Spending $$ + Time on sheet masks, socks, hair products, + a freaking lot of books

This is about making yourself a priority and taking care of yourself both physically and mentally because As 6lack once said “Self love ain’t selfish”.

Goooood afternoon my lovely reader. I hope your day has been productive and energizing thus far.

*Read to the end to hear why self care is crucial to our well-being.

Today, Thursday February 27th, I woke up at 6:30AM, scrolled through my minimal amount of notifications on my phone, then drew myself out of bed to walk into the living room. I made my way outside of the bedroom to a very excited Rye Rye. Some mornings he’s just amped to get out of his crate and once he’s out he literally spins around in circles like he just won first place in the Puppy Bowl.

Next stop is the restroom where Riley follows me. I run through some eye rolling at him then put on my black jacket, pink slippers, and Riley’s University of Oklahoma collar and we head to the dog run. We don’t go in sync though. I don’t leash the beast so he leaps and bounds (literally) through the hallway to the door that he anxiously (think of a child who has to go to the bathroom, kind of moving around awkwardly) waits for me to open the door.

Eventually we make it to the dog run and in my head I’m crossing my fingers no ones there because 1) I am in no mood to chit chat yet and 2) My hair is a disaster up on the top of my head in a scrunchie. Okay we’re in the clear. Time to scurry back up to the 4th floor.

Once I’m back in the safety of my own apartment, I read a few pages in “Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown. I reread page 67 4-5 times and subsequently post it on my Instagram story because that’s what I do. After reading while drinking a cup of coffee with BulletProof brain octane fuel, I change into my black + grey camo align yoga pants & a light blue tank top for the gym. Time to get some energy flowing through my body and brain.

Page 67 in “Braving the Wilderness”

After the gym, I’m back in apartment 40* (I can’t have you guys sending me gifts all the time ya know) with a fresh cup of coffee. I turn on the shower, hop in because it warms up in .005 seconds, and we’re off to the races. Shampoo, conditioner, Dove body wash, Billie razor… the whole gang is hanging out this morning.

The shower was much needed and so is a sheet mask. I put on my large, to the floor, raspberry pink bathrobe and slap a face mask on my semi-broken out skin. Now I’m combing leave in conditioner through my hair while pulling out my make-up of the day choices. Nars blush, CVS mascara, Beauty Counter foundation, Two Faced bronzer, Anastasia eyebrow goop, and some more two faced products. BUT wait! Don’t be fooled, we still need to moisturize. I grab my Drunk Elephant face moisturizer and dab that bad boy on post face mask. And then I think…. “hmm let’s ice roll”. So I take a few steps from my bathroom over to my kitchen fridge and take out my translucent green ice roller from the freezer.

Roll on the left cheek, roll on the chin, roll on the forehead…. okayyyy I keep rolling until I can’t roll no more.

After applying my make-up I figure it’s time to get dressed and we’re not doing athlesiure today ladies (insert round of applause gif). Today I’m feeling a beige turtleneck, some knee ripped Madewell jeans, and Bomba socks so I can metaphorically walk on the clouds. BAM, we’re done. We’re clothed. We’re ready to take on this wonderful Thursday.

Fast forward 4 hours and here I am over lunch writing about why self care can lead to greater self love. I’m in a great headspace this morning and feel super productive and I think that’s because I prioritize taking care of myself– Physically and mentally. As 6lack once said “Self love ain’t selfish”. It’s OKAY to buy pricey socks if it makes you happy. It’s OKAY to have a recurring order on Amazon for face masks. It’s OKAY to take the time to go to the gym. It’s OKAY to watch reality tv shows to let your mind rest. It’s OKAY to buy more books even though you haven’t finished the other 7 on your book shelf yet. It’s OKAY to turn your phone on airplane mode for a day. It’s OKAY to take care of yourself and do things that make your heart smile in that moment. & don’t feel guilty about it!

The more you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of your other relationships — friendships, family members, boyfriend, dog, siamese kitten.

Put your oxygen mask on first.

How one girl went from no followers to over 2 million

Being vulnerable is extremely difficult because it’s the process of emotionally exposing ourselves which takes courage and bravery.

Here’s a question: How many of you like to watch youtube videos? I ask because whenever I see a new video from fitness guru Whitney Simmons come out I’m on it like white on rice. I like her because she’s relatable and genuine. I’m consistently watching videos or reading about people that I see myself in and that I aspire to be like. It’s human nature.

