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03| WEDDING STATIONERY

04| THE BLOG

05| THE SHOP

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Meet Bernel and learn more about our journey to serve creatives through one of a kind design.

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01| ABOUT US

02| BRAND & WEB DESIGN

03| WEDDING STATIONERY

04| THE BLOG

05| THE SHOP

06| CONTACT US

Explore our offerings, view our previous clients and learn which custom design experience best suites you.

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01| ABOUT US

02| BRAND & WEB DESIGN

03| BUSINESS RESOURCES

04| THE BLOG

05| THE SHOP

06| CONTACT US

Free branding and website resources plus our favorite tools of the trade.

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2: Managing Anxiety with Colleen Blake-Miller

We’ve all face some sort of fear and anxiety over the last few years, but have you found a way to manage it? In this episode of Here’s the Tea, Colleen Blake-Miller joins us to share how you can check in on your mental health, set realistic boundaries, and shift your mindsets when facing fear and anxiety in any situation.

Here’s the Tea with Akua is a safe space to learn about hot topics, gain a new perspective and have a greater understanding of the people around us. You’ll hear amazing stories of everyday people like you and me. They’ll be spilling the tea and giving us an honest look into their lives. As we discuss topics such as race, relationships, mental health, and how to just figure out the thing called life, we’d love to have you subscribe on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player!

Meet Colleen:

As a Registered Psychotherapist and speaker, Colleen Blake-Miller has worked diligently, for more than a decade, supporting hundreds in achieving health, wellness, and personal growth. She couples her dynamic speaking style with her clinical expertise in such areas as identity, worth, depression, and trauma in order to bring healing to men and women in her community.

In addition to being in private practice, Colleen works within the community through workshops, special projects and community initiatives.  She has served for over 16 years supporting individuals and families in need.

Colleen is a mother of 3 boys (LJ, BJ & JJ) and one beautiful daughter (Rebecca-Joy).  She has been married to her husband and best friend Leroy for over 13 years, and enjoys laughing, making others laugh, and working with her hands on DIY projects at home.

Important Parts of the Conversation:

Get to Know Colleen (2:21)

Finding Balance & Managing Mental Health (3:59)

Free DIY Mental Health Check (14:24)

Shift Your Mindset (20:30)

Connect with Colleen:

colleenblakemiller.com

instagram.com/colleenblakemiller

Free DIY Mental Health Check

Connect with Akua:

akuakonadu.com

instagram.com/akuakonadu_

Subscribe to the Podcast:

Apple Podcast

Spotify

Review the Transcript:

Akua Konadu
Welcome to here’s the tea with Akua. That’s me. And this is a place where we have candid conversations about various hot topics. Each week, you’ll be hearing some amazing stories of everyday people like you and me, there’ll be spilling the tea and giving us an honest look into their lives. I believe that our stories are powerful. And when shared, they can change not only our perspectives, but also our lives. No topic is off limits. So have a seat and get ready because we are going to be making uncomfortable conversations comfortable. Hey, everyone, welcome back to another episode of here’s the T with Akua. And I am just really looking forward to today’s conversation because I feel like it’s something that is just super important and very necessary for where we are currently at in our lives. And so today we’re going to be talking about how we can manage our anxiety, and just overall mental health through uncertain times. And so today I am joined by a really great friend of mine, Colleen, I met Colleen last year, almost about a year ago now has it been Colleen, has it been almost a year?

Colleen Blake-Miller
I can’t. I feel like September was it?

Akua Konadu
I have? It was July, it was July. So yes, you are right. Yeah, I just remember. Yes. So almost there. So yeah, we met at a conference. And right away, I fell in love with her. So I had to invite her here today on the podcast. So welcome, Colleen, it is so good to see you.

Colleen Blake-Miller
Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be connecting. Yes.

