Uggh. What a day! Today I spent the day watching my daughters play soccer. I love watching them, but I was not feeling well. I took a nice thermos of coffee with me, but I forgot a bottle of water. Sometimes I forget how important it is to drink water. Today was one of those days. I had a headache, felt anxious, tired, moody and my mouth was really dry. I’m sure I was dehydrated. It was not pleasant at all.
So, let’s take a look at some of the physical benefits of drinking water, shall we?
That is a pretty good list if you ask me. Can I have a glass of water please?
As you can see from this list, water is great for your physical health. So what about your emotional health? I really wanted to get to the root of why I was feeling really anxious. I am off for a few days and I have nothing to be anxious about right now. I decided I wanted to do a little research on the benefits of drinking water for emotional health. I really wanted to see if there was a correlation between drinking water and mental health.
Well…there has not been much research on this topic. I found a few studies that tried to answer this question. Some studies had limitations and others did not seem to have enough participants. Some studies were inclusive. The best study I found was an Iranian study published in 2018 in the World Journal of Psychiatry; Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study. The study involved 3,327 Iranian adults. They were assessed for their daily water consumption. They were also assessed using a depression and anxiety questionnaire. The evaluators also examined the participants dietary intake, BMI, physical activity, substance use and digestive system. The study found that when water consumption increases, the risk of depression and anxiety decreases. One reason may be that people who consume more water, have healthy behaviors, are physically active and consume greater amounts of nutrients. Nutrients are essential to the synthesis and regulation of neurotransmitters, which send messages to your brain. Neurotransmitters, such as Norepinephrine, are linked to mood regulation. Drinking less water keeps Norepinephrine levels high, which may lead to depression. The evaluators of this study agreed that more studies are needed on this topic.
As you can see, water has many benefits.. It may even improve your mental health. As soon as I returned home, I drank 3 glasses of water, and felt so much. My anxiety and headache disappeared. I was in a better mood and was able to concentrate enough to write this blog.
So, if you are feeling down and want a pick-me-up, grab yourself a glass of water. If you are feeling anxious and want to calm down, grab a glass of water. Cheers!!
Fahimeh Haghighatdoost, Awat Feizi, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, Nafiseh Rashidi-Pourfard, Ammar Hassanzadeh Keshteli, Hamid Roohafza, Payman Adibi (2018). Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study.
World Journal of Psychiatry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147771/
“It’s not good enough.”
“What will my audience think of me?”
“What if my email doesn’t make sense?”
“What if I mess up the presentation?”
“What if I make a mistake?”
“I HAVE TO BE PERFECT!”
Do any of these statements sound familiar to you? Especially when you are about to perform a task? Are you a self-proclaimed perfectionist? Well, keep reading!
I always said I had a love/hate relationship with social media and blogging. That wasn’t entirely true. I was a perfectionist. I would stress about corrections I would have to make on my social media posts and blogs. I would spend weeks on blogs and hours on one Instagram post. I would constantly talk down to myself if it was not perfect.
“It’s not good enough.”
“That sounds dumb.”
“What if my audience doesn’t “like” my comments?”
Now reading my past thoughts is exhausting. Can you guess how those thoughts made me feel? Anxious, frustrated, annoyed, and overwhelmed. With those feelings, do you think I wanted to keep up with blogging and social media? Nope. So I stopped. I became sad and depressed that I wasn’t living my passion of inspiring others. I started to doubt myself and become more critical of who I was as a person. I felt unworthy and did not love myself around showing up as a blogger or influencer. I didn’t think I was good enough because I was not perfect. After months of feeling this way, I finally made the decision to figure out how I could move forward. How could I be okay with my blogs and posts and stop being perfect?
What is Perfectionism?
I tried to find the best definition for perfectionism. I really resonated with the definition from the American Psychological Association dictionary.
“the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation.”
For me, this definition fits the way my clients frame their perfectionism. They have “extremely high” expectations of themselves in their work, relationships, and home life. I really appreciated the second part of the definition; “in excess of what is required of the situation.” BAM!!