We do this to feel connected to something or someone because connection gives us meaning and purpose in our lives. When we feel connected to ourselves and others we feel like we belong. The reason why Whitney Simmons has such a large following and why millions (over 2.7 million) of people feel connected when they watch her videos or read her Instagram posts is because she is vulnerable.

Brené Brown has studied vulnerability for 20+ years and her research shows that people with a deep sense of self-worthiness are the ones who “fully embrace vulnerability”. When we embrace uncertainty and put our true selves out there for the world to see, we are showing vulnerability. Being vulnerable is extremely difficult because it’s the process of emotionally exposing ourselves which takes courage and bravery.

Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage

Brené Brown

Some examples of vulnerability are….

Saying no

Calling a friend that just got diagnosed with terminal cancer

Getting lunch with a family that unexpectedly lost their son

Replying to texts

Making a first appointment with a therapist to work through grief and insecurities

Saying “I love you” first

Starting a business

Coming out as gay

These are all actions that can evoke sheer nervousness, nauseousness, and anxiousness. These are things you may have been avoiding because they’re scary and seem dangerous. They’ll make your heart race, but will lead you to an amazing place of joy and greater self-worth. They’ll lead you to a better connection with yourself because “vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage,” she Brené Brown.

The more vulnerable we allow ourselves to be, the more joy we will have. Why? Because meaningful connections come from being vulnerable and being uncomfortable. You’re going to be uncomfortable before you’re truly comfortable.

Try putting your true self on the table each and every day and see how your life changes for the better. You’ll begin to see success and you’ll whole-heartedly believe you deserve it.

“I don’t want no one to know I’m vulnerable; why?
That makes me feel weak and so uncomfortable; why?” – NF

Resources:

Embrace vulnerability. Be brave.

Don’t give up on finding a therapist. Here’s how I found one

You will hit roadblocks along the way in this process. But you will find a therapist that will help you improve your self-esteem. You will find a therapist that will teach you techniques to overcome an unanticipated loss. You will find a therapist that you can work through your anger with.

If you’ve ever began the process of trying to find a therapist, then you know first-hand how truly difficult it can be. You’ve experienced starting and stopping around 50-100 times because each time you get a little closer to finding a potential match, there’s another roadblock. You think to yourself, “Okay, this lady looks great. She specializes in eating disorders and anxiety”. You start to look for her contact information and ROADBLOCK— She doesn’t accept your insurance.
So then you wait a few days and after your afternoon run the adrenaline and endorphins are flowing so you think to yourself, “Okay, let’s give this another try, there has to be someone out there”. So you type in a variety of search terms of what you’re looking for:

Female, PTSD, Aetna, within 5 miles, and stress.

Next, you click on a licensed professional counselor (LPC) that matches all 5 criteria objectives you typed in. You email her along with two others that could potentially work. ROADBLOCK— None of the three potential therapists are accepting new patients right now.

So you try again in a week. More and more roadblocks continue to pop-up and you’ve pretty much lost all hope in finding a therapist at this point.

There are an innumerable amount of barriers when it comes to finding a professional to talk to. It’s easy to find a dentist or a nail salon, but it can feel like it’s close to impossible to find a licensed therapist that’s right for you. What was specifically challenging for me is when I was finally ready to look into options, I quickly became defeated. Each time I tried searching on a variety of websites I hit a new roadblock– Not accepting new patients, too far from my house, hours that weren’t compatible with my work schedule, out of network providers, etc. After my brother died, I searched for someone to work through my trauma with on and off for over a year. You’d think that in NYC you’d be able to find what you’re looking for in 10 minutes, but that’s just not the case. Eventually I moved to Denver and after living here for two months I started the search again. With persistence and commitment to figuring this out, I finally had a great phone consultation that led to an appointment that was booked for the following week. These are the steps I took:

7 Steps to Finding a Therapist

  1. I used Psychology Today
    • I applied the following filters:
      • Zip code
      • Widened the search to 5 miles
      • Clicked “Cigna” as my insurance
      • “Show Only Women”
      • Selected Grief, Trauma & PTSD, & Anxiety

  2. Next, I opened a few profiles that looked interesting to me

  3. Then, I emailed them directly through psychologytoday.com
    • Here you provide basic information: Why you’re reaching out, your phone #, email, and name. I also wrote the name of my insurance provider in the message as well

  4. Now the ball is in the therapists court and you wait to hear back. I also recommend giving them a call at the number listed on their profile

