Fierce Boss Ladies

How Taking Care Of My Houseplants Taught Me To Take Better Care Of Myself

I’m a plant lady. But in making sure my botanicals have enough water, light and warmth to survive, I realized that I, too, needed similar care in order to thrive.

A year ago, I was diagnosed with situational depression. At the time, I had been recently fired under very retaliatory and discriminatory circumstances from a job I held at a toxic tech startup. As a self-identified overachiever, I was trying to make sense of what had happened. What did I do wrong? Why did I find myself in this position for simply advocating for myself? How could this have happened to me, I’d ask myself. I’m a resilient person, but this time I couldn’t muster the energy to get back up.

This phase of my life led me on a messy but necessary path toward healing. I didn’t realize how heavy the bags that I had been lugging around had become. I never fully paused to give myself space to heal from past traumas or work through negative self-talk in a healthy way. I continuously found myself wasting my energy in environments that were no longer serving me, with my bags functioning as Russian nesting dolls of years of unresolved trauma. Soon, it got too heavy.

A girl with many plants (&plans)

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During my darkest days of trying to cope with my depression, I found solace in therapy and, surprisingly, my house plants. The latter gave me something to look forward to. I loved seeing each new budding leaf unfurl, and I enjoyed watching the way the light in my home illuminated the variations of green in all of my little plant friends. Being surrounded by plants reminded me that life goes on, growth is a process and love and light breeds kindness in oneself. I gradually began to realize that by taking care of my flora, I was starting to take better care of myself.

Establishing a plant care routine helped me prioritize my own wellness and self-care. It can teach you a lot about healing and growing. Here, five essential tips for taking care of your plants — and yourself.

1. Stay Hydrated

When your plants’ leaves start to look crinkled or the soil is stiff, it’s usually time for some agua. Make sure your plant isn’t sitting in old water, and give it a chance to properly drain. Similarly, when your skin starts to look dry and your body feels sluggish, try gulping down some H2O.

2. Practice Positive Self-Talk

Ask yourself, would you talk to your plants the way you talk to yourself? I sometimes tell my plantas the affirmations I need to hear, and it really helps to listen to them aloud.

3. Establish A Routine

My plants are at their best when I keep them on a watering schedule, and it turns out that I’m also my finest when I maintain a self-care routine. It usually consists of showering regularly, sitting in silence away from technology for at least 10 minutes every day, being patient with my mood swings, burning sage, eating mostly healthy and consistent meals, getting a good night’s rest, exercising, playing with my dog and laughing. Taking care of my plants is part of my daily routine. I always say hi, checking in on each plant’s growth, and remove any dead leafs. It takes a lot of trial and error, but stay committed to your improvement and you’ll find the routine that works for your needs.

4. Get Sunlight

If you live in a low light space, try moving your plants around a few times out of the week to get some sunshine. If you can, let the sun kiss your own beautiful face as well.

5. Go Out For Fresh Air

It's a match! #naturalbeauty

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Every Saturday, when I water my plants, I like to put them outside. Similarly, when I’m feeling the most stressed and anxious, I go for a walk.

6. Find A Space To Grow

As plant roots grow, they need to be repotted — and it’s the same for us. This is a reminder that some environments and spaces aren’t permanent. When we outgrow what no longer serves us, it’s OK to lay our roots in places that allows us to thrive.

We have more in common with our houseplants than we may realize. Much like our greenery, we all grow at different paces. Sometimes a leaf will slowly wilt and fall off, reminding me that we’re all part of a beautiful natural cycle. Growth doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the care and work that we put into the process that enables our growth.

Read: These Latinas Will Give You The Mental Health Boost You Need

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After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources


After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

One year after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., two students have died in apparent suicides, compelling the community to come together and share mental health resources.

On Saturday, a sophomore at the school, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting last year, took his own life. One week prior, Sydney Aiello, 19, a recent Stoneman Douglas graduate who lost her best friend in the massacre, also ended her life.

As the Florida’s emergency chief Jared Moskowitz calls for the state Legislature to send more mental health resources for the high school’s students and faculty, calling mental health a “bipartisan issue” on Twitter, the community has stepped in where the state government has been slow to respond.

On Sunday, more than 60 school, county, city, child services and law enforcement officials, as well as mental health specialists, teachers and parents, met for an emergency meeting. Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old freshman who was murdered on Feb. 14. 2018, said that the school district will be giving parents the “Columbia Protocol, six questions that parents should ask their children, the Miami Herald reports. Based on their answers, they will know what emergency resources are available to them. Additionally, nonprofits are offering free therapy groups and services.

Online, it’s students, former and current, who are using social media to offer resources to those still suffering from the trauma and loss of last year’s school shooting. David Hogg, who graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2018 and has become a fierce anti-gun advocate, took to Twitter, reminding Parkland students and grads that trauma doesn’t go away quickly.

“Stop saying you’ll get over it,'” he wrote. “You don’t get over something that never should have happened because those that die from gun violence are stolen from us not naturally lost. Trauma and loss don’t just go away, you have to learn to live with it through getting support.”

