Health is Wealth, Follow up to Probiotics-Make a Decision with Guest Blogger S.L. Efua Joe

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Self Care/Self Improvement

September is a lot of things.  I don’t know what it is about September but its a jammed pack month.  However this month is self-care and self-improvement month.  So if you follow this blog, and on any social media feed I am always pushing self care.  I think it’s becoming a thing or a term that is thrown out a lot but not a lot of people understand what that means.  Although it can mean different things to the person who is using it, the bottom line is you have to care and love yourself enough to engage in what YOU need or disengage in the things YOU don’t want to be involved in.

The opportune word is YOU.  That is essentially what self-care is all about.  Only you can determine what you need or what you don’t need.  For instance I can go to an event and if I am ready to go I position myself to know what type of environment I am going to be in to know if I should drive myself or not even for family events.  I try to in the instance of family events to stay as long as possible especially since my husband attends my side of events without issue and I do the same for his side of his family events.  However depending on what the event is he and I have it set that if one of us is not wanting to stay longer to communicate and make an exit.  If the individual wants to stay than its fine too but we make sure that no one person can put pressure to stay longer than mentally capable.  Sometimes walking away, leaving, or excusing yourself is self care.  I literally refuse to stay in a place I do not want to be in.  I used to feel guilty however I have learned to do whats best for me.  Self care may be not attending an event.  I can’t tell you how many times I have not gone to something because I may have needed to relax or do my own thing.  I may have needed not to be in an environment that is toxic.  I happily will decline an invitation at this point.  If asked I will say sorry but not sorry I can’t attend.  A part of self care especially for me is realizing I am an adult I don’t owe individuals an explanation.  If someone sends an invite its my decision to politely decline.

Another part of self-care is knowing when enough is enough.  I had someone contact me. I didn’t even respond.  I knew I may have responded wrong or come off as if whatever was done in the past was an issue when reality is the person didn’t add or take away from my life.  However silence is always golden and I didn’t even need to engage so I didn’t.  It doesn’t have to make sense but it was to continue in my peace.  Anything that will have you mentally up in arms I don’t engage in.  Anything where I would give more than 15 minutes to hash out is probably not for me.  That’s why I am clear and don’t go back and forth with adults.  There is no need to.  That is a right that I have earned from stepping into adulthood.  I can’t think of a reason for back and forth at this point in my life.  I can agree to disagree and still go home and love on the ones I interact with daily.  I can even disagree with the ones in my home without messing up the atmosphere of my home.

Self care may look like disconnecting.  I am a lover of social media but I take small breaks away from it.  Yes its great for pushing my blog, interacting with family, but sometimes it can be doing the most so I disconnect.  I had a situation where I was arguing with a family member that I would have argued with offline but the point was, online for what?  That one was on me.  I was offended, but so what offenses will come. The world didn’t need to know that I was mad.  I could have handled that better so I take ownership of it and will not allow it to happen again.  I simply state what I feel and if someone comments, oh well.  There are probably screenshots of that very conversation floating around and for what?  So sometimes I don’t delete my social media that’s just crazy.   I am in control.  I never understood why adults can’t simply just not get on an app but that could be a part of their self-care so it is what it is. It’s no different from deleting or blocking.  I could just not engage but for me blocking works.  For me its simple my rule is simple I don’t socially block who I wouldn’t block in real life.  I check my block lists every now and again and if I sit and engage with you than no need to block you.  If I don’t and don’t plan on breaking bread with you, and I block your access to my real life, you can stay blocked on social media.  I don’t need a door opened where I wouldn’t give you access to me otherwise.  So no you don’t need to know about what me and my kids do when I don’t even reach out to you, talk to you, text you, email you, etc and don’t want to.  Its simple.  My life is simple these days because of the steps I take to keep it that way. Do you know the quietness but fullness of life I still have?  Trust.

Self care and self-improvement by far is the biggest goal in life outside of raising healthy children and having a good marriage between my husband and I.  It’s self-care daily practices that I use ALL the time.  I buy myself weekly flowers, I love them and they make me happy.  I journal daily because it keeps me grounded.  I work out 2-3 days a week because I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle and it keeps stress down.  I will go to bed and be okay with my husband putting the kids to sleep because I don’t have to do it all.  I can take a mental time out because that is what is necessary for me.  I can make sure that I am engaging in the little things that make me strong and healthy.  Please find that out for yourself and instead of engaging in bad behavior. Find and engage in what is going to make you a better person.  Also remember it may not make sense to a single soul, but if it makes sense to you, is keeping you grounded, positive, and hurts no one else than do it.

