Relax, Relate, Release! How Bloggers Do Self-Care

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about self-care and how important it is for us to take care of ourselves.  Not only was I stressing its importance to readers, I was also reminding myself that taking care of self helps one to remain centered, balanced, and at peace with life.  After sharing my personal thoughts on self-care, I received some great feedback from you guys!  I asked you all how you practice (or would begin to practice) self care and these are some of your wonderful responses:

When I was in graduate school, and I was in the counseling field - that's when I really took self-care seriously. I was working full-time, going to school part-time and of course, was in a relationship - there's just too much to juggle on top of pages and pages of readings to do and papers to type. Having my alone time was (still is) a must. I also went to the gym more, ate healthier, etc. To this day, alone time is a part of my self-care routine. I still try to get enough sleep, I drink lots of water, go to the gym, eat healthier (i.e. lots of fruits, less sweets, if I want sweets, it's more of fruit snacks, such as dried food), I like to take long walks with my ipod, I read as much as I can, of course, blogging and tweeting with all of my favorite bloggers is a part of my self-care regimen. It really is important to do self-care. It feels good and if I take care of myself, then I'm better to care for others. ~Reni 

I have been trying to implement some practices into my regimen like doing breathing exercises and sitting in silence for 15min/day. Idk its weird but taking the time out to clean and organize my room really helps me. I just lock my door (I have two nieces lol), blast some music, and get to work. I channeled my inner Ty Pennington last week and moved around furniture and all. It was like a mini therapy session and I'm so proud of the outcome. ~Joey 

Having a 7 month old can sometimes get real hectic. Taking care of a child is a 24 hour job and can be overwhelming at times. I think mothers especially need that alone time to keep their sanity and to stay in tuned with themselves. After having a child i realized how much my alone time really meant before having her. I love my daughter with all that is me but sometimes i just need a "Ahhhhhh" moment. I just need some time to collect my thoughts and let go. Now im working on a schedule for my family as well as myself.This way i can get my... as Whitley would say RELAX, RELATE, RELEASE on lol. ~Elle

I so need to take better care of myself mentally. There are not enough hours in the day and sometimes the phrase "burnt out" is an understatement. One of the things I am excited about trying is meditating. There are several health benefits to it and overall sometimes you just have to learn to quiet your thoughts and just breathe .~ The BK Vixen

Just today I vowed to start taking better care of myself. Drinking more water and taking better care of my skin is first on my list. I have been doing so much that I haven't taken time for myself. I also think I am going to start journaling to sift through some of my thoughts and create my game plan for the next few months. ~Mimi of Unlikely Martha

Most of all, I need to improve my prayer life. I find that when I stay closely connected the blinders come off with the quickness. ~Nellie of Brooklyn Active Mama

I've actually been meaning to implement some self-care tips upon myself as of recently due to me feeling a bit "weathered" both physically and internally. A lot of my fatigue and lost-space of time comes from my new work as an editor. Recently I have had a bit of dry skin and hair, which is a result of dehydration and neglecting certain parts of my diet. Fortunately, Kim [of KimberlyLuxe] gave me some tips for how to "disguise" water casually into my daily routine without it appearing to be a "16 oz., 4 times a day" burden. I hope to drink more water along with take vitamins daily. So basically in short, two things I would like to start practicing soon for self-care reasons are: 1) Time management by way of writing more things down and getting into the habit of cracking open a physical agenda daily... versus just hitting the "snooze" on my Blackberry calender for each reminder that DOES come up. 2) Going back to paying attention to my skin and hair. Which is something I was religious about before and have since slacked on since my career. Bad skin and hair is not something that bothers me for vain reasons. It bothers me because that means internally, my homeostasis is imbalanced and that something is missing from my diet and is now only beginning to show on my exterior. I truly hope to stick to vitamins, water and more rest. ~Soraya 

I have a hard time saying NO. I've learned that YES is a commitment and NO is a choice. Sometimes, you can't be there ALL of the time and that is okay. That is LIFE. Some things that I do for a self check in, spend as much alone time as possible. I have people that visit my house daily and although I love these people, I need peace sometimes (we all do). Time to think, smile and be at peace on my own is important to me. I drink lots of water, laugh often and write down EVERYTHING. I also read or listen to audio books, walk (daily) and frequent the gym. I would love to start adding other fun things to my self-care check. ~Daja of No Boiz Allowed

Thank you ladies for sharing your thoughts!  I appreciate you! I would also like to thank each and every one of you who reads the blog, shares your thoughts in the comments section, interacts with me on Twitter and/or interacts with the blog via Facebook.  I am thankful for all the new followers as well as those of you who have been following for some time now.  You guys are the greatest and you absolutely rock!

