#17: Punting Perfection, and Weekly Favorites

Sunday is probably my favorite day of the week. It’s the best day for relaxation, reflection, and planning. When you think about it, it really is the bridge between last week and the next, which is why I try to make my Sundays as calm as possible. Sundays are the end and the beginning, simultaneously. That’s wild. But also very beautiful.

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At the beginning of last week I was slacking, not gonna lie. With the newfound time in my schedule, I made sure to take some time to relax, but I think I overdid it. I hung out, slept in super late, and as a result was wayyy behind on my schoolwork. It was a real wake up call for me because before I was always on the move, pretty drained, but always on top of my work and meetings. I guess I learned the energy management part I addressed in last week’s post because I wasn’t completely exhausted, but the time management part is what needs revamping. So I want to applaud past-Valencia for learning how to step back and relax. Yay! But now I’m working to make sure future-Valencia knows that downtime has a limit too and that although I have fewer tasks, those tasks can be given more time and attention so that I do them to the best of my ability!

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Punting Perfection

Another revelation that came out of this week is the fact that sometimes I get in my own way when it comes to the projects I want to do and the work I want to put out. In fact, the only time I procrastinate on something is when it’s suuuuper important to me – which is CRAZY. But I know why I do… it’s because I want it to be perfect. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve exponentially and to produce fantastic work even when I’m a novice at something. Which quite frankly, doesn’t make any sense.

For example, I had an assignment for my podcasting class due last week. But I was having some difficulty when it came to not getting all the recordings I needed with the equipment I rented and issues uploading my files. Basically, I knew it wasn’t going to come out the way I wanted it to. Which SUCKED to admit, but I had to once I realized I kept putting off reaching out for help and handing in what I could, for days. The other day I finally swallowed my pride after trying to work on this persistent problem I’ve been having with uploading my files and reached out to my professor for some help.

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Nothing has to be perfect, especially when you’re just starting out. If someone who has never lifted a weight in their life told me they’re going to lift 200 lbs on their first day at the gym I would look at them like they’re crazy. The same logic applies to everything else. You can’t think you’re going to come in and be this extraordinary expert when you’re still learning. And even when you’re an expert you’re still always learning!

In short, having that experience sobered me up to the fact that whenever I find myself procrastinating on something it’s an indication that:

1) I really care about the project or task,

2) I’m putting way too much pressure on myself to make it perfect, and that…

3) I need to cut myself some slack, enjoy the process, and be proud of whatever I end up creating at the end of the day. Doing my best is enough.

This past week wasn’t perfect, and that’s okay. Maybe its purpose was to give me a wakeup call. And for that, I’m very grateful.

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Wishing you relaxation, peace, and productivity this week.

Weekly Favorites

Youtube Channel: Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu

App: ToDoist – a great to-do list app that’s free, but many of the unlimited features are for the premium subscription

#15: What’s the Cost?, Needing to Recharge, Weekly Favorites

Hey peeps!

Last week was my first week back to school, and it felt nice. All the classes I’m taking this semester are aligned with what I want to create, experience, and do moving forward so I’m happy about that. For example, I’m taking a class on creating podcasts (*wink* – so expect to hear my voice in the near future!) It also kinda feels good to have a schedule and see familiar faces again. I’m feeling productive, which of course, always makes me feel good.

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Introspection Time: What’s the Cost?

With the start of a new semester, I also re-celebrated the importance of mentorship, introspection, and relaxation. I spoke with wonderful people about how important it is to do things purposefully and to always ask yourself what you’re giving up whenever you decide to take on something new. As someone who is known for leading different initiatives and participating in multiple things, this was a much-needed reminder. There’s a cost to everything; saying yes to one thing means saying no to another. So yeah, I could start another club. But what is that saying no to? Yeah, I could pack my schedule with lots of meetings but is that at the expense of my personal health? What will have to give?

And that’s been kinda hard… thinking about what has to give, I mean. There’s so much I want to do but I keep trying to remind myself that:

  • I have plenty of time; I don’t have to do everything right now, at this moment in my life. 5-year plan, anyone?
  • Doing more doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done.
  • Delegating is necessary for survival. Lol.

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Needing to Recharge

After the full and beautiful week I had last came to a close, I realized something big. I need to take time to rest and recharge. Let me say that again for the future-me looking back at this post and nodding her head – I NEED to take time to rest and recharge. And if you’re someone who is in school, working, taking care of others, or just living a full (I never like to say busy) life, then I encourage you to soak up that reminder too. In the past couple of days, I felt like my days consisted of waking up, immediately getting to work and interacting, and coming home only to do more work and fall asleep. So naturally, my body and mind feel a little cheated. Like, hey what happened to all that relaxation and me-time we got during break? Why’d that stop?