When I talk to my clients about their perfectionism and what is expected of them from others, they tell me that there are no expectations from others. Their boss, kids, partners and friends don't expect them to be perfect at all. I had to sit with that when I stopped blogging. I finally asked myself, “Does my audience want to be perfect or real?”
What Causes Perfectionism?
Perfectionism can start sometime during the early childhood years. Many times it can be in response to something painful in someone’s life. For example, maybe your parents divorce caused you to start acting perfect in order to keep the peace. Maybe you didn’t want your parents to have to worry about anything because the divorce was so painful. Maybe perfectionism was a response to how you adjusted to living in an abusive home. Perhaps if you strived for perfection in school or at home, it would keep you safe from the wrath of your abusive parent. Maybe you would get kudos and you would feel loved for once. Lastly, maybe you responded to being shamed by a teacher or student at school, by getting perfect grades in school. Or you responded to the bully by trying to be the perfect friend. You did not want to be shamed again. You did not want to feel unsafe again. You learned that in order to feel safe, valued and loved, you needed to be perfect.
How Does Perfectionism Make You Feel About Yourself?
Anxious, depressed, scared, overwhelmed, inadequate, angry and insecure. Does that sound about right? Sleepless nights. Procrastinating because you do not want to feel these emotions, so you don’t do the project at all. Self-doubt, self-criticism, and worst-case scenario, self-loathing. Self-loathing is the opposite of self-love. No, no, no, we can’t have that. This blog is all about self-love.
How Can You Overcome Perfectionism?
1) Recognize the Issue
Do you think you are a perfectionist? Or do you have perfectionist tendencies? Do you find yourself getting emotional when you can’t do something perfectly? Acknowledge it. It is okay. It does not take away from the beautiful person you are.
2) Reflect On What Might Have Caused Your Perfectionism
Get that journal out and start writing. Really dig deep. Try these journal prompts to help you:
“What is my earliest memory of trying to be perfect?”
“Who was I trying to please by being perfect?”
“Did someone tell me I had to be perfect?”
“Did someone tell me I couldn’t or shouldn’t make mistakes?”
“Did I start to be perfect to feel safe, loved or valued?”
3) Acknowledge Thoughts and Feelings That Come Up When You Are Not Perfect
Again, take the time to journal when you have thoughts and feelings because you made a mistake and you were not perfect. Usually these are negative thoughts and feelings. Anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you start to cry because things just aren't perfect. Take some deep breaths and use the positive self-talk tips in the next section.
4) Reframe Perfectionistic Thoughts with Positive Self-Talk
Old Thought - “It’s not good enough.”
New Thought- “It is good enough.”
Old Thought - “What will my audience think of me?”
New Thought- “What do I think of me?”
Old Thought - “What if I mess up the presentation?”
New Thought - “It’s okay if I mess up. Just keep going.”
Old Thought - “What if I make a mistake?”
New Thought - “Everyone makes mistakes. The mistake would be stopping.”
Old Thought - “I HAVE TO BE PERFECT!”
New Thought - “ I GET TO BE HUMAN! NO ONE IS PERFECT!”
5) Get Support
If you continue to struggle with perfectionism and you want to dig deeper, reach out to a licensed mental health professional. Sometimes you can get stuck and perfectionism can negatively impact your life.
Well, I hope this article is helpful to you. No one is perfct. : - )
Let me know what you think of this article. Does it resonate with you? Which tip helped you the most?
Wow, have you ever played an album for the first time and thought “This.” or “O-M-G!”? Well, this is how I felt when I heard Lizzo’s newest album Special. It has been awhile since I’ve been in love with an entire album. I feel like the entire album was written for me.
I didn’t know who Lizzo was until a few years ago. A client was so excited about her concert when she came to the Bay Area. She admired Lizzo for her body positivity and support of the LGBTIA community. I was intrigued, so I decided to do a little research. She sings, she dances, she plays the flute, she wins Grammys. I thought to myself “Wow, this woman is beautiful and talented. And she seems to love herself no matter what!” As a therapist who specializes in self-love and self-esteem, I knew I was a fan and I wanted to learn more.