  5. When your potential therapist gets back to you, set up a 15-30 minute initial phone consultation
    • The free consultation is very important.I cannot stress this enough. During this call, the therapist will ask you questions and you can ask them questions. Be transparent and open about why you’re looking for a therapist. This will give you a good gauge if this could be a good fit for you.
    • Examples of questions to ask:
      • Do you specialize in ___(anxiety, trauma, self esteem, relationship issues, bipolar)__
      • What does your availability and hours look like?
      • Do you accept my insurance? **This is very important because out-of-network costs can be through the roof. If the provider you’re looking at setting up an appointment with is in-network for you, then you will pay a co-pay (mine is $40 per session). You and the therapist should both call your insurance provider to confirm your benefits.
      • How long are your sessions?
      • How do we set up counseling goals specific to me?
    • I’m very sensitive to people’s voices and tone, which is another reason why an initial call is extremely beneficial.

  6. If the initial consultation goes well and you’re interested in setting up the first appointment, the therapist will likely have you send over three things via email:
    1. A picture of your insurance card (front + back)
    2. Your date of birth
    3. Your current address

  7. Lastly, confirm your appointment time and go.
    I highlight go because setting up an appointment can seem like a good idea now, but then the day comes and we make excuses for why we can’t go. Excuses like, “I haven’t seen this friend in a year and we should get dinner”. Response: You’ll be a better friend if you prioritize your health and wellbeing. Or this excuse: “I have to work late”. Response: Keep your commitments, you’ll be better at work if you prioritize your health and wellbeing.

    If this first appointment goes well, set-up a second appointment while you are in the office. If you’re on the fence as to whether this is the therapist for you, go to 1-3 more sessions and then make a decision to start looking again.

You may have to repeat this process several times until you find the therapist that fits your needs and wants. I did. You will hit roadblocks along the way. But you will find a therapist that will help you improve your self-esteem. You will find a therapist that will teach you techniques to overcome an unanticipated loss. You will find a therapist that you can work through your anger with. You will find a therapist that uses EMDR as a therapy method. You will find a therapist that is in-network that you can afford. You will find a therapist for you. Start by taking the first step. You’ll be even stronger than you already are afterwards.

When we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.

-Fred Rogers

4 Health Benefits of Dog Parks

With close to 50% of US households owning dogs, it’s nice to have easily accessible dog parks. Are you thinking about getting a dog?

There are currently 774 dog parks in the 100 largest cities in the U.S., 38 more than last year. Since 2009, there’s been a 40% increase in dog parks

BizJournals.com

When you live in an active, outdoorsy city, dog parks are a great way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. If you live in Boise, Idaho, you’re in luck. According to a report in 2018, Boise ranked #1 for number of dog parks. For every 100,000 people there are 6.7 dog parks in Boise. Portland, Oregon was a close second.

California appears on the list twice, which isn’t surprising as they were also ranked the healthiest state by US News in May of 2019 with only 11% of adults reporting poor mental health.

Benefit 1: EXERCISE

With close to 50% of US households owning dogs, it’s nice to have easily accessible dog parks. My dog park is about a 5-7 minute walk from my apartment, which adds an additional 10-20 minutes of walking into my daily routine, 3-5 days a week. Dogs are great at providing feelings of comfort and mental well-being, but they also significantly increase your amount of exercise you do on a regular basis.

Benefit 2: SOCIAL INTERACTION

By going to the dog park regularly, you’re likely to see the same familiar faces. People crave intimacy, but we often feel overwhelmed by others and the idea of initiating a conversation with an unfamiliar person can be intimidating. By going to the dog park regularly and seeing the same people over and over again, those familiar faces can provide comfort and feelings of safety. Eventually, you may make a deeper connection with one of those familiar faces due to the fact that we become attracted to what is familiar to us.

Benefit 3: FRESH AIR

Being outside provides significant benefits to your physical and mental health. Fresh air is great for strengthening your immune system. Fresh air is great for giving you a burst of energy. Fresh air is great for clearing our minds after a stressful start to the morning. Fresh air coupled with exercise and your pup screams healthy living!

Benefit 4: GOOD FOR YOUR DOG

Not only does taking the time to go to the dog park a few times a week (or everyday!) benefit you, but it’s great for your dog as well. The dog park will help your yellow lab get her exercise in. It’ll bring a pug and a poodle together. The dog park will allow you to establish trust with your new rescue dog when you play fetch together.

94% of millennials are wanting more dog parks. Do you live close to a dog park? Do you think your health could improve from making the dog park a part of your daily/weekly routine?