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Why Treat Yo'Self Just Isn't Enough Sometimes.

Heather J

We may not realize this but sometimes Self-Care is talking about Self-Care. 

For me, talking about self-care serves as a personal reminder. Verbally expressing my passion for self-care and overall well-being to another person or group is fulfilling for me. I begin to light up when I talk about my journey to self-care and I notice how I'm gradually learning to appreciate the art of mindfulness.

In a recent post here on JOYDay, I shared the importance of celebrating small joys, because regardless of the size, they still count. This past week, I had the opportunity to share my passion for the topic of self-care and mindfulness with a group of New Professionals in the field of Higher Education. I shared this small joy expressing how this opportunity came about just by me taking a chance on myself and submitting a conference proposal on any topic of my choice for an upcoming workshop; my area of expertise and passion , drum-roll please, SELF-CARE!

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

Reclaiming My Time: Self-Care, Mindfulness and The Importance of Quality of Life Among New Professionals

I was overwhelmed with JOY when I received the e-mail with the opportunity to present and then the afternoon of when I saw how many New Professionals chose my session to sit it on and be well fed with information about self-care and mindfulness. In a previous post, I shared that I second-guess myself and I can be my biggest critic so my first thought was, "Who would want want to talk about Self-Care?" Or "Don't we already know how to Treat Ourselves?" So the level of positive emotions I had running through my mind were intense! 

In the self-care session, I actually addressed the point of how sometimes "Treat yo'self" just isn't enough. Ask yourself, Is it or isn't it. Well, it depends on how you look at it. For me, I know that If I am at the check out counter at Ulta or Sephora and I need an excuse to spend an excessive amount of money, I always gas myself up by saying "you deserve it!" or "treat yo'self!" You can imagine, the conversations and insight on that phrase itself brought up a healthy conversation. 

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

I began to unfold how sometimes, many of us relate self-care to spending money or actively getting up and out of the house to do something but it doesn't always have to be the case. When was the last time you were kind to yourself or kind to someone else? When was the last time you sat and lived in the present moment and you were able to list all the things you were grateful for? It's a gift to ourselves when we can focus on what's going right in our lives, and when we can focus on the people who do continuously show up for us versus the ones that don't. 

The main basis of the presentation was developing new ways to incorporate self-care into our personal lives and also developing ways to incorporate into our work as well. I didn't realize it until I was in that moment of mindfulness that I shared with the audience "This right here, talking about self-care with you all, is self-care for me!" In that moment, I was truly grateful to be have had the opportunity to share research, personal stories, helpful tips and resources on the topic of self-care and contribute to a healthy conversation about how others can continue to lead a healthy lifestyle. 

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

Here are some helpful ways that you can contribute to your own self-care that doesn't necessarily involve money or other people:

  1. Allow yourself Grace.
  2. Control what you can control
  3. Practice self-compassion
  4. Practice mindfulness
  5. Practice gratitude
  6. Unplug from technology

Remember, Self-Care doesn't look the same for everyone so when you begin to identify what contributes to your self-care make sure that you are practicing it daily. Your overall well-being and physical health is just as important as your mental health. 

Embrace it. 

Closed For Personal Care

Heather J

Sorry we're closed. 

Yes, Me, Myself & I. 

You know that dreadful feeling you get when you walk up to a store with hopes that they will be open, even if it's only the last 5 minutes. Your mind is completely set on what it is that you need, if only you could have made it on time before you read: Sorry, we're closed. 

Sunday evening is always a time of reflection for me. I develop new ways of thinking, I often meditate on how I am going to approach the week and I challenge myself to practice patience better than the week before. Sounds nice right? I agree, it does. But one thing I fail at continuously is extending myself a little too much to others without even checking in with myself. I quite frequently find myself drained, drained from all the unhealthy conversations I allow in my personal space, the subscriptions I have to other people's issues and the challenges I face daily personally while still finding time to help others and commit to extra projects.  

Well, I am closed; closed for personal care, closed for personal maintenance, closed for self-care. 

Motion Media by Gabriella Cidras

Motion Media by Gabriella Cidras

I've taken my services off the shelf, I am no longer marking my time as a "clearance" item and I am definitely returning all items described as other people's "mess." 

What good are we to others if we aren't good to ourselves first? How often do we listen to the lives of others and all of their negativity until it begins to weigh heavy? I sat, reflected and enjoyed a glass of Cabernet and the valid conclusion that I came to was, close for two-weeks for some re-modeling. Better yet, close for as long as you need to. 