Akua Konadu
Oh, this is so much fun. And for those of you that don’t know, Colleen is a registered psychotherapist and a speakers and speakers. So she has worked with hundreds of people’s providing support and helping people achieving health, wellness and personal growth. So again, as I mentioned, we’re gonna be talking about how we can manage our mental health during these uncertain times. Because I just kind of feel like we’ve been forced these past few years just to consistently show up as we did before. And I think people are tired and people are burnt out. So I’m really looking forward to this conversation. And so but before we hop into that, just for our listeners, you can definitely explain it a lot better than I can but share with us who you are, what you do, and just how you are making an impact.

Colleen Blake-Miller
Yeah. So thanks for the intro clear. So I’m a registered psychotherapist, here in Toronto, Canada. And I work with individuals, couples and families and support them through challenging seasons of life. Usually people come in, because something’s just not working, right, the way that they want their life to be the relationship maybe to be, it’s not happening for them. And so our time together, we unpack, you know, how they landed where they are and begin to I invite them to just have curiosity about their life and the way that they think and the way they speak about the things that are going through and support them as they kind of figure out the path to somewhere healthier for themselves. So I love it. I absolutely love my job. I love what I get to do every day. It is it’s amazing.

Akua Konadu
I’ll be honest, when I first heard you speak at Craven heart, the conference that we met at, I was just like, please be my therapist. I was like her voice is just so soothing. And you were just dropping such great knowledge. And so, like I said, I’m really excited for us to be having having this conversation today. And so one thing that I want to ask is, you know, especially regarding what you do, as you know, a wife, a mother, and as you’re with your family, and then also to you to a job of where you are providing support and services to people who really need it. And so how are you dealing with your mental health during this time? And how do you find the balance between the two?

Colleen Blake-Miller
Yeah, it’s it’s tough. I’ll tell you, it’s it’s tough these days, because the demand is really great. One thing I will say that is really good, that’s come come from the pandemic, and a lot of the racial kind of unrest that we’ve been talking more of, at least in Canada, we’ve been talking a lot more of since you know, while we went on, while we have been navigating the pandemic, people are reaching out for mental health support, we’re talking about mental health, we’re talking more about support through therapy, but that has put quite a demand on mental health professionals. So and I am someone who I’m a, like recovering people pleaser, and saying no, you know, it hurts sometimes. So So learning to have really, you know, solid boundaries around when I start my days and how many clients I see a week that that’s it’s been it’s been challenging. So yeah, for me, I try to be honest with myself, and the people in my life when I’m overloaded, I’ve had to say no to some of my other, you know, obligations. So I have, I’m a PK. So for those of you who don’t know what a PA is pastor’s kid, so very involved in my church community. And, you know, I just, I, some Sundays don’t make it I have to watch the live stream because I need to sleep in, you know, it’s like, Oh, it sounds so terrible. At least that’s how it used to feel. But now it’s kind of like, no, it’s, it’s so that I can show up fully, when I am able to show up, you know, allowing, you know myself to have a night off of cooking, and not feel bad about it. It’s, it’s leaning on support for things that that just makes sense. You know, if I can have somebody come to my home for three hours, and like, clean it from top to bottom, you know, maybe someone’s over in the corner judging me, but that’s why I don’t check my business. Yeah, if it makes sense, to just give yourself a break, then then give yourself a break. Right? If that thing makes sense for you, then do it. So I’m just like, offer myself more grace, these days, I remind myself, I remind the people that I work with, regularly, hey, remember, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, right? There’s still that additional strain, we’re trying, we’re trying to, like, do all the things. But there’s still a lot of, you know, restrictions. I’m, as I said, I’m in Canada, we’re, we’re on lockdown number four right now. So we are, you know, still not able to do all the things that we would want to do go into the gyms, they’re closed right now, going out to eat at a restaurant, they’re closed, we can only take. So some of the things that you used to do, to decompress, to unwind to help to manage your health and mental health, we can access. So figuring out other creative ways, that’s, that’s all a part of it.

