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Love Yourself this Valentine's season
Valentine's day is always a struggle for me because I battle with myself on wanting to be pampered, receiving gifts and celebrating the commerical event, or resorting to my home and living out the February day as a hermit that wants nothing to do with the friviloius affairs. Maybe the battle I have with Valentine's day has to do with my emotional well-being when the day approaches. Am I flutuating my mood based on my current relationship situation? Do I embaced the ideas of this day when I am in love another and my relationship status is checking all the boxes? Am I worried about not receivng the type of outward forms of affection from another person that I believe I deserve? Am I sacrificing the lack of self-love I have for myself and expecting someone else to provide me with love that I have not given to myself? Do any of these questions pair with your thoughts? Do any of these questions hit a little too close for comfort? I am sure you are wondering what does loving yourself have to do with your feelings for Valentine's day? I will let you answer this question by allowing you to do a quick check-in with yourself? Ask yourself this one question, What are your true feelings about V-day this year? Go ahead, I will wait... Now if you have any emotional jitters tied to this day, then I would ask you, Why you are so emotional about A DAY? Are there let downs, surprises, unmet expectations, or disappointments that are attached to this day for the past? What about this year? Is there some external joy or expectation that is causing you to have a certain emotion tied to Valentine's Day this year? Regardless of your external emotions, I would challenge you to look inwards a focus on your own self-love you are giving to yourself right now. Ask yourself a couple of questions. Do I love myself today? How have I showed love to myself today? What can I do today to show myself some love? The love 💓 or lack of love 💔 you are showing towards yourself is vital to understanding how you want to be shown love externally. The reward in loving yourself is internal acceptance of who you are and accepting your situation in the here and now. It causes you to releasing the disappointments of the past, and the pressures of the future are subdued and play minimal roles in your current life. When we love ourselves, we are not influenced by a certain day on the calendar. We accept the day for all of its glory and natural intent. We share love on Valentine's Day, and the first person we should love on this day is ourselves. When we are authentic and show favour to ourselves first, then no one else can hinder our day. The let downs will be minimal and the surprises will be enhanced, because you love yourself first and put your needs first. Therefore we have to learn to remove the emotions we give to the day and use our emotions to love ourselves more. Your relationship status may read single, couple, or it's complicated, however, your relationship status to yourself should read: Loved Accepted Appreciated Cared for unconditional be me Other (you filled in whatever else you need to be loved) Make February 14th a day where you cater to yourself and understand how to love yourself, and lessen the need to be love by another. Learn to make Valentine's Day everyday and when February 14th comes around you will treat it like any other day of the week in your life. Giving love to yourself and sharing love with others. SNH Finding a therapist is easier than most think. Ask family and friends or do a quick Google search for a therapist in the area. Psychology Today is also a great resource to search for many therapists at once About the Author: Shawnesse Herbert is a licensed professional counselor in Cypress, TX. Shawnesse is also the creator of DIscover S.E.LF. PLLC and has been working in the mental health field for the last three years. She has a Masters of Arts in Counseling from Prairie View A&M. She has clinical counseling experience working in a local Behavioral Health Hospital in Richmond county and therapeutic counseling in Harris county. Ms. Herbert has a 14-year extensive background history in education working with preteens and teens. Along with her dedication to self-care and self-love of oneself, she specializes in support individuals dealing with depression and anxiety. Learn more about her passions here .
Surviving your struggle.
