Milena is an entrepreneur at heart, starting her graphic design studio New Breed in her second year of college in 2009.
She is now the owner of two thriving businesses, having opened Boss Thai Boxing alongside her husband Yuki in January of 2020.
Together, they’ve battled against all odds to sustain their newest business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To regain her energy, Milena enjoys painting still life watercolors and taking their dog, Vitor, to the local dog park. She values time with family and friends above all else. Milena and Yuki are currently in the process of becoming foster parents and have great aspirations to continue serving their local community of Lanark, Leeds & Grenville.
Here is Milena’s Mental Health Story.
I am still learning and appreciating, every day, bit by bit, the importance of mental health and mindfulness.
My family wasn’t one to delve into matters of mental health as my sisters and I were growing up, and so we weren’t given a lot of tools for good communication or for knowing when and how to process difficult thoughts and emotions. If we showed sadness, the reason for it/the thing that happened was pulled out of us, whether we wanted to talk about it or not; then we were quickly provided a solution and were expected to move on. We weren’t really “allowed” to sit with our feelings or work through difficult things. Being in a bad mood wasn’t tolerated.
Even now as an adult, I have a very hard time speaking up about things that affect me negatively, even to my husband.
I’m listening to some brilliant and influential people (Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle, Dr. Bruce Perry) and re-teaching myself that it’s OK to experience the hard feelings and to look at them closer.
Self-teaching about mental health and sharing what I learn with people I love and care about has greatly improved mine and others’ communication skills and reduced conflict.
I feel now that mental health is an integral part of development, especially in childhood and adolescence, and should even brought into the school curriculum.
I define mental health as a necessary facet of overall health, alongside physical, spiritual, and emotional (and all other forms).
Allowing oneself to pursue mental health objectives might mean different things to different people, but for me it means regarding all states of mind as equally important and useful in better knowing ourselves. Not running away from painful thoughts and feelings, but using them to learn more about how we process what happens to us.
If I feel that I’m giving myself the energy, time, and space to pursue my mental health, I see all areas of my life (from relationships to physical health) immediately improve.
When I give myself the energy, time and space to pursue my mental health, all areas of my life immediately improve.
I read on subjects that help educate me further on self-development, and to gain a better understanding of how my brain works to process thoughts and emotions.
Knowing more about how my brain operates helps me to be gentle with myself instead of being overly critical for having negative or depressing thoughts and reactions. Continuing to learn helps me feel empowered in any mental state.
Observing mental health for myself means I no longer force myself to do things or be with people I don’t want to give energy to based on social norms or expectations. I work less. I spend less money on material things. I try to have a kinder, more gentle inner dialogue.
Challenge your learned reactions and instincts.
I have found that if I simply wait 3 seconds before reacting to a trigger, I often realize that I (as all people) make assumptions that can lead us into a frenzy of emotional turmoil. I now sit for a few seconds with that emotion and take a closer look. Then I decide whether I have a real reason to be fearful/angry/worried/panicked, or if it’s not serving me and might not even be the product of reality.
Take your time with your feelings and pause before reacting. This has saved me from countless confrontations and arguments, but I’m still working at it and learning!
These things take practice, but I’m so glad I started later rather than never.
As a female entrepreneur, I feel that our social constructs can be particularly cruel to us.
My advice to my peers would be: In moments of weakness, fall back on your core values—send your energy on what’s most important to you.
Spending time with my family and my husband, checking in with friends, and taking myself to a comfy, quiet place energizes me and allows me to pick up and continue running my businesses and doing what I do best, in my best light.
In moments of weakness, fall back on your core values.
Rest is *just* as important as productivity.
Show yourself the same amount of love and care you would a friend or family member.