LOVE is all around us! With February coming to an end it is always nice to look back and reflect on love. From all the red and pink décor, hearts, chocolate, sweets, and Valentine’s Day cards, I can’t help but remember how beautiful love is. Love can be anything you make of it and it comes in all different shapes and sizes. Although, we tend to think love is shaped as a heart, when you truly think about love deep down inside it looks different for everyone. I dare you to close your eyes and take a minute to be selfish. What do you truly love? Now, I hope you were able to come up with a few things. I can tell you when I close my eyes, I see the ocean and feel the warmth of the sun. I love the beach. Family beach days jumping the waves and collecting sea-glass are a few of my favorite beach activities. However, nothing makes me happier than the first sunburn of the summer season.
When thinking about love it doesn’t always have to be a person but if it must be, I think the number one person to love is YOURSELF! Self-love is the state of appreciating yourself that allows positive support and growth within ourselves. Accepting yourself at this very moment for exactly who you are is the start of practicing self-love and promoting your mental well-being. Self-care will look different for each of us. There are many ways to appreciate and take care of ourselves. Self-love can motivate you to make better choices and allow you to have higher self-esteem. Supporting the platform for mental health I have learned that mental health just like love can come in all shapes and sizes and that everyone wears it differently. Mood disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, OCD, eating disorders, and just feeling gloomy are just the start to the list of mental illnesses. Mental illness is worn at least once by everyone in a lifetime. Unfortunately, some are affected in a more serve way. I stand strongly behind if you see or recognize someone struggling, be kind and have a conversation. What is the worst that could happen by having a conversation? I struggled and still struggle myself with anxiety, OCD, and a high stress level. One will tell you I can be extremely high strung when things are out of my control. I had the ability to find a silver lining in my life with COVID 19, I learned how to let things go and become calmer. My life Pre -Covid was always on the GO GO GO! I worked in the city and commuted 1.5hr to and from work on a good day. Working full time, commuting, and being a mom to 2 was tough. I can’t tell you how many times I cooked dinner or put my kids to bed in my jacket. I know this sounds crazy, but my jacket has now become my security blanket. Strange, I know! I’m literally writing this in my jacket, I guess somethings will never change. I have bought two new jackets, but I will always put this one on. What I mean by two new jackets is the same version just longer and the other is the same jacket basically, but nope they’re not good enough. So, why am I writing about my jacket? I am writing about my jacket because it takes time to heal and it won’t happen overnight to tweak the changes you desire to make. Recognizing and practicing self-love and self-care is hard work, but it can be done with small changes.
I now work from home and have recognized what my life was and how it was chaos. I let time/life fly by and didn’t know how to handle or appreciate when time seemed like it was standing still. Could you imagine the struggle I had when Covid first appeared and we had to stay home? I cried many times and almost felt like I was suffocating. Covid has brought good to me personally on a self-love level. I am now able to stop and smell the roses and they smell lovely! I do so much more with my family. HECK! I am the cheer carpool mom now! Within the last year I have practiced self-care and it takes practice to mentally allow yourself to take care of yourself. Being part of the sisterhood of NJ international pageant has been so empowering and a reminder of self-care. We have such a strong bond and our group chats are the best. I joined the sisterhood because, I wanted to empower and be empowered by amazing women that support each other! I was seeking the support before I even recognized that I needed it. My sub conscious was telling me this was where I needed to be.
Again, be kind and have a conversation and just check in with those who seem to be struggling. On a completely different note, another struggle I have is baking but thankfully my daughter is a pro! I have fallen in love spending time and doing the little things with my family. My daughter Gabi is 9yrs old and loves to bake. Really, she bakes, and I just scrape the bowl and eat the batter and clean up after, but we always have a blast. We just recently made a Vanilla and Chocolate double layered cake with extra frosting. It was Yummy! My son Nico is a wild one and full of life. We ride bikes, go to the park, and when it’s too cold we love to cuddle on the couch. Christian and I love our date nights. We’ve made a promise to have a date night once a week. It doesn’t have to be out it can just be home watching TV. It is a reminder that keeping our relationship strong is important for us and our children.
Love is patient, love is kind so, please remember to Love yourself because being in love with yourself is the best kind of LOVE.
With ALL the LOVE,
Ms. New Jersey International 2020