Life is a struggle no matter how perfect you try to make yourself. It is impossible to avoid the pitfalls life is bound to fall upon your life. Regardless of the many tests and trials, you have experienced along your life journey, there always seems to be another test bigger and harder than the last one you experienced. They seem to side-swap you when you least expect it. Everyone handles life's challenges in many ways. Some roll with the punches and keep on moving coexisting with the dilemma as if it never happened. Others get so consumed with the situation that they regress and harbor the event as a boulder they carry with them for the rest of their life. If you are like me, you try to control the events and tend to hinder the situation than help the outcome. So how do you handle a crisis that comes your way? Should you let it consume you? Should you give in to the temptation of defeat? How do you really survive a struggle that you were never prepared to have in the first place? I have learned through my personal life struggles that you can not avoid the crazy that life throws in your face. You will never be prepared for the new struggle that has hijacked your life because all struggles are not equal. You can not prepare for it like its a big exam or an interview for a new position. Believe me, it going to blindside you. We have to stop the mentality that we are going to Olive Pope this event, tragedy, loss, setback, or situation that has entered our lives. To survive the struggle, you have to ride the wave. Before an experienced surf "rides a wave" they do a couple of things to ensure they are ready for the ride. First, they have to balance themselves on their board, then assess the wave and lastly get up and prepare to take on the ride. The same mentality can be applied when facing our own life struggles. I suggest 3 key steps. Do a Mental Check-In Assess the Challenge Live in the Struggle (i.e. ride the wave) A mental check-in is exactly what it sounds like; what are your current emotions. Name them, acknowledge them, feel them, and accept all the emotions that have arisen with this new life challenge. If you can not identify your emotions and regulate them, then there is no way you can successfully handle whatever life is giving you. Assess the challenge that lies in front of you and determine your ability to successfully deal with the rollercoaster life has given you during your current turmoil. Ask yourself, a series of questions, Is this a new test? Have you dealt with this problem before in the past? How is it similar? What makes this problem so much more difficult to handle? Once you start mentally assessing your abilities to handle the circumstance, you will know if you have all the tools to go at it alone or call in for reinforcement. I strongly suggest you have a strong, but a small circle of advisors that are level headed and mentally fit to support you when you need it. Living in the struggle is the hardest part, you have to face the reality that your world is changing and the outcome may not be to your likening. We can not fight the unimaginable elements that are handed to us. Surfers prepare to take on a wave, but I am sure they will tell you that no wave is the same, and once you are on the wave you do your best to remain in your form and glide with the wave. Just like a surfer can not tell a wave when and how to end, we can not dictate our struggle and get off when we do not like where it is heading. All we can do is manage our emotions, assess the situation, and accept the new normal, regardless of how temporary or permanent it may be. Too often, we want to rush through the pain and hardships, push down the regret and loss, dismiss the failure, and tunnel our way to the next life event. When we dismiss the situation and handle them in unhealthy ways, the situation never goes away it just silently grows until we can not bear the pressure and spiral out. Therefore do the mental work now before the wave hits. Love yourself enough to get in a healthy headspace, practice good self-care, dive deep into yourself and discover who you really are before hardship hits. You will be all the better for it. SNH Finding a therapist is easier than most think. Ask family and friends or do a quick Google search for a therapist in the area. Psychology Today is also a great resource to search for many therapists at once. About the Author: Shawnesse Herbert is a licensed professional counselor in Cypress, TX. Shawnesse is also the creator of DIscover S.E.LF. and has been working in the mental health field for the last three years. She has a Masters of Arts in Counseling from Prairie View A&M. She has clinical counseling experience working in a local Behavioral Health Hospital in Richmond county and therapeutic counseling in Harris county. Ms. Herbert has a 14-year extensive background history in education working with preteens and teens. Along with her dedication to self-care and self-love of oneself, she specializes in support individuals dealing with depression and anxiety. Learn more about her passions here .
COVID-19 and your Mental Health
I really debated if I wanted to write a post about COVID-19. I mean we are being submerged with constant information about this global pandemic and no matter where you look it has taken over our lives. I was thinking who needs another article on this virus and how it disrupts your life. You know how it affects you right? Or do you? COVID-19 is outside your home affecting what happens inside of your home taking a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. Many of us are trying to avoid the COVID 15 when it comes to weight gain, and others are desperately trying to stick to some routine while not feeling like they are trapped in a twilight zone or living a modern-day Groundhog's Day. What many of us fail to realize, myself included, is that we are stuck so much on the idea of keeping normalcy in our lives, that we may be neglecting our own mental health signs. We are so busy trying to keep it together that we may be failing day by day. What is the best defense to this new normal we are currently living in? Start by being more self-aware of your daily routines and interactions. I have provided a quick self-check-in assessment to get you stated. Mental Health Self-Check-In How often are you... Watching the news? Getting fresh air? Talking to family and friends? Doing something enjoyable? Laughing? Resting/Relaxing? Getting at least 6 hours of sleep? Stressing about the unknown? Keeping routine doctor appointments?
This is just a simple and quick assessment you can do to gauge where you are spending your time and energy. In fact, you can also make your own questionnaire to survey your current daily activities. Regardless of your answers, the point is to start being mindful and track your activities. After the check-in, log your quantity and determine your mood around each activity. Ask yourself, am I stressed, has this activity increased or decreased my anxiety, am I feeling hopeless, do you feel energized or depleted? The answers to these questions are clues to gauging your mental health. Next, plan to make real changes that will support a healthier mental health state. Start creating limits and boundaries on activities that create a negative mood and plan more time on activities that bring you joy and support your personal well-being. Do this activity as many times as you need to stay grounded and mindful and share with close family and friends who would benefit from this assessment as well.
