Posts tagged Health and Wellbeing
How To Flourish with Family this Holiday Season!
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Life isn’t easy, but The Cosmos is here for you. We’re creating How To Guides for Asian women, by Asian women to unpack and tackle the real shit we go through. Because we deserve to flourish and thrive together.

1. Make peace with your expectations. While most of us are not coming home to a picture-perfect Hallmark movie scene, it’s likely that we’re holding onto some unrealistic expectations.

Dr. Crane shares why this can backfire: When we build up our expectations to unreasonable levels (like those Hallmark visions), we set ourselves up to be disappointed. Don’t compare your family dynamics, personalities, or traditions to anyone else’s. Comparing can all too often lead to finding your own family lacking or disappointing. Remember, nobody’s family is perfect, no matter how they look on social media.

Before making holiday plans:

  1. Pull out your journal (we recommend Asian-woman created Passion Planner!) 

  2. Set a timer for 15 minutes

  3. Jot down any past holiday memories that come to mind. 

  4. Circle the memories that involved conflict or tension with family.

  5. Notice if this exercise brought up any feelings. Think about what expectations you had in those moments of conflict. Recognize that you have the power to make this holiday season work for you. Scratch out any expectations that no longer serve you!

2. Decide if you want to make the trip home. But let's be real... the anxiety of Mom, Dad, and extended family guilt-tripping you can be enough to throw your own needs out the window.

Take a deep breath and write down 3 points that express your needs and practice saying them aloud to a friend. When it comes time to share your decision with family, speak from an honest and vulnerable place to help them understand where you’re coming from.

When you share what you're going through, you give your loved ones a chance to show up for you. And yes, putting yourself first is going to feel weird at first. But that’s exactly why we all need to do it more often. 

3. Show love your way. Do you know what your love language is? If not, take the 5 Love Languages quiz to understand how YOU like to show love. Buying gifts or giving a red envelope might not feel right to you, and that’s okay. Once you know how you like to give (helping mom peel ginger or going to the market with grandma counts!), expressing love and appreciation for our family members can feel like something to look forward to.

4.  Draw those boundaries! Eating every meal with family. Greeting grandparents. Shopping with cousins. Running to the post office. Buying the ingredient your brother or sister forgot. The holidays sure have a way of draining our positive energy (and ca$h money)! 

Here's Dr. Crane guidance: Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! This is tough in Asian families where parents and elders might expect you to be available on demand. Consider where you can draw boundaries, especially with regard to answering intrusive questions or reacting to upsetting comments. If you feel overwhelmed, take a bathroom break to breathe and remember that the visit is temporary.

5. Text your sister (or brother!). The holidays have a way of bringing old wounds to the surface. Family members might say or do something that triggers… and next thing you know, you're in tears, a heated argument, or snapping at someone you love. Your eight year old self is still inside along with all the hurtful things you may not have processed.

Find a quiet space and recite these 3 mantras:

  1. I am not alone.

  2. I deserve to ask for support.

  3. I am not a burden.

Before you head home for the holidays, find a brother/sister you trust and ask him/her if you can reach out in case anything comes up. If you're at home, come up with a system of signaling to a family member you're close to when you need support or at least a hand squeeze. We love this reality check by Dr. Crane: Family drives us craziest fastest, so we always need someone on the outside to remind us of who we are.

P.S. You can always email us at hello@jointhecosmos.com if you need extra shoulders to lean on!

This guide wouldn't be possible without    Dr. Leilani Salvo Crane   , Cosmos Community member and recent New York Retreat attendee. She is the daughter of a Filipina immigrant mother and a New England WASP father who is passionate about addressing the unique challenges faced by multiracial individuals in the U.S. You can book an appointment with her at    Zencare   !

This guide wouldn't be possible without Dr. Leilani Salvo Crane, Cosmos Community member and recent New York Retreat attendee. She is the daughter of a Filipina immigrant mother and a New England WASP father who is passionate about addressing the unique challenges faced by multiracial individuals in the U.S. You can book an appointment with her at Zencare!

