November 29, 2017

Journey to Wellness

Sweater: Topshop | Bottoms: Zara | Boots: Zara





Hey guys. I think many of you follow me on instagram so you probably have somewhat of an idea that I started making vast changes to my daily routine in order to improve not only my physical health but my mental health. As I have mentioned before I have struggled with anxiety for many many years. The first encounter I can remember was in 4th grade. I had this class presentation. It probably wasn't my first but for some reason I was super nervous. I have no idea why because I was totally prepared, over prepared one would say. My presentation boards were always a hit but when it came to getting up in front of the class I would place my board on the ledge and get the talking so fast just so I could get back to my seat. This presentation was on snails and I was really excited about all the new facts that I had learned (I cant believe how vivid I remember this; I had my first crush at this time too - maybe that's why I was so nervous..hmm) and rehearsed to share while pointing at the diagram I had glued onto my board. Well as soon as I got to the front of the class and had all eyes on me I started talking at the speed of light and got my hinny back to my seat as quickly as possible. Even at this age my anxiety came with this awful pit feeling. I remember getting home from school and my mom asking how the presentation went. She had helped me, practiced with me and knew how excited I was about the facts so she asked me if I shared this fact and that fact and I was like oh no I forgot that one... but my board was pretty and they probably saw. (btw i totally aced the report, board and presentation).Well this feeling of anxiety anytime I was in the spotlight pretty much carried me into adulthood. To the point that I probably haven't had a good nights sleep in a decade because my mind won't slow down. It was all but manageable up until the last couple of years and more recently it has been so bad that I carry that pit feeling I was talking about almost the entire day. A couple weeks ago it was so bad that I started getting these sharp pains in my stomach throughout my day and realized that I had to make a change if I was going to survive to see a healthy 30. I have joked with my mom for many years that I will probably have an ulcer or stroke before my 30th birthday because of anxiety. My anxiety comes from the feeling of not being in control & fear of the unknown and it literally rules my life. It tells me whether I am going to get out of bed today, what time I'm going to get out of bed, what I'm going to do once I get out of bed, if I'm going to productive throughout my day! Finally I realized that this had to stop. I have a dream that I know God has planted in my heart to change the world and be a bold woman in Christ for my generation. I can't do any of this if I'm living in fear, allowing my anxiety to run and drain me to the point of depletion. I would wake up with less energy then I had when I went to sleep. Finally I decided to be intentional in driving the change I wanted to see in my life. You can't keep talking about this is the life I want, I see it, I know what it takes to get there but put in zero effort. 

First things first I knew I had to get to a place where I could get rest. I used to do everything in my room. Sleep, watch tv, do homework, just any and everything. But your room is for sleep and if your doing everything in your room then your body doesn't equate your room with sleep. So I do my work downstairs at the kitchen table, I do not watch tv in my room especially not within an hour or two of me going to sleep. I literally stay out of my room unless I'm going to cleaning up, getting dressed or going to sleep. I now go to bed with enough time to get at least 7 hours of rest. I also wake up at the same time everyday (even on my day off). The very latest I will sleep is 7am. Since doing this I have found that my body naturally wakes up, even before my alarm. And I get up and start my day, even if that's at 5am.
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I knew I had to get active. This literally gets me out of bed every morning. I wake up excited to get downstairs and do my 10 min abs workout and 30 minutes walk on the treadmill; I walk on the highest incline and started at 3.0 speed (i've gotten up to 3.3).  Exercise produces endorphins which are natural painkillers. Fun fact: 5 minutes of physical activity can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Exercise has also show to reduce fatigue, improve alertness/concentration and enhance cognitive function. Basically if your body feels better so does your mind and I'm here for all of that. My mental health is just as important to me as my physical health, if not more. My lack of mental wellness has held me back more than anything.
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I really had to determine what triggers my anxiety. My short list:
the unknown
feeling out of control
feeling taken advantage of
comparison (the thief of joy)

