So, let’s get one thing straight out of the box. If you came here to read this post because you thought you’d find a secret or an easy way to make life “perfect” or something remotely close to that, then you came to the wrong place! To be 100% honest and transparent with you, life doesn’t work that way. You may be wondering how a therapist such as myself may sound so “negative”, but the truth is that even the most “woke” or “equipped” of us have trouble. Life is complicated, it sucks sometimes. Well, sometimes more than sometimes. But, it’s also full of opportunities! And I’m not talking about million-dollar opportunities. I’m talking about small everyday things like being nicer to your neighbor or actually drinking more water like you said you would. These things may not seem like major achievements or even beneficial, but all big things have small beginnings. So, to help you get started, here are a few tips to get you motivated and on the right track to living your best you!
Start Practicing Self-Love
… and before your mind goes rated R, stop! What I mean when I say self-love is to practice being kind to yourself, giving yourself some kudos for the badass things you do, and giving yourself the same courtesy, you would give a loved one who’s struggling. After all, self-love is the most authentic love because it requires you to take yourself as you are, flaws and all! There are tons of great starting places with way more detail about self-love. Make sure you check out one of our fabulous contributor’s Dr. Shainna Ali’s, “The Self-Love Work Book”.
Evaluate Where Your Energy is Going
This is something that many of us, including yours truly, deals with. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of commitments, work, dates, appointments, school, family, friends, church, etc. But, it’s also easy to find your way back to the shore. Take some time to write down all the things you are involved in during the week and prioritize, cut out, or just cancel some. You’re only human! You need to sleep too boo, so think about what is crucial and what’s not. Maybe that extra “buns and legs” class during the week can become a “taking the stairs everywhere you go during your day” instead. This allows you to have some time to get your mental and physical energy back. Now before you say, “but Luis, I love my buns and legs class and I’m not about to miss it”, I want to say this…”I didn’t say skip your whole exercise routine sir or madam (or non-gender identifying friend)”, I simply said don’t overwhelm yourself or you’ll only keep coming back to the same tired state and believe me, it will continue to take a toll on you.
Find like-minded people
Take this one as you will, but when you surround yourself with people who are on your level, so to speak, you will have a more rewarding experience. And I don’t mean don’t talk to someone because they aren’t as fly as you. What I mean is people who inspire, motivate, and share your energy. Quality over quantity. You want to have people who are going to nourish you emotionally, mentally, hey maybe even physically. The bottom line is when you surround yourself with people who get your struggle and can support your growth, then you good to go (did I rhyme?).
Now I know many of you have heard this phrase numerous times and it’s almost like hearing “yoga”. Yes, everybody talks about it, everybody swears by it, and yes, you still don’t care. But… before you toss it out, think about how self-care can work for you. Now, I’ m not talking about a bubble bath with wine, although that sounds nice. I’m talking about getting your sh*t together. Putting all your priorities in order, handling your business, and making your life a little smoother. That doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off? Yeah, you can’t make it to that next level if you ain’t alive hunn. So make sure you take care of yourself.
Enjoy the Little Things
Or as some might say, “stop and smell the roses”. We go through life speeding like we’re on the set of the fast & the furious, but we also crash and burn faster that way. Yes, I get it, we live in a corporate society and the U.S isn’t exactly the most tolerable when it comes to practicing slow and steady blah blah. But when you’re too busy focusing on the next and waiting for the big… you miss out on all the great little moments that make life awesome. You know, that moment your partner actually listened to you without making a snarky comment. Or that moment when you actually had a great day, but you were too busy planning tomorrow to sit and chill with it. This is because we’re all stuck in the mentality of “go big or go home” or “succeed or bust”, but what do these things even mean? There are 7 billion people in the world and there is no possible way to measure these things. If you’re thinking well it means to become a billionaire and rule the world… There’s a line, and it’s not moving too fast. “Success” means different things for all of us. But there’s no real measurement for success. Life will continuously challenge you and personally, I find that the most successful people are the ones that left this world with a smile. So ask yourself, “what went good for you today?”
So, go out there and start living the best version of yourself possible! You will stumble and you will fall, but get back up, learn, and make those growth moves!
Luis is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who graduated from Long Beach State University with a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology (2015). He also has a Bachelors's degree in Child and Adolescent Development with an emphasis on Public Policy from San Francisco State University (2011). Luis has over 9 years of experience working with children and families both in education and mental health. Previously, Luis worked for a non-profit agency in San Francisco, CA providing mental health consultation in early head start programs and SFUSD pre-schools. Currently, Luis works at Kaiser in San Francisco providing mental health services.
His therapeutic interests include working with Trauma, the LGBTQ community, Children, Families, Couples, and POC. His personal interests include; Films, Reading, Writing, Art, Travelling, Disney, and Food. He is also a recipient of the California State Stipend award (2015). PsychoSocial is part of Luis' dedication to mental health and an example of his passion to educate others. Luis hopes that through PsychoSocial he will be able to help in the fight to end the stigma around mental illness.