Updated: Apr 8
Holistic Wellness Expert and Lifestyle Coach
Creator and Facilitator of ReMaster Your Mind Holistic Wellness Program &
Owner of Ustawi MindBody Spa
Tell us about your educational and/or professional training, and current area of expertise related to mental health and wellness?
I am a Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Practitioner, Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Anxiety Coach, Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, Certified Aromatherapist focusing on Aromachology and Nootropics, Certified Brain Health Coach, Christian Meditation Facilitator from a Hebraic perspective (the way Jesus meditated), and Christian Mentor. My entire goal is to help people overcome negative mindsets that impact their overall wellness and helping them to cultivate a lifestyle that supports their wellbeing.
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise?
We utilize ancient techniques and modern technology which beautifully complement each other. Our studio is the only spa in Georgia to offer the HaloIR Breathe & Detox Suite providing Infrared Sauna; Halotherapy; Aromatherapy; Chromotherapy and Meditation in one booth. We also offer Brain Entrainment Meditation; Red Light Therapy; PowerNaps; and Wellness Coaching. Ustawi has partnered with a Functional Medicine Physician, a Yoga Practitioner, a Mindful Movement Practitioner as well as several Licensed Therapists to ensure clients needs that are outside of our scope of work are met so that synergistic healing can take place. Our clients have access to services in the spa and digitally as no classes are held in the spa due to COVID19.
What are some things that we should know about your area of expertise?
I didn't choose my profession, it chose me. I've walked the path from debilitating anxiety, depression, and panic to learning to live differently to walk in healing and its a daily walk. One size does not fit all, and I know that from experience. I had to work with many doctors and finally began to understand that I needed a holistic approach to my wellbeing if I truly wanted to be well.
No two clients at Ustawi are automatically told to eat one way or even meditate the same way. We take a deep dive, but only if the client is willing to do the work. Our partnerships allow us to help the client get a full picture and learn what works best for them. You're unique, why wouldn't your wellness care and routine be as well?
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
For me Black Mental Wellness means understanding that you bring value to this journey regardless of your upbringing, background, trauma, failures or even successes. It's knowing that ignoring pain doesn't make you strong and addressing pain doesn't make you weak. It's knowing, "What you won't deal with will deal with you," whether you want it to or not. My mother used to say, "What you don't know will make a whole new world." I now understand that to mean I don't know everything, I don't have to know everything and it's perfectly ok to be a student of life. I want my community that I love so dearly to know, I know you've been told you have to be the best at everything.......you don't, no one is, just do the best you can, you are enough. We don't have to be superhuman, just be. You are enough.
How do you promote change and well-being in the Black community?
Messaging. We have to define what messages circulate in our community. We have to unlearn misconceptions about ourselves (smart Black people talk white, Black people with straight or curly hair have "good hair", Black folks always XYZ). We have the ability to change the language used around our stories, our experiences, our culture, our accomplishments and our communities to bring the vibrant beauty and power that we as a people have, the brilliance that shines through in spite of adversity. When people know they are powerful, they feel powerful. Well-being means living in a state of being well. Something as simple as eating for every celebration, disappointment, pain or just getting together is beautiful when done in a way that is healthy and intentional. We don't have to kill our culture to kill the things that attempt to kill our culture.
What are some upcoming events you are leading, that promote mental health and wellness, that you would like for our Black Mental Wellness audience to know about?
I'm a Teacher on the InsightTimer meditation app where I host live meditations. I recently created an Ustawi Soul Sessions Circle on Insight Timer where I will begin hosting 20 minute meditation sessions on Monday nights at 8pm eastern beginning March 1st. The focus of these sessions are Wisdom and we'll be grounding in Proverbs 13. I'd love for you to join me and just ask that you come with no agenda and no expectation, in Christian meditation we don't set the agenda, we simply yield our time to the presence of God and allow Him to meet us where we are.
If you're in the Atlanta metro area and become a member of Ustawi MindBody Spa you have the opportunity to reserve space for you and four friends for our monthly Calm & Cocktails Events. No alcohol, we offer curated mocktails offered by some of the best blenders of adaptogens in the country using herbs, spices and teas to create blends that have similar notes as your favorite cocktails. This event includes Ustawi's Breathe & Detox 5 Sensory Experience Infrared Sauna, BrainTap Meditation Sessions, Non-Alcoholic Cocktails, Light Refreshments, A Guided Meditation with me and a parting gift to extend this lovely and relaxing experience at home.
