#14: Prioritizing Connection, Restless Sleep, and Weekly Favorites

It feels like a lot happened this week, even though I didn’t do much. I wasn’t as productive as I have been for the past couple of weeks, but I took a lot of time to check-in with friends and connect with my family. There were a lot of phone calls, laughs, and real conversations. And now that I think about it, maybe I needed a week like that. I’ve spent so much time thinking about how I can be productive by getting stuff done, but perhaps not enough time reconnecting with my loved ones and trying to work on the relationships that matter a lot to me.

Prioritizing Connection

A major lesson this week: in the midst of trying to personally develop in your career, studies, financial pursuits, etc. make sure to prioritize your relationships with others. Relationships are what connect us. So after your meeting today, call up your best friend. Or maybe while you’re cleaning, check-in with your brother. Make time for real connection.

giphy-5

Restless Sleep

Towards the beginning of this week, I had some trouble falling asleep. I kept tossing and turning. I think it’s because I kept doing important, stimulating, and creative work right before going to bed super late. So, of course, the second my tired body hit the bed my mind was like, “WHY ARE WE POWERING DOWN?? More ideas! More creativity! Time. To. Be. Up!”

Thankfully my sleep got a lot better once I:

  1. Shut down my electronics about an hour before going to sleep.
  2. Went to sleep earlier.
  3. Stopped eating at a certain time.
  4. Took some deep breaths and stretched before sleep.

 

giphy-6

Now that I’m going back to school, I have to fix my sleep schedule… and quick lol. I’m ready to go back but at the same time it feels like I never left.

Weekly Favorites:

P.S. did anyone see the new M. Night Shyamalan film, Glass? I saw it yesterday and thought it was shot so well! I won’t spoil anything, but it really makes you think about our own perceptions of who the good and bad guys are.

Hope you had a week filled with connection, good sleep, and good movies!

#11: New Year + Fresh Energy

Happy New Year everyone!

giphy

(Side note: What a beautiful man^, am I right?)

With each new year, it seems everyone is set on creating resolutions and changing their lives. And you know what? I love it. I really do. Because even if the motivation for others is short-lived, it’s still a shift and reminder for me to continue to clarify and pursue my own goals. We all need reminders. I mean yeah, it might be annoying that everyone and their mom is now going to the gym all at once, but it’s also exciting. People are taking action. And you know what? I applaud them for that. Every small action is significant. 

But, I’m not gonna sit here and promote inconsistent action. So I have a challenge for you; what’s something you can consistently work on this year? One thing. For me for example, I’m going to do my best to blog and update this website every week. I’d love to produce content that is engaging, open, and helpful. As much fun as it is blogging about my weekly favorites and what’s going on in my life, I want to make sure everyone that reads these posts gets something useful out of them.

Let’s take this fresh energy and use it to plan for the pitfalls and days where we lack motivation. Let’s celebrate this newfound motivation and use it to create accountability pacts and incentives! WE GOT THIS! Cheeers!

img_1181

#10: Loving Myself, Michelle Obama’s Gems, and Weekly Reflections

What a week; I feel like time is flying by. And I can’t lie this week I wasn’t super productive, but I do have to pat myself on the back for doing a couple of things like continuing to listen to Michelle Obama’s audiobook titled Becoming, cleaning, grocery shopping, attempting to paint my nails, and most notably — going to the gym!

giphy-5

Thank you, thank you *takes several bows*. Yes, I’ve been making it to the gym (after all, I can’t let this membership go to waste!). I’m working on distance running and toning up my body right now, so today I did 2.0 miles in 35 minutes including a warm up and cool down, with 4:45 seconds on and 00:40 seconds off. Then each day I alternate which region of my body I want to work. I’d say I’m off to a good start so far.  I’ve been working out with my best friend and let me tell you, she keeps me accountable.

I think a combination of going to the gym, eating well, and doing some end-of-the-year reflection has helped me love myself more as a result. Not only that but like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, journaling has been helping me out a ton too. It feels good to connect with my body and mind; to slow down and give myself that space. I feel healthy! Plus I’m here for the confidence boost too.

giphy-6

This week I’ve also been collecting all of the gems from Michelle’s book. I love how self-aware she is, how real and candid she is about how her relationship with Barack started and how it’s evolved over the years, and how compassionate she is. Listening to this book is making me think about my own aspirations, patterns, relationships, and development. It also prompts me to ask myself, “What do I want my life to be like in X amount of years?” How do I want to write my story?

