GUEST COLUMN: Essentially You

GUEST COLUMN: Essentially You
Kenyatta Jones-Arietta

“In case of cabin pressure emergency, you must first secure your mask before assisting others,” the flight attendant instructs the passengers as they get ready for take-off. At some point you may have heard this metaphor used as a life lesson, but how many of us are actually taking heed? This isn’t about “work hard, play hard,” but more importantly it is about taking care of your essential needs.

Last month’s column was about making time for the people and things that matter to you. But the physical “You” must be at the top of the list. As individuals who live to serve others, it’s very easy to fall into everyone else first but, first shouldn’t mean before making sure “You” have what you need to be a healthy, functioning, and productive human being. Let’s face it, if you ignore warning signs and in turn, get sick and are unable to take care of the people who depend on you because you “didn’t make the time” for you before, it will end up costing you what you were trying to preserve in the first place—time and money.

Putting YOU first requires learning to manage your day by committing to blocking out time to take care of you in advance. This includes scheduling routine checkups; regular workouts; meal prepping for the road and putting in that much coveted eight hours of good, solid sleep.

Making Time for the Essentials

It may not be easy to do initially, but with practice, taking care of you will become a habit that your mind, body and soul will be thankful for. Some things you can use to assist you in getting to you quicker:

• Google or Apple Calendar: These features are free with your Gmail account or electronic device, but they only work if you use them. Try plugging in all of your appointments, starting with your “you time” for the next 21 days to begin to create the habit of scheduling. Fill in all other appointments around it.

Be sure to include your office meetings and training when plotting your calendar. As a broker, it pains me to hear agents say they have other appointments when they had trainings scheduled they forgot about. It is extremely important to make the time to work on your craft and it shouldn’t be an afterthought.

My excuse for not scheduling appointments used to be taking the time to actually write them out. Now I “do not pass go” or I just simply say, “Hey Siri!”

• Calendar Clubs/Coaching. Through calendar club subscriptions you can utilize its coaching system and goal-setting techniques to assist you in mapping out time for the “must-dos,” in addition to creating time for trying something new. It can also be paramount to keeping/holding you accountable.


Before starting R2M Realty, I was an IFBB figure bodybuilder, as well as a full-time real estate professional. During that period, my husband and I relied on scheduled meal prepping, making most of our meals on Sundays and storing them in the refrigerator or freezer so they were ready for consumption during the week. (Portion controlled, of course). Post competing, we surmised that with our crazy busy schedules, meal prepping is paramount in doing nutritionally what’s right for our bodies, as fast foods tend to be lower in nutritional value and higher in carbs, sodium, and sugars, which tend to make you bloated and sluggish, adding unnecessary, empty calories and stored fat.

No time to prep because you are out all day with clients or doing an open house this Sunday, you say? Select another day of the week as your day to meal prep. The actual day is not as important as habitually setting aside the time to prep. For the most part, our meals included a grilled protein with a steamed vegetable and a half cup to a cup of brown rice or sweet potato. I would pack my meals in the car stored in an insulated bag, along with napkins and utensils so that they were next to me and ready when it was munch time.

In addition to my prepped meals, I would also keep healthy, low-carb snacks on hand, such as nuts, popcorn, protein powder, a shaker cup and bottles of water. This way when my appointments ran over time, and my stomach began to grumble, I had something available to calm the savage beast, as opposed to driving into the McDonald’s drive-thru for a filet of fish and French fries. I would even keep extra snacks on hand for my buyer clients, as the days can be long for them too. And, I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to make a buying decision when I’m hungry.


Aside from making sure you eat properly; it is imperative to keep your body moving. Yes, you may have walked around a few houses today, but I can almost guarantee you spent more time behind the steering wheel going from property to property. In order to ensure that you get your exercise in, keep a gym bag packed in your trunk, with workout wear, sneakers, wipes, deodorant, and any other toiletries you may need to freshen up after you’ve crushed it. A pro tip is to join a gym with multiple locations that you can pop into, as you never know which part of town you may end up in on a given day. It’s great to have options nearby.

Not trying to get into competition shape? Opt for a full-body circuit a few times a week to wake up all of your muscles. You can find some great workouts in fitness magazines and websites or even on YouTube. I used to cut workouts out of magazines like recipes, but you can take a photo or save the workouts to have them accessible on your phone, ensuring your training programs go wherever you are.


At the end of the day, after you’ve given your loved ones some undivided quality time, shut your electronics down and go to sleep. This one was probably the most challenging for me to master and honestly, it’s still one I work on consistently, but what I have found is when I am able to fully shut down and recharge, I am able to come up with some of the most brilliant ideas, like sharing these thoughts with you. Hoping that incorporating a little more time for you in your life will lead to a happier, healthier and more organized you.

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