It seems like ages since I last wrote to you. In the past one to two years, all of our lives have been toggled and disrupted by a virus that has affected the entire world. While we all try to manage ourselves and all the changes that have come along, I too have been going through all sorts of my own changes.
The first of them is my eldest child who initially came out to me as non-binary (pronouns they/them) in 2020 right smack in the middle of the lockdown! Well, until last month, that was the heaviest load I have had to carry as their parent. But in December they told me that they are actually transgender, pronouns she/her/they.
When I first heard the news, I cried a lot! Yes, I CRIED! Not because I hadn’t always known they are gay, but because I didn’t know what non-binary meant, and just as I was beginning to wrap my head around it, they dropped a new bomb! So, rather than admit that I was afraid, I chucked it up to my not understanding what it all meant and I pushed back!
I didn’t want it to be true! I didn’t want them to have to deal with yet another negative checkmark to their name. They are already Black, assigned male at birth, and gay! So, I cried like a baby, for hours after the news came in. I cried and cried.
As parents, we have to see that we are in charge of allowing ourselves to feel feelings at the moment, allow them in, process them, so we can move on. Parenting an LGBTQ+ kid is that much HARDER! It is! My challenge to you is, what if it’s simpler than you think? What would that be like? Who would you have to become?
What if you could remove that pressure of trying to hold it together, and simply take control of your thoughts and emotions? What if you could do that? I am inviting you to allow yourself to feel the heaviness in your chest if you have to, stay with it for a bit, and then take action.
That said, unfortunately, my child told me I did not handle the news “correctly”, they said I did not react the way I should have. They said I made a BIG mistake! Sadly, that is not my first time. I also was not as supportive when they first came out as gay, so, that was three counts against me.
Now that the dust is settling a bit, I have decided to share about the mistakes that we parents make (mistakes that I made) when our kids invite us into their queer world. What about you? How did you handle your child coming out? How would you handle it? Would you know what to do? Would you like to know what to do?
If this is something that could interest you, then please join us on January 29th, 2022 at 6pm CST for the first of my monthly masterclass series this year! If you are interested, click this link and sign up.
It promises to be worth it. We shall go through the basics, and then discuss our own mistakes and how we handle them, and set the tone for the forgiveness of self, each other, and then move forward. Let’s get together and learn together. As you know, making mistakes is not the problem, rather, not learning from our mistakes is.
Wanna join us? Click here, and I’ll see you inside!
PS: If you know someone who will benefit from this class, please share the information. Spread the love.
“Mom, it’s snowing outside!”, my last man child exclaimed. “Yeah right, what snow, in San Antonio?”. “Dude, I shall believe that when I see it”, were the only words I could come up with in response. You see, even though I couldn’t imagine that my youngest son was lying about the snow, I still couldn’t believe it. Not in Texas…
But it was snowing…a lot.
In fact, it snowed for hours that night, and I LOVED every moment of it!
“I hope we don’t have school tomorrow”, I heard his 16-year-old voice add with a note of finality. “Me three”, I agreed. Glad to hear the happiness in his voice. Ever since the online schooling thing began, he has been outwardly so brave and so agreeable and gone with the flow, even as I know deep inside that he hates it!
My heart went out to him. He is such a brave boy. His parents got divorced when he was only 3. Even though his father is showing a semblance of presence in his life these days, I know it must be tough. Dealing with not having his older brothers in the house anymore, and his mom and stepmom going through a separation.
Being only 16, missing his friends, having to endure high school on a computer, with his mother around the corner, in the same house day-in, day-out, must be hard. But he has been nothing but gracious about it. He is a cool kid. Even if I have to say so myself. The strongest of the three, emotionally, I think. But what do I know? I am only their mom, LOL.
Back to the snow.
That night I took some pictures and even went live on Facebook to share. I love the sound of snow falling. The softness of it. I love the color of snow. The whiteness of it. I love the peace and calm that often comes in the morning. Everything is white, the sky is bright, the air crisp, the snow cold, clean and inviting.
I ran outside at the crack of dawn the next morning with Lulu, my pet rat terrier-mix who appeared to be enjoying herself as well. She was prancing around in the snow and seemed more comfortable in it than I thought she would be, knowing this was her very first-time seeing this much snow. She is 8 in human years. Wait, did I just spy her lick some of it? Lulu! 😊
I remember the day the boys and I picked her up at the pound. Her sister had just been adopted. Her original name was Honey. She had actually picked us. She was the only Black dog there, and she was beautiful. She kept jumping up and barking at us, like she was saying “Pick me, pick me”. And pick her, we did. Her full name is Lucretia, so we call her Lulu for short.
My street was quiet. Everything around me was covered in snow. Roof tops, branches, cars, the street, shrubs, sidewalks, everything. Que buena! Not a soul was outdoors. No cars, no kids, no parents, no school buses, no pets, not even the birds were out yet. None of the usual suspects of neighbors who walk in the morning. Noone. Just me, my dog, my phone, and my thoughts…
For a few moments my mind went to her. I wonder what she is doing right now. Would she be awake? Would she be outdoors? Would she be by her window watching, thinking, wondering? Is she lonely? Does she miss me? Does she even think about me? She did not come to walk Lulu this past weekend because of “Inclement weather”, her text had read.
I miss her.
I miss calling out her name, “Elle!” when I walk in the house. I know I would have been all over her this morning, if she still lived here. I would have been in her room first thing, waking her up with my usual Tigger-like excitement, wanting to share it all with her, asking her to come out and join me for a walk, to which she would nearly always respond with a cold “No”.
“Why do people do that?” I asked myself for the 46th time. “Why did I do that?” Stay in a loveless relationship. Was it desperation? Was it love? Was it to fill a void? Both my beloved youngest sister, and my relationship coach, Dr. Sonia Wright, had asked me the same thing. “How long were you going to stay?” and more importantly, “Why?”
I knew both of them meant well.
“I don’t know”, was the best I could come up with each time. “I don’t know”. As a coach myself, I know that-that is not true. Everybody knows. We all know why we do what we do. We all know why we make decisions that may or may not serve us. We do know, but we mostly choose not to accept it, or more commonly, choose to deny it.
We generally choose to say those three words first, “I don’t know.” It is easier. It is safe. It absolves us of responsibility. It prolongs the time of indifference. It allows us to remain in the victim mentality. But it also keeps us stuck. Shackles us to indecision. Prolongs our pain, and might I add, prevents our progress. Because if we can’t figure out what it is, or call it out by name, we can’t truly fix it.
So, that morning, standing there in the middle of my street, alone by myself, enjoying the scenery, while taking pictures of the snow, of my house, of Lulu striking a pose on the lawn, I asked myself the same question for the 47th time, “Why did you stay?” Reluctantly, I finally responded in a series of whispers…
Because I love her.
