On a recently unusually cold morning in Massachusettes, I started the day like I typically do, listening to Pandora Radio. Scrolling through my 99 stations (of which I honestly only listen to like, 10), I stumbled upon and selected 90s R&B. After suffering through a series of commercials, I heard a familiar beat with synthesizers, baseline, and a kick drum that made way for melodious vocals. I recognized it from the very beginning: TLC’s “What About Your Friends” (1992). Now, I was only four-years-old when this song first hit the airwaves, but having older sisters pretty much meant that this song was on constant rotation at the time. 25 years later, and I’m still dancing around the room every time it comes on. The only difference is, I’m now more aware of and see the value in the lyrics because having incredible friends who stand by you at your lowest low and highest high is one of the most significant and necessary elements for one’s overall well-being.
A few weeks ago, I shared a list of my favorite podcasts and destination spots. Not too long after that post, a friend of mine pointed me towards another podcast, and I’ve been addicted ever since! Black Girl in Om is a new(ish) podcast and online publication dedicated to promoting wellness and building community and culture among women of color. Co-hosts Lauren Ash (Founder), Zakkiyyah Najeebah, and Deun Ivory (Art Director) post almost weekly episodes that both empower and inform women of color on various ways they can and should practice self-care. In a world that very rarely shows Black girls any love, each episode celebrates Black sisterhood and provides a safe space that encourages me (and I hope women and young girls who look like me) to not only be my true self, but also–and more importantly–to simply love who I am and the skin I’m in, and to do so unapologetically.
I am not a gardening person. Digging through soil, swatting away insects, and baking in the boiling sun just don’t sound too appealing. It seems there’s far more that goes into growing and nurturing flowers, plants, and whatever else I’m hoping to grow than I really have the time or patience for. I’d rather just skip a few steps, head to my nearest grocery store, and buy pre-cut flowers. It’s so much easier to forgo the heavy lifting and hard work. I don’t want to go through the planting, fertilizing, watering, and waiting stages. It’s monotonous, time-consuming, and just plain unpredictable. What if I spend all of my energy on my garden, but nothing blooms? It feels like a waste, right? Well, if we look a little closer, we oftentimes treat ourselves and our circumstances similarly.
Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! This week has been quite a whirlwind filled with lots of sitting, standing, walking, and heavy lifting. Actually, now that I think about it, there probably isn’t a day that goes by when my students and I aren’t sitting for long periods of time or lugging around ridiculously heavy and unevenly distributed bags. While increasing my daily steps and toning my arms are certainly a plus (suns out, guns out, amirite?), the severe tension I feel from my neck and down to my toes is so painful, I can hardly move some days without wincing. It also doesn’t help that most of the stress we carry is in our shoulders and neck, so adding tension to an already injured body sounds like a recipe for disaster. The more we load on ourselves, the more back problems will have in the not too distant future. There has to be some way to relieve this pressure and pain without shelling out money for weekly massages, right? Right! Here are a few things worth trying to give your body some much-needed rest and recovery, and they all start with making a change!
Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! Despite my relatively even-keeled, chill, and positive personality, I can surprisingly be a rather anxious person. While never debilitating or persistent, my anxiety can sometimes flair up when I have to present a major project, sit for an exam, drive behind a slow driver, or wait for a crush to respond to a text. My hands get sweaty, my heart starts racing, and it’s so hard to breathe. I know that sounds terribly dramatic, but those moments often feel dramatic and high-stakes. If this sounds remotely familiar, I want you to know you’re not alone. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 25% of 13 to 18 year olds have an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.
Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! How are we feeling at this midway point of the week and the first day of February (can you believe it)? I’ve been feeling so heavy lately–partly because of all that’s been going on in the world and partly because of all the junk I’ve been consuming. Actually, the two are more intertwined than I initially thought. When I’m literally feeling weighed down by stress, I have a tendency to weigh myself down and eat things I shouldn’t like entire pizzas, cartons of ice cream, and burgers galore, and to say this has been a stressful and overwhelming time feels like a bit of an understatement. So instead of reaching for an unhealthy and unfulfilling meal, I try to whip up something quick, easy, and nutritious like this Avocado Salad (it’s vegan, too!).
Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday: Avocado Salad”
Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends. One of the things I love about the start of a new year is all of the energy and excitement this fresh start brings to so many. New beginnings are awesome because they provide a great opportunity to evaluate our lives, get focused, and let go of what may have weighed us down in the previous year. The thing is, when we choose resolutions, they’re oftentimes so big, we lose sight of the small details and tiny moments that may fall between the cracks. So, here’s a challenge for 2017: let’s be present and pay closer attention to those seemingly insignificant and mundane moments of everyday life because remembering those moments are just as important as accomplishing your big goals for the year! How?
Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday: A Jar of Hearts”
Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! Apologies for the late post, but better late than never, right? With just three days left of 2016, it’s time to start goal-setting and resolution-making. If you’ve been following the Kermit Says… Instagram page (@kermitsays1), you know I’ve been obsessing over Lara Casey’s novel and powersheets, hoping she’ll shed some much-needed tips on how I can intentionally create a purposeful life, and I thought I’d share some of those tips with you as well. But before we bust out the papers and pens for specific goal-setting, I thought we could get creative and break out the poster board, markers, scissors, glue, and magazines. That’s right, today we’re talking about vision boards.
I know so many people who avoid drinking water like it’s the plague. In fact, NPR reports that “one-quarter of a broad cross-section of children ages 6 to 19 apparently don’t drink any water as part of their fluid intake.” I’ve heard so many excuses as to why: It’s too cold. It’s too bland. I can’t drink it without a straw. Tap water is gross and dirty. Bottled water is not environmentally friendly. Blah blah blah. While water might not be the most exciting drink, consuming the necessary amount of this natural, delicious treasure has serious health benefits. If you drink at least 8 12-ounce glasses of water every day, you’ll have clearer skin, more energy and focused attention, increased metabolism and weight loss, reduced headaches and mood swings, and stronger kidneys, liver, and heart. If the taste and accessibility are the two main reasons why you’re not quenching that H2O thirst, I’ve provided a few refreshing fruit infused water recipes to spice things up and a list of affordable, reusable water bottles to carry your water with you wherever you go:
One of my favorite contemporary poets recently posted some beautiful words of wisdom and comfort on her Instagram that I think are worth sharing:
“Even when you feel like the world has let you down, please remember who you are and what you stand for.”- Alex Elle