Essential Self-Care for Black Women in 2021

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( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Founder Nzingah Oniwosan of Multi-Faceted Wellness App, 365zing, Seeks To Aid Black Women in Prioritizing Self-Care

ENSPIRE Contributor: Anastasia Hanna

Photographer: Joyanne Payton

Nzingah Oniwosan is a Haitian-American inspirational speaker and holistic health consultant who helps people as a passionate teacher. As an award-winning visual artist and classically trained pianist, Nzingah’s creativity is expressed through custom-made jewelry, writing, and dance. She has merged her art with holistic healing.

After being diagnosed with a brain tumor, autoimmune disorder, and polycystic ovary syndrome, the lessons she learned from her 19-year journey to heal and thrive birthed 365zing, a self-care companion app. 365zing centralizes features from separate apps in one place to help Black women get on track with their physical, mental, and spiritual goals. This app will close Black female health disparities to create the best-balanced version of themselves.

Users can track their health goals and create weekly wellness schedules through the wellness tracker built in the app. They’ll be able to curate the week using a database of healthy plant-based recipes, meditations, and movement classes, including yoga and dance. They can also take courses to dive deeper into specific areas of wellness and own the process. To create greater success with health goals, users can interact with each other and have the option to pair with an accountability partner.

In the following interview, I ask Nzingah about the importance of self-care, the effects of art on healing, and her success with the 365zing app.

Why do you think self-care is so important? How can practicing self-care help us become the best version of ourselves?

Self-care is important because it is the most tangible way we can practice self-love. It allows us to replenish ourselves. When done properly, it will enable us to meet our needs. Instead of looking for the outside world to support us first, we see ourselves as the primary executor of our wellness, and everyone else is there to support us. We can be the best version of ourselves by practicing self-care because it allows us to satisfy ourselves and be balanced mentally, physically, and spiritually. 

It will enable us to exist from a place of wholeness, which allows us to interact with the world from a place of overflow instead of an empty cup. When we are not burnt out, we can make better decisions, have healthier relationships, and so much more. More importantly, we have the awareness to know when we a running low and the tools to replenish ourselves. 

In what ways does art affect the healing process?

Art is an amazing catalyst and tool for healing. When we look at indigenous cultures throughout the world, the arts were always present when it came to healing. Dance allowed people to move trauma out of their bodies. It is one of the ways that Rwanda healed its people after the genocide. Outside of dance, we have music and even visual arts. In some places, they used certain instruments and songs that helped individuals who were suffering from emotional breaks. Color therapy is also a beautiful tool we find. Certain colors are related to specific organs or are known to aid in the healing of certain things.

In the west, we use the arts more and more for therapeutic purposes, and research is finally showing the amazing benefits. Patients that have art and music therapy at hospitals heal faster and have shorter visits. In the past 15 years as a teaching artist, I have seen students who were non-verbal find their first words, autistic children reach milestones, and children with cerebral palsy move in ways the doctors thought were not possible. It is my personal opinion that the arts are an untapped reservoir that can transform how we heal. The arts literally saved my life. 

What was your initial desire when you created the 365zing app? Has its success met all of your expectations?

I wanted to create 365zing because I had to scavenge for all the things that made me well as a Black woman. I wanted to make it easy for Black women to have sustainable wellness practices in a world that say that they can only be martyrs, and what I mean by that is that we are taught at a young age that our life is grounded in self-sacrifice, even if it is harmful to ourselves. Through the app, I wanted Black women to know that they are worthy of self-care and address needs we specifically have in our community. With respect to meeting my expectations, I am still in disbelief that my dream is a reality. I have different phases of the app that are still unfolding, but I am proud of what has happened thus far. 

What would you say is the 365zing app’s best feature?

I think the best feature is the community. Users know that they are not alone on the journey. They see other women who look like them using the app and are also instructors. They can also be paired with an accountability partner to have extra support on their wellness journey.  

Did you run into any complications when you created the 365zing app? If so, how did you overcome them?

Initially, I did not have the capital to have the app built. I received several quotes, and based on my specific requests, the app would cost upwards of $20,000. I consider myself an intelligent person, so I explored learning to code, but that felt like a big undertaking that my schedule could not afford. Then I heard about apps without code, which taught you how to build your app without code. The pandemic gave me the room to commit to the course, and five months later, I had a version of 365zing I was proud of. Learning to build my app was a challenge. At first, it felt like a mountain that I couldn’t conquer, but once I got over the learning curve, I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do. 

Has any of your projects been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, in what way?

The pandemic wiped out most of the contracts and retreats I had planned for 2020 and 2021. Some contracts were able to pivot virtually, but many of the institutions that I had contracts with are still trying to understand how to adjust to the current climate. I will see that it has been really difficult for the children I work with, especially the children that I worked with in group homes or mental institutions. I have an uptick in contracts with these institutions that serve these children because they were not thriving with the restrictions. Imagine not being able to see your parents for months because the place you were at didn’t allow visitors. 

Lastly, what advice do you have for aspiring holistic health consultants or people generally looking to get into holistic health?

I would say first practice what you preach and teach for at least a year. I saw a lot of people turn overnight consultant last year, and they are doing a disservice to their clients by not taking time to understand the process they are trying to teach. It is through the lows we truly learn how to support our clients. With that being said, don’t let perfection stop you from starting. In the wellness arena, we often think we have to look a certain way in order to be taken seriously and that is not the case; set a launch date, create your offerings, and just do it. Thirdly, find your tribe and create a team. Find peers who can help you on your journey and people to who you can refer your clients when their ask is outside your scope of practice.

365zing is now available for a monthly subscription of $50. The app is available worldwide on IOS and Android devices. You can visit www.365zing.com/app for more 365zing information, including instructional videos and screenshots.

For tips on building your own self-care toolkit, check out Nzingah’s “100 Days of Self-Care” articles on her website, YesBabyILikeItRaw.com, a food and holistic lifestyle blog that inspires people to tap into their RAW power to be a better version of themselves.

You can also follow her on her other site, Instagram @sankofaschild and @Yesbabyilikeitraw; Facebook @sankofaschild and @yesbabyilikeitraw; and Twitter @sankofaschild.

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