Because I wanted her to love me back.
Because I needed her.
Because she saved my life.
Because I loved being married to her.
Because I kept thinking and wishing that we would somehow magically work through all the mess.
Because I wanted us to make it.
Because, even though we were both suffering in the relationship, I still wished we would get through it.
Because I was still rooting for us.
Because I was in denial.
I love the feel of the snow under my rain boots. The soft crunching sound it makes as I walk down the street with Lulu coming along for her morning walk. The air was cool as I inhaled huge chunks of it into my lungs. I am cold, but I am so loving this once-in-a-lifetime experience. It snowed, in San Antonio!
Except, I am here by myself. Not able to share the moment with anyone, but me.
Then I recalled Dr. Wright telling me that I had to learn to embrace solitude. “Look at it as a welcome experience,” her soft voice came through the phone. “When we call it loneliness it has a negative connotation to it.” “This could literally be the beginning of the best time of your life, but you have to let it in,” she added. “You have to first go through all the emotions that come with a split from an 8 year-long relationship…”
“What if it’s OK to feel the way you feel right now?” I ran through my list of feelings; Unsure, angry, sad, devastated, disappointed, betrayed, afraid, shocked…” The list went on. Wait! Was that also relief?? Somewhere in the back there, was relief. I briefly looked at it and skipped it. Anguish, panic, despair, melancholy, heaviness in my chest… I continued.
At one point during the call, Dr. Wright instructed me to embrace “I am enough” in every sense of the word. While still crying my heart out to her, I realized that I have struggled with self-acceptance in that sense. I crave companionship, as a result, I have settled for relationships that amongst other things, have been unfulfilling and to some extent, toxic.
I have entered them from a place of scarcity. From a place of lack. No wonder I remained needy even as I constantly told myself I had a mate. I remained lonely in most of my relationships, even if they all started the same way, with excitement and the idea of commitment.
Apparently, I have always felt like I needed someone in my life in order to feel whole. It became clear as we talked in hushed tones around 11:30pm that night, with snort and tears running down my nose and my eyes, that I have struggled with a fear of abandonment…for years.
My earliest memories of being abandoned came up during the conversation. My mother had been unable to nurse me during infancy, I was told. When I was 6, my father forgot to pick me up one day from school and I had to walk all the way home. I had been the only child from my neck of the woods on the elementary school bus and was consequently bullied like crazy by the other kids.
My parents never came to visit me during my 5 years in a boarding high school in Nigeria, I got into high school at 11. Neither did they come to visit me during my entire time in medical school, another 5 years. I went to med school at 16. Looking back now, I grew up forcing myself to believe that they loved me, but this was their weird way of showing it.
I remember vowing when I was a young adult, that I would never miss a visiting day in my kids’ lives. That I would be the mother I had yearned for, all those days, the father I had needed those early formative years if given a chance to have children of my own. Today, I can only hope that I am.
Before the call ended, we discussed the possibility that I had-had an emotional affair. What? Yes, she kindly explained. I had immersed my heart and soul into my work on trauma and suicide prevention in youth these past few years, because, in her words, I wasn’t “getting the nurturing and attention I needed from my marriage“. So, I guess, I cheated with my work. Is that even a thing?
As Lulu and I turn the corner at the end of the street, I spy one of my White neighbors who never speaks to me, walking slowly in our direction with their own dog in tow. I immediately made a U-turn, I really couldn’t care much about messing up my beautiful and serene revelry with a snooty neighbor this morning…
We walk on, slowly, quietly, in the opposite direction. Lulu appears to step on something, and momentarily begins to limp. But she regains her gait, and we continue. She stops from time to time to do her business. I register the deep yellow color of her urine against the white snow, and make a mental note to check on her water supply when I get home.
I can barely hold on to my phone by the time we get back to the house. My fingers are so cold that they hurt, but my body is warm, my heart is happy, there is snow on the ground even if I have no one to share it with. I walk inside the house and call my name, “Dr. Lulu!” It’s weird, but I am doing what my coach has told me to do. I am trying to get used to being with me. It might work, only time will tell.
In the distance, the world is beginning to wake up.
It will be a good day.
“In life, you must know when to make a you-turn if possible” ~ Dr. Lulu
Earlier today, I coached a family whose 16 year old had recently attempted suicide. His parents were concerned that he has been at home for the past one year, and amongst other things, had become depressed and anxious. He has been separated from his friends, his teammates and his girlfriend since starting online schooling. His grades are also beginning to suffer, and so is he.
They wanted tools to help them reconnect with their child.
As a pediatrician and speaker on youth suicide prevention, as a coach who works with parents of teens, but most importantly, as a mother of a 16 year old teenager of my own (and with the pandemic lingering on and with no end in sight for our current situation), I think this list might help us parents better manage our relationship with our teens and young adults (YA) at this time.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo recently twitted his concerns about the rising trend of suicide amongst teens. Sadly, this trend also affects our young adults who may or may not be in college as well. Suicide rate in their age range (10 to 34 years) is second only to accidents as the leading cause of death, and that trend seems to be compounded by the pandemic.
As someone who has struggled with suicidal ideations myself, and as an author of a book on teen suicide, I know the loneliness and hopelessness that can occur, and the despair and anguish that accompany them. While chatting with my youngest son tonight, we both came up with the following tips that might help you and your teen or young adult.
Acknowledge and Validate Their Feelings
One thing that I preach about all the time is the need to validate your teen or young adult’s feelings by acknowledging them and empathizing with them. Your teen needs to know that you understand from whence they come. Tell them you get how frustrating and disempowering they must be feeling without access to their friends and peers and all the activities they enjoy.
Share your own frustrations as well. Tell them exactly how you feel and let them see that while you don’t necessarily have all the answers, you do share their fears. However, end with a note of hope. Share your stories of struggles and how you navigated them in the past, listen to them as they share their own stories. Allow your kids to see the vulnerable side of you by sharing a challenging story from your past.
Trust me, children want to know that their parents are just like them in some ways. They do need to know that you have also struggled in life. That you don’t always have the answers. That helps them accept and deal with their own limitations as well, and helps them connect with you on a deeper and might I add, more realistic level.
One of the major issues I notice with some of the parents I coach is the tendency to want their children to think they are perfect. That is a dangerous precedent. Kids need to see their parents show them the full range of emotions that they can express. As an African, I know first hand how our parents almost never show any other emotions besides stoicism. #notgood.
Check-in With Them Frequently
If your teen or YA is currently enrolled in distance or remote learning, find ways to support them through it. We can all agree that these are unprecedented times. In my home, all three children are affected, and each child is dealing with it differently. Since I am home with my high schooler, I can only directly affect him, but I do ensure that I also have access to, and engage with his brothers often.
