S1E2 - (Part 1) On Why Self-Care Should be a Priority w/ Tennielle Brew

Episode 2 February 15, 2023 00:31:12
S1E2 - (Part 1) On Why Self-Care Should be a Priority w/ Tennielle Brew
Start to Finish Motherhood with Aisha
S1E2 - (Part 1) On Why Self-Care Should be a Priority w/ Tennielle Brew

Feb 15 2023 | 00:31:12


Hosted By

Aisha Jenkins

Show Notes

Welcome to today's episode we're going to be talking about self-care and the importance of taking care of oneself, especially in the face of the many physical and mental demands of being a sole caretaker. My guest is Tanielle Bruce Smith, a physician, life coach, and yoga teacher. Tanielle shares her journey of finding herself and becoming who she truly is, and how it led her to her current profession.  In part 1, Tanielle and Aisha discuss tips and advice on how to connect with oneself and be present in order to assess what one needs and wants on a daily basis.  


View the video of this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Bwa4RWvW79Q


Join us for this heart-to-heart conversation about self-care, healing, and finding our authentic selves.


You can find Tanielle: 

Website and mailing list www.brewwellnesscollective.com

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/brewwellnesscollective/

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/BrewWellnessCollective/

YouTube  https://www.youtube.com/@brewwellnesscollective


**Tanielle references this book Atomic Habits by James Clear

 (This is an affiliate link so I do receive a small commission)

