How I Heal: Monet Bush

Earth & Olive

Monet Bush is a mother, business owner, and mental health advocate. She markets and brands for the wellness world through her company Earth and Olive, where her background in corporate training helps clients align their business goals with their values. You may know Monet’s work in the Ban.do Vol 1 Wellness Planner, her recent launch of Wellmade, or seeing her work in some of the brands you know and love like Raleigh City Farms.

Where did your wellness journey begin?
My journey through wellness began in college when I moved out of my childhood home. My caretakers faced a lot of generational trauma that I didn’t know about until I moved out and saw healthy living examples. Through trial and error on my own to craft the life I envisioned, I realized I needed extra help! Through therapy, when I could afford it, and lots of self-education, I was able to begin a path to thriving. 

I was able to find a doctor who sat with me for two hours and took my concerns seriously. My doctor is an an MD and licensed holistic practitioner so was able to diagnose me with PMDD and ADHD officially. I had worked with previous providers, but my concerns were pushed aside, and the gap in health care for Black and big-bodied women was alive and well. I went from focusing on health for aesthetics and misguided health from western medicine focused solely on weight, to focusing on wellness inside and out. Under the care of western medicine doctors, I dropped 40 pounds, developed orthorexia, and was misdiagnosed with bipolar depression. Under the care of my MD / holistic practicing doctor I was able to truly heal and focus on building a life full of wellness, even down to my profession. #TheJourneyContinues

The gap in health care for Black and big-bodied women was alive and well.

What healing modality were you skeptical of that’s become a go-to for you?
Astrology. I grew up in a very Christian home. In the community I grew up in, Astrology equated as the closest thing to witchcraft. A lot has changed for me as I’ve decolonized my beliefs. No matter what I believe now, I’ve done a deep dive into the stars. It is fascinating how much insight there is within understanding the Sun, Rising, and Moon signs.

It’s even helped me with my parenting. For instance, my little is a double Virgo. Kovu is very analytical, and I’m creative and flighty. He thrives on analytical learning and structure. Low and behold, I tried and errored this until his birth chart made it well-known. It is so fun to see how things align via astrology daily and how I can help my son thrive as he learns to communicate. It may not seem like a wellness practice, but for me it’s been a massive part of understanding inner work on a deeper level.

Talking costs zero dollars—we all have the tools to better wellness.

How do you nurture yourself and tend to your emotions when you’re stressed? 
I talk. Whether internally or to others. I grew up having to push feelings and emotions under the rug. I’d even “ghosted” people I truly cared about for lack of knowing how to talk about things that genuinely hurt. Now, I’m vocal. I say, “Hey, I’m having an XYZ day. Here’s what I need.” I wake up with dialogue to myself: “What do you need today to thrive?” I’ve become emotionally aware. I can tell a friend, “Hey, this is going on, and I need to de-stress and have some me time. I love you, and I’ll check-in soon!” I tell my 11-month-old who can’t understand me, “Mommy is overstimulated right now. Let’s sit here and breathe for a moment so I can show up for you in full capacity.” Communication is key. Sometimes, solely vocalizing helps me further investigate the sources of stress so I can backtrack and recenter and reprioritize. Talking costs zero dollars—we all have the tools to better wellness.

What does wellness in your work-life mean to you?
I used to think of wellness as the fun stuff like face masks and smoothies. Welp. I started this journey seven years ago, and I can assure you: it’s not just face masks in the name of self-care. Self-care for me comes in the form of confronting patterns, traumas, and a whole other slew of things that may hinder me on my path. Also, with ADHD, it is so easy to give in to procrastination and diving into something that only sparks my brain’s interest. After all, that’s one of the most prominent symptoms. Our minds truly shut down focus on things it does not find interesting. It’s literally like a car saying no I don’t want to drive up this hill, I will spit out this tank of gas unless you turn me to the car show. In a world with deadlines, that won’t fly. So, the structure is a massive part of my work wellness. To help my brain flow best, it needs clear direction, color, and sounds to make tasks “interesting.”

 I started this journey seven years ago, and I can assure you: it’s not just face masks in the name of self-care. 

