She Does "Makeover" Photoshoots for a Living—Here's What They Taught Her About Self Love.
"I literally love on myself and speak life over myself daily and it sets the tone for my day."
Sundays are a day to recharge and reset by hanging with friends, turning off your phone, bathing for hours on end, or doing whatever else works for you. In this column (in conjunction with our Instagram Self-Care Sunday series), we ask editors, experts, influencers, writers, and more what a perfect self-care Sunday means to them, from tending to their mental and physical health to connecting with their community to indulging in personal joys. We want to know why Sundays are important and how people enjoy them, from morning to night.
Before Monique Floyd became a lifestyle photographer, she was a 3D piping designer in the international nuclear engineering industry—but she was miserable in the role. "On the outside looking in, it appeared like I was living the 'American Dream', but it wasn't my dream," the 43-year-old tells HelloGiggles.
It wasn't until she had a hysterectomy (and weeks of bed rest) that she realized it was time to make a change in her life. "I feel like I woke up to my life at 35 years old, and I pretty much started over," she says. "I woke up to possibility, and then I woke up to my purpose. From there I left a career, a marriage, and most things that I found familiar so that I could find myself... and that's when this wild-ass journey began."
While Floyd's personal life was transforming, so was her professional career. "Since then I've given myself permission to question everything that I've been taught and told and I went about the business of intentionally creating a life that feels good to me," she says. "It was during this time that I rediscovered my childhood passion of photography. I launched Monique Floyd Photography and haven't looked back since."
But it wasn't a regular ole' photography business that Floyd was creating—she wanted to become a beauty photographer and capture women in all of their "power, essence, and beauty—to capture women owning it."
"I did these empowering makeover-style photoshoots for women to help them look and feel better in their skin and it helped tremendously with their self-confidence," she recalls. "I was able to show them their essence and beauty through my eyes and lens all while I was going through my own huge transformation and divorce at that time."
Floyd poured herself into her work and bonded with her clients through her own story. "From there, it morphed into personal branding photography for World-Changing Womxn, and later the Love Your Self(ie) Movement," which, according to Floyd, is "a course that inspires confidence, self-love, and visibility through the power of a selfie."
"With the help of books and coaches, I began to understand the connection of my personal life to my business life and the energy around both," she explains. "Self-love paved the way for me to charge my worth and make choices in business based on what is best for me without worrying about what everyone else was doing."
For this week's Self-Care Sunday, we spoke to Floyd to learn more about her journey with self-love, her go-to self-care rituals, and what she suggests others do if they want to build better relationships with themselves.
HelloGiggles (HG): How has your relationship with self-love impacted your mental health?
Monique Floyd (MF): I have a certain level of peace that wasn't there before and once you have that… you never want to go back. My daily self-love routine supports me mentally and adds to my overall resilience. It's like exercising a muscle. I literally love on myself and speak life over myself daily and it sets the tone for my day. That daily work has translated into how I take care of myself, how I move my body, and how I fuel it.
HG: What are some practices or regimens you'd suggest others do if they feel like they're having a hard time connecting with a self-love and self-trust mindset?
MF: Mirror work is awesome! Instead of picking yourself apart, speak and show love to yourself. Spending that time with yourself in the mirror not only helps change how you see yourself, it also provides a foundation for how you show up in the world and for yourself. Once you make peace with the mirror, you can literally watch your reflection change.
I also highly recommend just sitting with yourself. This can be done either in meditation, gratitude, or journaling. Really getting to know what makes you you can help with self-awareness—and self-awareness is so vital! I know it sounds cliché and "overly simple" but this shit works. Spending that time alone, not relying on the thoughts, needs, and opinions of others does something for your soul on a trust level. It helps you get to know your wants and desires outside of what is "expected" of you. Once you discover it, lean into that, and the self-trust will follow.
HG: What do people get wrong about how self-confidence (or lack thereof) can affect mental health?
MF: How we feel about ourselves directly affects our mental health and the choices that we make in life from career to lifestyle to money. Having and building self-confidence will have you choosing and moving through life from a place of power, knowing your worth, and setting boundaries and goals. Whereas the lack of it can land you in victim mode, settling, not feeling worthy of love or happiness, and on a downward spiral.
I'm not trying to paint this fairytale that once you reach a certain level in "self-love" that life will be perfect and issue-free. Even with all the self-love work that I do, I still go through things, but it's about what I gain from the experience and how I choose to move through it.
HG: What physical activities have you been doing lately to help gain more self-love?
MF: I'm committed to moving my body consistently and one of my favorite ways to do so is by lifting weights. It makes me strong in myself on so many levels.
HG: As a self-proclaimed "permission-giver," how do you suggest others physically connect with their bodies to dismantle the stories that they tell themselves?
MF: Yoga and meditation are beautiful ways to connect with our bodies. There is a lot to be said for talking to our bodies, too. Sending her that love and good energy.
HG: What form of community care have you been gravitating toward lately? And how do you believe it has impacted you?
MF: Since we're in a global pandemic and I'm still practicing social distancing, I have not been able to connect with my community in person. Instead, I've been engaging in Facebook groups and on the Clubhouse app more than ever. I'm able to share, learn and connect with womxn from all over the world.
HG: As a photographer, how have you been trying to support your community's mental health during this time?
MF: I've been using my gifts and experience to help other women free themselves, be themselves, and see themselves. I've also been sharing my personal journey on Clubhouse panels, podcasts, and on my social accounts.
HG: Are there any products you've been gravitating toward lately for your self-care routine?
MF: Bespoke tea blends have become my thing, and I've really gotten into essential oils for all their magical properties.
HG: What are some self-care practices that have been bringing you the most joy?
MF: Hands down my daily meditation practice is where it's at. It helps me to tap in, tune in, turn on, and maintain my glow from inside-out. I also host private dance parties and date nights for myself… to keep my vibes up.