Celebrating Yule was my companion’s idea; which is who I celebrated with! Yule is a celebration of the winter solstice (the longest night of the years) and the return of the sun. Before celebrating Yule, I honestly sat and thought about cultural relevancy. I asked myself: How does the celebration of the winter solstice and return of the sun tie into my African and Native Indigenous background? There was a natural understanding that my Celtic, Nordic and Viking ancestors celebrated the winter solstice and the return of the sun. I didn’t want to make my other ancestors feel left out of this celebration! I came to understand that the traditions of Christmas came from other cultures.
What I Did to Prepare/Celebrate Components of Yule
Leading up to the winter solstice, I sought to find congruences in cultural celebration to make my ancestors feel welcome, not excluded. I then decorated the place with lights, garlands, ornaments, and plants. I also welcomed a new plant child; Gaia.
There were other things that were included and will be included in the continuation of the celebration:
Pine cones, pine, and sticks to make protection talismans. Respectfully hand picked and provided by nature.
Yellow, White, Black, & Burgundy Candles
Yellow – Represents the Sun (Lit the day of Winter Solstice) for joy and/or clearing mental blockages.
White – Lit on the 24th at sun down to bring harmony, truth and new beginnings. It tells fortune and future.
Black – Lit on the 31st of December to banish any negative energy remaining.
Burgundy – Intuitively lit to bring strength, determination, courage and willpower.
What Else Did I Do?
The night of the Winter Solstice, my companion and I went to a cleansing meditation in Unionville, CT. Meditating and having my energy field cleansed felt amazing. This experience made me understand why meditation is really important. Further into the celebration, my companion and I planned what flavor the Yule log was going to be (gingerbread). That is something that we are going to do soon! I can’t forget about the fairy house! I would show my fairy house but I like to respect their wishes/privacy. Just think mushroom and cabin in the woods!
– Dez 🙂
Appreciate Where You Are In Your Journey…
You should appreciate where you are in life, even if it’s not where you want to be just yet. Where you are now matters just as much as where you want to be. I know it can be difficult to acknowledge the small things when you’re worrying about the bigger picture but sometimes, you just have to enjoy the ride.
Many people want to be something more and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s totally natural! Unfortunately, the biggest mistake people make is getting frustrated when they feel stuck like they’re not going to get anywhere in life. Don’t look at it like that, you have to try to learn from and appreciate it for what it is.
Life isn’t just some destination that we’re trying to get to, living our lives in an experience. We can’t spend every moment trying to get the bigger picture. Doing that causes us to lose sight of where we are now. Where we are now is important too, it’s a key part of getting to the bigger picture. If we’re not living our lives for experience and fulfillment then what are we even doing?
I look back on my life now and I’m thankful for those moments of frustration. Those moments taught me perseverance, strength and how to appreciate my journey a little more. They were the stepping stones I needed to grow. I didn’t appreciate those moments until long after because I didn’t know how important they would be to my journey through life. Now, I am glad to be where I am. I’m not exactly where I want to be right now but I am one step closer to it. For that I’m thankful.
Self-care Sunday is all about plants and what it’s like to be a crazy plant lady! I know that most people hear the phrase “self-care” and think that it means spa stuff but that’s not true! Self-care is all about taking care of yourself, no matter how you choose to do that. There are so many forms of self-care to utilize and it doesn’t stop at the pampering. I’ve previously shared that I like to bake as a form of self-care but one of my top favorite things is taking care of my plants.
For those of you who don’t know I love plants. Honestly, I’m kind of obsessed with them and I am definitely a crazy plant lady. It all began with one plant and because of that plant, my life changed. This plant was a little cactus that a friend had given to me as a gift. It was a cute little prickly thing and I fell in love with it immediately. Having something to take care of made me feel good. Unfortunately, my poor little cactus met its demise after my dog knocked it out of the window.
Plants are a really good form of self-care. Taking care of them creates a routine and gives you a little bit of purpose when you’re feeling down. A plant, much like a person, requires attention, love and care. Taking care of one can teach you a lot about those things. Especially when it comes to yourself. If speaking kindly to plants helps them grow, imagine what speaking kindly to yourself can do.
Now that I’m older and have my own space, I’ve grown my plant collection bigger than I ever thought it could be. I love my little plants. They give me purpose and have taught me so much about taking care of myself. Nurturing them and being able to watch them all grow is a wonder because I helped them get there. It’s just such an amazing process and I got to be a part of it. Because of these plants, I’ve learned to take better care of myself. They are a reminder that a little love and care can really go a long way because that’s really all it takes.
Be kind to yourself the way that you are kind to plants and others because you deserve that kind of care too. I want you to water yourself with kind words, love and care because like plants, you need that too. I promise that will help you grow into the wonderful, beautiful person you want to be. You have to remember that it all starts with you.
Sometimes, we find ourselves chasing after the things that we think we want instead of what we need. When you spend too much time focusing on the wrong things, you tend to lose sight of the things that might be right for you. We have to stop chasing the wrong things if we’re going to grow.