Late Night Editing: A Poem

Lately I find myself
perfecting my craft
proofreading for grammatical errors
and correcting my math.
Hoping that when I come to you
I come correct
and wishing that by default
we connect.

Your intellect and confidence
inspire me to explore.
Your crafty way with words
leaves me craving for more.

I want, I need, I got to have
and yearn to soon devour
your essence, authenticity,
your wit and sense of power.

I wonder should I start
by taking slow sips of your soul
or if I should lick my lips
and commence to swallow whole?
Knowing full well my diet
doesn't allow me to ingest
your flavor, your taste-
I confess as I digress.

I must stick to the task at hand:
work more and daydream less.
Even though I do believe
You'll be my test.

....glad I got that off my chest.... carry on

photo by Nick Owuor on Unsplash

Pink Wednesday Nail Inspiration

Check out this week's pink nails!

Below are each of the nail polishes I used to create the look, 
all of which happen to be Sinful Colors.

Sinful Colors polish in Pink Glitter

Sinful Colors polish in Cream Pink

Sinful Colors polish in Savage

Also, ladies, if you are a fan of Pink Wednesdays, be sure to check out the site:

What Ever Happened To.. 702?

Do you guys remember the R&B group 702?  These girls were originally a group of three sisters (twins Orish and Irish and Lemisha Grinstead) and their friend, lead singer Kameelah Williams all hailing from Las Vegas, NV (hence the name, 702- their area code).  Collectively, 702 collaborated with the short-lived boy band Subway to release their first single titled This Game We Play.

Shortly after the success of this single, the group evolved as the popularly known trio of Irish, Lemisha, and Kameelah.  They graced the billboard charts and radio airwaves with hits like Steelo, Get It Together, and Where My Girls At.  This group enjoyed success and platinum-selling records for over ten years. Check out some of my favorite hits by them:

Have you guys heard anything from these lovely ladies lately?  I am aware that band member Kameelah has a child with Musiq Soulchild, but that is all I know of the group.  What are these ladies up to?

Rest in Peace to Orish, the twin sister to band member Irish and former member of 702.  
She passed away on April 23, 2008.

Why I'm Being More Proactive About Self-Care

What does the word burn-out mean to you guys?  I'm not sure yet what it means to me, because if it has existed in my life, I've previously denied  it.  I tend to continue on with my half-empty cup still trying to conquer the world.  You know how it is, right?  When people ask you how you're doing and you answer, "I'm great," knowing full well you're at 5 miles to empty.  It isn't until times like now when I'm tired, sleep-deprived, and only want to sit alone in my room with my notebook and cup of tea that I realize that I may need some time to myself, for myself.  How many of you often feel this way?

The sad reality of the matter is a large percent of my stress is self-inflicted.  I have the tendencies of a people-pleaser and often have trouble saying "no" to folks.  So those two things lead to my taking on of tasks whether I have time for them or not and often sacrificing my own needs to accomplish them.  And it's no one's fault but my own.  Unfortunately, I'm not quick to admit that in the midst of my frustration with those who I keep saying "yes" to.  In short, I need a refill of me or I'm going to be "tapped out" instead of burned-out.

In an attempt to fill-up, I am attempting to implement more self-care into my lifestyle.  During my first year in the school of social work, my advisor gave her students the task of having weekly self-care check-ins.  At first, this seemed menial and pointless, but before long I grew accustomed to doing something small for myself and sharing the details in class meetings each week.  I realized the activity was much more needed than I originally thought.

Some examples of my weekly self-care check-ins would be things such as:
  • drinking more water
  • exercising daily
  • implementing daily prayer and meditation into my schedule
  • spending an hour alone with no interruptions to look inward
  • visiting the local spa
  • reading a good book
  • trying out a new restaurant in my own company
  • having uninterrupted girl talk with a friend
  • getting a pedicure
  • making something beautiful with my hands
This morning, I stole away to my lonesome and searched for peace.  I wrote and reflected.  Then I wrote and reflected some more.  Then, I examined old journals in hopes of finding some sort of clues about myself that I may have overlooked.  Before my short hour was up, I had an "Aha" moment of sorts and began rebuilding my puzzle, piece by piece.  

How do you practice self-care?  And if you don't practice it as much as you feel you should, how would you like to begin taking better care of yourself?

Ladies and gentlemen, please remember to take care of yourselves.

