I Lost My Phone At Marshall’s & I Blame Jesus.

I know what you’re thinking, “Ellie, what in the world does losing your phone at a department store have to do with Jesus?” Well, my friend, everything is not what it seems. This article is no different. If that title got your attention, then I succeeded, and that is a win in my book!

There I was, ready to hit the gym as any healthy person interested in their well-being does. I had everything in my belt bag prepared – my keys, phone, Airpod headphones, tampons, and water bottle in hand. As soon as I park, I reach for the wireless headphones that I charged all night, and nothing. There was no light or Bluetooth connection. This was a travesty. How is a woman supposed to survive at the gym in the 21st century without headphones? Listen to the already playing radio? Yeah, right…

I thought, never fear, my gym is located in quite the exciting strip mall with an array of shops, one being Marshall’s. I made the mistake of thinking an AirPod case would be a replacement charger for the earbuds, which is invalid. However, I didn’t realize that at this point in the story.

I confidently marched up to Marshall’s and immediately spotted phone cases, so headphone cases should be nearby, right? Naturally, I didn’t see them, so I headed to the opposite end of the store to begin my search. I find all sorts of fun things, but alas, no AirPod cases. I feel my frustration begin to grow as my chest tightens, and it gets harder to breathe. Why can’t I find these dang Airpod cases? I know they must have them every department store of the like does (TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, etc.). My anger continued to build, and then I found this quote that smacked me right in my face “He restores my soul.” It is simple but also to the point. It is coincidentally part of my favorite passage of the Bible, called Psalm 23. It is traditionally read at funerals or life celebrations. The entirety reads:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

It made me think how silly it was to be so impatient and frustrated by this situation. Instead, I picked up that sign and a few others that resonated with me and headed to the checkout. Lo and behold, guess what I found – the AirPod cases. They are just covers and not new charging cases. While slightly disappointed, I continue to pick one I like. It’s pink and silicone in case you were wondering! 🙂

A few minutes later, I lost my phone. I retraced my steps around the Marshall’s store and still did not find it. A bit dejected, I leave Marshall’s a number to call and return home. However, having the freedom away from it all was really nice. I enjoyed the scenery outside, which, sadly, I never do. I would not have reacted similarly if I had not seen that sign. Instead, I may have let the situation ruin my day.

This is not me pushing my beliefs on you; everyone should believe in what resonates most with them. Religion is a lot of variations of the same or similar message and moralities to live by. The bottom line is that some higher power wants us to treat each other how we would want to be treated. It is about understanding that every one of us is human, uniting us all. Do we have differences? Of course, that is indeed what helps us grow and gain perspective. If we never challenged our thoughts, we would never grow. Later on, Marshall’s called and let me know they found my phone. Therefore, my mini vacation had to come to an end.

God, the universe, or whatever higher power you believe in works in mysterious ways. So next time you have the choice to see a situation in a positive or negative light, take the extra step to see it positively. It will change your entire perception of the day. ❤

Girl, Stop Being So (Un)emotional

Happy Women’s History Month! Women get a bad rep for being overly emotional, but I hope the world is learning that perhaps women had it right all along. Stay with me here; I will not tell you that girls rule and boys drool (but hey, if the shoe fits 😉 ). However, the world has seen the benefit of communicating how we feel instead of letting it bottle up, fester, and ultimately boil over. When we take the time to identify how we feel, put that into words, and communicate it to others, we do ourselves an excellent service instead of dis-service. People are not mind-readers, and when we hold others accountable for that, it creates a genuinely unfair resentment.

Depression, Anxiety, & Eating Disorders

Gender and sexual orientation differences affect mental health more than people give it credit for. Though there are genetic differences between men and women that may impact mental health, worldview discrepancies between men and women can influence the development of mental health issues. The most prevalent mental health issue in women is depression. Studies have found women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. Many elements can contribute to the development of depression in teenagers, specifically girls. Problems with self-image, friend drama, bullying, school, and extracurricular pressures can all lead to depression in young kids.

Additionally, twice as many women experience generalized anxiety during their lives as men. Teenagers are under enormous stress to overperform in school, extracurriculars, and overall life. Hormone production ebbs and flows, which affects a person’s brain chemistry and can lead to anxiety. Actually, teenage frontal lobes are still developing, which can contribute to the onset of anxiety. Similarly, eating disorders are more prevalent in young women than in men. (This is not to say men do not suffer from depression, anxiety, or eating disorders because, of course, they do too.) Women are held to unobtainable beauty norms through the media. Genetics can also contribute to the beginning of an eating disorder.