Remodeling is checking in with self; It's finding new ways to care for yourself and pay attention to your own wants & needs. You don't have to respond to texts right away, you don't need to be at someone's beck & call, you surely don't need to put your own well-being on the back burner. If you're similar to me, you've naturally taken on the role as a healer/giver, listener, resume Queen and someone who can fix everything with just lending an ear. Yes, those attributes are great, I often am flattered to review work, offer advice and pour into others; it was done for me, and for that I am truly grateful. But there comes a time when you will hit burn-out, compassion fatigue and eventually that can turn into bitterness. 

I won't even touch on the fact that at times the same love, compassion, genuine helpfulness and frequent check-ins aren't always offered in return but it's furthermore a supporting factor to shut down business. Shut down for self-care for as long as you may need. 

My sign will read:

"We're closed. The mind, body and soul of a continuous giver needs this time to check-in with self. We are closed for fertilization and growth in multiple areas that contribute to personal well-being. If you've stopped by to complain, nag, whine and only think about yourself, turn around, drink some water and do a self check-in. See you soon."
Photo by Chamere Studios

Photo by Chamere Studios

I encourage you to check-in with yourself and decide when you need to close and for how long. When you re-open what will be different? What will you discontinue, take off the shelf and not allow to return to your space?

We must first serve ourselves, fall deeply in love with the fact that our own mental well-being and desires come first.

Mental Health Days

Jalyn Harden

I grew up in a household where I watched my mother reserve our home as place of peace. I watched her prioritize her mental well-being + sense of tranquility as best she could. I'd take heed as she persevered, through her own trials + throughout times of increased stress. There were plenty days throughout the year my mother would send me off to school, however, she called out “sick,” though I’d see nothing was physically wrong with her. It was often that she would strategically take a day or two off from work explicitly stating when I arrived home, "I took a mental health day." As a kid, I thought my mom was lucky when she could pick + choose when she’d go to work. I now laugh aloud, knowing how unlucky adulthood can be.

As I begin to build my own foundations, I thank my mother for providing these examples of taking her mental health as serious + necessary as her physical health. I’ve learned to listen to my body - now more than ever as a twentysomething always on the go. My body makes me aware of how much I can physically and mentally can commit to. Days free from external stress, an overwhelming workload, and most responsibilities - for me, is an ideal day of relaxation. My most recent mental health day was intentionally filled with activities that I made me feel good - got on my mat for some yoga outdoors; took myself to a matinee to see Girls' Trip; + read a book while I treated myself to a pedi. I’ve had days where I've done nothing at all besides nourish my body + rest; and there’s been days I’ve spent getting my life together + handling business. At the end of the day, however, the point is that you feel capable to take on the rest of your week.

It’s important for you to make you a priority. Just as you would call out sick for physical ailments, its' appropriate to have remedies + coping skills for the fog in your mental. You are the expert on what your body and mind needs in order to persevere. I encourage speaking with your employer (+/or professors) + not waiting until the last minute. Understand that you don't have to disclose your personal issues, but through experience - I find that being up front about what I can + cannot handle, keeps me employed + sane. Speaking with your higher ups also can break the stigma regarding employees' mental health and work productivity. It may become a topic on their agenda to begin to take preventative measures in the office. 

We all know, you cannot pour from an empty cup. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, plan ahead by having some self-care activities planned for your day off. Usually this happens over time, but it also depends your line of work and what issues you’re dealing with. If you can’t plan to take the day off, listen to your body + take the necessary steps to refresh + recharge.

Until next time, 


How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

Simone Reynolds

A year ago, I was so in love. You could not tell me that I was not marrying this person. Individually, we were great people, but together we were a hot mess. Both of our actions led to heartbreak. This was not the first time my heart had been broken, but it put the icing on the cake. It unleashed skeletons that I did not even know existed. There is always a purpose behind your suffering. A couple of days ago, a friend asked on Facebook, “How do you overcome heartbreak?” This was my response.

1. Vocalizing your heartbreak is very important. Keeping it to yourself will only cause more heartbreak. Talk to somebody!

2. Let the healing process be authentic. Sometimes, we see other people go through heartbreaking experiences and think that their coping mechanisms will work for us. I can be extremely introverted at times, so I don't always talk to others, but there are other ways to get free.

