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-Brooke

 

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.

#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 good.berkeley.edu

 

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?

 
 

 
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Keeping Sane & "Self-Cared Up" While Working

Brooke Slade

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We all have goals and, in order to make things happen, we've got to do the work.

However, while "doing the work" is important for our professional and personal progress, it can often prohibit us from taking care of ourselves. We get so caught up in producing, moving, directing, facilitating, delegating and creating that we often forget to slow down long enough to check in with ourselves. 

Whether you work a conventional 9 to 5, work remotely, work-from-home or your work is taking care of your home--you have to make space for yourself. Point, blank, period. It is literally impossible to perform well when you are not well cared for. 

Being someone who easily gets caught up in the madness that is my unpredictable work-life and forgets to take care of herself...I sat down and thought of a few ways to stay sane & self-cared-up while literally, doing the most. 


7 Tips for Keeping Sane & "Self-Cared Up" While Working

 

1. Practice self-compassion throughout the day. Be kind and forgiving to yourself. How many times have you become frustrated with yourself at work? You're behind on a deadline, your inbox is a little more crowded than you'd like and its 2pm and you still haven't eaten. Times like this, I often begin negative self-talk, "Seriously, what the f%$! are you doing? Could you be any more slow or incapable?"--it get's real. When you start becoming impatient, frustrated or annoyed with yourself, remember that you are human and practice a little compassion. Speak kindly to yourself. Give yourself the space and time to make mistakes and recover. You've got this. 

2. Create and maintain boundaries. Whether you are working in an office, on-location or from home, its important to set limits when it comes to your time, energy and personal space.  

Boundaries serve many functions. They help to protect us, to clarify what is our responsibility and what is another’s, to preserve our physical and emotional energy, to stay focused on ourselves, to live our values and standards, and to identify our personal limits.
— Dana Gionta & Dan Guerra, Authors, From Stressed to Centered

3. Drink water, please. Would you believe me if I told you the reason you can't focus on that pitch or are having trouble paying attention during a meeting is because you're dehydrated? Well, its true--the symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, headache and inability to concentrate or think clearly. Drink up!

4. Take time to breathe. A physical therapist once told me, if you're ever feeling stressed, pay attention to your breathing, you're probably not taking full, deep breaths. One of the easiest ways to calm and reset your mind and body is to BREATHE. No matter where you are, or what you're doing, you can practice deep breathing. Find more information on the power of deep-breathing, here. 

5. Manage your time well. In order to keep yourself from rushing, running out of time or even having to much time...becoming bored, create a time management practice. It's less about scheduling and more about maximizing the time you have in the ways that work best for you and your work style. Find more tips, time management guides and strategies, here.

6. Create your space. To me, this is one of the most important elements of self-care for work. IMO, creating a space that is welcoming and comfortable can do wonders for your productivity and stress levels. I find that work feels less like "work" and more like creativity and contribution (to something larger) when I am surrounded by things that make me feel centered. In my work space(s), I often keep a scented candle, notebooks, affirmation cards and items made of colors and textures that make me happy. 

7. Make a "done" list. Acknowledge (all of) your accomplishments. Give yourself a confidence-boost (and instant-gratification) by marking down all of the things you've done during your work hours. Sometimes my "done list" looks like: "2 hours of consistent work with no breaks, inbox sorted, schedule updated" *shrug*, but it reminds me that I am on task and, most importantly, that everything is alright. 

 

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

Brooke Slade

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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.