Self-Care & Therapy aren’t “Just Gora Things”

Self care is not just for white people. Mental health is not just a “white people” thing.

I grew up thinking that therapy was for white people, and that only “goras” have mental diagnoses or struggle with mental health.

This hurts our communities in multiple ways – for instance, not only does it discourage anyone who seeks help from doing so, but it also places value on pushing through feelings of pain, loneliness, helplessness, depression, and anxiety despite the consequences. We are teaching our own children that it is better to care what others think of you rather than to take the time to prioritize your own personal growth.

Therapy, personal growth, and self-help aren’t just for the “damned” or the “crazy,” or for white people.

We all know how important it is to eat right and work out on a daily, or at least frequent, basis. However, when it comes to this kind of preventative work for mental health, it is completely dismissed.

What if we thought of attending therapy, or reading self-help books, or participating whatever forms of self-care and rituals resonate with us, was more of a preventative measure to deal with anxiety and depression, rather than stigmatizing these activities and the people who participate in them?

Self-care is a human issue, and we cannot exclude ourselves from taking care of ourselves on a basic level. I know this because I have seen so many family members, both young and old, and South Asian peers of mine choose to suffer in silence, rather than risk anyone finding out that they have a mental disorder or are going through a difficult time. This silence is detrimental. This lack of support can drive people deeper into depression, or help them to turn to self-medicating, and at its absolute worst, can result in suicide.

When we speak out about the shame and when we are vulnerable about our struggles, we become free. However, for many of us South Asians, it can be incredibly daunting when you know that you will often be ridiculed or told to suck it up by your own family members. We may even find it easier to open up to friends or a stranger rather than our own flesh and blood, simply because of how our communities have been taught to deal with mental health issues.

Our community deserves better.

Another point to make here is that self-care isn’t all face masks and rose petal baths. Self care can look like setting boundaries, cutting off relationships and activities that don’t serve your Higher Self, and can even encompass a spiritual practice or ritual.

Taking care of ourselves can help us be better partners and friends and can even help us make healthier decisions that serve us wholly.

If you don’t practice setting boundaries with yourself (yes, you can make self-care a boundary in itself), it will only get more difficult to make others respect your boundaries. When others don’t respect your boundaries and space, you begin to feel resentful and even taken advantage of. When you feel resentful, it’s difficult to be grateful. It’s difficult to live in the present moment.

When we’re constantly dwelling on the past, or constantly anxious about the future, we forget to stay present in our relationships, in your work, and with yourself. This is when some of life’s best moments can pass us by. This is the feeling that we get when things are so good, and so pure, that we immediately jump to fear because we believe that it can’t last.

Imagine that everyone in our community took a little time for themselves, to nurture their needs, and to become a little more self-aware. Consider a world in which our parents, cousins, and all the Auntys we knew took a little time for self-love and personal growth, and a little less time for judgement. We would become a much more understanding and tolerant community. There would be fewer individuals exiled from our societies, and would be embraced, instead.

Our families would grow. Our love for one another would grow. Our love for ourselves and our community would grow.

Invest in self-care. It is a step in the right direction for all of us.

Let me know in the comments below – What will you do this week to commit to self-care?

xoxo,

Rosh

Changing Relationships to Better Yourself

It’s been over eight months since I’ve seen my parents. For a lot of other Desis I know, that concept can be a difficult one to picture.

As you may know, I live in Colorado and left home in Texas about 6 years ago for university. I frequently came back home, as most students did, on school breaks while I was in college, and was able to see my parents about every 3 or 4 months.

When I graduated and got my first professional, full-time job at the same university, my parents warned me that I could only take this job if I came home once a month. So last year, every month, I flew home on my own dime and visited for 3 – 4 days. They were short trips, but so frequent that it felt like I wasn’t really away.

This year, I haven’t been home since March. I bailed on my Thanksgiving plans to go home, (much to my parents dismay) and now I’m heading home for 2 days for New Year’s Eve. Though I don’t always get along with my parents, and love living away from home, I dealt with a lot of guilt that I was away from home.

I never even realized that moving back home was what was expected of me after college. The only expectation that I was aware of was to get a good job, which I did.

For so many South Asians, and especially South Asian women, our role is often defined by what we can provide for our families. It’s always great to be of service, to be there for others, and to cultivate healthy relationships with our loved ones.

However, we are entering a new world in which we can begin to redefine our roles, our families, and how we allow ourselves to cultivate our own sense of self. 

We are CREATING culture as we live and breathe. We define and redefine our culture as Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Canadians, Americans, British in every waking moment.