Akua Konadu
I think, to just hearing your feedback, I just know like, I sometimes have this misconception in my mind that therapists are like, perfect in a way, right? Like they completely have their whole life together and in order, and then they show up to, like, you know, provide services to me and other people who need it. But I think it’s just a really great reminder that you are going through it too, that you’re in it with everybody else, and equally trying to balance and equally trying to take care of yourself and your family. So that in some weird way is also reassuring, because it is it is really difficult. And I think this whole pandemic has just really shown that we anything can change and the drop of a hat. And so really changing. It’s changed my perspective and how I view life in general. And also to just for me being much more intentional with my energy and where I’m spending my time and also to who I’m spending my time with. I think it’s just made me a lot more grateful, of course. But again, as I’ve mentioned before, I do feel like we’re in this weird sense where like, we have to still continuously show up as we did before. And I just don’t think that’s sustainable at all. So what are your thoughts on that, too?

Colleen Blake-Miller
I mean, you cannot expect the same. You know, results, yes, you might be applying the same pressure, but the outcome is going to be different. Because your energy is being spent on so many more things, like so many other things. There’s a lot of unknowns, right? We’re making plans for maybe events that are coming up. But in the midst of you trying to get excited for these upcoming event, maybe it’s a vacation, maybe it’s a speaking opportunity, you also have to hold in the back of your mind, this could all just kind of go into the trash, if another variant decides to show up. Or if a state or you know, a province in my scenario, you know, decides that they’re changing the rules. So there’s there’s just a lot more, I would say mental energy that’s being, you know, spent just getting through each and every day. And so we have to adjust our expectations. I don’t know if we in previous years would have said it’s probably a good idea to lower expectations. But I feel like now is the time now is the time when we may want to kind of lower the expectations or at least have flexibility, you know, make your plans but you have to remain flexible because they could change at the drop of a you know, drop a hat.

Akua Konadu
Yes. And I think just again, having that mindset of just being fluid because again, like life just changes instantly. So I’m really glad that you were able to really just touch touch on that. And so what are some common stressors you’re seeing with people that are struggling with uncertain times. And I think that even just outside the pandemic, I mean, just, I feel like everything that these past few years have been have just been very uncertain. And so what are some of the common stressors that you’re seeing people with their anxiety and mental health during these times?

Colleen Blake-Miller
So I would say, anxiety has been the number one complaint that I hear repeated over and over again, people are having a really hard time managing their thoughts. People are feeling, you know, they’re feeling things that they maybe have not felt before, emotions that are unfamiliar to them. For many, it’s like they’re struggling to find the language to describe what it is they are, they’re feeling. So those are a couple of things. I hear a lot of people experiencing really low moods, you know, let’s say someone who’s used to having a lot of energy being a go getter, being somebody who follows through, like I say, I’m going to do the thing, and I do the thing I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about, in some ways, not recognizing themselves. It’s like, wow, like, what is happened? Like, why can I just do the things that I used to do maybe in my sleep before? So, you know, I would say, I would say that those are some of the things that I am hearing time and time and time again, I love this idea of the stories that we tell ourselves. And in my context, I often would say to clients, what’s the meaning that you’re making of the thing that you’re kind of going through, so you are noticing that the energy that you’re used to giving day by day, it’s, it’s it’s changed, it’s adjusted, it’s not what you want, it’s not what you’re used to? What is the meaning that you’re making of that, another way of looking at what’s the story you’re telling yourself about that, it’s so important to to be curious about that, because the stories we tell ourselves or the meaning that we’re making can be fueling the anxiety can be fueling some of the negative and defeating, you know, thoughts, or some of the, the meaning and the stories that we are making can actually begin to bring some calm and bring some, you know, a peace to our, to our, to our minds in this time. So those are some of the things that I find myself talking a lot with, with folks about these days.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, I think I like what you pointed out to it’s, especially I have anxiety. And so for me, I have, I’ve always been able to manage it ish. You know, before pre pandemic, I mean, I knew I had high anxiety. But again, I just, you know, worked out did the things. And now I have really struggled. So just being fully transparent, like I’m now on anti anxiety meds, because I just, I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. And I think too, I had to, because there were new emotions that were coming up that never came up before, because we were in a new situation. So I think that’s something to just to really point out that it’s okay, if you are experiencing some new emotions that you’ve never experienced before. Number one, to have grace for yourself, and just reminding us that we are human, really trying to navigate a world right now where we have no idea what tomorrow will even look like. And so I just had to like, accept, okay, Akua, like, you need a little bit of help right now. And it’s all good. It’s Gucci, like, do what you need to do to get back into that, that better place. And for me, it has been wonderful. So I do like that you touched base on that, that a lot of us have been experiencing new emotions that we just naturally didn’t experience before and are still trying to figure out how to regulate that. And I think a lot of us still are trying to figure out how to regulate a lot of these emotions. So I’m glad that like, you touched on that, which, which is great. And so I’m just, I think, too, I feel like it’s a really common question. And of course, we all already know these answers of just how stress truly affects us physically and mentally. But stress can come out in really unique ways as well. And so just wanting to touch base on that to like just how stress can really affect us, and especially during these times, and what can we do to really cope?

