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Lifestyle website of Professional Model and Nutritionist, Brooke Slade. 

Self Care with Brooke

Self-care, to me, is the single most important practice in life. You have to show up for yourself, first, before you are able to show up for anything or anyone else. Here, I explore self-care methods, practices and share ways to incorporate more self-care to everyday life.

Filtering by Tag: mindfulness

Personal Inventory: Consider Yourself, Check Your Standards

Brooke Slade

Photo by Larie Taylor

Photo by Larie Taylor

It’s the the beginning of the year and it seems that everyone is going hard at their 2019 goals, myself included. With all of the promises a new year brings, it’s hard not to want to work on everything, all of the time and work my absolute hardest. However, after “going hard” (day after day, for the first 10 days of the month), I found that although my productivity was off the charts, my ability to relax, let go of my internal to-do list and allow myself to unwind became difficult.

I found myself making checklists in my head during yoga classes, on my phone setting reminders during “Netflix & chill” time with my partner, falling asleep feeling like I’d forgotten something and waking up with my brain buzzing with tasks. I was happy that my to-do list was shrinking and I was making such good progress with my business BUT I felt overworked and anxious—something needed to change ASAP.

So, I took a moment to sit down and check-in with myself. I wrote down my feelings, as you know, I’m a big fan of “writing it out”. I revisited a self-care & work-life balance post of my own, in hopes to re-discover anything helpful that I may have forgotten along the way.

After some thinking, I felt that I could solve all of this by answering one question: How can I create and maintain my CALM while also keeping up with my own standards of productivity? The moment I asked myself this, I laughed, because the answer made itself clear within the question: MY OWN STANDARDS. The standards, goals, deadlines and “to-do” lists were all MINE. I was the author of this story, so, I had the power to change it.

I know I’m not alone here, how many times have you done this? You find yourself in a heaping pile of tasks and deadlines that must be done “a particular way” by a certain time…and it’s all because you created this standard of productivity for yourself. I’ll never forget, my partner once told me “You can’t produce at your highest level all of the time, because you create this expectation (of yourself). People will expect you to deliver your best work in a short amount of time, always, and that’s just not sustainable”. He was right. Working this way is NOT sustainable, whether you work at home, remotely or in-office; you’ve got to create some realistic boundaries and standards for your lifestyle, emotional wellness and health.

So, now, knowing that I was the author, how did I change my story?

  1. I checked my standards. I considered myself. I let go and chose to be kind to myself. Once I understood that I was the one putting the pressure on myself, I simply stopped. You’d be amazed at how different hard or complicated tasks can be when you choose to take the pressure off. Whether you yell at yourself (in your head) -OR- practice self-compassion and patience throughout the process— the project will still be completed (but you’ll feel a lot better if you choose the latter).

  2. I prioritized my self-care over everything else. Revisiting my post “Keeping Sane & Self-Cared-Up While Working” can show you how to make tiny choices throughout the work-day that can improve your well-being.

  3. I lessened my screen time. For me, if it’s there, I’m going to look at it. So, during “Netflix & Chill”, before bed and during down-time, I chose to put my phone in another room or some place less accessible. The emails and social media will be there, take the time you need.

Doing these 3 things, consistently has helped. I’ve noticed that I am still just as productive but my stress levels are lower. I don’t feel anxious about work and I’m okay with “missing out” on a few hours of social media and emails—my me time is absolutely worth more.

Have you been here before? How did you find your way back?

#GetReadyWithMe Mindfulness Practice

Brooke Slade

Have you ever thought about how the moments you spend getting ready may impact your day?

Consider it for a moment...

If you get ready in a rush, your day may feel hurried, pressed, like there aren't enough hours in the day. You may feel flustered and, possibly, complete tasks anxiously. Maybe you push yourself harder than usual to make up for the feeling of lost time and, in doing so, put yourself through unnecessary stress. 

I lived my life this way for many years. Bouncing from place to place, task to task and never really pausing to live in the moment. My days were high-stress and emotionally charged. It was only when I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness (and creating a mindfulness practice) that I began to slow down and actually appreciate the many tiny moments that make up my days, and ultimately my life. 

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
— Greater Good, greater


Mindfulness is a simple notion. To move through the world being aware of the space around you, how you affect space and others. By being mindful and creating a mindfulness practice we can better understand and support ourselves and become better equipped to face the challenges brought on by everyday life.

In this #GetReadyWithMe video, I'm sharing my daily mindfulness practice. These are the simple steps that prepare me to seize the day and move through life confidently and centered. 

