I recently had the opportunity to interview two high-profile women about how they balance personal and professional responsibilities while still reserving some “me time.” Why talk about that? Because when we’re content with ourselves, it becomes contagious.
These two: Billboard-charting recording artist Ledisi and culturally mobile morning chat-fest co-host Daphne Oz of ABC’s “The Chew” — couldn’t be more different. Yet they both serve as a reminder of the importance of making time for oneself amidst the harried day-to-day routine.
In Ledisi’s new book, “Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power” (Essence), the Grammy-nominated artist uses an interactive format, similar to her performance style on stage, to inspire readers. Full of photos, poems, inspirational quotes from well-known people, insightful stories and personal journal entries, the book encourages readers to remember themselves. It’s a quick, uplifting read.
“I need to replenish by doing nothing because I give so much,” Ledisi said during an appearance at BookExpo America in New York City. “Me time is coloring with my niece or walking.”
Though marketers would have us believe that expensive spa days or out-of-town trips will help us relax or reconnect, this entertainer prefers to savor the little things:
“I have to make time to work out and take care of my body, because on stage — being up there all hours of the night [takes a toll]. I must take time for my body,” said the performer, who was born in New Orleans to a musical family. Her name means “to bring forth” in Yoruba.
The singer also capitalizes on a busy tour schedule to take in new and picturesque vistas. Consider her 2011 appearance in Vail: “It was beautiful (and) reminded me of a Robert Frost poem,” she said. “It was altitude, it was high… I loved it.”
The book charts her path to becoming a well-known musical artist, including hard times when she almost threw in the towel on her dream.
Speaking during the International Gift Show in Atlanta in July, Daphne Oz, on the other hand, reflected on her unyielding determination to succeed. A 2008 Princeton University graduate, she wrote the bestselling, “The Dorm Room Diet: The 10-Step Program for Creating a Healthy Lifestyle Plan that Really Works” (William Morrow Paperbacks), after losing 35 pounds in college by using the tips espoused in her book.
In 2010, just days after getting married and while she was en route to her honeymoon, Oz was invited back to test for a new television show pilot, and now serves as health expert for “The Chew” on ABC.
While Ledisi offers advice on how to regenerate oneself, Oz provides insight on staying mindful and healthy in spite of life’s inevitable chaos.
“What was your goal,” she has often asked herself. “Is this what you wanted?”
Oz is tight with her mother, and grew up assisting with every meal that she could. The result was a childhood weight problem — nevermind that she was as a member of “the healthiest family in America.” (Her father is culturally mobile surgeon, television personality and writer Mehmet Oz of “The Dr. Oz Show” whose column also appears in The Denver Post).
The younger Oz said she now knows that she engaged in “emotional eating and using food for things other than sustenance and joy,” she said.
Her approach to the challenging task of dropping weight also applies to other challenges.
“Set yourself up for success by crowding out the bad options and leaving room for the good,” she said, adding that making active choices enables people to create the life they want.
Cost-free ways to “get back to you!”
Here are tips from the R&B entertainer Ledisi:
- Look up at the sky. “We never look up and we need to sometimes. That’s why there’s so many pictures of the sky [in her book].” A reminder of the Earth’s vastness can help put life in perspective.
- Breathe. Make this your first response to stress, and be in the moment.
- Listen with your heart, your head, and your soul. When you’re breathing and listening to people, the world becomes a kinder, gentler place.
- Remember that anything can be as simple as you make it. Life, Ledisi says, “is not that complex.”
Daphne Oz offers these no cost ways to enjoy life for optimal health:
- Spend time with friends. When you watch “The Chew” on ABC, it is clear that Oz enjoys her co-hosts. “It’s like sitting with a really good friend every day,” she said. “Not a day has gone by where I haven’t laughed for hours.” Whether at work, home,or with the family – time with others, and creating laughter — will boost the body’s feel-good hormones and reduce stress.
- Create a dream board. Fill it with cutouts from magazines, photos of things you want to do, or drawings of your goals. Post in a prominent place so it not only creates a visual record of the life you want, but also keeps those goals top of mind.
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