It’s okay to change the rules.

More importantly, it’s okay to disconnect from people when you grow. 

This past year has encapsulated the most personal growth and healing that I’ve ever experienced. Not only did I launch this blog and my youtube channel, but I also discovered the powers of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and am studying Neuro-Linguistic Programming as a result. I’ve finally reestablished my yoga practice, and I’ve finally been able to bring myself to meditate.

None of this would have been possible without me taking these months to myself.

We all need some time away from the “energy-suckers,” as Oprah calls them.

My biggest point here is that not every ‘energy-sucker’ has to be a completely, all-around, horrible person. Our seasons of life can also factor into who we should be spending time with, and how much that time can vary.

It’s probably not great to be out at the club 4+ nights a week, every week. But if you’re on vacation, it might make perfect sense to spend a few days that week partying it up. These seasons of life are natural.

It’s okay to take a break from all your family members, or to take a hiatus from seeing your friends for a couple of weeks. Especially if this means that you will grow and be a better person because of it. 

When you take time to nurture who you are, and you allow yourself to truly care for yourself, you begin to reap the benefits. When you finally reconnect with your loved ones, you have more positivity, more energy, and more presence to bring into the relationships.

Disconnect to reconnect.

xoxo,

Roshni

An Ode to Lonely Hearts this Holiday Season

To anyone who has been emotionally, physically, or mentally abused by close family.

To anyone who cannot come out to their family.

To anyone who has lost family support because you stood in your truth.

This is for you.

You are  precious gem in this often soulless world. You will find a chosen family. You did not betray anyone.

You are breaking through generational trauma. You are investing in the future of your family and your own descendents.

You will create a home that you love. You will thrive.

You deserve to have boundaries. You deserve to be treated with respect. You deserve genuine happiness.

You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are loved.

How You Can Start Trusting Your Intuition

Trust your Intuition

 

Something you might not know about me is that I moved close to 1000 miles away from my parent’s home to start college at a liberal arts school. Not entirely unusual, except that all of my peers are long-gone from this small Colorado town, while I’m still here 6 years later.

Walking around campus yesterday, I finally realized  that it was all for something.

I used to be quite the party girl, especially during most of my college years. Ironically, when that was my main goal, my friends liked to take it easy, and when they finally wanted to spend most of their time partying after college ended, I was finally beginning to take a hiatus from all the booze and parties.

I constantly felt like I was bad at being in my twenties and that I shouldn’t be spending my time indoors, going to bed by 10, and generally being #GrandmaChic.

Despite the guilt and my story of “should,” I knew deep down that I was spending my time the right way, that I wasn’t actually being lazy, and that I was definitely experiencing some healing.

It is completely okay to disconnect. 

We all need to disconnect from others from time to time, and that has nothing to do with your ability to be a good friend. In fact, you can be a much better friend when you’re not constantly stuck and churning in your own turmoil. 

As I found my way walking through campus yesterday, (where I now am employed full-time), I realized that this city and the boredom I faced all brought me to the very moment of writing this blog.

If I wasn’t slightly discontent with where I was living, and if I had constantly been trying to distract myself with drugs, alcohol, and parties, I wouldn’t have realized that I wanted more.

I wouldn’t have looked into personal growth, nor would I have stumbled upon my favorite creative entrepreneurs, and I wouldn’t have had the mental energy to convince myself that this was truly the life that I have been dreaming of.

If you have even a small glimmer of hope that you’re in the right place, or the tiniest sense in your intuition that everything will work out if you are patient, or you run into the strange sensation of contentment, follow it. Lean into it.

Screw the “should”s and the “must”s and the “you’re-not-cool-ifs” and follow your heart straight into your happy place.

I finally understand what people mean when they tell others to “trust the process.” My life may have been unconventional, but I was (and am) truly, truly happy. Of course I still have goals, and still want to strive for more. But I know that I am taking steps, every day, to get closer to those goals.

And I refuse to wait until I get there to be happy.

Trust yourself, love yourself, and do you, boo.

Self-Care + Self-Love Aren’t Selfish.

self-care is not self-ishAs 2018 quickly approaches, I, along with every other boss out there, are setting goals for the new year.

Setting goals doesn’t have to just circulate around money, weight, and test scores.

Instead, we can set goals about our approach, our mindset, and our intentions.

One of my goals for 2018 is to tap into Overflowing Joy. 

In 2017, I truly discovered doing things for the hell of it. I finally pushed myself out of the mental confines of my depression and the physical confines of my apartment, and I was finally able to enjoy doing things. period.