Conclusion: God is in control. Trust him.
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Be selfish with my time and energy. If something does not serve me I do not entertain it. It's about me right now. What's going to get me to the life that I want. Everyday I wake up and ask myself "What can you do today that will get you to the tomorrow you want?" It's actually the name of my morning alarm. In part the reason why I choose to be single. I would rather spend my Friday night refining a master plan than on a date with someone who may or may not be around next year. I really just don't have the energy or time to care for anyone other than myself. I also know that God is going to make it clear to me when I have met his match for me. I know he is faithful to those who are faithful to him. That's it, that's all.
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Change up my diet. Yo this has been crazy in boosting my overall mood, and energy. I was the queen of fast food. My schedule was all over the place and on days when I used to get off at midnight the only thing that's open is good ole' Taco Bell, and McDonalds. I found myself eating fast food late at night, vending machine junk while at work or not at all. For the last few months I have said a big hello to the pescatarian lifestyle. I considered trying vegan (I'm not ready) but I have cut down on dairy and implemented vegan eats in my life like coconut milk, dairy-free yogurt, dairy-free nutella, and other vegan snacks like veggie chips and organic dried mango. Last night I also bought some black bean & quinoa burgers I can't wait to try. The results have been amazing y'all. I don't feel drowsy throughout the day, I have so much energy, my overall quality of life has improved drastically, and i'm not exaggerating. I feel like a new person (this is probably coupled with my self love/care journey).
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Journal daily. I'm a writer. It's my passion. It's my calling. I stopped writing for a long time for lack of inspiration. I started writing poetry in junior high and continued throughout college (probably the last time I wrote for myself until recently). So I have a prayer journal which I write in first thing every morning, I have a self love journal so I can look back on this journey, I also have a "in spite of myself" journal where I right down the productive things I tackled everyday despite my anxiety, fear or self doubt. So ill Ill start the entry with: "in spite of my fear I". I used to  let my anxiety keep me in bed but now its a trigger. As soon as the pit feeling comes I get up and do something positive like workout, cook, write, love on myself or listen to an uplifting podcast. 
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Be careful what you watch/listen to. This is so important. What you put in comes out in your actions. I try to minimize secular music to workouts and even then I am super choosy. I won't listen to anything that will get me to think about my past, degrades woman or glorifies the fast lifestyle. Am I perfect, no. I do have days where I will play a little hip hop to get me motivated to work out. I also try to minimize my tv intake, especially before bed. TV is trash. I'm even thinking about removing the TV from my room. It's just junk, like 98% of it. This man is cheating on this woman. This girl is hating on this girl. I can't take it. I was so excited when Blackish finally came back. Right now my TV intake is Project Runway, The Bold Type and Younger. (Right now I'm fasting from TV for the rest of the year. I want to spend that time in my bible, writing, creating content, reading, cooking and enjoying the people around me. TV is just another form of comparison. It create fantasies & those fantasies create panic, at least in me, & then they bleed into my dreams and stimulate my fear and anxiety.)
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Limit social media scrolling. I am on social media multiple times throughout the day to share content but I have really limited who I keep up with. It's so easy to compare your life to peoples highlight reels. I'm sure folks think I have a perfect life, something I have struggled with since childhood (writing on this soon) and even more as adult trying to fulfill my dreams and create a life for myself. My parents have done very well for themselves and in turn I have reaped many benefits BUT that doesn't mean my life is perfect. Material things don't make me happy. Material things are a temporary fix, the adrenaline of something new is gone in a couple weeks and your problem or unhappiness is still there. That's why no one can buy me or buy my love. I'm not into it. I'd rather you give me an hour of undivided attention than give me a Chanel bag (that's just me, i'm not knocking anybody). I used to spend my entire Saturday watching everyone live it up brunching, going to the beach, chillen' with bae and it made me feel awful because I was stuck at work until midnight. I had to unfollow a lot of my favorite bloggers, influencers and celebrities for this. Now on Saturdays I don't scroll at all and I recently turned my data off for all my social media platforms so that I can only use it on wifi. This has literally been a life saver. (Back in October I was unexpectedly asked to transfer to a new location within my company and now work Saturday mornings and off Sundays; God really came thru on this one, but I still try to limit my social media scrolling and I'm really considering deleting the app from my phone for a few weeks when I return from vacation (celebrating my birthday/holiday in Mexico). Social media has a way of being in the way if you don't watch yourself! 

So what routines have you all put in place improve your mental/physical health and live your best life? xo

November 22, 2017

SMILE

Sweatshirt: H&M / Skirt: Topshop / Boots: Zara





One of the reasons I write my prayers down is so it is tangible, and I am able to look back and see the growth,  month by month, year by year. I just started in my fifth journal on the 12th so today I took a moment to read the first prayer I journaled, written on April 1st. I want to share a little excerpt with you "Lord, I am really struggling to make sense of my life right now. I know that this individual was put in my life for a purpose but I also know that I made this person a priority above everyone and everything, including you. Help me to focus on growing as a person, spiritually and on my goals. I am also hurting with thoughts that after all my energy given that I was not worth setting childish things aside and showing me appreciation. I know that there is someone that you have for me, please help me to focus on that and preparing myself for when you introduce us instead of dwelling on my past. Please give me discernment as far of pursuing friendship with this individual. Allow me to take responsibility for my disobedience to you. Give me the strength not to allow my emotions to drive me back into the same situation. Draw me close to you when I am sad. Remind me that you are with me. Deliver me from my fear of being alone and not making anything of my life. Remind me that you have a plan. Encourage me and allow me to see the lesson in this season of singleness. Prepare me for what is next. Teach me to stand in my truth, speak up and communicate how I feel to those around me. Deliver me from my obsession with TV. Lead me to your word and not social media when I am feeling lonely and depressed. Remind me that you know what is best for me. Keep my eyes stayed on you so that I will not dwell on my circumstance. Teach me how to leave my burdens with you." 

