In this episode of the Feel Good Effect, we’re talking with Minaa B. about cultivating simple mental health practices in your life for self-care, joy, and boundaries.
Minaa also dives into developing the habit of unlearning for both the wellness of ourselves and of others.
These Are the Simple Mental Health Habits You Need Right Now, with Minaa B.
Minaa was an early guest on the Feel Good Effect Podcast (check out her first interview here).
It’s been three years, and a lot has evolved since her last time on the show.
A lot of unlearning and expansion has happened, despite the barriers, helping her build resiliency.
Minaa notices a level of expansion in her work, also, in the community she’s built.
She’s become more vocal in the way she talks about mental health, which has been important in helping people find her.
In retrospect, Minaa realizes she wasn’t actually practicing as much self-care as she thought she was over the past few years.
Rather, she was avoiding and ignoring things that were coming up for her at that time, hoping they would just disappear.
Self-care is actually about acknowledging what you’re feeling, acknowledging what has taken place; self-care is not avoiding or ignoring feelings.
Forgetting about a problem doesn’t make it go away.
Minaa has also moved away from the self-care ideology of needing to buy a product to feel good.
In the past, part of her felt guilty for not being able to afford the types of self-care practices she wanted to engage in, believing that she wasn’t able to do self-care.
Since, Minaa has learned to develop boundaries, both with others and herself, which has helped her wellness habits.
She’s developed a deeper relationship with herself, learning what works for her, what doesn’t work for her, and building boundaries.
Unlearning and self-care
A big thing for Minaa in getting to the next place in her self-care practice was learning to lean on her community.
Who is in your village, your circle?
Often we need accountability, someone who can call us out when we are not living in alignment with the truth we are trying to pursue.
Get into the habit of unlearning.
Earlier, Minaa had trapped herself by thinking that if she couldn’t afford certain things, she couldn’t take care of herself.
Now, she has shifted to asking herself what she can do to make life pleasurable with what she has now.
Additionally, Minaa reflects on who she can lean on and invite into that process.
Expanding our community and network helps us practice self-care.
Building community while socially isolated/distant
Learning to adapt is so important in sustaining mental health.
There are so many things we cannot control, but fixing our eyes on what we can control- there is an abundance of things we can get done.
A community doesn’t have to be a large gathering or even meeting in person.
The way we adapt is how we build resiliency and sustain our mental health.
We may not be able to do things the way we used to, but we can get creative and try something new.
Be willing to try something new.
Create something you can look forward to
Think about the creative outlets and resources that you do have
What are some community memberships you can join or free groups available to you? (check out Minaa’s recommendation).
The power of intentional unlearning
Unlearning is rooted in understanding that we all have conditioning, certain attitudes and ideologies that are rooted in how we’ve been conditioned to see the world.
These come from how we were raised, the environments we were exposed to, the things we’ve seen on television, etc… all of which play a role in how we see the world.
Unfortunately, ideologies can be limiting to ourselves and even harmful to others.
This is something very relevant to the racial justice movements right now and the basis of Black Lives Matter, being that there is a lot of unlearning that needs to be done when it comes to racism.
Unlearning applies to everything in life.
We so often hold beliefs and ideologies that are not our own, whether they are our parents’, friends’, something we’ve seen, and so on.
We all have unconscious biases about ourselves or things in the world, often not recognized until we are confronted with something that makes us realize our habits might be limited, impacting our behavior.
How we think and how we feel translate to behavior.
If we have negative perceptions about what success looks like, it’s going to affect how we pursue success.
This is where perfectionism comes in.
We can, and should, ask ourselves where our ideas of perfectionism come from.
Why do I feel perfectionism is necessary to live a full, long, healthy life?
Was it from growing up? Did your caregivers expect a lot from you?
Or in society, perhaps, where the ‘isms’ and ‘phobias’ are pushing people who don’t fit the socially constructed criteria out?
Perfectionism can be a form of oppression. We oppress others with it and we oppress ourselves with it.
We have to unlearn that habit.
Unlearning is sitting with yourself, reflecting on what barriers or obstacles might be standing in your way.
This is about being aware and engaging in recognizing what conditioning we have and being open to unlearning and relearning another perspective to make sure we’re not carrying something harmful.
Finding a place to start
There is no specific destination nor a specific place to start.
For anyone unsure, Minaa recommends:
- Write down your beliefs and reflect on the ways they might have oppressed yourself or others.
- See a counselor or go to therapy, finding someone who can help you get deeper into these
Even if you aren’t going to therapy, there are a plethora of resources available online from practitioners and therapists who offer free content.
Think about whatever it is you are trying to work on and find a therapist on Instagram who creates content specific to that thing.
Minaa’s work is really rooted in self-care, boundaries, and sustaining overall mental wellness.
There are others out there whose work is more specific to childhood trauma and reparenting, or relationships, depression, or anxiety.
Utilize the free resources out there.
All of these therapists creating content on social media are normalizing mental health and normalizing seeing a therapist
It’s not about being a flawed human who needs to be fixed, but rather, uncovering some things that may be holding you back and working through them.
We were meant to shift, evolve, and expand; we weren’t meant to stay the same forever.
There is also a power of choice in this.
If somebody makes recommendations, you don’t have to follow or subscribe to them.
Take what you need and leave what you don’t.
A growing community
Over the last three years, as her community evolved, Minaa turned her page into what she deemed to be a professional business account.
That meant showing less of herself and more of her content.
By doing so, it actually made her feel less human, and she found herself comparing her work to other therapy accounts.
But the reason Minaa built her community was to make people feel welcome and bring together people who want to learn.
She tries to use that space to be vulnerable and display her humanity, reflecting on how things changed by building a following.
She also wants people to take advantage of all the resources out there, rather than thinking she has all the answers.
Minaa is working on a few projects right now, including working toward moving her community in-person.
She is also excited about the holidays approaching.
2020 has been an enlightening, fruitful year from Minaa, bringing joy in many ways, despite the shifts that we’ve had to make.
She is looking forward to what 2021 will hold.
Minaa is the host of the new podcast Her Body, Her Story by Flo, an app that focuses on women’s health.
Minaa also has a book, Rivers are Coming, a collection of essays and poems on her journey of healing from depression and trauma.
She wrote the book when she was 25, writing from her experience of humanity, not from the perspective of a therapist.
What it really means to be healthy
Living healthy is living authentically… When you live in your truth, everything else falls into place… That’s how you cultivate joy and continue to thrive.
Minaa B. is a speaker, writer, author of the book Rivers Are Coming and a licensed psychotherapist based in NYC. She works directly with clients who struggle with depression, anxiety and trauma, with a core focus on childhood and racial trauma. Minaa believes that advocacy, social justice and mental health intersect and she provides her social media audience with mental health education and practical tools for self-care. You can learn more about Minaa by visiting her website at www.minaab.com and finding her on Instagram at @minaa_b.