In a new self-care inspired series, sponsored by Ford, ESSENCE pays tribute to the small, easy changes every woman can make in her life that can yield big results toward her health and happiness.
Getting fit and adopting a healthy lifestyle are sometimes unintended but welcomed consequences when you set out to love yourself from the inside out. Atlanta resident, Kyshia Carey, learned this firsthand when she made a small but significant change that began by simply evaluating areas of her life she felt were lacking. For years, Kyshia focused on fitness and weight loss, but deep down inside she knew it wasn’t her fitness regimen, it was her well-being that was off balance.
Realizing she was trying to “fix” the wrong things and fight external battles she couldn’t control, Kyshia felt it was important to shift her energy and spend time listening to herself. She just needed a minute—a minute to tune into what she was feeling, to drown out the well-intended opinions of others, to even silence her own conflicting thoughts and negative self-talk. Kyshia assessed her own self-care and began scheduling regular therapy appointments with a mental health professional, allowing her to keep her emotional health in check instead of waiting for a crisis to show up at her front door.
Self-care, as Kyshia describes it, is the incessant need to feed your mind, body, and soul what it requires to achieve optimal health, provide premium service to the world and give God the glory. For Kyshia, self-care is more than a trendy phrase, it has become a healing obsession that started with being intentional and prioritizing her happiness. Her perspective shifted from a belief that self-care just about spa appointments to a deeper understanding that it’s more about seeking support that enables her to live in pursuit of her intentions. Today, she prioritizes her mental and emotional health, peace and mindfulness—all critical components of well-being.
This brave decision to seek therapy and invest in self-care has paid off in ways she never even imagined. The 44-year-old pharmaceutical sales specialist has become a better daughter, sister, friend, employee and volunteer because she has learned how to show up as her best self and the people who matter most in her life are noting the positive effects. “Kyshia’s disposition and temperament have improved, her body is toned and her skin is flawless,” says her mother and biggest supporter, Marvene S. Carey.
Kyshia’s girlfriends are impressed with her newfound approach to physical exercise and have witnessed the University of Memphis graduate become more intentional about her career goals and relationships as well. “Losing weight isn’t the focal point for Kyshia, instead feeling better and being physically fit have become more important,” LaTreka Smith, one of Kyshia’s best friends of more than 25 years explains. “Kyshia has also set specific career and relationship goals and has been willing to welcome change. As a result, opportunities and new possibilities have simply fallen in her lap and I can see that she’s happy.”
Although she sometimes wishes she had made this shift in thinking and being sooner, Kyshia understands that every second spent on this journey has been purposeful. “I wouldn’t be who I am without the disappointments, trials and hard lessons,” Kyshia admits. “I value this moment because of those moments and I needed every twist and turn on my journey. If it’s my door, it will open. If not, I trust myself and the process enough to know that it’s coming and it’s going to be better than I ever dreamed.”
To other women looking to make a small change in their lives, Kyshia advises: “Focus on your own self-care and make good decisions for yourself today. Don’t worry about next week, next month or next year. Once you master today, you can focus on tomorrow. That includes removing the cape and saving yourself!”
Leslie M. Gordon is a writer, communications, and marketing strategist, and the creator of Get Your Sol Follow her on Twitter.