Our Community She-roes and their Daily Rituals

We are definitely living through unprecedented times and with everything going on it can be hard to stay bright, cheerful and focused. So, we turned to some of our good friends in the community and asked these remarkable women to share how they are working through it all and staying motivated.

Fernanda Sung - Founder of Fernanda Sung Jewelry

A little bit about you

I’m Fernanda, the founder of Fernanda Sung Jewelry brand. I’ve been living in Shanghai for over 8 years and I’m happy to call this inspiring city my home.

Do you have any daily rituals that keep you feeling happy and healthy?

Every morning I drink a cup of warm water + squeezed lemon and I prepare my own healthy yummy breakfast. It’s a very simple gesture but it always makes me happy when starting the day and I also feel like I’m taking care of myself.

The news is pretty dark at the moment. Do you have any tips on staying happy?

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Chocolate is ok, not exercising is ok, wanting to stay home on a sunny day is ok, whatever coping/ stress release mechanism you have is ok… We don’t need self-censoring on top of everything that is going on in the world right now.

Focusing can be hard, especially whilst worrying about the safety of loved ones and the rest of the world. Any tips on how to increase your focus and get the best out of your day?

To be honest I’m not sure if “focusing and being productive” is what we need to be doing right now. This has been a great moment of introspection for me and hopefully more people are taking the time to reassess their life choices and to think about how our actions impact our world. I’m worried that if our priority is only to become productive again, we will miss out on this precious opportunity of reflexion.

Anything else you want to add?

I want to acknowledge that as a single person and small business owner, I have the privilege to make my own schedule and the liberty to spend my time as I please. My heart goes to all the people whose families are depending on them, to all the care takers that are working really hard to make sure the people around them are ok.  

Shop Fernanda's Jewelry on Etsy!

Jayna Staykov - Yoga Teacher

A little bit about you

I’m an ex-market researcher, now yoga teacher. My yoga journey started for me with a simple desire to touch my toes and then I fell in love with the healing qualities of the yoga practice - which inspired me to share it with others. I teach at Z&B and I created Wild Life Healing & Yoga where I facilitate experiences through movement and mediation that have a sense of community. 

Do you say any daily affirmations? If so, what are they? 

Slow down to enjoy the moment. Allowing the process to progress at its own pace. I have plenty of time + energy to do all the things I need to do. 

What simple habits would you recommend people adopt into their daily lives?

The kind of habit that brings you joy – I believe there is no point doing something habitually that causes stress or is too effortful. 

Focusing can be hard, especially whilst worrying about the safety of loved ones and the rest of the world. Any tips on how to increase your focus and get the best out of your day?

Setting an intention for the day helps me move through the day with more purpose and meaning behind it. It’s something that you can keep revisiting during the day. 

Get in touch with Jayna at wildlifeyh.com

Kimberly Wong - Founder of cukimber

A little bit about you

Kimberly Wong, founder of cukimber, Fashion Designer, Serial Entrepreneur, and Democrats Abroad China Secretary

Do you have any daily rituals that keep you feeling happy and healthy?

Every morning when I wake up I meditate outside on my balcony with a cup of tea. Then I water my plants and…not to sound crazy but I actually talk to them. I wish them a good morning and to grow well. I am sure I picked that up from my mother, and it just works. I have a small thriving jungle!

The news is pretty dark at the moment. Do you have any tips on staying happy?

If you can’t handle the news, a first step would be to just turn it off or to mute people who seem to only be complaining. We don’t always have to be happy because that’s not really life. It’s better to be realistic. What we have to do is accept the anxiety or sadness we feel about things in order to move through it, and feel happy again.  If you are feeling sad I would really, really recommend a second step: to actually deal with the situation with a professional rather than trying to ignore things with alcohol or by stress-eating. If you are experiencing anxiety which is natural, now would be a great time to reach out to Lifeline.One of my greatest honors right now is to work with Democrats Abroad China which is very fulfilling work. This is my way of actively combatting sadness that I feel and to transform that energy into what I enjoy doing, which is working. I am not a complainer, I am a problem solver. In this organization which is highly effective and informative, we help all Americans in China to register to vote through votefromabroad.org which is a non-partisan effort. Be on the lookout for us in all the major cities in China!  

Body positivity is something we should all be focusing on. Do you have any tips to help people start feeling more positive about their bodies?

If you don’t feel positively about your body you can refer to the law of manifestation that I mentioned earlier, so this can become a good affirmation! For example: “I love every inch of who I am and am grateful for being my most beautiful self today.”

Anything else you want to add?

We need more volunteers for Democrats Abroad China so if you are an able and willing American we would love to have you! We have a LOT going on and need all hands-on deck. Please contact us at WeChat ID: DemocratsAbroad  

Shop Kimberly's colorful line at www.cukimber.com

Nanou - Founder of Baluchon

A little bit about you

My name is Nanou and I am the founder of Baluchon, stylish zero waste supplies handmade in Shanghai. I am a mother of 2 children who were born in Shanghai, where I have been living for 10 years with my husband. By day, I am an environmental engineer working on industrial soil and groundwater remediation. By night, I am a green entrepreneur :) I am currently quarantined in France, which is in lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with no idea when we would be allowed back, since China closed its borders to foreigners

Do you have any daily rituals that keep you feeling happy and healthy?

I wake up every morning to the sound of my kids, either my 10-month old baby babbling in his bed or my 3yo daughter asking “Mama” for me to come and grab her. To many, this would not be the ideal waking up ritual, but to me it is! It’s done without stress, in harmony, after looong nights without either of them waking up, so I won’t complain! In Shanghai, yoga, every day biking & a healthy diet help me staying strong and feeling good. In lockdown, with kids to take care of 24/7, working out is not an option & let’s say that my mom cooks A LOT :) I’m focusing more on the happy part than the healthy part for the time being? And I can’t wait to be at the beach... someday!

What simple habits would you recommend people adopt into their daily lives?

Especially in those times, I think it’s important to remember not to judge others. You have no idea what they are going through, how they arrived to that day, in front of you. We are all dealing, coping everyday with what life is sending us, there is no need to add any judgement to the mix. People judge others for their nationality, their race, their gender, their job, their appearance. Unfortunately, in the current context, racism and nationalism are on the rise, and I’m afraid of the global consequences this pandemic will have in that regard. In general, try to accept people for who they are. Acceptance is the ability to see that others have a right to be their own unique persons. This is something to nurture in children too: be your own person, respect others and trust in your ability to do whatever you set yourself to.

The news is pretty dark at the moment. Do you have any tips on staying happy?

That’s a hard one. And you know what? It would be a lie to tell you that I am happy every day. Right now, I’m in a good place. China locked us out of the country on March 28 (I am a French national, with a working permit and a one-year resident permit in China). The border closing happened 7 hours before our flight was supposed to land. 7 hours... Our luggage was packed, the car rented, we were just ready to finally go home. So, to be totally honest, for a few weeks after that, I was not my best self, it was difficult for me to see the bright side. I was trying to make sense of what was happening, what would be happening for my family, my work, my brand... and I couldn’t! People majorly say “Focus on the positive” but that doesn’t work out for me. For me, acknowledging how bad a situation is the first step towards accepting it and moving on. So yes, cry if you need to, scream if you need to. All will pass, and happiness, people’s kindness & empathy will always take over. And I’m convinced we’ll wake up from it stronger, nicer & more focused on what really matters in life.

Find Nanou's incredible designs for stylish zero waste living at www.baluchon.net

 

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