Planning vs. Flowing: How To Find The Right Balance

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WATER

Work and life aren’t opposing forces to balance; they go hand-in-hand and are intertwined as different elements of the same person: you. – Melissa Steginus

If living through a global pandemic has taught me anything over the last 18 months, it’s that no matter how hard you try, you can’t plan everything. In fact, I’ve learned to get comfortable with uncertainty – the unknown

In a sense, it feels like the world has been put on pause for the last 18 months, and the rise in self-care culture has taught us to enjoy the slower moments in life. When you’re stressed and worried, going inward has been proven to be the answer.

Initially, this was a little difficult for me, even though I consider myself easy-going. I relied heavily on my daily to-do lists, short-term goals and detailed plans for the future. However, as time passed, I realized the importance of balancing both going with the flow, and planning things out. There’s something freeing about being open to the possibilities of the wonderful unknown while also making necessary moves towards future goals.

Which category do you find yourself fitting into? Do you find comfort in planning out every detail? Do you enjoy the spontaneity of going with the flow? Or do you sit somewhere in between the two? 

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How To Create A Daily Self-Care Routine (Mind, Body + Soul)

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BODY / CARE / MIND / SOUL

Self-Care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation. – Audre Lorde

We all know it’s good for us, but let’s face it, practicing self-care on a regular basis can be difficult. Especially when we live in a world that places our value on productivity – how many hours we work, or how much money we make. A world that encourages people pleasing, inadvertently forcing a disconnect between yourself and you. 

While the rise in Girl Boss culture has shed light on how hard women work and how awesome we are, it has also romanticized working to the point of burn out, which is ultimately detrimental to our entire being (mind, body + soul). We know how important it is to nurture these parts of us, yet we often get caught up in the mindset that we need to “get sh*t done,” or, we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. 

Forget the guilt-trip. I’m here to remind you about the importance of cultivating a daily self-care routine that looks after your mind, body and soul. Because at the end of the day, not only do you deserve it – but it’s a necessity.

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The Power Of Positive: Gratitude

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CARE

I get it, some days are ridiculously frustrating and messed up and you’re left feeling like there’s nothing you can do to make it better. You might’ve absentmindedly + accidentally stirred your tea the wrong way and walla! – the whole day ends up feeling like crap.

What? Was that not how you expected this to begin?

Searching for my usual words of positivity and inspiration? 

Then clearly you already have the right mindset. You came here looking for positivity, so you’re well on your way to getting yourself back on track. Don’t beat yourself up / we all have our off days. Give the time you deserve. Today we’re going to acknowledge a powerful tool that I always reach for when the days are less than sunny. That tool is called gratitude.

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Borderline: Self-Care For Brown Girls

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CARE

Inspiration: Borderline (An Ode to Self Care) by Solange

We been lovers on a mission  / So let’s take an intermission Solange
You’ve been overexposed. Overexposure is defined simply as excessive exposure, especially to something harmful. Many people (especially black people) can 100% admit to experiencing this recently along with the overwhelming feeling and exhaustion that comes with it. In a quote from Self Magazine, psychotherapist, Alanna Gardner, M.F.T., refers to life for black people in this country as “emotionally taxing” and unfortunately  many are unsure of how to deal with it…or we just don’t deal with it. When you’re angry and outraged over constant images of black suffering flashing across television screens, and frustrated with the persistent trickling of harmful and insensitive comments on social media timelines it can become easy to fall into the need to FIGHT as often as possible – so maybe you do. There’s a need to be doing something against injustices at all times – so you try. Then, a feeling of depression hits when you catch a wave of hopelessness, not sure if you’ve done enough. You’ve taken action , but you’re tired – for now.

Pause: If you needed a sign that it’s okay to take a step back, this is it. Take a step back. Caring for yourself in and of itself is a form of protest – you’re not caving and you’re not giving up, you’re going within and you’re healing. What can you give to a mission when you’re too drained to play your part? Trust that you’ve done all that you can do at the moment. Here are some things you can do right now to give yourself a break and get a little relief.

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Black Butterfly: Rise Up Even Higher

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LIFE

Inspiration (Music): Black Butterfly / Deniece Williams
Set the skies on fire. Rise up even higher. So the ageless winds of time can catch your wings.

How do you speak when you’re speechless? How can you be heard when ears that could and should be making a difference turn in the opposite direction? Oh, I guess they’re deaf now / Suddenly they blind too. Where do you begin when its been the same thing over and over again?

I’m tired. People are tired.
Of inequality and injustice. Of violence and hate. Of RACISM.

