Health & Wellness

  • I Was Stretched Too Thin and These Are the Steps I Took to Overcome It

    *I received a copy of Stretched Too Thin for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. In addition, this post contains Amazon affiliate links which earn this site a small commission.

    stretched too thin valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Last year this time I was having a difficult time mentally and physically. I had a lot going on between work, the kids, my husband, and our home life. I was constantly aggravated and snappy, stressed to the point where I couldn’t think straight and tired beyond measure. Looking back, I now realize I was stretched too thin and didn’t even realize it.

    What made this time in my life particularly frustrating was no matter how changed my eating and drinking habits and tweaked my night time routine I was still tired. Every day after I dropped the kids off at school I would come home and sleep all day. Mind you, this was supposed to be the time I should have been working uninterrupted. After all, I had waited two years after my first kid started school for my second to begin kindergarten. This should have been an exciting and fruitful time for my business. But instead of it flourishing, it floundered. Shit was bad and I was a minute from snapping.

    In hindsight, I can see how my actions got me in a predicament where I would become stretched beyond my limits. If I hadn’t tried to do too much which ultimately left little time for family, friends or myself I could have avoided feeling like I was on the cusp of having a nervous breakdown.

    What does it mean to be stretched too thin?

    The meaning is simple, you have too much going on but not enough time to accommodate any of it. You know what this looks like, you and your family’s schedule is packed from sunrise to sunset. Most days you don’t know if you’re coming or going. You end up at one place thinking it’s Tuesday when it’s really Thursday and you should be across town. And as a result, you’re in a constant state of frustration and fatigue.

    Now the easy thing to say is, well stop piling on so much shit. And that’s true. But you see, I didn’t realize I had taken on so much. I didn’t stretch myself thin overnight. Nah, son. I was doing it without realizing it. One too many extra projects here, taking the kids there, on top of keeping my house in order as a stay at home mom and trying to be a halfway decent wife. By the time I realized what was happening to me it was too late. Shit had already spiraled out of my control.

    How I regained control of my life

    The first thing I did was say no to every request in my inbox. This was not something that I was used to doing cause if I thought I could do it I would. Which was my number one problem. I needed to realize just because I could it didn’t mean I should. After that, I went into my inbox at all my pending things and told folks it was gonna take longer than promised due to overextending myself. Thankfully, I work with nice people who understood and sympathized with me as they too have been in my shoes.

    With projects completed and my whole schedule clear going forward I needed to make sure that I prioritized my family and myself above all else. Instead of working 7 days a week I cut it down to three – four tops. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were my personal days. Monday too if I could swing it. The impact of this new schedule was a game changer. I no longer felt overwhelmed or exhausted and I had more time for me. It also made my family happy cause I was fully present. Things were looking up and I couldn’t be more excited for lay ahead for me.

    How do you avoid finding yourself in a similar situation?

    I’m telling you right now you don’t wanna end up like me and how I was last year. You don’t want to walk around in a state of heightened stress all the time yelling at your family for every little thing cause you’re tired and can’t think straight. It’s no way to live. So when I knew I had to make a change  this is what I did to pull myself back together:

    Plan shit out

    I have never been a planner but over the last year, I’ve come to realize how important planning is. I used to think it was silly, now I don’t make a move without checking my calendar. This is a great way to keep yourself from having too much going on at once. You can look ahead to see if it makes sense for you to add on another activity or project, and it also shows if you need to remove things. Simply put, planning keeps you balanced.

    It’s okay to say no

    There is no rule that states you have to do everything. You don’t, and you shouldn’t, because you can’t. Don’t put your mental, emotional and physical health on the back-burner for nothing and no one.

    Make time for you and your loved ones

    When you’re being pulled in so many different directions it leaves very little time to enjoy being around those whom you love and care about. Now that you’re planning out your schedule and learning to say no you’ll see how much free time you have. Use that time to reconnect with family and friends, and most importantly, yourself. You’ll notice those around you will appreciate that you’ve not only have taken the initiative to spend time together but that you’re also present enjoying the moment creating meaningful long-lasting memories.

