Category Archives: Self Care

5 Self-Care Tips for 2017

Self-care guru and social media personality Francheska Medina, who popularly goes by HeyFranHey, stopped by The Huffington Post Black Voices’ bi-weekly talk show “BV Breakdown” on Thursday to give some timely advice on how to cater to your mental and emotional health.

Fran is also a co-host of the podcast “The Friendzone” where she frequently explores issues of mental health and provides helpful ways to practice self-care. Black Voices’ Senior Editor Lilly Workneh and Associate Editor Taryn Finley, who co-hosted Thursday’s episode of the “BV Breakdown,” asked Fran to share some of her wisdom on mind and body wellness. In doing so, Fran provided five helpful tips on how to stay rejuvenated and refreshed in 2017:

1. Put Your Phone Down

To start things off, Fran acknowledges ways to address the very real struggle of social media addiction and ways to escape it.

“Just posting a picture or even your articles online…constantly has you checking your phone all day because you want these quick hits of dopamine [which is] the pleasure center in your body and your mind,” Fran said. “You’re basically looking for that pleasure all day long.”

The self-care goddess said obsession with social media can prevent productivity from taking place. “What happens is your stuck in this dopamine loop of looking for pleasure and things aren’t actually manifesting,” she continued. Her remedy for ending the social dopamine loop is to disable all notifications on your phone.

“That way you’re not so obsessive over what’s popping up on your screen and you can actually concentrate all day,” she said.

2. Throw Some Passionflower Extract In Your Bedtime Tea

To simplify the process of catching good sleep, Fran suggested putting a couple of drops of passionflower extract in water or caffeine-free tea before bed. The extract is believed to enable better sleep by allowing you to feel more relaxed.

“It’s nice because it mimics that hormone that tells your body to chill out,” she said.

3. Meditate

As many people don’t have the time or resources to practice meditation in a yoga studio (or even their bedroom), Fran suggested wearing a mala bead necklace instead. The necklaces were created to enable a calmer state of mind as those wearing it are supposed to take a deep breath for each of its 108 beads.

If you don’t want to purchase a mala bead necklace, Fran suggested that a free alternative is to download the Headspace app which allows for a guided meditation.

“It’s nice to get that relaxation and get off that [dopamine] loop for a couple minutes,” she said of the app.

4. Take A Detox Bath With Epsom Salt

If you’re looking for a way to “get the week off of you” come Friday evening, Fran advised taking a bath using Epsom Salt, which is said to get rid of toxins, reduce stress and enhance sleep. You can even throw some lavender oil in the bath to potentially “tap into that goddessy feel,” she suggested.

“You can make a tub full of so many natural oils that will just have you coming out of the tub just forgetting what the week was about,” she said.

5. Essential Oil Diffuser

To saturate the room with good energy and aroma, Fran recommends using an oil diffuser. While any essential oil of your preference would work, she suggests the Palo Santo essential oil which is created with remnants of bark from the Palo Santo tree in the Amazon Forest as it will give your space a more “natural feel.”

The Danger of Saying “I don’t have time for this.”

As ladies, we attempt to tuck our super capes behind our pumps and pencil skirts. Office politics encourage us to check emotions at the door, which we are great at doing most of the time. However, we must also recognize that our super power does not lie in our ability to have it all together. On the contrary, that kryptonite prevents us from reaching our best selves.

There I was at my first “big girl job”. After graduating college, I moved five hours away from home and jumped head first into the marketing field in the music business, an industry I dreamed of working in since I was a teenager. I always welcomed a challenge and felt excited about the opportunity, yet I quickly learned things were different in the fire. My Type A personality was struggling to grasp the spontaneity of the ever changing environment, but I was determined to hang on.

By the third month, I found myself standing in front of the paper towel dispenser in the restroom with a tissue pushed up to my bloody nose. My initial thought was similar to that of any other alpha female in a fast paced environment – “I don’t have time for this.” My mind raced back to all the tasks waiting at my desk; including getting my car fixed that conveniently decided go out earlier that afternoon. I did not want to be known as the girl who had all the problems, so I did my best to keep my mouth shut as I tiptoed out the office to the restroom.

As I grabbed another tissue, I took two seconds to look in the mirror. It was at that moment that I finally connected the dots between my fluctuating appetite, changes in hair texture, and this random body malfunction. I looked in my own eyes and said it out loud, “girl, you’re stressed.”