For his older brothers, we have twice weekly check-ins that have been instituted. Each one calls me on the telephone on a pre-selected day, usually on the weekend. And I in turn have a mental health check-in via text on Wednesdays. I send a simple text message asking how they are doing. These seemingly “little” habits have had the dual effect of keeping open connection lines and reassuring me, the mama bear.
As for my last-man-child (LMC), I frequently stick my head into his room, and ask how his day is going. I make sure he takes frequent breaks from his class computer (which he built himself for his 16th birthday) by walking around every 2 hours or so. We have regular discussions about relevant topics; school, his grades, his friends, who is dating who, football and basketball, his haircut, and even racism and politics…
Encourage Social/Physical Distancing and Wearing Masks
For this, frequent reminders and open-hearted (non-judgemental) discussions are critical. Talk about the fact that ‘their friends might be sick and not know it’ aka asymptomatic. Remind your young’un, that while they themselves might not “get sick”, there is a clear danger of bringing the virus home, and possibly getting you, their grandparents or other family members sick.
This is quite possibly the most challenging part of this entire pandemic for teens and YAs. Because they mostly feel they are invisible and can’t catch the disease, they often balk at the thought of wearing masks or socially distancing. They also fall prey to peer pressure if their friends do not also do the same.
I encouraged my LMC to have his friends come to visit last summer. This idea was a hit, and I watched him and his friends reunite one night outside our home. It was a brief but heart-warming (and much needed) drive-by socially distanced visit with their masks on. The smile on his young face the rest of that evening was all the payment this mama bird needed.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Pandemic or not, we must still champion healthy habits in our children. The usual suspects: adequate rest and sleep, healthy eating and drinking, frequent water breaks, exercise, etc. are all still a daily requirement. In my book “How to Raise Well-Rounded Children”, I state clearly that the one ingredient needed to make our kids do the right thing is us!
We MUST exemplify any behavior we seek in our children. That means getting with our own program. I love to exercise and read. And my kids see me practicing that daily. My LMC and I bonded with Spanish lessons in the heart of the first lockdown. Those were special moments that we shared each night. I enjoyed the one-on-one, and he got to stay proficient with his spanish, win-win!
These days, we bond through cooking. He has always had a flare for the culinary department, so the lockdown gave him an opportunity to watch a lot of Master Chef and Master Chef-Junior. These TV shows helped him blossom into our very own Chef Boyardee 🙂 These days, he literally picks the recipe, shops for the ingredients and boom! Gourmet meal!
Use Technology to Your Advantage
This last one is simply inevitable in today’s world. I smile as I write this, because I am the world’s most notorious “hater” of technology. But, I am learning that it can be my friend if only I allow myself to find the good in it and learn to use it to my advantage.
While I understand that we don’t want our kids playing video games all day, or stuck to their phones day in and out. I ask for grace for them through these trying times. Allow them to use their phones or play their video games a little longer, as long as they complete their school work and house chores.
Over time, I have learned to give in to my boys and their gaming. It actually warms my heart anytime I pass by my LMC’s bedroom and hear his brothers’ voices on the computer playing with him…bonding with their sibling… or just hanging out. That is such a good feeling!
We also used the power of Zoom to celebrate my eldest son’s graduation from Stanford last year, attend my brother’s son’s christening, and check in with the extended family and long lost friends from time to time. Thank goodness for that, I truly can’t imagine how this pandemic would have been without video conferencing! It’s all good.
Go Forth and Make the Best of it!
In ending, as the pandemic rages on, we must approach it like any other challenge, with positive determination and confidence. We must not give in to the uncertainty, the anxiety, or the sense of helplessness and lack of control that we are all in no doubt experiencing individually and as a community. Let’s lean-in to the unknown, and sit with all the feels that come with that.
As parents, the time with our offspring is finite, so we should learn to give in a little, loosen up and try to enjoy them while we still can. My favorite question is: “Remember your teen years? What did you want the most from your parents? Now give that as a gift to your own children. Thank me later 🙂
At the end of the visit with my clients today, I reminded them that adolescence and teen years don’t last forever, but parenting does. So, I will ask you what I asked them as the visit drew to a close… What is the best thing that could happen to your relationship with your child from this pandemic? Write it down, and go for it!
No truer words! Sadly, many of us are often twisted and tied down to that word…procrastination!
When I was in medical school, I remember my roommate taught me a Yoruba phrase that also happened to be the title of one of Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti‘s hit songs! If I remember correctly, the title was in Yoruba, and it went like this: “Oun t’awa she n’iyara, ejeka bere”, meaning, “let’s start what we have come into the room to do”…
While Fela probably didn’t mean it in the sense of avoiding procrastination, I believe he meant for us, as his listeners to not waste time in getting what needs to be done, done. In essence, STOP procrastinating! If you need to do something today, start today, not tomorrow.
How many times have you had stuff that needs to be done and are not doing it? How many times have you found yourself at your desk, tapping your fingers and daydreaming? Or ruminating on thoughts about your “to-do” list, or simply scrolling through social media for the third time in 20 minutes?
What is the impact of putting things off in your life? When was the last time you stopped and took stock of that?
Procrastination is defined by Merriam-Webster online dictionary thus: to put off intentionally and habituallysomething that has to be done. Meaning, you are aware of it, and you also know the full implication of not doing it, yet, you consciously choose not to do it.
Sometimes, repeated intentionality leads to habituality.
“You procrastinate because factors such as anxiety or fear of failure outweigh your motivation and self-control.” ~ Solving Procrastination
Since signing up to become a licensed life coach, I have slowly started noticing my habits. Things I did once upon a time, that I continue to do, that have now become my way of doing. Some of them, better, (getting at least 7-hours of sleep daily), some not so much (putting off marketing my books, or finishing my 4th book).
After deep soul-searching and major self-coaching, I realized that the main reason I procrastinate is self-doubt, aka lack of self-belief, or simply put…FEAR! Fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of negative feedback, all kinds of fear!
Case-in-point: For the past 2 years, I have been toying with the idea of shooting a documentary. It will be loosely based on my second book A Teen’s Life (available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles online). Everyone I have told my idea thinks it’s great. And I also believe it is…
I initially had a hard time finding a movie or documentary director. Then in the past few weeks, I found one who also writes. I shared my dream with him, and he LOVES IT! In fact, he believes so much in my idea that he has already started doing background research and treatment with my book as a guide.
Now, all of a sudden, I am not so sure anymore. I started giving him excuses like; “I am really busy right now”, “My plate is quite full at the moment”, “I don’t think I can take any more on my calendar”, “I have school”, “Can we hold off until I graduate?”, “I might not find subjects to share their stories”, etc. The list goes on.
I know deep inside that it can be done. I must admit that I thought it would take a longer time than he has suggested. Somehow, once I realized it might become a reality sooner than later, I freaked out. And am still freaking out. I now understand what the Bible story about Jesus, Peter and walking on water means (Matthew 14:22–36).