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For self-improvement we all can improve on ourselves, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.  Everyday you should be striving to be better than your last.  With that in mind I don’t really ever feel like I have fully accomplished my goals.  I may complete some of them but there’s always another goal right in its place.  Even in relationships I know there will come a time where the relationships that need mended will mend.  The ones that don’t won’t. Everything is up to be changed and I am more than willing to walk in that change.  You have to do the same for what your life needs.

So again as this month is supposed to encourage you to be about self care and self improvement.

Protect your Spirit

Happy Monday to you.  Happy I am just making it Monday.  Happy I am alive Monday. Whatever your Monday looks like to you, make it that and rise above it.  Yes the weekend has left some of us dry.  If it wasn’t the news that is constantly being pushed in our faces, to relationships, situationships, kids, jobs, etc you may be at wit’s end.

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So we all know that we need to protect our spirit.  Your spirit is your essence.  It’s your wits.  It’s you in a nut shell. I know there are many times when I have to take a time out. I give my kids one and have no shame in taking one.  You need to protect your essence. All of life’s drama can take the beauty out of you if you let it.  Today I am even more guarded to keep being informed but to filter some of the junk to avoid getting too overly emotional or let things take me out of my element.

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Life is hard but cover yourself today and everyday.  Cover your children who don’t fully understand but are in the presence of the same junk you are touched with.  Never underestimate that they are able to pick up on negative vibes just as much as you do. Protect what they see and hear.  Protect who they are around.  Who you allow your kids to be around speaks volumes as they take on what on who is around them.  Protect what words you say around them as well.  Words have life and death in them and you have to be careful that the tearing down isn’t occurring in-house.  We are worried about the outsiders but truth be told you can cause more damage in house than you will ever know if you aren’t careful.

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Filter what you take on when it comes to social media. I love social media but the down size is that it doesn’t always allow you to be social.  It can become battle grounds.  It can become warfare. It can zap your energy.  It can take up so much of your time.  It can allow you to not be able to disengage with those around you.  It is a choice and you must make good choices on what you entertain on social media.  Everything isn’t worth a response. Everything doesn’t need a clap back.  You have to clean your social media act up. Delete some accounts you don’t need.  Take a few folks off that you allow to get you all up in arms.  Learn to take a step back with who you call friends on your social media accounts.  Never post anything you don’t stand by 100% and be prepared to live with any backlash.  Learn that some things that inspire you may just be for you.  Learn that you can choose to spread hate or love.  Love on yourself.  Practice self-love everyday.  Mental illness is real and it can be elevated by social media because when the mind is weak it allows the defenses of everything to be low.  Be careful.  Speak life today.  Speak life into your situations and find ways to make your bottom line better.  Reach out to help others when your able.  It’s no different from when you’re on a plane, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on you first.  Same rule applies in life, stop handing out all of your resources to others and leave yourself depleted.  Help you than you can help someone else.  Have a great Monday and practice self love and love on others around you.

Beach Day aka Peace

So yesterday I had my annual beach day. What a great time. It was everything I needed and more. I went to Belmar Beach in Jersey. It’s super nice and not too crowded.

Let’s talk about the things that was different from last year. One I didn’t get to the beach until like noon. That is like beach no no. Normally I like to get there by 9 so I can get settled before the swarm of people come. Getting there at noon meant no umbrellas was available to rent. So I settled with the beach chair. Another issue with getting there later than normal is parking. I was super far and it felt like I parked in Philly and walked to the beach. None the less I got snuggled into my spot and got to my me day.  I sat there super proud yet again. 2 years in a row and I didn’t let even my surgery stop me from having this time to renew. 

I let those who I needed to know I was safe and the first agenda, a nap. I don’t know if it was that yesterday was national nap day but I got one. Armed with my beach hat to shield me from the sun I got some good sleep. There actually was a breeze and clouds so it wasn’t at all bad weather wise. However after my nap the sun came and stayed so I ended up having some awesome fries and a smoothie from Cruz Bay Cafe. These fries was so good. I was determined not to eat anything too heavy especially with the heat.

