Being a full-time employee and part-time business owner all while trying to manage my home and social life is overwhelming for me. And while I tend to handle stress pretty well on the outside, it always takes a toll behind closed doors. The past few years, I found myself on an emotional roller coaster that involved a few great days of eating healthy, being positive and cranking out projects, followed by a few terrible months of gut-wrenching anxiety, terrible eating habits, and hating everything I create. Since 2018, I've followed just about every fad diet and spiritual cleanse that I could find to feel better about adulting, but nothing seemed to crack my cycle. I was feeling so defeated, until one day the realization just hit me.
I was thinking too short-term. I would stop eating fried foods for 3 months until I lost a little bit of weight, then I would go back to eating whatever I wanted and gain the weight right back. I would plan an event or advertisement for my business and when it was over I would go right back to my comfort zone. I would set my alarm for an hour earlier in the morning for a week and the rest of the month I would hit snooze until the last minute. Basically put, I was setting up temporary fixes I was only willing to do until I "felt better." But the downward spiral of all the highs just seemed to be harder and harder to climb out of each time.
I started looking at my life through the lense of the person I desire to be one day — the business mogul, the fit mom and the arm-candy wife :) ... and I realized that there was no way that I could flourish moving how I was moving currently. And even if God were to bless me with more, I would ruin it or drive myself insane trying to manage it with my temporary fixes. If I wanted to handle more success, more blessings, and true love, I would have to create a lifestyle that was more sustainable.
It was not only important to create an environment for my health and wealth to steadily flourish, but also to establish this new environment as my new normal. So this year, I've been on this mission to create lifestyle choices that I can sustain — and it's still early, but I think it's working! I feel happier, more fulfilled, more productive and more capable to handle whatever life may throw at me.
I believe everyone should feel like this, so I wanted to share with you the 4 main things I've been doing that may help you!
No. 1: I start my day with Jesus. I used to wake up and jump on Instagram or check my email, so ready to get to business; but it's become a must that I pray and read my Bible before doing anything else in the morning. I am able to tell God everything I am feeling, and God usually gives me affirmations (scriptures and/or revelation) to meditate on throughout my day. Secondly, I am able to prioritize my to-do list to know what I should really be focused on that day. I've noticed that my anxiety and stress levels have significantly decreased — and when they start to bubble up, I know just what to do to bring myself back to center.
No. 2: I created community and accountability. From my workout sessions to my office hours — I am not working on my goals alone! I take classes at the gym, and my instructors know my face & name now. If I am not there, best believe they are checking me (lol). I've also joined a workout community that I meet with regularly — and not even just to work out. We talk about our dreams, goals, have Bible study and karaoke nights and all! They are amazing! For work, I started a small group at my church. Our sole purpose is to help each other achieve our goals in business & ministry. We meet and check-in often, to make sure we are making progress! I have no excuses!
No. 3: I try to do less of the things that make me feel bad. I used to be able to hang but now hard liquor literally makes me sick for days. Instead of trying to thug it out, I am just honest with myself and my friends. I just stick to a glass of wine or two. Likewise, with food, I love pasta and fries, and while they make me feel great at the moment, I know how heavy and sluggish they make me feel a few hours later. I am learning to stop trying to instantly gratify my stomach! Instead, I want to put things into my body that are going to give me energy and pep. But this goes far beyond food. I also have to try not to procrastinate, scroll too long on social media or watch too much trash television. It makes me feel unproductive. Instead, I spend put myself on a time limit for my electronics, pending my finishing at least one big task I needed to do for that day.
No 4: I give myself grace. Now, I am not perfect. Some days I just want to ignore my schedule & indulge without a care in the world. On these days, I try to give myself grace — I can be really hard on myself if I let me. Instead of beating myself up, I try to tell myself it's okay. Being good to your body isn't about being militant, it's about loving yourself enough to want to see you flourish. I can still flourish even if I have a piece of candy! Secondly, I try to schedule my indulgent episodes on days when I don't have anything important to accomplish the next day. This gives me time to recoup, detox if I need to, and get mentally prepared to get back into my routine.
I once thought that as long as I worked my butt off to be successful that everything else would fall into place, but this new focus on creating a more sustainable lifestyle has shown me the value of happiness, no matter how successful you are. I believe now that happiness is the key to making everything in your life more seamless.
I think we all can stand to be a little happier in life, so I encourage you to do what's best for you boo! We are setting our lives up for major wins this year. For some, making changes for the better means taking a look at your lifestyle and making a few tweaks. Others would feel better having some professional help in order to put the pieces together. And still other times, you need both!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, defeated or even numb; if you find it hard to connect with people or don't even want to — know that that doesn't have to be your norm. See yourself exactly how you want to be and join me in committing to make it your reality. You deserve it!
I am not a counselor, but if you're looking for some help, here are some amazing ladies that I trust to help you:
The For Love Only Podcast: Faith Joyner offers profound insight about healing from trauma and embracing genuine love. Instagram: @ForLoveOnlyPodcast
Refined Vision, LLC: Amie Gaskin is the most authentic, confident woman I've ever met — but she's not shy about letting people know that she didn't always feel that way. She used her own lessons on her journey of confidence to inspire others through her services.
I also asked my social media followers for some of their favorite therapists and self-help gurus. Here are their social media accounts. I did a little research, but please vet them out accordingly before reaching out.
Zeke Andrews, Master in Mental Counseling, Certified Addiction Counselor Level II & Certified Clinical and Medical Hypnotherapist
MindBodySex, LLC: Founded by Dr. Canary, Sex Educator, and Therapist
Let’s Cope Counseling Services, PLLC, (Located in Raleigh, NC)
And lastly, if you need more resources, you can always do a counselor search through your insurance, through the Employee Assistance Program at your place of employment, or an online counseling directory like BetterHelp.
Take care of yourself!