How to Find Joy in Your Present During COVID

Monday marked the 1-year anniversary of COVID-19. When we first learned about the coronavirus, nobody could anticipate the detrimental effects it would have globally. But despite the chaos, we can find joy in our lives.

Today I am sharing tips about how to enjoy at least some elements of the present when you’re hitting a pandemic wall.

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Appreciate the Extra Time

Being laid off amid the pandemic was one of the best things that ever happened to me. As I reflected on my career options, I realized I needed something more fulfilling than an excellent compensation plan. I needed a career that allowed me to build meaningful relationships, cultivate a sense of community where people feel welcomed by using empathy and creative writing skills and that offered a flexible schedule.

Whether you start a new business, start a project, rediscover a passion, or make a career transition, do it! Conduct research, contact people who can help you, make a plan and begin. One of the most precious things the past year has granted us is ample time to be intentional about what we do next.

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Take Risks

I could have spent $500+ on a semester-long course to earn a certification within an industry I’m barely interested in, secure a job in that field and then move.

But that’s not how it worked out.

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In early September, I realized my old apartment had served its purpose and that it was time to move on. Three weeks later, I signed a 12-month lease and moved into a new apartment complex with no regrets.

Taking a leap is scary as fuck because there’s no control over what’s next, no systematic approach, and no comfort in familiarity. It’s based on complete faith in knowing things will work out.

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Cherish the Simple Things

Music plays a key role in your mental health and can improve your mood. Blasting Disclosure’s Nocturnal in my car or jamming to Marcos Valle’s Nao Tem Nada Nao while running errands on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon makes the day more joyous, less monotonous and less lonesome.

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Maintain Your Friendships

Because I have been social distancing since March 2020, I’ve become accustomed to being alone. Consequently, I forget I have friends I can call. If you’re experiencing this, I recommend reaching out to a friend and propose weekly or monthly calls to stay connected.

For example, my old college friend and I hadn’t called each other since August but agreed to do monthly FaceTime calls instead of exclusively communicating via text conversations.

Ultimately, we have 100% of the power to cultivate joy into our lives.

What are you grateful for? How are you finding joy? Let me know in the comments below.

Is My Booty Currency?

Yesterday, my mother told me about her meeting with an old friend. “She lost weight in her butt like you did. But she’s happy.”

It was a simple remark. But it led to a thought spiral.

Let’s rewind.

Three weeks ago, my mother approached me. “Your father and I noticed you lost weight,” she said softly.

Initially, I didn’t believe her. But yesterday I noticed several pairs of pajama bottoms hung off my hips. I lost weight and knew why. During my previous job, I ate Cheerios and instant oatmeal to power through 10-14 hour workdays. Also I ate them as breakfast, snack and dinner. I had experienced weight loss before.

In 2016, I lost weight from eating cereal excessively throughout graduate school. But this time it was different. I turned to the side and scrutinized my body in my bathroom mirror. Did I lose weight in my butt? Do I have less butt? Do I have less curves?

Continue reading “Is My Booty Currency?”

Worry Spirals

Have you ever experienced a worry spiral?

It can last a few minutes or a few hours.

For me, it was several days.

Last Friday, I woke up with an itchy nose and couldn’t stop sneezing. By Saturday afternoon, I was experiencing throat sensitivity, chills and fatigue. Although my symptoms felt like the onset of a cold, I panicked.

I thought about people who had few symptoms that were now fighting for their lives or had passed due to coronavirus. I thought about hospitals’ morgues overflowing.

Cue the spiral.

What if I have it? Do I need to get tested? I don’t want to die. I can’t leave my family. They can’t afford a funeral. I can’t abandon my sister. I’m not finished with life I’m just getting started.

These dark thoughts led to paranoia. I was afraid to fall asleep.

I don’t have the coronavirus. I just need more rest and suffer from pollen allergies.

When I discussed it with my therapist, she recommended I recite what’s happening around me to be present. For example, “It’s 11:40 pm EST April 23, 2020. I’m laying in my bed with the lights out. I should be sleep but am typing this post. I can breathe. I am resting my head on my pillow. It’s relatively quiet. I hear my father snoring in the next room.”

Being present can break worry spirals. For specific strategies, check out this Shine article.

How do you manage your worry spirals?

How to Stay Productive During COVID

We’re all processing the coronavirus. Everyday, news stations are reporting on both the rising number of COVID-19 cases and the death toll. We’ve all had plans delayed amid the pandemic. However, we can still be productive.

Think about hobbies or passions you want to spend more time on. Think about the things you’ve been pushing back for days, weeks or months. In a world where it seems like there’s not enough time to accomplish everything we want, it now feels like we have nothing but time.

Here are some ways I am using my time and some ways you can use yours.

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Health in Her Hue by Jovonni R. Spinner

Create a Vision Board

As a creative dreamer, I always fantasize about different stories I want to tell via blogs, films and television series. Since I wrote down my desires, I found pictures that mirrored my short-term and long-term goals including travel, screenwriting and my cultural influences.

