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Wellness: Expectations vs Reality

We've all probably seen at least one meme on social media of those side-by-side photos featuring "What I Ordered" vs "What I Got." We see these posts and laugh at what should have been a fondant character cake for a child's 1st birthday party, looking more like the one-year old child themselves hand-crafted the cake using dried Play-doh.

If you're like me, and grew up watching the Cosby show, I'm sure you remember the episode where Theo wanted to rock a Gordon Gartrell button down but couldn't afford it, so he enlisted Deniece's help as she aspired to begin a career in fashion. If you know the episode, then you know exactly how that turned out...

Wellness can often feel just like that. We expect that when we're making healthy lifestyle choices we'll have a general feeling of being "Well, Good and Happy." This year came with it's own set of unexpected twists and turns for us all.

I'll admit, I WAS NOT prepared for the myriad of emotions I'd be left feeling from day-to-day, and month-to-month, or just how those feelings would effect my thoughts and even my productivity.

Check out my Top-3 Wellness Expectations vs Reality Insights for 2020, and a few tips for how I navigate and switch gears when reality supersedes the visions I have for my life.

"Feelings of Positivity" vs "Feelings of Frustration"

I don't believe in New Year Resolutions, but I definitely came into January with a list of goals, and I was on track with accomplishing them the first 12 weeks of 2020. As April set in, it became obvious my plans for the year would require a detour; and by the end of June, it was even more evident what I expected for my year, was not at all what I got.

Feelings of frustration were subtly overriding the positive vibes I like to think I bring as I begin and end each day. Seeing how the media was parceling out half-facts, limited data, and offering no real solutions that emphasize the importance of holistic health to building up immunity against all illnesses, it seemed more than obvious that fear was being used to control opinions; which as we see, altered the way we go about our days. This was to me both aggravating and alarming.

As much as I wanted to create and share meaningful messages of encouragement, I found myself struggling to show up authentically. I always thought of myself as a "glass is refillable" type of person, not one to have a "glass is half empty" point of view; let alone feeling like I had nothing positive to pour from my glass at all.

"Spreading the Love" vs "Relaxing into Introversion"

When I tell people I'm an introvert, they often seem surprised, because publicly I'm a bit of a social butterfly. I love to make meaningful connections with others, and the simplest way I initiate those connections has always been with a simple, genuine smile. On a great day, that smile leads to a short interaction; shared story and often ends with the appreciation for finding the power and beauty in someone else's story.

What makes me an introvert is after being social, I enjoy the stillness of my solitude as I recharge, There are four types of introvert: Anxious, Restrained, Social, and Thinking, I fall into the categories of both Restrained and Thinking, which means I may hold back before saying what I feel; especially if I'm still processing what's going on in and around me. The downside of this is when I am finally ready to express, everything comes out at once, the good, bad and ugly.

How in the world could I focus on spreading loving messages (on or offline) when I was busy sorting out what was going on in my head because the world around me had transformed into something none of us expected? The answer, I wasn't. More often, I went into introvert-mode and was knowingly missing out on opportunities to be a light or receive light from others.

"Making Healthy Choices" vs "Giving in to Comfort Cravings"

Much of health and wellness begins with practicing mindfulness, YES. But how can we show up for ourselves with intention if we we are not in the right frame of mind? I recently read that we have "3" Brains; our Head, our Heart, and our Gut. So, if we are what we consume, then what we internalize conceptually, emotionally and physically all contribute to our overall well-being.

As an adult, I can't recall a time I truly loved working out in the traditional sense of going to the gym, running, or participating in any type of competitive physical activity. I do enjoy a good workout; but it's the dancing for me. It's not an understatement that I will dance nonstop to good music; especially when it's rooted in African-culture. The last two years, I've enjoyed dancing and performing with the Hundred's Unit, and social distancing brought that to a halt, leaving me to dance throughout my house...which just isn't the same.

In the earlier months of the pandemic, wanting to maintain a healthy immune system was motivation enough for me to make responsible choices in what I ate and staying active. At some point, I realized life wouldn't be going back to normal anytime soon, and the external activities that brought me comfort (like music festivals, day parties and nights out on the dance floor) weren't available. But I needed my comfort! Food was familiar, easily accessible, and the ones I began reaching for were often high in carbs. This is an area I've had to meet with the most intention to stay on track.


Things you can do to maintain your holistic wellness when "What You Expected" is not "What You Got?"

Be Proactive

If this year taught us anything it's that we can never be completely prepared for what the future may bring; so "Stay ready and you don't have to get ready."

Use the weekend to plan for your week ahead:

  • Review your calendar

  • Confirm. cancel or reschedule appointments as necessary

  • Check your bank statements; verify transactions

  • Go grocery shopping; meal prep for yourself/family

  • Do house chores (laundry, cleaning, etc.)

Phone a Friend

Consider reaching out to someone when your heart is heavy, or your head is filled with thoughts you're tired of working through on your own.


It's a great idea to ask permission before you unload your emotions on anyone, but if you have a trusted friend, or set of friends that can provide a listening ear, pick up the phone and make that call (or send that text),

Social Media

Seeking out an online community by joining a FaceBook, blog group, or the like to connect with people who share your common interests.

Mental Health Professionals

Depression is serious. If you are experiencing signs (or know someone who is) it's important to contact a professional. Click here to learn more about whether it may be time to contact your doctor.

Write It Down!

In my heart-of-hearts Erykah Badu is my spirit animal. I believe in the power of manifesting, and I love her quote on bringing vision to life. "Write it down on real paper with a real pencil. And watch shit get real."

Grab a notepad and jot down your:


What are you hoping to achieve?


How do you feel? How would you like to feel? Be honest...


What have you overcome and achieved? Big or Small, celebrate yourself!


Letting Go of Expectations and Keeping the Focus on What Really Matters

Even though the year was nothing like what I imagine any of us expected, I'm prayerful we continue to make the best of it; embracing the challenges and lessons that lend to our continuous growth. We should to find and express gratitude for the daily blessings in our lives. In striving to be healthful, we must be willing to be open and flexible to change, and especially be compassionate toward ourselves when the outcome doesn't look like what we imagine.

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