Month: September 2018

Exercise: The Ultimate Form of Self Care

Regular exercise can improve our physical health, decrease our risk for serious health conditions, and help us feel better emotionally.  For many of us, our lives are so full that don’t know how to add exercise into our already packed days. Neglecting our health at the expense of our busy schedules is dangerous for many reasons, but ultimately it can stop us from being the healthiest version of ourselves, both in mind and body.  Understanding the impact that exercise has on our lives, allows us to make intentional choices to improve our health.

 Common reasons we avoid exercise

Lack of Time.  Lack of time is a major concern when starting and maintaining an exercise routine.  You take on so many responsibilities that you rarely have time for yourself.  When you have a brief moment to slow down, another critical task quickly moves to the front of the line. Even though your to-do list never ends, there is still that voice in the back of your mind – the voice of your basic needs – telling you that you need to make your health a priority.   Listen to this voice!  Find a few minutes in your day – 10 to 15 minutes – for exercise.  A quick walk in the neighborhood, a yoga tutorial online, a quick high-intensity workout – any of these are great places to start.

Guilt.   What will my children do when I’m exercising?  Am I a bad mom for going to the gym when my son is at football practice?  Guilt starts off as a subtle whisper, but left unchecked, it can grow louder.  Sometimes we think that taking care of ourselves is equivalent to selfishness.  What if I told you that exercising, and finding a consistent health care routine, is one of the most selfless acts you can give to your family?  Studies show that consistent exercise is linked to increased productivity and mental focus.  This means that exercising regularly can help you become more focused and present with your partner, children, and with yourself.  Letting go of self-inflicted guilt is an important part of building self-care through exercise.

Lack of knowledge.  Maybe you realize that exercise is key to your long-term health, both physically and mentally.  You’re ready to move!  And you know the recipe for success….diet and exercise!  Should be easy, right?  Wrong!  It is surprisingly easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of exercise material online.  Cardio or weight training?  Aerobics or water exercises?  Run or walk? Not knowing where to start or what you enjoy can easily keep us stuck.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, consider finding a workout partner to start the journey with you.

What are the emotional benefits of exercise? 

Improve stress and overall mood.  Our bodies release stress hormones as our stress level increases, which may trigger our “fight or flight mode.” Stress also triggers increased heart rate, trouble breathing, and sweating.  Exercise can help decrease overall stress levels.  In fact, researchers found that exercise actually reorganizes the brain to increase resilience to stress.  Exercise also has been shown to improve mood by increasing endorphins.

Increases confidence.  Exercise can also increase confidence.  Setting, working on, and achieving a set of goals helps build a sense of personal accomplishment.  This is why many “couch to 5K” programs work, as they build slowly on small goals.  With each accomplishment, you can continue to work on building larger goals.  It feels great to accomplish something new.

Improve sleep.  Exercise also improves quality of sleep.  Sufficient sleep is connected to quality of life and overall health.  Because exercise reduces anxiety, depression, and stress, it can also lead to improved sleep quality.  Here’s a bonus – there is a bilateral connection between exercise and sleep.  This means that as you begin to exercise more, the quality of your sleep will improve, and the quality of your workouts will improve as well.

Reduces the risk of dementia.  A recent research study from the American Academy for Neurology found that women with high physical fitness levels were 90% less likely to develop dementia decades later than women who were less fit.  Although the study does not look at cause and effect of exercise and dementia, there is a chance that adding fitness could delay or prevent dementia.

Adding exercise and self-care into your day can help you live an efficient and healthy life!

Dr. Jacque Strait, Ph.D. is a licensed Counseling Psychologist and co-owner of Winding Way Therapy, and creator of Fit For a Queen Wellness Consulting.  Dr. Strait specializes in counseling for professional women suffering from life burnout.  She also provides wellness consulting to Women of Color who want to build better self-care through fitness.  To reach Dr. Strait, contact her at strait@windingwaytherapy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Session 76: Pregnancy & Postpartum Concerns

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a Licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible version of ourselves.

Today’s episode features my conversation with Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway, LPC, NCC, DCC, ACS about what life can look like during pregnancy, birth and in the postpartum period.. Dr. Christopher-Holloway and I discussed the growing research around Black women’s experiences giving birth, how the process of giving birth can be traumatic, postpartum depression and how it’s different from the baby blues, how we can be strong advocates for ourselves in medical settings, and of course she shared her favorite resources.

