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What Self-Care Looks Like For Lifestyle Guru Hey Fran Hey

Finding Balance

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."

Courtesy of Francheska Medina

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:

xoNecole: What is an average day or week like for you?

Fran: 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.

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 three-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 percent. 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 percent 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:

Friends?

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."

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Westfield

Love/Relationships? Dating?

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.

For more of Fran, follow her on Instagram and check out her website for curated calmness on the go, Hey Fran Hey.

Featured image courtesy of Hey Fran Hey

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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