Not to say I don’t LOVE the things that I’m doing and the connections I’m making. It’s just that everyone needs a little me-time, you know? Especially considering the fact that I consider myself an introvert (maybe an ambivert) who needs that alone-time to prevent and deal with feeling drained.

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Weekly Favorites:

This week I felt a lot closer to my loved ones and a lot more productive than usual. Sobering discussions and extensions of love kept me grounded this week. Here are some of my favorites from the past couple of days:

Podcast: Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversation with Daniel Goleman on Emotional Intelligence

Place: Target – I made a trip there this weekend and it reminded me of how much I love that place!

App: Google Calendar (my SAVING GRACE during the semester)

Quote: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” – Audre Lorde

I hope you have an awesome week ahead, filled with introspection and plenty of time to relax.

#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!

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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.

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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.

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  • 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

 

#8: Beautiful video; “What could happen if we love and give unconditionally?”

A mentor of mine sent me this video recently titled, “What could happen if we love and give unconditionally?”

As I watched the video, I thought of how important it is to love and give without expectation. To love and give to people even when they are tough to deal with (because in reality, we all are sometimes). I thought of the love that surrounds my own life and how fortunate I have been to receive help, guidance, care, and affection from all degrees of connection. I’ve been aided by strangers, comforted by family members, acknowledged by peers, and uplifted by several mentors in my life. It makes me emotional to think about how much support and care has been extended to me.

And now I wonder, what could I do today to spread that love to someone else? How can I give more without expectation? How can I show more compassion?

Something to think about.

#6: Blessed, Overwhelmed, and Braided

Happy Sunday! Let me update you on what’s been going on recently.

For starters I had a wonderful birthday weekend celebration FILLED with partying, food, friends, and cake. My friends threw me a surprise party, and for the first time I went to the Cheesecake Factory! Their ‘Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake’ is amazing, and I’m missing it.

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With another year under my belt, I’m really excited to start another one. As I read my cards and spend time with loved ones, I find myself more mindful of the fact that these moments matter. I feel a wave of gratitude wash over me as I receive hugs, beautiful words, and massive amounts of affection. I’m a believer that every day we are alive is a blessing; a blessing that prompts us to create and decide. I’d like to add to that.

Every day is a blessing for us to create, decide, and love.

Aside from all the wonderful birthday wishes, I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed by the amount of work I’ve taken on. You know when you bite off more than you can chew? I took a realllllly big bite.

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I’m grateful for all the opportunities that have been attracted into my life, but it’s been difficult trying to manage it all. As a student, I’ve found some helpful organizational habits that have put my schoolwork in place. If you’re a student, or know someone who is, check out this article I wrote for HerCampus with tips and apps that will make the semester less stressful.

Lastly, I put my hair into braids! I’m going natural, and wanted to try a protective hairstyle before I trim my hair (I’m transitioning instead of big-chopping). I’m looking to learn as much about natural hair as possible. I’ve searched up Youtubers, asked friends, and researched on various websites. If you have any resources or helpful information, please comment below!

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No, this picture’s not of me. It’s of a beautiful goddess named Amandla Sternberg! Also shout out to the beauty that’s in the header photo! Not sure of what her name is, but we should be friends. I like her glow!

Weekly Favorites

From Monday to Sunday I enjoyed lots of good food, music, and conversation. Here’s some of what I enjoyed most:

  1. Nine Track Mind (Deluxe Album) by Charlie Puth – My favorite songs are Suffer, Some Love, River, and of course Attention.
  2. Holy by Jamila Woods – this song makes me feel so calm and empowered.
  3. He Like That by Fifth Harmony. I can’t stop watching the music video for this song! These women are incredible, and their songs are really catchy!
  4. “Our mission right now is to get better, to get disciplined. It might take some time to master all the elements, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Aang didn’t master fire, water, earth, and air in one day” – paraphrased motivation from my accountability partner and best friend! (shout out to those who know all about Avatar: The Last Airbender… no that’s not the movie with blue people)
  5. The Cheesecake Factory! The avocado egg rolls made me melt. Also the cheesecake I mentioned earlier *drools on keyboard*

This week was eventful and beautiful. Cheers to another one filled with food for the soul, mind and body! I intend on being fully present, and productive this upcoming week. What about you?

All the best,

Valencia Saint-Louis

#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