When you spend time being depressed, it’s so easy to feel like nothing has a purpose, nothing is enjoyable, and everything just feels completely draining. For so long, I got in the mindset of only doing what I had to do, not doing things that I wanted to do.

Not only did this make doing things an even bigger obligation, but I forgot what the point was of doing anything if someone wasn’t telling me to (i.e. doing something for work, or school or because your lovely friends are finally dragging you out).

Recently, I’ve been taking advantage of the 2 hours in every Colorado winter when the sun is out and the temperature is bearable to take long, luxurious walks with my dog and my podcasts.

I have found beauty and hope in activities of self-love.

I used to feel like I could only enjoy truly nice things every once in awhile, and that no one was satisfied or content 100% of the time. Even when you look up the word luxury, its synonyms are words like “self-indulgent” and “hedonistic,” words that seem entirely negative and punishing.

What I realize now is that I was seeing everything through a mindset of scarcity, instead of learning to live an abundant life of joy, love, and care. Is there truly a reason why life shouldn’t be delicious all the time?

Self-love is not selfish.

Self-care is not selfish.

From now on, I vow to do things purely for joy.

Maybe you don’t have hours to spend walking and exploring in the sun, but you can carve out 20 minutes twice a week to take an extravagant bath as your own secret me-time. The point is that you spoil yourself in a beautiful way, that you do something that makes you smile to yourself, and that you fill yourself with so much joy that you cannot help but radiate that to the world.

It’s about damn time we stop demonizing people who pamper themselves, and instead look at self-care through a lense of abundance rather than scarcity.

How will you choose abundance?

Mind, Body, Soul: Personalize Your Self-Care Routine

personalize your self-care (1)Whether you’re exhausted after an endless array of holiday parties and rich boozy drinks, or you’re just trying to start 2018 off with your strongest foot forward, self-care is absolutely essential at this time of year.

When you look for self-care ideas on Google or Pinterest, you often find tons of examples along the lines of aromatherapy, taking a nice bath, or walking outside. But what is important is that while all self-care may not look the same, there are some things that may help you or be more beneficial to you than others in specific situations.

I have created a way to optimize self-care by focusing on mind, body, and soul. 

Sometimes, we take care of our mind by reading, listening to podcasts, and taking in as much information as possible. Sometimes, we take care of our body by pushing ourselves to the next limit in our workouts and by trying new thins with our diet. All of these are great on their own. But we can get so wrapped up in these things that we also forget to focus on the third part of our self-care trinity: the soul. 

By soul, I don’t mean to get overly spiritual. What I mean is the regular-check in with your self to see how you’re feeling emotionally, and if you feel that you are fulfilled in the deepest personal sense. 

This exercise is as simple as one question, three answers.
 
  1. What does my mind need?
  2. What does my body need?
  3. What does my soul need?
 
I’ll give you an example of how I used this exercise this morning:
  •      My mind needs to stop overthinking.
  •      My body needs to keep moving around.
  •      My soul needs to feel free and unbound.

After answering these three questions, I realized that I needed to be outside, with no car, no purse, nothing but my house keys and my phone to listen to podcasts, and my $5 in case I want a coffee. I needed to feel free, feel connected to the sun and wind and nothing else. Sometimes, getting “lost” in this way helps me feel incredibly un-lost, it helps me feel like I belong in my own existence, and sometimes that exact feeling is what I need to stop second-guessing myself in my creative work and instead to start believing in myself even more. 

And another example of how I answered these questions earlier this week:

  •      My mind needs to focus on just one thing at a time.
  •      My body needs some stillness and full breaths.
  •      My soul wants to feel at peace, and that I am moving forward in a way that my inner mentor would be proud of.

The middle of this week was particularly hard for me – I had some family issues going on, and a lot of guilt and not-good-enough to deal with. I realized how much my tendency of feeling not-good-enough turned into trying to be a perfectionist, or to busy myself into checking off every task on every list just to prove my worth.

Instead, this exercise helped me realize that instead of filling up my schedule, I needed to do the opposite. I needed to find some white space. I needed to get comfortable with nothingness.

I hope that this helps you to think about self-care as a need, and why it is important to prioritize mind, body, and soul.

xoxo,
Roshni

Scheduling Time for Self-Care, Creativity + Managing Anxiety (video)

I created a video on my YouTube channel, BetiGrewUp about mastering habit trackers and organizing activities of self-love into your daily or weekly routines.

Subscribe to my channel for more videos on self-discovery, self-care, and mental-health-related topics. My upcoming video series is focused on what contributes to our sense of self and how we can take control of our lives. New videos are up every Wednesday!