The Uterus & The Brain: A Delicate Dance

The female reproductive system can also majorly affect mental health. Due to hormone changes, many women experience Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms the week before their period. It is important to note that the symptoms of depression and anxiety can overlap with PMS. It can worsen before or during menstruation. Additionally, women may be diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) if PMS symptoms are extreme. PMDD can have a worse emotional impact than PMS. This can include drastic mood swings, stress, irritability, and severe depression. PMDD can frequently be so intense that it impacts a female’s daily life and can affect personal relationships. After a woman gives birth, it is normal to have some emotional discord and hormonal fluctuations. If symptoms of depression persist for over two weeks post birth, the mother is usually diagnosed with postpartum depression.

But yes, please keep telling women that they are being overdramatic – it’s not like there is scientific proof of our emotional fluctuations, or anything *eye roll*. As you can see, there are biological differences that can contribute to female mental health conditions. Perhaps women did have it right all along. Plus the world could stand to be a little kinder to women and quit calling us crazy – it doesn’t help anything. Thank you for reading! 🙂

Statistics On Women’s Mental Health


Office on Women’s Health

SeekHer Foundation

Postpartum Support International

House of Ruth

Girls Inc.

I Support The Girls

National Domestic Violence Hotline

RAINN Sexual Abuse/Assault Hotline

Black History Month & Mental Health

If you are not aware, February is Black History Month. That said, I want to take this opportunity to address mental health in the Black community and identify appropriate resources. If you know what it feels like to be at your lowest, and then you would never wish that on anyone. Believe me. We need to work to ensure people are aware of resources to utilize them when needed. We don’t want people to suffer physically, so why would we want them to suffer mentally?

Sadly, the stigma around mental health does extend to different races, ethnic and cultural groups. There is still a stigma around mental health and seeking health. There is still work to do. We have to continue to fight against the stigma and encourage our fellow humans to get the help they are entitled to and deserve. However, it is not enough to say this. We need to do the work to get the message out.

There are amazing mental health organizations that cater to the Black community. They recognize the stigma in the Black Community and actively work to defeat it. It is incredible to learn about the work that these organizations have done. I know they will only continue to do the good work of spreading the word about getting help. We need to prioritize wellbeing.

So what are some of these organizations? I am glad you asked – please see below!

Black Mental Health Alliance

Black Mental Wellness

Boris Henson Foundation

Black Women’s Health Imperative

Black Men Heal

Therapy For Black Men

Therapy For Black Girls

Brother You’re On My Mind

BEAM – Black Emotional & Mental Health Collective

Ourselves Black

Melanin & Mental Health

Sista Afya


Safe Black Space

To The Fair Weathered

You are only on one side – your own. Unfortunately, we are not true friends. I’m not sure we ever were. If you genuinely believe we were, then you may want to do some research on friendship. It is a two-way street, but you thought it was a one-way. A friend does not endlessly talk about themselves without asking how the other person is. A friend doesn’t hold a grudge but instead gives grace.

Even though I was your call when things got bad, it does not mean you were mine. A friend does not leave you when you need them most. They don’t turn their nose up at you or the things you do or say. Instead, they embrace you for who you are. That was never something you could do, and it was not fair for me to expect that of you.

You were never a friend but instead a disappointing waste of time. I feel nothing other than pity when I hear your name. You’ve only ever taken from me just like a thief. You’ve stolen my time and wisdom without anything in return. How is that fair? It is not.

Now it is time to go our separate ways. I am moving on to a new stage of life that you couldn’t possibly understand. I have to put myself and my family first, and you are no longer a priority, and you never will be again. It is time for you to grow up and stop putting your baggage on others. That’s not what friends are for. Dionne Warwick said it best “For good times and bad times, I’ll be on your side forever more. That’s what friends are for….

When Is Enough Truly Enough?

