Health & Wellness

  • Tips for Making and Building a Strong Support Network of Friends

    Support Network of Friends mommyrandr valerie pierre

    When it comes to life, having a strong support network of friends helps make everything a little easier to tolerate. Many people say you’re the company that you keep, but what if you’re struggling trying to find company. It ain’t easy to make friends as an adult. So that begs the question, how does build a network of friends to ensure you always have people surrounding you who care about your well being?!

    The easy and hard answer is, you gotta get your ass out there. Getting out there may sound easy but it’s definitely a struggle. But it doesn’t have to be. So how do you get out there? You can start small by attending meetups with other moms at your kid’s school or other local mom groups. Search for local events that speak to your spirit. There’s nothing wrong with going to an event alone as you never know who you’re gonna meet. If going out is too much you can join online Facebook groups. I’m a member of a number of local Brooklyn mom/women’s groups. You can also find virtual friends through activities clubs or groups which will ensure you’re meeting like-minded people who have a common interest with you.

    But before you get out there you need to do a few other things to make sure your support network of friends will be solid.

    Determine What You Need

    Before you even get out there you need to determine what you’ll need from your new group of friends. Perhaps you’re going through trauma, recovering from something major or just want to know you have people by your side no matter what life throws at you.

    Make time to develop your new friendships

    Now that you’ve met new people you need to make the time to develop these new relationships. No one likes or wants a friend who’s always missing in action, especially one they’ve just met. You have to show people you’re genuine and truly care about them. Make the time to send words of encouragement to start off the day, ask them how they’re doing or follow up on how a presentation or a meeting went. Showing people you actually care goes a very long way.

    Don’t force relationships

    No one wants to be in a forced friendship. If you don’t feel a connection with someone after hanging out a few times that’s okay. Remember, you’re not gonna mesh with everyone you meet. Don’t give up so easily. Keeping putting yourself out there cause remember the glue that holds solid friendships together is being into people who will be into you.

    Support Network of Friends mommyrandr valerie pierre

    Listen to your friends

    The relationships you’re trying to build aren’t one-sided. These people aren’t here just for you to dump your problems on. The key to stable long-lasting friendship is listening to others as they listen to you. Hear them in their time of need and share with them practical solutions to their problems. This is how relationships work.

    Reconnect with your current/old friends

    I know this is about making new friends but if you have friends whom you haven’t connected with in a long time reaching out to them is like starting all over again. Talk and be honest about what may have caused a breakdown in communication and try to work through it. Maybe you were a bad friend, and they didn’t know how to tell you or maybe they said something that offended you. Now is the time to air out your grievances and work towards a solution to try and mend the friendship, if it can be mended. It will be hard and it will feel awkward as hell but if the goal is to have your old friend back then it’s worth it.

    Bring your friends together

    Now that you’ve determined who will be a part of your strong support network of friends, it’s time to bring everyone together so that you all can meet each other. Hosting some sort of dinner or happy hour with this support network of friends will help build the bond between all of you so that you all can be a positive part of each other’s life.

    I hope these tips will ensure that you have a strong support network of friends to be there, by your side through the ups and downs in life.
  • Social Media Self-Care: Why Unfollowing and Blocking People Is Necessary

    Social Media self-care valerie pierre mommyrandr

    When I first got on social media I didn’t think of myself as someone who would block people. Back then I didn’t find it necessary and honestly, I thought it was a bit excessive. This was probably because I didn’t see any shit on my personal Facebook page that would give me a reason to block anyone.

    But when I started a public Facebook page (long before this blog was born) I quickly became aware of the negativity that can make the internet a not so fun place to be. You’d be surprised what people would say to me in response to parenting memes and other things I shared. Usually, I would ignore them. But if it got too bad I found myself having to block them.

    At first, I would feel a little guilty and told myself I shouldn’t take it personally. Then I thought, fuck that. I created this space for moms to chill and enjoy. I’m not gonna let these Debbie downers and trolls ruin my shit. So it didn’t take long for me to start using the block button more frequently, and guilt-free.

    Today, unfriending and blocking people is my favorite form of social media self-care, and it should be yours too.

    Protecting my space on social media

    While I may not be able to control the world around me I can control what pops up my timeline. And since I’m all about happiness in all areas of my life I make sure my timelines have a positive reaction on my mental and spiritual health.

    I don’t come on social media to argue with ignorant people stuck in their ways. I don’t have the time nor patience for that. Instead, when I log on I want to consume information from accounts that are going to give me educational and spiritual nourishment.

    So, yeah, this might mean you’ll have to unfriend or block relatives and friends or unfollow someone. Will they like it? Will they understand why you’re unfollowing or blocking them? Probably not. Why? Due to the ease of social media access, people often get upset or even angry when the access they once had to someone becomes restricted. But you see, I no longer care about how people feel when I deny them social media access to me. My feelings as a result of their post matter more, it’s as simple as that.

    I know not everyone is cut and dry so if blocking is too severe there’s always the mute option. Muting is great because it allows you to remain friends with someone while keeping their content from appearing on your timeline. They also have no clue they’ve been muted.

    What are some reasons for blocking people on social media?

    You may not want to see posts from certain people on your timeline for any number of reasons like:

    They’re racist, sexist or homophobic

    No decent human being wants to see that shit on their timeline. I don’t care if it’s your favorite Aunt Alma who makes the best apple pie. Fuck that shit cause there’s no excuse for it.

    They’re a negative Nancy 

    There’s always one person who should scroll past things they don’t agree on but instead will leave an antagonizing comment in the hopes of provoking a comment war.

    You’ve broken up

    If you had a nasty breakup there’s no reason to keep seeing their shit on your timeline and there’s no reason for them to see you on theirs. You living your best life without them is not their business.

    They’re creepy as fuck

    If someone is in your comments with weird comments and emoji’s or if they’ve sent you an unsolicited dick pic they should most definitely be blocked and reported.

    You don’t talk to them or don’t remember who they are

    If you’re Facebook “friends” with someone whom you haven’t spoken to since friending them or nothing about them rings a bell. You should totally let these people go if you have no shared friends.

    They spread fake news

    There’s always that one person who’s always sharing something you always feel like you have to correct despite them having all of Al Gore’s internet at their fingertips to fact check.

    I consider all my social media channels my peaceful corner of the internet. I protect that peace at all costs which is something that I hope you’ll do as well.

    What are your thoughts on this form of social media self-care? Is it something that you do or something you’re gonna start doing?
  • 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?