After Hours 10.26.22
Discussion 15: Mental Health and Self-Love with Christina Solis
If you haven't met Christina Solis, you're missing out. She's one of those people you feel like you've known forever when you first meet her, and she is as real as they come. No surprise there, because Christina's entire professional focus is to help people own their stories and discover their authentic selves. She is true to herself, and she wants you to be, too. Christina is pursuing a career in mental health, but she is the first person to tell you she is on a journey and that she doesn't have all of the answers. She is transparently embracing the wild ride that is life. Consider this your free ticket; join us as we chat all things mental health, self-love and acceptance with Christina.
First off, how are you? You are one of the busiest people I know with so much happening. How's your heart & soul?
Hiiii sweet friends :) thanks for checking in. The past few months have been a whirlwind filled with some of the best and worst experiences of the year. If you asked me a few weeks ago how I was, I might have said ‘hanging in there’ with tears in my eyes… however, just this past week, I took a full week off - away from ALL responsibilities (I literally cried calling out of all my jobs *queue people pleasing habit*) - but it was the major reset and reality check I needed. Today I woke up and the first thought that came to my mind was ‘welcome to your new chapter’- so today, I am no longer ‘hanging in there’, ‘surviving’ or ‘getting by’. I am cautiously optimistic and excited for what’s to come. I am rested. I am grateful and I am feeling like myself again. Thank goodness, because I missed me.
Can you share what it is you do for work? And what do you do for fun??
Oof, the ‘what do you do’ is hardest question for me to answer, haha. That answer has two parts. What I do now to pay the bills: I nanny the most amazing 11 year old human and have been lucky enough to watch him grow up from day 1. That brings me a lot of joy. I also do social media management for a San Diego guide, ThereSanDiego.com. I have been able to work alongside awesome San Diego brands, create content, model, organize and run local events and pretty much do any and everything in between. TLDR: I am a freelance Jane of all Trades and pretty much do it all.
What I will do to pay the bills (once internship/school is over): I am currently a full time student getting my Masters in Clinical Psychology and Counseling. That is a job in and of itself. Alongside attending classes, completing homework and reading all the things, I am a counselor at a county-run START home. START stands for Short Term Acute Residential Treatment, meaning individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis can receive 24/7 treatment while also gaining resources and/or placement for their level of care. TLDR: I counsel individuals who are in a crisis needing 24/7 care.
When did you decide to take a path in the mental health field? Was there something that was the catalyst?
I love this question so much. I’ve always been “that one friend” - the one you go to when things are tough and you just need someone to listen. I was (and still am) that friend for so many. And I love being that friend. In 2016, my life imploded - so much shit went down, which is a story for another day- and I fell into a deep dark depression. I finally went to therapy and after a few months of going, I realized I was basically playing therapist for all my friends. I took this whole “pseudo-therapist thing” a step further and started hosting “vulnerability groups” or as some call it group therapy. I noticed how much it helped others and I fell in love with providing that space and experience for others. BUT, one thing was holding me back…I had to go back to school- MEHH. I really did not want to do that. So i didn’t and let that dream fade into the background.
Then 2020 came along. I noticed many of my friends struggling with their mental health, and when I zoomed out, I realized we were all struggling. I will never forget, it was May 2022 and we were celebrating my best friend and brother in law finishing grad school when I said, “I’m going back to school and getting mine. Thanks for the inspo.” And that was that. I researched schools, talked to people in the industry and was enrolled in a program just a few months after that day.
Accessorizing with the Dandelion Tarot Necklace
Ok what is a day in the life of a therapist in training look like for you. Give us the BTS!
Alright buckle up, you’re in for a wild ride. So I wake up, make some coffee and have my first class at 8am. This class is where we talk about the cases we have at our internship, what tools we use and then we get feedback from our peers and professor. After class I head to the crisis center. I then have two hours of group supervision, where all the interns talk with program directors and clinical supervisors about current cases and interventions as we collaboratively decide what therapeutic approaches the client would benefit from. Then I have an hour of individual supervision where I talk about my experience being a therapist in training, any questions I may have, any struggles, any wins, and we also talk about my particular cases.
After supervision is over, I can begin seeing clients or lead group counseling. The sessions do not have a particular time slot, and the clients live in the building so it is important to collaboratively choose a time that works for everyone. Once my sessions are over, I write my notes and finish all necessary paperwork. Then I am responsible for doing rounds (safety checks) every 30 minutes and answering the phones. We get hundreds of calls a day since our phone is crisis line. We take the clients for walks to the beach and a nearby store twice a day, so we are all able to get some movement and sunshine. Once my shift is over at the crisis center, I head home so I can attend my evening class.