How can we encourage more people to seek mental health treatment?
Speak about our mental health like we speak about an annual physical. Don't make it a complicated conversation that carries stigma and assumptions. The discussion around mental health needs to be just a commonplace as discussing heart health. We should encourage one another to get annual mental health checkups just like an annual checkup.
What are your recommendations for ending stigma in the Black community?
Talk, talk and more talk. Love, love and more love. We love folks through everything, let's include our mental health in that love fest. People that feel loved, love themselves and folks that love themselves, seek what they need. Let's encourage people to seek what they need in love.
One of the ways we encourage mental wellness at Ustawi in a social way is our Calm & Cocktails events. It’s adaptagen mocktails, meditation and 5 sensory infrared sauna with refreshments and gifts. It’s fun, nurturing and meets the need for loving kindness toward ourselves in a communal way with people you love.
What can potential clients expect during an initial session? Follow up sessions?
Wear your face mask when you come. We will take your temperature and then check you in for your service. All of our services are touchless and we have HEPA/UV air purifiers throughout the spa. We also clean each service room after every service and UV Light sanitize the room to kill any microbes, germs & viruses.
Our attendants will take you to your service room that will already be prepared for you prior to your arrival. Most services are 30 minutes with a 45 minute option as well. Once your service has concluded you will be served a custom curated tea blend of the week to go, and on Saturdays you will be served a hydrosol (flower water) infused sparkling cider that you can enjoy in our intimate lounge before leaving.
Client services are curated based on their very specific needs from our HaloIR Breathe & Detox Suite to BrainTap meditations (we have over 700 meditations for a variety of needs from PTSD & Weight Loss to Anxiety & Sleep Support to Focus & Memory Enhancement to Grief & Pain Management). If we recognize there's an unresolved health issue we recommend a functional medicine doctor, or an unresolved mental or emotional issue we recommend a therapist. Ustawi compliments your wellness not replace it. We then recommend a wellness schedule and explain to clients the benefits of membership. Clients may also use their FSA/HSA benefits at Ustawi. Our clients are encouraged to book all appointments online and to put their credit card on file in our secure system. This limits having to touch surfaces and further protect the health and wellbeing of our clients.
Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?
I've had the same therapist for over 5 years that I speak with monthly as mental wellbeing maintenance. I'm a wife, mom, grandmother, business owner, speaker, teacher and healer......I need mental health maintenance to ensure I stay intentional about my own wellness. Healers need healing on a regular! In 2011 after running myself ragged with business, stress, financial worries and just being worn out, I went through a period of terrible anxiety and depression to the point that I could no longer drive due to feelings of panic and fears that I was going to crash my car and die. I tried to manage it on my own. I talked to well meaning folks at church that told me I needed to pray and fast more (which I had been doing and I later realized I almost let spiritual bypassing kill me, but that's another discussion), and I got progressively worse until one morning I considered killing myself just to end the mental pain. That was when I realized I had to get help and found a therapist. It took me several years to find the right therapist that I felt comfortable with but I was grateful to have someone to talk to and help me work through all the stuff in my head, true and untrue. I read a lot, changed my diet, began meditating which lead to several specialized certifications and took my knowledge deeper by learning about the brain and what it needs to be healthy. That scary and painful journey led me here, helping other people and I wouldn't trade that journey for the world!
What wellness strategies do you think should be given more attention within the Black community? Are there any reasons why you think they are not given more attention?
Stillness and Meditation. We've been taught to hustle all the time, get your grind on, sleep when you're dead. These statements are ridiculous and have led so many to mental breakdowns. Stillness and meditation allows a moment to process, to think, to imagine, sometimes to do nothing.
Maya Angelou said it best "Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from cares which will not withdraw from us."
Even if you are super busy and struggle to find five minutes alone you can make your shower time, a bathroom break, or a few minutes sitting on the side of your bed each morning and evening, become meditative moments. An example of a simple breath meditation is to close your eyes, inhale deeply through the nose filling your lungs, exhale slowly through the nose allowing your body to soften, do this 5 times each time focusing on the area above your top lip. Notice the cool air as you inhale and the warm air as you exhale. Notice how it feels and sounds, no judgement just noticing. Open your eyes in awareness of the gift of breath.
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?
