Self-Care Sunday: Anthony Bourdain

TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide, depression, mental health.

If you are triggered or might be triggered by any of these topics do not feel obligated to read this post, I understand. There are plenty of other posts that I am confident you can connect with. If you need someone to talk to, my email or dms are always open. Someone is really listening.

In the past week, two legends chose to leave our world. When it comes to suicide or sudden death, there is no good “why” and it can be hard to understand why someone would make the choice to end their own life. Suicide hits close to home for me. A friend of mine this past September took his own life. I’ve been candid in speaking about him on my platform. Tony was one of my best friends. I didn’t see it coming and I wish I knew. I miss him every single day and pray that his heart is at peace.

Rest in peace to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. There is so much that can be said about these two people. Kate Spade showed us that color and creativity can be a girls best accessory. Every time I unzip my Kate Spade wallet, I am reminded of her legacy and her impact. It pains me that her world wasn’t colorful

Anthony Bourdain used food, cuisine, and culture as the medium to show us that our global neighbors aren’t as different from us as we may think. My heart truly aches over the loss of these beautiful people. During the worst times of my eating disorder, Anthony Bourdain reminded me of my love and passion for global cuisine. He made the darkest parts of my struggle brighter.

This self-care Sunday is dedicated to them and to the millions of people who struggle with their own demons. Know that there is someone really listening. My email inbox is always open to anyone who wants to reach out. I will respond with open arms and I promise you are loved, I am here, and you are not alone. I promise that there is someone listening or who is willing to listen.

Data shows that in the months subsequent to celebrity suicides, suicide rates increase. Some people don’t feel comfortable talking to a hotline or a stranger but if you are going through this and feel like you have no one. There are people waiting for you to reach out. It takes a lot of courage to do so. So if you reach out to me or anyone or call this 1-800-273-8255 number, I am so thankful.

I want to point out that social media can be a toxic environment with anyone dealing with any level of a mental health issue. Social media is a highlight reel of people’s lives. We choose to put our happiest moments on there because we all want to be accepted and we all want to fit in somehow. It’s in our nature to have a sense of belonging to a group of people or someone. If you don’t find that in your physical community, there are millions of communities within reach by a few taps on a screen. So naturally, we are drawn to it. I catch myself doing this sometimes where I find myself posting a picture or a moment out of obligation. Since part of my job is to portray myself on social media, I feel like I have to always have it together when I don’t. I’m here to say that I wake up 99% of the time not knowing what the hell I’m doing. Sometimes I post things when I don’t feel the best about myself. I’ve even gone back to edit some instagram captions to point out the state I was in. I realized that I was being inauthentic when someone recently reached out to me and went “I love your page. You’re so positive”. I corrected them by saying “Thank you but I’m struggling right now. It’s not always positive”.

These celebrities who took their own lives should make us realize that no matter how successful you are or what your job is, you’re a human being and you are allowed to feel like the world is crumbling around you. They had all the resources at their fingertips but at the end of the day, but still made the choice to take their own lives. There are things all of us go to bed with and it can be overwhelming.

I think we need to live more authentically about the battles we go through because I feel like we’d be a lot more connected. I think our society is so polarized right now by political affiliation or these social identities that we forget the person we are judging is a human being too. We can’t wear these capes all by ourselves. We aren’t superheroes and even superheroes have weaknesses. I am so tired of this notion that we have to have it together all the time.

What saddens me about Anthony Bourdain is that he had the dream job: to eat, travel the world, and tell stories about forgotten places. When Bourdain had an episode of Iran I was so excited because finally, the world gets to see how amazing iranian cuisine is. It was like Anthony was enjoying the same bowl of Persian food I grew up. I felt connected to him. Other episodes of his made me more connected to the world around us. I felt a bit less alone. My cousin and I would sit and watch him while enjoying some amazing homecooked food. His authentic, creative, and unifying approach to storytelling reminded me why I love cuisine in the first place. The most communal moments happen when you can break bread with someone. His episode with Barack Obama was one of my favorites. Something about seeing the president of the United States sitting on a plastic stool in a foreign country made me so happy. Like I said before, Bourdain made food less intimidating for me. He tried pretty much everything and he was a scholar of culture. I always say food is the best vessel to experience culture and I am thankful to Anthony for showing us that.

We never knew. I think when you live on such a public stage you can’t come out and say you’re depressed. There are so many stigmas surrounded around mental health and the internet can be so mean. People will attack you for being human and until you are in their shoes you will never understand that pressure. We label people as crazy and until we can talk about mental health within our own communities and help one another, we can’t be surprised when people pass. I’m hopeful. It starts within our small communities. In the people we surround ourselves with. Checking in on a friend out of courtesy is useless. We should always make the time for our people so that when something is really happening they know someone is really listening.

