Good Day my Beautiful Souls,

Gratitude….”1. the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” (Oxford Dictionary) That is how I feel this morning about my amazing tribe of followers who have stood by me through thick and thin. Even now, as you walk your own journeys over the past years through hardships, COVID, isolation, losses, illnesses, anxiety, mental health crisis, and maybe even domestic violence, I want to encourage you to rise regardless of circumstances because that is what carries our light. You become the hero or heroine of your life. You choose the path, whether of joy and light or one of bitterness and darkness. They both take the same amount of energy. You control how to channel the resiliency of the human spirit. It is a light force of brilliance that shatters glass ceilings, brings calm to chaos, frees us from the past, and fills us abundantly with transformative light. I hope you feel the magic of who you are because the energy you posses is that of the Cosmos! Religious sectors viewed the cosmos in this way…

“In theology, the cosmos is the created heavenly bodies (sun, moon, wandering stars, and fixed stars) per Wikipedia. The concept of cosmos as the created universe and its arrangement has been important in Christendom since its very inception, as it is heavily used in the New Testament and occurs over 180 times.” YOU are a Starlight! Shine on!!

In giving gratitude, I wonder how many of you are grateful each day for YOU? Have you ever made a list of the various tasks you alone do daily for the multiple people in your life? These tasks, commitments, expectations, or “to do” lists add up to a major combination of stress, frustrations, and overwhelming anxiety, especially if you fail to complete them all. I found that having only three major goals on my list to complete is enough for me. The strategies to complete them may be multiple in nature, but they assist in keeping me focused because I tend to have ADHD when trying to complete a task. Lol! Too many goals lead me to either quit or be unable to fulfill my commitment. You always want to set yourself up for success! You matter! I try to be practical and rational when I make goals for myself so I don’t have to rush through the process. Rushing defeats the purpose of learning the correct way to use your time, energy, and mindfulness.

A positive result of the pandemic is that many people in America found that COVID isolation actually relieved the pressure from the demands of both work and home life stress. It gave them room to breathe, initiate self-care, re-direct their priorities from others to self, and carve out “me” time to decompress. Burn out in America is NOT fashionable! Before the pandemic the mind set in America was to work over 60 hours a week, have two mobile phones for your job’s beck and call, work on the weekends and vacation time because you are, after all, “salaried,” employees. You practically lost your mind while multi-tasking between home and work life. We have to ask ourselves, “What happened to fitness, nutrition, “me” time and family time?” There was no time.

Morgan Smith in People Magazine, recently wrote about a study conducted by the World Health Organization, which found that, “People who work more than 55 hours each week are at a 35% higher risk of having a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those who work the standard 35-40 hours each week, the study concluded. The study, published Monday in the journal Environment International, estimated that overwork caused 745,000 deaths from stroke and heart disease in 2016, a 29% increase since 2000.” Men have been shown to have a higher risk (72%) of work related deaths when working over 55 hours per week. Dr. Maria Neira, Director of the WHO’s Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, explains that over working causes premature deaths. She concludes that corporations, private and public businesses, government leaders, state and local, should pass legislation to protect employees from overworking and create a healthy work environment. Also establish equitable collective bargaining agreements to protect employees being overworked and under paid.

Busyness: 1. the state or condition of having a great deal to do. (Oxford Dictionary) Busyness is not the same thing as being an organized person with healthy boundaries. This mental state is exhausting and drains your body of energy that is required for the brain to function with clarity, focus, and mental acuity. Rhitu Chatterje from NPR writes in his article…that even if you’re not busy and you feel mentally fogged out right now, you’re not alone. Therapists and psychiatrists are finding that people today are struggling from lack of mental energy due to the past trauma of COVID. It is a normal response from what we have experienced, endured, and overcome. A recent survey by the American Psychological Society found that 3 out of 4 Americans said the pandemic was a significant source of stress.  This is exacerbated by the millions who lost their loved ones, an exponential number of unemployed Americans, and the increase in low-income families fighting for food, shelter, and jobs. And not to forget that everyone was in a constant state of fear of getting COVID. Panic was widespread and tensions ran high.

Everyone has experienced an emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental roller coaster ride of grand proportions this past year. No one was exempt from COVID. Let us never forget the pandemic is still here. Unless everyone in the U.S. gets vaccinated, it will be like the Polio epidemic all over again, never to be removed from this planet. It can always come back with a vengeance. Even now, the anxiety level for some of us is worse than for others whose experience may have been more challenging, especially for communities of color and those of low-income and rural settings. There was not equal access to vaccines in marginal areas in America and we must be patient as our country continues to offer the vaccine to everyone! We must continue to rise from the mindset of inequities in America to a mind shift of equality for people of color, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, social standing, etc., so all people begin to be treated EQUAL. Look how far we have come!! We still have a long ways to go but We can do this!! WE ARE THE SOLUTION!

Anxiety and exhaustion are outcomes of trauma from the pandemic. Additionally, our bodies are on high alert for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may cause triggers leading to depression and other body illnesses. When our lives go through chronic trauma, the sleep factor is inhibited to a level that deep slumber is interrupted. With this cycle of sleep deprivation, the mental fatigue, brain fog, and depression are signs of burnout. The anxiety itself causes the body’s muscles to constrict and the heart to race faster for fight-flight-freeze mode. If your body stays in this type of response for long periods of time without a positive release through fitness, mindfulness activities, or meditation, the body and mind will spiral downwards towards mental illness, sleep disorders, and detrimental medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and chronic sleep disorders.