According to Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, who spoke with Teen Vogue, witnessing traumatic events can lead to symptoms consistent with acute stress disorder, including recurring memories, dreams or nightmares of the event; mood changes; irritability and more. These memories, she adds, can lead to negative thoughts, hopelessness, trouble sleeping and more.

Hogg wants youth to know that these symptoms are normal and that they can be managed through help, like therapy, talking with friends and family, meditation and self-care practices.

He, along with others, shared his own self-care routine.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, know there is help available. For immediate support, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis and are unsure where to turn, you can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line by sending HOME to 741741.

Read: Survivor Of Florida School Shooting Emma Gonzalez Is Turning Her Anger Into Political Activism

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20 Of the Most Single AF Latina Behaviors

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20 Of the Most Single AF Latina Behaviors

In case you need a reminder, we’re officially deep into “cuffing season”–the time of year when you feel you’d do anything to have someone to spoon with during the cold winter nights. Or maybe what you really want is just a plus-one to bring to holiday parties and family gatherings. As Latinas, we can receive a disproportionate amount of pressure from our families to find a novio that they’re convinced will make our lives complete.

However, if you didn’t already know, being a single lady during the holidays can be absolute ecstasy. There are tons of perks that come with being single around the holidays–or any time of year, for that matter. To provide some counter-programming to the omnipresent “cuffing season” narrative, we’ve compiled a list of behaviors single Latinas are known for.

Check it out below.

1. Sleeping Pretty Much Diagonally Across the Bed


Yes, having someone to snuggle with when you’re freezing is a perk of being in a relationship, but stretching out like a starfish across your mattress is arguably even more satisfying. Instead of being smooshed onto the edge of the bed while your partner takes up more room than one body has any right to, single ladies get the luxury of having the whole bed to themselves. Not to mention, there’s no blanket tug-of-war with your lover. When you’re single, sleeping like a baby is pretty much a guarantee.

2. Getting Your Nails Done


Out of all the activities single Latinas like to indulge in, getting a relaxing manicure is definitely up there. And for a lot of Latinas, the longer, the better. Getting a manicure is one of those things single Latinas do to show themselves they’re worth it. Who needs a man to make you feel loved when you can do that all by yourself. You’re worth it!

3. Chisme with Your Tías


The great thing about being single is having more time to spend with family, as all your time isn’t being occupied with the boyfriend. That means, catching up on months worth of chisme with your tías. Sure, we don’t like it when the gossip slips into the mean-spirited kind, but for the most part, it’s fun to swap secrets and stories. Among Latinas, chisme is very much a bonding activity for Latina women. It’s something single ladies always look forward to doing.

4. Bingeing on Pan Dulce

How many of us have heard from our female family members that the way to keep a man interested is to “watch our figure”? Because of harmful messaging like this, so many Latinas feel embarrassed eating “bad” food in front of their significant others. Walking by a particularly fragrant panaderia can feel like torture when you’re on a health kick. When you’re single (and you’re worried less about how you look naked) it’s liberating to just let yourself eat cake. And we won’t judge you if you do so in large quantities.

5. Man-Shopping at Sunday Misa


We’ve all done it–been at church and have silently checked out the eligible young men when we’re supposed to be praying. It’s arguably the perfect environment to score a date–everyone’s dressed up, smelling good, and on their best behavior (or trying to be). What could be more Latina than finding future bae at misa?

6. Ceasing Shaving Altogether (And Loving It)


As we know, Latinas come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but there is a prevailing stereotype that most Latinas aren’t exactly smooth and hairless naturally. When you’re in a relationship, hair removal can be a pain in the ass (literally). Most Latinas have gone through life waxing, plucking, shaving, tweezing, and Nair-ing ourselves into bald oblivion. But when we’re single, the razor becomes less of a daily practice and more of an anomaly because you don’t have to worry about your mustache rivaling your boyfriend’s or your partner complaining about your prickly legs under the sheets. For hairy Latinas, it might only take a day or two of putting down the tweezer to grow your very own Frida. And you know what? It’s liberating. Frida was genius in more ways than one.

7. Buying a New Outfit for Every First Date


It’s hard to say what we look forward to more when we have a date: meeting a potential love interest or shopping for an outfit beforehand. A lot of the time, shopping wins out. All bets are off in a long-term relationship, but on a first date, Latinas love to present the best version of themselves. There’s nothing more a Latina loves than hearing from her date “You look incredible” and responding, “Oh, this old thing?”

8. Creating a Fake Instagram Account to Stalk Your Ex


Yeah, we’re that girl. Obviously, we’re dying from curiosity about what our exes are up to, but there’s no way we want them to know the extent of our interest. So like any sane person, it’s completely reasonable to create a fake Instagram account in order to stalk your ex’s Insta-stories un-detected. Because we know we look through every single person who watched our story to see if anyone interesting stands out. And we’d hate to give our exes that satisfaction.

