Since 1949, the U.S. has observed Mental Health Awareness Month each May. It’s also the month we traditionally celebrate Mother’s Day. As a working mom of color, I believe mental health is highly important yet hugely swept under the rug.
Let’s be real, there is a huge stigma surrounding mental health within the Hispanic, Latinx, and BIPOC communities. To make matters worse, generally speaking women are expected to take care of everyone else but themselves. Many times selfcare and mental help is seen as selfish, frivolous and unnecessary- keep praying mija!
So in this blog I want to give you my top selfcare tips to keep your mental health strong.
Intentionally create "Me" time
As a working mom and woman of color I know how hard it is to sometimes approach the idea of “me time” as nothing else than pure luxury. Yet I like to invite you to reframe that thought as a matter of survival. You need your "me time", period. We all heard the aphorism “put your oxygen mask on first” and this totally applies here. Thus taking time for you is no longer selfish, or a luxury but a lifesaving investment in order to be the best for your family and loved ones and heck, for you.
If you don’t have a village - build one!
When I became a mother I realized that unfortunately having a village was not going to happen. As someone that immigrated here, my parents were miles and miles away and the rest of my family was literally in another state. Therefore I decided to create my own village. Starting with inviting my husband to be my co-architect and partner. I also started recruiting the help of others, such as friends, baby sitters and hired help. Let go of some of those limiting beliefs (and pride) about outsourcing tasks around the house such as cleaning, shopping for groceries, getting the laundry done or cooking every meal. Sometimes just 30 minutes of real "me" time can feel like a whole day at the best spa and because bottom line, your mental health and the wellbeing of the family is priceless.
Regulate social media
I get it, social media is hard to keep in check. These days TickTock, Instagram and even LinkedIn make it hard to ignore the siren call. I personally think it can be beneficial to keep connected and see other women embracing the balance of being a working mother. However, if you feel like this is becoming toxic aka just results in you comparing yourself to others who you think are doing "more" than you, it's time to take a break from social media or let it go all together. Remember "Comparison is a happiness killer". Remember, everyone has their own path and everyone has struggles that are not visible.
You are exactly where you need to be, in your own journey.
Try a Morning Routine
As a mom to a rambunctious almost five year old kid that never seems to be out of energy, sometimes taking time off in the morning might seem like an impossible, herculean task. Yet all you need is one minute. Take at least 1 mindful minute of quiet time in the morning. My recommendation is to do it in bed, when you first wake and also before you sleep. Just close your eyes and breathe deeply, hold for six seconds and exhale for eight seconds. I promise it works wonders.
I’m a big fan of affirmations and I have them in my office and on my computer all the time. However, one small hack I learned was to add affirmations as reminders in your phone (schedule them to go off at least once a day). They will not only come as a surprise but also it will make your day a little brighter.
Channel Your Inner Goddess
The way we see ourselves has a direct impact on our performance. There is nothing technically wrong about dressing for comfort but living in your favorite pair of gym clothes does not prepare you mentally to take on the challenges that come with the daily grind.
Though it is easy to accept that quarantine has killed the fun out of dressing up each day, it doesn't have to. Any casual wardrobe can have added flair. Try adding a jacket, skirt or dress to your casual style. Make sure it is something that makes you feel good about yourself and about who's looking back at you in the mirror. Even when working from home I make sure to look my best. For me simply having lipstick and concealer on is enough to transform my mindset for home to work. Remember comfort is not at odds with style. I like to invite you to channel your inner Goddess and adopt something that will make you feel powerful and confident.
Meditate or exercise
So at first, this might sound like setting aside time for you. However, both of these options should be in addition to your “you time”.
Meditation is an excellent way to clear your mind and helps control our emotions and our bodies to relax, but fair warning: This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.
Likewise, exercise is a great tool to work out your stresses. Whether it’s cardio, strength training, yoga, or getting outside to enjoy nature, 20 minutes a day of exercise can offset the heaviness you’re feeling.
Take action this May for Mental Health Awareness
Mental health is a complex and nuanced aspect of our psyche. Small things can upset it, which then later build into larger issues.
You don't have to incorporate all of these changes into your daily life right away. Start with one small reasonable action. The point is to do something however big or small for you and your well-being at least once a day.
As we celebrate moms and recognize Mental Health Month, let me be the first to say, Happy Mother’s Day. If you need help or feel like you need a sounding board to bounce thoughts, strategize and keep you accountable, Contact me to set up a time to speak.