And on that note, here are some weekly reflections and favorites I came across this past couple of days:

  • Intuition is powerful. Listen to it. In silence, before making a decision, and before asking others for advice.
  • Our thoughts affect our mood. That may sound obvious, but we underestimate how amazing we can make ourselves feel through thought alone. When we think positively about ourselves and what we have, when we think in terms of gratitude, affirmations, favorite memories, and the like, we naturally raise our mood. We do that, simply by thinking! To me, that’s an incredible superpower.
  • Note to self: spend more time with the people that make you feel full and in flow. The feeling you get from that is unlike anything else in this world.

giphy-7

  • I am more than enough. You are more than enough. We are abundant. We have so much value; our abilities, our manifestations, and our existence are magnificent.
  • Decide to decide, show up, and flow.
  • Favorite: The app Digit — I just started using it to work on saving for goals like paying off student loans and making a “fun” budget
  • Favorite: Sweet potato! Yummmm! I’ve been making a salad complete with leafy greens, sweet potato, hummus, avocado (if I’m feeling like it) and some dressing. Delishhh.
  • Favorite: Running!

I hope your week went well and that you recognize the power you have to make next week even better. Keep thriving, sis.

All the best,

Valencia

 

#9: Taking Care of Myself, “Becoming,” and Weekly Reflections​

This week mostly consisted of me sleeping in until around 10/11am, hanging out, watching lots of Marvel movies, and finding moments to center myself. And you know what? I’m soooo glad I got that time to reset, connect, and reflect. I think I needed a shift from the usual stuff, of being studious and mobile.

Speaking of shifts, this week I came to the conclusion that I’m in the midst of a big, energetical shift. In a spiritual way. Things are changing, and the best way I can describe it is that I feel as though I’m growing new wings; I’m learning new skills, adulting a lot more, and giving myself the space to BE. To create, and fail, and win, and work.

Perhaps the shift is that I’m prioritizing myself. The feeling of it feels new and beautiful.

It’s in the moments that I find myself coming back to myself, the moments when I get quiet and listen to my needs, that I feel amazing. I feel present. This week reminded me of that. I think what helped was that I finally picked up a paper and pen and started journaling again; that physical act of writing helps me ground myself. Do you have something like that? Something that brings you back to your present being and helps you tap into your intuition? For me, writing is my go-to.

 

giphy-2
Source: Soul Pancake

 

Speaking of prioritizing myself, I got a gym membership! —- Nowwww, before you roll your eyes and peg that I only got it because of the new year, that’s not the case. I just happened to buy my membership at the exact time that an explanation like that would be predictable LOL, but in reality, I got it because now I feel like I have a better understanding of what works for me. And since I’ve attracted a lot of athletic people in my life, I have a little bit of guidance if I need it. Plus now I happily have a few gym buddies willing to go with me! Not only that, but I’ve been working on letting go of limiting beliefs about my body and my abilities.

I’ve also decided that comparing yourself to people in unhealthy ways is a trash way to get nothing productive done. The reason I mention that last bit is that for a while, I think that’s what subconsciously held me back from putting my fitness first. It’s easy to compare yourself to someone you perceive to be in beautiful shape, feel bad about it, and do nothing as a result. That’s easy! And it’s limiting. You know what takes a little more energy but gives you a lot more satisfaction? Acknowledging the beauty in others, and realizing that it doesn’t minimize your own. Applauding those you deem as beautiful, and using it as motivation to help you. Almost like a little reminder to love yourself and work towards being the greatest version of yourself; the version that feels happiest and healthiest.

giphy-3

This week I started and continued listening to the audiobook of Michelle Obama’s, Becoming, and I love it. Even though I’ve lived a very different life experience from Michelle so far, there are certain messages that stick out to me. As if she’s speaking to me. Some of those messages are that 1) failure is a feeling long before it’s an actual result, and that 2) We continually choose our partners. I felt, perhaps too well, her story of being asked by another black girl why she “talked like a white girl”. I remember experiencing that in 6th grade and being so confused and oddly offended because I knew it was mentioned to me in a way that made me seem “other”.