Finding Flow + Self-Sustaining Happiness

self activity picI’m currently 23, and spend half of my time being productive and determined to achieve a set of goals, while the rest of my time is spent wondering what exactly I’m doing, where else I should be living, the other lives I could be leading, etc. etc.

It get’s damn tiring, to say the least.

I recently came across the concept of living in self-concordance, which means that you actually follow through with activities, goals, and habits that support your true Self. In my previous post, I discussed how to find the difference between your true, or Higher Self, and your Ego that often prioritizes society’s goals over our own. Understanding the difference is vital in knowing and achieving what we truly want out of life.

I currently work a professional, full-time job at an institution of higher education. Damn straight, it looks great on paper. But I often spend most of my time feeling on the outside.

I am a clear 20 years younger than most of my colleagues, and just a couple of years older than the college students who I employ. I find it easier to relate to my employees than my co-workers, but can’t be truly friends with the people who I relate to.

I’ve discovered that in this beautiful philosophy of living self-concordantly, it’s not about age, or status, or how easily you can explain your life on the internet. Instead, it’s about living in ways that benefit your Higher Self, the part of you that just wants to stretch its legs and explore and create and relate.

When you live self-concordantly, the idea isn’t that you will never face hardship again, or that life will halt completely for you to follow your dreams. However, chances are, when you make decisions that honor your Higher Self, you will feel a much stronger level of integrity with that decision and will often also have less regrets when it comes to following through with that path. 

When we make things about a quantified number, such as test scores, likes/followers on social media, or the numbers on our paycheck, we can often fixate directly on these outside sources to develop and maintain our self-worth.

Living in self-concordance does not mean that you have to have a Walden-esque experience in a cabin alone. Rather, we can start small by practicing activities that help us achieve flow. 

Achieving flow is important because it connects us to a greater perspective. Some believe that the essence of being human is to relate to the outside world through your own unique perspective.

Therefore, being human isn’t about following an exact path, or recreating what has already been done, but rather finding ways in which you feel most alive and connected to the world. 

When you are completely in flow, standing in front of a canvas or sitting down at a potter’s wheel, do you think about what happiness is, or what the purpose is of you creating that painting or bringing the clay utensil to life?

In the moment of flow, it doesn’t make sense to question why you are doing what you’re doing. Instead, you are fully engaged with the all the sensations, the sights, smells, and sounds in your world. You are connecting with your experiences. You are practicing self-concordance.

In moments of flow, I sometimes get flashbacks to different memories or even solutions to questions I have been pondering. I am not purposely trying to make these things come up, but when you give your conscious mind a bit of a rest, the tranquility can often spur you onto bigger and better things. How many of us have had some of our best ideas when we are relaxed in the shower?

It is so important to practice this quiet meditation and peacefulness of achieving flow in our daily lives. Giving yourself this gift of zoning out and entering a distant world away from questioning your purpose, your next steps, and your five-year plan can help you be more mindful and connected to your true Self.

When we choose to practice meditation in flow, we have access to a deep sensation of mindfulness. This allows us to find ways to stay connected to what we find important so that we can deal with all the rest.

  1. When you allow your Self to just be is when you begin to understand your Self. 
  2. Understanding our Selves is the first step to living self-concordantly.
  3. Living Self-concordantly is the best way to make decisions that we are proud of and satisfied with.

If you can’t remember the last time you were lost in flow, don’t worry! Here are a few simple activities that you can do to help you find and regain flow:

Flow with Art:

  • Using any kind of art medium (paint, crayon, colored pencil) color an entire page one solid color.
  • Using a pen or pencil, draw a repetitive pattern on a page without lifting the tip of your pen or pencil. You could draw circles, the infinity sign, hearts, etc. Just continue without lifting the utensil until you have covered a page in the design.

Flow with Food:

  • Cook a meal, recipe, or dish that you know from heart. And take your time with it. Even if it’s just a grilled cheese, make one so damn good you could sell it as an appetizer at a gentrified restaurant for $30. 

Flow through your Space:

  • For some, (like me) doing dishes or cleaning can also help you zone out and get into a flow. Find something that isn’t too stressful, like vacuuming or wiping down all the countertops to help you regain that connection.

Flow with Nature:

  • Go on a walk outside. I love listening to podcasts while I walk, but in this case, try to find a playlist, album, or podcast that is about 5 – 10 minutes shorter than the walk you are going to take. Ease into it, and when the podcast or music ends, continue the remainder of your walk in silence. This can help ease you into a meditative state without even realizing it!

If you have other ways of achieving flow, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

xoxo,

Rosh

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