I had operated in stress plenty of times before and was aware of the emotional wear and tear it could produce; but a physical manifestation like this was unusual for me. I knew this was a red flag and decided that before I dropped dead, I would heed the sign. No one else was in this bathroom and I felt safe to hang up my cape for a second.

I slowly cracked a smile because I looked ridiculous attempting to look like I had it all together. The reality was, I didn’t have a working car, I still had a few hours left in the work day, and my nose was bleeding! I took a deep breath and made a decision: if I was going to survive, I had to learn how to humble myself and ask for help. I had to learn how to check myself before my body checked me. I had to learn how to make time for this.

I pulled myself together and returned to the office. I told my boss what was happening and she arranged for me to catch a ride home with one of her friends after work. Although I still carried some of the anxiety of the day when I got home, I released the idea that I had to be perfect. No one makes it through their careers alone and I realized that choosing to drown in a sea of stress when there are life savers available to use at my disposal was not a wise decision.

Humility is a thread interwoven within your super cape alongside many other attributes. When times are busy at work, stop for a second and take inventory:

  • Are your comments more abrasive than usual?
  • Have you gained/lost weight?
  • Have you rocked the same outfit or hairstyle more than two weeks in a row? (seriously girl, – take down that bun)

Begin to schedule in recreational activities, sleep, and meals just like you do any other meeting. Setting boundaries will help you stay in tune with yourself mentally and physically. It is important to distinguish between doing your best and being the best. Both can be accomplished, but you must take care of you in order to do so.

Post by Vannesia Darby

Vannesia Darby is a young millennial with an old soul. As a blogger and an entrepreneur in the field of digital marketing, she specializes in management, marketing, and motivation. You can follow Vannesia on Instagram and Twitter.



Putting Yourself First Isn’t A Crime

Are These Half-Truths Crippling Your Happiness?

Girl reading on roof

A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.  ~ Mark Twain

It’s true.

Someone owes you an apology.

Right now. And it had better be a good one.

Because your happiness has been crippled by some seriously twisted half-truths.

Heck, you’ve been told the exact opposite of how happiness works. I hesitate to say you’ve been lied to… but then again you have!

You deserve better. You deserve the whole truth. Not some half-baked truth that’s little better than the lie it disguises.

You’ve worked really hard to try and find happiness. And having found it, to keep it. Because it’s all to easily knocked to the floor by a partner or parent’s harsh words, the boss’ bad mood or overdue utility bills hitting your inbox or doormat.

But there’s the other kind of happiness. One that can withstand disappointment, disillusion and disagreement.

One that lets you keep smiling when everyone else is reaching for a bottle.

That happiness is totally real. But if you continue believing these half-truths, it’ll never happen.

So yeah, that apology is long overdue.

It’s time to expose those happiness-stealing half-truths for the crippling lies they are…

Put others first

You’ve been told you need to put others first since you were out of diapers. After all, that’s what all decent people do, isn’t it? We all want to do the right thing. And putting ourselves before others, well, that just sounds wrong. Selfish even.


  • Do sick people look after sick people in hospital?
  • Do homeless people house homeless people?
  • Do unhappy people spread happiness?

In truth, we all do what we can. But your basic needs need to be met first…because  your happiness isn’t going to thrive if the needs of others come before yours.

And your happiness needs to be in a good shape to really help others. If possible you need to be full of joy and energy.

Get that right and you can help so many more people. Genuinely help. Effectively help. Not the half-baked version of help that comes with trying to put on a happy face when you’re really feeling down, exhausted or lost in life yourself.

That’s why they insist you put your oxygen mask on first before your kid’s when there’s a mid-air emergency. What good are you to your kid if you’re half-conscious?

You need to be selfish so you are strong enough to be selfless. @lauraJTong (Click to Tweet!)

The whole truth is you need to put your happiness first if you are going to effectively help other people to be happy.

Make Your Parent’s Proud

Oh, there’s another common half-truth that’s a total happiness assassin. The job of making your parents proud. This is closely related to putting other’s first.

‘Make me proud, daughter! I gave you life and love. Now it’s payback time, right?’

Of course they don’t think of it this way. Most parents aren’t trying to lay a guilt trip on you. But somehow the odds don’t seem in any way even. The cards are stacked.

They may have cared for you and give you opportunities. Even heaped genuine love on you. But why and where the heck did making them proud come from?

‘Make me proud, son!’ I put you through school and college.’

If anyone is going to be proud about all or any of your life, that should be you. If anyone else wants to feel proud about it, that’s up to them.