Even though the documentary is my dream, and has been so for nearly 2 years now, I must admit that I have little faith, and so I am doubting. I am afraid, afraid of the unknown. Afraid that I might succeed. Afraid that I might fail. Afraid. It’s a new venture for me. Nothing of its kind has ever been done before. I have no experience. I have nothing but my dream.
So, I want to procrastinate. I want to hold off until tomorrow, that which I can start today.
“What has this got to do with anything Dr. Lulu?” You ask. Well, since I started life coaching, I have realized that many of my clients, if not all of them also struggle with self-doubt. The lack of self-belief is very strong. I never knew how much of that is freely floating around.
It is so bad that when asked how committed they are to accomplishing their goals, most of them helplessly give me a number like 7–8/10. And when asked what would make it a full 10, they shake their heads and shrug their shoulders and look at me helplessly. And I see it clearly in their eyes, doubt. Self-doubt. Self-doubt and unbelief.
And so they procrastinate. They put off working on their goals. They procrastinate. They think they can’t achieve their goals.
I recently had a client who when asked, responded with “Because I am known to not complete my tasks”. Another said “Because I am known to procrastinate”, and yet another simply said “Because I don’t believe that I can do it”
This article on Psychology Today explains the concept of procrastination and why people do it so well. It begins by stating “…understanding why you procrastinate is crucial if you want to figure out how to stop doing it”.
Reasons given in the article for procrastinating include but are not limited to Abstract Goals, Indecisiveness, Overwhelm, Perfectionism, Anxiety, Fear of Failure, Lack of Motivation, Laziness, Low Capacity for Self Control, Distractibility, Impulsivity.
As I read through each item on their list. I kept hoping to not see myself in them. Alas, I saw myself in nearly 80% of them. In a sense I feel good because that makes me “human”, but then I feel sad because, I need to do something about mine, soon!
What about you? How do you set your goals, and how do you ensure they are achieved? Are you able to achieve them on your own? Who holds you accountable? Do you also procrastinate? How badly do you, if you do? What, if anything are you doing about it? Do you need a coach?
Even as I struggle with mine, I still hold space for my clients. I help them prioritize themselves and what they want. Prioritize their goals, and work towards them. Work through the self-doubt. Work through their unbelief. Work through the reasons they procrastinate. Ironically, I sometimes believe in them more than they do.
The good news is, the article also delves into what can be done about procrastination. It has a laundry list of action steps that essentially begins with self-awareness.
I shall continue to work on my procrastination. I know what I have to do. The question is; will I do it? Hmmm, only time will tell. And as for Fela, well, I plan on making him proud.
Mindset and Motivational Life Coach For Physician Moms
“Aunty blew her brains out a few weeks ago!” Words I shall never forget.
For weeks, she had been in my thoughts. But I never called her. I didn’t because of all the myriad reasons we often give ourselves for not checking up on each other.
In my case, they sounded like this; “I am 7 months pregnant, and it has been a difficult pregnancy.” “I am in an abusive marriage.” “My pediatric practice is struggling.” “I have a 2-year-old son,” and so forth. When I eventually dialed her number, her niece told me she had killed herself. She was only 33 years old. A surgical resident. My friend and colleague. The news of her death sent me into preterm labor with my now 20-year-old son.
Physicians should be brilliant, resilient, and darned near perfect. We cannot afford to make mistakes (no pressure).
We must show up 100% each day with our game faces on, with a smile, ready to serve and save lives!
We must never tire; we must love our jobs and not give-in to overwhelm or toxicity at the workplace.
We must thrive regardless of near inhumane working conditions. But what if we can’t? What if we are actually human? What if the rest of the world sees us as one of them? What if we see ourselves as human and as such fatigable, maybe even fallible?
What if we save our patients but not ourselves? What if “first do no harm” protects everyone else but us? What if our beloved profession becomes a noose around our necks?
What if we are unable to cope with life during a pandemic; family, relationships, money, illness, colleagues, workplace abuse to name a few? What if we find themselves hopeless, helpless, and trapped in our “perfectionism”? What if we pay the ultimate price for all this with our lives?
Does anyone notice? Are we missed? Is anyone counting?
Globally, physician suicides are at an all-time high. And female physicians have a higher mortality rate by suicide than male physicians in the United States…and like most suicides, it is grossly under-reported.
I know, I am a female physician in the United States, and I have been suicidal.
More women are entering medicine than they were before 1980, but women in medicine still face a wage gap, a risk of sexual harassment, motherhood, relationship issues, and other disparities that can contribute to mental health challenges and suicide.
This burden is worsened by fears of being seen as less capable, an educational system that stresses care for others over care for self, and licensing and credentialing requirements that often punish physicians who accurately report their diagnoses and treatments.
Results of a systematic literature review and meta-analysis show women physicians are 46% more likely than their female counterparts in the general population to die by their own hands. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened physician moral injury, burnout and suicide.
It has exposed the inefficiencies in healthcare systems across the world, particularly in the United States, and exacerbated the toxic stress physicians have been experiencing for a while now. To my knowledge, there has been one reported physician suicide each weekend for the last 4 weeks in the United States.
And no one is really talking about it.
However, what is our role in preventing our own suicides? According to Dr. Ann McCormack’s article in the Medical Journal of Australia, “Among the medical workforce, work–life balance is poorly practiced and modelled.” “In fact, there is a subtle undertone rampant within the medical fraternity, in which late-night emails, missing a child’s school concert, publishing multiple articles a year, and not taking annual leave become unvoiced indicators of a truly committed doctor.”
No truer words, if we be honest with ourselves…
Thankfully, there is hope;
1/ According to the American Medical Association (AMA), Physicians can seek help, and not be “punished” in most states of the U.S.
2/ Healthcare institutions can put processes in place for physician wellness and ensure physician adherence.
3/ Doctors themselves should invest in activities that will build resiliency and support their physical and mental health, and model such behaviors to their colleagues.
3/ Physicians should be encouraged to be each other’s keepers through kindness, and practice empathy and compassion towards one another.
4/ The general population should be educated to end the silence, shame, and stigma associated with the word “suicide”.
5/ We should normalize discussions around emotional trauma and mental health challenges and avoid any repercussions towards doctors who speak up and speak out.
6/ Medical students should be selected based on both academic performance and aptitude tests, and regular enquiry into, and support of their mental health should be a high priority.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year thus far, and none of the negative energy around us seems to be dying down.
Suffice it to say, we need to move on, regardless.
So, here goes…
September was National Suicide Awareness and Prevention month. Did you do anything to help save someone’s life? Did you try to give hope to another soul? To try to make them smile, feel seen, feel validated? Feel needed? Feel alive?
