2020 has been quite the year! With Covid-19, the elections, all the injustice & natural disasters, personal loss, alongside trying to give my best while parenting, adulting & taking care of myself, let's just say 2020 hasn't been a walk in the park!


Between social media & the news, everyone's voices are SO LOUD. There's so much hate, anger, pain & division, it's been disheartening at times. I felt like I was being pulled in all directions, needing & wanting to be everywhere but I couldn't, I felt hopeless....I felt...paralyzed. I couldn't even begin to think about what the first thing I would do was & about what? There was so much grief and so much was happening at the same damn time, I froze. When experiencing trauma, you either fight, take flight or freeze & I have to say I wanted to do all three at any given time depending on the minute of the day. My emotional body wanted to fight, my physical body wanted to take flight (maybe they interchanged at times) & my spirit stood still. I was torn and hard on myself, I had to take a step back. I had to come back home. What do I need right now? How am I really feeling? What's mine? What's the world's? How does this sit in my spirit? I had to realign & that's why I'm sharing this.


I've read articles, heard stories & have spoken to friends, 2020 hasn't been the easiest but it has been an opportunity for growth. Healing is taking place in the midst of chaos & it's ok to take a moment to come back home, to check-in & take care of you and what you need. You don't need permission, I'm just here to remind you because we tend to beat ourselves up thinking we need to do more, or should be like this person because they're doing this or that comparing ourselves to a journey that's not ours.


Since I've taken a step back it's been easier for me to write my story. I've always loved the quote "when writing the story of your life, make sure no one else is holding the pen" and that never rang more true. My story is my story, my journey is my journey just like yours, own it, live it & write it <3. Let go of people's projections, the negative thoughts & limitations in your mind and live life one day at a time. Some days will be great, other days maybe not so much, just be sure to check-in & see what you need to be your best. And one last thing that's really heavy on my spirit not only as a reminder to you but to myself, be kind to yourself, give yourself grace while you navigate through the rest of 2020. We're all really hard on ourselves, when all we want & need is love, who better to give it to you than yourself?


Wherever you are in your journey, I pray that you're open to receive the love that you deserve.


The light in me, honors the light in you.

xx




“Resonant relationships are like emotional vitamins, sustaining us through tough times and nourishing us daily,” writes Daniel Goleman in Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.



I caught up with some friends over face time recently (you know, our new norm) and after talking to them I realized the energy changed from the beginning of our conversation to when we were hanging up and saying our good-bye's. After hanging up, the conversation kept going on through text & we all realized that after talking to each other we felt happier & lighter, we felt......good. I had this same experience a few more times that week which got me thinking.


Why is social connection so important? What are the benefits of it & why is it needed?


I don't know about you but before reconnecting with my friends, it was easier for me to let days go by & keep to myself. I realized I wasn't really talking to who I used to talk to on a regular basis. Sure we'd like each other's social posts & occasionally slide into each other's DMs but there was no real connection. So I decided to do a deep dive and look into social connection & why it's important.


Here are three things I learned:


1. Mental Health: According to Mind Wise Solutions, some mental health benefits are increased feelings of belonging, purpose, increased levels of happiness, reduced levels of stress, improved self-worth and confidence. A study conducted at a free health clinic in Buffalo, New York found that respondents with insufficient perceived social support were the most likely to suffer from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.


After we all connected, one of the things we all said was how good we felt. And I was definitely happier hearing about all the amazing things happening in their lives and I'm gonna add that being able to vent to each other reduced our stress lol.


2. Emotional health: The Greater Good Science Center Magazine from Berkley says that everyday activities involving the most positive emotions are sex and socializing.


I've definitely felt good after both lol so I'll say this is true.


3. Builds Resilience: Resilience is the ability to bounce back after you've experienced something difficult or very stressful. Having supportive relationships around you can help with how resilient you are. Magellan Health Insights say that the more positive your relationships are, the better you’ll be able to face life’s challenges.


I tend to be an optimistic person but on those not so good days, thinking back, having the support of some amazing people did make it easier for me to bounce back from things I wasn't if or how I'd be able to bounce back.


So if you find yourself in a position of whether or not you should reach out to someone & have the strength or will to do it, I think you should. That person you're thinking about might really need you. And my experience has been, I'll always leave a conversation feeling better then I did when I got on the phone. Whether it was hearing them release & being an outlet for them to vent or me releasing something I didn't even know was bothering me, we all benefit =)


This also led me to take inventory of the relationships I have in my life. I took a look at the different types of relationships I've been blessed to have. Some play closer roles than others at different points in our lives. The ones who pick your spirits up when you talk to them, those are the ones I'm keeping close. They're the ones who allow you to be, and are openly waiting for you when you're ready because they understand that SHIT! Life is really hard sometimes! And don't get me wrong, just because I'm acknowledging that it's hard doesn't mean that I can't or I'm not enjoying the journey it means that I'm living it and feeling it with my eyes & arms wide open.


Thanks for making it to the end of this post! I appreciate your time.


Till next time!

xx


Reference Links:

https://www.mindwise.org/blog/uncategorized/the-importance-of-social-connection/


https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/social_connection/definition#why-practice-social-connection


https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201208/connect-thrive


https://www.shapeyourhappiness.com/the-importance-of-social-connection-and-why-you-need-it-in-your-life/


https://magellanhealthinsights.com/2019/06/21/the-importance-of-social-connections/




This is us, a couple of weeks ago. We had an amazing opportunity to check out the Untermyer Park & Gardens. I don't know about you but I've felt the need to be in nature now more than ever. Thankfully we're in the fall season so it works out for me, so when Gina asked if I wanted to go to this BEAUTIFUL park, it was an instant yes! So me and my Self-Care Tuesday sisters Gina (@whatthedoost) & Krista (@selfishlifestyleapproach) grabbed our families and headed out to this beautiful garden.





As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by the walled garden, and it felt like we time warped into another place! It was so serene and peaceful with so much beauty, be sure to have your cameras ready for this because it is GORGEOUS.


Take a look at the sneak peak below.

This beautiful garden overlooks the Hudson River and is located in Yonkers, New York. So it's about 30 minutes by car from New York City and if you're not up for a drive, there's also easy access to a bus or train.

And after the tour we celebrated Gina's sweet baby boy's 6 month birthday!

Which leads me to some tips if you're interested in going to the garden, first here's a link to

some free timed-entry tickets (your welcome lol)


Tip #2: Pack water, you'll be walking around a lot and even though food & beverages are not allowed in the garden, right outside the garden there's an area with tables. You can drink your water, pack up some food, and have a picnic there. They also have some restaurants nearby if you're up for exploring some more. We ended up having a smash cake and cupcakes to celebrate.


Tip #3: Where comfortable shoes, I don't know why I didn't put two and two together but I didn't (I think I was focused on the pictures I was going to take with my SCT girls lol) and ended up wearing wedges (thankfully) so it wasn't too bad but it does get a bit rocky and you go through dirt, there's lots of steps so, be comfortable.


Tip #4: Have your camera ready, you'll want to take pictures and add this garden to your camera roll.


Tip #5: Check out Gina's blog, whatthedoost.com to see a recap of the whole day or check out the Self-Care Tuesday podcast episode where we about the park & forest bathing, have you ever heard of forest bathing? Me either lol...listen in here


Till next time...

xx


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