It can be too easy not to think about mental health if you seem to be okay on the surface, but managing mental health is a daily responsibility that we have for ourselves. All roads lead to mental health. Whether it’s in your job, your business or your personal life, what goes on inside your head manifests in your outside world. Sheila Robinson-Kiss couldn’t be clearer about this as she speaks with Rodney Flowers in this episode. Sheila is a licensed clinical social worker, mental health educator, keynote speaker, award-winning author, and the founder and CEO of The Rebalancing America and Beyond Initiative. To Sheila, there are many ways to maintain your mental health and not all of them involve talking to a therapist. Listen in as she shares some incredible daily habits that you can take upon yourself to be more accountable with your own thoughts and emotions.
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Daily Habits To Help You Manage Your Mental Health During Mega Change With Sheila Robinson-Kiss
I have three words that I want to share with you. I want you to ponder on these three words. The first word is accountability. The second one is implementation. The third is inspiration. I have Ms. Sheila Robinson with me on the show. We’re going to touch on those three things as it relates to mental health. I know we are going through a challenging time in the world now and mental health is a hot topic. Maybe you know someone or maybe you are dealing with mental health, especially as it relates to this crisis that we’re going through. I’m excited to have Sheila on the show with me. To tell you a little bit about her, she’s an award-winning orator and the author of five books. She‘s an educator, an entrepreneur, and a mental health practitioner focused on advancing wellness initiatives on a grassroots basis, national and global scale. Please help me welcome, Ms. Sheila Robinson, to the show.
Thank you so much, Rodney. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m a big fan of your work and your message. I’ve been excited about this for a while.
I’m glad we got an opportunity, not only to do this here with me, but I was able to participate in your event not too long ago, which is a fantastic time that you and I had. It sounds like your event is still doing good. We’re going to talk about that so people can find out how they can be a part of that or participate in that. Before we get to that, I want to talk about mental health as it relates to this crisis that we are dealing with. We all have a responsibility when it comes to mental health. I don’t think everyone feels that way. It’s one of those things where you’re either dealing with it or you’re not. I know you have a different opinion about that. Let’s talk about responsibility in mental health.
I’m eager to do that. If you don’t mind, I would like to share a little bit about my why with everyone because that puts the conversation in context at least where I’m coming from with it. I grew up in Joliet, Illinois behind Stateville Prison. My mother was clinically depressed most of my life. My father was an alcoholic for the greater part of my upbringing. Coming from a very heavy dysfunction, I could not give that a name as a kid. I did not understand what was going on, but I knew something. I knew that this isn’t it. By the time I left home, I was an emancipated minor and I remember the first class that I enrolled at Illinois State University was a sociology, and then a social work class where these concepts were introduced about mindfulness and responsibility.
I’m like, “We’re getting somewhere.” I dedicated my life early on to this work of mental health because I had seen it how I grew up, and healing myself over time. I know the difference and I can tell everyone listening, all roads lead back to mental health. If your mental health is not where it needs to be, your money is not going to be right. Your relationships are not going to be right. You will struggle. People say, “I’m doing okay.” Trust me. If you’re not putting some attention in this area, you could be knocking the ball out of the park. You could be doing even better. This is not a side hustle for me. This is where I put my time, effort, money and energy into getting these messages out because it is essential especially now.
Let’s talk about the signs of mental health or mental illness. A lot of times, people will feel like, “I’m okay. My money is okay, my relationship is right. When I look at myself, I feel okay. I don’t feel like I have a problem. There is nothing I need to work on.” How does one identify that there is an area that needs to be addressed as it relates to mental health and wellness?All roads lead back to mental health. If your mental health is not where it needs to be, nothing is going to be right. Click To Tweet
I did an article about this for Psychology Today. It’s going to be posted on my website. I talk about looking at your life in the context of mental health. It’s like a hurdle that you will clear. There are a couple levels and I break it down. There’s quirky. There are emotional issues and there are serious mental health issues. What I tell people is if you have a quirky personality, you’re feeling good. You’re going through life. That’s like clearing the hurdles with a silver Afro and some purple shoes. It may not look like anyone else but I’m clearing the hurdles in my own way.
When you have some emotional issues that require attention, just follow me on this visual. You’re running the race. You are feeling good. You’re in your stride. You get to a hurdle and it trips you up. You can’t clear it, but yet you can get up and dust yourself. Some people have issues around communication. In other words, it continues to come up in your life as a pattern. With serious mental illness on the other hand, what you want to look for is nearly every area of your life that it is going to touch.
In the article, I write about a woman that I sat with. She came in and she said, “I’m here. My kids told me to come in and check in with a professional. Sheila, the problem is I have a strong personality. People can’t deal with a strong woman. I’m different. I’ve always been different.” “No, you’re not different.” We started doing our work and what she was dealing with was bipolar disorder, reactive attachment. She had some other issues around substance use.
In the words of Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true.” Be honest with yourself. If there is an issue that keeps coming up and you cannot clear that hurdle, free and clear and keep with your run, jog or sprint, that’s something you want to look at. It may not be a full-fledged mental health illness. It may be something that requires some attention. Anything you want to run smoothly like your car, your air conditioner in your home, and your relationships requires maintenance. That’s the bottom line.
I believe that the first step to mental wellness is authenticity. A lot of people will say, “You’re right because I want to be my real self,” but that’s not what I mean. I mean being real with yourself and that is taking an assessment. Identify where the areas where you are tripping up and taking action on those things. That’s true authenticity. A lot of people get stuck on, “This is the way I am. This is the way I was raised. I’m this. I have a strong personality.” I always ask, “How is that serving?” Is that serving you in a way? Is getting you down the track without stumbling?
Sometimes we’re not able to see it. I will put myself in the hot seat. My first job was at the Department of Veterans Affairs many years ago. It was a supervisor that I’m still friends with. She pulled me aside and she said, “Sheila, there’s some buzz about you here in the hospital.” I thought, “I’m doing great work. There’s a buzz. What else would there be?” She cared enough about me to have a real heart to heart. She was like, “I don’t know what’s up with this edgy thing you have going on. You look like a person who can do some good things in your future. You need to stop and look at that.” It was a wake-up call. It was humbling. I could have become defensive but I didn’t.
I called my mother. I called my sister. I’m like, “My supervisor pulled me in and she said, there’s something with edgy and resentment.” They cracked up. They’re like, “Is this the first you’re hearing about it?” That was the start of a deeper dive into checking in with myself and starting to heal the root cause of that resentment. That angry kid that grew up with the raw deal, and still had that chip on my shoulder. In a way, unconsciously taking that out on people.
I wasn’t connected to the real core obligation for taking care of my mental health, and also the impact that my mental health neglect was having on other people. When you say it’s about being real, it’s not just, “This is who I am.” It’s being real about what is going on with you. There’s a piece of mental health that is intimate. It’s personal that only you are privy to. I don’t know what’s happening in your inner most sanctum or with the people you love. It’s something that only you are privy to. That’s why getting down and dirty with this is essential. That’s one-on-one with yourself.
What do you feel is the greatest obstacle people face in terms of leveling up their mental health and wellness, to include the barrier or the resistance or the wall that one makes it up whenever they identify or their awareness is raised in terms of how they’ve been showing up, which they may have?
I feel like one of the biggest barriers and this is what I get a lot. People will say when they cut the bull, “I know there’s an issue. I don’t know how. I want to feel better. I want to up–level. I want to get where I want to go, whatever that means for me. I need to know how.” That’s one piece of it. The flip side of it is we’ve got books out here. We have YouTube channels. We have podcasts like this. The flip side of that is understanding. You can think about your mental health a lot. You can be in this misty fog. That’s very different than getting up every day to the title of your book, Get Up! It is very different than getting up every day and doing what you need to do. Not what you need to think or what you need to talk about.
Doing what you need to do in order to stay whole, healthy and clear. There are things I do every day. They don’t take me 3 or 4 hours. I’m not going up on a mountain top to meditate for half a day, but there are things that in order to stay clear, to show up in kindness and decency or feeling good in my skin physically. There’s a physical component to this too. Those are the things that I do every day. I understand the responsibility. It’s about taking that step to implementation, which can be challenging for some people. It’s a two-sided coin. How do I do it? The implementation, how do I stay consistent with it? Those are some key barriers.