Remember everything is a process in this new pandemic world. Yet, self-care and mindfulness practices are still effective during this time. If your mental health is being seriously affective, find a local therapist and set up an appointment. There is nothing wrong with professional guidance. SNH
Start. Do. Keep. Repeat.
Keeping a self-care routine is critical right now. During this pandemic, it is so easy to get in a slump. Regardless of your quarantine environment; self-isolating by yourself or with others. Self-care is still critical to maintaining positive energy and staying mentally healthy. Many of us are working from home and having to still tend to a significant other, children, pets, plants, etc. The television is screaming the local and national news at us. Technology is in heavy rotation constantly stealing our attention. Our cellphones are on a constant busy because someone on the other line needs an escape from their immediate reality. With all the chaos around us, society has still managed to overwhelm us, stress us, and increase anxiety while being at home. Like, how is this possible? I am now stressed out in my happy place, the one place I wanted to be when I am not at work. We have allowed the outside world to enter our domain and who knows how long this new normal will last. Stop the madness and regain control of your self-care now. Additionally, if you have always struggled with sketching out some time to create self-care this is a perfect time to draw a line in the sand, or at least in your living room and take a stand for yourself. Start a routine that makes you happy and do it daily. My go-to is morning yoga. I start each day with a 35-45 minute routine. I do this first thing, before I check emails, send a text, open my Instagram, or even eat breakfast. I open my yoga app, throw down my mat, and get lost in stimulating my mind, rejuvenating my muscles, and finding stillness in the morning air. I challenge myself to keep my mind clear and focus on my breathing and relaxing my muscles. The calmness and stillness that thrives through my mind, body, and soul help me reduce the stress of starting the day. I notice how grounded I am once I finish my routine. I end my routine in savasana and allow myself to meditate, give thanks to my creator, and empower myself to do the best I can on this day.
Find the routine that works for you and start it now, do not hesitate, or wait. If you do, you will never start. Trust me, I am guilty of this as well. So how do you pick the right routine? By listening to your body. Your body knows what it needs and will help you pick the right routine. Yoga and daily meditation are my go-to routines. When I miss a day, watch out world, I am nothing nice. My thinking is off, I am not as efficient as I know I can be, and I feel crabby all day long. So, listen to what your body needs, it will tell you. If you feel heavy and lethargic, find an exercise routine you can do. Your hands can not stay still, think about gardening or home improvement projects. Your mind will not stay focused, start journaling, drawing, or get yourself an adult coloring book with dynamic color markers. This will help you mind rest. The secret is your body is telling you what it needs; you need to do a better job of listening. You will know you found the right routine when you find yourself looking forward to engaging in the act daily. Once your routine starts, keep it and repeat daily to fully reap the benefits of self-soothing your mind, body, and soul. It will quickly become a necessity in your daily life, allowing you to support your self-care needs. So don’t hesitate, find a quiet space, take a deep breath in, hold it, and then exhale. Repeat until you are calm and start mentally searching your body for your new self-care routine. I believe in your efforts. SNH
As we are experiencing this pandemic together, many of us may start to feel anxious and out of control. I want to remind you to stay mindful of the current moment. Now is the perfect time to seize the day and take advantage of staying at home. I always like to take a step back and access the situation in its current state. Yes, the current way of life may be scary due to the uncertainty of decisions being made and every day another freedom seems to be suspended. Yet, I tend to look at my situation and find areas that I still have control of in my immediate life. There are things that I can do to ease my fears and nurture my mental health. Staying mentally healthy is key to calming youranxieties and learning how to stay in control when everything around you is chaotic Take this time to empower yourself and start a new project or finish a project you keep putting off. Welcome this time to learn more about yourself and love ones. Challenge yourself to explore new tasks and check-in with old friends and rekindle family connections. This is a perfect time to learn how to do video chats. Be inspired to get off-line, stop watching so much news and start a garden, do some landscaping, revamp your indoor and outdoor space. Take advantage of the time and encourage yourself to be still and meditate and learn how to relax. Staying grounded and mindful of the current moment will help ease your mind and enhance your senses. Direct your attention to the birds and the songs they sing. Notice the color of the flowers and the leaves. When was the last time you gazed at the sky and admired the clouds in the sky? Make the most of this time and self-empower yourself to create a vision board, set goals, or simply fall in love with yourself and admire how strong you really are in unpredictable times. Give yourself credit for making it through the day and embrace the uncertainty. We will get through this!
Yes... it is Valentine's Day.