    Get Jessica Turner’s newest book Stretched Too Thin

    I’ve been a fan of Jessica’s since her first book release Fringe Hours. I considered it my favorite self-care book, that is until I read her newest release, Stretched Too Thin. Reading this book following one of the most stressful year’s of my life helped me fully understand the depths of what I put myself through, the negative impact it had on those around me and to see how far I’ve come since then.

    stretched too thin valerie pierre mommyrandr

    What makes this book special is the fact that it doesn’t read like a book at all. It’s more of a manual and in it, Jessica gives you the tools to: work and parent guilt-free, invest in your marriage and friendships, establish home and work boundaries, and home management solutions – just to name a few.

    stretched too thin valerie pierre mommyrandr

    What separates this book from other self-care books is that Jessica isn’t suggesting or sharing shit that she hasn’t done or gone through. You can tell as you read or listen along that she knows and understands the struggle a lot of us moms face and is committed to helping us find solutions that will not only be beneficial to us but to our families as well.

    But my favorite aspect is the journal like reflection section at the end of each chapter. This allows you to dig deep to identify areas of your life that may be stressful or problematic and improve those areas using the tips laid out within the chapter.

    While it took me less than a week to read it’s a book that I will keep handy to refer back to as often as necessary to ensure I don’t end up back in the space I was a year ago. For this reason alone it makes Stretched Too Thin worth the read.

    stretched too thin valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Stretched Too Thin along with Jessica’s previous titles, The Fringe Hours and My Fringe Hours are available at your local bookstore, Amazon, and on Audible.

    Have you ever felt stretched too thin? How did you go about putting yourself back together again?
  • 10 Health and Wellness Podcasts That Will Get You Feeling Recharged

    health and wellness podcasts mommyrandr valerie pierre

    Podcasts have recently become my new favorite thing. I don’t listen to many but ones I listen to on a regular are health and wellness podcasts. Why? Because my ass be tide y’all (yes, tide). So I need something that’s gonna help me get and keep my physical and mental health in order.

    Here’s the reason why I love podcasts – you can listen to them anytime anywhere. A lot of them can be found on Spotify, iTunes, and Soundcloud which makes it easy to listen right from your phone. Which is what I do. When I’m cooking, cleaning or even in the bathroom I can just tune in.

    Now every podcast isn’t the same. Obviously. I listen to different ones that give me different vibes to go with whatever mood I might be in. Some are fun and easy going when I want to laugh, some have soothing music and voices when I want to relax, and others are a little serious when I’m not in a jokey mood. But the one thing they all have in common is, they leave me feeling rejuvenated.

    Here are 10 health & wellness podcasts that I’m currently listening to:

    Black Girl In Om

    Hosted by Lauren Ash and Deun Ivory, BGIO’s mission is to promote holistic wellness and inner beauty for women of color. Bruh, I cannot express to you how much that I looove BGIO. And it doesn’t stop at just a podcast, they have open conversations on Twitter centered around self-care, self-love, and self-empowerment. Use #BGIO to share your thoughts and opinions, as well as gain knowledge on what it means to be healthy and beautiful from the inside out.

    Listen

    Food Heaven Made Easy

    It’s got food in it so you know I’m all over it. Not because I cook, but because I eat. But this podcast is more than about food. It’s about how to take care of yourself starting with the foods you put in your mouth. They also share tips on how you can live a sustainable healthy lifestyle. There’s also a ton of healthy and easy to make recipes that take little to no time to prepare.

    Listen

    Forever 35

    Kate Spencer & Doree Shafrir are friends in my head. Now, be warned these ladies are all about facial serums and as a woman of a certain age I’m here for it. But when they aren’t chatting about facial products they discuss exercise, meditation, anxiety and how life changes as they get older. They also have a Facebook group that focuses on self-care and wellness.

    Listen

    Selfie

    If you thinking you’re gonna get tips on taking better selfie pics then you’re in the wrong place. This podcast hosted by Sara James and Kristen Howerton is about tackling the tricky and elusive aspects of caring for ourselves. Each week Selfie tackles burning questions like: “Why aren’t I getting enough sleep?” “How do I find the perfect bra?” and every other topic from silly to serious in between.

    Listen

    Happy Place

    I’m a HUGE fan of anything British so there was no way this list wouldn’t include at least one English import. It comes compliments of Fearne Cotton who hosted Happy Place. I love happy place cause it’s based on helping you get out of your slump and into a happier mindset. Fearne interviews celebs who have either made a change in their own lives or who help people every day to find a different way of looking at life.

    *This show has ended but it’s still a great podcast to check out.

