How the CBN Established Atlanta As A Mecca For Mentoring Black Neuroscientists *I do not own the rights to this music
I fell back in love with science during the Covid-19 pandemic.
That’s it. That is the whole post!
No really, I was on the brink prior to this pandemic. For months, I knew something was off, but I just kept chugging along. I would sit in meetings and would be present, but not present. I thought it meant that I was no longer in love with science. I didn’t realize that I was just mentally and physically exhausted. The mandated “stay at home” order allowed me to slow down, literally! I don’t procrastinate as much. I am more productive and creative. My love for reading journal articles and drawing models to explain how X may affect Y has returned! I have time to do more of the things that I always wanted to do (e.g., start my own small garden, master short rib tacos with homemade pickled red onions and lime crema, ride my bike often, take my dog to the park every day, free my curly afro), you know the little things.
Now, don't get me wrong, the first few months were incredibly hard. I missed my family and friends. I worried about our neighborhood restaurants and other small businesses. I sympathized with the struggles of many of my friends and family who were now "home-school" teachers while continuing their full-time jobs. I worried about everyone's health! I still worry about ALL of these things. However, I knew that I couldn't remain in this state of frenzy if I wanted to get anything done. I knew that whenever this pandemic ended, I didn't want to be in the same mental place I was in when it started. I figured that because I don't have nearly as many face-to-face meetings, and I don't have to drive back and forth between campuses, and I don't have to worry about what I look like before I walk out of the door that I should take advantage of my extra time and do more of the things that I didn't have time to do.
Because my work life and home life are in sync for the first time EVER, I can do more of the personal things that I have always wanted to do while still being MORE productive at work. Part of this increased productivity is because I have cultivated a creative and peaceful living space that makes it easier to work from home. When your home life is out of sync it will impact your work life.
Let me say (write) this again, when you don't take the time to appropriately tend to your personal life, it will eventually screw up your work life! Being stressed out and running on fumes on a daily basis, blocks your creativity.
A depressed and stressed out work force will give you depressed effort. As leaders, it is important for us to check on our staff. Sometimes a lack of productivity is not necessarily because they are lazy or not good enough. Sometimes a lack of productivity is because of exhaustion!
This pandemic, while scary and dreadful in so many ways, has allowed me to fall back in love with things that are important to me because I am taking care of me. I am tending to my personal life which is indeed more beneficial for my work life. When life goes back to "normal," I hope that we all learn that we don’t have to compromise our personal life for our job. In fact, I think it is detrimental to continue to maintain this faulty and distorted view that our work life should supersede our personal life.
A happy personal life will enhance your professional life!
Unless you have been living on a remote island with no WIFI access, then you know the devastating global impact of COVID-19. During these unprecedented times, we are forced to navigate unchartered territories to establish a ‘new normal’ not only for ourselves, but for our families. As with most disasters, racially or ethnically marginalized groups will likely bear the economic, emotional and physical brunt of this pandemic.
So, how do we find ways to cope with the fear and the unrelenting stress surrounding COVID-19?
Historically, black women have relied heavily upon our faith to get us through trying times. Our faith is like a muscle and the more that we rely upon it, the stronger it becomes and the more resilient we become.
Faith triumphs over fear and our unwavering faith will allow us to cope with the stress of COVID-19.
Whether you know it or not, this moment is history in the making. You get to tell your grandchildren and their children about how you survived the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage you to think about where you want to be on the other side of this global pandemic. We constantly complain about the stress of our hectic lives. Well, utilize this time where we are all forced to slow down, to create the life that you want.
Here are some tips to help you survive and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
1. Create a living space that you do not want to escape from
Now that the lines between home, work, and for some, school life are blurred, we are forced to do a number of activities in our homes. These blurred lines create stress because most of us don’t have the dedicated space to accommodate this transition. However, you can achieve a multi-purpose living area, no matter how limited you are on space. The first step to create a multi-purpose area for our current ‘shelter-in-place’ situation is to declutter! Yes, declutter, organize and clean your living space, sis. Many of us are holding on to far too much stuff that we don’t need.
The saying “Cluttered space, Cluttered mind” is in fact, not anecdotal, there is a psychology, and well, neuroscience behind this. Clutter can negatively impact our mental and physical health. For example, it is associated with increased cortisol (stress hormone) secretion, increased food intake (put down that ice cream), anxiety, and even depression. It is no wonder that people report being “less creative” when they are in a cluttered and messy environment. There are a number of websites (e.g., Pinterest) that can help you achieve an organized, vibrant and clutter-free environment. So, if you want to be productive and feel less stressed while you work from home, then you need to “Declutter your space to Declutter your mind!”
2. Create a new mindset to protect your mental and physical health
When we are faced with challenging times, physical exercise is important to help us cope with stress. Decluttering and organizing your living space exerts both physical and mental energy. Now that you have decluttered your environment, it is imperative for us to create a new mindset to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the ‘shelter-in-place’ mandate, the first thing that my friends and I did was commiserate about all of the things that we were going to lose. None of us thought about the potential benefits from this situation. I saw a very powerful meme that stated that “Our attitude can change with just one word. Instead of saying that I am STUCK at home, say I am SAFE at home.” Believe me, it works. Our thoughts have a huge impact on our mental and physical health. Try these positive spins to replace the negative feelings associated with COVID-19. Instead of saying that I have to cook for my family every day”, say “I get to cook for my family every day!” Even though we are practicing social distancing, this does not mean that we have to be socially distant! Now that we are safe in our homes and we don’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of rushing home from work and hauling the kids to their many activities, we can find new (Zoom) and perhaps old (hand-written letter) ways to stay connected with our loved ones.
Tip: Journaling Is a great way to help you practice intentional gratitude. The trick to successful journaling is to write as if no one will ever see it but you. This is the only way to get your most authentic thoughts on paper.
3. Create a family, financial, and health plan
If there is anything that I have learned from our government’s handling of this pandemic is that we were prepared for a street fight, but we WERE and still ARE, woefully ill-equipped to handle the COVID-19 war. Don’t get me wrong, there is no way that we could have imagined the ensuing calamity, but there were warnings. One positive lesson that I have personally learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is don’t just prepare for tomorrow, prepare for the next day, and the day afterwards. If our current state of affairs does not underscore the fragility of life and finances, then I don’t know what will.
Today is the day to sit down, or stand up, if you are so inclined to, and create a financial and health plan to protect your family. We MUST get our proverbial affairs in order. Many of us don’t like to think or even talk about living wills, life insurance, or death. But, we NEED to discuss all of these things right now, at this very moment. To continue to ignore the importance of having a concrete plan amidst this pandemic is irresponsible. Having a plan does not prevent hardships; however, it allows us to more easily navigate through these unforeseen hardships!
One immediate benefit of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it forces us to prioritize our finances. During times of economic strife, we learn rather quickly the importance of designating what we “can’t live without” vs. what we CAN’T live without. Although we may not be “Snatched for the Gods” because we are missing our hair, brow and nail appointments, I bet you are doing just fine.
4. Create innovative ways to engage with your family and friends
We need comfort and support during these unsettling and uncertain times. For the majority of us, our friends and family provide us with the emotional, social, and even financial support that we need to forge through tough times. Right now, we can’t be physically present with our extended family and friends, but that does not mean that we can’t find new ways to engage with them. For example, virtual book clubs, supper clubs, dance-offs (TikTok), and happy hours (#Quarantini) are becoming extremely popular. In fact, many people are actually spending more time connecting with their friends and family than ever before. Don’t allow this period of social distancing to prevent you from being socially connected with your loved ones!
Tip: If you miss going out to your favorite restaurant, turn your kitchen into your favorite restaurant at least once a week. For the first week, you can have your family serve as the waiter and they can take your order and prepare your favorite meal from your favorite restaurant. You can even print a replicated menu. Then, you can flip it the next week and you can create their favorite dish!
5. Create your side hustle or passion project
Unfortunately, some of us will lose our jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the flip side, now you have more time to focus on your side hustle or start a passion project. If you have been wanting to start a podcast, write a book, launch your catering business, or grow a home garden, then there is nothing holding you back! Many side hustles or businesses are created through loss. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of our lives to slow down, use this time to invest in yourself by focusing on your untapped talents.
Now that you have created a clutter-free environment and mindset, you are equipped to tackle any challenges that you may encounter as you start your new journey.
I know that these are troubling times for all of us, but we will get through this!
I saw this list on the website:
This list is giving me life right now!
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do!!!
Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.
1. THEY DON’T WASTE TIME FEELING SORRY FOR THEMSELVES
Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.
2. THEY DON’T GIVE AWAY THEIR POWER
They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.
3. THEY DON’T SHY AWAY FROM CHANGE
Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.
4. THEY DON’T WASTE ENERGY ON THINGS THEY CAN’T CONTROL
You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.
5. THEY DON’T WORRY ABOUT PLEASING EVERYONE
Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.
6. THEY DON’T FEAR TAKING CALCULATED RISKS
They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.
7. THEY DON’T DWELL ON THE PAST
Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.
8. THEY DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES OVER AND OVER
Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.
9. THEY DON’T RESENT OTHER PEOPLE’S SUCCESS
Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.
10. THEY DON’T GIVE UP AFTER THE FIRST FAILURE
Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.
11. THEY DON’T FEAR ALONE TIME
Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.
12. THEY DON’T FEEL THE WORLD OWES THEM ANYTHING
Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.
13. THEY DON’T EXPECT IMMEDIATE RESULTS
Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.