There may be things in your life that you’re chasing that are no longer benefiting you. You have to stop chasing those things so that the things you need to grow have a chance to catch up to you. This also means that you have to be patient.
I know sometimes you don’t want to wait for the right things to find you, but trying to force something to be right isn’t any better. It is much better in the long run to be patient.
“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.”
Self-care alone is such a critical part of dealing with mental health. I will continue to stress this to you because without self-care, trying to cope with your mental health would be so hard. Self-care isn’t just face masks or bubble baths, it’s whatever you need it to be.
Self-care is especially important during and even after the holidays. In fact, the holiday season can be physically and emotionally exhausting for some people. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m definitely one of them. I absolutely love the holidays, but I always find myself feeling blue when they’re over.
The holidays can lead to stress and isolation for some people because it’s overwhelming. Having to see all your family at once can be a lot. Figuring out what kind of gifts you’ll be getting your loved ones can create a lot of stress and anxiety. The holiday season in itself can stress you out. While giving gifts and spending time with loved ones is great, it can take a lot out of you. Take a break from the shopping and stress, go ice skating or take a walk through your favorite lighted park. During the holidays please remember that what you want and need matters too!
While the holidays themselves can be stressful and draining, after the holidays can be pretty sucky too. All the cheer you had may have left with holiday season. This can leave you feeling blue and all but cheery. For most, it’s back to reality after the holiday season. People will be returning to work or school after getting used to having time to yourself. Don’t let it get you down. You should try to return to your normal self-care routine and maybe even a little extra to give yourself the boost that you need!
Please remember to take care of yourself this holiday season!
You can read my post about having a split holiday right here on TurningPointCT! 🙂
Face Masks For Self-Care
Happy Self-care Sunday! One of my favorite self-care things to do is face masks! I love face masks because they’re a great way to unwind while also refreshing your pores and keeping your skin clean!
My favorite mask right now is Formula 10.0.6’s “Pores Be Pure” mask! It’s a mud mask that’s got strawberry, rosemary and yarrow in it. The strawberry and rosemary helps to eliminate any impurities on your skin while the yarrow clarifies your skin! I use this mask 3 times a week and it really helps me de-stress!
What are some of your favorite self-care things to do?
Emotional Wound Care Guide
Post written by Ella Moore
I think that the beauty of human relationships (friendships, romantic relationships, familial relationships, etc…) is that completely different individuals can come together and their unique strengths and weaknesses balance out in a way that they become stronger together than apart. We instinctively crave this since humans are social creatures and this desire for connection and relationships is literally written into our DNA. However, the implicit exchange for intimacy is vulnerability, so the stakes for getting hurt from the relationship than from a stranger are much higher. So what can we do if someone we trusted hurts us, either unintentionally or intentionally? What if this person does not want to resolve the situation or cannot be reasoned with?
I recently ran into this experience where someone else’s mental health triggered my own mental health and it caused the breakdown of a friendship and I got hurt in the crossfire. This situation was incredibly reminiscent of a similar experience of getting hurt by someone close to me in high school, with the fundamental fear and trigger being perceived rejection. Both times I was unable to receive closure or accountability from the other person and this sends me reeling! I hyper-fixate on it for months, even years after it, and during the time I didn’t have as many healthy coping skills at my disposal, I would lash out to make them feel bad for the pain they have caused and to get a reaction. Now I know this is only giving that person what they want, which is to know that they have caused pain and internal/external chaos, I don’t like to give into this urge as easily as I did when I was 16. I wanted to take an active role in processing this so I can move on from it in a healthy way and not let it derail my recovery, but I was at a loss as to how to start to heal from it
At around the same time as the second incident, I coincidentally started seeing a therapist again for the first time in a few years. I lamented to her about the situation and the pain it caused and the way I was still so hung up on it, and she offered her first solution in such simple terms that I felt compelled to share them with you all too.
She compared an emotional wound to a physical one and gave me some basic steps based on this concept to help myself heal from an event or person that caused emotional pain:
1. Assess the seriousness of the “injury”
Like physical injuries, emotional injuries can need more professional treatment and there is no shame in that!
I sought out extra guidance from my therapist and my psychiatrist, and I even reached out to the Crisis Text Line (TEXT 741741) because it was something I didn’t feel equipped to deal with on my own.
** If you feel able to address the “injury” by yourself, the following steps can provide a guide for heal from an emotional wound **
2. Remove the thing causing the pain, like the thorn or a splinter, so it can stop doing any more harm.
Remove the person (permanently or temporarily) or remove yourself from the environment that is causing harm (permanently or temporarily)
If you don’t remove the “thorn”, it has the potential to get infected or become a more serious injury than the initial jab.
Enforce boundaries to restrict access to you:
“I need to take a week or so to process this so I am going to block you until then, I hope you can respect this.”
“I feel hurt by X action. I need you to respect that I need some physical distance from you for X until I feel better/safe/understood.”
3.Wash out/clean the wound
Taking out the “thorn” is a good first step, but without washing out the pain and taking the appropriate self-care steps the wound will not heal properly and could turn into a painful emotional scar.
Unprocessed “bad” feelings can lead to resentment and general fatigue.
