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For This Entrepreneur, Balance Is About Quality Not Quantity

Wilonda Previlon walks us through how she finds balance.

Finding Balance

In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.

Living your best life is all about quality, not quantity.

Wealth isn't really wealth if your mental health is out of whack and a billion likes won't keep you from being burnt TF out. That's why full-time entrepreneur and boutique owner Wilonda Previlon quit her 9-5 as an Orthodontist's Assistant to pursue a life that made her feel fulfilled.

To Wilonda, success means living how she wants to and refusing to do sh*t that doesn't serve her. In an exclusive interview with xoNecole, the 26-year-old digital content creator explained, "Success to me means I can live how I want without having to force myself to do anything I don't."

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

While the Haitian-born Orlando native spends most of her days working from home, living the American dream as an influencer and aspiring actress, there are days when she has to press pause on her professional life to focus on her personal well-being. Wilonda shared, "Owning your own business(es) is an around the clock job and if you don't separate personal life with professional life, you can easily get burned out and not produce high-quality content."

Wilonda recently sat down with xoNecole to talk about how she makes self-care a priority in her busy life. Between working out, social media detoxes, and intentionally carving out time with the fam, here's how this media maven finds balance:

What’s been the driving force behind all of the hats that you wear these days? What is your “why”? 

The driving force behind all the hats I wear these days is knowing I have so many beautiful chocolate girls who are looking at me and are inspired by something as simple as me loving myself and embracing my own skin. I love getting the DMs from them saying I helped them love themselves more and more each day!

What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of. 

Yes, definitely no days are the same, so a typical week in my life consists of planning, creating content, replying to loads of emails, listening to podcasts, [and] working on my boutique Damis Activewear. I am a one-woman show, so I edit, model, take pictures, market, everything.

What are your mornings like?

Mornings are my favorite. I am a morning person for sure! I would wake up, say my prayers/give thanks to God, workout, eat breakfast, catch up on my DMs messages/IG comments, reply to emails. During the time that I'm eating and replying to messages, nine times out of ten, I am listening to a business or financial podcast or audiobook.

After that, if I have a YouTube video to create or campaign to do, I get my hair/makeup done to begin to create. Around this time, it is about 10:30 am. Normally this takes up the rest of my morning until noon where [if I remember] I eat lunch. I am so much more productive in the morning and being that I use natural light for just about everything, my mornings are very important and I don't like wasting time.

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

"I am so much more productive in the morning and being that I use natural light for just about everything, my mornings are very important and I don't like wasting time."

How do you wind down at night?

At night, before I mentally check out of work mode, I plan for the next day. My wind down is with a nice shower and either Netflix or a good book.

When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?

Deadlines! Being an influencer can be stressful, being that you are working with major companies that have specific requirements for each post/deliverable. If you don't pay close attention to the deck and make sure all requirements are fulfilled, you are at risk of doing the entire campaign again, or even worse, have the client not return for another campaign. Companies would literally come to you and expect you to do an entire campaign in a 7-day turnaround, which is very quick when you have other companies you are working with.

Do you practice self-care? What does that look like for you? 

Yes, most definitely! I love stepping back and taking care of myself. It's crazy that some people would think going on a vacation would seem to be a "self-care practice", but as an influencer, it is most definitely still work and half the time, we don't get to really enjoy it because we are worried about creating content. My self-care practices are the simple: a girls' night out with my friends where there is no picture taking involved, no postings. Also, working out is very therapeutic for me. Spending quality time with my family about once a month (since I don't live near them anymore) is a self-care practice for me. Another big one is stepping away from social media whenever I think it's needed, to be thankful for what I have going on in my life and not be so wrapped up in someone else's life and accomplishments.

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

"My self-care practices are the simple: a girls' night out with my friends where there is no picture taking involved, no postings. Also, working out is very therapeutic for me. Spending quality time with my family about once a month (since I don't live near them anymore) is a self-care practice for me."

What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?

You have time! It is just a matter of prioritizing you. It baffles me when people say they don't have time for themselves. Well baby, who will put you first besides you? No one. It can be something as little as 30 minutes a week where you are not catering to anything business- or family-related. You need this for yourself. It is vital to always make time for your mental and physical health.

How do you find balance with:

Friends? 

I keep my circle small. The more "friends" you have, the more you will be pulled in all directions to accommodate meetups/events. Keep a small circle of friends that are very important to you.

Exercise? Does it happen?

I strive to workout 4 to 5 days a week. [When I do] I see my skin glows, my energy is up, and I am nicer.

Do you cook or find yourself eating out more often? 

I cook. I don't mind cooking at all. Cooking is very therapeutic as well. I only eat out if I am out all day or socially. But, most of the time, I have people come over and we do seafood night or bake.

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

"It baffles me when people say they don't have time for themselves. Well baby, who will put you first besides you? No one."

When do you feel most beautiful?

Sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on. I know that probably sounds cliché, but it is the truth for me. And when you have people in your life that amp you up in that state, you definitely can't help but feel beautiful during your most basic state.

When you are going through a bout of uncertainty or feeling stuck, how do you handle it? 

I try not to ponder on it too much. I realize when I think about it, it starts to stress me out. Stress makes me anxious, anxiety allows me to be mentally doubtful about myself and I never want to be in that position. I am a workaholic, so my coping mechanism is to work more, which may sound bad, but I love what I do, so this is a great outlet for me.

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

"Stress makes me anxious, anxiety allows me to be mentally doubtful about myself and I never want to be in that position. I am a workaholic, so my coping mechanism is to work more, which may sound bad, but I love what I do, so this is a great outlet for me."

What does happiness mean to you?

Happiness to me means those around me are good. I feel you thrive in a good environment. My environment has to be positive.

What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance? 

Others forget that your actions affect everyone around you. We can easily get caught up in our "own little world" and neglect family, friends, and self. Take the time to plan and make an effort to balance all aspects of your life.

For more of Wilonda, follow her on Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Wilonda Previlon.

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
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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