3 Ways the Pandemic Changed My Life

Allow me a moment of truth; there are times when I feel these last two years didn’t give what they were supposed to have given. As if God had taken my best laid plans and put them through a shredder. After all, it’s been over two years since my last blog post. So much has changed that I feel we should catch up. Here are the top 3 ways the pandemic changed my life:

1. I became a Bio-mom

Little did I know during the last photo shoot of December 2019 I was pregnant with a son. Now looking back I know exactly when he was conceived (turn to your neighbor and say birthday sex) but the weight gain, nausea, and sensitivity to odors would all add up. My husband’s 40th birthday weekend will forever be marked by the news of our pregnancy. The course of which was anything but easy. Infusions, hyperemesis gravidarum, quarentine, and more. I go into detail about my pregnancy in my IGTV video series “Pregnant in a Pandemic“. For the sake of time I’ll speed up to the good part – on August 17, 2020 we gave birth to a son, Victor. He is now almost two and the joy of my world.

2. I cheated death

In May 2021 my family contracted Covid-19. All of us. My infant son included. I can’t describe how it feels to nurse a feverish baby while you  cough, cry and lay in a pool of sweat. How it feels to watch your superhuman husband lay on his sick bed for a solid month only to have a heart attack at the first sign of recovery. Or how it feels to be isolated from your senior citizen parents as they fight the virus alone. My feelings oscillated between anger, disbelief, sadness, and hurt. It was the prayers of the righteous, the benevolence of my friends, and the peace of God that kept me for the remainder of that year. Over 1 million Americans dead from Covid-19 but God spared my life. That’s not a small victory.

3. I started psychotherapy

About three months after the birth of Victor I could no longer ignore the red flags. Crying, insomnia, worry, sadness, constant organizing, and rage had become my daily life. This was not just baby blues. It was time to get help. A tearful plea to my OBGYN led to a psych referral and subsequent diagnosis: Postpartum Anxiety and Depression. My first therapy session was only days after my birthday. I considered it a gift. The first step on my journey to wholeness. Soon it became apparent that the next step was medication to treat my hormone imbalance. Medication I take to this day with no shame.

In conclusion,

There have been some very dark days over these last two years. Days when I wanted to die. Times I’d lost all hope. Moments my own thoughts terrified me. Yet through it all God has kept me and my family. I know Him in a new way. I’ve seen Him perform new miracles. Heard His voice in the midnight hour. Yes, the pandemic has changed me forever. Everything about me is stronger than before.



How to move forward when you’re stuck!

In case you haven’t noticed, we are halfway through the year. Seems like yesterday we were making vision boards and writing goals. Our adrenaline fueled the first quarter but many lost steam in second, only to come to a hault by summer. Right now you may be asking yourself “Where did the time go” or “Why haven’t I completed more goals”? If so, don’t worry, you’re not alone or out of time. Today, I’ll show you how to move forward when you’re stuck!

Make the Decision

Before we can do anything we must first make a decision. You and I need to decide that we’re serious about the goals we have for this year. I know six months ago you were on fire with excitement but there have been some challenges. Since then things have gotten rocky and you’re questioning whether you even want what you professed. Decide if you really want what you claim. Then you can move to the next phase…

Make necessary Adjustments

Now that you’re sure this is what you want, you can analyze your plans and make adjustments if needed. The goal is not changing in this step, but you may need to rethink your strategy. If your goal is to lose weight and you’ve been drinking smoothies only to crash by dinner – it’s time for a change. Perhaps making time to sit and eat a healthy breakfast is a better way to jumpstart your metabolism? The end goal can still be achieved, but the plan of operation may need tweeking.

Identify Time Stealers

All of us are inundated with daily texts, emails, phone calls, etc that need our attention. However, there are certain people, apps, shows that we can afford to hold off engaging. Either because they waste our time or they’re not a priority. Do you really need to take a call from that complaining relative? The one that shifts your mood and causes you to waste 2 hours. Should you really scroll IG first thing in the morning instead of praying? Don’t allow these things to steal precious time.

