Can Your Relationships Make You Sick?

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Can your relationships really make you sick? In a word… YES! I have worked with so many clients over the years that have struggled with maintaining relationships that no longer served them out of loyalty. The fear of how someone may react or respond when new boundaries are set can lead to silent suffering for many. For people of color, support to and from our communities is incredibly important. But, what happens when certain community norms amongst your loved ones no longer work well for you? Anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and heart disease can all be impacted by our emotions and how they relate to our connections with others. Here are 5 red flags to watch out for:


1. You feel drained – If you are often left feeling physically or emotionally exhausted after interacting with someone, this can be a huge red flag that something’s not right. A lack of boundaries is often the culprit in many of these cases. These encounters can leave you feeling tired, anxious and even physically sick. This is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Listen.

2. It’s all about them (their thoughts, their needs, their problems) - To be very clear, there are people in your life that may attempt to manipulate you by dominating all of your time. People that utilize this strategy for your attention are always in crisis and always need your help. However, many times these encounters are not about the crisis. Instead, they are driven by a need for your attention. This is why no matter how you try to assist, offer advice, or intervene in other ways, their situations stay the same. Entering into this pattern can prevent you from focusing on the people and activities you love and enjoy most. Instead of spending sleepless nights worried about what you cannot truly control, let them do their own internal work. Your loved ones must do this for themselves to see permanent change in their own lives.

3. They never show up for you - While relationships go through many different seasons, all connections should have some mutuality. If you find yourself going above and beyond for others while you struggle alone and in silence regularly, it’s time to re-assess the quality of your relationships. Also, are you clear and open about what you need with your friends and loved ones or do you assume they should know what you need? If you’re making assumptions, this can lead you to harboring resentment and anger.

4. You feel obligated – This can be very tricky, but choosing to continue a relationship with someone purely out of “obligation” is never ideal. I see this often in families, where there are some family members that are allowed to act out against other family members, without consequence. Controlling how and when you interact with these individuals is incredibly important. While there may be some responsibilities you choose to take on, emotional torture and abuse should not be on this list.

5. You’re more committed to others’ wellness over your own – You may be very used to coming in and saving the day for your friends and family members. Amongst groups, there is usually a “go-to” person that is designated as the problem solver. This role can be incredibly draining, especially if the problem solver has nowhere to turn when they face challenges of their own. If you fall into this category, you must be very diligent about taking good care of yourself. How many times have you observed a caregiver falling sick and declining faster than the person they were caring for to begin with? Prioritizing self care is not selfish. It’s necessary.

Taking on bad relationships is a form of neglect against yourself and can very bad for your physical and emotional health. Consider some ways you can be kinder to yourself by being more mindful about the people and situations you engage in.

Married Women Need Girls Trips Too! Here’s Why


So, you’re well settled into your marriage. Maybe you have a kid or two. Things are busy with work and juggling life’s demands overall. So, why do I think it’s a great idea to plan a fun weekend away with your closest friends? Here are my top 5 reasons:

1. You’re Feeling Less Connected – The older you get, the easier it can be to isolate yourself from friends and family. Between your own schedule, your partner’s and your children’s’ activities, it can be easy to become completely consumed with all the demands that may come your way. Isolation in general is never ideal and when left unchecked can wreak havoc on your emotional health. Another reality is that in order to have friends, you must make the effort to maintain these relationships. Taking a temporary step back from your day-to-day demands can free you up to connect with your friends on a more intimate level.

2. You Need a Good Laugh – There is absolutely nothing like sharing in a good laugh with great friends in person. Period. When you spend time around people that you care about, a hormone called oxytocin is released. This natural mood-booster can improve your mental wellness by decreasing your stress levels and anxiety. So, whether you decide on a road trip or travel internationally, the fun, special moments you can share while exploring new locations can provide you just the pick me up you need.

3. Your Partner Is Not The Globetrotting Type – No matter what, your spouse/partner can never truly replace the relationships that you have with your girlfriends. In fact, it’s unfair to even expect this in your romantic relationships. The pressure to be everything to any one person is often a burden to heavy to bear. This is especially important if your partner doesn’t love to travel to new destinations. Instead of pressuring your partner into going on your next trip with you, invite a couple of girlfriends instead.

4. You’re Craving New Memories In New Locations – It’s easy to get into the same routine when it comes to your friendships. Maybe there’s a restaurant or a lounge that you frequent together in your area. While there is something to be said for indulging in nostalgia, opening yourself up to a new adventure can do wonders for your friendships. The best times of your friendship aren’t necessarily in the past. Your most precious moments may in fact be ahead of you as you explore more about yourself and your friends at a new destination. So, if you’ve been bitten by the travelling bug, invite your friends along for the ride!

5. It’s Good For Your Health – Yes, you read that right. And no, interacting online is not a replacement for good old in-person interaction. According to a study published by Sage Journals in 2015, social isolation can impact your mortality. Avoiding contact with others shares the same health equivalent as smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day. So, there you have it. Isolating yourself from good friends is scientifically unhealthy. While travel can seem indulgent, it can be one of the most powerful forms of self-care you can practice.


So, book the flight, make the hotel reservations or hop in the car. Life is way too short to restrict yourself for fear of judgement from others. Let them judge away while you LIVE your life. Better health and wellness may be one awesome girls’ trip away.

Event Recap: Spring Into Self-Care with Burke Williams Day Spa

Burke williams spring skincare media event 

Burke williams spring skincare media event 

Day spas have long been a staple for my personal self-care routine. From the classic Swedish massage to taking a dip in the whirlpool, a day at the spa always leaves me feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world! So, when Burke Williams invited me to their Spring Skin Care Event at the Westfield Topanga, I simply could not pass it up!

mini massage at the burke williams spring skincare event

mini massage at the burke williams spring skincare event

In honor of Stress Awareness Month, guests were treated to mini massage treatments, facials, custom-blended body products and "Instalifts" via Nu Face. I also had the opportunity to learn all about the signature H2V skincare line, sold at Burke Williams Spa.  

Discussing life and love with Theresa Armour, co-founder of Burke Williams Spa, was certainly one of the evening's highlights for me. She shared some insight on how she built her amazing brand while keeping her marriage and family at the top of her priority list. During it's inception, Theresa envisioned Burke Williams as "a place for the soul to rest," which has led to the creation and overwhelming success of these spaces for recovery, healing and wellness. Bravo to Theresa and Burke's amazing staff!


Rhonda richards-smith & Theresa Armour, co-founder of burke williams day spa

Rhonda richards-smith & Theresa Armour, co-founder of burke williams day spa

I will be sharing some of my favorite self-care strategies during the month of May here. What are some of your favorite tips when it comes to taking good care of yourself?