How do we talk about our Health & Wellbeing as Asian Women?

 

The Cosmos was born when we imagined a community where naming our fears, uncertainties, anxiety, and doubts was not only supported, but normalized. Along the way, we’ve realized the need for a new vocabulary — one that empowers us to celebrate our livelihood, encourages our right to flourish and thrive on our own terms, and welcomes the reality of being perpetually in progress.

This is what makes The Cosmos’s approach to Health & Wellness different. We’re challenging stigma and creating a new way to talk about stigmatized topics like mental health, anxiety, intergenerational trauma, fertility, and sex and pleasure through The Cosmos Health & Wellness Workshops in San Francisco and New York City. Our workshops are a platform for the diverse perspectives of incredible leaders like the founders of BetterBrave, the co-founder of the popular co-working app Croissant, the co-founder of fertility app Carrot, and the amazing instructors at O.School, just to name a few.

Our workshops are intentionally 101 level because we believe easy access to health information is a human right.

Every Cosmos workshop challenges stigma by offering a supportive space to not only talk, but also amplify our voice on topics that affect our community as well as our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors.

The Cosmos Health & Wellness Series is an unapologetic call to action to practice wellbeing, on your terms. Health and Wellness impacts all pillars of life, and it is a pre-requisite for achieving one’s fullest potential. We’re self-aware that our perspective will not speak to every Asian identity. That’s why we’ve started our Create With Us program to provide a platform for community members to share their unique skills and story with the community. We need more stories at the table, and we want to hear yours.

Why Health & Wellness? Well…

“Asian-American women suffer alone. They suffer quietly, and they die quietly. And even if they die, nobody makes a fuss about it.”

Dr. Hyeouk Chris Hahm, Associate Professor of Social Work at Boston University and Founder of AWSHIP (Asian Women’s Health Initiative Project), a five-year study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Asian women are dying as mental health goes untreated. Asian women suffer in silence when stigma, cultural taboo, and pressure to succeed make it challenging to talk openly about mental health, much less ask for the care one needs. Research shows that Asian Americans are 2–5x less likely than white Americans to seek mental health services, and this statistic disproportionately affects our community, young and old.

This is the kind of news that keeps us up at night. But things are looking up. Internet bloggers, activists, and nonprofits are calling out inequities in the healthcare system and advocating for care that considers cultural differences. National media is raising awareness for the work of individual therapists and organizations like Asian Community Mental Health Services.

Is now the right time? We’re starting to see Asian women on magazine covers,bringing the bread home on Netflix, and working movie billboards. The resounding conclusion:

We need more research and stories of the experiences of different Asian communities, and we need more spaces led by people in our community.

So we got into a room and made a list of every health topic that’s ever felt hard to talk about: sex, orgasms, birth control, intergenerational trauma, egg freezing, mental health, anxiety, stress, imposter syndrome, being invisible, unseen, unheard. We thought about the big elephant in the room: America’s healthcare system is not designed for minorities. What happens when the English language doesn’t offer a vocabulary for immigrants and refugees to express their condition? Communities of Cambodians, Hmong, Laotians, and Bangladeshi Americans, who face higher rates of poverty and less access to health insurance, are met with higher financial barriers to access.

We’ve heard that this type of community is new. And we want to be clear: this is not a sorority. If you’ve been searching for belonging and space to feel celebrated for who you are, hear us: you’re not alone.

If you’re in New York, San Francisco, or Denver, come meet us at one of our workshops. For our LA crew, you can hang with us at our immersive 3-day Retreat in Joshua Tree.

And if you’re in any other city, you can join our community and meet the honest, open, supportive women leading this community. It’s not us — it’s every member who’s led a workshop with us (20 by the end of the summer!), every member who’s out there challenging norms and narratives with her hustle, every member who’s asking herself what it means to flourish and thrive, and helping others in her life do the same. The Cosmos is here for you, and because of you.

Special thanks to David Y., Dr. Lisa C., Stephanie K., and Bessie C. who reviewed drafts and helped us put pen to paper!