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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Special Guest Saturday: Meet Silvia!


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Hello! My name is Silvia, I am originally from Guatemala. I'm 32 yrs old and I have 2 kids: AJ is 10 and Leo is 3. My husband didn't want any pets, so we have a mutt dog called Einstein (and yes, he's very smart) and a cat called Dato. We used to have a chicken, but we had to give her away as we didn't have enough space for a chicken coop. 
I am a clinical psychologist, but I work in the affordable housing industry. In my free time I like to read, watch Netflix, add a bunch of things to my cart on Amazon (only to move them to my wishlist later), browse the Whats New section in Sephora and play with make up. I’m part of 3 book clubs and I join several buddy reads because you can never have enough reading friends. Fun fact about me: I don't like chocolate, but I'm obsessed with candy, cakes and ice creams. My favorite food is nachos, my favorite season is summer and I love going to the beach. 




Q: How long have you been advocating for mental health and overall wellbeing?

A: I've been more actively and openly speaking and advocating for mental health for the past two years, however I've been involved since I started college in 2007. I got to help kids in vulnerable situations, then I moved on to working with teenagers and later when I was finishing college, with young adults. 

Q: I’ve grown to love your acknowledgement of mental health issues, including your own. Has anyone contacted you about the impact you’ve had on him/her? 

A: Some people have. Sometimes someone will read what I wrote and contact me in my DMs. Sometimes is a family member that wasn't aware of what I was going through. In all of the cases I've seen that they feel more comfortable with asking questions and seeking help themselves. You don't have to be going through an especially hard situation to care for your mental health. Sometimes it may just be for prevention or to learn new techniques on how to deal with different situations or changes in your life. However, my DM’s are always open if anyone wants or needs to chat. 

Q: Self-care can be hard for some to start including in their routine. Do you have any tips for someone wanting to include this in their daily life? 

A: Absolutely! It’s so simple but it can seem overwhelming. My advice is to start small. Self-care can be anything you need to feel good, safe, relaxed and at peace with yourself. Spend 10, 15 minutes writing down what you would like to do to be at peace with yourself. Or what you need. For some people it can be meditation, a relaxing bath at the end of the day, 30 minutes of quiet time reading or listening to music. For others it may be going to therapy, start a fitness routine, get away from a toxic relationship (family, friends, partners, jobs).
But whatever you choose to start with, I would recommend you to start with loving and accepting yourself for who you are at this moment in time. 

You may want to start changing a lot of things and thinking “oh, if I did this or that I could feel better” but if it was true then, why don’t you do that? By first loving and accepting yourself you’ll start to “know you better” and understand what are the things you need. Just as an example – Joining the gym will make me happy, I would have the body I want, I will be healthier – but I always put up an excuse as to why I can’t join. When I start accepting and loving myself I realize that my body is amazing, it’s been with me through so many things and done incredible things for me. I want to keep it healthier so I start incorporating more fruits and veggies into my diet and I find a simple 20 or 30 minute yoga program I can follow at home. In the end I came to my same goal – improve my health, but by knowing myself and accepting who I am I was able to make good decisions for myself. 

Then, little by little you can start adding small things to your daily life that will bring your heart at peace. Don’t do it all at once – one thing at a time so you give yourself the time to adjust and enjoy what you are doing for yourself. Without noticing it, you will also make people around you feel better because you’ll be happier and that is contagious. I always say that I take care of myself so I can take care of others. 

Q: Is there any books you’ve read that cover topics about mental well-being that you’d recommend others to read?

A: I love Man’s Search for Meaning from Viktor Frankl is a great small book to start with. It makes you reflect on your own life while reading about his experience and the lessons he learned. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks – combines fiction and non-fiction and explores a wide variety of mental health topics. And The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – it doesn’t cover mental health but it teaches you valuable, powerful lessons on personal change. You can’t change the world, but you can change who you are in this world and how you react to it, how you live your life is what makes an impact. It comes first within you and then towards others. So it’s a great book that I think everyone should read (there are versions for teenagers and kids too). 

Q: What’s your favorite self-care practice? 

A: Oh I only have to choose one? Ok, I’ll say it’s Sunday night when I take a long warm bath – I include essential oils for some aromatherapy. I use body scrubs and face masks. After I put on my PJs, I usually paint my toes (yay!) then I make a cup of tea, maybe grab a light snack and get into bed with my journal and my book. I plan my week and meditate on the goals that I have, track my progress and adjust whenever I need to. Then I read a book and just enjoy the quiet time. This helps me set the mood for the week ahead.
If I can throw in a bonus (sorry!) I’ll have to say that sometimes doing nothing has been the best thing I’ve done. That’s right – doing nothing! Taking that time to clear my mind and not thinking about anything else has helped me relax and come back more focused. So if you ever feel too overwhelmed, give it a try. 

4 comments :

  1. Thank you Courtney for having me. It was such an honor to be able to share with you and everyone else a part of me and what I love. It's something amazing what you are doing.

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    Replies
    1. You're so welcome! I'm glad you were able to be featured and enlighten others on bettering their wellbeing!

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  2. I love that "doing nothing" is considered self care. I think people forget that!

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