As always, I am really listening. I never knew my brand name or the title of my blog could be such an important question. It’s becoming embedded into everything I do. Making sure that everyone around me or whoever is reading this feels connected in someway. This is my why. This is why I asked the question because it can feel like no one is. So I am.

What I’ve Learned From: May

I knew this was going to go by fast. I think I mentioned this in one of my older posts but I take this time to reflect on the past month because it’s my way of slowing down and being intentional about my growth.

What I like to do, now that it’s a series on my blog, is I like to read what I learned from before. I think the biggest takeaway between April and May is: learn to embrace what’s uncomfortable and unknown but always remain grounded in who you are and the path you’re on. 

A lot of things happened in May. Well first, I moved which is honestly a lonely experience. I talk about it more in this post. Moving, in a nutshell, is lonely. I am so used to having all of my close friends within a few miles of me. I don’t have that luxury anymore and honestly, it’s been hard for me. It’s helped me grow but its unknown and uncomfortable but things are getting easier. I think it’s testing my patience, for sure. It’s helped that I travel to see my friends and my person or they come here. My childhood best friend even came to visit one weekend so it’s been easier because of that. But during the week, it’s been necessary TK time.

A lot of newness this month. I’ve learned to embrace it and absorb it. I moved May 5th. I write this on June 3rd, the day before I start my internship (big girl job, woot woot). So I’ve almost been here a month and it’s gone by SO fast.

I like exploring cities and I’ve gotten more comfortable putting myself out there. Even though I am a pretty extroverted person I get so much anxiety walking up to people and starting conversations with them. But when you’re new somewhere and you aren’t interacting with new people everyday you need to put yourself out there and make friends.

I think I’ve realized that there are some things and people that need to stay in your past. You need to be able to close a chapter and just move forward. It takes a lot of strength to remain present but it’s always for the best. People will come and go but you can’t settle for what you feel is wrong. This is the whole idea around being grounded in who you are.

I’ve sat down and talked to a lot of new faces this month. It’s scary and intimidating because a lot of these people were either older than me, smarter than me, more experienced than me. I fell into this trap of thinking that I wasn’t good enough to even sit and talk to them when in fact, I was I just needed to trust that I deserved to be there. I decided that instead of trying to gain something specific I would just open my ears and mind to what they had to say. But I’ve learned so much from listening. Is Anyone Really Listening? Yeah, I am. I think my biggest goal was to become more confident in what I’m doing. You need to trust that the path you’re on, despite what everyone elses may look like, fits your goals and ambitions.

I’m lucky to have someone close to me (cough cough Jason) who unconditionally supports what I do and who I am. I’ve never really had that before. What he’s taught me is that there is no one that will trust in your ability more than yourself. I see that reflected in everything he does. He is so grounded in who he is and what he’s doing it makes me want to have that level of security within myself.  He has a side hustle like I do. It’s inspiring to see someone work so hard at their craft and also show so much support for yours. It’s been one of the big reasons why I feel so grounded because I know what I am doing is great and requires a lot of work so I don’t need to explain that to someone. I can go on and on about how amazing of a person he is but seriously, having someone in your corner no matter how much you pride yourself on being independent, matters. We all want to be seen, heard, and understood. He does that and beyond.

I always say that the most unconventional paths lead to a lot of amazing lessons. This is so true. I’m slowly getting out of my comfort zone in a way that I haven’t been used to in the past. Embracing the newness of a new job, city, or even just a new mindset makes you evolve as a person. It’s SCARY but necessary. I’ve done a lot of amazing things towards my professional career goals this month.

Some highlights

The Steminist Campaign
Taking on a new client
Learning more about Charlotte’s identity, culture, and people.
I cut my hair and I feel like a whole new person.
I attended Charlotte’s 30 Under 30 Event
Stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to be okay with it
Staying true to what I feel is right for me in this moment.
Actively practicing self-care.

Self-Care Sunday: Coming back from traveling

As amazing as getting away may be, I always come back a little tense and ready to feel like myself again. My skin is usually super dehydrated, my body is in desperate need of some TLC, and I just feel scatterbrained. Traveling puts your body and skin through a lot. On this self-care Sunday, I am going to walk through what I like to do whenever I get back from traveling.

Depending on when I get back from traveling, I go through these motions but recently I was driving so much in a four day time period and when I got back I was exhausted. The day I got back from my trip, I didn’t do much except for showering and resting.

Give your body time to rest. Being around tons of people can be exhausting even for us extroverts out there 🙋🏽‍♀️.

This self care Sunday is going to highlight some “surface level” self- care. Which means it’s the stuff we do physically or on the surface to take care of ourselves.