I use an adapted personal version of a SCRUM Board. In the game development world, a SCRUM Board consist of “to-do,” “in-progress,” “in-limbo,” and “done” categories. It’s a pretty simple concept – each section houses sticky notes that you move around based on what category best represents the progress. There are many different versions. While I use a full-blown project management system, this physical SCRUM board is in rotation every day. My categories switch based on the year (I’ve used this system since 2018), and currently, my sections are as follows:

1. To-Do (Today)
2. Up Next (Basically the cue to schedule for tomorrow) 
3. The Goals (Upcoming this month or so)
4. Upcoming (To be scheduled in the next 3-6 months)

The To-Do (Today) section is blocked off by color and time. In this season, my rule is that I can have no more than five post-its in each category as over the years seeing all my tasks could get overwhelming. Now it’s more like no more than 5-8 post-its in the to-do today section, but that’s where ebb and flow comes in. There is this common misconception I’ve seen that self-care is simply self-indulgence. It’s more than that to me. It’s showing up for yourself in the areas you lack. Accountability to help show up better than you did the last day so you can serve yourself, your family, and your purpose at the best capacity.

What’s your relationship to technology, and how do you use it intentionally?
My relationship with technology is love/hate. As a woman of color, I get so excited about the information we have today that the generations before us didn’t have. I am able to learn about healthy family structures, find counselors at the drop of a hat, and see the disparities in my community upfront. I love it for that. I’ve even been able to have tough conversations while still showing empathy with the information gap. I was also able to prep myself for the gap in Black Woman’s healthcare during the birth of my little. Being informed allowed me to take up space and demand what I needed when those gaps showed up. 

The flip side of technology is that being in front of the screen for my work and leisure can get overwhelming. I’m currently still finding my balance here, but my adapted SCRUM board helps me know when it’s time to shut off and use the dedicated time for family and rest. 

I absolutely cannot go without my VSM: Vitamins, Shower, and Make the Bed. 

What one daily ritual can you not live without?
I absolutely cannot go without my “VSM.” It’s no Jersey Shore GTL, but it’s my version: Vitamins, Shower, and Make the bed. 

Vitamins: I’m breastfeeding and (new moms, please hear this) NO ONE TOLD ME TO CONTINUE MY PRENATALS WHILE BREASTFEEDING. The audacity. My hair started falling out so much my scalp hurt. I also had so many cravings. I didn’t realize how much my body was still doing for my baby until I saw the ingredients on my prenatal. For perspective, I was taking standard “high potency” biotin at 5,000 mg and a few other vitamins I’d take usually. My prenatal has 35,000 mg of biotin. Not to mention all these additional doses of essentials that generally I’d screech at the amounts of mcgs. I had no clue how hard my body was depleted from my usual vitamin-filled body as I make food for a mini human. I’d always been on vitamins, but I want to stress that making sure I was on the right vitamin for my current season of life was vital. I  started retaking my prenatal vitamins, and I was back, baby! 

Shower: If I do nothing else, the shower changes my whole vibe. I sprinkle some essential oils in the tub and let the heat do its thing. If I shower, the day is good, and I feel brand new. You may think this small feat is a no brainer….with a toddler, I can assure you it is not. Ha! So, you know, jokes on you. I make time for this ritual even if it means Kovu has to join me some days. 

Making the Bed: I feel accomplished, and it spirals as the first “task completed” of the day. It also ensures I tell my brain not to work in the bed and get up and move. 

What’s a routine or practice you’d recommend everyone try?
So, I’m going to talk about that little acronym up there. I recommend intentional reflection and remembering that routines are sacred and should be tailored to you. They should also flow with your needs as the seasons in your life change. Try checking in with yourself in a simple direct way every morning to help you find your acronym. It can be a Gym, Tan, Laundry. Yoga, Therapy, Breakfast (YTB has a nice ring to it! At one point, when I didn’t have a healthy relationship with food, YTB was an acronym that served me well and reminded me to have a mindful breakfast!) Dose, Digital Detox, Breathwork. It doesn’t matter what it is, just figure out what season you are in your life and the three small or big things that need to be front and center to help you thrive. Then, graduate to writing down patterns you noticed that month when checking-in. What needs to change, and why? Daily inner reflection is a way of “test baking” in a sense. You are trying out different “ingredients” and determining what is needed to give you the recipe that helps bake the most rewarding finale for your current season. 

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