Because you know what? Your dreams and desires aren’t theirs. Just because you share a little DNA, you can’t make them proud. Only they can do that.

You can bust your back trying to get a first class honors, or a six figure pay check or a fancy title. And will it make them proud? Maybe, maybe not. It’s a lottery.

So concentrate on your job – making yourself proud.

And let them concentrate on their job – deciding that they are going to be proud of you because, and only because, you decided to have the courage to live life your way.

Now that’s something any parent should be truly proud of.

The whole truth is it’s your job to make your parents proud of nothing. Live your life, let them live theirs. Love each other and both be proud that neither of you feel the need to dictate the other’s life.

Honesty Is The best Policy

Another rotten half-truth that’s wormed its way insidiously inside us is that honesty is always the best policy.

Who could argue with that?

Well, anyone with a good heart to start with.

Sure we want to live in a nice world where we can trust each other. Where we don’t worry that we’ll be lied to by friends or scammed out of our hard-won cash by strangers. We all want to know who we can trust. And that means we need to always be honest, right?

Yes. To a point.

Up to the point that someone’s honesty would ruin someone else’s day, pick of their self-esteem from a hundred paces or stab their ego through the heart.

Or even destroy their life.

We’re all human and no matter how buff and resilient we pretend to be, underneath it all we’re delicate, fragile beings. And if you’ve got a good heart, in some situations the brutal, harsh truth needs to be left unsaid. A little white lie needs to go in its place. Even to yourself.

Because life gets tricky. In fact, It can get brutal and messy no matter how hard you try. Blurring the truth can seriously rocket your happiness and someone else’s if you swap feeling guilty for feeling good that you deliberately put their feelings first.

The whole truth is honesty is only the best policy if it builds rather than destroys happiness. If it does more harm than good, to hell with the truth! In the real world, kindness is always the best policy for everyone’s happiness.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Like most of these half-truths, this next one is very well-intentioned. But oh boy, is it going to mess you up. You’ve been told that comparing yourself to others is wrong. And again, that’s a lie.

‘Don’t do it’ is the general cry. ‘Just stop!’.

Yeah right.

It’s a lie because there is nothing wrong with comparing yourself to others. And this lie just makes you feel bad about doing it.

Comparing yourself to others is a basic human trait. It’s the mechanism that lets you process the world around you and where you fit into it. Everyone does it – me, you, Oprah, the President. Everyone to some extent or another.

Taking that away is like pulling the plug on your oxygen. You’ll be left reeling, gasping, no idea which way to turn.

The truth is, you need to compare yourself to the right people. The right ones for you. Which doesn’t include…

  • Beating yourself up over an apparently ‘more successful’ friend’s amazing – and carefully selected – Facebook photos.
  • Feeling desperately unattractive after leafing through glossy, glamorized – and carefully edited –  images of models.
  • Feeling like a failure while reading articles on the rich and famous.

Comparing yourself to other people’s half-truths is like drinking Drano to cure a stomach ache. It’s pure poison to your happiness.

Remember most people are liars, even if they do it subconsciously. And I don’t mean that to be an insult, or an accusation. It’s the truth. And if they aren’t lying, they’re telling half-truths. Exaggerating, or ‘touching up’ or ‘dressing up’ or a hundred other euphemisms.

Most of what you see out there is a distorted version of the truth at best. So where the heck does that leave you?

Well, there is only one surefire way to know if someone is a good model to compare yourself to…

  • If looking at how they live makes you happy rather than depressed.
  • If researching what they’ve achieved inspires you rather than de-motivates you.
  • If looking at how they look makes you feel good about how you look right now.

The whole truth is that comparing yourself to someone else can and should make you feel good. It should leave you excited, energized, eager. If you come away with negative emotions, drop that person as someone to ever compare yourself to.

Discard those half-truths and grow your happiness.

You’ve been lied to, however well intentioned.

But you may never get an apology.

Because most people spend their whole lives believing in these half-truths.

But now you know the whole truth, you can throw off those shackles to your happiness.


  • Go make yourself happy first  – and then spread that happiness around all the better.
  • Go make yourself proud – and then let your parents make themselves proud of you.
  • Go out goodhearted and make someone feel good in their heart – and then worry about the truth.
  • Go compare yourself to someone who makes you feel good right now – and then keep doing it.

Go embrace the whole truth.

Because the purpose of life is to be happy.

And that includes you.