Be Kind To Yourself

Making it through 2020 has just got to be enough without placing pressure on ourselves to succeed, go harder, perform at the highest levels and hustle hustle hustle.

This year can be a chance to reset, revive, and rely on the things you have now and what you are most grateful for.

Some of us just need to take the time and space to breathe and be kind to ourselves in this episode I discuss me doing just that.

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Finding happy seven steps to relationships that will not steal your joy is the new book by me Nikita Banks, a licensed psychotherapist and life strategist leverage the knowledge you’ll receive in this book to help you with the process of obtaining absolute clarity. Through the use of Guided Self exploration. This process is necessary to help you master all your relationships in 2019 and beyond going or black therapist podcast calm and grab your copy of the book guaranteed to help you redesign all your relationships based on two basic principle, health and happiness. Get your copy today. Welcome to the black therapist podcast. The black therapist podcast is podcast where we discuss the unique issues people of color face when dealing with mental health issues and mental health diagnosis. Now if you are new to our show, I am your host, author, life strategist and psychotherapist Nikita Banks in private practice in my hometown of Brooklyn, New York. I am available for both psychotherapy and coaching sessions. And you can find more information about that on my website Nikita Banks calm you can listen to our podcasts everywhere podcasts are found Apple podcasts Google Play YouTube, SoundCloud, PIPA, Stitcher, I Heart Radio and black therapists podcast comm if you are a mental health advocate or a therapist and you want to buy our podcast merchandise, you can do so by visiting our site. And if you want access to our free mental health tips, free online trainings, discounted selective services and resources do so by joining our mailing list by texting get happy, all one word 266866. If you love the podcast, please like comment and share. We’d love to hear from you. And if you want to send me some feedback, guest suggestions or simply to say hey, you can contact us at our website, black therapist, podcast calm please be mindful that this episode and all the information that we provide here is just a resource and a tool to help get you started on your mental health journey. If you are feeling any mental health distress or you are having any significant issues, please feel free to reach out to us so that we can find you a mental health provider in your area. Okay, let’s go. Hey, guys. Um, I hope you missed me. I have missed you. There’s a lot of a lot of things going on in the world and in my own personal universe. That is just crazy. So

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we had our show premiere,

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I did not come in present a show to you guys last week because

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it was

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my birthday. And if you’re not new here, you’re not new here. You know that every year. My birthday is a source of like a lot of emotional upheaval. This is a really good birthday, though. Um, there’s a lot of good things happening in my life. And my birthday is also my son’s birthday and there is that I have planned on taking a trip and doing some girlfriend things that never happened. But you know, COVID,

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I’m over it. To be honest with you. I think everybody is over it, which is probably why our numbers are going up. The numbers specifically in my Brooklyn neighborhood have gone back up. I’ve stopped monitoring them. I live in a predominantly mixed neighborhood, mostly Jewish, but you know, a lot of other ethnicities in my neighborhood. Blacks are not a lot doing a lot of us. Blacks are not a lot of black people in my neighborhood. Like that. I’m even though I’m not that far from Flatbush, right, so I live in Midwood. And so I’m not that far from the Flatbush area. So like, it’s almost like once you cross the street, they’re all good negros and new on one side of the she’s like, you know, majority Jewish or like a mixed community. So because of the religious holidays and the religious gatherings, our numbers have been going up. And it’s kind of hard for me to even imagine or even think about because I live in a pretty affluent neighborhood, the majority of the the

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Jewish community over here, they seem pretty conservative in terms when I go outside, they were under math, everybody’s doing what they need to be doing. But I guess the numbers don’t lie. So I’ve been really kind of going back into hibernation mode,

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which has been affecting my mood. So

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I decided, you know what, just to push through how I’ve been feeling to record the show, so I’m not really sure about you guys, but depression shows up. For me, in my chest, I can’t, I can’t breathe as fluid. It feels as if there is a distinct heaviness that’s laid on upon my chest.

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I don’t want to talk a lot.