This month’s class is Biopsychopharmacology (aka learning about medications). I am usually making dinner while on zoom, listening to a powerpoint or reviewing the readings. Sometimes I have to finish homework after class, before showering, meditating and going to bed. It is a jam packed day, which is why it is so important to fit in making food, moving my body and taking time to rest when I can. Although somedays can be exhausting, it is so rewarding to do this kind of work and I know the long nights of homework and classes will pay off.
Christina wears platform shoes by Wal & Pai
The work you are doing is so needed and valuable, but also must be so tiring. What are some of the ways you fill up your own cup and care for your own mental health?
Providing mental health support is emotionally and mentally exhausting. I have never felt so depleted “after a days work” than when I first started counseling others. Consistent self care and “filling ones cup” is such an important routine to adhere to, especially for helping professionals. Some of my self care faves are hot yoga, turning off my phone and watching movies, riding my bike, reading books that have nothing to do with self care, journaling, getting outside (beach, hikes, neighborhood walk) and cooking new recipes. I also go to therapy, CoDA meetings and utilize other mental health resources to make sure I am taking care of my mental wellbeing as well.
On that note, what advice would you give a close friend struggling to get out of a funk?
I always try to listen to my friend before giving advice. Sometimes people don’t want answers and they don’t need solutions. They need to vent, they need to feel and they need to be heard. So before the conversation starts I *try* (I say try because I am not perfect) to ask what they want out of the conversation before just jumping into “fix it mode”. However, I do try and remind my friends of something my mom told me when life was f*cking hard. It’s simple but bear with me, she said, “in the end it always works out. Somehow some way, it always works out.” I rolled my eyes when she said it, but time and time again, it has proven to be true. Sure, life may give us plot twists, things may not end up the way we imagined, but it always ends up working out in one way or another. We generally do not know how it will, or when, which is uncomfortable, but if we think back to a time we thought we weren’t going to get through it…I think it is safe to say most of us got through it, or found a way to cope with it. And leaning on those “receipts” as I like to call them can be a really powerful reminder and offer some relief that the feelings, thoughts, situations that are occurring are temporary, even when they feel like a never ending shit storm. And if the whole “trust and have faith” vibe isn’t the direction, a simple holding of a hand, genuine eye contact and a reminder of my love and support is another tried and true move in my “helping my friends” toolbox.
A little self-love with our Rose Quartz Essential Gem Essence Oil
We love that you are an advocate for self love & body acceptance. What are your favorite body love affirmations & do you have any favorite books or resources on body acceptance you would like to share?
YES! Okay so first off with some resources… I love books, podcasts and real people who inspire me to love myself just the way I am.
- "THE BODY IS NOT AN APOLOGY" BY SONYA RENEE TAYLOR
- "THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE" BY BESSEL VAN DER KOLK
- "MD BODY TALK: 37 VOICES EXPLORE OUR RADICAL ANATOMY" EDITED BY KELLY JENSEN
Body Love Affirmations:
- My worth is not defined by numbers my value is not determined by my outer appearance
- I am worthy and deserving of love no matter what I look like
- Thank you body, for showing up everyday, for allowing me to breathe, smile, dream, hug, and experience life.
- I am deserving of my own love and acceptance
*pro tip: If you can’t find anything nice to say about yourself, ask someone to help you…I am SURE there is one person in your life who sees how incredibly amazing you are. Give them the opportunity to share that with you. *okay another tip: look up “body acceptance quotes” or “self love/self acceptance” in Pinterest, there’s ALWAYS some golden nuggets in there.
How can we follow along your journey and support you?
You can follow along on my personal IG @secretsofsunshine and you can also follow along on my newest platform @sunshinesafespace for all things mental health. I also have a website :) yup, that’s pretty much where you can find me! Or out and about in San Diego (and if you see me, say hi!!) I love new friends!
Ok last question, what are your top 5 favorite songs right now?
I have way more than 5 - but this is what’s on repeat and it’s for *all types of feels:
1. Grateful by Kota the Friend
2. Before (not after) by Courtney Govan
3. W.I.T.C.H by Devon Cole
4. Growing Sideways by Noah Kaan
5. Positive Energy by KvnLee
6. Free by Florence + The Machine
6. Woof by Still Woozy
7. Serotonin by girl in the red
8. Steal My Sunshine by LEN
9. Salem’s Interlude by Khalid
To learn more about Christina's life and her work, visit her website by clicking below: