It is already time to not take it personally when someone doesn’t want to hug you.

It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are.

We are already afraid, we are already living in the time of fires.

When fear arises,

and it will,

let it wash over your whole body instead of staying curled up tight in your shoulders.

If your heart tightens,

contract

and expand.

science says: compassion strengthens the immune system

We already know that, but capitalism gives us amnesia

and tricks us into thinking it’s the thing that protect us

but it’s the way we hold the thing.

The way we do the thing.

Those of us who have forgotten amuletic traditions,

we turn to hoarding hand sanitizer and masks.

we find someone to blame.

we think that will help.

want to blame something?

Blame capitalism. Blame patriarchy. Blame white supremacy.

It is already time to remember to hang garlic on our doors

to dip our handkerchiefs in thyme tea

to rub salt on our feet

to pray the rosary, kiss the mezuzah, cleanse with an egg.

In the middle of the night,

when you wake up with terror in your belly,

it is time to think about stardust and geological time

redwoods and dance parties and mushrooms remediating toxic soil.

it is time

to care for one another

to pray over water

to wash away fear

every time we wash our hands

The Healthy Nail Project

Meet Nicole Aandahl

Ms. Nicole Aandahl is the creator/owner of The Healthy Nail Project based in Washington, Dc. Before I post her response to her innovative idea, I would like to mention that she has been involved in advocating for mental health in her community after she lost her little brother to suicide due to his bipolar disorder.

“I started the Healthy Nail Project to help nail biters and pickers transcend their habit.  The program is a holistic approach rooted in mindfulness, self care and education and is the only one of its kind.  I created the program in order to overcome my own habit, which had tried many times to stop.  I got serious about stopping when I saw my three-year-old mimicking my behavior.  I learned all I could about nail anatomy and growth, nail care and grooming, body specific repetitive behaviour, and intention-setting. I even evaluated my diet and learned about nutrition for nail health!   Following my carefully crafted process I overcame my 35+ year habit in just two weeks, and restored the health and growth of my nails in just four.  I first started my blog https://healthynailproject.com to provide information on nail care and offer support for nail biters, and began planning a structured program. This first cohort of the Healthy Nail Project’s “Heal Your Hands” program will start in Washington, D.C. this May.  The program kicks off with a mini-retreat and is followed by four weeks of self care, on-going support, nurturing manicures (nothing fake!), and a complete guide to the program as well as a luxe “quit kit.’  I will be taking the program on the road this summer, with locations both North and South TBD.  I am so excited to offer this program to help people overcome what seems like an insurmountable obstacle, and set them on the way for happy, pain-free, healthy nails!”
https://healthynailproject.com IG/FB/Pinterest: @thehealthynailproject.com

Be sure to check out her website & pass the word on to anyone who may be interested in learning how to overcome their habits and maintain healthy nails! I am excited about her vision and wish her success!

Embrace Ambition Summit 2020

There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise

Happy International Womens’ Day! We celebrate the collective achievements and progress women create every day in the world. Thursday, March 5th, 2020 at Jazz@Lincoln Center, I had the awesome opportunity to attend this years’ #EmbraceAmbition summit. The Embrace Ambition initiative was started by the Tory Burch Foundation in 2017 and aims to address the double standard that exists around ambition, which is often seen as a compliment for men and a critique of women. It is a one-day event that’s focused on overcoming the negative attitudes about ambition in women and addressing other harmful stereotypes that impact gender, race, and sexuality. Visionary leaders in Hollywood, business, science, entrepreneurship, and youth movements take the stage along with performances meant to inspire and empower. You must apply for a chance to attend the summit with an online application and essay about your own experience with embracing ambition. I was excited to receive an email that my essay had been chosen and I was invited!

Ms. Claudette Colvin & Ms. Michelle Norris

In one of the morning sessions, Michelle Norris, whose a contributing columnist for The Washington Post and Civil Rights Activist, Ms. Claudette Colvin had a discussion about her story and the changes she has seen in America in the last 65 years. In 1955, she was the first woman of color to refuse to move to the back of the bus for a white person in Montgomery, Alabama, and was promptly arrested. It wasn’t until nearly nine months later that Rosa Parks did the same thing and became the face of the movement.

Diane Von Furstenberg & Jason Bolden

In another session, Fashion Icon Diane Von Furstenberg talks with Celebrity stylist Jason Bolden about being “In Charge”: owning who we are, own imperfections and it will become your asset. Once you are comfortable with yourself, any relationship, business or personal, is a plus and not a must. There is an ambition guidebook for those who are interested in having a written plan for their goals/ dreams. http://www.toryburchfoundation.org/resources/growth/ambition-guidebook/

I’ve met some amazing women like Nicole Aandahl during lunch. http://www.healthynailproject.com. Nicole and I talked about the stigma associated with mental health and her personal battle with nail biting. She has created a blog and tools to help others with the same struggles she has faced. Audrey Washington is a personal finance coach, speaker and author at http://www.fiercelyfinancial.com. She offers one on one coaching programs, financial empowerment master class, and info on employee financial education programs. Ariane, a native of Jamaica, has an interest in Fashion design, we talked about inclusion in the fashion industry and she expressed some ideas for a line she wants to get started.

During breaks, attendees had time to snap photos, exchange business cards and grab refreshments. At the cocktail hour, after the event, many of us decided to recap the day and continue to share stories. At one point, some of the speakers joined us at various tables and I had a chance to talk with big wave surfer Bianca Valenti. Awesome vibe and I was impressed with all of her success in the surfing world. https://www.bigwavebianca.com/

Bianca Valenti is a professional big wave surfer in San Francisco.

Grammy nominated British Singer/Songwriter Yola Wade gave an amazing live performance of one of her hits ” It Ain’t Easier”. Before the song, she briefly talked about her struggles within the music industry and how colorism has played a major part in her journey. I have to admit, this was the highlight of the day for me. Beautiful voice and I, along with several others were captivated by her wonderful sound. Have to add, she’s dope on guitar as well!

Yola Wade

Tory Burch, who is the CEO and founder, has often shied away from the word ambition. It was often a harmful stereotype along with being known as a “feminist”. She says ” Feminism has often been misinterpreted. It’s not about disliking men, it’s about equal rights for women.” I agree with her statement but I also feel like we have made some significant progress over the years. Always room for improvement but working together and having a genuine dialogue, it can be done. I encourage anyone whose interested in the summit to apply early and be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster. Thought-provoking & inspiring, #Embrace Ambition is more than a mantra for women of today. It is a call to action and a commitment to being your best self and in turn empowering others to do the same.

Everything is possible. Your dreams, your ideas. Your vision. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.

Embrace Ambition

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists