Health & Wellness

  • How Group Chat Love & Support Helps Me Fight Depression

    group chat mommyrandr valerie pierre

    In a previous post, I talked about my struggle with depression and how my goal for the year is to inject happiness into my life. I mentioned things that I’m doing to help keep my depression at bay. But there was one thing I didn’t talk about because I wanted to dedicate an entire post to it, and that’s the group chat.

    I cannot tell you how much the group chat saved my sanity.

    I don’t know if you realize this, but the group chat is more than a place to shoot the shit and share memes. This is an ultimate safe space for everyone in it to bare your souls in exchange for genuine love and support. Think about when you’re having a moment with your man, job, or life where’s the first place you go? The chat.

    In other words, group chat is group therapy.

    This is where I would go to unleash my feelings without fear of judgment. I could just express something that’s irking me and a short time later there are my girls chiming in reassuring me shit is gonna be alright. Or sometimes I wouldn’t get a response right away, cause folks got lives and shit to do, but I still felt better cause I was no longer holding on to those emotions. That ‘send’ button was the release I needed. It helped me go on about my day. Yeah, I’d still be somewhat in whatever feelings I was in but it didn’t consume me and weigh me down.

    This is what makes the group chat so damn important. It lets you know you aren’t going through shit alone. Cause this is how depression can make you feel. Alone. It can take you to that dark ugly lonely places inside you and slowly eat away. But I knew I would be fine cause I had women who would be there to support me. And even though I’m notoriously private when it comes to my emotions I find comfort in having a sacred place to release those emotions with no worry of judgment. Which is what I (and most people) fear the most, judgment.

    This is how I’ve been able to survive

    Now don’t get it twisted, group chat support isn’t a one-way street. This isn’t about me dumping my problems and emotions on my friends and them being my support rock. No. This is about us being a rock for each other. The same loving support they give me is given right back to them in their time of need.

    And let me be clear, the group chat isn’t all somber and sadness. Oh, fuck no. We have a good time in there. Aside from jokes and shit, we give each other work tips, motivate and keep one another accountable for goals we’ve set, big each other up when we’ve done awesome work, and reassure when we’re doubtful. It’s pretty lit in there and I’m proud and lucky as shit to have a little private corner of the innanets that’s just for us.

    Do you have a group chat? Does it help you get through those difficult moments?
  • Happiness Is My 2019 Word of the Year – It’s Time to Remove My Mask

    word of the year happiness valerie pierre mommyrandr

    My word for 2019 is happiness.

    I have a confession to make and it’s gonna shock the shit outta you. Are you ready? Okay, here goes – I’m not happy. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was truly happy. I know you see me all jokey n’ shit but most days it’s just a mask.

    I’ve been faking the funk and it’s taking a toll on me, and I’m tired y’all.

    I’m. Fucking. Tired.

    What’s making me unhappy?

    Honestly speaking, it’s my home life. Specifically, where I live and who I live with. No, it’s not Jeff and the kids. You see, I live with my in-laws and the clash of age, culture, and common sense leaves me wanting to scream. But instead of fighting yet another battle I know I’ll never win, (cause common sense never prevails) I bottle it up, keep quiet and go on about my day. That is until I boil over and start taking my frustrations out on those closest to me – Jeff and the kids. If I could afford to visit my therapist I’m pretty sure she would diagnose me with some form of depression. That’s how bad it is.

    How do I know? Cause like most people with an internet connection I looked up depression on WebMD and I found that I suffer from 10 out of 13 symptoms. Some of which include: fatigue, feeling hopeless, trouble concentrating, and irritability to name a few. I can go through a range of emotions that leave me feeling just plain out of it. I feel trapped within the walls of my body and the walls of this house, and I need to break free but there’s no place to break free to.

    How long have I been wearing a mask?

    Who the hell knows, but I know the mask has gotten thicker and right now it’s so heavy I can hardly hold my head up. So much so, it’s causing a number of issues hence the reason for my new year’s health and wellness goals. I’m sick of existing like this. I need to make a change and fast.

    How the hell do I find my happiness?

    The most obvious thing is to move. We know this and we’ve been working on it. Trust me. Our new goal, come hell or high water is to be out by the end of the school semester. But in the meantime, another obvious place to look for happiness is within me.

    I hear a lot of people talking about speaking things into existence. Well, here’s another truth bomb, privately I’ve been speaking very negatively about everything in my life. So how can I expect the universe to give me any positivity when I haven’t put any out in the world? It took a long time for me to understand that I control my happiness.

    My problem was I was pointing fingers at those around me for the cause of my misery. I cannot look for others to give me something that only I can give myself. I also can’t expect Jeff to add my happiness to his to-do list. He’s got enough shit to deal with as provider for our family. I need to get my ass on a white horse and save myself.

    word of the year happiness valerie pierre mommyrandr

    After some research I’ve found six ways I can start bringing happiness back into my life:

    Wake up with positivity

    The first thing I’ve started telling myself when I wake up is, “Today is gonna be a great day.” or “I’m gonna get a lot done today.”  These positive affirmations set the tone for the day. If I’m thinking and speaking positively there’s no room for me dwell on the negative.

    Be grateful

    This is a biggie. One, while I complain about where I live and with whom I need to be grateful I have a place to live. Others aren’t so fortunate. Two, I’m not living here alone. I have Jeff and the kids. They should be my only focus and I need to enjoy spending time with them and not worrying about the other people I live with.

    Go back to therapy

    Therapy can be expensive. Those co-pays add up. But I need to go at least once a month to talk to someone about my thoughts and feelings. Keeping them bottled up is no way to live and it’s not fair to my family to emotionally unload on them. And if I can’t get to therapy I need to open myself more to Jeff in a way that’s not offputting so that we both can get things off of our chests and work on a solution together.

    Update my vision board

    I’ve had the same vision board for at least 5 years. I look at it every day but I don’t really look at it. Which is why I’m gonna toss it and start anew. I’ve already started flipping through old mags and I see I’m more drawn to visuals that invoke happiness and serenity. I’m going to decorate my work area with peaceful imagery as a way to surround myself with happiness.

    Do things that I love

    I’ve gotten into the habit of making time for things and people that bring me joy. I love ending my day reading an article or book chapter, going to meditation on Friday mornings, and spending Sunday’s in bed with Jeff watching Netflix. These things help me find the inner peace I need in order to make it through the week.

    Celebrate achievements

    No matter how big or how small all achievements need to be celebrated. Like cleaning out the boxes of crap in the closet, Jeff getting a job in a new career, our 10 year wedding anniversary, Sierra receiving glowing remarks from all her teachers, and Lil’ Jeff’s speech improvements. This also includes daily achievements like the kids cleaning their room or putting laundry away. It’s all about keeping it positive.

    Choosing happiness for my word of the year was an easy choice. The moment the word hit me I and started seeing how the word made me feel I knew it was the right decision. And these are things I’m going to stop doing once we move? No. I’m going to keep doing them cause no matter where we go it’s important that I’m living my happiest life.

    What are you doing to ensure your happiness this year? What’s your word for the year?
  • Five Beauty & Wellness Goals I’m Setting For The New Year

    Sometime this year I decided I was gonna start taking better care of myself. I’ve been feeling and looking really rundown (which I’ll get into why in a future post). I went from being a hot mess but still presentable to looking like I didn’t give a fuck about life. I put on more weight, my skin is dull, and my hair is thinning. I needed to make a drastic change in my life, and fast!

    Now I’m not sure of the date I started it but I slowly started implementing new routines, and I vowed these would be my New Year goals. And because all of these goals are connected they’ll be easy for me to do. And another great thing is because I started weeks before the New Year I’ve already seen some small but noticeable changes. It lets me know I’m on the right track and I need to keep up the good work.

    My Five Beauty & Wellness Goals Are:

    Taking care of my skin

    I’m nearing 40 and there’s one thing I haven’t been doing on a consistent basis, and that’s taking care of my skin. I’ll take a hot shower and be lazy about moisturizing my body or not exfoliating. Then a day or two later wonder my skin feels like sandpaper or why my face is breaking out.

    So starting back in November I began making a conscious effort of taking better care of my skin. I started misting my face with PearlEssence rose water, applying body butter, using soaps and facial serums that bring that heal and moisturize my skin.

    new year goals valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Shop:

    Coconut Body Butter Raw African Black Soap Rose Water Spray

    More water less soda

    Speaking of taking better care of my skin, I’ve cut soda almost entirely out of my diet. I say almost as I still like the taste of ginger ale and drink it a few times a month. But for the most part, I drink water and teas (hot and cold).

    I don’t know when I cut back on my soda intake or what prompted it, but it’s a major step as I loved soda. And the results have been great. My face doesn’t break out as much, my stomach has gotten slightly smaller and my jeans aren’t as snug. Yay!

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    Shop:

    Modern Water Bottle Hint Water

    Growing out my nails

    I started growing them a while ago but stress and nerves got to me and I fell back into the bad habit of picking at my nails. And since I know what they look like grown out with a coat of paint, I need to curb the urge to pick at that them.

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    Shop:

    Diamond Strength Hardener Revlon Gel Nail Polish 12pc Manicure Kit

    Which leads to my next goal

    Going to weekly meditation and yoga classes

    I rejoined ClassPass. After seeing MDFL on their list of studios I knew I had to sign up, and that free month ClassPass offered was nice too. My plan is to get my mind, body, and spirit right by visiting various local yoga and meditation studios.

    Last year taught me I’m more into quiet reflection time and not traditional workout classes. While I know I need to get more active as I get older, I also know I need to be active doing things I don’t dread.

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    Shop:

    6pc Yoga Set Singing Bowl Set Meditation Guide Book

    Protective styling my hair

    This is going to be the hardest of all because I really hate twisting/braiding my hair. Natualista’s know this struggle. It’s time-consuming with your arms and hands aching soon after starting. But not doing so will continue to be a contributing factor toward my hair loss.

    I wear my afro out all the time even to bed and the results are massive tangles, dryness, and breakage. You may not be able to tell cause my hair is so fluffy but I can feel the loss in my scalp. With protective styling, I can prevent tangles and breakage by styling my hair which will allow my hair to grow and flourish.

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    Shop:

    Detangling Brush Scarf Turban Tie Daily Hair Moisturizer

    Going to bed at a decent time

    I have a hard time keeping a regular bedtime. My bedtime ranges between 11pm and 2am. I’ve always been a night owl so going to sleep late mentally is okay with me but I physically regret it each morning. Thankfully my nighttime routine is pretty solid so at least I’m not having any trouble getting to sleep.

    Shop:

    Essential Oil Diffuser Pajama Short Set Sound Machine

    What new year goals are you setting? Share in the comments below.

  • Holiday Stress Got You Down? Here Are Five Easy Ways to Manage It

    holiday stress valerie pierre mommyrandr

    The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes holiday stress. For many people, that means dealing with a lot more stress than usual. You’re planning/attending holiday dinners, getting gifts for everyone, keeping the kids occupied on winter vacation, and of course your in-laws. If you like yours consider yourself lucky for one less stress in your life. For the rest of us, their visit cannot end fast enough.

    The point is, the holidays can be overwhelming on top of the challenges you face each day making it easy to feel stretched too thin. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the stress.

    Here are five ways to manage holiday stress:

    Don’t be afraid to say no

    If you don’t want to cook, host a holiday party or can’t do something cause you don’t have the time, then don’t. If that perfect gift puts a strain on your bank account, don’t feel obligated to spend money you don’t have. Instead look for something else that’s within your budget range. The point is, saying no will save your sanity and finances in the long run.

    Take time for yourself

    Having some alone time gives you a chance to slow down, catch your breath, and think about something besides everything that needs to be done for the holidays. Read a book, go for a walk, craft or watch a movie. The important thing is that you do something YOU enjoy.

    Make a list of everything you need to do starting with the most important

    Planners and to-lists will help you stay organized and keep up with everything much easier. If you see there is more to do than you can handle, you’ll have time to recruit some help instead of stressing over how you will take care of it all. If you don’t have a to-do list or a 2019 planner you can get one here.

    Be realistic and don’t set impossible goals

    Volunteering to cook dinner for the family, bake holiday cookies for the office party, and taking care of all the shopping may seem like a good idea. However, trying to actually do all of this shit may prove to be way too stressful.

    Get some exercise

    Exercising helps to clear your mind and improve your overall mood. You’ll also feel more energetic so go jogging, workout at home or go to the gym. If you can’t make it to the gym, no worries. Take some time to yourself and give these health and wellness podcasts a listen.

    Do you have any tips that help you manage holiday stress? Share in the comments below.