Colleen Blake-Miller
Mm hmm. I mean, you want to pay attention to areas like particular areas, one of the things that you’ll be able to share with your viewers is I created a DIY mental health check. And basically, you know, you just, you know, what I would say is a daily, if not daily, as often as you can just check your self in some of these areas, you know, how’s your sleep, you know, on a scale of one to 10 How, how satisfied are you with the quality of sleep that you’re getting? Pay attention to your appetite. Are you over consuming? Or are you not consuming enough? Enough that will fuel your your body? How is your behavior? are you behaving in a way that you are? Not that you’re comfortable with? But what you actually know of yourself to be? Or is your behavior somehow you know, change in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or makes the people around you uncomfortable? You want to be thinking about your you want to consider your thoughts? Are your are your thoughts, anxiety, you know, kind of riddled? Are your are your thoughts, helping you to look at what’s actually happening in a helpful way? Or are your thoughts provoking anxiety inside of you. So those are some of the things that that you will, you’ll find on the on the DIY checklist, I recommend folks sort of printing it off, they can either print off the sheet with like the details, or they could do like a like it’s a postcard style. And just throw it up on your I don’t know, if you go into work, you can have it on your on your little board. You know, like in your cubicle, if you have one or by your desk, you could put it in your book as like a bookmark, you want to be making your mental health a top priority, considering how you are doing as far as your mental health because it will impact you in all kinds of different ways. It’s going to impact your life, it might start off in subtle ways. But eventually, it comes knocking like it might be like a pretty cute little knock. Eventually, it’s like that bang on the door like you will not be able to ignore it. So my encouragement check in daily.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, yeah, oh, that is such such a good point. Because I was just about to say that I find myself all the time on the hamster wheel. And then in the blink of an eye, I’m losing my mind. And at times, when I do check in, it really does make me feel like the tasks that are that I have to do for the day or how I’m feeling it doesn’t feel as daunting. It almost like I’m allowed to be able to rationalize everything in my world and how I’m feeling and I’m like, okay, cool. Like, you’re okay, you’re fine, you know, after you check in, but it’s really easy. And it’s something that is just it’s a really quick thing that I’m learning, but I sometimes like oh, no, I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for that. And then it does, it totally creeps up. And then before you know it, all of a sudden, I’m just like sobbing, banging the door. And I’m like, What the hell do I do? So I do, I do love that. And I think it’s an important reminder too, that stress, it really does creep up in any way, even though we know these things, right? Like we should sleep and all of those types of things. But it’s really hard to make it a priority like something that I always say all the time, even with like self care, self care isn’t sexy, like as people like to

Colleen Blake-Miller
listen, that is that is it right there. Because we think, oh, like, you know, the spa robe and the cucumbers on the eyes and all that stuff. That is for some people because some folks aren’t even into that. Right? For some that might be something that helps you to be refueled, but doing your budgeting. Okay, that is some good self care right there. Yeah, cuz now you can sleep easy at night. Because you know, you’ve got enough to get through the month or to reach your financial goals, having a cleaning schedule. Knowing, you know, they mean like, Alright, these things are going to get done having you know, and making time to go to the grocery store to get the things that are going to allow you to eat in a way that’s going to serve you and fuel your body. You’re right, that’s not sexy. It’s absolutely not sexy. But it is necessary. If you want to be well, if we want to be well. We do need to be thinking about these things. Not in the moment. But ahead of time.