So how did Lizzo show me how to love myself even more?
Keep Going No Matter What
Over the years I have followed Lizzo, I have watched her get praise and I’ve watched her get flack for things she's done. I’ve seen haters talk about her weight non-stop. I’ve seen her fans get upset with her when she drank a smoothie because she wanted to lose a few pounds. I’ve seen her on Instagram loving herself in a bikini by a pool. I’ve also seen her get really vulnerable talking about all the nasty comments she receives from people regularly. I continue to see Lizzo hold her head up high, not no matter what. She keeps going. She keeps making music. She keeps posting bikini pics. She keeps going, no matter what!!
Try Something New
My appreciation for Lizzo changed when she hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL). She was the first person to host and perform on SNL. I think she did a wonderful job hosting. The reviews online agreed with me. The music performance was phenomenal. She had so much energy. I was also impressed with her acting/improv skills. She had me laughing and I was so excited for her. I really like the way she was able to laugh at herself. She tried something new and knocked it out of the park.
She also developed her own fitness line through Fabletics called Yitty. It is a line for women of all body types. Being 6'1 and 190 pounds, I totally appreciate designers who make clothing for someone my size. Confession, I bought a Yitty outfit. It is too cute. It's a fluorescent pink workout top and bottom short set. Like Lizzo, I am trying something new!!
Love Your Body No Matter What
Lizzo is loving on her body and will show it off in a minute. She gets a lot of flack for it, but she wears what she wants to wear. I remember an outfit she wore to a basketball game and her butt cheeks were hanging out. Gasp. As a 47-year-old mother of two girls, I was shocked and uncomfortable. Of course I felt like a prude. Then I thought to myself “Wow, I wish I would have had that much confidence at her age!!”. I wish I would have loved my body no matter what!
Lift Others Up
Wait, six Emmy nominations for Lizzo’s “Watch Out for the Big Grrls” dance competition show? Is there anything this woman can’t do? Lizzo is not at the top of her game by herself. She is taking the time to uplift other women with her. She is letting the Big Grrls know she sees them and wants them on stage with her. Lizzo wrote on her Instagram “we didn’t do this for awards, we did this for ourselves.” I love that!!
Make Mistakes and Grow From Them
Recently, Lizzo’s song Grrrls received backlash because it contained a derogatory word for someone with a disability. Lizzo admitted her mistake and changed her words to the song. About her decision to change the lyrics, she stated , “This is a result of listening and taking action. As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”
Thank you Lizzo!! I appreciate you and the change you are making in the world.
I hope this post inspires you to love yourself too. Let me know in the comments below.
In case nobody told you today, You're Special!!
Hey Hey Queens!!
Well it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog. To be honest, I just haven’t felt like it. I haven’t had the motivation to write. So much has happened since 2020. Sometimes I feel like I am just trying to keep my head above water. The pandemic seems like a piece of cake compared to mass shootings, the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, and the hate and violence that continues in our communities, especially against our Black, Brown, Asian and LGBTIA communities. Like many of you, sometimes I feel hopeless. I don’t have all answers.
Last year, I hit a wall. I was completely burned out. My anxiety, overwhelm, and sadness developed into medical issues. Thank God everything turned out to be okay. I got a clean bill of health. The health scare taught me to take care of myself. How could I be there for you, when I couldn’t be there for myself. I was preaching self-love, but I wasn’t loving myself. I thought I was loving myself by riding my Peloton bike, eating semi-healthy, hanging out with my friends and family and writing in my journal. Once in a while I would get a facial or mani/pedi. It was not enough. I still crashed into a wall. It was more like a slow train wreck.
So what changes have I made in my life? The biggest one is being intentional about loving myself. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I learned that I need to incorporate self-love into my day-to-day life in order to feel good about myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not loving myself every day all the time. However, I am committed to being intentional about showing myself self-love each and every day.