Self care has been something I’ve started to take really seriously because I was in a place where I wasn’t taking care of myself and the effects of it took a serious toll on my mental, physical, and emotional health.

Before I travel: I hate coming back to a messy room. Before I travel, I take out all of my trash, do laundry, clean my room, and go through my mail (and my inbox). That way when I come back I don’t need to do any chores and everything is clean. Depending on how long I am gone for, I buy my basic groceries so I can come back to a fully stocked, healthy-ish fridge. I also make sure that the energy in my room is clear. Sometimes I sage my room before I go to make sure any energy that comes into my space when I’m gone isn’t going to cause me any stress or anxiety.

A clear and clean space gives your brain extra reassurance because you know when you get back you don’t need to do the basic chores. Remove unnecessary clutter and put away that pile of laundry you’ve been dreading putting away.

Sleep: I value sleep so much. I’m one of those people who needs to get my 7-9 hours of sleep every night to feel like a functional adult. I don’t sleep that well when I’m on vacation or traveling between people’s places cause I want to maximize on all the fun or things happening around me. The lack of sleep drains my body so much and I feel so sluggish. Also, my skin hates me afterward. I make sure to take a long nap or sleep at least 8 hours the day before so I come back reenergized. I once took a nap for 6 hours and woke up at 10:30 pm without knowing where I was. Yeah, I was THAT tired.

We dismiss sleep the older we get but sleep is key for optimal brain function. Our brain uses most of the calories we consume so make sure you SLEEEEEEP.

Skincare: If you know me or have been following me, you know that I am a skincare JUNKIE. Any face mask, scrub, cleanser, moisturizer, or serum I am literally so obsessed with. I have an ipsy subscription that makes my addiction to skincare that much worse. I try to pack “lightly” when it comes to my skincare. I go for my basics: moisturizer, makeup remover, face wash, facial mist, night cream, and serums. This is basic for me if you know how extensive my skincare regime actually is. When I get back, I wipe all of my makeup off even if I don’t have any on.

I cleanse my face with a chemical exfoliant or a sugar scrub. I then do a face mask (sheet masks are preferred), moisturize, serum, and go about the rest of my skincare. This is my favorite part about getting back because I can lay out all of my products and I love when my skin feels healthy and glowy. It forces me to take the extra 30 minutes – an hour when I get back to focus on my skin. I do this before I go to bed so the serums can really penetrate underneath my skin. I wake up feeling restored, refreshed and reenergized.

Also does anyone else mask on planes? 🙋🏽‍♀️ I look insane but planes dry out my skin so much. So if you ever see a crazy mask wearing lady. It’s probably me. Hiiiiii 👋🏽

Wellness: I consider wellness to be mind and body. If I can get a workout in the day after I travel, I’m happy. I recently got back into fitness now that I am fueling my body more with nutrients. So recently, after a few days away I did a nice workout to feel like me again. Working out has always been the one hour just for me. I silence my phone and just focus on my actions. It’s helped me deal with a lot of tension or anxiety. Working out for an hour or 30 minutes forces you to be with yourself. You put your mind into your workout and play some music to fully disconnect. I even put my phone on do not disturb so I don’t get any notifications during my workout.

Another thing I do is I try to drink something to reset my gut. I love kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented probiotic drink that is amazing for your gut. When you’re traveling you may not be eating the best and your immune system can take a hit, especially if you’re staying up late and not drinking enough water. I buy 2 kombuchas and try to finish one of them by the end of the day. The taste can be awful sometimes so I go for the Synergy Organic Kombucha in Mystic Mango. THIS IS MY FAVORITE DRINK EVER. Synergy, sponsor me. PLEASE. It’s goodness in a bottle and tastes super yummy. The acidic kombucha taste isn’t as strong. I even had my mans try it and he liked it so take his word for it, But seriously, I love this stuff whenever I get back from traveling or I’m about to get sick. Something about healthy probiotics in my gut makes me reassured. I also try to make a cucumber + lemon water. I have a basil plant so sometimes I throw a couple of leaves in there to add a little more flavor. The cucumber and lemon act are super hydrating for you. Again, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

The last thing I do is spend some quality time with myself. Whether that’s working on some projects, reading, watching Youtube, or just being alone. I take the time to just be myself for a little. I’ll meditate with some candles or my crystals and think about the trip.

Doing these things is what I like to call “surface level self-care” where you take care of yourself on the surface. So your skin, your space, your body, etc. Self-care is a lot deeper than this. This is what I like to do whenever I get back from traveling because it resets my body and my mood. Obviously, there are other ways you can go about doing this.

Let me know what you guys love doing when you get back from traveling.