Akua Konadu
Yes. And I think too, it’s just again, like those things that you’re talking about are very mundane things. And I struggle in the mundane. So that was my thing as well. It’s like, I will work for hours at a time when I forget to eat. So it’s like having a timer on my phone just to remind myself to have a meal like those simple things. But it is really impacted me in such a positive way where I’m able to show up more as myself and so yeah, I love that you touched base on that because yeah, I really do think that self care sucks.

Colleen Blake-Miller
Need to make a t shirt. Yeah. Okay, you need to have like, that’s the retreat that people need to be going on. Oh, just keep it real. Let the people know. Yeah, some of these things that will serve you in the long run. It hurts. You know when you’re in the you’re in the thick of it. But in the in the long run, right. That’s gonna serve you that’s what’s going to allow there to be a strong foundation. that you’re building from?

Akua Konadu
Yes, I love that. And so I’m really curious to is because I do feel like, sorry, y’all, I got a little negative there where I’m like self care, it sucks. But my point is, is that how can we really start to shift our mindset? You know what I mean? Especially in these in these weird times that we’re in? How can we really, I guess, make our minds more fluid and be more open to change and also to how we show up for ourselves?

Colleen Blake-Miller
Well, you got to pay attention. You have to pay attention, right? You talk about feeling like, I don’t want to do check in or like, I am an advocate for journaling. I have notebooks coming out of my, I don’t even know where, you know, when a client says to me, I’m not really sure if I have an open, don’t worry, I got in my trusted clot in my bookshelf. I got journals for days. I have no, but what’s your address? Let me mail it to you. Like, you know, it’s so important to be tracking what is going on with you. And so the first thing I would say, if you want to have a mindset that is life, giving a mindset that is going to uplift, you need to actually be paying attention to what is filling your mind. So how do you do that? It’s slowing yourself down. Because our minds, I think I’ve heard it said like over 6000 thoughts a day. Wow, is the you know, the number of thoughts that come through our minds. And it’s like, that’s a lot, some of those, yes, will be positive, and some will be neutral, but then there’s going to be a lot that are negative. And so you want to slow down in a practice of daily whether it’s journaling, it could even be for five minutes or two minutes, and attention to what’s bombarding your mind what’s like, like weighing on you what’s like, Oh, it’s just like, you know, like you won’t let up, make note of that, and begin to ask yourself, Is this accurate? Is it true? You know, in this context of story, telling the story that I am telling myself about life right now? Is it accurate? Is it based on facts? Or is it based on feelings? Because that’s the thing, Feelings come and go. And feelings will lead you astray sometimes. And so you want to ensure if you’re making decisions, right, the way that we think affects the way that we feel the way that we feel affects what we do. You want to make sure that that’s based on facts, and not just how you feel in a particular moment, because that’ll change. Yeah,

Akua Konadu
okay, I feel hella exposed, because I very, I’m extremely emotional person. So hearing you say that it’s true, like our feelings can lead us astray. So how can we honestly slow down and really face how we’re feeling? So that we can understand what’s the best logical way to move forward? And I think that’s so, so helpful. And I think that’ll really help us be more fluid in our thinking and be like, Okay, today’s a really crappy day. And that’s okay. That doesn’t mean I have a crappy life, you know, just the situation is just really crappy. So how can I still show up in this present moment, to help me get from point A to point B, you know, for myself, I have done because I do struggle a lot with negative thinking. And so I have now just started writing three things that I’m grateful for that I have, even if it’s just like my snuggie that I have that like feels or softer. I seen your snowy on IG shout out to Laylee citizens episode, we like girl because yes, this big snuggie that I saw her by then a friend bought it for me. And now I live in it. So even times when I like feeling crappy, I like put it on. I’m like, okay, like, I’m warm right now. I feel safe. I feel good. And so I think that’s just such such a really, really good reminder. And so what are some tools that which you’ve already shared? So many? So are there any other additional tools that could really help us and I think I also do want to remind people that mental health anxiety, like whatever it is, do what works best for you. Like it’s not a one size fit all which I think it’s something that’s just really important to remind people. And so like you’ve already shared some really wonderful tips. So y’all take what it is that you need, you know, and so what other tips and tools would you also share how we can really support ourselves in a healthy way as we deal with with whatever it is that we’re dealing with?