Now this is the prayer I jotted down before bed on Nov 17th: "  Thank you for bringing me back to gratitude. I can see that I had a successful year kicking and screaming. Lord I put my goals and dreams in your hands. I know that you are on top of it. I know that when you see fit you will give me the desires of my heart as they align with your will. Lord I know that you are preparing me for what is to come in my next season. I thank you for everything that came my way. I have learned patience, strength like never before. I have learned how to lean on  you. Thank you for trusting me with the trials that have grown me up. I thank you that I have learned to accept myself for who I am and who you say I am. I thank you that you have shown me purpose in my writing. I ask for your continued guidance and wisdom as I continue to walk as your lead and do not move ahead of you. That I will recognize your voice above my own emotions and feeling. I pray that i will focus on my own goals and not compare my year one with others year 10. I am right where I am supposed to be and right where you would have me to be. Nothing that has happened to me was an accident. It was all for a purpose to grow me, to give me purpose, to heal me and those who you put before me and to draw me into a closer relationship with you. You are so faithful. I thank you for the foundation you are laying in my life. I know that you and you alone can heal my heart of the hurts of my past. I recognize that rejection was for my protection and I thank you. I thank you for shutting doors while not allowing others to open. I know that you know best and have my best interest. Clear my mind. Clear the clutter in my brain. Teach me how to let the day go. I relinquish today. Today came and I kicked butt and now I let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda's. I will not dwell on or focus on the days ahead. I will stay present right here right now knowing that you are in control and are working it all out. You have given me everything I need to be successful even on my worst days. I trust you and I trust your plan and I know that my future is bright with you leading the way. I love you. Thank you for never giving up on me,  for forgiving me, and restoring me, for removing my sin far from me. I pray that I will be intentional about guarding my heart. That I will be careful about what I allow into my eyes & ears. That I will not participate in mindless banter or unhealthy activities. That I will be choosy about who I allow to walk into this new season with me. Give me the courage to walk away, to say no, to say yes, to be okay when others reject me. To be patient as I await the king you created just for me. That I will be prepared for him. That my heart will be healed for him. That I will be ready to walk in obedience with him as we deny ourselves to glorify you. I pray that he will lead me in your word. That we will both understand our union is to glorify you and that we will be a force in your kingdom. " All I have to say is that God answers prayers. I wrote that first prayer earlier this year in anguish, fear, desperation. In the latter written a couple days ago I have truly accepted that God is in control. That I can trust His plan, His will and His best for my life. I truly thank God for the pain I endured this year because it has brought me closer to Him, driven me to pursue my writing as a means of healing/helping others, be a better woman than I was yesterday, grow up & glow up!! I've never been this excited to walk into a new year. I've never been so excited about turning another year older (Christmas Eve). I feel the tide changing in my life because I am allowing God to lead the way. I know He got me like no one else does. Through Him alone have I let go of the resentment that lived in my heart. In Him I know that I have purpose & a future doing what I love with someone that I love & loves me just the same (if not more).

November 16, 2017

DEM GOALS








Do y'all mind if I brag on myself a little bit? Self acceptance, love, care and awareness were kind of the trending topics for woman in the african american community this year. Personally I'm not a go with the trend of the moment kinda girl but I'm so glad that I got on board. It was empowering and encouraging to see woman of color stand for themselves and say no more. No more taking care of everyone and everything other than myself. No more putting off my dreams. No more standing in the shadows. No more shooting for anything other than the stars. We got woke this year & realized we bomb. & that's true whether we knee deep in our dream career or just starting, in a relationship or single, living in our dream home/apt/living at home, etc. We winning because even with all the garbage thrown at us we always manage to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off & continue to glow. Maybe it's just me but I feel hella magical!! I'm ready to leave a trail of glitter wherever this next year takes me and I know it's going to be good because my God is leading the way!!!!