What are some fundamental practices? There are different levels of mental health. There may be some specifics to mental illness. Maybe some specifics to those things. What are some fundamental things that one can practice on a daily basis?Wherever you are in life, take the responsibility to keep your cup full so that you won't need anyone else to do it for you. Click To Tweet
I’d love to share that with you. Everyone will come up with their own mental health maintenance program, but I’ll share with you a couple of things that I do and a couple of things that the people I’ve worked with have found essential for their functioning daily. Number one is you want to have a practice because we carry so much. There’s a psychological sludge that can collect on us, mental and emotional. I’m a firm believer that thought energy is real. The energy around what you can feel coming from the people. The thoughts that you generate are real.
You need to have a method to rinse that and renew every day. I call that emptying out. You need to do it daily. You can do it at the top of the day or at the bottom of the day. For me, what I do, I have a little electric candle that I carry with me when I’m traveling. If I’m not traveling, I have my little Yankee candle in my office at home. How I start my mental health maintenance is emptying out Statesville loud. I don’t sit there quietly. I empty out the successes and joys that I want to hear myself say out loud. Sometimes it takes me three minutes. I’ve sat as long as an hour and getting all of that out so I’m not carrying anything.
The secondary practice that I follow is something called pouring in. This part is out loud. I imagine that the crown of my head is opening up. It’s like this liquid golden wisdom and good stuff. I say it out loud. I want to pour in is my dedication, focus, love and humanity. I say that out loud with a visualization. Third component of that and I’m breaking it down for you, but generally it takes about 15, 20 minutes once you’re doing this fluid. The next component is what I call programming. This part is so important because whatever you program in your mind, the images, the visuals, your mind, body, heart, spirit and soul want to complete that.
I’ll give you an example. Before this interview, I get up, I close my eyes, visualize myself, sharing with you comfortably and laughing like old friends. The mind wants to do that. When I’m doing my programming, I see myself throughout the day, joking, having fun with my daughter, the empathy with my clients. If I have a speaking engagement, I’m visualizing all of that. It may take 30 seconds, but you want to put the imprint in your mind to give yourself a solid direction to go. I followed that up with prayer. It is a big part of my life.
The last element is what I call, “What do you need to watch, Sheila?” I list out loud, “This is what you got to keep your eye on with yourself.” I then give myself a reminder again of where I want to go, what I appreciate about life. I’m breaking it down, but it’s fluid once you start it. Those are some core fundamental things people can think about and start doing. I also want to mention that sometimes, to get to the mental health maintenance, when I say a formal intervention, it may not be a therapist.
It maybe you changing some structure in your day to get some reading. You may need to shift your work around. Instead of two days, you have three days off. Sometimes getting to that maintenance requires a recognition that what I’m doing is not working. If what you are doing is working, give yourself a pat on the back. You still need the maintenance to make sure you keep humming along. Those are some key things to think about.
What are your thoughts about challenging the existing thoughts, programming, beliefs and value systems from the past? What I’ve found with dealing with some of my clients, when we have to address mental health, they too have to get over their selves. They come to me and say, “I want to accomplish this.” I’ll say, “Great.” We get started, but then what I find is they’re in the way. It’s not the actual challenge of the goal so I have to get back up and have to deal with that. One of the things I find that I have to deal with is a lot of the programming and the belief systems that were created when they were young and grew up with. That has gotten them to a place that to go to the next area, it no longer serves them. What is your recommendation for dealing with those types?
I’m going to be straight between the eye with you. A great many people, including myself, a lot of folks that I’ve worked with have had some major inner child issues that they needed to clear. Nothing moved from me, not in my career, not in my life and not in my relationships until I dealt with the trauma of that little girl who was following me in my inner child. It could be at an event or relationships. I’ll give you a prime example. I was dating this guy right out of school. We got into this argument and he ended up dumping me. The last thing he said was, “You know what you want? You want me to do stuff because your dad didn’t do it. You have daddy issues.”
