Love Your Whole Self


We’re well into the new year, 2022, and I must confess that I left 2021 and ushered in this year a statistic of Covid-19. Like thousands of Americans, and around the world, taking every precaution, vaccinations and boosters, I found myself with the aches and symptoms confirming the known. Quarantine not only slowed me down, but stopped me right in my tracks.


I initially thought that my first blog of the year would be about ‘Grace & Following Your Gut. However, this blog has taken precedence over what can be shared at another time. Unless you’ve been under a rock, the world has heard about the untimely death of Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst due to apparent suicide.

Our hometown of Charlotte, NC is literally riveting as so many of us knew her personally, or had an opportunity to meet/greet with her. Everything you hear about her is true. She was literally a burst of sunshine wherever she went. Like many, I was shaken to my core. I knew of Cheslie as a young girl when her mother and I met early on starting our businesses. I was so excited when she became a lawyer and personally asked to meet for coffee for assistance to start her blog; Corporate Glam.


Mental illness is real. The pressures placed upon women, especially our young women to look and perform a certain way can be overwhelming and honestly quite draining. February is considered the “month of love.” This can add mental anguish to many women who feel alone or reminded of the absence of a desired companion.

Loneliness is real, regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not. We've all heard the cliche phrases, “I’m good with just me,” or “I’m my own best friend,” often said when trying to deny real desires or dissipation of hope and confidence.


These may be true, but do we really know and feel this in the fiber of our body? Haven’t we all had a moment or moments of yearning for love or solace from others, or a special someone? The pressure placed upon us as women to be “the perfect size, have the perfect house, the perfect country club, vacation, partner, kids, etc and the list goes on is too much, especially if spending countless hours on social media trying to post the perfect pictures. This can be toxic and unfortunately lethal to our mental health. It doesn’t happen overnight, but seeps in little by little chipping away at our self image and self worth relying heavily on followers, likes, etc.


With all the success Cheslie Kryst achieved, she openly speaks about turning 30 and cyber bullying in her op-ed for Allure magazine in 2018. She felt she was being "aged out" of her industry. As I look back, I read it from a different perspective.

https://www.allure.com/story/cheslie-kryst-miss-usa-on-turning-30



From Cheslie; spoken at the young age 28 year old at the time:

  • “Society has never been kind to women growing older, with occasional exceptions for some of the rich and a few of the famous. ”

  • "Far too many of us allow ourselves to be measured by a standard that some sternly refuse to challenge and others simply acquiesce to because fitting in and going with the flow is easier than rowing against the current."

Unfortunately, even at this stage in our lives, many still do. Let’s start this conversation with ourselves and let’s be really honest. If we put half the emphasis on our mental health as we put on the latest skincare techniques, serums, hair, nutrition, fitness, etc. in search of maintaining a youthful appearance into our mental health, we could move the needle. Collectively, as women, our voice is powerful.


Mental health is the foundation for radical self care and love. This is non-negotiable. It’s not a “when things get tough put a bandaid on it, or have a drink. It’s a daily practice and check in with how we’re really feeling. If you’ve ever been “in the hole” as I refer to it, and have personally been on many occasions; what tools or systems do you haven in place to support you? Who are your tribe of women you can trust and rely on and they you?


I believe a mental health provider whether a therapist, a psychiatrist, etc should be in your healthcare repertoire, in addition to your dentist, gynecologist, primary physician, etc. It’s an arial perspective of total and optimum health starting from the inside out.


We can buy all the beautiful things to feel good in the moment and justify with logic, but that feeling quickly wanes. What can we do this month to really nourish, soothe, and love on our inner soul?


Here are some considerations:

  • Gift yourself support or to another woman whom you love and admire, even if she seems to “have it all together.” Since the pandemic, there are so many virtual and online therapy programs available. {Headspace, BetterYou, et.al)

  • Set up monthly check-ins with girlfriends in person, with a call, or via FaceTime. Meet out for a walk or to cook a quick dinner together and be present. NO texts or social media.

  • Choose a day/time every week to UNPLUG. No technology. No news, no phone, etc. What will you do? Try and rediscover what you love through journaling or a new hobby.

  • Gift yourself a walk alone. A bath. No technology. We’re old enough to remember when that’s all we could do. (Smile)

  • Create a ritual that allows you to let loose. Get up in the morning and tell Alexa to play a morning playlist with your favorite jams.

  • Dance or sing in the middle of the day to your favorite song or artist (my personal favorite)

  • Send a random note or card letting someone know you appreciate them, or simply just thinking about them. (My other personal favorite)

  • Be okay to not be okay. When I was in my deepest hole, my therapist in her tough love and well intended voice said, “you know I love you, but girlfriend, you’re not THAT special! There are others suffering alongside you and those who have survived this.” I laughed out loud as I hadn’t really thought about it like that. When we’re in despair, we often think we’re the only one going through which can bring on shame and loneliness and yes those feelings are also real.

Do you all remember that commercial with the egg being cracked into the hot frying pan? It was the campaign for “this is your brain on drugs.” Our mental health cannot become the egg. What if we were to wage a complete campaign for mental health awareness not in a specific month, but an ongoing awareness of signs and support? The mental health and suicide hotline are available. However, some can’t muster to make the call and choose the end.


This is our Mid La Vie! Our life in the middle. It’s worth it to love your whole self in a way that supports your mental well-being in your truth, whatever that looks like.


If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health or a deep depression, please reach out and contact the National Suicide Prevention at 800-273-8255.


With all the love you can receive,


Sonya


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