After that I read a book, got in the water, stayed off of social media for the most part and wrote in my journal in between some great snacking.  As my time came to a close I decided to walk the board walk. During that time I met a young woman who was traveling solo. We ended up having an acai bowl at Playa Bowls. If you ever had a bowl from there you know just how good they are for you and to you.  We talked about everything. She’s in the middle of a divorce and having to figure her new life out. I just encouraged her to find out who she is now. What she wants from her new relationship with her soon to be ex husband and how to keep her wits about her. She said she doesn’t have a lot of friends and I explained to her how I felt during my move to Philly. I encouraged her to get out and get into some new activities. 

I also did a LOT of people watching. I saw a guy who was on clear house arrest but he was out splashing around. My thought is he must have a window of time to be out but he was definitely out there enjoying himself. I have to say that’s a first that I’ve seen someone on house arrest out at the beach but hey he’s minding his business so I simply observed and kept it moving. 

The best part is always that it’s my time. I don’t take any of my family with me since the kids are unpredictable with the beach and my husband hates sand between his toes. It’s a win for me to indulge in the peace of watching the waves, hearing the sound of the water, enjoying the sand in my toes and literally getting quiet. I love this time. It’s all mine. Not to mention I had some great snacks that I didn’t have to share with little hands. That’s always a plus. 

I got some clarity and I can’t wait to implement them. I got some fresh ideas for the blog and some series to do as well.  So be on the look out for them as I release them in the coming months.  

As always I encourage everyone to take some time out for themselves. Nothing like peace that is priceless. No excuse to making sure that you are the priority. I look forward to getting ready to go back to work soon. I think anyway. But until then I will be focusing on my next appointments, and crossing off my summer wish list.  I’m more determined to get things done even if that means going solo. 

When Basics are Celebrated

Please do not get me wrong.  I think anyone doing anything positive is good news.  I love that people are attempting to move past the backward thinking that has seemed to take this world over.  However, can we just be real for about a few seconds?  When basic behavior is like the best thing since sliced bread than we have a problem.

You are in a dating situation the man of your dreams is wining and dining you and pulls your chair out, etc now you are like see my man loves me?  I don’t doubt he does.  In a world where men and no not all men are too busy getting caught up in the negative things, playing video games and no job, making babies with no responsibility this could seem like a breath of fresh air.  However the issue isn’t in the mere manners, it needs to be our own personal standards that have gone on a decline. Even when I dated the most thugs of boyfriends they pulled my chair out.  It was the way I carried myself that lead them to know from the gate that if they never pull a dime like myself they was going to step it ALL the up.  So opening up doors is normal for me during my dating processes. Opening doors was basic.  It wasn’t because I carried myself in a stuck up way, I didn’t I was laid back but my mere demeanor said hey buddy, this is going to be a classy outing. Now this didn’t always mean I was at 5 star restaurants all the time either.  I could go to a night of dancing in the hole in the wall but still be treated like I wasn’t living in the hole of the wall.  I set the standard!

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If you are married and your husband is super caring, we uplift them. We start labeling relationship goals right off the bat because a husband kissed their wife.  Okay I get there are sexless and boring marriages (all by choice) but a simple kiss even a romantic passionate one making relationship goals only means that there are a lot of married couples who do not enjoy the union they are in. Kisses are done simply at the altar or union as a seal of commitment.  So….yeah we have got to raise the standard.  I had a conversation with my own husband and we acknowledged the highs and lows of our relationship and how outside things and distractions are often celebrated when we lack the self-sufficiency to love on each other and ourselves in the way it should be.  A husband who simply comes home is celebrated as if he isn’t supposed to return home after his outside of the home obligations are done.  He is celebrated and the phrase, “well at least he’s not cheating” comes into play. Like is he supposed to be cheating?  I know cheating is big but let’s not give more respect to the cheater than the faithful?  We live in a messed up world.  The only way to make the world smaller is to learn to leave the outside world OUTSIDE. Spend more time making YOUR world what YOU want it to be.