It is incredible how everyone is ready to change the world, but people cannot run faster when transforming themselves. Growth never seems to go from comfort or complacency. Change does not usually start with a large group but with one person. Then that person builds a group of like-minded people to help raise awareness. Mental health is an excellent example of this. Typically mental health is addressed after something terrible has happened. That said, it should not take this many overdoses, shootings, and suicides to get the world’s attention, yet here we are. The scariest part is that the world may be becoming numb to it all. These deaths happen so frequently that part of me wonders if the world is getting conditioned to it. According to the Oxford, Dictionary, conditioning is “the process of training or accustoming a person or animal to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances.” We should not only be terrified by that but also disgusted.

This stigma of mental health will not be broken by only doing things before a horrible occurrence. We must be proactive. Please don’t act like ignoring or arguing about this will do any good. The problem will continue without a result. Some things are not subjective, like a person’s right to live a happy life.

There is too much going on in the world. It becomes overwhelming, and the cries for help fade into the background. This overwhelming feeling is what helps create silos. What will it take to break the silos that keep us apart? We must stop digging our holes and begin to dig tunnels to connect to one big whole to fill together. It is about paying attention to someone other than yourself. Can you imagine if we really did put others before ourselves?

Hopefully, people would see others and begin to hear the cries for help. Then these cries could be answered. It never ceases to amaze me how selfish our world is. Yes, it has improved in the past, but we have a long way to go. There is much work to be done. However, we can never get to that work if we are all broken. There must be a time of healing when people realize that forgiveness & connection have always been the answer. We were never meant to war, fight, and kill one another, but that is when the love of power is greater than the power of love. Power is a tricky thing that should be earned, not freely given. You are not the power or the law. You just help guide it. If power were a wand, you would be the wizard. However, the wand contains all the magic, not you. Be fair, and let’s get to the actual work and stop mincing words. 

If this article scares or upsets you, I am sorry, but I, too, am scared and upset at our world for not stepping up and doing more. There never seem to be enough resources or people to help because too many causes are trying to do the same thing. It is not a political debate; someone ending their own or someone else’s life is never okay. Period. When will we decide to come together and work for the common good? We can do better. We must do better.

Life’s Roadmap

“Then as it was, then again it will be
And though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea.” – Led Zeppelin, Ten Years Gone

If your life were on a map, the road would not be linear. Yet humans are continuously surprised when life takes an unexpected turn. Your plan’s flipped on its head, and everything you worked towards feels for naught. However, did you consider the possibility that your plan was too small and you are capable of things that you didn’t even know were possible? What if we stopped planning? What if we just let life happen and see how it plays out?

The beginning of every new year presents an abundance of possibilities. However, these opportunities do not have to result from a resolution. Perhaps we should change the phrasing from “new year resolution” to “Rejuvenation Goals” or something with a more positive connotation. Sadly, “new year’s resolutions” are infamously unfulfilled.

As the saying goes, “If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it.” Working towards the best version of yourself is never easy, but it is always worth it when you fulfill your purpose. Remember, your “perceived purpose” and “actual purpose” differ 99.9% of the time. Hence, it is rare for these two things to align. That does not mean you don’t know yourself; it just means the future is unpredictable, as is life. In those moments of unpredictability, we must remember that no matter the route you take, part of your life is already waiting for you. Find it and seize it.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or learn something new, success depends upon the root of the goal. Why are you seeking this change? Are you trying to fit a certain beauty standard or live a healthier lifestyle? Are you on a timeline? Be careful of timelines. This is a HUGE reason why people quit. They don’t meet a goal by a specific time and deem themselves a failure even though they have several other factors influencing this. People also tend to underestimate the time and dedication it takes to meet a goal. What is the root of your goal(s)?

A Year In Review

At the end of last year, I talked the talk regarding mental health but felt I needed to do more. It is entirely different to walk the walk and advocate for a cause than simply saying you support it. In late 2021, I began a job that, in all honesty, did not require much critical thinking. It was (and still remains to be) a remote, entry-level position primarily consisting of administrative work. I took the role to get out of my previously stressful job and have more time to dedicate to school. After I began the job, I found I had too much idle time for my brain to wander. Thus, I started this website and blog. Initially, a podcast was associated with it, but I needed more time to devote to it. However, I plan to continue that in some fashion after I graduate. Stay tuned!

It feels cliché to say I learned a lot this year (especially around the new year), but I really did. I learned that taking care of your mental health and trying to help others can be challenging. I started strong with hopes of revolutionizing the mental health world. To be completely transparent, I feel disappointed. I feel disappointed that this did not go exactly how I wanted it. I had hoped to gain more traction to reach more people. It was never about fame or glory but helping someone who might be too afraid to ask for it.

Additionally, I learned that most people’s goals take more than one year. They say good things take time, and to assume a project of this magnitude would only take a year was naïve. It is discouraging to reflect and not meet your goal. However, we must consider it as adjusting the goalpost instead of failing to meet the goal altogether. We must change and adapt as we learn. More likely than not, it won’t go how we thought it would, which is OKAY.

Don’t worry. This is not a farewell letter, as I am NOT a quitter. I believe it when people tell me not to give up and to follow my heart. It does not mean it will become a trending phenomenon, but it could help someone. At the end of the day, that is what this is intended to do: help others. It is meant to show others that they are not alone and that we all struggle and have similar thoughts and feelings. It is a beautiful thing to feel understood and connected to others. It breaks down the silos and brings us closer together. We learn it is more to our advantage to express our feelings than to keep them inside.

What’s my resolution for 2023? To continue to build this project up to be more robust than before. So while I could be sad or disappointed by this venture, I choose to be grateful and optimistic. I am thankful for all the lessons 2022 has taught me, the people it has led me to, and most importantly, anyone who reads or follows (all 11 of you 😉 ) “A Sound Mind & Body.” As you reflect on 2022, I hope you, too, are grateful for the lessons learned instead of dwelling on shortcomings.

Happy New Year, folks! See you next year!

Holiday Scaries

While the holidays have many positives, it is essential to remember that not everyone is having a “holly, jolly” time. I can already hear the question coming from my aunt, “So when do you think you’ll have kids?” Gosh, Aunt Karen, can we get through the engagement and wedding before we have 10 kids?

Many people are anxious around the holidays for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps, your uncle received a subscription to the jelly of the month club instead of a holiday bonus or maybe one cousin just got out of a toxic relationship. While it is commonplace to ask about these topics, take a second to think about what and how you say things this year.

Remember that horrible breakup you went through in college or the job offer you didn’t get? Would you want to be repeatedly asked about it at your holiday party? Probably, not, so why would anyone else?

So what can you do to avoid this?

  1. Talk to other family members and friends and get a sense of what is happening in others’ lives.
  2. Check social media. Have they posted with their significant other in a while? If not, don’t ask about them. Simple as that.
  3. Religion. Politics. Just don’t. Stay away from topics that make others uncomfortable.
  4. Be understanding. Recognize that not everyone is in the best place.

If anything, give people the gift of grace this holiday season. Realize we are all works in progress. If you are unsure what to say to someone, there are some suggestions below to help get you started!

  • What’s going on in your life? What’s new? (Give someone the opportunity to tell you what they want to reveal about their lives as opposed to directly asking them about a specific topic.)
  • What’s the funniest thing you’ve read online recently?
  • What’s the most interesting movie/tv show/book you’ve invested time in this year?
  • What was your favorite song/album of the year?
  • Did you go on any fun trips this year, or are you planning to next year?
  • If you did not live where you live now, and you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live?
  • What would it be if you could do any job in the world and pay was not a factor?
  • How are you? (How often do we take the time to ask one another how they are doing? Less often than we should.)

These questions are simple, and they’re not all super deep. However, sometimes it’s nice to have a light conversation with someone especially if they are struggling. The gift of laughter is sometimes the best thing you can provide. The extra effort to respect someone’s boundaries never goes under-appreciated and reminds us of each other’s value.

Whatever you do, pay attention to how those behave around you. If a person’s body language and voice inflection tell you they are uncomfortable, then they are most likely uncomfortable. Try not to be “the creepy Uncle Steve” and make a joke that you know people will find offensive. It’s funny how one, small word like respect can have such an enormous impact, don’t you think?