So earlier this week I was looking thru the notes in my phone and stumbled across a list of goals I made for 2017 sometime back in April when I decided to re-evaluate my life and be more intentional about my spiritual, mental, financial and career growth. To be honest I made the list to help me get on track but I haven't thought much of it since. Hence, I opened it with hesitation. The first goal listed under spiritual- put God first: I have clung to God this year like my life depended on it; well because it does, journal everyday: I filled 4 journals, overcome anxiety: Not only have I learned how to successfully manage my anxiety but also my depression & stress. 3 wins. So I moved on to the next category; finance- 715 credit score, it's 705 as of this week; major win, independence: well I gave my folks their credit card back and started living within my means and I took my car to the auto shop for the first time without my dad so yeah (this is a big deal if you know me),  pay off debts: I paid off my personal credit card & plan to pay off car/school debt by 2019, two wins I did not have: save $10,000 & buy a home - set for 2018. On to personal- learn more about self: the win I'm most proud of, open self to being more social: well I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone more than usual this year, be thankful for this season: yep (rejection is protection my friends) & God knows what you are and are not ready for so be intentional, and wait on Him, learn to cook- now one of my favorite things to do, read 12 books: I read 7. My non wins: watch less reality tv; I have decided to fast from TV for the remainder of the year & I am missing the season finale of Project Runway as I type this -_-, also cleanliness is something I definitely need to work on in the new year, I'm domestic but not really domestic, if that makes sense, lol. Lastly is career- blog 3/week: I updated 1/month (plan to post 1/week in both nov/dec to set the tone for the upcoming year, 25k views on site: hit 20k last week & I managed to inspire 7k with my content on social media. Non wins: natural hair ambassador: I want to see more naturals with undefined curls in print, take real estate classes: signing up for January 2018, flip a house: stay tuned in 2018.

I remember thinking if I made it half way through this list that I was a bad mamma jamma. I think God returned me to this list to bring me back to gratitude. All I can do is thank Him for guiding my steps & allowing me to see a successful year even as I kicked and screamed when he shut doors that I wanted open. Every year since I graduated college I have said "that year" was going to be "my year" and truly this year was mine. Little wins add up. My biggest win: making it a point to love my actual life while fighting intentionally for the one I want. Word to the wise: Be intention, put forth the effort and trust God!! He will not let you down!


there is nothing that can be a substitute for experience


November 9, 2017

LETTER TO MY TEENAGE SELF


Inspired by Black Girl In Om podcast #25. Great are the things I wish I could tell 16 year old Alexia. My journey has been quite a journey but I accept (even embrace) my mistakes/failures as lessons. It has lead me to this very moment. I'm truly thankful that today I am living in my purpose, being intentional and becoming the very best version of myself But every once in a while 29 year-old Alexia needs the same push 16 year old Alexia did. 

Dear Alexia,
You are beautiful. Your heart is beautiful. Your flaws are beautiful. God was intentional when he made you. There ain't a person on this Earth quite like you. Do you hear me? You are one of a kind. You are unique. You are quirky. Do not change. Embrace it. Embrace your flaws. Embrace your weaknesses. Accept your weakness. Make them work for you. Don't let words change who you are. You were meant to be you. Only you. You are awkward and that is okay. Being awkward isn't the worse thing in the world. Not even close. You were not made to fit in.  You were made to be light. You are a healer. You will change lives. And you should never be afraid to stand out. Brush opinions off, they do not serve you. Approve of your damn self. You are perfectly imperfect. You are loved. Don't hide. Don't be timid. Walk in confidence. You are enough. Approach things head on. Do not stand in the shadows. Let the sun shine on your face. Your words are important. Use them wisely. But USE THEM. Speak up. Be bold. Have balls. Take charge of your life. Only you can accomplish God's will for your life. No one else. You have everything it takes to accomplish anything you want. You are an artist. Don't deny it. Don't suppress it. Let fear drive and not cripple you. Just go for it. You are incredible. Trust yourself. Follow your instincts. Chase your dreams. Do not procrastinate. Love abundantly. It will be your greatest teacher. Love your damn self. *repeat last line * Surround yourself with people who believe in you, uplift and challenge you. Don't doubt yourself. To hell with doubt. Be intentional. Be present. Be grateful. Buck up. Your were chosen for this journey. It will be tough but worth it. Know that you are going to make mistakes but you are not your mistakes.  You are not your failures. You failures are not an indication of your future. Don't take yourself for granted. Don't worry about looking stupid. Don't worry about failing. You are gonna fail. But you are going to pick yourself up. You are going to thrive. You are going to grow. Your successes will be greater than your failures. Look people in the eyes. Mean what you say. Say what is on your heart. Don't water it down. Don't chase people. Don't dull your light.  Don't sensor yourself. Be who you are and those that are meant for you will come and stay. Leave an impression. Demand what you deserve. Leave if you need to. Trust actions over words. Don't accept bullsh*t. Know your worth. Know that you are worthy. Never, EVER, EVER compare yourself to others!!!!! There is really no comparison. Be content in your season and with your portion. Wait on God. When I say wait I don't mean be idle I mean put forth the effort and trust God for the results. Oh and do not settle. Do not waste time on basic things. You were meant for greatness. Accept the responsibility. Forgive. Do not hold onto things. You are going to get thru "this", whatever "this" may be. It's not as serious as it seems right now. Go with your gut and stop overthinking and talking yourself out of things. Dream big. And dream bigger. I love you. xx