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

We're here today to talk a little bit about self-care and taking care of our mental health and wellness. I do have a guest, but before I introduce my guest, I wanna tell you a little story about how much this guest has come to mean to me. You don't know this, I am a native New Yorker and I came up as a young woman kind of doing the whole hustle and bustle, the New York City train systems. There's a lot of jostling of people. I'm klutzy by nature. I would sometimes, [00:01:00] trip every now and then. There's a good Samaritan who will catch you and be like, you know, are you okay? So you don't have to face plant on the ground. I kind of feel like this is how we met, I feel like I was in the middle of tripping and then a good Samaritan reached out and was just like, I got you. There was something so serene and just serendipitous about our meeting that I was just like, I feel like, you know, you connect with some people and it could be at a particular point in time that you connect with them, but there's just something deep about the connection for that particular thing that you needed in that particular moment. I felt like I was in the midst of tripping with something that was unexpected and you gave me a hand , your serene, your calm demeanor was like, I got you. For me, I think that that's kind of like the epitome of sisterhood. Like can I be my sister's keeper? I want to [00:02:00] introduce Tanielle, who's here with me today. Thank you so much for coming on. The podcast, Tanielle is a doctor, a wellness coach, and a regular degular old yogi, you know, we're all on a journey for something towards something and it's a work in progress. I really loved the down to earth way that you explained that to me in our first conversation as I was trying to struggle with words. Like, I don't wanna be black girl magic, I don't wanna be black excellence. Like I just wanna be. I just wanna live. In this season of 2023, that's kind of what it is for me. I want to thrive. I want to live, I want to find ways to take care of myself on a regular basis. So without any further ado, I will ask you to introduce yourself Tanielle. Oh my goodness. So I already am starting to feel my feelings, so I'm gonna have to push [00:03:00] 'em down just a little bit to make it through this talk. . Well, thank you so much for sharing that. I'm just so glad that we met each other when we did, because just like how you said that I was there to catch you when you were tripping, I felt like you were there for me to just give me this inspiration. You inspired me in so many different ways and showed me how. I can do mothering differently. So I just appreciate you in so many ways. But anyway, my introduction to me, I, my name is Tanielle Bruce Smith. I am a physician life coach in the regular yoga teacher. , meaning that when I do yoga, it is me just stretching my body and the way that works for me. So when I do it, you're not gonna see my leg behind my head and all this craziness. I am just moving in a way that feels good and we'll talk about this more later. The importance of moving your body in ways that feel good as a way of healing. I think that's very, very [00:04:00] important. But a few other just important things about me. One of the reasons why I have all these titles instead of just being a physician as most people would normally be, is because I've had my own life journey. I was very burned out. And I decided to go on my own journey to find myself. I needed to understand who I am, not who my parents wanted me to be, not who society said will be the right person to be and how to fit in. I wanted to be me and I want to know who she was. And it took me stepping back from a moment, from the many roles that I carried as a physician to really understand that. So that's what led me to the life coaching. That's what led me to the yoga and to just really fully understanding myself and being able to help others. Oh, well I love that. I think, It's amazing the transition that black women have gone through over the past two, two and a half [00:05:00] years. I really feel like for many of us, we found our voice, we found our way, and we realize that we can actually do this and we can be powerful, if no one else shows up for us. Right? And a lot of that is a journey to finding your authentic self and your authentic voice. For a lot of us, we're so into the race, you know, to achieve the race, to be all things to all people. And sometimes we forget ourselves. So it is a period that you have to intentionally stop, pause. Push away just so that you can go inside and start that internal healing. I'm right there with you, . We have a lot to cover today. I am a Single, Mother by Choice. And so what that means is I am the sole care provider, the sole, everything for my girls, the sole thinker, you [00:06:00] know, in this period of time that is like killing my brain. I am the, the sole thinker. The eight year old is on her way to, to helping me think. There are physical stresses that happen to my body that I try to be a lot more aware of in the past year and mental and emotional stressors because I'm constantly doing mental gymnastics in my head. And so one of the things I wanted to focus this episode on was who takes care of mom? As Single Mother by Choice, we are doing it all sometimes outta necessity and just sometimes because that's who we are at our core. So who takes care of us? How do we go about finding space to care for ourselves and being in spaces that nurture and help to heal us? So that's my question to you. So before we're moms, we're people, you know, we have baggage, we have experiences, we have hopes, we have dreams. How do we go about [00:07:00] connecting with those things even as we are caring for our little ones? What's your approach or what do you recommend? Oh, that question can be answered in so many beautiful ways, but I think the first way of answering that question is to take a moment to ask yourself first being present. What is it that you want and need now? And periodically doing that throughout your day so you can have an assessment to see what it is you want. Like you mentioned, you got your children needing things, everyone's needing all these things. You have these goals that you think are so super important, but are they, that's another story. So just creating a practice of every day and throughout the day, asking yourself, what do I want? What do I need? What do I want? What do I need? Literally, before we got on this call, before we even start talking, I said, before we do this podcast, I need to drink some water. Right. Because I knew that that would just nourish me. Mm-hmm. . [00:08:00] So first getting into the practice of just in the small moments of saying, okay, I need this. So being able, in the small circumstances, cultivating that practice, which will make it a lot easier to determine what are the bigger things we need, what is the bigger supports that we need. You mentioned that you are the major thinker for your family. Mm-hmm. for you and your children. So how can you find ways of getting someone to take some of the thinking tasks away for you? Mm-hmm. . For example, I can just talk about a business example. So I'm trying to find a social media person. Mm-hmm. and I had a couple different options. One, someone who could just, create the stuff, but then I had another person who was like, oh yeah, I'll create the things, but then I'll also create an agenda for some of your talking points that you'll need. She's a winner. Yes. Yes. Because she thinks she is a thinker. Mm-hmm. Yes. So that's important. So when you are trying to find someone to help you or figuring out what you need, Understanding at that level. You need a [00:09:00] thinker to help you in the process. And then also looking at what you're doing every day. Is there a task that just annoys the heck out of you? Cleaning the toilet , cleaning the tub? I hate it. Yes. There are very few things in this world I hate. There's something about that. I hate Uhhuh . One of the first things I took off my list was that yes. And so there was so much joy that was brought there. So I think the first step is, one, understanding yourself by taking the small moments of asking yourself what you need. Mm-hmm. . And that practice helps you to fully understand what it is because you're slowing down enough to listen to yourself. Right. And then you can make those bigger choices of saying, okay, well I, I need this. I need someone to help me think. I need someone to take that very annoying task out. I need someone to make this task a little bit easier so I can be more present with my family and my children. Then how do you go about doing that? In the moment, because you said it's a practice. What is step [00:10:00] zero to even getting started? I mean, I've been, I've been working with a therapist for the past year to, and she told me pretty much kind of like what you said, but for me, she said, I need transitions, I need transitions from work into motherhood, picking up the kids. And so, and with the pandemic, with my commute being reduced, that took away that transition period. I work really hard over the past year to find time to transition. But what would you recommend for somebody who's just getting started trying to get in tune with themselves? FInding quiet moments, whether that's right when you wake up in the morning before everyone starts asking for your attention. I actually really like early morning, quiet time to assess things. Or sometimes when I'm in the shower, I do that. Find those times when you're by yourself, when it's just your energy and your mind that you're thinking about to just ask that simple question. It's more difficult to do it when you have a [00:11:00] lot of people around you. You got your kids pulling on you, your whoever's around you asking you things. But really saying, as soon as I wake up, I'm ask that question. When I get in the car, before I go in my job, I'm gonna ask myself, what do I want? What do I need? So finally those tiny little spaces when it's just you. That's, that's how I'll begin to practice, and that's how I began. I will tell you one of the things that I loved, I signed up for your mailing list, and because I'm doing so much with social media I have my phone kind of near me, and you have the the daily affirmations, and so I'm like, yeah, yeah, that's it. Because as soon as my alarm goes off, my alarm is on my phone. It is nothing but a thing to now hit, turn off the alarm and then go to my affirmations. So thank you for that. I'm just like, okay. So, so that, that, that's one thing that I think that I can commit to doing because for me, you know, I usually [00:12:00] will get up, the kids are intermittently in my bed, but they do give me the time in the morning, half hour, 45 minutes if I want to just kind of like, take my time, shower, make the coffee. And so with that phone in my hand, I can absolutely look at my daily affirmation and be like, okay. I got this. So, so thank you for that. , and actually you brought up something really good. You're pairing this new activity with something you're already doing. That is the best way to change a habit. So whether it is checking in on yourself or whatever is you're doing, you're pairing the cutting off your alarm to doing the daily affirmations. Perfect. Whether you're pairing it with brushing your teeth, drinking your water every morning, pair it with something you're already doing, which will increase the likelihood of you continuing whatever that habit is. I got that from James clear. Oh my goodness. Tiny habit. I can't remember the name of his book. It's an amazing book. Everyone's read it. And of course, I can't [00:13:00] think of the title right now, but pairing whatever new habit to a older habit that you've already been doing, like brushing your teeth, waking up, whatever, that's the best way to be consistent with anything. Okay? Okay. Okay. I like that. I like that. , let's see. We, we have so much stuff. Okay. So I will say as moms and as a sole parent, we are responsible even for getting our kids' days started. So one of the things I try not to do is when I wake up my kids, I try to wake them up gently, right? Mm-hmm. , because sometimes we can set the tone for their days as well. And so when somebody jars you awake, , you start the day on edge, right? And so I try to be intentional about how I even go about starting their days. And so what can you say to that? So understanding that we [00:14:00] are kind of like the architect of the household's day and what are some little things that we can do? we talked about doing things for ourselves, but what are some of the things that we can do to better prepare our kids for like going out in the world, understanding that at the root, they're people, you know, they're people too, but what are some things that we can do or some techniques that we can do to help ease them into their days as well? So I love that you are already trying to give them a gentle awakening. As a person who was raised with a very un awakening, usually I was, the way my mom raised me was screaming, wake up right now. You're gonna make me lose my job. That's how the mere fact that you have made the decision to gently wake your children up to be kind to them early in the morning to try to set that kind gentle tone for them is step one right there that is making a major [00:15:00] thing. Because you're not. In the morning, we already have this increased cortisol cuz that what wakes us up, cortisol is a stress hormone. Mm-hmm. . So the fact that you're doing something to kind of calm them down and to ease that down, number one, is good. Number two, another thing that we don't really talk about a lot is keeping our blood sugar stable. So giving them just a, a nice breakfast, whatever it is, something protein rich and filled if they're not super hungry that they want a protein shake or some eggs or maybe some leftover dinner. It doesn't have to be a traditional breakfast, but giving 'em that option and ability to say. I want this or I want that. It doesn't have to, you don't have to be a chef Uhhuh. Cause listen, it's in the morning. We all just trying to make it okay. They don't appreciate when you're a chef anyway. . Yeah, they know, they know But just giving them that space and option of, okay, this is what we're gonna have to eat. Because that is gonna also help to set the tone for them. So their blood sugar stable, they're able to listen when they're in school. They're not as reactive to when [00:16:00] other stressors are happening around them. And then also creating space for them. like having little dates with your children is also very important, whether you are daily check-ins with them, or you have like date nights or just time for just them as individuals. Mm-hmm. is very important, so they know that you are very present with them. Our children, they regulate to us, right? So if we are showing them what presence looks like, then they are able to be present in other situations outside of that situation with us as parents. So those are just a few things that are, that are very helpful. All right. So two things. So, I. I, as you're talking, I'm going through my mental checklist, like, okay. So I, I do three things. Okay. So I do do the breakfast, and I'm a stickler. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant, so I was on a gestational diabetes diet. And a lot of the ways that I regulated was pairing protein [00:17:00] with the small amount of car carbs that I was allowed. And so I've taken that into how I at least start their morning, rest of the day is a crapshoot, but it's like, you know, if you're having carbs, like we'll do bagels because they're quick. I'm like, let's do Turkey bacon, eggs with cheese, you know, how do you want your eggs? It's not even an option. We do oatmeal with a peanut. So I can definitely improve on that, but I'm like, okay, so I got that now in terms of being present. So we're in a day and age where your cell phone is like right here. And in the beginning when I was trying to be a good mom and not just like caught up in stuff, I was trying to think like, I don't want them to see me with my cell phone in my hand all the time. But now that I'm doing like the podcast and all this stuff, I literally have my cell phone in my hand all the time. So how, what are some ways or some techniques that we can force ourselves or create space where we put the phone down [00:18:00] and we are more present? Because I'm present, the kids will look over my shoulders and you know, the baby will swipe left and swipe right, like it's nobody's business. I don't necessarily want them to remember me as always having my phone in my hand. And the eight year old she said that, mommy, put your phone down. What are some small things that we can do to make ourselves put the phone down and kind of like be present for at least a few minutes? Yeah. So one thing I do, and I do this at my own house, is we schedule time where we're not gonna have our phone out. Mm-hmm. . So that's one thing. So just having a little space and time where it's like, okay, let's just talk about the day. Some people do it over the dinner table. Some people I don't necessarily eat, like with my husband, Uhhuh, cause he eats late. But we have this time, usually it's later in the evening where he puts his phone out, I put my phone out and we talk. Okay. And you can do the same thing with your children and then also when [00:19:00] they are having a conversation with you, trying to be very conscious when they're talking to you. Putting the phone down. Yeah. It just not, I don't care if they're just talking about random stuff, Uhhuh, just showing them, okay, someone is speaking to me. I need to be paying attention to them. Let me put my phone down. Or letting them know what you're doing, why you're on the phone and saying, oh, I need to finish this. This is very important to me, but you're also very important to me. Can you give me. Two minutes or whatever. Just kind of letting, letting them know what's happening. Because sometimes the kids can be like, oh, she's just not paying attention to me. She's always on the phone. But really, you're listening, you're multitasking. You're doing the things. But just a simple act of saying, Hey, I'm just finishing up on blah, blah, blah. I'll be done in just a moment. Can we have this conversation in two minutes? Can you, can you finish playing on the blah, blah, blah? And we'll chat and I'll give you all of [00:20:00] my attention, baby. Yes. Just that simple thing can be very helpful. All right. So I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna have to have you back when you have your little girl and she's a chatter box. And I'm gonna say, how did that work again? because they don't stop talking and so , . So you touched on something that I really wanted to make sure that we covered. In our talk today, you talked about how when you were growing up, your mom would be like, get up, you're making me, and things like that. So let's talk about trauma, the trauma that we bring into our being, right? Every day we wake up, , I know every day I wake. There is at some point during the day where I have to be aware that I am having a trauma reaction, something has triggered me and has triggered my trauma response. Can we talk a little bit about the trauma, especially as black women and especially as moms, we are the shoulders [00:21:00] on which the whole, country was built and still to this day expected to just be okay with some things. I think part of the healing process and part of what I've been trying to do over the last year as well is to, to put down the cape, take my shoulders off the market, you know, and really clue into my trauma triggers. Can we talk a little bit about how we handle that? Absolutely. So as a black woman living in America, We have trauma all around us, whether it's the trauma of growing up in certain situations, trauma of just being a black person, trauma of being a woman, trauma from the workplace, trauma from whatever you name it. There's probably some kind of trauma associated with it, and there is more than likely we did not have that space to fully be able to process that trauma in the moment or after, you know, everything has calmed down. More than likely we just haven't had that [00:22:00] space or had the tools to even know how to process it. Right? So that's one thing. So we got trauma all around from generations, all that, and we don't have the tools to process it. And then it just becomes a, oh, who we are, we're the strong person. Are we strong because we're strong or are we strong? Because we've had to be strong because our family structure was broken up. We've had to make sure we were taking care of everyone. We wanted to make sure that our children, okay, we wanna make sure we were okay. We had to not feel, think So there's so many things that come up. Mm-hmm. And we all have different coping mechanisms. We all have different triggers. So I think the first step when it comes to trauma is one, being aware that we've all been traumatized in some way and understanding what our different triggers are. So for me, one of my biggest triggers is abandonment or thinking that someone is going to leave me. That's important to me. And then unders, once you know what your trigger is, then understanding how you respond. So for me, going back, [00:23:00] abandonment's, my thing, going back to when my father left when I was two, didn't come back. All that. And what normally happens to me is I become the extra clingy person. I want to control everything. Or another thing I do is I will morph. and to whoever I need to become to make sure that person stays with me. Okay. So they won't go away. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So you have to understand yourself at a deep level like that. And then that's why it's important that whole check-in thing is starting to not only just check in to see what you want in your need, want and need, but also what's happening to you. Right. How are you feeling? Right. Because when I see myself becoming this clingy person, or suddenly like, oh, let make sure my hairs like this, or my hair should be straight, I don't think they're gonna like the logs. No. Nope. I already know. Abandonment being triggered. I am [00:24:00] not being my authentic self. I need to one stop, assess. Who do I need to talk to? Because for me, I'm a verbalizer, I, I need to speak it out. Mm-hmm. , I need someone to hold space for me so I can speak out what's going on. Mm-hmm. and that's another trauma, a lot of, for black women that we have not had the ability to speak out what we need. Yes. So having, cultivating a space, whether it's with a therapist, with a coach, with a friend, who knows. So you have to be careful with friends. Cause a lot of times when you speak with a friend, they're gonna try to, a friend or family, they're gonna try to fix it. Mm-hmm. , sometimes you need to just speak, just wanna be, you just want to be mm-hmm. So framing the conversation if you use a friend or family saying, this situation happened and I just need the space to be able to speak out what's going on. I don't need you to fix it. I don't need you to move baby. No. I need you just to hold [00:25:00] space for me so I can verbalize how I'm feeling, because that's important to me right now. Don't need your fix it tool. I need your presence tool right now. I need your presence hat on. Okay. See, I love that because I think part of my journey over the past two and a half, three years has been the pandemic has forced us, to be alone, like separated for a good while. And I think, part of that was finding my voice, finding my strength and my voice and the things that I could do well in the midst of chaos. And then last year I was really on this quest, and I call it better out than in , that I'm no longer going to hold the things in that need to be out, I want it out of me any way, shape or form. I'm gonna try to get it out of me in a constructive way, but if not, then it's going to be out of me and. This showed up most for me at work, right? Because at work we put on these masks, [00:26:00] we put we, we filter ourselves. We don't bring our full selves to work. And over the past year, it's like I'm showing up at work. I think my motto is like, if my motto for this 2020 threes, y'all not gonna kill me. Y'all aren't gonna stress me. But it started last year with better out than end. So I've been really trying to hold my management team accountable. I've been really trying to hold people accountable that I work with that are supposed to be team teammates, who will sometimes commit microaggressions and just keep it rolling and it's just like, no, but I was supposed to be included on that email. You didn't include me on that email. , and asking the why questions. Because my thing was, if I'm gonna be uncomfortable and I'm, I'm going to perhaps take this home with me, we're going to be uncomfortable together and we're going to share the wealth, right? And so that has really helped. And it got me to the end of the year when we met and it was just like better out than in. I've been working up to [00:27:00] this point to say, here's my hard, no, here's my hard boundary, and I'm gonna be okay. And so now as I go into 2023, it is more about, you know, the healing you know when you take a clay pot and you shape it and you paint it and then you put it in the oven and it goes through that curing process. And I feel like I am now going through the curing process where I know what my voice is, I know what my lane is, and now it's just firming. That up. And so the reason why I wanted to have this conversation is because I think self-care is going to play a big role and not informal self-care and , more types of formalized self-care. Like I started it last year with our family garden and it just gave me such a sense of peace. So when you talked about, you know, that morning routine when you get up and it's so quiet. I used to get up in the summertime and it's so [00:28:00] quiet. I would go outside, water, the garden, and it's just so peaceful. And I did that today because it's unseasonably warm and just walked around and. Sense of peace just washed over me, and it's just like, like, yeah, yeah. Sorry, I rambled just a bit. No, . I, I love everything you said, being able to cultivate space to care for yourself also helps with trauma. So for me, my way, sometimes you don't wanna talk out your trauma. For me, I like to dance and move out my trauma. So I go to Zumba classes all the time. I will go work out with my trainer all the time. I do yoga. It was yesterday when I was watching a documentary about people doing pole dancing and how they were describing just the movement of the body and I was like, that's what I do. Not with pole dancing, but I do it with Zumba and we do a lot of twerking and moving our hips and all that. But I also do that in yoga [00:29:00] as well. Mm-hmm. , because I, I just do it by myself. So I literally just move how my body wants to move and that's a healing thing for me. So part of that self-care is just knowing what you need to get back to. What is that center, that core, that true essence of yourself, not the mass version of yourself, the person, the mother, the you. Right. What do you find that sense of calm, you said when you were in the garden, in the morning, how you felt this peace, like how do you get back to that? Right. And that's what dancing and movement does for me. Walking does that for me as well. Yeah, I'm gonna make a note because we're gonna come back to the pole dancing story because I actually have a pole and it's a story , so I'm just making a note , so when we come back we'll talk about it. So thank you.

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