9. Refusing to Let a “Spicy Latina” Comment fly on Tinder


Like many single ladies, Tinder, and all dating apps in general, a hobby, a pastime, some could even say a way of life. But for every hottie you match with and have a decent conversation, there’s about one hundred who can’t wait to tell you how hot they find Latinas, attempt to speak to you in (crappy) Spanish, and telling you how they love their women “spicy”. Luckily, our mamas have raised us not to take disrespect lightly. When a man starts to bring up his Latina fetishes, we shut that down. Quick.

10. Listening to Selena Songs on Repeat

As a single lady, it’s empowering to be able to play whatever song you want, whenever you want, wherever you want–no input from a judgmental partner who thinks their taste in music is better than yours (you know the type we’re talking about). And nothing says “Independent Latina Who Don’t Need No Man” better than Selena Quintanilla. There’s something so comforting about listening to Selena songs on a loop–it’s a guilty pleasure without the guilt.

11. Belting Girl-Power Anthems in the Shower


There’s no time we feel the full extent of our liberation more than when we’re in the shower, belting out a canción at the top of our lungs. When we’re in la ducha, we’ve practically transformed into Mariah Carey. Anyone that says otherwise…we don’t know her. When we’re really feeling ourselves, you’ll catch us reciting the lyrics to Bebe’s feminist manifesto “Ella” and getting goosebumps at how good we sound.

12. Wearing Whatever You Want


Hetero Latino boyfriends can be known for their overt displays of machismo. For many Latino men, toxic machismo manifests itself through controlling behavior. We’ve all had those friends dress conservatively because their boyfriends won’t “let” them dress otherwise. As a single Latina, we have no such obligation. If someone so much as makes a comment about us not wearing enough clothes, we might just perform a strip tease to make a further point. Regardless of relationship status, our bodies are our own, but there’s no time we feel that more strongly than when we’re completely single.

13. Spending a Ton of Time With Your Amigas Because You’re Not Prioritizing a Man


From a very young age, Latinas are programmed to believe that romantic relationships should take priority in our lives. This creates the unfortunate habit that many Latinas have of dropping their friends once they get into a serious relationship. But falling in love with your girl gang all over again once you’re single is worth the cost of heartbreak. Latina friendship is the best kind of friendship.

14. Pretty Much Living Off Your Ma’s Cooking


What Latina doesn’t love to go home for the all-you-can-eat buffet that is cena de domingo? As a single Latina, eating food your madre cooks is too good to pass up. After all, cooking for one just isn’t practical! It’s too hard to half or quarter recipes and we often end up throwing out our leftovers when they sit in our fridge too long. Why spend hours on meal prep when you’ll be coming home with a Tupperware (or three) of sobras from your madre’s house?

15. Having a Set-Response To “Y el novio?” at Family Gatherings


Latino families are notorious for being overly “concerned” about our relationship status. That’s why most Latinas have a game plan for dealing with nosy family members. “Y el novio?” “Not anymore, but I’m much happier.” “Y el novio?” “I’m taking time to work on myself for now.” We know what to say to shut down a conversation. If nothing, la familia has helped us develop one heck of a thick skin.

16. Crushing on a New Guy Every Five Minutes


Another great thing about being single? Checking out whomever you want. The hot guy on your commute. The barista with impeccable banter. And don’t forget that Adonis with the bulging muscles at the gym. Sure, we have times where we wallow in self-pity at being single, but there are other times where we bask in being surrounded by man-candy and feeling free to flirt without guilt. And if there’s one thing Latinas are good at, it’s getting our coqueta on.

17. Pretty Much Living in Sweatpants


Except for occasionally venturing out in heels with the girls, being a single Latina means #sweatpantlife. It’s one of the many things about single life that’s significantly more physically comfortable than being in a relationship is. When we’re by ourselves, we’ve got nothing to hide and no one to impress except ourselves.

18. Become Way Too Invested in Telenovela Storylines


Sometimes, when you don’t have a love interest to distract you, it gets a little too easy to get invested in a fictional one. Telenovelas may be melodramatic and outrageous but damned if they don’t know how to lay the romance on thick. No, we don’t have a partner to make out with, but we can certainly imagine ourselves as the woman Aaron Diaz is professing his love to.

19. Referring to Your Pet as Your “Hijo” or “Hija”


Even if our madre y abuela are begging us to get married and pop out babies, we know we can’t rush ourselves into a commitment before we’re ready. Until then, we’re perfectly content with babying the hell out of our mascotas. No midnight feedings, diapers, or tears–just fur and paws. And yes, we might dress our dogs in adorable onesies, because who’s going to stop us?

20. Being Genuinely Happy That You’re Blessed with the Time to Get to Know Yourself


For all the buzziness of terms such as “self-care” and “self-love”, we know that these ideas are more than just a trend. Independent Latinas know that a partner can never complete us and true happiness comes from within ourselves. A well-adjusted single Latina uses her single time to work on herself and experience the liberating feeling of what it’s like to be truly, fully, independent. In the immortal words of Hailee Steinfeld “I love me. I love myself and I don’t need anybody else”.

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