How do you practice mindfulness?



My Self-Care "Aha!" Moment & How I Define Self-Care

Brooke Slade

Despite what you might be thinking, self-care is not the same thing as pampering, although some pampering is certainly nice now and then. At its root, self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
— Shelley Hunter Hillesheim, Self-Care 101

Self-care is trending right now and, as a self-care advocate, sure, I have mixed feelings about that. I don't want it to lose its value. However, I am happy that its trending.

I'm hoping that the current trendiness of self-care will lead more people to dig deeper and discover the importance of true self-care, develop their own definition of self-care and implement self-care practices. It may sound a bit dramatic, but, self-care saved my life. It changed the way I think about myself, the ways I interact with others, and the thoughts I have about others and the world.

It was after spending the bulk of my mid-messy-twenties doing the absolute most that I realized I needed to stop and reevaluate the way I was treating myself. What led to my exact self-care "aha!" moment? It was the day after my 27th birthday festivities, I woke up in my tiny bedroom in Bed-Stuy next to one of my best girlfriends, still wearing my makeup and outfit from the night before and feeling insanely ill. This ill-feeling wasn't your regular hangover, my entire body felt as if it was ready to shut down. I couldn't eat anything, I couldn't even stomach water.

I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. For me, this was a gut-punch because I was a "model who lived a healthy lifestyle" (serious side-eye to my younger self). In reality, my lifestyle wasn't very healthy at all, I ate and exercised for body-size at the time. I wasn't concerned with being healthy, I thought that thin = healthy. So, that meant I could eat steak and chocolate cake washed down with a couple of glasses of Pinot as long as I had some greens and made it to the gym the next day. 

Finding out I had GERD was a wake up call. For the first time in my life, I had a health complication that, if not treated properly, could change my life. My mother is a colon cancer survivor whose beginning symptoms were regular digestive issues; it was time for a lifestyle change.

Initially, the notion of self-care sounded to me (as it sounds to many people) as something completely self-indulgent. As someone who was already being called-out for leading a "dangerously selfish lifestyle", I felt the last thing I needed to do was invest more time and energy into myself because I was already "self absorbed" as is. Clearly, I had no idea of the true meaning of self-care. I thought of self-care as amping-up the things I already did to make myself feel good--so that just meant more manicures, beach days, glasses of wine and shopping days. No? No. 

So how did I begin to understand the actual meaning of self-care? Well, there were many factors, because it was also at this time that I was beginning to transition from carefree-ignorance-is-bliss-model-who-danced-on-couches to half-woke-baby-feminist but, the major influences were...

1) Talks with a woke-as-fuck-feminist-activist-educator friend.

2) Group talks with my roommates who were also Black women living the NYC hustle and becoming more intentional about self-care.

3) Seeing Angela Davis speak. Hearing her story, from her mouth to my ears motivated me to take care of myself so that I can better care for my community; specifically other black women and black girls.

4) Being introduced to Audre Lorde's story and work. This was the first time I'd heard of self-care, for Black women, to not only be necessary but a political act. 

I began to take better care of myself. I started with my diet. I began to avoid certain foods and became more intentional about eating fruits and vegetables. I began to treat myself to a green juice after the gym rather than a doughnut. I began to cook for myself, using mostly vegetables (I couldn't afford much meat anyway on my starving-artist budget at the time). I began to walk more; from Brooklyn to Manhattan, from Midtown to Soho. I gave my spirit what it needed; I wrote, I found a church I liked, I took frequent trips to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I shared myself differently, I began to pay more attention to my friends and family, offering love and support rather than gossip and good times. I noticed my life starting to change. No, I wasn't "whole and healed" overnight, in many ways I was still messy and would sometimes dismiss my dietary restrictions; but I was different. I cared for myself in a new way, I cared about myself in a new way, I felt more worthy. I was doing the work.

Over time, I came to understand that self-care is not selfish it all. Self-care is a necessary part of life, as necessary as eating and sleeping. I began to understand that self-care is required, it is the only way that I can replenish what I give to the world, daily--so that I can wake up and give again the next day. I learned that self-care is not simply indulging or spoiling myself; its digging deeper and listening to what my mind, body and spirit needs; refilling the cup from which I pour. 

My definition of self-care is the act of giving yourself what you need in order to create and maintain mind-body-spirit wellness. To me, it is the single most important practice in life. You have to show up for yourself, first, before you are able to show up for anything or anyone else. 

How do you define self-care for yourself? What was your self-care "aha!" moment? Leave a comment! I'm always interested in hearing your thoughts.