With all the things we celebrate in the month of October: National ADHD month, National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and one week: October 10 through 17 for National Mental Health Awareness week, and so on, we continue to have our hands full, and the need for compassion, vulnerability, fearlessness and authenticity is never-ending.
This month, I would like to celebrate my successful outing with my first ever Dr. Lulu’s Stop Suicide Now! Summit that took place on September 26th, 2020! We had close to 40 humans sign up, and about 2/3 to attend! The Speakers were “ahmayzeen”, I know all the attendees’ lives were touched, and hopefully someone was saved. Check out this fact sheet we created for the event.
We learned a lot, new connections were made…and…it is officially going to become an annual event! YAY! All glory be to God. To order your copy of the nearly 41/2 hours of recording of the event, simply send an email of your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or send your payment of $37 by clicking this link to my PayPal account.
I am also delighted to share that the month of September had me as a speaker on my very first TEDx talk! YAAAASSSS!!!! It was in Alief, a suburb of Houston. Shout out to my peeps there! Check them out and everything else they are up to by clicking this link right HERE. The official video link is not out yet, but, stay tuned, you are first on my list to know. It is titled : Why Do Our Children Kill Themselves? (NOT What You Think), cool, huh? Check me out below in action!
As far as self improvement during this last quarter of 2020 goes, I have decided to sign up for a formal certification as a life coach! I truly enjoy listening to people’s stories and helping them get unstuck; set achievable goals, guide them and then watch them soar! So, I guess wish me luck, huh?
This past month also saw a HUGE growth in my podcast listenership following my appearance as a speaker for the global podfest event! They went for and broke the guiness book of records for attendance >100K registrants! I also hope the impact of my podcast will be felt, ‘cos that’s my main M.O. I have caught up with all my previous recordings from 2019, and am now finally uploading new 2020 episodes! I am doing a mix of my COVID-19 Doctor Chronicles, and fresh interviews for the podcast itself. As you know, it’s called Suicide Pages with Dr. Lulu, and we talk about LIFE!
This past week for instance, I had an amazing guest on. Her name is Dr. Christine B. L Adams. A Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist, in practice for over 40 years! She educated us on something I had never heard about: Emotional Conditioning. An amazing concept that explains how the way we were emotionally raised, affects the way we all act/react to situations. And best of all, she only uses TALK THERAPY, NO MEDS! A girl after my own heart! Listen to her episode HERE, and let me know what you think.
One other interesting guest I had this past month was Dr. Bernie Fernandez, another veteran Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who validated my longtime thought process when he said, “If you don’t have clinical depression, antidepressants cannot protect you from suicide.” BOOM!!! I have known that for so long, but hearing him say those words were like the “Sound of Music” to me! His episode can be heard HERE.
As always, if you find my podcast episodes interesting, simply do me three favors 🙂
My latest book “How to Teach Your Children About Racism“, has continued to do well. We are now at 59 5-Star reviews! Woot woot!! But even better, it received an ALL STAR 5-STAR rating from Readers Favorites, an independent book reviewer. All because I took a chance and wrote a blog, and y’all liked and shared and shared! Thanks to you my readers!
I wouldn’t end this blog post without thanking each and everyone of you for your continued support of me and my mission to end youth suicide by the year 2025! I have also continued to have a lot of support from fellow podcasters and bloggers alike. Various platforms and conferences, and book clubs and such, and this month shall not be different.
Next weekend, on 10/10/2020, I shall be the Keynote Speaker on another upcoming suicide prevention event. It is primarily going to be towards Nigerians, happening in Nigeria, organized by Nigerians, but, since it is virtual, it is technically global. I’d love to see you join me there. See flyer and register HERE… It’s Free!
Aiight, that’s all I have for now. Remember, I just had C-Spinal surgery barely 2 weeks ago! Thanks for all the love and kindness, gifts and get well wishes towards me…Y’all please stay well, wear your masks and do stay safe and don’t forget to vote your conscience come next month.
Until we “see” again, chew on this original quote of mine:
“A suicide attempt is never a cry for attention, it is always a cry for help”
Igbo Kwenu! Yaaa!! Nigeria Kwenu Yaaa!!! Uwanile Kwezuenu Yaaa!!!!
Every once in a while, you encounter a stranger, but strangely, you feel like you already know them.
That person to me, was the Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman.
Each time I looked at him, I saw an Igbo man. I generally don’t watch too much television, or movies for that matter, but he got me to watch the Black Panther movie not once, twice, but three times!
I will confess that he did not quite nail the African accent in his memorable role as King T’Challa, but between his gap teeth, easy smile and dark chocolate tint, he made my heart flutter each time he appeared on the screen.
Yes, as far as bodily features and physique go, Killmonger had one, ok, two on him, but, Chad was electrifying on screen, and since the BP movie was my very first time seeing him ever, I was hooked!
He had an easiness about him. His stride. His thick dark coils. His eyes. His eyes.
This past weekend was such an emotional roller coaster for me, like many people of color and our allies, we have watched as things have continued to deteriorate on the streets on Amerikkka, but nothing could have prepared me for his death.
I was already greatly saddened by Mr. Blake’s shooting, and the inhumane way he was treated at the hospital. The pockets of unrest, the increase in boldness of the Karens and others like them, the nut job we have for a president, the death toll of Covid-19 and everything in between were already bothering me big time.
To top it up, my two eldest sons both returned to college (one to grad school and one to undergrad) in the past couple of weeks. I also happened to have had the added adventure and trauma of being a Black female, and mother of 3 Black boys with the added layer of trauma as their primary provider.
So, you get that my stress level was already at a semi-high place. And with the loss of 2 super heros (Black Mamba and Black Panther) within the space of 6 months is a huge blow to the African Americans, period!
In honor of the Black Panther, I have written a list of what I am calling “Lessons I Learned From Ebubedike aka T’Challa, aka Chadwick Boseman.” Enjoy!
1/ Live For Today: While I never really knew him, somehow I think that he lived each day in the last four years to the fullest. I, like most of us have found out that he apparently starred in multiple movies for the 4 years that followed his diagnosis.
2/ Live For Now: Like #1, I know, he did everything in his power to enjoy his every minute of every hour of the time he had left on earth, and luckily, he took us along with him on the journey.
3/ Make Your Mark: We must live our lives to leave a mark on this earth. Like I say all the time, when you meet people, you must leave the best piece of you behind with them. Make your mark on this earth. Start where you are.
4/ Be Unstoppable: Once you find your purpose, and you get on your path, become unstoppable! He was so good at what he did. He fought to the end. He was unstoppable in his brilliance!
5/ Take Every Opportunity to Do Good: Whether he knew it or not, he exemplified taking opportunities to do good, and he was good at it. He made us fall in love with a him, easily, he was not only a hero, he was also a Black super-hero.
6/ Smile: I have seen pictures of him not smiling, but the pictures that have been etched in my heart are those with him flashing his gap teeth in a smile. Such a handsome young man with such an infectious smile.