    Listen

    Therapy for Black Girls

    Dr. Joy Harden Bradford is the truth, ok. Truth. Each week for about 30-45 minutes Dr. Joy with special expert guests discuss topics relating to the everyday lives of black women. In addition, Therapy for Black Girls has a Facebook group. It’s a safe space for black women to post their inner thoughts and feelings, and we work together as a tribe to help each other out. It’s a therapeutic community.

    Listen

    Affirm Podcast

    This biweekly mental health podcast is hosted by Davia Roberts who is a licensed therapist (LPC) and the creator of Redefine Enough. Affirm centers around women of color who affirm their worth, value mental health, and seek wholeness.

    Listen

    Untangle

    I’ve recently stumbled upon Untangle, a meditation focused podcast hosted by Patricia Karpas who sits down with real people and experts who have devoted their lives to helping others through meditation. She covers topics ranging from why it’s important to meditate to how self-compassion practices change us from the inside out to why meditation helps with anxiety in adults and kids. I can’t really say too much about it right now as I just started listening, but so far so good.

    Listen

    Motivated

    This ABC produced podcast was hosted by Emmy Award-winning ABC News correspondent, Mara Schiavocampo who shared her keys to living a healthier and happier life following her 90lb weight loss. This podcast is centered on health motivation (hence the name), to help you shed pounds and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    *This show has ended but it’s still a great podcast to check out.

    Listen

    That’s So Retrograde

    If you’re into retrograde/astrology then you need to check out Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari. They break down everything you wanted to know about Mercury retrograde is by using humor, pop culture and interviews with experts. It’s lighthearted, cheesy and fun which is why I dig it.

    Listen
    Do you have any favorite health and wellness podcasts? Share in the comment below. Let’s keep the list going.
  • 10 Ways for Moms to Chillax on National Relaxation Day

    It’s National Relaxation Day. Let’s celebrate it with a collective wooosahhhh. Yeah, I know relaxing as a parent can be hard and even nonexistent, but I got you covered with some easy ways that will help you chillax on this national day of rest.

    Sleep in

    National Relaxation Day mommyrandr valerie pierre

    What are you getting up so early for if you don’t have to? If you find yourself awake early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping then you should continue to lay right there. Get up when you’re ready and not a minute before then.

    Stay off social media

    While the innanets can be a fun place to be that shit can also be draining if you wander into the wrong parts, and sadly those parts are sometimes on our timelines. You don’t need that in your life today. Stay off for the day or at least limit the time you spend logged on there.

    Screw the chores

    Today is not a day for chores. Screw’em. You clean every day as so why not give yourself a break. No one cares you got toys in the floor. And think of it this way, if you cleaned up today the kids are gonna mess it up and you’ll have to clean again tomorrow. You might as well just leave it till then, or at least till the end of the day.

    Don’t cook

    If you’re not cleaning today then you also shouldn’t be cooking. Get dinner delivered and call it a night. Oh, and don’t forget to use paper plates and forks, makes for fewer things you gotta wash.

    Get some sun

    If it ain’t too hot take your ass outside. Go for a walk around the block, sit in the park or just go for a drive to Starbucks or something. The idea is to take in the sights, smells and sounds of the outdoors. If it’s too hot stay indoors and keep cool. Too much heat brings on headaches and makes you cranky, and there’s nothing relaxing about that.

    Listen to music

    National Relaxation Day mommyrandr valerie pierre

    Spend the day playing jams that make you feel good. They can be fast or slow. Doesn’t matter, so long as you’re enjoying the way it makes you feel. I have a Spotify 80’s/90’s list that I dance to in the house. It’s a lifesaver for me when I get in a mood and need a little pick-me-up.

    Burn a candle

    This may not seem like much but I assure you burning a candle or a using a diffuser with your favorite scent is the quickest way to get you in a calm, peaceful and relaxed state. I have tons of candles around the house each with a different scent to go with whatever mood I’m trying to set.

    Meditate

    Meditation is amazing. There are apps you can check out like Calm and Headspace that are free to use. I personally like Headspace since it breaks down how meditation eases tension and helps release stress. I use Calm when it’s time for bed to help me go to sleep.

    Be a couch potato

    Today is a perfect day to binge watch either your favorite show (I’m watching Game of Thrones season 2 as I type), or you can start a new show that someone recommended.

    Read a book

    Books are my favorite way to relax. Start a book that’s been collecting dust on your shelf for the last several months or hit up your local bookstore or library and discover something new.