I really want to be committed to sharing my self-love practices with you. They are simple things you can do to show yourself love. You won’t need to be running around trying to book massages, facials, pedicures, buying expensive equipment, etc. You can love yourself in the comfort of your own home (or in your neighborhood).
My first self-love ritual is a shower. I used to recommend baths, then I realized that a lot of people don’t have bathtubs. So a shower ritual works perfectly.
First I have to tell you how this came about. Earlier in the day, I had a phone call that really annoyed me. I was annoyed and angry. I could have gone to the pantry and grabbed some chips and tried to “snack” my feelings away. As you know, that never works. Instead, I decided to feel the anger. I sat with every part of the anger. I did a body scan and felt it from head to toe. I did some breathing exercises in order to calm myself down. Then I asked myself “what am I really hungry for?” I knew the answer. I was hungry for love and acceptance. Sure, I could lean into my family or friends for love and acceptance. But what if they aren’t available? I know a lot of you may be single or estranged from your family. Or maybe you are not ready to be that vulnerable right now. This is why I want to teach you to take care of your own “emotional hunger” by loving you.
So after I realized what I needed, I decided to take a shower. I did not feel like a regular shower. I knew I needed more. I craved a shower that gave me love and acceptance. My self-love shower ritual is posted below.
Self-Love Shower Ritual:
-Essential Oil (any scent will work. Today I used Bergamot from doTERRA)
-Chill Music (Apple Music/Spotify)
-Loving and Accepting self-talk
-Turn on chill music.
-Turn on shower.
-Add drops of essential oils to shower. You can use a cotton ball. I’ve also seen shower tablets. They are like bath bombs for showers.
-Apply facial cleanser and wash face with washcloth.
-Apply body wash with washcloth.(I put a few drops of essential oil in my body wash too.)
-While washing face/body, you can say self-love affirmations (see below)
-Use the body brush to get the blood circulating while massaging your skin.
-Rinse body and towel off.
-Apply lotion. (say more self-love affirmations)
"I like me."
"I love me."
"I am beautiful."
"I will be okay."
"I got this."
"I accept myself as I am."
"I am grateful for.. (name body parts)."
So, are you curious about the photo at the beginning of article? It is me after my
self-love shower! Am I glowing or what?
I hope you get a chance to try this out. If you choose to take a bath, you can do the same ritual. Let me know how it goes!!
Peace, love, and many blessings!
P.S. Just in case you are curious about the items I used, I have shared the links below.
Disclosure: I am a Wellness Advocate for doTERRA, so I do get percentage of your purchase if you use the doTERRA link.
Metene Body Brush
doTERRA Bergamot Essential Oil
doTERRA Daily Cleanser
*I originally posted this blog in 2018. So much has changed this then, however, these tips still apply.
Well, it's that time again. The holidays are among us. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc. A time for family get-togethers, celebrations, etc. You may enjoy this time. It may bring you happiness, joy, excitement, and lots of laughter. This time may also bring you stress, anxiety, depression or anger. Getting together with family, hosting, planning, cleaning, running errands, and shopping, can make the entire process stressful for you. You may start having anxiety weeks before the holidays begin. You may have physical symptoms (stomach aches, headaches, cold sweats, heart palpitations). You may not be able to sleep and you constantly think things may go wrong. By the time the holidays are here, you can barely enjoy them.
Well, this year can be different. You can take control of your emotions during the holiday. You don’t have to feel stressed out if follow these tips. ,
This is not television or the movies. Things do not have to be perfect. The turkey, the stuffing, the china, the house, etc. You work long hours, you have kids, elderly parents, you commute and have a household to take care of. Who has the luxury of taking time off to prepare for holidays? I’m sure you don’t. Who has the luxury of taking time off to prepare for your family drama? You are not perfect, so stop acting like you are.