What I Learned from Lynn Searcy

girlfriends tv show
photo source

Enter Lynn: Lynn Searcy is the free-spirited, uninhibited Girlfriend of the group.  She was a long time friend of Joan and Toni's, as the three of them were roommates in college.  Since then, she lived with Joan for eight years, figuring out her place in life by immersing herself in the arts and avoiding the everyday hassles of the real world.  She's artistic, very spiritual, and drawn to other spiritual beings who have a passion for music and the arts.  Though Lynn may appeared to be the most liberated of the group, she often felt lost and in search of who she was as an individual.  She eventually credited this to being adopted and not knowing who her biological parents were.  As seasons progressed, Lynn met her biological mother, and began to figure out who she was and what she wanted in life.  This led to her finding her own place, following her own destiny, and finally getting signed to a record label as a musician.

How I identify with Lynn:  Like Lynn, I consider myself to be multi-faceted. This is a quality that society usually sees as being scatter-brained.  If the funds permitted, I would probably be a student forever and obtain five degrees just like Lynn! Maybe....  Like Lynn, I am drawn to other artistic individuals, namely those who love music and literature as much as I do.  I can draw for hours from others who bask in culture.  While Lynn may have been more free with her sexuality than I, I can definitely appreciate how in touch she was with it.  She never let society's ideals and constraints mar her need to have as many partners as she so desired.  Lynn was comfortable with who she was, never tried to be anyone but Lynn, and never judged others who were not living as she was.  I admired that most about her.

Below are five things I learned from Lynn Ann Searcy throughout the show's tenure:

1. You can't keep running forever:  Sometimes, especially in earlier seasons, it appeared as though Lynn was running.  She was running from responsibility.  Sure she had plenty of education, but she had no clear goals about her future.  So while all of her other girlfriends lived in the real world, clocking hours and paying bills, Lynn became a resident of Joan's (and later William's and Maya's) couch.  After much tough love from her friends and an epiphany about her future, Lynn soon got tired of running and ventured out into the unknown.

2. Less worry = less stress.  One thing I could admire about Lynn's character was her carefree attitude.  There was rarely a time when Lynn let anything bother her to the point of worry and frustration.  On the surface it may look like Lynn simply avoided conflict and responsibility, but many could learn a lesson from this behavior.  Never sweat the small stuff!  But by all means, don't be like Lynn and create a conspiracy theory to  excuse yourself from handling personal responsibilities.

3. Women are free to embrace their sexuality however they see fit.  As I mentioned before, Lynn was seen as being the promiscuous one of the group.  While Joan was busy implementing a three-month rule (which meant no sex for the first three months of a relationship) and Maya was often criticizing Lynn for embracing casual sex, Lynn viewed sex as another form of liberation.  She often shared her many trysts lightheartedly with her other girlfriends, as they gasped, shocked and appalled.  Though I agreed that Lynn was a bit wild for my taste, I thought highly of her for owning her sexuality.  Lynn embraced her sexuality as she saw fit, rather than using it as bait for another, or a way to control another, as many women have done over time.  I was even more impressed when she researched sexuality in society and thus completed a project involving AIDS in the African American female population.

4. Sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  But they are not one in the same.  In a quest to find inspiration while completing a documentary (in which Lynn believes to be her life's work), Lynn makes plans to visit her estranged biological mother.  In visiting Sandy, Lynn learns that her biological mother is much like she is-- overly sexual, flighty, and great at avoiding conflict (or people, for that matter).  As Lynn observes all of her mother's unfinished projects and abandoned bright ideas, she begins to think that she will never see her passions through either.  But after some soul-searching and encouraging words from dear Toni, Lynn finishes her documentary and it makes a huge impact on the community.  Way to go, Lynn!

5. There's much more to intimacy than sex.  In one episode of Girlfriends, I was surprised to see a very intimate side of Lynn. In this particular episode, Lynn falls for a poet who is celibate.  While I believed that  Lynn would not be able to forge a relationship with someone without sex due to her past of sex without relationships, she fell for this man hard.  And instead of a sexual exchange, the two became spiritually connected by their love of art and poetic expression.  It was such a beautiful thing!

How did you feel about Lynn's character? 
Could you relate to her? 
Could you see yourself being friends with her?  Why or why not?

Thank you so much for all of your feedback on my posts about JoanMaya, and Toni.  I see that many of you had very strong opinions about Toni in particular!  If you haven't gotten a chance to check out the other posts and their accompanying episodes, please click the links within the names and check them out.

In all, who is your favorite Girlfriend from the hit TV sitcom?  
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