Resources Mentioned

Visit our Amazon Store for all the books mentioned on the podcast!

Where to Find Dr. Christopher-Holloway

http://www.newvisioncounselingcenter.com/

Facebook: @newvisioncounseling

Twitter: @newvisioncc

If you’re looking for a therapist in your area, check out the directory at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/directory.

To keep digging into today’s topic and other topics discussed on the podcast, join the Facebook group at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/tribe.

The TBG Merch store is now open for business! Shop therapyforblackgirls.com/shop to grab a new tee or mug!

Join me for this week’s Three for Thursday chat on FB & IG Live, Thursday at 12 noon ET.

If you have questions or would like to discuss podcast sponsorship, email us at podcast@therapyforblackgirls.com.

The hashtag for the podcast is #TBGinSession.

Make sure to follow us on social media:

Twitter: @therapy4bgirls

Instagram: @therapyforblackgirls

Facebook: @therapyforblackgirls

Dear graduate, what’s next?

Graduation season came and went; a season marked by major transition, lot’s of excitement, and definite celebration. Let’s say you’re the one that graduated. You spent years working toward a goal. The time came. Now it’s gone. While you should absolutely be enjoying the fruits of your labor, you’re not without some growing pains. While this time is marked by lots of celebration, you could be feeling apprehensive, confused, and even depressed.

RELATED: REAL TALK: POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

At least a few emotions indicate the entrance into a new phase of life whether you, specifically, are graduating or simply experiencing a separate major milestone (a wedding, birth of a child, new job etc.) This season is characterized by life changes and it’s crucial to equip yourself with the proper tools to manage the emotional shift. Here are at least 8 things you should look out for and implement during the summertime transition that could greatly impact your life post-graduation and set you up for success:
Breathe.

  1. So first, there’s a natural coming down of adrenalin that happens when you finish big projects. You’ve spent so much time working on this thing that, at times, felt like would never end and now it’s done. Then there are ceremonies, parties, dinners and it is pretty nonstop for a while. You’ll probably have a wave of emotions related to saying goodbye to friends who have become a large part of your life. And then, abruptly, it’s all over.  You’ll suddenly have a bunch of time on your hands and may even feel like you don’t know what to do with yourself. Before you try to fill the space with unnecessary noise – breathe. Feeling bored or like you’re not doing enough is not uncommon and you don’t need to beat yourself up over feeling down, even though everyone else feels like you should be on top of the world.  If you feel like a sobbing mess allow yourself to feel those authentic feelings. If you’re confused about what’s going to happen next, call a friend, go to dinner, process your thoughts with someone who cares about you. Know you’re not the only one feeling this way and that the feeling will likely pass as you get a little distance from all the celebrations.

RELATED: STAY WOKE. BUT GET SOME SLEEP!

Manage expectations

  1. You may have some concerns related to not finding the dream job right away. It’s important to remember most people don’t retire from the job they started straight after undergrad. Beginning one job now does not mean you’ll never have your dream job, or you’ll be there forever. It’s more important to interrogate what makes something a dream job. Can you find some of these same qualities in another job, internship or volunteer project? Could these opportunities potentially open more doors for you to land the dream job?

Give up on the comparison game

  1. You might be comparing yourself to others, whether it be on social media or live and in action. People all around you are embarking on new adventures and it’s easy to consider someone else’s grass, #goals. In reality however, most of our social media feeds show the highlight reel and not the full story. Try to manage your tendency to want to create a better story around someone’s picture than their actual reality. Like the pic and move on. It might also help to do some journaling if you notice your mood being impacted by what you see on social media. What comes up for you as you see pictures of others moving into their new fancy apartments or taking great vacations? This could give you a good place to start to do some digging about changes you might need to make to feel better about what’s going on in your life.

RELATED: THE BLACK GIRL’S GUIDE TO SELF-CARE

Get real about your finances

  1. You might be worried about having to pay back loans. Unfortunately, Sallie Mae (or whoever your lender is) may start calling and emailing shortly after your degree is conferred. Try not to get into default in paying back your loans. Instead, look into deferment or forbearance options that might give you a little more time to start paying back.

Exercise discipline.