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If you are married and have kids and your husband doesn’t lift the finger to assist you with the kids some of it on you because you won’t speak up and other reasons is because he doesn’t think he should, I hear well at least he’s in the home.  So many men are locked up or leave after they make the babies.  This is true.  However him being in the home still living like an absentee father is even more crazy.  You do know they exist.  They are simply bodies but they don’t do a thing but get the greatest father in the world book just because they stayed.  Um, if you have a baby and make a baby it is YOUR responsibility to be there, provide, and dare I say interact and assist in the raising of that child.  It is simply not okay to come in the home, say hi, watch tv and send the child to bed and think you have arrived in parenting.  NO you need to be a force in the home.  You need to be helping with whatever it takes to make sure you have healthy, loved and supported children.  Ladies, if you have a man who is simply there don’t expect it.  Also speak up and don’t berate him because he doesn’t do things like you do either.  It’s give and take once ALL parties pay their part.

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I believe in rewarding kids but kids are supposed to do good things if they are influenced in the right way.  For instance every time your child does something he/she will NOT always be rewarded.  Teaching integrity means that at some point they learn to do the right thing simply because it’s right and not because someone is watching them or will give them something.  This is why some kids feel a sense of entitlement because you love your little love muffin and use rewards for everything.  Reward systems are awesome.  It can be used to motivate but should not be in the place of all parenting techniques. These little angels grow up and think the world owes them something and you and I both know that really isn’t how it works.

Like I have always pushed, balance is key.  Never do more on one side over another. I know this whole not wanting to be “basic” is a thing but the reality is there are times when going back to the old landmark really does still work.  The standard you set in your life and how you work through it should still be set by a measurement.  If a person is worth your time they will know what your standard is.  That is why some people go ga ga over things like good sex.  Is sex supposed to be bad?  Yes there are some sexual partners that don’t always do it right off the bat and you have to set the standard even in that on what you will accept or not.  However some folks get one strong sexual partner and will throw caution to the wind over some wet sheets and weak knees.  It’s like having a stack of cards and as long as one suit is good, you don’t pay any attention to anything else.  Set the standard.  Know you are worth to be treated the way you want and make no excuse for it.  In time once your basic needs are met the other items will line up because you are looking through balanced eyes.

Why Am I Pushing Self Care/Self Love?

If you follow me on Twitter and you should (Toitimeblog) I am really pushing others as well as myself to really think about what it is they need to make them see, feel and know that they are loved.  This is the essence of self-care.  Knowing you are loved and doing the things necessary for your love moves beyond waiting on someone else to love and pour into you.  Whatever someone else does for you becomes a bonus instead of the only source.

So what can you do for self-care/self-love?  The first thing you need to so is find out what you like and need.  Do you really love flowers?  Do you just need some me time?  Do you need a little getaway?  Are you trying to figure your life out and need inspiration or direction?  Do you need walks to clear your mind?  Whatever YOU need you need to find ways to pour into your own spirit.  I know I have some single, dating, married, parents, etc readers.  This means that all of our lives are being pulled in a million directions.  It’s super easy to get caught up in making sure everyone around you is taking care of and less of a priority to make yourself your number one.  However when you are attempting to balance your life you really have to learn that its okay to do so.  Why do you feel that you can’t have the best love life of your life?

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Self love is super important.  So what does one do?  After you figure out what you need you simply take some time out daily to complete it.  Self love as I stated on Twitter isn’t just something you do on Sunday, after a break up, or every now and again.  This is a daily venture.  Everyday you should be doing something that uplifts your spirit.  You should be buying yourself weekly flowers if you need it.  You should be taking 15 minutes to pray or mediate.  You should be reading a good book or magazine.  You should be making a spa day at home because you need it.  You should be finding ways to get the things you want by being creative. You should be doing all of this on a daily basis.  It doesn’t have to be super expensive.  Last Summer I took a beach day.  It cost me a tank of gas, a few snacks, money for food, some adult music and sun screen.  I plan to do this on my own this Summer as well.  You want to go somewhere but you are balling on a budget, find deals.  Research. Don’t look to always have an entourage.  If you can’t go anywhere on your own you are going to have a hard time even in crowds too.  Be self-sufficient and see what this world has to offer.

