Summer Muses: July Mood Board

June 28, 2020

Photo by Melvin Melvin

July is right around the corner, and I want to fill my month with getting back on my career grind, sipping drinks by the water-front, and reconnecting with the part of my soul that needs to dance in order to feel free. More dance classes, more random dance parties, more fabulous outfits, more meals outside, more time by the water... and hey, maybe even more time in the water if I get an adult kiddy pool for my backyard. I very well might do so. I just want more happiness in July, and I know that means I need to be proactive and prioritize things that bring me happiness, even though so many things in our lives in NYC are still on pause. What are you guys looking forward to in the month of July?

Weekly Muses: 5 Things Helping Me Smile

June 15, 2020

Photo by Kate Hliznitsova on Unsplash

Here’s a short but sweet list of things that have been helping to boost my mood lately. I think we are all fighting for our sanity right now, so seeking a little mental escape is much needed.

  1. Binge Watching Buffy. I always gravitate to this show when I’m feeling “off”. The moodiness of the show mixed with the dark humor and the action-packed scenes just helps me feel a sense of calmness.
  2. Window Shopping. I’ve been craving a few new workout sets and lingerie sets. What I really want are lace shorts with a matching lace cami so I can feel glam while lounging around the house. I’m just waiting for the quality sets I’ve found to go on sale because this is totally just a want and not a need. I’m doing a lot better with managing my shopping habit and thinking about how I spend my money. 
  3. Outdoor Furniture Browsing. Ah there are so many things I have my eye on. I know I need to buy things slowly so I don’t spend irresponsibly, but here are a few items on my radar.  
  4. The Sanity and Self app. I downloaded it last week and am really, really liking it. It targets so many mental wellness issues I struggle with and it’s WAAAAAAYYYYY cheaper than therapy lmao. There are multiple, short and sweet, seven-day courses that focus on loneliness while being single, loneliness while being in a relationship, self-compassion, living mindfully even when you’re super busy, etc. It’s my latest obsession.   
  5. Glam Evening-Wear. I’ve always loved evening-wear. There is just something so glamorous, elegant and aspirational about the sexy silhouettes, silky fabrics and chic colors that make me feel excited and confident. As soon as I can dine in restaurants and go to evening events again, you can totally assume that I will be dressing to the nines. Dressing up is fun, and I fully believe in taking extra steps to turn ordinary life experiences into magical ones… and fashion is a great tool for adding a little “umph” to the day.

What are a few things that have been putting a smile on your face lately? I can't wait to hear about them!

Wellness Diaries: Showing Up When We Are Emotionally Drained

June 6, 2020

Photo by: Brea Soul

I use to believe that there was a magic bullet for joy, hope, and fulfillment. If I have this career, if my bank account has this amount of money in it, if I date this person... then my life will be better, I'll be accepted by society and I won't have to struggle with depression anymore. But as I've gotten older, experienced more intense times (and even trauma), and have dedicated significantly more time to work on my relationship with myself, it has become indisputably clear that living a joyous, fulfilled life requires me to take a lot of small actions... consistently.

And this week has been testing the fuck out of me. I drastically plummeted into not taking care of myself. Why, because I have been overwhelmed, terrified, emotionally drained, and even felt shameful/guilty for not being as present on my blog, social media or professional development classes this week. I even skipped my morning workout two days in a row this week and have been going a few days only eating 1 meal a day... and let me tell you, that shit caught up to me realllll quick.

I woke up this morning and was just OVER FEELING LIKE CRAP. I was like, "look Nia, it makes sense that you have been "off" these past 2 weeks.
You are reflecting on all of the mistreatment and racism you, your friends and your family have experienced as people of color on this planet (that warrants another post all in itself if I ever have the energy to write it lol).
You are mourning the deaths of so many black people who were murdered for no reason.
You are dealing with the fear and uncertainty of what the world will look like post-covid outbreak.
You have no idea what your career or financial wellbeing will look like because of covid-19.
You are terrified for your family's and friends' health/wellbeing.
You are scared for the wellbeing of everyone protesting.
You are angry that you are still seeing so many people on social media/the internet that are mocking your pain and the pain of other POC.
You are angry that police brutality is increasing in some parts of the nation.
You are fed up with all of the hate ... and yet

You have still pushed yourself to get out of bed each day, you even went to a protest where there were swat teams and snipers watching from an uncomfortably close distance. You are taking baby steps to help yourself and to help our country heal. So give yourself a break Nia."