BLACK people are tired. Tired of unconcerned and oblivious voices telling us that our experiences are invalid. News Flash to the unconcerned voices: Microagression is real and definitely plays a part on the mental health of minorities (Learn More). Your lack of experience with it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Tired of somehow being turned into and seen as the aggressor when taking a stand on injustices + standing up for ourselves. Still, we rise. Tired of being left out of important conversations.

Tired of our natural hair being referred to as “unkept and unprofessional”. Pause: You telling me that the straight hair that grows naturally out of “insert name here”s head is professional, but somehow the coily hair that grows naturally out of mine isn’t?

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Eye Of The Storm: Finding Calm In Self Expression

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CARE / LIFE

Definition: The calm region at the center of a storm, or hurricane

Separately, we’ve all experienced miniature blips in existence. Moments that push us five steps backwards after we’ve just taken three forward. Sudden. Moments that hurt, that induce anxiety and fear, testing for strength, determination, and fight / or flight. Resistance. Moments that push hard, knowing how to test our limits, and hoping to lead us towards awakened streams of new desires. Revival. Moments that grin proudly from our bodies years later as we recount to those around us how we overcame and survived the storm. 

Over the past month or so ‘the moment’ / our moment / our storm has spiraled its way into all of our lives simultaneously. Blowing in and uprooting lives. Sweeping through businesses. Challenging health and canceling what we considered the norm. Inducing suspense over triggered tears. For those of us who can….we shelter in our homes praying for loved ones and everyone. Watching, waiting, and working inside. For those of us who have to…we enter places of work armed and ready. Masks? Check. Gloves? Check. Mental, emotional, and physical strength? Unsure, but we check those boxes too. Together, we press on. Showing higher heights of gratitude and love for simple things we once took for granted. The hug from a loved one. Expressing newly found importance of what we once considered invaluable. We’re restless. Tired. Frustrated. Annoyed. Confused. Angry.

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2019: My Year-End Soundtrack

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LIFE

CONCEPT I:

Driving smoothly on a warm summer evening, taking a backroad. The sun has finally made its way beyond the horizon and baby pink streaks of ombre light line the darkening skies – tranquility. Street lights pass by in a whiff, lighting the way and highlighting your face. It’s getting cool outside and there’s a slight breeze making its way through the rolled down windows. Inhale / exhale – peace. There’s a rhythmic thump making its way through the speakers. Music that calms nerves and stills the mind, taking you to another place and time. Lyrics soothe the soul, carrying you home – breathe. Everything feels good. You are exactly where you need to be.

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2020: Step In, Step Up (It’s All You)

LIFE

Hyping you up for the New Year. The New Decade. The New Better You.

Repetitive, but necessary.

2020 is on it’s way, and along with it comes the heartfelt social media declarations of potential future successes. Excitement. You may have notebooks full of self-development plans and life-changing ideas in your mind. You may be buzzing with joy, carrying high expectations for every aspect of your life, hoping that the New Year will be the catalyst that leads you towards everything that you have always dreamed of. As a fellow dreamer I’ve experienced how easy it is to get stuck in the revolving door of hopes, wishes, and plans — day in and day out without much progress. Above all, there’s one thing you need to remember. Your success? Your 2020? It’s all on you. Life isn’t going to suddenly change after the clock strikes 12 and everyone screams Happy New Year. However, there is one thing that you can definitely work on changing that can lead you directly towards everything you want; your MINDSET.

Creating a better mindset will take time, consistent practice, and a conscious change of the things you can control. Nothing is going to work if you keep living in the past or chasing acceptance from people who don’t actually value you or your views. Think about those that you continuously surround yourself with and take the time to begin the process of distancing yourself from them, if necessary. Do your best to clean up lingering negativity that you feel is playing a part in throwing you off the path that you’ve set for yourself and jumpstart the New Year by letting go of what is no longer serving you. There’s nothing wrong with leaving behind things, people, and places that suffocate you in order to follow your own happiness. Continuing to keep yourself trapped in the past will lead you in the opposite direction, stalling you from moving forward, and instead keeping you stuck – running in circles.

You have to decide whether you want to live the same way you’ve been living, or if you want to guide yourself towards something more fulfilling. It’s on you to take risks; make those leaps and stand by your decisions no matter the outcome, or what others say. Change is not linear and it’s perfectly okay to not be perfect, so its up to you to say: Although I am grateful for what I’ve been blessed with, I deserve more than what I have, or what I have been telling myself I deserve in the last couple of years. News Flash: You always deserve better, and I’m here to tell you that you can definitely have it!

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