It is better to cleanse yourself of as much as you can so it doesn’t fester like a real wound would.
Let all of the “bad” emotions (there are no bad emotions, just unwanted feelings) flow out:
Be angry, be mad, cry, scream, vent, b**ch, grieve, or whatever you are feeling that you may be judging yourself for.
(As long as it is not hurting yourself or others)
4. Bandage / protect the wound
Even after you have taken care of the initial injury, the healing process can still be interrupted or impacted by the actions of others.
It’s important to keep the wound clean from any toxic people or stressful situations that can worsen the initial injury.
Practice a lot more self-care and self-compassion during this time to prevent any internal damage and provide a buffer for any outside influence that could make the pain worse.
5. Let time start to repair the intensity of the pain
It won’t ever fully go away, at least not cognitively because we can remember it happening and we can remember the pain it brought us in the moment.
HOWEVER, it does not need to continue being painful after we have extracted all of the healthy lessons we can learn from something like this
“This person is reacting more to their internal sense of chaos than anything I have done to deserve or warrant being treated badly,” “I deserve to be treated with respect,” “I need X from a relationship with someone to feel safe” … etc…
Slowly but surely the pain does dull and hopefully the conflict can be resolved, but even if it doesn’t you know that you have the strength and tools to get through it.
This formula is not guaranteed to provide a complete fix every time, however it does provide the framework to start some healthy healing.
This post was an excerpt from our spring newsletter. For more content like this, check out the newsletter!
Ella’s #TurningPointMoment at Sherwood Island State Park, CT
Join Ella, the Turning Point CT Project Coordinator, on her mission to make choices that benefit her mental health! Follow along and share your own story on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube by using the hashtag #TurningPointMoment
If you want to find out more about her mission, visit her blog HERE !
In Celebration of National Poetry Month, I am happy to share this poem. It was written with two people in mind. Typically, two lovers but in this context, its seeks to describe the relationship between the poet and the reader.
Young Adult Conference – Constance Lane Arnold
Brian talks about his experience at the recent Speaker Series, by CTSTRONG, which featured motivational speaker and talk show host, Constance Lane Arnold. The event was held on Friday, September 9th, in Cromwell, Connecticut. This was a special young adult conference aimed at helping to transform young adult leaders through self-care, relationship maintenance, setting professional boundaries, and more!
“As I take my seat at one of the banquet tables in the Crown Room of the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell, I’m not sure what to expect from the day’s events. I’ve heard the speaker – Constance Lane Arnold – more than once before, on her Think, Believe and Manifest! radio program, always enjoying her show and finding myself a little more inspired after listening than before.
Understanding the Power of Caring for Self.Focusing and Getting Clear About What You Desire. Identifying Action Steps and Setting Intentions. These are just a few of the topics that comprised the day’s agenda.
She stressed the importance of boundaries, and about who we choose to spend our time with and how we engage with them.
Those in attendance at the event expressed their struggle coping with trials and tribulations in their personal lives. Constance discussed how the key is to not rely on external sources for your happiness, energy, fulfillment, etc. She described certain unhealthy coping strategies as self-medication. “Medication is anything external that is used to help ease problems”. Constance also discussed how the key is to not rely on external sources for your hapiness, energy, fulfillment, etc.
In addition to discussing the importance of mindfulness and changing your your paradigm, Constance also spoked about other practical ways to practice self care to improve life satisfaction. “Be open to connections” she said, meaning develop healthy and enriching relationships with others, because that’s how we grow and develop.” — Brian
"From the Outside Looking In"
“Everyone’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Jamaicans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.”
This is a quote by the very historic American writer and playwright, James Baldwin… In the quote, I replaced the term, ‘Americans’ with ‘Jamaicans’. Baldwin in my opinion was first and foremost a human being BUT in his time, he was merely BLACK and GAY. The sociopolitical stigma and prejudice that encompassed the topic of color and sexuality forced him to migrate to France in the 1940s. Though still evolving, France was one of the more liberal countries at the time (and currently is).
Referencing back to the quote above, bear in mind that 20th century America represented the ‘Egypt’ of Baldwin’s lifetime and it does make you wonder what life was really like in America in the 1940s.
Still yet, we can look to Jamaican society for a firsthand experience.
On the other hand, America today, for people like myself represents the ‘Canaan’ of what France was for Baldwin in the 1940s.
A man without roots, without a country to call home. James Baldwin used his experience to unveil what it looks like beyond being BLACK, beyond being GAY and even more, beyond being an IMMIGRANT, a line of thought that is still unfathomable to many people in our lifetime; in this day and age.
Baldwin superseded labels – in my opinion, Baldwin was neither BLACK nor GAY, nor was he an immigrant, he was a human being who was denied his rights.
I’ve been inspired by James Baldwin.
What does prejudice look like in America from the perspective of a French lifestyle? What does hope look like in France from the perspective of an American lifestyle? These are questions Baldwin may have possibly asked himself.
The following poem is by Warsaw Shire [the poet behind Beyoncé’s recent album] – she explains what she thinks of home amidst prejudice and fighting shame.
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help. Learn More »