Who cares if the laundry isn’t done, the shelves aren’t dust-free or you decide to use paper plates when you serve Thanksgiving dinner? In the grand scheme of things, are these things important? Or is the important part of the holidays enjoying family and friends, watching your kids play, watching a good football game or taking a nap? If you want to use paper plates, go for it. If you want to have Thanksgiving catered, go for it. If you want to skip the rug cleaning and just vacuum, go for it. If you want to skip the family drama and head over to a friend’s house instead, go for it. You don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over again, just to make everyone else happy and the holidays “perfect.” Save yourself anxiety, stress and headaches, by doing the best you can and embrace imperfection.
Have a Holiday Homie aka Text Buddy
Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to vent to who wasn’t in your home during the holiday celebrations? Someone who could help calm you down with just a few words? Someone that could tell you it will be okay? Find that person!! Tell them ahead of time that you might need them for support when you are stressed and anxious. Choose someone that already knows your situation and stressors. Someone who knows you and your mother-in-law don’t get along. Someone that knows Uncle Bob drinks too much which leads to bad jokes or fights. Someone who knows your mother will criticize your cooking. Find that person. Find your Holiday Homie.
Own Your Emotions, No One Else’s
As you know, your relatives can get on your nerves, stress you out, and piss you off. There is no sugarcoating it. It is what it is. Usually, this is the case when someone is criticizing you, puts demands upon you or they are upset with you. When this happens, you may become upset, stressed, irritated or anxious. You take to heart their opinions and actions. You see their word as the end all be all. You let it ruin what should be a joyful celebration.
Let me tell you this. Usually people are trying to project how they are feeling onto you. Someone who criticizes or judges you may be threatened by your competence, may feel insecure, or may want to cover up their feelings of anger, sadness, or anxiety. Ultimately, they are insecure and want you to feel the same. So what do you do? Do you continue to own their insecurities as your own? Or do you let them have their opinions and you go about your business? Remember, you don’t need to take on their insecurities and feelings about what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing. Remember, you have control over how you feel. Don’t take on someone else’s emotions. Don’t let someone else ruin your mood during the holidays. Take it back. If the criticisms get too out of hand, see below.
Set Boundaries. Let me say it again. SET BOUNDARIES!. Yes, your relatives may annoy you or get on your last nerve. They may get in their feelings or judge how you live your life. Remember, you don’t have to take it. You know you can set boundaries by speaking up or leaving the situation, right? They are not holding a gun to your head. So many you think you have to stay and put up with being mistreated. Many people I have spoken with say they don’t want to be disrespectful by setting boundaries. Remember it is not disrespectful speaking up for yourself. What may be disrespectful is what you say and how you say. Yelling, screaming or cussing is not the way to speak up for yourself. It is definitely not the way you will be heard. Telling the person what they said and how it made you feel in a calm voice will be received better. Also letting the person know that if the behavior continues, you will be leaving or they will have to leave. This is not disrespectful, it is respecting yourself and stopping people from treating you a certain way.
Go With The Flow
We are still in a pandemic. The holidays will not be the same. There will be masks, social distancing, missing family members, new family members, missing foods due to shortages, etc. Just roll with it. Maybe you will create a new tradition this year. Maybe you can have Thanksgiving in the backyard. Maybe you will only have half of the family for one holiday and the other half during another holiday. Maybe serve steak instead of Turkey. Take care of your mental health by adjusting to the circumstance. You never know what will come from it.
The holidays do not have to be stressful if you have a plan in place. You deserve it to yourself to have a peaceful, joyous, exciting holiday.
This year it's just the four of us for Thanksgiving. We aren't ready to have a family packed holiday yet. Hopefully next year we will be back on track. I have come to terms with it and my decision has given me peace of mind. I have my holiday text homies on standby just because I love them and just in case they need me. LOL!
What will you do this holiday season to take control of your emotions?
I am a therapist who helps individuals who are motivated to transform their inner voice of self-doubt and self-criticism into a powerful voice of positive self-talk and self-trust. We help individuals recognize their inner worth, build their self-esteem and speak their truth.