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So I could give you self-care ideas but the ideal is for YOU to figure it out and do them.  Yes on days when you are tired.  Yes on days when you have had a bad day.  Yes on days when you don’t want to be bothered.  These are the best days to do them.  You want to build a bank for the days when you aren’t feeling your best.  You want a bank that you can draw from when you want to just snap out on everyone for everything and nothing at all.  Are you worth it?  Absolutely.  Even if you think you aren’t trust me you are.  Make your own days your best day.

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Oh and lastly one of the best things you can do for yourself is to exercise that NO muscle. Sometimes you need to let folks NO you aren’t going to do and walk away.  If you are grown you don’t always owe others an explanation.  This way of thinking can be damaging.  You are NEVER going to make others around you happy.  They will never always like what you say or do.  So stop doing back flips in the area of acceptance.  You need to work on accepting you with all of the flaws you have.  It’s okay we all have them.  Embrace them but still love on yourself.

Let Love Be Great!

So this is the weekend when most people will take their significant others out and show them love.  Let me just say that everyone doesn’t celebrate this “man-made” holiday however let me encourage all in a few home keeping details.

  1. Just because you don’t celebrate doesn’t mean you have to do the whole “it’s not a big deal” on everyone who is celebrating’s social media pages.  I can’t tell you how many times it irks to see this.  I am not calling anyone who feels like this a hater because truth be told it is a man-made holiday, however stop being love killers because you either have love and don’t care, don’t have love, or just by your nature need to be a negative Nancy.
  2. Just because you do celebrate and you want to shower yourself, your loved ones in love do not shun those who do not celebrate.  Basically let people be great either way and do what works for you.
  3. This is not the time to jump on status that is not about you to tell everyone either way how miserable you are or less it’s an open-ended question, a poll, or you’re apart of a group that is asking.  This is code for stop with the unsolicited information so the world can know which side you are on.  Trust and believe if its unwarranted people don’t really want to know and that’s real.
  4. Married people, just because you live with you mate and you don’t make it a big deal in your home, its okay for other married people to indulge and vice versa.  This “holiday” isn’t just for those in the dating world and still trying to get “some.”  Some people need these types of holidays to be a bit more expressive than they would normally. Let folks live.  Marriage should be celebrated daily but let’s be real most don’t and little reminders of love in ANY forms can keep folks from the divorce line.
  5. Realize that the single folks that swore of relationships will showcase what they got just to let themselves or others know.  Guess what? Even if you feel a way about it, its okay for them to do that.  If one day our country can focus on spending a few bucks to tell whomever they want they love them, although love is free I say let them.  In this hate filled world I would rather see expressions of love than the hate that is quicky spread like wildfire.
  6. Pray for those who have lost love.  While some are looking down for those who do or do not celebrate there is a widow who misses the times when their significant other showered them.  Also the newly separated and divorced grieve during this time as well.  Learn to show compassion.
  7. Single folks try and this is a big try because let’s be honest its easy for me to say try when I don’t live that life anymore but try to find ways to celebrate you, celebrate in groups, or enjoy the day. I know that again its hard to do but don’t go batty for one day and putting your life and what life means into this one day. There will be a lot of flowers and candy going out to significant others who don’t even mean their mates well.
  8. Show love daily.  I love to hear the men especially complain about this holiday but if you ask them when was the last time they did the little things you can only hear crickets.  Do not be fooled into thinking that if you buy into this holiday that your relationships no matter which ones they are will be perfect because it won’t.  The thought behind the idea is to show that you love and want to do something nice for the one you love.
  9. LADIES, please get you man something.  Yes more than a sappy card.  Be just as creative as you want him to be.  What makes you think that just because he says I am good that he really is.  Try finding ways to make his day easier.  How about treat him too.  Too many men complain about what they do and they remember the times when it wasn’t given in return.  Men want to be shown just as much as we do. Step up your game this year.
  10. Be creative for those you love. I send things to my single friends, my grandmother, my nieces, parents, etc.  It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to say hey, you’re loved today and everyday.  Think outside the box.

 

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day weekend!!  Remember don’t find yourself loving on someone else’s mate.  This is not the time to be a celebrated side piece.  Remember side pieces gets ransacked candy and broken hearts.  Invest in someone who is all into you and you alone. Being a part of and being the only one are two different things.

 

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