Wellness Wednesday: Self-Care When the News Is Difficult

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Happy Wednesday, friends! If you’ve been watching the news or endlessly scrolling on social media, then you’re probably feeling just as overwhelmed, stressed, and weary as I am. With every news report and social media post that sparks an array of feelings, I hope you are taking the time to both acknowledge your emotions and feel them deeply and also care for yourself in whatever way is most effective and beneficial for you. Both exposure to and experiencing traumatic events is traumatizing. Directly or indirectly fighting oppression is exhausting. Please take care of yourselves, friends. Here are a few self-care tips from one of my favorites, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, PhD:

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Motivational Monday: Be Like Mike!

img_3043Happy Motivational Monday and Memorial Day, friends! I hope you had a wonderful three-day weekend and did something that sparked joy or made your soul smile…even if it was sitting on the couch and binge-watching ESPN’s docuseries The Last Dance like I did (so good, right?)! As a Chicagoan who grew up watching and rooting for the 1990s Bulls dynasty, I was immediately transported back to that era. I relived every jump shot with so much excitement and anticipation, even though I remembered nearly every game like it was yesterday. The docuseries also illuminated so much that I, like most people, either never knew or completely forgot. From the drama between management and the greatest coach of all time to the tension among the players, there was a lot to unpack. What really stood out to me though, unsurprisingly, was the GOAT, the “Black cat,” “Black Jesus,” the one and only Michael Jordan and his drive for absolute greatness no matter the cost. Hearing how much his deep love for the game drove him to commit to himself, basketball, and his team was incredibly inspiring.

Michael Jordan was drafted to the Chicago Bulls just before his junior year of college, a team that was pretty unremarkable at the time. But he had remarkable hope and commitment. During one of his very first interviews after joining the team, Jordan said “I just want the franchise and the Chicago Bulls to be respected like the Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers or the Boston Celtics. Hopefully I can help this team, and this organization can build a program like that.” And so he did, and I imagine it took extraordinary amounts of patience, determination, dedication, perseverance, tenacity, hard work, and a lot of discomfort! Growing is painful. Stretching is painful. The truth is that wonderful things don’t happen inside of our comfort zones. Instead, they happen outside of them. The docuseries beautifully captures that!

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Feature Friday: South Side Environmental Education Directive (SEED)

At the start of the quarantine, 19-year-old Iván did what so many of us did: embraced the novelty of the pandemic and binge-watched the latest Netflix shows to pass the time. Now that the novelty has worn off, Iván has worked hard to create structure, self-reflect, and find what brings him true joy. All of this inspired him to combine his passion for science and the environment with his joy of working with lower and middle school children. The end result is a project that, while still in the early stages of development, deserves to be in the spotlight! The South Side Environmental Education Directive (SEED) is a wonderful way to encourage other young people to get outdoors, to explore nature among Chicago’s concrete jungle, to think scientifically, and to care about the environment. Check out my interview with Iván to hear all about his initiative, what inspired him, and why it matters. Give some love and support to Iván by visiting his YouTube channel linked here.

Are you a young person or do you know a young person who’s doing something that deserves to be in the spotlight? Simply email readytorisemovement@gmail.com for more information on how you or someone you know can be featured in the next Feature Friday!

Wellness Wednesday: Developing a Mindfulness Practice in Anxious Times

img_1305When I first heard about mindfulness a few years ago, I understood it to be a practice meant to help people relax when they felt stressed or anxious. And while that’s not entirely untrue, years of schooling, working as a child and adolescent therapist, and developing my own mindfulness practice have broadened my understanding. Sure, relaxation can be a result of practicing mindfulness, but it’s not the purpose. The purpose of mindfulness is to intentionally and consciously be aware of the present moment which allows us to fully acknowledge where we are, what’s going on, what we’re doing, and those thoughts, feelings, and physiological sensations that show up. Why is this important? When we acknowledge what’s going on externally and internally in the present moment, we won’t be overwhelmed by or overly reactionary to what’s going on around us. It doesn’t change the situation (though it’d be nice if it did, right?), but it just helps us ease into the chaos and feel more in control, especially when life around us feels out of control. Given these current turbulent and uncertain times, I think developing a mindfulness practice would be helpful for you, too! Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday: Developing a Mindfulness Practice in Anxious Times”

Friday Findings: My 10 School Essentials

 

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photo credit: Robert Coates

Happy happy Friday, friends, and what a glorious day it’s been! Today I had a chance to stop over at my old school and see some of my favorite former students as they prepare for their first day of school this coming Tuesday. So many bright faces and so much energy filled the halls as they set up their lockers. I kind of miss those days, or at least the idea of a locker space–a place to call your own and store your belongings so you’re not lugging your entire life around with you wherever you go. Cherish it, people! I imagine the closest thing to that would be having an office, but what about those college and graduate students who don’t have such a luxury? I suppose we have no choice but to bring our essentials, and today, I’m sharing my own! What are yours? Comment below!

 

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Thoughtful Thursday: Reclaiming My Time

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By now you’ve likely heard about Congresswoman Maxine Waters famously and appropriately interrupting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during last week’s House Financial Services Committee meeting. If you haven’t seen the video, I’ve linked it here, but essentially Maxine (we’re now on a first name basis) asks a very clear and direct question that Mnuchin “responds” to with a roundabout statement. In an attempt to redirect him and hold him accountable, Mnuchin’s vague non-answers are repeatedly met with “reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time…” As entertaining as this moment is, there’s honestly something much deeper and more meaningful at play. Here, Maxine not only informs us that her time is valuable and should not be wasted but also, and more importantly, reminds us of our own value and gives us permission to identify and remove the time-wasters within our own lives.

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Wellness Wednesday: Getting Headspace

img_1317Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! Yesterday marked ten straight days of guided meditation with the mindfulness app, Headspace. Unfortunately, ten days of Headspace also means my free trial is up. Great! Now how am I supposed to find clarity and focus and also reduce my stress and anxiety (sarcasm)? While I think of new, free ways to deepen my meditation and mindfulness practice, here is my review for Headspace.

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