Keep your Word

Now this is where I am truly guilty, but I know herein lies my greatest success… If you set a date or a timeline for a project, stick to it. So many tumes I find myself moving a deadline up because I didn’t manage my time. In the end, I failed to keep my word – to myself! It’s never about anyone else. Comparison will have us so wrapped up in another’s movements that we end up standing still. Let’s master being consistent by keeping our own promises!

Celebrate every Win

Finally, as we navigate these last six months, let’s take time to actually enjoy the process. Do so by celebrating every success, no matter how “small”. Did you drink eight glasses of water today? Hooray! Made it to the gym as scheduled? Get it girl! Finished your projects ahead of schedule? You rock! Ironed the kids uniforms for the week or meal prepped so you can free up time? That’s awesome! Whatever it is, give it the attention it deserves and watch your motivation increase.

I hope these tips have been helpful. I truly believe we can finish this year strong and satisfied. Leave me a comment below with one goal you’re most excited about achieving this year!

Top//H&M , Skirt//Smak Parlour , Shoes//K&G , Purse//Forever 21

5 Ways to Guarantee an Epic New Year

After the Christmas trees are gone, the lights are taken down, and you’ve used all your gift cards it hits you. Two thousand eighteen is OVER. Congratulations dear, you’ve lived to see another year! This is the first Monday of many and it’s time to hit the ground running. We’re one week into the new year. By now you’ve been inundated with vision board party invites, email challenges, and downloads. You most likely have one of two reactions: excitement and motivation or annoyance and overwhelm. Whichever shoe fits, let me help by showing you 5 ways to guarantee an epic new year.

Get Honest

Before you go guns blazing into the new year full of adrenaline it’s best to pause and gain some clarity. Take a moment and ask yourself “How do I really feel about last year?” Self assessment and introspection is a must for growth. What were my accomplishments? What were my mistakes? How can I improve based on the lessons I’ve learned? It’s important to identify what was good, bad, and ugly about last year so you can make any necessary changes.

Get Organized

Now that you’ve established what did/didn’t work well, you can begin setting goals for the year. These goals should be “S.M.A.R.T.” meaning: specific, measured, achievable, relevant, and time bound. For example, one of my goals is to improve my kidney health. Specifically, lower sodium intake. I can measure this by not cooking with salt unless absolutely necessary. If it is, I can use Himalayan sea salt. It’s achievable because I’ve done it before in 2014 after surgery. It’s relevant because I still have stones in my left kidney. I see my urologist this month and will schedule a follow up in June, making this time bound.

Get Physical

This could either be obvious to you or out of place but hear me, you can’t achieve any of your goals if your unhealthy. Playing off of my goal in the previous step, an annual physical is a must. One of the most neglected areas of our lives is the area of health. Get a complete physical. Start the year with counseling or therapy sessions. Then adjust your goals if necessary to include what’s needed to be your healthiest self. Be good to your mind and body.

Get Offline

I know, you’re thinking, “Really Shakira?” but hear me out… Yes as a blogger I spend time online daily. We all do. I even hope that you’ll continue to stop by my neck of the internet and read these blog posts. However, we all need time away from the electronics. A Facebook comment and an Instagram like are great. Sharing viral videos and creating content is awesome. But making out with my husband and spending time with my friends is better. It’s okay to unplug. Your followers will survive.

Get to Work

Finally, the last step in this process is the most crucial. You can assess, plan, get the lab results, and power down all you want. None of this matters if you then fail to do the necessary work to accomplish said plans. Last year I had about three goals that failed to achieve. Why? Because I didn’t do the work. Even with having unexpected surgery and being on medical leave, I could’ve achieved those goals. If I’d had a time table in place with realistic steps they would’ve been accomplished prior to surgery. I encourage you to do the work this year. That’s the only thing standing in the way of your success.

I hope you’ve found this to be helpful. Leave me a message in the comments and tell me what your goals are for the year. Let’s hold each other accountable. I promise if you do these 5 steps, your year will be AWESOME!!

Coat//Thrifted , Scarf//H&M , Top//Uniqlo , Shoes//Donald J. Pliner

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