7/ Make People Happy: Did King T’Challa make us happy? Yes! Did he make his family happy? Yes! Did he make the world a happier place? Absofreakinlutely! Making people happy is much easier than you think!
8/ Make Yourself Happy: Yes! Do make yourself happy. Wear your mask first. Fill your cup first. Something tells me Ebubedike always made himself happy by making a tough decision to show up 100% of the time in all his roles, despite his pain and suffering.
9/ Challenge Yourself! This was probably one of the most important things he did. He challenged himself everyday to do something meaningful, knowing his time was limited. What about you? When was the last time you challenged yourself to do something meaningful?
10/ Do It! Just Do It! Yep, I know for a fact that he “just did it” He simply did what he knew needed to be done! How many times have you had a project or a deadline, or something that needed to be done, but didn’t do it? Why? Because you think/thought you had time? Well, he KNEW he DIDN’T have time. So, he just did it.
11/ Be the one: Be the go-to “guy”. Be the person who we all want to go to for it. For life, for service, for laughter, for what we need. Would you, could you be the one?
12/ Be the best: At this time, it is not even a matter of whether he won awards or not. While I have not seen any more of his flicks, and I know for sure that I can’t bring myself to watch it, I know he was the absolute best at what he did. And I am proud of him for that.
13/ Play hard and live like today is your last day! Ooooh, if I could get a penny for every time I heard that, I would be a millionaire now! I am going to learn to play hard these days. I know it will be hard, but it is doable. Think about it, how could would it be if you were able to live each day like it was truly YOUR LAST!
14/ Stay true to yourself! I honestly believe that this was him in the truest sense of the word. He was honest and true. And it showed in the way he conducted himself during his last 4 years of life.
15/ FIGHT! FIGHT!! FIGHT!!! I don’t think any one needs convincing that he was a fighter! He fought to the last breathe, and as far as I am concerned, he won! So, let’s go forth and fight like the Black Panther did!
16/ Die hard: What I really want to say here is, die hardest! There is no doubt that it must have been really hard staring death in the eye. But he did it, without fear. He went about his business, doing what he had to do with a vengeance knowing death was eminent.
17/ Breathe: I know, that is the watch-word now, thanks to George Floyd. But seriously, find times in the day when you can breathe easily. Find moments that take your breath away, look for them, they are there.
18/ Know: Get to know yourself and to know what time it is. In my heart, I know he knew exactly what he was up against. He knew every single detail of every single thing that mattered in his life. You, my friend should be in the know.
19/ Believe: in yourself. That is the best strategy. He was sick, but he believed in himself. He knew exactly what and who he was, and believed he could pull off that many movies AFTER he was diagnosed with terminal illness. If you only believe in yourself…
20/ Be brave: Look fear in the eye. Be fearless, be bold, be brave. Yes, be brave enough to do that which you would have never believed you could achieve. Regardless of what it is, if you are brave, you can conquer
21/ Ask for help: Yes indeed, it is brave to ask for help. A friend of mine once said “it is easier to say yes, than to say I need help”. That means we need to learn how to ask for help. Period. Don’t assume we can read your mind…:)
Now, please enjoy this poem I wrote for him on my Facebook page on Saturday.
Such a beautiful smile
Such a good soul
Such strong laughter
Such a brave heart
Such a great actor
Such a resilient person
Such a SUPER HERO!
Such a Black man
Such a Black son
Such an exemplary American
Such pain you went through fighting one of the worst diagnoses of all
Such bravado in the face of the inevitable, as you gave us some of the best out of Hollywood
Such a wonderful ambassador of mother Africa
Such hot tears running down my cheeks as I write this
Such a blessing to have “known” you
Such a good and restful sleep you’ll now have, as you close your eyes this one last time
Such a sweet reunion with your friend, Black Mamba
Hmmm, it has been one of those weeks… One of those months. One of those series of days in my life when I think I am in a twilight zone, and that all the things going on around me are not real. How have you been? I know, it’s been a minute. I am sorry. I have honestly had a lot on my mind. But I am back now, so let’s get this party started.
As parents, we are in the driver’s seat. As if the quarantine and lockdown were not stressful enough, due to the recent happenings mainly here in the United States, we have now come face to face with the reality of our poor, no, sorry state of race relations. Even if you don’t live in the US, you are still required to do what is right by your kids in regard to teaching them about racial biases, prejudice, and systemic racism when necessary.
Do you know that racism and prejudice are mostly rooted in fear? Fear that comes from a lack of understanding? Yes. Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads people to draw the wrong conclusions, and soon those conclusions become their truth. And then they are ruled by a concept based on falsehoods like all Black men are a threat, before you know it, it becomes a system and a “way” of doing things and that’s when the cookie crumbles.
Yeah, I know, having that conversation about race is one that some people have neither ever had, nor want to have (but obviously need to), while others find themselves having the conversation nearly every day in their lives. Well, it has to start, and the time is now. Things must begin to change. The world is actually witnessing just how dangerous being “color blind, or color neutral” can be. An issue Blacks have dealt with for years.
You see, what happened to George Floyd, can literally only happen in Amerikkka, oops, my bad, America. For over 400 years Blacks in America have continued to work more than twice as hard to be recognized half as much. The dehumanization must stop! And those who are silent now, MUST examine their why. Some much-needed soul-searching must be on everyone’s to-do list…now!
Sadly, our children are caught in the cross-fire. The other day I asked the following question on my Facebook page: What would happen if we put 10 children in a room for 10 minutes? The answers were interesting. The kids will start playing with each other right away. But if you performed the same experiment with grown-ups, they will either say nothing, or team up according to some categories, preconceptions, and even misconceptions about each other.
So, inspired by a Facebook post that a friend of mine tagged me on, I decided to write to you today, with my thoughts on how parents should approach the elephant in the room: The talk about race, with their young’uns. Enjoy! And do leave me a comment to let me know what you think.
1/ Thou shalt first become comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations with thyself, before ever trying to have them with any other person. Yes, at this point in our earthly lives, we must as a matter of urgency get into that space of vulnerability and face our fears and insecurities. Dig deep to figure out why we are uncomfortable and get past that point with intention and focus.
2/ Thou shalt educate thyself properly, and gather all the facts that thou might need, and yet not have, before embarking on any such discussions with thy children. Children are smart, they will see through your charade. They are already learning about it or hearing about it, so you might as well be their guide. I know that talking about race can be sensitive, and yes, even a bit messy, but the other option is not an option, so just buckle up and do it.
3/ Thou shalt ensure that thy abode is racist-free. Remember, information can be conveyed by thoughts, words or deeds, and thy kids will absorb them all from thee. Yes, you might be racist, your words might be racist, or your actions might be racist and you might not even be aware of it, but your kids will, and then it might be too late for them to unlearn the bad lessons.
