Wellness Wednesday: Choose You

Vallejo Times Herald photo“As you become more successful and further down the road of purpose, more opportunities will come your way. It doesn’t get easier to decide between each one but the wisdom gained along the way makes it easier to know which one(s) are best for YOU.  Choose you” ~ Rhachelle Nicol’

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Big Hats High Tea

Hats

hat is a head covering. It can be worn for protection against the elements, for ceremonial reason, religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory.  In the past, hats were an indicator of social status.  In the military, they may denote nationality, branch of service, rank and/or regiment.

I remember growing up and my mother wearing hats to church.  I always told myself “I will never wear hats like my mother.”   My mother was serious about her hats.  Each hat had its own hat box, suit that it was designated to be worn with and she knew if one of her hats were missing or had been moved.  Her love for hats even led to her opening and operating her own hat store.  She was known for hats and those that wanted a hat knew she would have what they desired.

I also paid close attention to how she took care of her hats.  Inside each hats’ box there was paper that could be used to stuff in to the hat so that it wouldn’t lose its shape until the next time it was worn.  In the hat store, there were hat stands and mannequin heads used for this same purpose.  But extra care had to be given to those hats in order to prevent dust from accumulating and the color fading.  They were frequently rotated in and out of the front window and on and off the floor.

From watching my mother in business, I learned a lot about hats.  I learned that hats are seasonal, you can’t wear every hat during every season.  There are summer hats, winter hats, fall and spring hats.  The materials change and even colors but the intent or purpose is typically the same.  And the condition of a hat is determined by how it is cared for.

Often times, in our lives we wear hats, some by choice and others out of necessity in order to ensure that things are covered.  I myself wear quite a few hats, mother, provider, teacher, nurse, cook, employee, business owner, housekeeper and more.  Most of the hats that I/we wear are not seasonal but at times we have to find a way to take them off, allowing time for reshaping and regrouping.

There are some hats that I would have never stopped wearing if the wind hadn’t gotten up under them and blew them off.  But it was necessary so that I could maintain the condition of the other hats.  It was also necessary because I had held on to them and continued to wear them beyond their season.

If you are in the Las Vegas, NV area join us tomorrow as I share more about Hats.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.christiantees.storenvy.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

Balance: Disconnecting To Reconnect

phone_off_hook_arsNote: This post is sponsored by MMG for the Colgate Total Campaign. All opinions are my own.

This past weekend I made an executive decision to disconnect.  I didn’t answer my phone all weekend and it felt so good.  I realized that after working a full time job Monday – Friday, I need time to unwind, reflect, replenish and just relax.  I had gotten so accustomed to just being available that I was not available to myself, my children or projects.  It definitely had an impact on my focus.  Well disconnecting definitely won’t be a one time thing, I am taking back the reigns over my weekends. I am going to make it a point to set out some time to just be.

Allowing myself to disconnect, I was able to reconnect with those that matter most, my children and I found myself having more energy when Monday came around.  How do you disconnect to reconnect?  Do you disconnect from social media?  Do you go on an outdoor adventure?

Here are 3 ways that you can disconnect:

-Plan a road trip: Easter weekend, my children and I hit the road and drove from NV to CA to spend time with family.  Not only did we have some quality family time but I was able to relax.  My sister was on kitchen duty the entire weekend.

-Sign out of social media: Social media has a way of pulling you in and never letting you go.  You end up vicariously living through the lives of those you are connected to and forget that you can too can make those same memories in your own special way.  If signing out is not enough, delete the apps from your phone or tablets.  You can also schedule post if you must.  I like using Hootsuite and now Facebook pages also allow for scheduling.

-Leave a message at the tone:  I chose not to answer the phone.  I didn’t record a special message or anything but I made myself unavailable.  I also noticed that since I intentionally was not answering my phone, I didn’t feel the need to have it within arm’s distance.

With Mother’s Day approaching, it would be great to take some time out and disconnect.  Enjoy your children and families there will be plenty of time to turn the noise up that surrounds us daily.   Health and wellness is a lifestyle.  What are you going to do differently?

Colgate Total Kickoff

Note: This post is sponsored by MMG for the Colgate Total Campaign. All opinions are my own.

May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month.  I always try to do my part to increase awareness, provide resources and tips to living a healthy life both mentally and physically.  I also do not limit myself to one month out of the year to share about health and wellness.  So when I was presented with an opportunity to be a Brand Ambassador for the Colgate Total Campaign, I didn’t have to think twice about it.  Today is the kick-off for the Colgate Total Campaign and the start of 6 months of writing on the topic of personal health and wellness.

Over the next 6 months, I will be sharing with you not only tips that I think you should incorporate into your journey to health and wellness but tips that I am also making an effort to make a habit in my day to day life.

Creating Balance:

I sometimes struggle with consistency in this area.  However, I am realizing that I get more done, experience less anxiety and have more energy when I have balance.  So I will be sharing some activities that I will be engaging in to create balance.

Getting Active:

So I have not technically worked out since I was in college.  I don’t have a gym membership.  I don’t take morning or evening walks.  My extent of being active is walking from my car to the front door.  In my defense, I do chase my 5 and 6 year old around quite a bit.  But I am going to consciously make an effort to get active.  I may not rush to get a gym membership but I am definitely going to start taking some evening walks.  I actually signed up for a 1k walk on May 17th.  I will let you know how that goes.