It hit me so hard because he was right. This was playing out not only in those relationships, but work dynamics, all of that. It had to be cleared. This is why being brutally honest and looking at yourself. I do something with people that I call mapping. We get out this giant sheet of paper. We start to map, not just the hard things. We map the successes too. We also look at the patterns like, “Where had the problematic patterns been,” and 9 times out of 10, it is a pattern that you could trace directly back to how they were raised and very limiting beliefs. Mine was, “You’re not worth anything.” That was a belief I was operating off of. If you don’t feel you’re worth anything, you are not going to go after opportunities that our God ordained for you.
I’m not talking about figuratively or given an example of being at the door. I remember being at the door of a facility and turning around and leaving because of the heavy overlay of, “What the hell are you doing? This is not going to work for you. You’re not even worthy of this.” That’s programming and if you don’t deal with that and break through that, it’s not going to work. It doesn’t matter how skilled of a coach you are or how skilled of a therapist you have. That is something deeply intimate and personal.
A lot of people need to physically break through that because it’s cellular. That’s why I will take people out on ropes courses. We do this method where I’m like physically addressing the issues because it’s all cellular. Once they have that recognition, then you see over time the joy. You know as well as I do when you’re dealing with someone, they’ve broken through that because their energy is palpable. You can feel it. You also know when you’re dealing in resistance.
It’s the resistance that has to be moved out of the way because we’re in similar fields. You have to be on your A-game to deal with what’s coming at you. It could be rejection. Personalities are a big part of it. If you don’t have that filtered out, it’s going to mess with you and you won’t have the momentum. It’s as simple as that. A lot of it is programming from childhood, Rodney. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s a faulty program that has to be dealt with.We take our breaks so that we can live and work in excellence. Click To Tweet
It has to be challenged. Because it’s cellular and a part of our upbringing, we feel that it’s okay. It goes back to the authenticity conversation. We feel that that’s how we are, but it requires challenging those beliefs. A lot of the beliefs that we have were purposeful at that time. It was serving at that time. It could have been beneficial at that time. As we grow, as we become older and then as we become more aware, we have wider and greater desires that forces us to become someone else or stretch that belief doesn’t serve you anymore. Maybe something happened to you that caused you to believe a certain thing.
We never challenged that because that was your coping mechanism at that time. You felt that way and that was a way to protect you from whatever happened, not happening again, or it was a way that you coped with it. Now that you’re older, you don’t need that anymore. That happened so long ago, but we’re still carrying it. It’s driving our behaviors, how we think and how we feel about ourselves. I believe that wherever you are in life and compared to wherever you want to go, you have to look at where you are and look at where you want to go. You have to ask yourself, “Who do I need to be in order to get there? How do I need to think? How do I need to feel? What core values do I need to have?”
You match that up against where you are in your core values. When you match that up and you see the changes you need to make, if there’s any hesitations about that, if there’s any apprehension about that, you have to stop and address what’s giving you the hesitation to walk in this new person that can get you where you want to go. I feel that for people, it’s a way to recognize where you are and meet yourself where you are.
I also tell people when we talk about the issue of obstacles, feeling worthy, and the confidence that is required because it’s a beautiful world, but it’s a tough world. I like to highlight and I believe this to be a fact that just by virtue of you being here and born on this planet, that is your birthright. That is your worthiness. What will you do with that worthiness? I was talking to a woman and she said, “In this COVID, no one has thought of me. My children don’t think of me. People don’t call me.” I challenged her. I said, “All you are is a thought. God thought of you enough to bring you in of all the millions and billions of souls. You were chosen for here and now. You are a thought.” It goes back to mindset. I like what you say about people need to be challenged. They need to be challenged head on. It’s the difference of living your life on your couch and watching other people live their lives on TV, and you jumping into the game, get out here and get into the mix.
I wanted to address your comment about the lady who was looking for her children to call her during COVID. I want to say to people to put a practice in place that keeps your cup full. I don’t want you to depend on someone else to fill your cup. If you have a mental health illness, if you’re dealing with a challenge, wherever you are in life, take the responsibility to keep your cup full. When your cup is full, you don’t need anything from out there or anyone to feel for. What happens is if you’re feeling a little empty right now, that’s not the responsibility of anyone else.
