#SWAAYthenarrative

My Life on the Frontlines of the Pandemic While Running my own CBD Company

4 Min Read
Career

Growing up, I always wanted to work in a profession where I could help people. My dedication to health, wellness, and helping others was instilled in me through my grandmother, who my family refers to as Grandma Clover. As a strong, hardworking leader in her community, Grandma Clover believed that natural remedies and herbal medicine could help heal a variety of different ailments. The knowledge and use of natural remedies were passed down to my mother, who then passed those same teachings on to me. Hearing the stories of how Grandma Clover was always around to provide a helping hand to those in need made me realize my own passion for helping those experiencing sickness and pain. This is how I began my journey to become a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit nurse.

To me, there is nothing more important than investing in your health.

Through my current work as a nurse, I witness first-hand the debilitating effects of chronic pain and sleeplessness on those I serve. Many of my patients, in addition to their medical treatment, turn to CBD to help alleviate their symptoms. While I initially did not know much about CBD and its healing properties, I was quickly able to appreciate the amazing effects it had on my patients. I wanted a way to bring this wellness and healing to individuals outside of the hospital, which is what inspired me to launch my own CBD brand named K'dara CBD.

"Dara" means wisdom in Hindu, and it's the foundation of the brand. We invested significant time and resources in researching and finding the highest quality ingredients and working with a leading pharmacist to formulate our natural, organic, and premium quality products. My vision for K'dara CBD is simple: provide a natural yet effective solution for those suffering from pain, sleeplessness, anxiety, and stress. To me, there is nothing more important than investing in your health. As a nurse, my greatest joy is taking care of people, and K'dara CBD helps me do that in a completely new way and reach so many more people. I intentionally developed a range of CBD products so anyone can find a solution to living their very best life, from pain creams, oils, and tinctures to gummies, pet chews, and bath bombs.

So, on my days off work, I focus on building my company and making it successful so I can continue to bring natural health and wellness products to everyone.

In February of this year, I was in the final stages of establishing my brand and preparing to launch the products when the COVID-19 pandemic began to catch the attention of every major news outlet around the world. It was scary, surreal, and unbelievably stressful, not only personally but also as a professional. There were more questions than answers and more uncertainties than clarity. I had to make a choice: either put K'dara CBD on hold, a brand I had been working tirelessly to build for over a year, or I could roll my sleeves up and put my full faith in the vision I had created by moving forward with the launch. I began to reflect on what I believed that Grandma Clover would do in my situation. She was never one to give up or let anything get in her way. Reflecting on her strength led to my decision to take my chances and launch K'dara CBD in the midst of the pandemic.

If there was one piece of advice I could give to other women who dream of starting their own company one day, it would be to not fear failure.

In the months to follow, the virus grew worse; hospitals were in desperate need of additional resources, and hot spots, such as New York City, were struggling to meet the demand. Though my original plan was to cut back on my bedside nursing hours to focus more energy on K'dara CBD, I made the decision to temporarily relocate to NYC to work as a nurse on the frontlines of the pandemic, all while dealing with the endless obligations required of a new entrepreneur. I knew I could not sit idly by while hospitals and patients were in desperate need of nurses just like me. Though scary at first, I then saw this opportunity as a new way to challenge myself and, more importantly, take myself out of my comfort zone to where true growth could happen.

Life serving on the frontlines, especially during a pandemic, is challenging, overwhelming, and heartbreaking. My patients are extremely sick, and some have succumbed to this virus with no family allowed to visit them during their final moments. It can be physically draining running around on your feet all day wearing hot PPE equipment for hours at a time. On some units, even taking the time to drink water can be taxing. However, despite the challenges, I choose to celebrate the victories no matter how big or small. Many people have asked me how I've dealt with such tragedy while working in the ICU. My response is that the best way to honor those who have passed is to keep on living. So, on my days off work, I focus on building my company and making it successful so I can continue to bring natural health and wellness products to everyone. It is what truly brings me joy.

The road to where I am today hasn't been easy, and the road to where I want to go feels thousands of miles away at times, but I refuse to give up. I know that in order to succeed, I must believe and invest in myself. Meditating, exercising, and keeping a positive perspective are all ways that I keep myself moving forward, even on my toughest days. If there was one piece of advice I could give to other women who dream of starting their own company one day, it would be to not fear failure. Starting your own business requires taking risks. You will fail more often than you will succeed, but if you keep pushing forward, that's when you will grow the most.

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.