Silencing The Negative Talk:

I am typically a positive person but I am also very aware of the obstacles that I face.  I have learned to work through them and not allow anything to stop me.  But every once in a while I allow the volume of the negative talk to get turned up louder than I would like.  Over the past two days, I have been listening to some motivational podcast.  Les Brown has been my motivational speaker of choice and I plan to continue to listen to his messages.

Do we have any areas in common that need some working on? What is an area that you need to work on?  Although, May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness month, living a healthy life takes a 365 day a year commitment.  Join me on my journey.

 

Wellness Wednesday: Even Strong Women Have Depression

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Depression may be one of the most trivial and common mental health issues that people struggle to understand and ultimately seek help for.  Depression is a medical condition that can affect many aspects of a person’s life.  It can be caused by imbalances in brain chemistry. But it can also be triggered by stress, poor nutrition, physical illness, personal loss, and school or relationship difficulties.  Today’s Wellness Wednesday post is brought to you by Jenee Darden aka Cocoafly

I remember my early battles with depression began around 14 years old. The years of enduring bullying for being smart, nerdy and having darker skin started to get to me. And I fell into a deep, deep sadness. People told me to “cheer up,” ignore those hating on you and be strong. I mentally beat myself up for not being strong enough. I was a talented, young black woman from East Oakland with a very bright future. But I thought depression was hindering me from becoming the strong black woman that is expected of women in my community.

When depression hit me hard in college, I still saw myself as weak. Which in turn made me feel less authentic as a black woman. The family issues I tried to brush under my mental rug were weighing me down. The stress from academics and attending one of the least diverse schools in the University of California system didn’t help either. I was hard on myself for being tearful and feeling hurt when relatives or friends intentionally tried to hurt me. I was supposed to have the “forget you” attitude, and feelings of steel when people attacked.  I was supposed to just let it go and cheer up. But depression takes more than just cheering up. And while I struggled to get out of that abyss for a number of years, I kept putting myself down for actually having feelings. Sounds silly doesn’t it?  Somehow I forgot I was human.

We’ve equated being a strong woman as not breaking when life hurls its worst at you. That ideology keeps some of us from getting counseling. That ideology keeps us from feeling our feelings, and in turn we suppress our pain with drugs, alcohol, food or bad relationships.  I remember taking a mindfulness class in the psychiatry department at Kaiser and the instructor told us when we have a feeling, just feel it. It may be tough, but it will pass. However she mentioned the key is to be mindful of how we react to our feelings. For instance, if you’re angry and hurt because of a failed relationship, let those feelings run through your body. Recognize those feelings, have compassion for yourself.  But don’t go out and do a Jazmine Sullivan on his car.

Luckily I had great therapists who helped me to be less critical. Through a lot of self-reflection, reading books by people like Iyanla Vanzant, watching Oprah shows on spirituality, mindfulness, prayer, journaling and talking to others, I learned to have compassion for myself.  Then I saw the strong woman in me.

I realized it takes a strong woman to ask for help. It takes a strong woman to feel her feelings, even when it hurts like hell. It takes a strong woman to accept she has a mental health challenge and to love herself. It takes a strong woman to excel in higher education and her media career while living with a mental health challenge.  It takes a strong woman to take care of both her physical and mental health.

I’ve worked in mental health advocacy for a few years now. I’m blessed to host a radio podcast called “Mental Health and Wellness Radio.” I’ve interviewed people living with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. They are some of the strongest people I’ve ever met.  They’ve been through a lot, but they still keep LIVING and THRIVING. Sharing their personal stories and message of hope for others facing mental health challenges makes them strong. And my advocacy work helped erase the shame I had about my depression.  My work and the show allowed me to see I’m not alone in my struggles and triumphs with mental health challenges.

I know society has its expectations of what it takes to be a strong woman, or in my case, a strong black woman.  But those expectations weren’t good for my wellness. I hope if you are struggling with any mental health challenge, that you get help. Or even if you’re depression stems from a bad event in your life (i.e. a death, an injury, financial problems, torn relationship), I hope you talk to someone. One in four Americans have a mental health challenge. So trust when I say you’re not alone. And trust when I say there’s probably someone in your life with a mental health problem. You may not even know it.

Getting help doesn’t make you weak. It help makes you feel better. Getting help makes you stronger.

Jenee Darden Bio Photo

About The Writer:

Jeneé Darden holds a BA from UC San Diego and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and the National Association of Black Journalists. Jenee loves creative writing as well. The National Book Foundation awarded her a summer writing fellowship in 2003. She is the host of the award-winning podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.  In 2005, she contributed reporting on the London transit bombings for Time magazine’s Europe edition. Ms. Darden is the 2012 recipient of the New America Media Award for Outstanding Community Reporting-Radio.  Jeneé Darden is available for interviews and speaking engagements.

Wellness Wednesdays: will focus on various mental health issues, healthy ways to deal with stress, change and transitions and also where to seek help or advice if you suffer from a mental illness.  If you would be interested in contributing or sharing your story, email rn (at) rhachellenicol (dot) com with your topic of interest.