Can you believe it!… Afro Glory is going to be celebrating it’s 1st birthday on the 24th of February.
To celebrate this incredible year I am posting a series of blog posts leading up tot he 24th that share my journey since beginning Afro Glory in February 2017. A sort of count down to the big day.
I’ll be discussing mental health, my natural hair journey, my most used hair products this year, a totally new direction for Afro Glory and so much more.
What a difference a year makes! My first post in the series is all about my mental health journey over the past year. As many of you will know I started Afro Glory when I finished therapy. A way to continue the routine of giving myself time to reflect and at the same time making it a really positive space for other to enjoy with me. I have learnt SO MUCH in the last year about my mental health and about mental health in our community. I though the best way to approach this post would be to list my top 5 lessons over the last year.
Over the last year I have learnt that the most important thing by far when it comes to mental health is to listen to yourself. It’s also really important to learn the difference between anxiety talking and your mind trying to speak to you!
Anxiety is a natural human instinct and it’s actually there to protect us for harm but if were getting anxious about things that aren’t harmful to us, that’s when we need to assess how were really feeling.
At the beginning of the year I was still experiencing a few uncontrollable panic attacks. I thought my therapist was crazy for telling me I was ready to stop seeing her. Leaving therapy is a whole cave of anxiety that you suddenly discover when it’s time to leave! I mean, you get really comfortable with the routine, consistency and stability of therapy. It takes some real adjusting to leave! On reflection, the thing that helped me transition off of therapy the most was just taking the time to listen to my mind and body.
I can’t speak for everyone on this but if I spend too much time indoors I start getting anxious in my own home. When you have a full time job being home is total bliss but when you’re unemployed and receiving daily rejection letters and watching every last penny… your mental health can take a serious turn for the worst. Even being ill and staying in bed for 2 days can send someone stir crazy right? Now throw mental health into the mix and you get something else.
I am currently unemployed and looking for a job that will make me happy. I feel weird writing that… but I’m not ashamed to say it. I don’t just want to pay the bills anymore, I’d like to be happy and fulfilled in my work life too. Have you ever seen the statistics that say we spend approximately 70% of our lives working or something ridiculous like that! Wouldn’t it be stupid to not spend 70% of your life being happy? I shouldn’t feel weird about saying I want to be happy in work but I think society has made me think it doesn’t matter what the job is as long as it pays the bills. That being happy int he work place is for lucky people. That it’s a luxury to be happy and fulfilled in your work life too. well I can’t live by that mentality and those standards anymore. I have my mental health to think about as a priority!
Back to the point… going for regular walks, going window shopping, attending free exhibitions or meeting a generous friend who’s offered to buy you a coffee is a way out of a dark spiral that can be created by the 4 walls that comfort you so well! Even just going into your garden, on your balcony or a trip to the shop can really refresh you!
If you’d have seen me the first week after I finished therapy you would have laughed! I looked like one of those people having a mega mid-life crisis and trying everything. I got into yoga, crochet, painting, swimming… I tried tons of stuff! It was all due to a conversation with my therapist at the time. I simply asked ‘how will I manage without our weekly sessions?’ Her response was (in short) find an activity to replace our weekly sessions… so that’s what I began to search for and I found you! 🎉
After trying loads of new things (and keeping myself well and truly distracted about leaving therapy) I decided that I wasn’t ready to stop talking. It lead me to starting a blog and I have never looked back. I practise writing, I attend events, read more and express my creativity. What do you do for your own personal therapy?
Probably my shortest bit of advise but one of the most important I can give… it’s okay not to be okay! Somewhere along the path of our mental health journeys, I think we forget that actually it’s really natural to not be okay. Everyone has their bad/ugly/down days, even the queen of England so don’t be so hard on yourself. Open up Netflix, treat yourself to your favourite food, exercise… do what you need to do for yourself.
I still feel strange doing affirmations and/or mantras but they have helped me in the past! I’ve never shared this before but sometimes I just look in the mirror and tell myself I’m beautiful, intelligent, funny, talented and all of the other things that would feed most egos. Instead of feeding my ego, it all goes straight into my self love bank! Ready for me to access if a self destructive or anxious thought about myself comes into my mind. I start by thinking about what has caused me to think negatively about myself and then address it e.g.
– Negative thought: you didn’t get the job, you probably aren’t smart enough and they could tell!
– Affirmation: You are so intelligent! You worked so hard to get your degrees and you are super talented!
Next time you get a negative thought creeping up on you, try reminding yourself how great you are! I hope you’ve enjoyed my first blog post in this 1st birthday celebration series! Keep an eye out for the next one, which is super fun. I’ve created a timeline of images one the last year to visualise my natural hair journey!
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