Hey Girl, Hey! Jan 2022

I’m sure lots of folks have wished you Happy New Year, but I wonder how many have called or walked over and chimed “Happy New YOU!”? If the answer is absolutely no one, then let me be the first to sincerely wish you a Happy New You!!!

Hey Girl, Hey! The ONLY thing certain in life is change! Every moment, we are changing, whether we recognize it or not. We are changing physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, socially, and in how we relate to the people and the world around us. All of these changes are occurring moment-to-moment, usually in response to decisions we’ve made or allowed others to make for us… Whether. We. RECOGNIZE. It. Or. Not.

The key word here is “recognize.” In order to be able to take an active role in these changes, we must first recognize that they are happening. Once we do that, we then have the opportunity for response-ability—we are able to respond to the changes and choose to course-correct or continue the decisions that produced the changes we recognize.

Now look, I’m not trying to get too deep here. I was a very philosophical kid, and I’d ask really deep questions while Auntie Elvira used to braid my hair. I’d pepper her with questions until she’d finally say “Be careful! sometimes you real deep folks just end up drowned!”

My point is this: YOU are responsible for your life. YOU get to choose how you RESPOND to the changes that occur in and around you—even when you cannot control every change. You get to choose what decisions YOU make about your life. You choose your boundaries, your relationships, your attitude, your hustle, your happiness.

When I took Organic Chemistry at LaGrange College, I struggled to line up the elements in the right configurations until my professor told me something that changed my life. Dr. Hearn said “Don’t just take life the way someone hands it to you, take it and shape it. Make it what YOU need it to be. Put it in the shape that makes sense for YOU!”

So I’m passing his advice to you for 2022.

I encourage you to take an honest inventory of your life. What is your personal mission statement? I know God put me here to be a change agent. Georgia MUST rise from the state where mothers are most likely to die around the time of childbirth to one of the top 10 states for safe maternity care before I retire. Yes, it’s a HUGE mission, but it provides me a compass that I can use to guide my life decisions. When I have an opportunity, I hold it up to that mission. If it’s not mission-centered, no matter how interesting, fun, or lucrative, I have to decline.
Where are you now? Where do you want to be by the end of 2022? How will you get there? Who is your accountability partner? Share with me on this blog post at http://www.deliveringjoymd.com

Change is happening no matter what. We can choose to shape that change positively. We can live a purpose-driven, mission-fulfilling life that will make a difference in the lives of others for years to come.

My friend Yoon Ettinger wrote something profound that I’d like to leave with you:

Everything is temporary. Nothing is permanent.
We can always choose to begin again.
In small ways. In grand ways.
But always begin fresh.
With no expectations of outcomes and armed with lessons from the past.
No bitterness or anger.
With empathy for those we will encounter along the way, those we love and those we’ve harmed.
We move forward and upward.
Choosing to do better.
Choosing to be better.
What will you choose today?

XOXO,
Dr. Joy

My Self-Care SummerHey Girl, Hey! In the revered words of Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff, it’s “Summer Summer Summertime, time to sit back and unwind!” This Summer, I’m heeding their advice!How you ever been in a place you feel overwhelmed, overworked, over-committed; and at the same time under-appreciated, under-supported, and undermined??I found myself being irritable, frustrated, aggravated and ill! I had been burning both ends of my candlestick WAY too often. Sound familiar to anyone?. When I find myself in this place, almost undoubtedly I am becoming resentful BECAUSE I have not been true to my boundaries.I see a therapist on a regular basis. I decided to bring up these feelings. She immediately asked me these questions: “What are you doing for self-care,” and “What do you need to do to repair the fences of your boundaries and restore you balance?”I thought about these questions for a few days, and I decided I needed to do some things differently—STAT!First, I set some serious boundaries at work. A complex set of issues and events left my team SWAMPED with patients, many of whom were scared and disgruntled due to no fault of ours. Suddenly my workload doubled and nearly tripled! For a couple months, I was simply swept along by the tsunami, then I decided to take control of the situation and restore some sense of balance—while we are doing all we can to help the folks in need, I decided we could no longer do that at the expense of myself and my team—we had to set some boundaries for the purpose of safety and sanity.Next, I focused on self care. My goals looked like this:Eat better: I certainly didn’t have the time to add cooking to my workload, but had to get better fuel than fast food, so I started ordering meals from Factor (you’ve probably seen them on social media). The meals are delivered to my door each week and are DELISH!Move my body: I got back on my fitness journey going to classes at Towne Fitness and signing up for 2x weekly yoga and meditation at the Center for Mindful Exploration at Hillside.Focusing on skin, hair, nail care. I found amazing estheticians, Britney at Lewminous Skincare in West Point; and Ashly at Just Peachy Waxing Studio. Protective hair styling in the summer time for Black women is a MUST! So Diamond Williams at The Mane Bar and Takara Davis at Pretty Hair Braiding have been hooking me up with hair treatments and Boho box braids. In addition, I’ve been taking the Nutrafol hair vitamins and Flo vitamins for skin—the difference is amazing!Regular Massage and Meditation. I found the Best. Massage. Ever. At Thrive Studio, and there is also opportunity for meditation and Spiritual health. Plus, I LOVE the meditation during my yoga classes.I am finally starting to feel more like “ Joy” again! Of course, accomplishing balance meant accepting help from the doctors on call so that I could have uninterrupted time just for me. That made some folks unhappy, and it was hard to hold that space under the tension to “people please.” Boundaries are VERY NECESSARY! I bet you could say the same thing for yourself. Put your own oxygen mask on first before trying to help others.Join me of YouTube @DeliveringJoyMD and on BeeTV for my Self-care Summer Series to see how I’m getting my groove back!XOXO,Dr. Joy

Fun in the Colorado Rockies presenting my research at the National Assoc. of Women’s Health Obstetrics & Neonatal Nurses Conference June 2022