Mental Health Check-In

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also harder to bear.  The frequent attempt to conceal mental illness increases the burden:  it is easier to say my tooth is aching than to say my heart is broken. – C. S. Lewis 

How is everyone feeling? Are you critical and demeaning towards yourself? Are you showing up and being present? Do you feel like you are enough?

If you are operating from a placed of emptiness, it’s time to practice self-care! Silence your phone and engage in activities that will help relax or give you a sense of peace and happiness.  I created the illustration below to show how self-care provides nutrients to your body. It strengthens and allows you to become more resilient when managing life stressors.  

I added therapy as a self-care practice because I honestly believe it is necessary. In my heart, I wish it was required (especially for individuals working in the helping field) as part of the course work in college. We enter adulthood with so much confusion about who we are and what we want out of life. Societal pressures can easily cause feelings of worthlessness, despair, anxiety, and stress. Therapy is a great tool that can help you unpack all of those emotions and create a life you truly desire.

If I went solely went off of what I saw on television and social media, I probably would be afraid to seek therapy.  It’s like, you know that you are not “crazy” and you have faith in God. But you also know something is off. Therapy is for you, me, or anyone else who is seeking change in their life.  You have 45-60 minutes of uninterrupted-undivided time to only focus on YOU!  No judgement. Show-up as your authentic self and be ready to receive acceptance. 

So, is it that easy? Honestly, yes and no. There is a level of difficulty to disclose your innermost secrets to a stranger. Especially when you are taught to keep all family secrets at home. You are trying to unlearn behaviors that have been drilled in you since you are a child. Transparency and honesty are key — No honesty = No progress. The results of therapy are based upon how much up put into it. If you are open, you will leave with a sense of empowerment and self-awareness.

But what about the cost?  Like, most things in life (especially if it’s worth it) comes with some kind of cost.   However, employers recognize how their employees’ mental health directly affects their attendance, work performance, and physical health. Many employers offer Employee Assistance Program (EAP Services).  It’s a confidential no-cost counselling service to assist you with managing stress, relationships, workplace concerns, family issues, substance abuse, and more.  Sessions are CONFIDENTIAL. No information is provided to your employer unless you pose a threat to someone in your workplace.  

What if you don’t have health insurance?  Don’t give up hope!  Many therapists offer sessions on a sliding scale (based upon your income).  Also, your local mental health agency (Community Services Board) may provide services for free or at a low cost. 

Finding the right therapist may take a couple of attempts. If you don’t mesh with the first therapist? Cool, keep looking. That is NOT a reason to give up. Also, it may take more than one session to determine if the therapist is right for you.

The Hub of Hope
A centralized place for all things related to personal development and mental health

This week’s resources will highlight mental health services. For those who are struggling with maintaining mental health, know you are not alone and their places, you can go for help. 

By Irvin Yalom, M.D.
This is an excellent book for beginner therapist or individuals who want to know more about therapy.  Easy to read book with short chapters.
A great online resource to find a therapist. It’s quick and easy — type in city or zip code of where you like to go to attend therapy. You will receive a list of therapists who practice in your desired city or close by. Read their biographies and feel free to email or call with additional questions. 
A great online resource to find a therapist. It’s quick and easy — type in city or zip code of where you like to go to attend therapy. You will receive a list of therapists who practice in your desired city or close by. Read their biographies and feel free to email or call with additional questions. 
M.E.S.S. Talks (Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Soul Talks 
Each episode is a candid conversation with individuals who have personally struggled in the journey to maintain their mental health. 
You can catch the conversation live on Facebook (facebook/letitialauren) or the replay on YouTube (search Letitia Laurien).

Design the Life You Love

I can’t believe it’s February already.  What happened to January? Have you made any progress with your New Year’s resolutions?  For the past two years, I decided not to set any goals.  I decided to have a theme.  Last year, year of GROWTH.  This year, I decided it will be a year I would bet on God and myself.

We are so inconsistent with New Year’s resolution. We start off strong; however, by February it seems like nothing has changed except for the year. We spend a lot of time wishing and expecting tomorrow to bring something new. When tomorrow comes, we continue to perpetuate the bad behaviors from the previous day. If you were to die today, are you satisfied with your life?  I am not talking about materialistic things like money, cars, and houses. Did you make the necessary changes needed to readjust the things that are not working for you?

Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Unknown

Lessons Learned

A few months ago, I boldly walked into my supervisor’s office and stated, “I am submitting my notice of resignation.”  Her response was jarring and offensive but (sorry to say) expected. I had only been at my job for two months; however, I had to make a decision, me or them. It wasn’t a good fit and I knew it after being there for a week and a half. Within three weeks my body knew it; I began to internalize my stress. By the end of the first month, I suffered from tension across my shoulders and lower back. At night, I would either lie restless in the bed or sleep hard from the exhaustion of navigating through the work environment. I thought about listing the reasons why I left, but it doesn’t matter. For me, it wasn’t a good fit. THE END. (We have to get out of the habit of justifying our decisions. It’s not working, period!  What are you going to do about it?)

During my last few days of employment, I shared my decision with a couple of my coworkers.  They were shocked.  One of my coworkers told me I had some “balls.” He would have stayed despite knowing it wasn’t a good fit.  For at least a year, he would have grinned and bared it. I was floored! What exactly happens in one year?  Do things get better?

Reality is, people stay in unhealthy situations (jobs, relationships, living situations) all the time. Over time, it causes anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Eventually, it takes a toll on your physical and mental health. I get it- people long to make changes but fear of the unknown, concern about what others may think, or low-quality alternatives hold them back. How do you know when to stay or go? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. What is the issue you are facing? Is it fixable?

2. Is the issue causing physical or mental harm? (Are you feeling pain, numbness, anxiety, sadness or hopelessness?)

3.  What am I going to do next?

Favorite Books, Podcast, Television Show, and More…

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

Kudos to Bill and Dave for coming up with a creative way to look at life.  Designing Your Life started off as a college class at Stanford and offered to design students to help design their life after college.  Yea, I used the word “design” a lot in that sentence. Trust me, that is what the authors would have wanted. According to Bill and Dave, designers build their way forward rather than dream up a lot of fantasies that have no relationship to the real YOU or the world.  Like a designer, they want us to look at problems and life with the same curiosity and creativity that created some of life’s best items. Each chapter has thought-provoking activities to make you think about all aspects of life- career, personal, and spiritual life (if you desire one).  No worries, you don’t have to do all of the work alone.  Some of the activities suggest for you to seek out assistance from your community/team.  

How cool would it have been to have this course offered in college? It probably would have helped me find my purpose a lot sooner.

Calling all women who are seeking support with healing from brokenness and unleashing their purpose. The Hummingbird’s Healing Toolbox is a Facebook group created by Kimtrese Slaughter, licensed therapist. She fostered a community where women assist each other as they live at their maximum capacity. Monthly, Mrs. Slaughter has Facebook live discussions related to healing and growth.  She is open to answering viewers’ questions and provides tools that can be easily incorporated into your life.  If you are ready to start the healing process and walk your purpose, it’s time to join the discussion! 

Life is full of moving parts and sometimes it’s hard to keep everything together.  It can easily be conformed to the world rather than live in the world.  Know you are not alone. The very thing you are fighting to survive, someone next to you is doing the same.  I hope the above resources sparks hope and encourage you to keep going in the right direction.  Talk to you soon!

Are You Qualified?

God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.

Yesterday, I had the honor to pray at my cousin’s bridal shower. When initially asked I took a big gulp and said “YES”. Then asked, “are you sure?”

Well, my third removed distant cousin immediately called me.  She said is your relationship with God strong enough to pray in front of a large audience?  Do people really see you as a person to come to for prayer?  Girl, you know there are more “qualified” people in the family.

Well, let me tell you about my third time removed distant cousin, her name is Self Doubt. She shows up at the most inopportune times. You try to establish boundaries but she has a way of wiggling her way around them as if they don’t apply.  ALL of our conversations go like this: Are you sure you really can do this?? I heard they asked several people before you. You were kinda the last resort.


My response: Change the conversation (speak something positive). Reframe (turn negative statements into positive). Although we want to be respectful towards third removed distant cousin, Self Doubt, walking away is an option (Stop the thought and if need be talk it through with a positive friend.)

The Tongue

You talk too much and you never shut up— Run DMC

The tongue is small but mighty.   It can be used to speak life into dying person or kill something that is living. It can make a grand speech that motivates an entire audience. Matter of fact, it is so powerful that where you are in life has been influenced by your words.

People can tame animals, birds, reptiles, and fish yet fail to tame their tongue. (James 3:7). Think about it!  A wild lion is known as the king of the jungle.  A human being has the skills to cage such a wild beast and teach it how to do tricks.  Yet the tongue, a muscle in your mouth covered in thousands of tiny taste buds; cannot be tamed??

We say the first thing that comes to mind with little to no filter. At what point do you stop, think, then respond?  At one point, do you just keep your mouth shut?  It’s time to speak less and listen more.

What’s Driving You?

No matter the situation never let your emotions out power your intelligence.  – Unknown

So, let me tell you about my emotions. If I don’t keep them in check, I can easily go from zero to ten. Sometimes, people irritate me to the point I tell Jesus … I got this one. You can relax (lol).

After an emotional outburst, I am EXHAUSTED and feel unheard. Don’t get me wrong, they HEARD my voice; but they didn’t HEAR me. All they saw was another angry black woman.  

I had to stop allowing people to control me.  (One you angers you controls you.) Feelings are not facts.  There are ways to tell someone off educate people without having a meltdown.  

  1. State the facts:  What actually occurred??  Need help, jot it down.  It will give you the opportunity to clearly state the order of events.  
  2. Listen:  I mean TRULY listen.  It is impossible to listen and prepare your rebuttal simultaneously.  
  3. Own your feelings:  “I” statements are my go to lines.  “I feel…”  or “I believe…”  Statements starting with “You” shifts the blame on the other person.  In addition, you are giving the other person the control over your feelings.  

Walking with a Friend in the Dark

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking in the light alone. —Helen Keller 

I forgot how much peace and freedom I receive from being vulnerable and transparent. Telling my cousin about my “latest struggle” felt like a mountain being lifted off my back. I felt light!! I felt free! BUT her response “me too Rhaea me too” was like music to my ears. It was confirmation that I am not alone in this mess! 

Can you imagine the ripple effect; if everyone was a little more vulnerable and transparent with one another??? We will be living more like a community verses individually. 

The next time someone chooses YOU to confide in, show a little compassion by letting them know that they are not alone. A simple “me too” maybe all they need to stay in the fight. #inspiringinneraction


I like to say I came out of my mother’s womb saying “NO.” Maybe I am being a little too dramatic so I am going to say… My first word was “NO” and my first statement was “No, don’t touch me.”

I was not like most toddlers; I didn’t enjoy being held by many people. Because of that many people thought something was “wrong” with me or I was odd. As I grew up, I continued to use the word “no” and it was frowned upon by others. Instead of being odd I was now “mean and hateful.” Which was the opposite of who I was; I just knew what I did and did not want to do. I felt excluded because I did “fit in.” So, I changed to accommodate others. I wanted to be accepted.