I listen to this audiobook when I’m doing practically everything, and now I’m up to the part where Michelle talks about meeting and interacting with Barack. I highly recommend picking up a copy or downloading it on sites like Audible.

giphy-4

 

Some of my weekly favorites and highlights this week were:

  1. Movie: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (loved that movie!)
  2. Book: Again, Michelle Obama’s Becoming
  3. Song: SUMMER by The Carters
  4. Video: Jay Shetty on Impact Theory (I am fascinated by his story and mission; this interview made a real impact on me to the point where I’m ready to watch it over and over again).
  5. Weekly Highlights: Seeing the beautiful tree at Rockefeller Center, doing yoga, spending time with someone sweet, and calling my best friends.

I enjoyed this week. I consumed a lot of good content and, amongst connecting with others, I took some time to connect with myself. Sounds like a solid week to me! My intentions for this upcoming week are to enjoy the holidays, go to the gym, hang out some more, and to push myself a little further. Let’s see how the week unfolds and what manifests.

Wishing you wellness.

#3: Stuck in Fog


Hello all! Part of my mission with Valencia’s Voice includes reflection, and being honest with myself and others about what’s going on. So that’s exactly what I intend to do in this post. 

For the past couple of days, I’ve noticed that I don’t feel present. I wake up and go through the motions of the day. The day passes, and I end up not remembering any of it. It’s as if night comes by faster than it did before, and there’s nothing new to report. The days all feel the same, and the nights are not all that different either. 

The best way I can describe this is by saying I’ve been stuck in fog. Things are pretty hazy. My feelings aren’t negative, but nothing is clear to me. And I don’t feel as if I’m actually here

As I reflect on it now, I see that it probably stems from the lack of sleep I’m getting. As well as the dissatisfaction I feel whenever I wake up late, which happens because I go to bed too late. It’s a cycle. Sleep late, wake up late, and stay in a dream-like haze until it’s time to sleep again. 

Here’s what I’ve decided to do about it:

  1. Go to sleep earlier – develop a routine of getting ready for bed and sleeping at the same time every night. 
  2. Meditate with the intention of being more present.
  3. Find grounding rituals – things that bring me back to this present moment, such as anything observable with my five senses. 
  4. Talk about how I’m feeling with others frequently. Additionally, engage in meaningful conversations that spark my interest. Perhaps a talk with my accountability partner could bring some focus and motivation into view. 
  5. Reset and assess what it is that I find stimulating, exciting, and motivating in life. 

Understanding this state of mind is an important step to getting out of it. Life is meant to be lived fully. We are meant to experience now. Truly, all we really have is this present moment to live in. I thought it would be important to open up about this fog I’ve been in, and to set up some steps to move forward from it. 

Have any of you experienced anything similar? And if so, do you have any suggestions as to how to move forward? I would love to start a dialogue about this, and create a running list of helpful tips for others who may be feeling the same way. 

All the best,

Valencia Saint-Louis 

#1: My Mission

My first post! *pops champagne*

Here it is! The first brick of Valencia’s Voice. The foundation. The starter. So… where do I start?

Who Am I?

I think it’s best to start with who I am in this moment. My name is Valencia Saint-Louis. I refer to myself as a poetic optimist. I am a creative. I am a writer, a poet, a life-learner, and a musician. Some fun facts about me include: I’m a vegetarian, I love Bruno Mars, I’m studying speech language pathology at the moment, and I’m allllll about self-care!

Okay Valencia, What’s This Blog About?

After lots of reflection, I realized that most of my gifts in life have to do with one thing: my voice. From writing, singing, advising, etc. my voice has been the driving force of it all. Both literally and figuratively. What I want to do with Valencia’s Voice is to share this voice with others. I want to release all of my creations into the world with the hope that someone will see them and go, “This is just what I needed”. 

Posts will include reflection, finding vulnerability, and sharing as much as possible. I will feature my original poems and stories. If you’ll engage with me, we’ll take a look at life’s lessons, challenges, wellness, and my own personal anecdotes. I’m looking to feature covers to songs as well and anything else that finds my voice. Beyond this, I also hope to find inspiration from all those that interact with me. 

So my mission is this: to use this blog to  reflect, inspire, motivate, create, and communicate. Now that we’ve got our aims, it’s time to fire.