4/ Thou shalt first find out from thy kids what they already know about racism (if age applicable) before proceeding with the teaching. A simple question and answer session will suffice. There is no point in building a house upon a faulty foundation. First, dig up the old one, find out what the kids know, reteach them the correct information, and then proceed with teaching them new things.
5/ Thou shalt expose thy kids to other cultures, by visiting their museums, their churches, or attending civic events organized by them. There is no better way to get immersed in African American, Jewish, Native American, or Hispanic history than by visiting their museums, civic centers, places of worship, or one of the many events these cultural communities often hold in a city near you. The time is now! Summer is on its way, so, put on your masks and get going!
6/ Thou shalt endeavor to cook, order-in, or learn about foods of other ethnicities. This is a must! Humans are social beings, we love to eat during celebrations. So, when next you go to visit your Nigerian friend perhaps (wink wink), ask about fufuati efo riro,jollof rice with “shikin”, fried plantains (dodo), isiewu (goat head delicacy), ofensala (fish pepper soup), or nkwobi (cow foot delicacy) to name a few. These are seriously tasty mouth-watering meals that you can only learn about by having an open mind. Take it from me, they are all #delish!
7/ Thou shalt listen to music and learn dance moves from other cultures…yes, thou must! 🙂 I told you to have an open mind. While I wouldn’t necessarily ask you to learn the acrobatic nkpokiti, or break-dancing, it is certainly time to expand from your line dancing days to something else that is fun and exposes a whole new world to you. Your kids will love the moves, the melody, and the novelty, and they can brag about their new skills to their friends. This could also be a form of a bonding exercise for y’all.
8/ Thou shalt encourage thy kids to make friends with, and visit homes of kids of other races, and have them visit your home in return. Get to know their parents, and learn a thing or two about their history and upbringing. Extend a hand of friendship. Offer to take their kids to a game, pick them up from school or even buy them dinner. Get out of your comfort zone a bit. Live just a little bit, you might even like it 😉
9/ Thou must become acutely aware of the microaggression some things you do or say can cause to people of other races. Like calling me the nurse or “miss”, when my name tag clearly says MD or asking me where I went to medical school, or wondering how my English is so good, or not trying at all to pronounce my name after I have told you how to say it…more than once! And do try to let your guard down when I am in the room. I don’t bite. Oh, and…STOP touching my hair, this is not Ripley’s Believe it Or Not!
10/ Thou shalt police thyself, thy relatives, and thy kids with purpose, intention, and mindfulness. Yes, you must ensure that you are not perpetuating intolerance, hate, or prejudice in any way. You know your family members who are racist. Everyone does. You must be bold, take action, and police them. Speak up. We are tired of being tired of being tired. You must have “the talk” with your family and friends. And if they choose to be silent, I suggest you re-evaluate your relationship with them.
11/ Thou shalt endeavor to learn a foreign language, preferably a language in Africa. Thou shalt also teach said language to thy kids. Yes, spread your wings, fly far away to the land of communication and understanding. To the land of open-mindedness and love. Because learning a new language will help you understand, and when you understand there will be no fear, and when there is no fear, there is no racism.
12/ Thou shalt visit the predominantly Black part of the city or town thou lives in…with thy kids in tow. Get to see what life is like over there. You might begin to gain a bit of empathy, compassion, understanding, and maybe even respect. Your daughters want to date our sons, and that’s a fact. You might as well get to know where she will be hanging out, and get ready to have soul food at the wedding 🙂
13/ Thou shalt teach thy child to recognize bullying behavior and speak up when other kids are being bullied, especially on account of their race. Bullying is a catalyst for suicide, and it is a serious problem in our schools (stay tuned for my next book out in a few weeks, it tackles bullying head-on). Teach them to find the kids who are ostracised and sit with them on the school bus, at the cafeteria, or play with them at recess. That will go a long way towards ending the current epidemic of youth suicide.
14/ Thou shalt not make a mockery or joke about any person who is different from you on account of their race, and neither should your kids. Yes, don’t discuss their skin tone, their kinky hair, their body type or any other physical attribute that pertains to their race, except in a good light. Or if they let you. I don’t really care much for people touching my hair to know what it “feels like”, that’s actually an intrusion.
15/ Thou shalt ensure that all the above are adhered to, and from time to time, check in with your kids to assess for progress. Yes, you must also continue to work on yourself and on your family members like Karen, Becky, Amy, Stephanie, Derek, Gregory, and Travis. There is much work to be done. Policing the police is not enough, we must also police ourselves, our thought processes, and mindsets lest we remain imprisoned by them.
“The only way, to really talk about race and racism, is by activating a growth mindset.” ~Amber Colemen-Mortely
I say “The only way to talk about it, is to freakin’ talk about it”
This is not a new story, but it remains heartbreaking.
While researching for my new book, “Is Your Child A Bully?”, I came across it again.
I remember being tagged by a follower when it first happened in March of last year.
I would like you to read it, and share it with your kids and ensure that you have a discussion afterward.
Talk about injustice, prejudice, racism, religious intolerance.
Think about her and her family.
LOOK into her eyes.
See her smile? It is out of place…
Feel her mom’s heart
Weep for her father
Be her siblings
Know their pain.
I am also sharing it because I want folks to know that NEARLY ALL CHILDREN WHO DIE BY SUICIDE AS A RESULT OF BULLYING DO NOT HAVE A PRIOR H/O ANY MENTAL ILLNESS.
The ensuing depression or anxiety that results from their ordeals is at best, reactive. While counseling might work for the victims, better parenting and stronger rules and such might work on the bullies.
Mental ANGUISH is 1000x worse than Mental ILLNESS.
It is a very profound emotional state of exhaustion, it causes the sufferers to become so overwhelmed, hopeless, AND helpless, that they will do anything to make their pain stop.
Including ending their lives.
They are often thrown into a state of deep despair.
They suffer A LOT.
There are NO MEDICINES for anguish or despair.
Suicide victims are NOT selfish
Au contraire, they feel like they are a burden, they are lonely, they are burnt out, they don’t really want to die, but living is often no longer an option.
I ask as you spend time with your children, STRESS kindness, and compassion to themselves and to others.
They are the antidotes for the type of meanness that our kids are exhibiting through bullying these days.
In my first bestseller ” How to Raise Well Rounded Children”, I discuss 16 guiding principles that you need to instill in your kids to help them grow up with the right doses of “goodness.”
Get your copy on AMAZON.
In the meantime, look at her eyes, her angelic face, her hijab perfectly tied around her beautiful brows,
and offer a little prayer for all children being bullied all over the world.
THEN share this post and tell your friends and family Dr. Lulu sent ya.