3. Find something that you can commit to. Mine was going to the gym on weekends and writing short stories. It will give you something to look forward to. You will not immediately forget about the situation(s), but it will make the time go by a little faster.

4. Allow yourself to feel the pain. We always try to get over it so soon. You cannot heal if you have not been hurt.The wounds are there, so try your best not to slap a band-aid on it. Let the sore breathe.

The video attached is a moment I captured at a butterfly exhibit. They were released as if they were supposed to be boxed in, but that is another story. These butterflies had never flown before. I'm sure at one point, they didn't think/know that they were even gonna become butterflies, but they realized that they had wings, and they put them to use. This is the process of overcoming heartbreak. A rebirth of you and your heart will take place.

Oh, I forgot one thing. Patience. You may heal in 5 weeks, while another person might recover in 5 years. It all depends on the heart. I hope this helps.

Reclaiming My Time

Bryan Patterson

On July 27th, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters made headlines as a result of her exchange with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The timed conversation between Waters and Mnuchin consisted of her asking him about the possibility of Donald Trump’s having financial ties to Russian banks. In an attempt to have a productive dialogue, Waters soon realized that her time was not being valued She took ownership of the conversation with the phrase, ‘reclaiming my time’ and reminded Mnuchin of her intention of the conversation.   

Congresswoman Waters set an example for all of us to follow. Time is our most valuable commodity, and it’s something that we can never get back. Effective time management is a critical component of self-care. Our intentions have to be well outlined and we must not lose sight of our goals. If we do, we either hit roadblocks that leave us trapped in stagnation or we deviate from our predestined path. Here are five simple adjustments that I’m making to reclaim my time and reaffirm my intentions.

1. Get 6-8 hours of sleep

I never noticed how important getting my rest was. At my last physical, my doctor asked me about how much sleep I was getting per night. I had recently subscribed to a ‘No Days Off’ mentality that convinced me to believe that I could properly function off of 3-4 hours of sleep per weeknight and 9 or 10 hours on the weekend. He then let me know about the negative mental and physical effects that the previously stated schedule would soon cause if I kept it up. 6 hours of sleep should be the bare minimum and 8 hours per night would be ideal. I got 7 hours of sleep last night and I was surprised by how productive I am currently without needing a large cup of coffee.

2. Social Media Fast

The other day, I caught myself scrolling on Twitter and Instagram for a total of one hour. Constantly paying attention to what other people were doing was distracting me from my own responsibilities. I was also posting every day, which dampened the novelty of my experiences. I removed all of my social media apps from my phone today and it feels good to fully focus on the things that pertain to me. I don’t know how long this fast will last, but I’ve made a plan to go without it for a week to start out with.

3. Daily Devotional/Morning Meditation

I’ve come to find out that the way my morning starts sets the tone for how I approach my day. When I wake up earlier in the morning to meditate, journal, and read the bible, I find myself to be more peaceful throughout the day. When I don’t, I find myself to be far more irritable and introverted. Making the time to center myself spiritually results in me having better days as a whole.  

4. Exercise/Read

Our physical and mental upkeep is vital for our own trajectory. I’ve recently realized that walking is a valuable stress reliever. Since most of my obligatory activities are within walking distance, putting a playlist together and achieving 10-12,000 steps a day has now turned into a routine. Imagine a week without road rage or paying for gas! Even if you aren’t able to walk everywhere, the gym is a great way to work off any anger from your work day.

It’s also a novel idea to take your mind off your own situation by immersing yourself into a good book. Dwelling too much on your job, school, or personal desires can easily result in a burnout effect. My literary interests are in the realm of biographies, self-help books, and realistic fiction novels. I currently finishing a book called ‘Unthink’ by Erik Wahl. I’ve found out that exposing myself to the imagination of different authors benefits my own creativity in everyday life.

5. Socialize with People That You Actually Like

This suggestion might seem to be ridiculously simple, but a lot of us work, study, or live in environments where we’re placed with the mental task of being around people that we don’t like. Nowadays I find myself cherishing the close knit collective of friends a lot more these days. Corporate kindness during the work week needs to be balanced out by securing time to spend with the people that know you best. Even though the movie ‘Girls Trip’ was primarily intended to entertain, the film proves that spending time with friends has therapeutic value.

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

In closing, We all need to work on realigning ourselves on a frequent basis. The most productive versions of ourselves are exposed when our core is fully intact. Self-care and time management go hand in hand.

Banner Photography of Congresswoman Waters