The Struggle of Being Human

When I first meet someone, I feel they do not like me. I am unsure what they think about me; I only know it feels negative. It may not be as much of a dislike as disapproval. Then I have to prove myself worthy, and that is exhausting. Sometimes I feel seen as a privileged, idiotic blonde who could not possibly understand the struggles others face. That may be true in some ways. Maybe I don’t understand the struggles others face because I have not been through them myself. However, I, too, have struggled. It may not be in the same way or to the same degree, but that does not mean I am oblivious. One of my favorite quotes is, “Just because I didn’t live through the same hand that was dealt to you doesn’t make me any less or make any more of you.” It puts everyone on an equal playing field which is a hard place for humanity to survive without one group thinking they are better or more worthy than another. No matter our religion, political affiliation, race, sex, ethnicity, or age, we are all human. We can all relate on: the struggle of being human.

Sometimes it can be different, and I feel seen as an outcast or undesirable. I was never the star athlete or star anything, for that matter. I struggled to find my identity while others found theirs effortlessly. In turn, this gave them self-confidence and worth. They could feel good about the fact that they were good at “X” things. It feels good to know your strengths and play to them. However, it can be hard to play to your strengths if do not know what they are. So what is a person to do? How does one identify their strengths? It can be uncomfortable to name the things you excel at, especially at first. In time, it becomes easier. However, there is a fine line between being aware of your strengths and being arrogant. Once you cross that line, there is danger, and it can be a slippery slope to return to a humble mindset.

As a kid, that thing you excel at increases your self-esteem, which is positive. You immediately think about the star athletes or artists. What if you are mediocre at many things? That is how I felt. It can feel like an identity crisis at such a young age. It is not easy to know where you want to go if you do not know who you are. However, this is where we must be careful not to let our abilities define us. Yes, they are part of who we are, but not the entire picture. It reminds me of the quote from Be The Nice Kid founder Bryan Skavnak, which says:

“Some kids are smarter than you,
Some kids have cooler clothes than you,
Some kids are better at sports than you.
It doesn’t matter.
You have your thing too.
Be the kid who can get along.
Be the kid who is generous.
Be the kid who is happy for other people.
Be the kid who does the right thing.
Be the nice kid.”

Bryan Skavnak, Be The Nice Kid

Why does that have to stop at childhood? I want to take that one step further and challenge you to replace the word “kid” with “human” and live out the quote. Be the human who can get along. Be the human who is generous. Be the human who is happy for other people. Be the human who does the right thing. Be the nice human.

Living out that quote allows us to give others and ourselves more grace and help us see the good in ourselves and each other. See and be “the good,” my friends; you won’t regret it.

Advocate For Yourself

I was the quiet girl in school. You know, the one off to the side observing everyone while silently pretending to read a book. I was terrified of embarrassing myself in front of my peers. I did not want to make a spectacle of myself or reveal any vulnerability. In my mind, it was better to be unseen than to be the subject of gossip or scrutiny. Perhaps, it kept some feelings at bay, but it ultimately limited my opportunities. When you advocate for yourself, it feels like a little piece of confidence is restored within you. In the past, there were times when I should have spoken up for myself but did not. As a result, the silence hindered me instead of helping me.

Admitting vulnerability is not a weakness; it is one of the strongest things a person can do. I know many will disagree with me, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Vulnerability is signaling to another person that you trust them. Having someone’s trust is a great honor. There must also be trust for there to be success. Staying silent only allows your feelings and thoughts to fester without a result, while speaking up sets you free. It gives you the key to unlock the next level for yourself. It is the truest form of “taking life into your own hands .” Anyone who has chosen to advocate will tell you that it does not always work out the way you planned, but it is always worth it. It certainly is not easy and takes much practice. .

I look at it like this. When you are at the store and cannot find a product, do you ask for help? If yes, you find the product and leave within ten minutes. If not, you spend 20 more minutes looking for the product only to ask an associate 20 minutes later. It may not always make this big of a difference, but you get the point. What about the next time someone hurts you with their words? Should you stand there and take it? Should you attack them verbally? Of course not. Instead, be honest and let them know why what they did hurt you. Help them understand why it was triggering for you, so they won’t make the same mistake again. You do not need to be rude about it; instead be kind and see the difference it makes.

I know that it is not human nature to be open and honest, but we have seen the benefits time and time again. So the next time someone speaks to you disrespectfully, tell them, “I am sorry for whatever happened to you to make you talk to me that way, but I do not deserve that.” What is the person going to say? “You’re a jerk?” I don’t think so. Often times you will hear, “People accept the love they think they deserve.” My response to that is to know your own worth. Know what you deserve and accept nothing less or short of the best.