I don’t know about you, but 2020 has sure become one heck of a year! If anyone had told me on January 1st that by April I would be on quarantine with not only my family but the entire universe, I would never have believed it!
When I look back at how “well” the year began, and all the promises that the new year brought with it, I honestly don’t know if I should continue to shake my head in disbelief, if I will wake up and it is all over, or if I should simply smile and wait a bit more, knowing that “this too shall pass”. I wish I knew for sure that this too shall indeed pass. No one knows.
As a parent and a spouse, I am grateful that my children are a bit older in age, and it is a bit easier to explain this whole thing. Luckily, they have each other to keep company, while I try my very best to stay sane.
So, what have you all been doing to stay sane this period of uncertainty? I know, the word self-care is now the buzz word and for good reason. Never has there been a better time to practice what I am calling “the three pillars of self-care”: self-compassion, self-kindness, and self-love, than now.
For me, I am pretty carefree, I don’t dance to anyone’s tune, I simply go with my flow, but for those who would like to share with me, below are 10 ways I have come up with that might interest you as far as practicing self-care goes. You are probably already doing most of these things, but it is always a good idea to share with each other and learn and grow together.
1/ Prayer and Meditation: Whether you see prayer as a way of talking to God, the universe, your personal chi, or simply communing with nature, I strongly recommend some form of the practice daily. I have found that it often goes best, hand in hand with meditation. Both are best practiced in the morning, but, frankly, it could be at any other time of the day, as you wish. Since this whole quarantine thing started I have been joining Jay Shetty and about 30K other people around the world, daily for a 20 minute guided meditation at 1130hrs CST daily. It has been so rejuvenating and invigorating and has fast become the best 20 minutes of my day.
2/ Yoga: One of my personal favorites. I used to be a major “yoga groupy” several years ago when I was younger. But I am finding my way back now since the quarantine. These days, my fibromyalgia is flaring up, the pain in my lower back is sometimes unbearable, and my neck arthritis is worse. I actually started to practice daily sun salutations, and it’s yet early to call, but, so far so good. My eldest son recommended it to me. He saw a YouTube video of Kita Liss, who had similar issues with her neck and back and reportedly did sun salutations for 2months and presto! Her aches and pains were gone! I might sound a bit gullible, but, the way I see it, there is no medication use involved, and it’s actually great for you and your joints, so why not?
3/ Walking: The ultimate exercise if you ask me. This is especially if you are a little bit older like I am, but generally, most people will tell you that your knees will thank you if you walk. Whether brisk walking or slow strolling, walking beats running for your knees any time. For me, I use my morning walks to commune with nature, exercise the dog, and take phone calls in my telemedicine practice. Sometimes, I simply walk alone, lost in my thoughts. I have also recently started using it as a tool to meet my neighbors (thanks to the recent lockdown in San Antonio, Texas), we pass each other, 6ft apart, say hello, make small talk about Covid-19, the weather, homeschooling or whatever else.
4/ Reading: Ha! This is one of my “favoritest” things to do! I. Love. Reading. My go-to genre is fiction, and my place to be is romance. Since starting my own business though, it has been a bit tough getting my romance reading on. Thankfully, this quarantine has given us all permission to #slowdown and “smell all the roses” and other accompanying smells that make us smile. What about you? Do you like reading? What is your favorite genre? Are you in need of some good non-fiction this quarantine season? If so, I beg to suggest one of my two books. The parenting book: How to Raise Well-Rounded Children, is my favorite pick for now since many of us parents are all “stuck” at home with our kids.
5/ Write: Yessss! Next to reading, writing is one activity that I enjoy. I find so much joy when I write that I recommend writing to every single patient of mine. Furthermore, studies have shown that writing can be therapeutic. You can start simple, like writing in your (gratitude) journal, or simply writing about your day. You can also start writing a book, start a blog or write poetry. Just start writing… You will be so glad you did. If you do decide to go on to write something, please let me know. One of the things I also do on the side is to help people write their bestseller. Yes. I am a writing coach and I will be glad to chat with you and explore the possibility of working together. Click here to schedule an appointment if you’d like to explore this.
6/ Practice Gratitude: This is a natural successor of writing. The gratitude journal is a recurrent theme when we speak about writing. So, to write about gratitude then means to practice it. To practice it means to be intentional about it. To be intentional about it means to be present in each moment, acknowledge each moment, and be thankful for them. We must try to find something new each day to be grateful for. These times might not appear to be teaching us anything positive, but if we look for the lessons, we will surely find them. This year started on such a positive note, that I refuse to believe there is no silver lining to all of this. We are told we grow from pain, so let’s lead with grateful hearts in order to allow for said growth.
7/ Learn a New Hobby: I love this because time is one thing we all have on our hands now. We might as well learn something new with our adult brains, which I am told we only really use less than 10% of. A new hobby can be anything from playing cards like bridge or poker, to photography, sketching, piano or any other musical instruments, bowling, etc. Studies have shown that learning a new hobby not only keeps your brain young by creating new synaptic connections, it also helps to de-stress, and helps to keep you busy. I know, many of us claim we are busy, but… 🙂 Let’s just agree that enough of us are “busy doing nothing aka mismanaging our time”. A new hobby would certainly take care of that.
8/ Pamper Yourself: Yes, this quarantine period has done the unthinkable…our hairdressers, nail places and massage parlors are all on furlough! Time to learn how to do it ourselves. One click to YouTube should help. I have always been a #doityourselfer in this department, and I am riding easily at this point. Yes, it is possible to learn how to self-pamper. It can range from a manicure to a nice cup of your favorite coffee (sorry, no Starbucks), to a good book, to a home facial, to simply washing or coloring your hair. Pretty much anything you can do at the beauty shop, you can do at home by yourself, for yourself. It might need a slight learning curve, but you got this. During one of Jay Shetty’s meditations last week, he actually guided us through a self-massage! I had never done that before that day, and it felt so good!
9/ Call Your Girlfriends: Call, text, or Zoom with your girlfriends for a nice virtual reunion! Virtual parties are now commonplace since the quarantine. I actually had a Zoom party with a couple of my girlfriends from high school just last week, and am planning one for my family members this very weekend. I got the idea from a friend who had a virtual family lunch party at home, and I am sold on it. I have even started a habit of calling as many of my longtime friends as possible daily, which is helping me a lot with reconnecting. I am reaching out to cousins, Facebook friends, and so on. Many of my friends and I are paying it forward and actually enjoying it… You should try it.
10/ Be creative! Yes, be creative, be you. Get in your car and drive, watch reruns of your favorite TV series, pig out on a bowl of ice-cream, dance to oldies songs from the 80s, or simply sleep until noon! As long as you are at peace with yourself, and you are intentional with your self-care, it’s all good. Just remember, we must make the best of every situation we find ourselves; learn to find silver linings in grey clouds, and grow from all pain…#this too shall pass.