The Good News is there are ways to BOOST Mental Optimism into your day and rise above the emotional stress of daily chaos and pressures we might still feel from the pandemic. These are small but simple strategies for transitioning our mind sets into a more positive outlook on life.

  1. Do Things YOU Enjoy! Get out there and practice getting reconnected to people that you enjoy being with. Go enjoy fun activities, events, festivals, sport outings, and fitness goals with others in order to increase the hormone oxytocin in your brain for “happy” arousal.
  2. Building a Healthy Relationship with Technology. Finding harmony with your iPhone, computer, and other techno products is important when keeping your mental health in check. Carving time for you means removing yourself from all the beeps, toots, horns, and rings that you perceive are important and demand your attention. They don’t! Your time is the most important time of the day to relinquish yourself from all the cords, rings and things so your mind can find time to renourish itself, find tranquility in nature, with friends, and through meditation.
  3. Be Gentle and Kind to YOU. Honoring ourselves daily is critical to our mental health and well-being. Many of us walk around with negative self-talk because that is what we were taught as children. As a perfectionist I learned to perceive myself as a doormat, unworthy, unlovable, and never pretty, smart, or perfect enough. But, we are perfect just the way we are, even with flaws and skeletons in our closets. Loving ourselves first for who and what we are where we are is the key to being happy. It starts inside of us where our God spark’s brilliance is waiting to shine through the crack’s of our brokenness. When we release the emotional garbage of brain washing we were taught years ago, we have room to fill ourselves up with the most amazing gifts that have been waiting for us. We must be open to receive them. Let us rise with gratitude, joy, openness, love, and light.
  4. Use Positive ReAppraisal! When circumstances hit us at the lease optimum time, how we react to them carries our light. It takes the same amount of energy to respond with anger, bitterness, and indifference as it does to share positivity, a joyful spirit, and the silver lining. When we perceive negativity with glow, it changes how we “see” it and our attitude responds with it. Perspective is everything! Change your mind, change your reality!
  5. Start a Gratitude Journal. Gratitude is giving thanks for the simple acts of goodness that are bestowed upon us daily. The blessings we take for granted can be easily missed if we don’t take time to notice them. Writing them down in a journal keeps us spiritually in harmony with our mental focus on positivity, abundance, joy, happiness, light, and love. We have all been so programmed to seek negativity and judge that our internal radar needs readjustment. Instead, we should gather from inside ourselves what makes us blossom, thrive, and inspired so we can share these moments of light with others and pay it forward.
  6. Setting Achievable Goals. Setting ourselves up for success is critical when planning to achieve goals because we always want to be able to accomplish what we set our hearts and minds to complete. Every goal is sacred to us. No matter how small or large the goal, we should be able to break it up into smaller steps so it is attainable. It might take longer than we surmised originally, but no matter. The goal is what is important and doing our best job is how we want to see it come to fruition. Keeping our minds optimal during this journey, is being patient with the outcome, carving time to complete it, and self-care. Always make time for YOU!
  7. CELEBRATE YOU!! Celebrating you and your accomplishments is so empowering and creates a mind set of energizing positivity that fuels your passions. Never forget to celebrate yourself for the work you have invested into a project, because they are meaningful, heartfelt, time consuming, and an extension of you. If others have assisted in fulfilling your dreams, they too should be recognized and appreciated for their contributions. Sharing our triumphs with others is offering gratitude by celebrating and honoring everyone. Then, take time-out for self-care to regenerate much needed restoration, rejuvenation, and renewal. Visit friends, relatives, and loved ones. Travel, spend time alone, become a fitness guru, or just go out and play.

Please take care of your mental and emotional health as we open slowly from the pandemic. When at large activities and events, be aware of your surroundings because there are those who are still struggling with rage and anger from the pandemic’s lack of resources and are using weapons of violence to hurt others because they are hurting inside.

May we all rise with glow as summer draws near. The resiliency of the human spirit is there for the taking. The God spark is inside of each one of us. Dig deep and feel the light force you alone carry. You’ve had the power all along. All you had to do was use it and carry on…✨? Believe!

❤️My sweet tribe, thank you for always being so patient, kind, and generous with my small blogs. My wish is for you to have an incredible beginning to summer that is healthy, happy, and filled with positivity! Love yourself first always and choose to self-care your beautiful vessel from inside out! You are WORTH IT!

Also, please let me know what topics you would like to discuss as we move forward. I’m happy to bring conversation to the group with the topics of your choice.

Note: I just started weekly immunoglobulin treatment for a primary immune deficiency that was recently diagnosed. This is a genetic disease where your body doesn’t produce upper respiratory antibodies; hence the chronic sinusitis and bronchitis. Hopefully this treatment will keep me from being sick so much so I can write more  blogs to you…

If you need a hand to hold or someone to listen, please contact me on my contact form. You are never ever alone!

In Love and Light,?

Dr. Kimberly Lees



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