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Still, so there’s not a lot of there not a lot of social interactions, period, just because I’ve really been trying to take it

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seriously after the summertime,

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to keep myself and my family

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healthy, kind of over it. I don’t know this whole time. How I look at COVID in like this, this the year of 2020 is really truly as if it’s a flood, a flood of emotions, a flood of trauma, a flood of, of epic proportions like this, this feels like Moses is flood to me. And

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if your foundation is not

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secure, if there are any cracks,

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if there is any minimal opening of your insecurities, financial insecurity, emotional insecurity, spiritual insecurity, you know, mental insecurity, how you feel about yourself, this time will actually reveal the cracks in your foundation, and it will actually knock you off of your things, the gift for me, has been that I’ve been actually able to forgive myself for my fallibilities and for the things that are not perfect in my life. And it allowed life to slow down enough for me to prepare for 2021 to be better. So I have exciting plans upon the horizon for my career, have forgiven myself for not executing the things that we talked about, in the past, doing some of the things that we talked about in the past, I’ve also recognized that even though I’m really truly self reliant, and have had to be just because of COVID, and the isolation

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piece of it, that I no longer have to

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be an island. I’m a Libra guys. So we kind of tend to do a lot

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by ourselves and put a lot

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on our plate,

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put a lot on our plate when it’s not necessary. And so I’ve been learning to kind of delegate and like, work with

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some of the people that

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I have access to, and create a, not only a 2021 goals list, but also to like, plug up some of the holes that are in my life, things that I need to do. So I haven’t really, again, I talked about this on my show, usually I go to my doctor’s appointments around my birthday, I have a few appointments that I need to make, there are a few that I’ve already made, there are things that I probably should have been doing what wasn’t doing because of COVID. So like really just trying to make up all of my appointments, doing the things that I needed to do in order to fulfill some of my requirements have been really helpful. But I’ve been working a lot, a lot more than I have in the past. I won’t say a lot more. It’s been different. I usually, previously I was focused a lot more on my consult consulting work and making money that way. But because of a reduction in client work, as well as a reduction in pay, I’ve had to really, truly focus on building up my private practice, which I’ve been able to do. And I’m strange, because I’m booked. I’m booked, but I’m booked with the with not the right clients. And we can talk about that when we talk about it now. So for private, our clinicians who are going to into private practice, you will find out that some payers are lower, some payers are higher. And what you have to try to do is try to balance out your time, right? So I’m going to have a 45 minute session and I’m going to get the full rate. I want to fill the majority of my clients with full rate clients, right, what the fuck the majority of my schedule with full rates, clients, it only makes sense. If I’m going to spend a 60 minute session for, you know, our I mean, a 60 minute session and charge $160. And then I’m going to have that same session with some $35 clients. I’m not gonna take a whole bunch of $35 clients. So what we’re focusing on recently is kind of opening up more slots to the higher paying clients but still being able to accommodate some of the lower payers, and I’ve been booked, I’ve been booked, I’ve been booked, but in order to try to like flip those sessions and get access to the people who can helped me keep my lights on and keep keep me around stone boots. That’s what I bought myself from a birthday. Give me a rhinestone boots and like cute things and like helped me establish some of the other financial goals that that I have. It’s been challenging, but it’s also been rewarding. So I hope that you guys, if you are starting out in private practice, or you are starting out your mental health journey in your wellness journey that you keep trying, I have clients that I see who don’t really pay me a lot. And again, I don’t have a lot of open slots for those clients, but I will see them