You can’t depend on your children. You can’t depend on your parents. You can’t depend on anyone to keep you full but you. If you’re feeling empty, here’s the beautiful thing about it. You can identify what it will take in order to fill yourself up. If you have to rely on other people to fill you up, I want you to challenge that belief that you need someone else to fill you up. A lot of people love to give. I love giving. It’s such a beautiful thing, but do not give if your cup is not full. You give from your overflow, you do not give from your cup. If you give from your cup, you’re giving away the stuff that you need to survive. It’s like me on the airplane and say, “Put your mask on before you try to help someone else put their mask on.” This is the same thing. I don’t want what you need in your cup because that’s not for me. You can’t give to me if you’re not full.
I have an initiative that’s starting in January 2021. It’s called Well Profit. I’m not talking about monetary because some people give their time when they need a day off themselves. Some people give material possessions. They don’t have it to give away. What I tell people is the more you invest in your self-care, the more you invest in what you want. If a business is what it’s going to mean for you to knock the ball out of the park and feel good about yourself, the more you invest in your mental health. You’re going to be able to grow that business. There was a time I wanted to be generous. I wanted to do things but I couldn’t because my business was not where I wanted it to be.
I can be more generous now because I backed up and did the work. Sometimes if you calm down, you could see the pathway to expansion for your life or your business, or putting your family together. It’s deeply gratifying for me not just with my time, but with my resources because the cup overflows. I can take that overflow and say, “I’m good. I want to share it with you.” All of it is full circle. It’s a beautiful circular motion if we look at it like this. One waterfall feeds the river into the next waterfall. It doesn’t work in reverse order. Your point is very well taken. That’s a huge mental health component too. I have people running around for everyone else, doing everything, filled with resentment about it. If you’re doing it in resentment, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you’re doing it and if it puts you at a deficit, you shouldn’t be doing it. You need to back and check in with yourself and your mental health. What are your intentions? What’s your focus?
One of the fundamental basis or principles of being resilient is self-care. I’m so happy that you mentioned self-care. Being resilient is all about bouncing back, being able to take the hit, but yet get back up. You mentioned get up. One of the ways you get up is to take care of yourself. When you see someone go down on the field, people run out and they are immediately providing care. They’re providing care and they do it quickly because they want the person to be able to get back on the field to play. When you go down and you identify that there’s a weakness. You have to care for the weakness. You have to go and provide TLC to it so that you can bounce back. The game isn’t over. It’s a little time out. That’s how we do that. This is beautiful.
Thank you. It is a wonderful conversation. I did an article and a post about the necessity. We take our breaks so that we can live and work in excellence. There’s a lot of people who pride themselves. I love my work. It doesn’t feel like work because I feel it’s a vocation. God ordained to support and help. Even in that, I need to take my break so that I can be refreshed. What business do I have coming on this show? People can feel that.
The point of self-care is I’m not going to talk anyone of giving, being and nurturing other people, because you have people that’s who they are. They’re never going to stop. They feel dead if they’re not doing that. If you want to do that in a way that is elevated, and you’re not operating in resentment, that other toxic stuff is not there, you need to be caring for yourself so that you have some excess overflow. Whether that’s mental overflow or a financial overflow, a lot of people should think very closely also to guard their mental health. Some of the people you’re talking to and dealing with are toxic.
That’s part of the reason why you can’t heal. There are people I don’t talk to any longer or very seldom and very unapologetically. I tell them why, “Every time I talk to you, it’s like climbing a mountain because you’ve drained all of my energy.” That’s a part of mental health too is taking a look at your borders, boundaries and who you let in, what you let in and how far. All of that falls under the domain of mental health even though we may not traditionally have looked at it like that. You have a right, “Sheila, I don’t want to hurt anyone.” Perhaps the best thing they need is someone to distance themselves. The next time you come or visit, now we have some elevation in here. You’re talking like you have some sense and you have some balance. We got to look at that too.The best time to deal with adversity is not when you're in the middle of a fall. Get your resilience plan in place. Click To Tweet
Sheila, where can people find you if they wanted to connect with you?
Everything is on my website. It’s www.RAB.Solutions. That’s where you can find everything.
We talked about your program that’s ongoing right now. It talks about mental health and the conversation about racism. Can you give us a little information about that?