Colleen Blake-Miller
That’s right life. So as I said, you know, pay attention to your thoughts. Slow down, and that’s that’s like a lifelong thing. Right? This act of slowing down. I am one for documenting, going back revisiting challenging the things that are not factual. And I love the example that you gave about gratitude. Like what are you proud about? What are you celebrating? What are you excited about? If you’re having a hard time, find somebody who loves you? Ask them, they will be honest with you. And they will, they will tell you what is what they appreciate about you what they love about you. Taking good care of your physical body is is also really good for your mental health. So movement, whether you’re in a climate that’s cold or not so cold, getting outdoors is really good for boosting your mental health. You know, kind of breaking a sweat when you can surrounding yourself with good people, good vibes. In these times, we need the good vibes. The negative people who are maybe they just rubbed me the wrong way. Or maybe they’re just mean I don’t know. But you want to manage your your exposure to them. You want to manage, manage your environment, right and make it as pleasant and uplifting as you as you can. I think that piece is is something that we all have access to. But it’s something that you have to fight for. So today piece might look like I’m certain my mother won’t be listening to this, it might look like ignoring her call right now. Okay, because she just has so many questions. But piece to date might be, I’m gonna just decline that call. And we’ll pick back up tomorrow. Peace, for me might be just closing the door to the closet where the stuff maybe there’s laundry that needs to be put away. piece for me might be leaving those emails that need to be responded to. Okay. For one more day, like what’s another day, right? piece could look like just forgiving yourself and giving yourself permission to be imperfect, like actually saying it aloud. The fact that I really am struggling in these areas. It doesn’t make me a bad person doesn’t mean that I’m not successful. It just makes me human. You know, those are some of the things those are some of the things

Akua Konadu
that was so good. And I Oh, I just think of that same too. If it cost me my piece. It’s too expensive. I don’t know who said that. But it definitely was not me.

Colleen Blake-Miller
But it is something that was when I heard it from so.

Akua Konadu
Yes, yeah. And I think that’s such an important important piece and, and you know, it’s really hard to honor our bound like our own boundaries because we always are afraid of like what people will say and do and I think it’s just a really good reminder that you don’t owe anybody anything you have to do what’s best for you. I always like to say am I is the decisions that I’m making? Am I able to fall asleep at night? Yes, then I’ll move forward. That’s literally what I say to myself if it is going to heat me up at night I’m not doing it. So and if people are pressed about it, you know what it is what it is honestly just fine. So that is that is the way that I view it? Um, yeah, no, this has been such a very good conversation necessary conversation and Mickalene I just want to ask where can people find you?

Colleen Blake-Miller
So IG is where I hang out most on social media. So Oh, yeah, I shouldn’t I should have said another way to like manage dresses like make rails. Loving real. Her wheels

Akua Konadu
are so much funny. All so follow her on Instagram. What is your IG handle?

Colleen Blake-Miller
My name Colleen Blake Miller.

Akua Konadu
It’s so good. You guys. I love it. It’s full of energy. It’s full of truth. So definitely, definitely check it out. And thank you so much for Colleen for being here. I appreciate you so much. Thank you all so much for tuning in. And until next time. Thank you so much for tuning into here’s the T with Akua. If you are loving the podcast, I’d be so honored if you go ahead and hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast player and leave me a review. This helps grow the podcast so more people can be impacted by the story shared by powerful guests like in today’s episode. Until next time, go make uncomfortable conversations a little more comfortable.

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