Dealing with my own previous struggles with mental health, I am a complete ally and advocate for finding ways to build your mental health back up. In certain communities we are told to be strong and fake it. Faking it however, causes much more harm than good. May honors the process of being aware of your mental state, and making sure that you put your well-being first. To further bring awareness, here are a couple of tips to help strengthen your mental health. Beyond reading this, I also want to put myself out there as your mental health companion. If you feel you are not okay or alone, please reach out to anyone, even me! Have any more tips, comments or concerns on mental health; leave a comment below or send us a message.
1. Be Positive To Yourself & Aware of Your Value
Think of your best friend when she is struggling to choose an outfit. No matter how bad the outfit is, you are always going to be gentle with your friend by telling them nicely that the outfit is not for them. Now, why are we so gentle when dealing with other people but, cannot give ourselves that same respect. It is about time that we start treating ourselves as our own best friends. Being positive to ourselves can have a ripple effect in our life and produce positive reinforcements. Practice using word that will help build you up and promote self-power and acceptance.
2. Treat Your Body Like the Temple It Is
Taking care of yourself mentally can also be solved by taking care of yourself physically. Here a couple of ways of doing so ...
3. Surround Yourself Around Positive People
Ever heard the praise "you are the company you keep" ? This applies to life in more ways than one. Negativity can spread like a rapid fire however, positivism spreads even quicker. Make plans with supportive friends and family, who genuinely want to see both you and themselves win. Also take the time to meet new people with the same interests as you. These people understand your exact mental struggles and both of you guys can offer each other a helping hand. Also open up to these people in your lives, they will certainly let you know that you are not alone.
4. Do Something Good for Someone Else
With everything going on in the world: from racism, political scandal and violent encounters, it is easy to become depressed at our current state of being. One thing that rejuvenates my depression is realizing my purpose in life. On a journey of self discovery, I learned that one of the things that makes me whole is helping other people. There are far more people out there in worst situation and it is a great reminder to actually go out and see for yourself. Volunteer and give time back to a cause that you are passionate about.
5. Stop Feeling Guilty for Putting Yourself First
Last but certainly not least, stop feeling guilty of putting your self first. Genuinely take time out on you and for you! Try new hobbies, take a small break from work and treat yourself ! Being self sufficient in every single way possible is the goal but, the only way to do so is by channeling your mental health. Only you are truly aware of how you are doing and only you can pull yourself out of that depression.
Two years ago- Over 50 communication students gathered in a classroom for a huge announcement from the department. One of the top Public Relation professors at the university announced the beginning of the 2017 University of La Verne Senior Projects. The proposed project allowed students to choose their form of communications, and within their field, they can create a project that proves their understanding of what they've grasped in the past four years. "If you play your cards right, this project can determine your whole future," one professor remarked.
Graduation date was coming closer and the students were both excited yet, frightened. I was one of them! I always feared the future, or what was life after college. I was one of the three only communication majors with a journalism concentration in the whole room. Even then, I was surrounded by future public relation representatives for senators, news writers for CNN and even traveling war zoned photographers. My peers felt that journalism gave them a political purpose. I, on the other hand, supported fashion, art, and entertainment. I had two choices: A) I could be like everyone else and do a senior project related to the 2016 United States election of Donald Trump or B) Fulfill a project that I actually care about but, be typecast as that "entertainment" journalist. After mapping it out and drawing my usual pro's and con's list, I decided to create this blog. The Indigo Stop was an outlet that gave me an excuse to be more attentive to fashion and pop culture. The Indigo Stop allowed to create a blog where I can connect with other Los Angeles creatives, display my interest in fashion and build a resume for fashion journalism.
Everything was well! I passed the class, received a University reward for the project and graduated from the University of La Verne that May. But, life hits you hard after college. Eventually, I had an amazing internship at a Los Angeles magazine, but due to the declining industry of journalism, the magazine was sold before I can acquire a job. This caused me to go back to the drawing boards. In 2017 to maintain my bills and recent piles of student loans, I picked up a part-time job at an extremely popular place. The place's popularity causes people to do outrageous things such as chase workers when their heading to break, ask for listed show times when they are indeed "listed" and throw the biggest fit in the world when employers ask the guest to not climb on the walls. I started this position in understanding that I was going to be here for a short period of time.
Two years later... and whelp I'm still here! A lot changed within this gap of employment. I worked several freelance and internship positions as a writer, stylist, and assistant. I loved doing these things but eventually, they became time-consuming while maintaining my original employment. Driving back and forth in Los Angeles to having no days off, I was exhausted. So exhausted, that I even shut down my beloved outlet, The Indigo Stop, for quite some time. With the rise of prices for a standard lifestyle, my once part-time hell turned into a full-time income. This meant that I had to work all day, every day.
Most bloggers or creatives make the leap to quit their 9-5 to achieve their dreams. However, I am not like most bloggers. I struggled day after day and I am not afraid to admit that. I wake up at 7 am to write out everything I need to do for the day: write for the blog, go to the gym, purchase outfits, set up photo shoots, appointments and most importantly prepare for work. Even on my off days, I work another part-time job. The tension built and I was living my worst nightmare: Being stuck at my 9-5. Ultimately, I feared not being able to do what I love and receive payment for it. All of these self-help blogs can recommend you turn your life around 360 degrees and magically everything will come to place. One notable fashion blogger moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18 and she posted constantly. She saw the amount of good feedback she was receiving and decided to quit her bank telling job and to begin her career as a fashion blogger. After 1 year of leaving her corporate position, she landed an interview on E! News, correspondent position at Vogue and even wrote her own book. This is the blogger fairy tale, but we all know what happens when you read the real versions of a fairy tale. No blogger is going to admit this but, that gap between maintaining your dreams and current employment gets thinner and thinner as the day goes by.