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I know that my clients need need me and need other providers who are like me more than ever now. And so I’ve just been really trying to balance out doing the things that I love to do for the clients who who need me, and the clients that, you know, really don’t have other support in that way. And so I’ve really been kind of going above and beyond for my clients, as my therapist has done for me in the past. But at the same token, I you know, I do realize now that I had to be a lot more business conscious, in order to make some of the goals that I have. I’ve joked about this before, but it’s not a joke, be partners in my office, everybody has like nice cars, and stuff. And so I finally got myself a decent car, which I think is decent, I love driving it. You may see it on my Instagram, if I’m posting Mike my nails or whatever. But just it kind of feels good to be able to reward myself for all of the hard work and not have to worry about the financial stuff. But mentally, some days, I feel like I’m the kind of Oh, I haven’t really been going to therapy myself. And it’s been challenging, you know, to put aside all of the things that I’ve needed to put aside in order to make space for my clients, for my family, for my friends, as well as being physically and in some ways emotionally isolated, because of what’s going on, you know, being in New York in the first hotspot and seeing my friends across the country who are not, they’re not socially responsible. They’re not social distancing. You know, one of my friends is wrote in, like Bugs Bunny or something when when she voted, and I’m like, yo, all this shit right now was way too important for us to just be making stupid ass decisions, or being be stupid, but don’t put it on social media, because now I’m judging you. Now I like I liked people more when I knew what they meant. I didn’t know what they thought about stuff. Right? So like, you know, this is really starting to wear on me, especially in terms of like, judging my friendship, I’m a lot more judgy now in my personal life than I’ve ever been. And don’t feel like that with my clients, because my clients are struggling a real ways. And I guess because I don’t, it’s weird. I feel like with a lot of my friendships, and maybe, you know, the other therapists who are here can like, attest to this or you disagree. I feel like my friendships have gotten real surface level as I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into my career. And in a lot of ways, the more success I have, or the more front facing success I have meaning you can go on my social media and see what I have going on. I’m, you know, on the board of this or on the TV for that. I think that a lot of times it. It robs my friends and families of being completely vulnerable with me. And at the same token, I really rarely have the opportunity nor the patience sometimes in order to deal with like, the crises that I’m seeing in my friends. Like I had a friend that I hung out with for my birthday. And he told me he didn’t believe in COVID like he thought it was a myth. I just don’t have the emotional fortitude to deal with something that ludicrous right now, like I don’t I don’t you know, I’ve had friends say to me, oh, well, you’re afraid of getting COVID I’m afraid of getting a deadly disease. When I could just stay in my house. Like I don’t understand why that’s a judgment why you should feel any kind of way and so a lot of what I’m seeing is like people they’re being judged. Maybe I’m judging because I’m feeling judged, but I just asked I don’t understand why anybody else cares what other people do to

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honor their health. Right? Like if somebody was like, Oh, you don’t, you don’t have sex raw, or like you always use condoms. I don’t think that that would even really be a thing. Right. So like, I can see if this was something that I could like, physically protect myself from, like, I can be around my friends and not just wear my mask, but be around my friends and like, be safe. And be said, this is something that’s airborne, I just have to stay away. So I don’t know. It’s just, it just feels like a weird time. I’m so sick of the political stuff that’s happening. I feel spent. I feel I feel spent. So while I totally want to come in and connect with with you guys, and connect with my community, I had to stay off of social media personally, just to breathe. And say you lie to you lies utilize all of my strength for the clients that I’ve been seeing. And again, like I said, we’ve been booked this week, for whatever reason is pretty long. I know the reason this week is light for me. And I’m really grateful that it is. And I had to kind of like slow down, there was really no way for me to add higher paying clients. With my schedule booked up completely. So for the last two weeks, I’ve reduced my caseload so that I can add in the new clients. If you are listening, and you want to be seen by me. Right now we’re accepting clients who are private pay, who have United Health optim. Oxford. What else united Oxford ox, did I say that you can hide it after my Oxford an Oscar insurance as well as Aetna. And I’m licensed in New York, New Jersey and Georgia. That’s where I’m accepting. Well, New York in New Jersey is where I’m accepting those clients. Everybody else? You know, I’m licensed in New York, New Jersey and Georgia. So there’s that. So um, yeah, I’ve just I’ve had to like reduce my caseload. And I’m really excited about things being slower. This upcoming week, even though it’s kind of not that slow. There are other things that I had to really get accomplished. But I’m just, I’m hoping that everybody is doing what they need to do to feel better. Like even you know, seeing other people either celebrate on social media or like, doing certain things, I don’t know, I just, I don’t feel I feel isolated. And I don’t, it’s not a negative, or positive. It’s just how I feel. And I don’t want to continue to feel like that. But I’m a social butterfly. But nature, although, you know, I’ve liked over the past few years, being home, and having the option of staying home and having the option of like doing things, a grout and grout, my eyelashes, I grew out my edges, my hair is super long my skin is on is poppin. So I’ve been able to kind of like to, you know, positive things in this isolated paint place, but I really, truly Miss like, seeing my mom and being around family and doing, you know, social gatherings. I have a bunch of friends that use the SE. You know, every summer we do cookouts and birthday stuff and celebrations and I haven’t seen them in monsoons really well, it really sucks. So I mean, I’m gonna try to call and, you know, I have a bunch of lunch dates that I need to, to get out with. But I really haven’t been getting out unless it’s been like business stuff. And

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it’s getting cold

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and flu season and the numbers are going back up. And it’s kind of getting crazy. Again, so I just wanted to come in and check in with you guys. This is not a not a bad thing. Not a big thing. I just want to come and say hi, let you know what I was going through. If you are going through any of this and you are under the sound of my voice to try to do as much as you can do to breathe, I am fine. I will be fine, you are fine, you will be fine. I know for a fact that some of the usual coping skills that I have used in the past probably ain’t gonna work right now. Because, you know, this is just this unprecedented. It’s a brand new time and space is a once in 100 year pandemic. And so, you know, we got to try new new strategies, but right now what I’ve been doing outside of just been practice Thing gratitude and working a lot is been just, you know, sleeping a whole hell of a lot. And connecting with myself, you’re not putting the things that that I’ve had on my to do list back on. I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish and brushing off my, you know, third level college, Spanish and Duolingo I’m, you know, learning new certifications and I’ve taken up new skills just to be able to kind of practice some structured things, I set my goals for 21. I’m going to be getting around to doing my budget. Recently, structuring my business goals and my my business income and projections for next year, we will be going into group practice and offering group supervision and individual supervision for LMS W’s who want to get the LCS w ours in 2021. So I’m really excited about some of the things that I have planned for the future. But what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been asking my clients to do is to check in with themselves daily, ask yourself what you need, maybe you need to sleep in a little bit later, maybe you need to eat some ice cream, which I’m about to do right now. And it’s late and I don’t care. Maybe you need to have some chocolate, maybe you need to buy five pair, I bought five pairs for my birthday. Let me see 1234 Yeah, I bought I bought four pairs of sparkles, no five, no six, damn, about six pairs of sparkly shoes. Don’t do this if you’re on a budget, six pairs and sparkly shoes for my birthday. So, three pair were kind of free, I’m not going to go into how I didn’t steal them. But the pairs of them were kind of free. And they were like $10 that got them on sale. And then I bought a pair of boots that two pairs of boots that are going to go back they’re the same size. So they’re going to go back because they were too big. They hurt. And they’re beautiful. But I’m not into beauty that hurts and not at this age right now. So just indulge yourself with the things that you that you need. Right now within budget that will make you smile that will make you happy. get through today. And let’s just like focus on what we need to focus on. If you have not registered to vote in your, your town, if you can vote vote early, if you can go into a polling place to do so. Make sure you do so here in New York. We start voting next week, which is the 24th. I went online, I ordered my ballot, ordered a ballot for what am I got my ballot for my son, I made sure that he went to get his ballot. He’s registered at dad’s house, but we sent it here just to make sure that he can get it. New York is sending out like key fobs to help you go in and tell you where you where you poll. Like where your district is where you vote, what your numbers are, they’ve they’re sent me mine, I don’t know if my son has gotten his at dads but they’ve sent me mine. So this way, I know as soon as I go in there, where I go to vote, who I go to speak to so I don’t have to stand on any lines. And now since I have my early ballot, I was told that I can fill it all out and either take it to a polling place on the 24th, which I believe is next Monday. Or I could just hold, you know, vote, hold it and then take it to the polls on Election Day, which I’m planning on doing superduper early. So, you know if you can vote early, vote early in any way that they’re going to taint and stink up this election. They will.

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nsw New York State has a list of candidates that they are endorsing. I don’t know a lot about these candidates. But we know we have a political action committee. I don’t think that that’s what they’re called. But we have a political committee that vets the candidates and sees you know, in terms from a social work lens, what their candidates are about. And if there are platforms that are of interest to us. And they we as an organization endorsed them, I do not personally endorse them. I’m not even on that committee. But you know, that may be a thing that you guys can do is to check in with you if you have your NSW chapter there or psychological organizations that there are some candidates that they that they support, we could do that. And I would love to do a show. And maybe I’ll do that next week where we talk about, you know, real true civic engagement and how we as social workers are So integral to the the part of social justice and social change. I think that that’s the part that has been left out of the conversation for a really long time. And we got to get back to it, okay. Look at Texas is Texas has the stupid ass I’m gonna say like that stupid ass law that now social workers can deny people because they’re LGBTQ, which is just ridiculous. I mean, there’s a lot A lot, a lot of work that we need to be doing professionally and politically as it relates to how we care for our clients. The Affordable Care Act is is, is on the line. So, you know, mentally, spiritually, and politically, there are a lot of things that we have to do. But at the same token, we all have our everyday day to day problems, I’m still trying to keep my lights on, I gotta keep my gas on, gotta pay this phone back, pay this phone bill right now, my phone bill, but it’s like all these other things that you have going on in life, and then regular life is still happening. So you have to try to make make sure that you are making space for yourself in these times. And so that’s what I’ve tried to try to do. And for that, it’s, I feel like it’s, it’s been a separating factor for us. And I don’t want to do that anymore. So I’m going to try to push myself to go forward and

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be kind to myself on every

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session that I end with my clients, I remind them to be kind to themselves. And I’ve talked about this previously, being kind to yourself is checking in with yourself and giving yourself whatever it is that you need in the moment, even if you don’t have anybody else to do that for you. Or ask you how you are a higher day when or what you’re feeling, especially if you’re in the helping profession. Some people just assume that you don’t need to have those questions as I love to be checked in on. A lot of people just call me and ask me how I’m doing and what I’m doing and whatever and unfortunately doesn’t happen. Enough. I’m usually the one checking in on other people, but that also gets tiring as well. So there are days and times that I have to ask myself, what do you need girl? Girl? What do you need? What can I give you today? What can you have? And and I will obsess over some stuff, you know on like making sure that I get what I need, I might go a little crazy about getting what I need, like those rhinestone boots. They were sold out all over the country. And I looked all over the place and called 85,000 stores to make sure that I got them only to find them on my birthday for like, I want to say they were like 70% off, or some ridiculous thing. And they’re like a half size too small. And I’m going to try to stretch them just to see if they work. And if not, I’m going to squat on the ball poshmark. And

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there’s that. So

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I want you guys to do well, I hope you all are doing well. And I hope you’ve enjoyed the check in. I’m excited about what we’re going to do for this last season, I promised that I would do black therapist podcast for five seasons, and it’s five seasons. This is the fifth season now. And so we’re gonna see how it all goes if you want to be on the show. And if you are know somebody who would be great on the show, they have to be a mental health professional, they have to be culturally competent, or they have to be somebody that is a social activist or runs some sort of nonprofit people asked me to be on the show and they’re just not a good fit. They don’t fit in with our demographics. They are not either a person of color or a woman of color or someone that serves our community. And there are plenty of plenty of spaces in places for you guys to be at. I just want to create and cultivate spaces for us so that we know that we are welcomed, and we can do what we do unabashedly. I was asked to be on a TV show and I will talk about that, probably an upcoming show. But I was very conscious about what it meant for me as a black clinician to be given a platform platform on a nationally syndicated show to talk about mental health stuff I was super duper conscious about making sure that I came off as professional and that they could see my degree on my wall and that you know, it was a zoom situation so that my room was was up to par and that everything was was well presented because not only am I representing myself, I’m present representing the profession representing black girl magic and I was able to talk about, you know, black therapist podcast and my book and representing my As an author, and as you know, a black clinician, it meant a lot to me to make sure that I was doing that in a way that honored, you know, who I am. But what I mean to the community as well as the other host was a was was a black professional as well. And so I also wanted to not make him look bad

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on the talk about my black so

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they let all these black people usually what happened with black people get together? What is what happened with black people get together, so I had to make sure that everything was copacetic. And you have yarn. I know you have heard that word. S o s word copacetic. Anyway, I don’t know what it means, but I’m not gonna look it up. I think it means all right. So I had to make sure everything was on the up and up. And I’m excited. I’m excited about 2021 I’m excited about 2021 but God damn it, we got to make it through 20 21st and I think that that right now is the challenge taking it day by day, minute by minute, moment by moment second by second and I suggest that each of you do that as well. I cannot wait to reconnect with you on social I’m looking forward to doing that really really soon where I’m getting back on social media but in other words, if you want to be on the show if you want to connect with me in any way shoot me an email at or DM me at Black therapist [email protected] or hit me up on the website black therapist podcast calm or Nikita Banks calm and be well

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thank you guys for listening to another episode of black therapists

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podcast once again you can follow us on all our social media sites at Black therapist podcast on Instagram and on Twitter as well as lack in therapy on Facebook or you could follow your host me Miss m s ni k i think on Instagram and Twitter as well as you can find out any information about me at Nikita in ik it a bank calm and on the show’s website laughs therapists podcast calm and don’t forget if you want to send us any general feedback, show suggestions, show topics for ideas please feel free to drop us an email at Black therapist [email protected] Thank you be well

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