Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Dior Vargas

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 5 – Featuring: Dior Vargas, Mental Health Activist, Speaker and Movement Instigator

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/YavTuZVykEg

About
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Dior Vargas is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She is the creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of people of color in the media representation of mental illness. Dior is the recipient of numerous awards including The White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations. She lives in New York City.

How You Can Help

If you’re interested in being part of the People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project
please submit a photo of yourself holding a sign saying “I’m [your name] and I have a mental illness (or the exact type).” To http://diorvargas.com/poc-mental-illness/

Resources mentioned

National Alliance on Mental Illness

*Bonus* Dior has some great resources linked on her Wikipedia page including Project UROK and Progressive Women’s Voices, definitely worth taking a look.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Mia Anika

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 1 – Featuring: Mia Anika, Artist, Mental Health Advocate and TEDx Speaker

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/lPHEHekkvOM

About

TEDXASC MJW headshot cA millennial creative born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Mia Anika serves her community as a visual artist and mental health advocate. She believes that creative expression is key to resolving mental and emotional conflicts, bringing healing: Art Heals the Broken.

On her blog SPECTRUM, she writes about process, shares inspiration for writers, artists, musicians etc (#TuesdayTea), and she discusses particular mental health issues, stigmas and pragmatic ways to overcome, including self-care (#TherapyThursday).

She created #HappyPlaceProject to help creatives and caretakers in particular to take focused breaks through journaling exercises, meditation and music–all packed in a free 7 day course delivered in a newsletter.

“Creatives, caretakers and entrepreneurs of color, in particular, do not take the time and space to care for themselves. Focused breaks actually make you more productive, less anxious, more liberated over time.” She shares in her TEDxAgnesScottCollege talk, Happy Place The Art of the Outlet.

 

How You Can Help

Mia’s artwork centers around the exploration of inner worlds, the intersections of faith, history and emotional intelligence. Support this artist and advocate at: mianika.bigcartel.com.

 

Resources Mentioned

#CultureFix

#MHChat

#blkcreatives

National Alliance on Mental Illness

NAMI NJ Annual Conference 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free PDF of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business

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So, you’ve…

Filed your “Doing Business As”,

Created a airtight client contract,

And wrote a business plan, right? (One Page Plans are better than No Page Plans 😉 )

You’re feeling on top of the world!!!

These business necessities aren’t just a “break glass in case of emergency” thing that you only think about when there’s a problem.

You thought strategically about how to run your business when you started it. You spent hours studying what makes a business run smoothly. You mapped out how to avoid problems. And devised plans for what to do when a problem rears its ugly head.

But have you thought about making a mental wellness plan?

Let me ask you two questions…

1. Do you know what makes for good mental health? mentalwellnessdef

Good sleep, healthy eating, exercise, meaningful relationships, daily routines, helping others….

2. Are you actively planning how to DO the things listed above?

No one would recommend running a business haphazardly…

Getting in good accounting “whenever you can” & marketing “when the weather is good” & following up “when I feel like it.”

And you shouldn’t run your mental health that way either.

Creating a mental health plan to go alongside your business will help you feel less irritable day-to-day, more in control, & less vulnerable to emotional distractions.

That’s why I wrote The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Even if you’re doing work you love & are passionate about, you can find yourself spiraling out of control.

From being a “Yes Woman” to struggling to find a way to meet your needs, you should plan for your mental well-being.

Because while climbing the proverbial ladder to success, you can become absolutely miserable, full of anxiety, & constantly fighting the work/life balance blues.

It’s time to start taking your mental wellness practice just as serious as any other habit or routine you’ve developed to achieve financial success.

Through The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business, you’ll learn 3 basic steps that’ll help guide you on your way.

Sign up here for a free PDF of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Now that We Have Mental Health Awareness…

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If you don’t already know May is Mental Health Month.  One of my clients reached out and asked if I wanted to participate in a campaign she dubbed #31daystowellness where she asks us to post a picture of ourselves, our family, friends, workout group, etc. engaging in a healthy and productive activity or task that shows we are embracing wellness. (You can read her entire blog post about the call for social media mental health advocacy by clicking here.) While I believe there was an emphasis on showcasing the importance between mind-body connection of mental wellness, my own practice of doing yoga, and walking, (accidentally walked a 5k over the weekend) cleared my inner chatterbox enough for me to realize that I was to really work on self-compassion for the month.

In one of my favorite go-to self-love resources “Madly In Love with Me” for the sake of a clear enough definition we can wrap our heads around: Self-compassion coupled with self-forgiveness is the choice to open your heart and be a loving witness to yourself, without judgment, by sending yourself waves of kindness, understanding, and forgiveness that touch, heal, and transform your imperfections, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and humanness through the presence of your unconditional love.

Really simple, but far from easy. After all, if it were easy we’d all be doing it. If it were easy, Brené Brown, Ph.D. and the other social science researchers she admires and references would not have to write book after book about shame resilience and vulnerability which is a call for…you guessed it, Compassion!

And so when I think about two very common cases of mental health issues, depression and anxiety,( I put those two together because nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.) I wonder how much more we could have prevented a case of malaise that spiraled into a deep melancholy and sadness, or kept the changes in our thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors from transforming into a major depressive disorder (MDD) or diagnosable anxiety disorder if we showed ourselves unconditional love and compassion; if we received it from others instead of shame, blame, bullying, discrimination, manipulation, etc.

Is compassion the end all be all? Of course not! I’m well aware that there are way too many factors that contribute to being diagnosed with mental health disorders. However, just like awareness campaigns are helping to fight stigma by exposing more people to hard-cold stats so they could get to a place where they no longer deny that people are hurting, that the suicide rate in 2014 was 13.0 per 100,000 population…activation campaigns are in order too. I know I’m not the only one thinking ok what happens after awareness? How do we create change? What is a starting point for action?  Well, why not start with compassion? But you see it’s hard to give what you do not have. It’s hard to give what you are not empathetic to within yourself.

If you yourself can’t move past your short-comings, the kind we ALL experience, if you are extremely hard and critical of yourself (I know I am), if you yourself don’t believe you are worthy just ‘cause, and not because of accolades and accomplishments, or how nice you are to the little old lady down the street, it will be all too easy for you to ask why people don’t just “get over it and move on”. It will be all too easy to treat a person you call “friend” like they are the gum on the bottom of your shoe when they have the nerve to be imperfectly human, or the gall to ask you to treat them with respect and care, it will be all too easy to say that what someone is experiencing is because that’s what those people experience, those “others” not people like you…

So while this particular awareness month is coming to an end, the journey to becoming more aware, more loving and compassionate towards ourselves and others continues on.

Until Next Time…Peace!

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Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

How to Be a Mental Wellness Advocate when you’re not a Mental Health Professional

After reevaluating our schedules Dr. Angela Clack and I decided to make Your Mental Wellness Matters a short web series rather than an ongoing show. For the last part of the series I invited my colleague Nadine Herring, who does advocacy work with Heroes in Recovery so we could share what advocacy could look like for those of us who have a passion for causes, (specifically mental health disorders and addictions recovery) but are not necessarily doctors or licenced clinicians.

Watch our final Episode below…

Click Here for the direct YouTube url to access the video.

Please SHARE with your friends and family because we offer practical insight with some practical resources you can put to use as soon as you’re finished watching.

Enjoy!

Until Next Time…Peace!

Did you enjoy reading this? Awesome! I’d like to invite you to sign up here to receive new blog posts in your inbox when they update…

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.