Therapist & Wellness Coach Minaa B on Self-Care
For therapist and wellness coach Minaa B, self-care extends far beyond bedtime– it’s all about setting boundaries and partaking in the simple things that you enjoy. From reading a book to saying no, she shares with us how to reduce our stress, improve our sleep, and foster greater happiness.
You are a therapist and wellness coach. What role do you think sleep plays in both our physical and mental health?
Sleep is vital for our wellbeing, and sleep disturbances can tell us a lot about our overall mental health. When dealing with issues such as insomnia or bedtime anxiety, it can be a sign that there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed like depression, anxiety or even trauma; it is manifesting at night when you are trying to go to bed during a time that gives you room to sit with your feelings and thoughts. To work on this issue, I would encourage people to set a healthy bedtime routine that includes disconnecting from things that are distracting such as TV or social media, setting a realistic bedtime that gives you time to get an adequate amount of sleep, and including self-soothing practices that promote ease and rest such as breathwork, nighttime yoga, or even reading a book.
Self-care has become a popular term in the wellness industry. How do you define self-care? What are some self-care practices that we can incorporate into our daily lives?
I define self-care as a form of self-advocacy and living in alignment with the things that I deserve. We can learn to practice self-care in many ways: speaking up and setting boundaries, creating healthy habits, and even other simple things such as buying plants, reading a book, listening to music or visiting a new place.
The world is beginning to reopen; we’re going back to the office and experiencing weekends packed full of events. How can we manage the stress and anxiety that comes along with a full schedule?
The best way to manage this stress is by paying attention to what you give your time to and learning to set limits. Your weekends do not have to be packed with events unless you want them to be. Sometimes taking care of our mental health means sacrifice; you have to know what you need to say no to, in order to preserve your wellbeing. When it comes to work, you may not have much say about the return to work process, but you get to decide what your boundaries at work are and how you want to interact with people. I encourage folks to begin thinking about this process and start communicating their needs.
What is the biggest false narrative that you hear about therapy and mental health?
There is the belief that therapy is only for people with severe mental illnesses which isn’t true. Therapy is for everybody regardless of what their mental health status is.
What do you think is the key to improving our health and happiness?
The key is learning to adapt and make changes when needed. Our lives ebb and flow, which means we experience new seasons of life. Giving ourselves permission to lean into change is the best way to improve our wellbeing.
RAPID FIRE ROUND:
Do you have a bedtime ritual?
I am usually in my bed by 9pm in order to do things like read a book or write before I start winding down to fall asleep.
What do you wear to bed?
Tank tops and shorts all year round– even in the winter.
What is on your bedside table?
I don’t own a bedside table.
Are you reading or watching anything good at the moment?
Sex/Life on Netflix.
Which scent makes you think of bedtime?
What are some nighttime items you cannot live without?
My eye mask.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Anything chocolate, but I no longer feel guilty about things I enjoy or want for myself.
How do you engage in self-care?
My main form of self-care is going on walks with my puppy!
What do you consider the single most important thing for a good night’s sleep?
No distractions or things that promote that high energy.
Did you have a bedtime routine growing up?
Not as much as I do now, as an adult.
What is your skincare and beauty routine like? Do you have any holy grail products?
Most of my products are from Verse. I’m not a big fan of make-up.
How would you choose to spend one hour of free time?
Eating something good!
If you could choose a song to wake up to every morning, what would it be?
“September Song” by Agnes Obel.