There are a few things going on right now. One of those is Eggshells, Racism and Mental Health. That’s the series you participated in. Lots of heavy hitters, great conversations and ongoing conversations about what you can do inside of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement to support yourself and support your community. That’s on the website. I also launched on my Audible audio book, They’re Not Coming. The title says it all. They’re not coming. You’re going to need to save yourself and be your own hero. It’s a book about supporting your mental health, dealing with the casual cruelty in the world. It’s on the website. The last thing is in January, 2021, I’ll be launching an initiative called Well Profit. That’s for entrepreneurs and business people. I draw the link between making your money and keeping your mental health where it needs to be. All of that is coming up and I thank you for the opportunity to share and get the word out.
Thank you for that. One last question, how can people bounce back from adversity, dominate their challenges and consistently win at the game of life?
How you bounce back is understanding. Don’t kid yourself. There will be adversity and the best time to deal with that challenge is not when you’re in the middle of a fall. Get your resilience plan in place now. I call it the parachute and when the stuff goes left, pull the parachute, pack the parachute in advance. This is what I need to do. This is what’s packed and when I pulled the parachute, this is my plan because I know I need to get to the gym. I know who I need to talk to. I know what I need to get the good food in my fridge. I need to mount that fight to protect myself so plan in advance. That’s my tip.
Sheila Robinson-Kiss, thank you for coming on the show. This has been amazing.
Thank you so much. I enjoyed it.
There you have it, another successful episode. Pack your parachute. Many of you may be feeling like you wish you had your parachute right now, but it’s not over. You can start packing that bad boy in right now because I know we’re going through a crisis. Here’s the newsflash, this will not be the last one. The question is, will you be prepared for the next one? What lessons are you learning from this one that you can carry with you? That’s what we want to be. That’s the mindset we want to have. Until next time, pack your parachute and we’ll see you on the next show.
- Get Up!
- Eggshells, Racism and Mental Health
- They’re Not Coming
- YouTube – Sheila Robinson-Kiss
- Is Life Knocking You Down? Read Rodney’s inspiring story – Get Up! I Can’t. I Will. I Did… Here’s How! https://rodneyflowers.com/get-up-book/
- Recognize Your Positive Potential – Essential Assertions by Rodney Flowers https://rodneyflowers.com/essential-assertions-book/
- Get Access to Rodney’s Daily Inspiration in your Inbox Today https://rodneyflowers.us9.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=01f76a038256f77a6fbc93590&id=307d726734
About Sheila Robinson-Kiss
An award-winning orator and the author of five books, Sheila Robinson-Kiss, is an educator, entrepreneur, and mental health practitioner focused on advancing wellness initiatives on a grass roots, national, and global scale. She is the founder and CEO of the Rebalancing America and Beyond Initiative. As a result of her commitment and success as a licensed health and wellness practitioner, innovator, programming consultant and transformational retreat leader, she was named a Citrin CoopermanWoman at the Wheel in 2019 and a Leading Woman Entrepreneur for the State of New Jersey in 2017. Most recently her programs were spotlighted on MSNBC’ Know Your Value Show. Mrs. Robinson-Kiss is a featured life transformation expert on the Youtube, and was honored at the Clinton Presidential Center in Arkansas with a World Woman Summit Keynote in 2017. As a consultant and program development expert with over 20 years of experience, through the use of modern resources, she has launched live and online, platform training programs that have reached over 600,000 individuals. She has earned distinction in the field of program design/development across multiple service industries. She partners with over 80 state and private agencies including AmericanFamily Insurance, The Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Ramapo College, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Wells Fargo Advisors, New Jersey Department of Families, Child Care Connections and more, to deliver impactful training programs that promote life productivity and balance.
Sheila Robinson-Kiss is the voice urging world communities to take responsibility for how you live, work, and feel. Sheila Robinson-Kiss is regarded as a Super Provider and Educator in the health and wellness industry. Sheila is on a mission to give people thetools to adapt to the fast-paced, distraction filled climate we live in and heal every aspect of their lives.
Mrs. Robinson-Kiss taps into the soul and psyche of her audiences by creating a long-lasting memorable experience, while delivering fun, uplifting, interactive, programs, filled with well-researched, practical strategies that are necessary to sustain a balance for your daily high performance.