  1. It’s easier said than done. You might feel caught off guard about the lack of structure and stability that school provided. For about 17 or 18 years now, there has been a certain rhythm to your life. Go to class, do your homework, eat some lunch, hang out with friends, repeat. And, even though your college years gave you a bit more freedom, now that you’re done. Your schedule really will require you to be disciplined and accountable. There won’t be any loss of points for coming in late or a grace period because you ran out of time. It’s now incumbent on you to figure out what’s important to you and map out your days accordingly.

 

Do you have an idea or tip you want to share with the us about making a major transition (new school, new job, etc.) make sure to share it in the comments or on social media using the hashtag #tbginsession.

Session 75: Do You Self-Sabotage?

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a Licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible version of ourselves.

This week, by request, we’re chatting about self-sabotage. What it is, why we do it, and how to stop!
If you’re looking for a therapist in your area, check out the directory at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/directory.

To keep digging into today’s topic and other topics discussed on the podcast, join the Facebook group at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/tribe.

Don’t forget to grab a t-shirt or a mug to show your love for the podcast at therapyforblackgirls.com/shop.

Be sure to join me every Thursday at 12 noon ET, on Facebook & Instagram Live for Three for Thursday!

If you have questions or would like to discuss podcast sponsorship, email us at podcast@therapyforblackgirls.com.

The hashtag for the podcast is #TBGinSession.

Make sure to follow us on social media:

Twitter: @therapy4bgirls

Instagram: @therapyforblackgirls

Facebook: @therapyforblackgirls

Session 74: Body Image & Black Women Athletes

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a Licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible version of ourselves.

Today’s episode features my conversation with Natalie Graves, LCSW, CADC, all about Black women athletes and body image. Natalie and I discussed some of the common concerns Black women athletes face, how Black women’s bodies are seen and critiqued in sports, and we discussed body image issues as it relates to athletes but also to Black women generally.

Resources Mentioned

Visit our Amazon Store for all the books mentioned on the podcast!

http://www.sportpsychologytoday.com/

Where to Find Natalie

http://www.nataliegraves.com/

Facebook: @nataliethesocialworker

Twitter: @natalie_graves1

Natalie’s Pinterest

If you’re looking for a therapist in your area, check out the directory at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/directory.

To keep digging into today’s topic and other topics discussed on the podcast, join the Facebook group at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/tribe.

The TBG Merch store is now open for business! Shop therapyforblackgirls.com/shop to grab a new tee or mug!

Join me for this week’s Three for Thursday chat on FB & IG Live, Thursday at 12 noon ET.

If you have questions or would like to discuss podcast sponsorship, email us at podcast@therapyforblackgirls.com.

The hashtag for the podcast is #TBGinSession.

Make sure to follow us on social media:

Twitter: @therapy4bgirls

Instagram: @therapyforblackgirls

Facebook: @therapyforblackgirls

Booster Session: What Was Your U.S. Open Moment?

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a Licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible version of ourselves.

This booster session was inspired by this weekend’s U.S. Open during which Serena Williams was unfairly penalized. This happened for the world to see but all Black women have their own version of this story. In this episode I briefly share some of my thoughts about the unfair ways in which Black women are treated and then demonized for their rightful reaction to said treatment. In short, we’re exhausted!
If you’re looking for a therapist in your area, check out the directory at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/directory.

To keep digging into today’s topic and other topics discussed on the podcast, join the Facebook group at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/tribe.

Don’t forget to grab a t-shirt or a mug to show your love for the podcast at therapyforblackgirls.com/shop.

Be sure to join me every Thursday at 12 noon ET, on Facebook & Instagram Live for Three for Thursday!

If you have questions or would like to discuss podcast sponsorship, email us at podcast@therapyforblackgirls.com.

The hashtag for the podcast is #TBGinSession.

Make sure to follow us on social media:

Twitter: @therapy4bgirls

Instagram: @therapyforblackgirls

Facebook: @therapyforblackgirls

5 things you didn’t know about suicide

September is National Suicide Awareness Month and the goal for this campaign is to share resources and information so that we are more aware of the signs that someone might be suicidal and how we might be able to help. I’ve found that there tends to be a lot of misinformation about suicide so wanted to take this opportunity to dispel some common myths that continue to pervade our culture.

Black people do die by suicide. Though Black people and Black women specifically have the lowest rates of dying by suicide, it is definitely on the rise and something we need to pay attention to. Suicide is now the 3rd leading cause of death for young Black people between the ages of 15-24. You may have seen recent articles discussing how suicide rates doubled between 1993-2013 for Black youth between the ages of 5-11, and how teen girls are dying by suicide at higher rates.

