Meet Emil Henderson. Emil shares his experience on the blog today in regards to therapy, self-care, and mental health. I hope you enjoy.
Can you tell us a little about yourself…
I’m Emil Henderson, a licensed Real Estate Broker in North Carolina. I’m originally from Richmond, Va., I work for a non-profit organization and I’m somewhat of a recluse with a huge personality. I enjoy real estate, art, photography, plants, cigars, and I’m about to learn the game of golf.
What does self-care & soul care mean to you?
I’m not incredibly fluid with the idea of soul care, but self-care is something I’m just starting to get into. I was in the mindset that self-care involved vanity; things like massages, spas, pedicures, etc. I’m realizing that self-care is the tool, or a set of tools to recharge, to remind you of the things that make you feel good; make you feel loved. Recently, I had a rough day and came home and ended up watering my plants and immediately I felt better. I had no idea it was therapeutic. Plant life was more political for me rather than self-care, but I love my plants. #horticulture4theculture lol
Do you feel that society has placed an emphasis on self-care for men? Do you feel that space has been created for men to focus on healing and other things? If so, how? If not, why not?
No. BUT, I believe that things are changing. The conversation is becoming normalized across wide-spread platforms like social media where we see black men normalizing the practice of self-care. As we continue to normalize black men and self-care, I believe the space will open.
What are your thoughts on mental health and the Black community? Do you see any progression?
I do. It’s so dope to have conversations with friends and randomly reference therapy. Or there are times where I’ll be talking to a friend and they’ll say something that sounds like they’ve been in therapy and we’d laugh about it. I enjoy being a part of a generation of black adults who invest in their mental health, who can have the conversation about it openly and freely, and not feel any pressure about it.
How do you deal with mental health? How do you nurture both your spiritual and mental self?
Therapy is big but therapy isn’t everything. My therapist gives me the tools to navigate the journey of my mental health. Sometimes I listen to music, or I’ll workout. I write, I challenge myself. I nurture myself through the lens of my inner child. Being who my inner child needs me to be. Being the guy that my 9 year old self would look up to. I give myself grace. I smile. I think about the glass half-full.
How did you find your therapist? Do you have any advice for those interested in therapy?
I found my therapist online. I remember having a tense argument with an ex and left the house feeling confused. I knew there was something off and so I called her. I didn’t even know how to go about hiring a therapist. I just knew that I wanted to talk to a black woman because the black woman has been the CEO of my life, ALL of my life, word to Charlamagne Tha God. When we spoke, I told her how much was going on; working full time, having a side hustle, being in grad school, all while in a marriage. Her first words were “congratulations on taking the first step in your mental health journey because you sir are doing the most.” I hired her on the spot and was on her couch three days later. When my ex and I began navigating the tension in our relationship, we hired an older black woman who lit into both of us. She asked us both if she was being too hard on us, and we both looked at each other, smiling in agreement, like hell nah, we NEED this.
How do you make time for yourself? What do you enjoy?
I have to schedule it. I’m often busy, so I don’t get a lot of time to myself, however, I enjoy being busy. When I do get time to myself, I like to relax, hang out on the couch, read, watch TV, go for a ride, and occasionally I’d hang with my homies if they aren’t busy. I try to respect their time and space.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Oh wow, I’d give my younger self a lot of advice. I’d encourage my younger self to speak up. To find peace within consequence knowing that you haven’t compromised your integrity. I would tell him that everything is gonna be ok, because it always has been. And that he’s super dope.
Why is it important for men to talk about mental health with each other?
I think talking about mental health helps to normalize the conversation. But also, there is so much power in words, and there may be healing for someone else in my story.
You can find Emil on instagram @emilsellsrealestate