I'm very intentional with my time and my self care. Sundays and Mondays are my rest and rejuvenate days, I do whatever I want or don't want to do. LOL!!! I start every morning with prayer and gratitude saying specifically what I'm grateful for. I have a cup of tea or an adaptogen drink, take a daily liquid GABA supplement and L Theanine as well as a liquid multivitamin and I take 50K of D3 weekly. I use the infrared sauna 3 times a week and BrainTap each morning (I've been using BrainTap for several years, I love it!). I eat what Dr. Mark Hyman has coined The Pegan Diet, its good quality, grass fed, grass finished meat and wild caught seafood and lots of fresh veggies. I also incorporate healthy fats into my diet to support my brain health.
My eating change has been a game changer, I lost 30lbs, my blood pressure lowered and my cardio calcium score is zero which is phenomenal! My meals are usually 70% veggies and 20% protein and 10% fat. I drink 60 ounces of water daily, exercise 20 minutes each day and walk 3 miles twice a week when my schedule allows. In the evening I take a hot bath and listen to podcasts or audiobooks as my wind down and at 9pm my phone is turned off. I usually go to bed around 10pm. Oh, I almost forgot, I quit regularly checking social media as I realized for me it was extremely stressful because I was constantly reading things and forming opinions about people and situations I didn't know nor did I even have any interest in. Above all things guard your heart. Now I pay someone to monitor my FB page and I engage directly with folks on Instagram. Even that only gets 1 hours throughout the day.
What are your top 5 favorite wellness and self-care strategies?
What resources do you find most helpful to encourage mental health and wellness?
www.nimhd.nih.gov (Brother, You're On My Mind through Omega Psi Phi Fraternity) www.therapyforblackgirls.com
Tanya Murphy is a Holistic Wellness Expert and Lifestyle Coach specializing in Mind/Body/Soul wellness strategies to support overall wellbeing. She is the creator and facilitator of the life changing ReMaster Your Mind Holistic Wellness Program, designed to help clients overcome self defeating thoughts, incorporate holistic wellness strategies into their daily lives and live a lifestyle that supports their overall wellbeing.Tanya has been a holistic health advocate and served as a federal women's health lobbyist in Washington, DC for over 20 years. After overcoming debilitating anxiety, panic and depression, she decided to follow her passion and show others how to reclaim their health and mental wellbeing holistically. Tanya's mantra is "What You Won't Deal With Will Deal With You". Tanya states, "Living a lifestyle of wellness isn't only doing yoga and meditating, it means getting to the root of issues such as partnering with Functional Medicine doctors to get a complete picture of your health; talking to a therapist to help you address mental and emotional issues; eating a diet that supports your gut/brain health; examining yourself and your relationships to determine what if anything needs to change and learning how to make those changes. It requires tuning into your spiritual health and wellbeing and often requires unlearning to learn ways to allow you to develop as a complete person, walking a path that leads you to your best self and the best you can be in your community."
Tanya is committed to bringing awareness to the importance of addressing mental health and wellness, particularly in communities of color and feels blessed to have a forum to help others utilize the tools and techniques needed to live mentally well which opens the door for physical wellness. Recognizing the lack of access to brain/mind/body technology and even many holistic techniques that are readily available to high income communities, Tanya decided to bring those technologies and strategies to her community in a way that's affordable and accessible through her brainchild, Ustawi MindBody Spa. Ustawi is a boutique MindBody Spa focusing on stress, anxiety and sleep using relaxation to cultivate balance, calm, focus and clarity through ancient and contemporary holistic modalities with the latest in brain/mind/body wellness technology. Serving as an oasis of calm in the quaint Atlanta suburb of Grayson, GA, Ustawi focuses on offering a selection of therapeutic services for mind, body, soul and spirit. Tanya has clients nationally and internationally scheduling appointments in her Grayson, GA spa or Virtually. Ustawi also offers a Corporate MindBody Balance Wellness Program in the Atlanta Metro and Washington, DC Metro areas.Tanya is a Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Practitioner; Christian Meditation Facilitator; Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Anxiety Life Coach; Brain Health Coach; Certified Aromatherapist with over 25 years of experience in essential oil science and usage specializing in Nootropics and Aromachology; Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Christian Mentor. Join Tanya's Cultivating Wellbeing Community for holistic tips, meditations, coaching, encouragement, support and courses to help you live your absolute best life; mind, body, soul and spirit! You can visit Ustawi at www.ustawimindbody.com