RELATED: LET’S BE CAREFUL WHEN DISCUSSING SUICIDE

Suicide is not act of selfishness. Many of us have not had significant depressive symptoms or felt the incredible despair that typically accompanies the decision to end one’s life. So, it seems unfathomable that someone would want to end their life. But it’s important to remember that at the point when someone is considering suicide, they often feel like they are a burden on their loved ones and feel like everyone would be better off if they were gone. They often do not see a way through or out of the pain they are experiencing.

Asking if someone is suicidal will not make them suicidal. I can assure you that someone who has not felt suicidal in the past will not become suicidal simply because you ask. Often times, not asking indicates that you can’t handle your friend sharing that level of pain with you. It makes it secretive and like something that should not be shared, which is not what we want to happen with someone who is feeling suicidal. We want them to be open and honest so that we can help them get connected to the help they need.

RELATED: REAL TALK: POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

People don’t attempt suicide for attention. All attempts at hurting one’s self should be taken seriously. Even if someone does not seriously intend to kill them self, an attempt is typically a signal that something larger is at play and that professional help is necessary.

People who are suicidal don’t always look depressed. Sometimes a person who has decided to end their life will actually have a bit of an improved mood in the days before their suicide because they are at peace with their decision. We saw this recently when Chester Bennington‘s widow, Talinda, released a video of him laughing and joking with his family days before he died by suicide. She wanted to help shed light on the fact that depression and suicidality don’t only look one way.

Helpful Resources

  • You can talk with someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at  1-800-273-TALK
  • In the US, you can text with a crisis counselor 24/7 by texting the word TRIBE to 741-741
  • If you’re looking for a therapist in your area, make sure to check out our therapist directory at therapyforblackgirls.com/directory

 

Session 73: When Trust is Broken

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a Licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible version of ourselves.

Today’s episode focuses on what happens when trust has been violated in a relationship and how to repair it. For this conversation I was joined by Dr. Tanisha Sapp, LPC, CST, NCC, ACS, MAC, SAP. Dr. Sapp and I discussed the importance of actually verbalizing expectations to our partners, developing a trust bank with your partner, how violations of trust impact intimacy, and she shared some of her favorite resources. 

Resources Mentioned

Visit our Amazon Store for all the books mentioned on the podcast!

Where to Find Dr. Sapp

https://www.anewlevel.org/

Facebook: @anewlevelllc

Instagram: @iamdrtanishasapp

If you’re looking for a therapist in your area, check out the directory at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/directory.

To keep digging into today’s topic and other topics discussed on the podcast, join the Facebook group at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/tribe.

The TBG Merch store is now open for business! Shop therapyforblackgirls.com/shop to grab a new tee or mug!

Join me for this week’s Three for Thursday chat on FB & IG Live, Thursday at 12 noon ET.

If you have questions or would like to discuss podcast sponsorship, email us at podcast@therapyforblackgirls.com.

The hashtag for the podcast is #TBGinSession.

Make sure to follow us on social media:

Twitter: @therapy4bgirls

Instagram: @therapyforblackgirls

Facebook: @therapyforblackgirls

Booster Session: Are You Being Honest with Your Therapist?

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a Licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible version of ourselves.

 
This booster session was inspired by HBO’s Insecure, Season 3, Episode 4. In this episode we saw that Molly is still meeting with her therapist (YAY) but also see that she hasn’t told her the entire truth so I wondered if maybe some of you were struggling with withholding some information from your therapist. In this episode I discussed two reasons you might be withholding and what you can do about it. 


If you’re looking for a therapist in your area, check out the directory at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/directory.

To keep digging into today’s topic and other topics discussed on the podcast, join the Facebook group at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/tribe.

Don’t forget to grab a t-shirt or a mug to show your love for the podcast at therapyforblackgirls.com/shop.

Be sure to join me every Thursday at 12 noon ET, on Facebook & Instagram Live for Three for Thursday!

If you have questions or would like to discuss podcast sponsorship, email us at podcast@therapyforblackgirls.com.

The hashtag for the podcast is #TBGinSession.

Make sure to follow us on social media:

Twitter: @therapy4bgirls

Instagram: @therapyforblackgirls

Facebook: @therapyforblackgirls