Within those two years, I struggled to continue the blog for this reason. I was embarrassed that I let the corporate world scare me out of doing what I loved to do. How was I to write content about being a dreamer or achiever by living this lie of some sort? Blogging is a full-time hustle and I did not even have the energy to produce some halfway shit. In January & February, I continued my time off by building a bigger and better version of the Indigo Stop. I'm happy to say I let the blog go with a positive state of mind. I knew that this was only a hiatus for my dreams to continue. I also knew that this time allowed me to actually sit down and not rush. Ironically the return of my blog was the same day I created it, February 28th.
I decided to use this story as my March message. Life hits you hard and sometimes you have no other choice but to take a break. Do not let this break discourage you. Utilize this time to focus on the real world, get your bills together, spend time with family and friends and even go to church. Do whatever you have to do to get mental well-being back in order. My March message is to march on! 2019 has started and is moving extremely quickly. WThese are the people who supported you from the jump, these people have something special hence why they are here with you in 2019. Marching on and Marching forward is important but, never forget who is marching with you!art something new or something that you put in halt last year. Rejuvenate those ideas and develop a passion project. This passion project may not immediately turn in to profits but March On. Continue that 9-5, and always look beyond your current situation or status. March On!
2018... well I struggled. January started strong but, after a summer of heartbreak, a job loss and financial setback I felt totally defeated. Now, for 2019 I am ready and plan on knocking out everything on this list by 2020. Enjoy this quick list of the things I plan on doing for the year and I encourage you to make a list of your own. Manifestation is powerful and it is about time I start speaking things into existence.
1. My priority goal for 2019 is to buy my first apartment in Downtown, Mid-City, Wilshire or Anaheim (yes, I have options).
2. All my life I coined this term "She-ro" meaning my female heroes. After years of watching Sex In the City and the Oprah show, I learned at a young age that my heroes are Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw) and Oprah Winfrey. They are on my vision board to remind me of my craft as a journalist. My ultimate goal is to have the same impact on people as these two women do whether in writing, fashion or philanthropy.
3. Late in the game but still as prevalent, Michelle Obama has been the latest addition to my "She-ro" list. Class, Intelligence and Style- this women took a whole new meaning to what a FLOTUS is supposed to be. Sorry Jacky O, but Michelle O. definitely has you beat.
4. Along with the new apartment, I also want a beautiful room. My room is my sanctuary and it influences every move I make for the day, I would love to keep that fresh energy throughout the year.
5. These "Off-White" shoes represent my 2019 style. Being a fashion-forward woman, every day I rediscover my personal style. With my love for fashion, vintage pieces, and hip hop culture- I learned that my personal style needs to reflect what is inside of me more. I realized that I need to elevate my style to focus on a more luxurious streetwear look.
6. The women in this photo represent two things I would like to prioritize in my life. One of them is mentorship. As an African American women in this industry, it is hard to find our way inside this white male dominated office. My goal is to find a mentor and in some ways become a mentor for young African American girls. I also will like to prioritize work into my everyday routine. Working a 9-5 does not give me much room to focus on my blog. However, in 2019 I plan to be fully committed to all of my projects.
7. This is a photo of my 2018 mentor and boss Lauren Messiah. Last year, I looked up mentors to work under in fashion and she was one of the women on my list. After researching about her past and career experiences, I was able to land an internship under her direction. She taught me everything I currently know about business. This opportunity allowed me to dream big as an African American businesswoman. For 2019, I would like to work under another mentor in fashion, social media and business.
8. As a blogger, I notice an obvious lack of collaborations between Black women and larger brands. We are in this culture where brands are scared to step outside of the box unless the product is directly marketed toward us. In order to climb this obstacle, I would love to form a blogger circle or crew of African American women to collaborate on projects with.
9. To continue the previous goal, I also would like to create a Los Angeles Blogger group for all women. This group will collaborate on ideas, throw events together, work on photo shoots and become each others' resources.
10. For 2019, I plan on going to New York for the first time.
11. Another career option I picked up from last year is styling. As a stylist, it takes almost five years to build up a resume. Building up a resume means working with prominent stylists. One stylist I want to work under this year is Law Roach, the stylist of Zendaya.
12. I love music ! One thing I definitely want to focus on this year is having fun. I made it my goal for the year to attend a concert or music festival every month of 2019.
13. Another goal I made for 2019 is to give back. Every month, I would like to spend one day either volunteering, mentoring or doing something for charity.
14. I cannot cook to save my life. Nor, can I do other artistic or valuable things. However, to solve that problem I would like to dedicate one day out of every month to take an activity class. This can include a cooking class, make up class, bar tending class or anything really. The options are endless and I am just ready to learn.
15. I'm pretty sure this is everyone's goal for the New Year but, I had to add it. I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle by continuously finding ways to work out. Also I would like to invest in getting a personal trainer by the middle of the year.
16. To continue my traveling goals I would like to take three important trips this year. First a romantic trip, second a girl's trip and third a spontaneous trip. I also plan on purchasing my passport so I can officially travel out of the county.
17. Last but not least, my ultimate goal is to elevate the Indigo Stop. Last year, I struggled to remain consistent and confident when it came to the blog. This year, I promise to do things way differently. My goal is to post new content every other week in a timely manner. My content will consists of interviews, advice and more. Overall, the Indigo Stop is ready to expand!