    If you don’t have the whole day to yourself here are 30 activities you can do in an hour to help you relax.

    What are you doing for National Relaxation Day?
  • Wanna Survive the Daytime? You Better Get a Bedtime Routine

    bedtime routine mommyrandr valerie pierre

    There was a time where I couldn’t make it to noon without needing a nap. As hard as tried I just could not keep my eyes open. The onslaught of exhaustion became the bane of my existence. And while I love a good nap, I can’t always be sleeping cause I got shit to fucking do during the day.

    Then one night at 3 a.m. it hit me as I lay awake trolling Twitter. This right was my problem and why I couldn’t function in the daylight hours. You woulda thought I would’ve figured it out sooner. Better late than never, right? The problem was when it was time for bed I got up from my desk from being on the internet and hopped my ass in the bed and got right back on the internet. *buzzer sound* This is not the proper way to go to bed. While I was physically shutting down my body, I wasn’t shutting down my brain.

    Enter my new bedtime routine.

    Y’all should already know what a bedtime routine is, but if you don’t, it’s a series of wind down activities you do just before you go to bed to help you go right to sleep. Now keep in mind no one bedtime routine is the same. My routine has 7 steps but yours might only have 4. My routine takes an hour and starts at 11 p.m. and in this order or I’m not gonna be able to sleep.

    Take my vitamins (multi & hair, nail, and skin)

    bedtime routine mommyrandr valerie pierre

    I always take my vitamins at night before sleep. Why? They take hours to break down in my system. What sense would it make for me to take them at 8 a.m. and finally kicking in at 3 p.m. when I need the energy before then. So I take them at night so when I wake up my struggle level isn’t 10 and I can hit the ground running with energy that will carry me through the afternoon. Also, if you wanna grow your nails get these Vitafusion vitamins. They are the business.

    Take a shower and brush my teeth

    Next, I go take a shower. I’m usually in there about 15 minutes. I alternate between hot and cold water. I let the hot run on me and I stand there as it rinses off the drama and stress of the day. Then as I bathe and rinse I use cooler water. After my shower, I’ll floss and brush my teeth.

    Brew a pot of tea

    bedtime routine valerie pierre mommyrandr

    As soon as I leave the bathroom I brew a pot a tea. I’m a huge fan of T2 teas. So I’ll make a mug of relax or lemongrass and ginger. My tea doesn’t take too long since I don’t let the water boil. It’s hot just enough. I also won’t add too much sugar since I just brushed and cause I need to go to sleep, or I’ll add a small amount of honey.

    I will drink my tea as I go through the rest of my routine.

    Moisturize my skin

    I’ll add a light lotion to my skin. My dresser is loaded with lotion. I put on whatever my hand lands on. I don’t want anything too oily or too heavy as I want to feel my skin breathing. I’ll also put on my Olay Age Defying Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream, cause I’m a woman of a certain age.

    Mist and massage my scalp

    bedtime routine valerie pierre mommyrandr

    My hair needs moisture or it’ll be hard and dry. So, with my water bottle, I’ll spritz my hair with a water and oil and water combination and add a little leave-in conditioner. I’ll rub and massage it in then put my satin lined Grace Eleyae cap on. In the morning my hair will be soft and shiny. I like this cap cause it’s got an elastic band that won’t slip off.

    Lower the air temperature

    I need the room to be cold, and I mean cold. I sleep with blankets year-round so I set the air conditioner to 67 degrees on the highest cooling level. The room gets brick quick, and no matter how cold the room may get I won’t feel it as I’m snug as a bug under all my blankets.

    Get in bed with Calm app

    I know, I know I’m not supposed to have electronics in the bed, but, I’m not actually looking at it, I’m listening. Calm app is the last step that really brings everything together. Now that I’m covered up to my neck I put my headphones in and set the app to relaxing sounds. I usually choose some sort of water sounds like rain or a waterfall. I turn the volume down low and turn over. It’s lights out in less than five minutes. Thankfully there’s a timer on the music that it cuts off after an hour.

    When I wake up the next day, yeah I’m dreading getting up, that’s never going to change but at least I’m refreshed having received almost eight hours of sleep. And that’s the key to it all – getting the proper amount of rest. By getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night you won’t have to worry about trying to survive the next day.

    Do you have a bedtime routine? What does it consist of?