I tend to go back and forth on should I celebrate, acknowledge, commercialize, belittle, or straight out shade (read for fifth) Valentine's Day. I mean who does Valentine really think it is getting into my business and telling me I need to love on this day? Why should I succumb to the idea of spending time with loved ones, romanticizing them, or expressing love on this day? Like really, is it necessary? Truthfully, what is wrong with the idea of showing love? Why do we get bent out of shape because society is encouraging us to love on one day out of 365 days? It can not be too bad to tell the people in our lives that we love them. I agree that the commercialization of candies, flowers, jewelry, and sexual gratification is grandiose. I do not believe one should fake love or throw it around carelessly. It does not take much money to shower your loved ones with love. This is a perfect day to think of those individuals who you love and celebrate them. When was the last time you told them you loved them, gave them a hug, or simply showed them attention? Anyone you can not express love to probably should not be in your life anyway so actually Valentine's Day is doing you a favor and holding you accountable for who should and should not be in your life. Now being single on V-Day can be very challenging and sometimes traumatic. I understand and I have been their more times than I want to admit. Here is when self-love really comes into play. Do not let this day hijack your happiness. Do what makes you happy on this day. Yes, it can feel awful seeing everyone get flowers, cards, candies, blowing up their social media accounts with the most amazing gifts. I challenge you to reject the temptation of unhappiness and loneliness. Jump start your love for yourself. Send yourself flowers, wear something sexy for yourself. Put yourself first by doing something nice for yourself. A healthy positive self-love includes doing whatever makes yourself happy to create positive self-thoughts. This is the best time to cater to your own needs. Plan a date night with yourself. Go to your favorite restaurant or try a new one. If that seems to extreme order to go. Go to the movies with friends or family. The alternative could be to watch the best relationship bashing movie available or snuggle up with a blanket and watch your favorite love story in your home alone. Plus, you can eat all the popcorn you want and don't have to worry about someone else's hand in the popcorn. The point is do what makes YOU happy. Think of Valentine's Day as your day to be good to you. So seize the day. Let's not let Valentine's Day be bleak and melancholy. Choose your journey for the day. Be free and live in bliss. 💜 SNH
Being overwhelmed can happen in an instant. Your mood and day can be going perfectly, and then suddenly the energy in the room changes. A conversation could shift, an emergency can pop up, a sudden deadline at work is uncovered. In an instance your cool, chill, " I got this" energy is eruptive. Typically, we react and respond to the situation without thinking about how we should respond. This is a dangerous place to stay in on a daily basis. Being in reactive mood everyday is a sign that you may need to take a step back and regain control of situations that are overwhelming and causing stress and anxiety in your life. When feeling stress and overwhelmed, it is important to ground yourself. These quick strategies with help you re-focus, slow down your heartbeat, and allow you to think through the stressful situation. Immediately take some time for yourself. Give yourself time to respond and let the individuals around know you need a moment Ensure them you will address the matter in plenty of time. It is perfectly alright to insert some space from the situation or person. Take your "SERENITY NOW" moment using one of this strategies. Take a quick walk. Cycle through some breathing exercises. Squeeze a stress ball for a couple of minutes. Recite positive affirmations such as, " I can handle this situation", " I will live past this moment", "This situation is not my whole life" . Listen to a soothing or motivation song/beat. Keep this on repeat until you feel relaxed. Watch a quick motivational video. Find a quiet spot and be still. Meditate. Watch a funny video. Learn to find moments in your day to reclaim serenity when the pressure is building up. Use the strategies mention and better yet create your own calming strategy. Learning to take control of the situation is the key to staying level headed and nurturing your own self-care and self-love. SNH
2020... I'm A Boss!
It is the start of a new decade, we have wished everyone a happy new year, created new year resolutions, and already contemplated on quitting those resolutions. Why do we quit resolutions so quickly before we can fully commit to these ideas of self-improvement? What commitments do we keep and which commitments do we quickly toss away? The key to commitments is to make them apart of your true inner-self. Personalize them so they can be rooted to who you are aiming to become or who you are covering up. Be bold in creating a resolution and skip out on the petty, gimmicky, and cliché ideas of self-improvement and really dig deep and demand yourself to create something that wills you into becoming a better you. Diagnose your internal symptoms. Prescribe yourself a goal that empowers you from the inside out. Live your life that helps you conquer your goal and watch how those socially acceptable resolutions slide right in and show up without you even noticing. In 2020, I'm a boss! I'm taking ownership of what has been lying dominant in me for so long. I walking this year from beginning to end creating opportunities to propel me into my goals. I am strong-stepping into my runway taking charge and living out my true self. Challenge yourself to create a resolution that focuses on more than physical attributes or financial well-being. Focus on a goal that reveals the real you. Treat yourself to something more than a socially acceptable challenge.