I know talking out loud to ourselves is a little taboo. But speaking to myself, like this, out loud is truly powerful. It helps me feel stronger. But speaking to ourselves from a place of compassion and love isn't a magic bullet. It is just one ingredient in our recipe to achieve wellness. Our sleep, nutrition, exercise regime, physical upkeep, exposure to sunlight, external relationships, playtime, career goals, financial goals... it's all connected and each of these elements impacts our relationship with ourselves.

And no, we don't have to be at the top of our game in each of these categories all the time. Quite frankly, it's exhausting to even try to... trust me, I know first hand haha. But we can use this stressful time to discover a routine that works for us. And what works for you might not be what works for your best friend, sibling, or the person you follow on IG. But the only way to find out is through trial and error and to listen to how your body and spirit reacts. To be honest, my wellness routine changes day by day, depending on my needs. So here is what I am doing TODAY to take small steps throughout the morning to feel less overwhelmed.

Today's wellness routine 
First, I started off the morning listening to an upbeat song and drinking water to enhance my mood. I realized I needed to quickly change my vibe because the first thing I did this a.m. was reach for my phone (a bad habit I want to break) and jump on social media. I ended up reading a NYT article about police brutality, which led to me watching a video of LA police beating peaceful (and I mean absolutely peaceful) protestors with batons in the middle of the day. They were not breaking curfew. They were not rioting. They were chanting.. in the middle of the day.... and something inside me just snapped.

After I cried, I knew I wanted to be in a healthier mental place so I could help all the people who are risking their health to not only stand up for the justice of the black people who have been unjustly killed by the police, but because these people are also sacrificing their health to fight for my equality as a black woman and for my children (I'm not a mother yet, but I plan to be one day and I want my children to come into a more loving world that will accept them on a grander scale). There is a lot of love and courage in the world and watching those videos this morning lit something inside of me. Watching those people deal with police brutality made me want to show up not only for myself but for our global community. And that fire is what led to step two in today's wellness routine.

Second, I played classical music and decided to write this blog post and journal. I try to journal every day, but I slipped up and didn't journal on Thursday or Friday. Now I am truly noticing the immediate negative impact that skipping journaling and writing has on my mental state.

Usually, I dedicate three pages to writing down all the thoughts swirling around in my head (this habit is all thanks to Hayet Rida, Brooke Castilo, and Lauren Everhart all influencing me to practice the morning pages habit), how I feel, 3 things I am grateful for, my to-do list, any creative endeavors that are weighing on my heart, and so on. Pretty much, these 3 pages can be as random or as tailored as I want.

Sometimes the pages make no sense, and other times, I pour my heart out and write one long essay. It all depends on the day because there is no right or wrong way to journal. And because writing is such a powerful tool for me, I knew I had to share this post today. I know a lot of people are hurting and struggling, and I know that one way I can show up and help is by sharing the tactics I use to pull myself out of negative spaces. Because at the end of the day, life is really about helping others. It's not about just serving ourselves.

Third, I made coffee to enjoy before my morning workout. I wish a morning cup of tea did the trick for me, but it doesn't. I kind of need coffee to power through my morning workouts. Now that I'm reflecting on this past week, each day that I skipped working out, I was also too drained to make coffee... hmmm. It's nice to notice this correlation and realize that skipping my morning cup of joe is a trigger for the rest of my day falling apart...the more you know haha.

Fourth, after my Tone It Up workout, I am going to cook a healthy breakfast. Eggs with peppers, avocado, and chicken sausage have been my favorite breakfast indulgences recently. But depending on how my stomach feels and if I'm short on time, I might opt for a smoothie (I also like to throw in avocado in my smoothies to create a creamier texture. It just makes me feel a little more luxurious haha).

And last but not least, I'm putting on a cute dress and doing my eye makeup before I head to the park. My roommate was sweet enough to invite me to a picnic with her (and only one other person because of social distancing) today. Sitting out in the sun with food, some spiked shelters, a coloring/sketchbook, and feeling cute really does wonders for the soul. It helps me feel lighter, and when I feel lighter, I am able to put out more love into the world instead of fear.

I know that by taking care of myself, I am creating space to help and take care of others around me. We truly cannot pour from an empty cup. What are two or three small things you can do today to take care of yourself and therefore, be able to take care of others? I hope this post encourages you to be kind to yourself and set aside time to nurturing your mental well-being. Thank you so much for taking a moment to read this post. Sending love and peace your way.

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