Good things come to those who grind. The early bird gets the worm. Sleep is for the rich.
I can bet you $20 that you've seen one of the aforementioned quotes on a meme or status on social media. If you're like me, hearing any of the three anecdotes above immediately sends a wave of anxiety through your body, and makes you think of all of the things you won't possibly have time to accomplish today. The "grind" is a lifestyle that we as millennials boast and work hard to maintain because there's said to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But Francheska Medina, a Harlem-based wellness advocate and media personality, says those theories are bullsh*t.
Francheska, now more popularly known as Hey Fran Hey and one third of the popular The Friend Zone podcast, is living proof that trying to keep up with the grind can mean risking both your physical and mental health.
Nearly a decade ago, the now 36-year-old wellness coach was on track to put out her debut musical project when she was struck by an illness that not even doctors could explain. She said, "I wasn't eating, stress levels were high, wasn't sleeping. Was kind of on that #TeamNoSleep bullshit that people are on now. But think about it, it's called "grind life." I grinded myself into nothingness and got so sick. And that summer was really bad. It was a rock bottom at the time, but it ended up being a complete shift in my consciousness, where I was hospitalized."
"I grinded myself into nothingness and got so sick."
Many times, we don't know what we have until it's gone, and that was true for many of life's basic necessities at this point in Fran's life. It was then that the young entrepreneur realized the only choice she had was to make a change in her lifestyle.
"Sometimes you take things for granted the most basic things. Like being able to walk, feed yourself, use the bathroom, shower. Those are things that we overlook on a day-to-day basis. And it took me losing the ability to do all of those things to realize, like woah. I am not focused on the areas of life where i should be focused and pouring my energy into, which is me. As a person, as a human being first, before music or creativity or a career - all of that had kind of taken a backseat to my goals. So that is where the shift came in of, Fran first, career next. Wellness became my priority."
"Fran first, career next. Wellness became my priority."
Since then, Fran hasn't looked back. She currently uses her platform to share information, tips, and resources to help other women live their best lives and truly find alignment.
In addition to co-hosting The Friend Zone, Fran is currently on a 12-city wellness tour, and was just named one of the official hosts of HBO's Insecure Podcast, but somehow she still makes time to prioritize self-care. We got a chance to talk to Fran about how she makes time for her own wellness despite her busy schedule, and here's what she had to say:
What is an average day or week like for you?
It's kind of hard to pin down because it changes so much. My self-care acts are my priority. Before, it was a thing where my work was first, and then I would kind of figure out ways to integrate self-care, but that's completely switched since I got older. Now self-care is first.
So, I wake up in the morning, meditate, make my breakfast. Sensuality and catering to my five senses are kind of what helps me have a good day. So I'll have to have resins burning, make sure the lighting in my apartment is up to par. I even have bulbs that have a remote, so it changes with the color wheel. I'm very much a Taurus, all of my sense have to stimulated in order for me to wake up in the morning. Obviously, eating good food.
I don't jump on the phone. Everyone who knows me knows I'm not texting, calling, or speaking to anyone before noon, because that's kind of my little cocoon time frame. I work out, go to the gym, run a 3-miler, lift some weights, do some HIIT workouts.
Once I feel like Fran is taken care of, like my body, my mind, my emotional health, then I hop online and cater to my workload. I try to work from about noon until maybe 6 or 7, taking small breaks here and there, small dance breaks if I'm at home. Then I eat dinner, then I read or watch a doc. You know, something to keep myself sharp. I'm in bed by 11 now, that's been my biggest shift this year, fixing my sleep schedule. So I'm in bed by 11 now, which has been so great for me. It's been great for my mood and cut down on anxiety with a heavy schedule. Unless I'm traveling for the tours, that's a whole different ball game.
What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week/your work?
When you're creating weekly for so many different projects, it's easy for something to slip or fall to the wayside. I think with taking my time, and being so well organized now, has allowed me to focus on each project and give it 100%. I don't believe in multitasking. That's another thing that I've completely cut out. Because multitasking was what was making my projects slip. There's no way you can give 100% to multiple projects at once, so the way that I schedule myself is that each thing gets its own couple of hours or it's own day of my week. That was making me feel raggedy after a while.
How do you find balance with:
I'm lucky enough that I work with all my friends. All the podcasts we're apart of, we're all integrated into it. So my podcasts, both of them are with my friends. My wellness tour is with my friends. I've designed a life where not only do I do what I want to do, but I'm also surrounded by the people that I want to be surrounded by. And luckily, we have the similar interests so our life can mesh in the different intersections, which is my favorite part. I literally have a dream life. So, that's how I get to see them.
"I've designed a life where not only do I do what I want to do, but I'm also surrounded by the people that I want to be surrounded by."
My last relationship was a mirror of where my head was at and it wasn't a good relationship. There were a lot of really heavy aspects of it that taught me a lot about how I view love. Your whole value system is mirrored to you through these relationships. So I realized I needed to take a break and recalibrate because I wasn't liking who I was in relationships and I realized I was falling into very similar patterns repeatedly. So I've actually been on sabbatical or hiatus from relationships until I can get to the point where I think I'd be a better and strong contribution, as well as receiving a partner that could be a better contribution. It just hasn't been a priority, I've had to do a little bit of work first.
Exercise? How has working out benefited you mentally and spiritually?
Exercise is a huge part of my lifestyle. Not so much being in the gym, like I'll make time for it. But it's more so just the connection. The connection with my body. It's making sure that with all these flights and all these projects that I'm getting good stretching in, that my circulation is flowing, that my heart is getting movement, that I'm getting sun because it's easy to stay cooped up working all day. It's more so the connection, knowing that I'm hitting all the cylinders. I like more restorative forms of working out. My body was completely different. I was a lot thinner and really ripped up, but it wasn't sustainable for me. I wanted something that could be integrated a little more seamlessly. So it's like riding my bike, going for a run outside. Even dancing from Afrobeat playlists.
Health? Do you cook or find yourself eating out?
Cooking more for sure. Because eating out, especially in Harlem, there aren't a lot of options for the food that I like to eat. It's growing because it's gentrified, so there are more vegan options. But I tend to just make my own stuff. I'm flexible between being a vegetarian and vegan. Eggs kind of makes me switch between the two.
Do you ever detox?
No, because my lifestyle at this point is one big detox. It's literally how I live, so I don't feel that I need to push my body to detox any more.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
Solitude. The only times I start feeling that way is when I'm listening to too many people and not listening to myself. It never fails. For me, I don't even view it as a bad thing, I just view it as a gauge of how much time I'm spending with my intuition, my own heart, my own thoughts. It's like a barometer that says, your ears have been perked a little too long. So I just withdraw a little bit, read more, write down my goals and thoughts and the way i want to execute thoughts. It's a sign that Fran, you need to spend a little more time to yourself.
And honestly, what does success mean to you?
Success for me changes for me day-to-day. But as long as I'm doing what I want. As long as I'm waking up and not feeling misaligned. Room for me to channel what Fran needs to put out into the world.