I’m so excited to introduce you to today’s guest, Minaa B! Minaa has a master’s degree in social work from New York University with over eight years of clinical experience and a passion for both mental health and social justice.
As a writer, wellness coach, therapist and mental health educator, Minaa dedicates her days to teaching others how to cultivate self-care and self-advocacy. We’re going to explore these passions as well as how boundaries and community care support a collective healing. I hope this conversation inspires you to check in, both with yourself and with the world around you.
If you have questions for Minaa, leave them in the comments below or reach out to her on IG where she shares free mental health education moments and weekly community check-ins!
Nina Westbrook — You’re a mental health professional, educator, writer, and wellness coach who is passionate about the ways self-care can impact our community as a whole. What (or who) inspired this journey for you and can you explain the interconnectedness between self-care and community wellbeing?
Minaa B – My passion for community-care and how it’s deeply tied to self-care comes from my own personal upbringing growing up in an impoverished community that also had a lot of violence. Wellness teaches us that self-care is how we improve our mental health and, though that is true, the piece that is often overlooked is how co-regulation, safe environments and social advances also play a role in our healing. My upbringing played a role in me becoming a social worker because the field understands healing on both a micro and macro level, and I don’t believe healing only happens in the therapy office. It can also happen in our communities and as well on a system level. We need self-care but we also need community-care that trickles all the way to legislative change.
NW — You share free resources on your website focused on setting limits, slowing down and re-centering. Why did you select those particular topics and how do they support the self-care journey?
MB – I chose those specific topics because my teachings focus on practicing self-care through the lens of boundaries and community-care. We all have limits, and by knowing them we can operate at our best capacity for both ourselves and others. When we erect healthy boundaries, we are also re-centering ourselves and coming back into alignment with our bodies. Anxiety, stress, depression, trauma, etc. in many ways causes us to lose sight of ourselves, our needs and desires, when we slow down and re-center, we gain clarity and I wanted people to have access to bite sized tools and worksheets that could help them do just that – set limits and recenter.
NW – We love your Instagram feed! You recently shared a few “hard truths that require acceptance” which is a challenge many of us face throughout life. How does acceptance play a role in the journey to self-love and what are some ways we can channel acceptance in our everyday lives?
MB – Radical acceptance is so important because once we accept our lived experiences and reality, we can do the work of engaging in change. I believe the opposite of acceptance is resistance, and when we are ambivalent about change sometimes it can keep us stuck in an endless cycle. The truth is not always easy to digest, but when we stop living in denial, we in many ways set ourselves free from emotional bondage and that is the first step to healing.
Some ways to channel acceptance in our everyday lives would be to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness allows us to be present and focus on our reality. It takes us out of our heads and forces us to confront what is happening in the here and now. I encourage people to take small steps toward practicing mindfulness by learning to name their emotions in the moment, active listening when engaging in conversations, and most importantly paying attention to habits like jumping to conclusions or making assumptions about ourselves and others when we have limited information to make the conclusions we make in life.
NW – You dedicate your life to promoting and cultivating self-care for others. What are a 2 – 3 things you do every day to protect and care for yourself?
1. I say no to things that are not in alignment with my values, needs or energetic capacity for the day.
2. I give myself permission to rest in many ways, whether it be disconnecting from social media, sleeping in later or disengaging from work to watch Netflix or just do absolutely nothing.
3. I journal throughout the day as a way to keep myself grounded and challenge any negative thoughts that might be coming up. My new thing is journaling on my laptop compared to handwriting like I did in the past.
NW – As a co-host of the newly launched podcast BECAUSE LIFE with Sydel Curry-Lee, you join other mental health professionals in an effort to destigmatize the discussion around mental health. How does this platform accomplish that and what can we expect to see as the episodes continue?
MB — BECAUSE LIFE with Sydel is something that the community needs so deeply. It gives space for everyday people to be seen and heard as they are invited on the show as guests to share their story, and it opens up a conversation between a therapist and a public figure and I think it humanizes both me and Sydel, while amplifying that we all experience similar struggles, despite our status, wealth, accolades, etc. I hope that it continues to normalize mental health and makes it easier to talk about our struggles.