If you are still figuring out what you want for yourself, write down what comes to mind. Find pictures in magazines or search Google Images. You can purchase a poster board at your local Walmart or Target store. You can also purchase it for $1 at Dollar Tree. If you have an empty box laying around, cut a piece off and use it.

Continue reading “How to Stay Productive During COVID”

Gratitude

Lately, I’ve been frustrated with some of my relatives. Though I have good reasons to be, I reminded myself to be grateful for them being on this earth.

Last week, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash. Many people have made tributes, sent their condolences to the family and expressed their grief.

Kobe was, he is an era. During high school, I enjoyed watching him play in the Finals. I admired his drive, consistency, consecutive wins and dedication to the craft.

When you think about the Los Angeles Lakers, you think about Kobe Bryant. When you think about basketball, you think about Kobe. Kobe Bryant is the Los Angeles Lakers and always will be.

Despite his multiple championships, he was young. He hadn’t been retired for a full two years. He was healthy.

What hits me harder is his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. She was so young.

I keep thinking about their family. I couldn’t imagine what they are going through right now. The idea of losing your family in one swoop is unfathomable.

It would feel like a huge hole missing that could never be filled. I feel for Vanessa Bryant in losing both her husband and her child.

I feel for their eldest daughter. As the eldest daughter of my family, I couldn’t imagine losing my sister. My sister is my heart. To lose her would feel like losing half of myself.

Everything would feel painful. Memories. Photos. Birthdays. Holidays. Dinners.

I also feel for the youngest two daughters. They’ll grow up not remembering their father and sister. My prayer is that the family heals together and remains a strong unit.

I believe they will heal. I also believe one of the Bryant daughters will continue Kobe and Gianna’s legacy.

Things tend to work out that way in life.

No matter how big or small the issues are with your loved ones, appreciate them for their goodness and their flaws if you can.

Ask yourself: Would the world be better without them?

My 26th Birthday Celebration

Hi guys!

Because my birthday was three days after Christmas, I celebrated my birthday as a birthday week and created my own holiday: My Birthday Eve. Typically, I celebrate by having dinner with my family or brunch with friends but 2019 was different. It was a year where I learned so much about myself through adversity and many triumphs.

Though I had several professional accomplishments I’m proud of, I am more grateful for what I accomplished internally.¬† I am much more self-aware of my thought processes and emotions. I admitted to myself stubbornness causes me to get in my own way. As a perfectionist, I want to fix everything¬† I can’t control, get overwhelmed and quickly become mentally exhausted resulting in less time spent on the things I can control.

What do I want to get rid of? What can I do to make my living space more comfortable? What do I want that will bring me peace of mind? What do I want to try? What have I been meaning to do?

Continue reading “My 26th Birthday Celebration”

Being Present

I graduated from the real estate associate program and received a job offer after five interview rounds with a technology firm! I am really excited to start with this new company and my new role. After nine months of job searching, I’ve found a role that aligns with both my career and personal goals.

The last 10 weeks were a whirlwind of evening classes 2-3 nights per week, networking events, in-person and phone informational interviews, multiple video and in-person interviews.

The following week after my program I told myself, “Request more informational interviews, and conduct extensive preparation for my first day at work.” – Self

However, that did not happen.

Instead, I started my Thanksgiving vacation early. I relaxed at home, made a list of holiday films and series to watch for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I went to Walmart, scoured every food aisle to find Pirouette’s cinnamon sticks and found french vanilla, chocolate fudge and chocolate hazelnut flavors much to my chagrin.

Continue reading “Being Present”

The Song That Motivates Me

Last night, I was driving down I-285 West from my commercial real estate course with my SoundCloud playlist on shuffle. After pressing the Forward button on my Honda CR-V sound system, Upgrade by Logic filled my car. Interestingly enough, it reminded me of several phases in my life.

It took me back to January 2016. I was sitting at my desk in my Winston Salem apartment during midnight listening to Logic’s entire The Incredible True Story album. I had written a 9-page poem about family pathologies, how it forms and how it affects current generations.

I listened to Upgrade as a self-affirmation. The song motivated me throughout my Spring semester of graduate school. It highlighted Logic’s rising success monetarily and his new, heightened perspective on his own life.

I’ve upgraded while they’ve waited
Will they love it, will they hate it
Never fade it I evade it
Cause I never really want to complicate it

Logic

Continue reading “The Song That Motivates Me”

Managing My Worries

Last weekend, I promised everyone I would post three times this week. I’m keeping my promise so excuse the random time postings. Life happened.

After a series of arguments regarding how to pay bills for October (which I will discuss in multiple posts), my previous weekend ended in mental and emotional exhaustion. I started this week overwhelmed and feeling out of myself. Trapped. Striving to build a better life and career while figuring out how to pay rent. I never had to worry about eviction before.

Historically, I responded to stressful situations by shutting down mentally and emotionally, binge-eating and binge-watching. My immediate reaction was to numb the pain.

As I brainstormed how to generate money quickly, I realized I wasn’t in a head space to write authentically. My energy was focused on solving an urgent problem by applying for numerous part-time jobs at a local mall and several full-time jobs in sales and customer service positions.

Continue reading “Managing My Worries”