Life can be a whirlwind of responsibilities and tasks that leaves us with little room for ourselves. Yet, when we find time to slow down and catch our breaths, we realize that life isn’t the race we make it out to be. Trying to reach our goals within the period of a mental timer or an illusion of a clear path can be dangerous—not only for ourselves but also for the journey we pave for our goals. Consequently, most of us must learn the hard way. It can be an unfortunate thing, but the experience is the biggest teacher.
There are many BAUCEs that know this all too well. Brittany Dandy, a remarkable content producer, journalist, marketer, and consultant for the NYC area, is one of them. As you can see, she’s a woman of many talents who revolves her work around the empowerment, economic success, and wellness of women of color.
During the day, it’s easy to find her up and moving around 8 am toward her “nine to five” at Google. Whether she’s teaching a digital marketing class over at General Assembly, hopping out of her heels to take on online marketing consulting and content creation on Brittanydandy.com, or planning for events like the Success Supper—she’s sure to get the job done and make it look flawless.
Yet, like most of the BAUCE women around us—we can carry the heaviest of loads and make it look easy. Brittany looks back on one of the most stressful times of her career:
“There was so much going on personally and professionally that I had totally ignored the stress and overwhelm. I learned to prioritize sleep, nutrition, and mental health. It’s important that I pay attention to the signs of stress and do my best to relieve it.”
As she listened to what her body was telling her—she realized that it was time for so much needed, self-tending to. Knowing when it’s time to pull back is hard because oftentimes we never hear our bodies until they’re screaming at us.
“Listening to my needs and my body taught me how to recognize stress and stress relievers. For a long time, I didn’t know when I was stressed because overwhelm was my norm. Finally, I learned to recognize the symptoms and found out what practices or activities would help me to cope and calm. Now I can tell when I need sleep, exercise, water, or some time away.”
So, how do we, as booked and busy women—balance work and wellness? Sometimes we think it may be too hard to incorporate self-care or simple healthy habits into our schedules, but it can be as simple as taking a breath when you need it.
Although she is still looking out for herself and her own state of being, Brittany has taken the steps to ensure that women around her are reminded that they are worth of wellness with her platform, “Ode to Wellness.”
“I think wellness gets difficult or overwhelming when we put it in a box. You don’t have to have a favorite yoga pose, an established morning routine, or a green smoothie every day of your life to be doing ‘self-care’ or wellness right. Ode to Us is designed to encourage women to curate a healthy life based on their needs and preferences. It’s leaving wellness wide open and allowing them to come and go as they please, taking away what feels well and good away and hopefully empowering them to encourage someone else. I hope that ‘being good to yourself’ becomes the overall practice, and with time we naturally normalize the idea of maintaining good health.”
Brittany tries to fit self-care moments into my day wherever she can with things like HIIT workouts, healthy eating, deep cleaning, and herbal showers to relax her mind. One of the things she touches on is how surrounding yourself with good energy can have a positive impact on yours and can help relieve the stress from a busy week.
“I’m pretty social and I live for a good meal so heading to brunch or dinner in Brooklyn with friends or my husband is a form of self-care for me. There’s something about being out and about in your community with people you love and enjoy. It feels familiar and creates a sense of belonging. No pressure, just good laughs”
The keys to balancing work and wellness are quite simple, although it may take some roughing around to actually execute them. Brittany follows these four steps when it’s time to make that switch from the desk to downtime: getting organized and productive at work, setting healthy boundaries at work and within outside affairs, prioritizing leisure and downtime, and stating your wellness needs out loud.
As women, we must break away from the idea that you haven’t accomplished much if you aren’t drained from head to toe. Our biggest goal should be to maintain ourselves.
As Brittany heads back over to her cozy home where an open laptop, essential oils, and a smoothie blender sits anticipating her arrival—she leaves a few parting words with Bauces who haven’t figured out how to make room for themselves in their own schedules.
“When women become overwhelmed and feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to tackle work, family, the side hustle, and self-care, I’d like them to remember that in order to continue to give you have to replenish. Taking time to recalibrate and refuel is a must if you want to give the world the best version of yourself.”