Benefits / Resources / Articles
April 08, 2020

Self Care Isn’t Selfish: Self Care & Mental Health in Challenging Times with Latasha Haynes

In 2017, on her way to teach at a photography conference, Latasha “Tash” Haynes was stopped in her tracks as her body went into heart failure. She spent 16 days in the hospital and of those sixteen, six were in critical care. She almost lost her life. She was overworked, fatigued and overwhelmed, but she would not slow down and almost died. Since then, Tash has learned so much about what it means to truly take care of yourself and to have a healthy work/life balance. Not long ago, joined by her husband Ike, Tash shared her story with PPA in a webinar titled “Self-Care Isn’t Selfish”. We are (re)sharing it with you here because we believe that now, more than ever, it’s important to focus on your emotional, mental and physical health as we all deal with the changes and emotions that have come along with this global pandemic.


In this webinar, Ike & Tash explore why self-care isn’t selfish and how putting yourself first benefits everyone. As photographers and creatives, we tend to spend much more time pouring into others instead of ourselves; for you this might mean taking care of your family, giving back to your community or spending time with your clients. So why is Self-care so important? According to Ike & Tash:

  1. We need to teach people how to treat us
  2. No one else is responsible for meeting our needs more than we are
  3. We need to realize our worth and set clear boundaries
  4. Self Care Isn’t Selfish


“Self-care informs so much of who we are and how we want to move through life … it is about asking yourself the tough questions” - Latasha Haynes


Here’s what’s so compelling about this webinar: Tash explores some of the tough questions she has asked herself during her self-care journey and that some of you might be experiencing in these challenging times:

  • What do I need from life to live a full healthy good life?
  • What do I need emotionally to function well in this world?
  • What makes me laugh until I cry?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
  • What does committed friendship look like to you?
  • What do you value? 
  • What do you wake up every day thinking about?


It might surprise you to know that many people don’t have the answers to these questions. If you find yourself struggling to answer them, this is an opportunity to spend some time exploring them and understanding what your answers might mean and how they may affect the way you choose to prioritize and spend your time and how you interact with others. 

Pro tip: Schedule in “off” days and planning days to create the schedule and the life you want. This requires scheduling and setting boundaries and expectations for your clients and others in your life. 


“Self-care is not selfish, it’s smart and it’s smart because you start to realize that there’s enough time to do anything if you prioritize it… put yourself at the top of your to-do list” - Latasha Haynes

What can Self-care help you do?

  • Stop Taking your mental and physical health for granted. Photographers have a very physical job and it’s vital to do everything you can to take care of your health first so that you can continue doing what you love for as long as you want to. 
  • Get to know yourself. It can be easy to get distracted by what you think you should be doing or who you think you should be, especially with the continued rise of social media. Instead, it’s important to take time to look inward at who YOU want to be and what YOU enjoy and the values YOU hold dear (and the values on which you built your business in the first place). As we get to know ourselves, we are better able to bring our authentic selves to the table. 
  • Find your Purpose. You may say photography is your purpose (and it might be) but it might not be that simple. Ike and Tash realized over time that their purpose is much deeper. It is less about taking photos and much more about making connections, helping people, creating community and being inclusive. It’s about showing people that they belong. 
  • Move from existing to living. Do you wake up excited to approach the day and the work you get to create with your clients or is it business as usual? Self-care can help you reignite the joy in your life. 


What are the Benefits of Putting Yourself First?

  • You get to pour from a full cup: you can give to others without feeling resentment, dread or frustration and you can make commitments to people (and keep those commitments).
  • You get to feel happier overall
  • You can do more things for yourself and your family.
  • You know what you need to be your fullest, happiest self.
  • You are more in touch with your feelings and emotions.

Be sure to check out the full webinar now on PPA's Online Education Platform! Click the image above to watch now!

Self-care looks different from person to person! It is never a one size fits all practice. This is why it’s so important to spend time learning and exploring what YOU need and getting more in touch with your feelings and emotions. For Tash, self-care means being present in each moment and honoring the time she spends with others (this includes putting her phone in airplane mode for this webinar!), getting outside every day and focusing on her breathing, doing something she enjoys every day outside of photography, and accepting help and recognizing when she needs it. If you want to take some time to explore what self-care means to you and how you can put this knowledge into action, be sure to watch the full webinar with Ike & Tash. Self-care can be a game-changer, not only for you personally but also for your business. If you are stuck at home and feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated or maybe even defeated by the current global situation, this is a perfect time to watch this webinar, dive deeper into your own needs and spend some time taking care of YOU so that when we come out on the other side of this you will be even more prepared to run your business, live your life and prioritize your time in a way that truly benefits you and everyone around you!


“Allowing others to define you or seeking external validation does not work, it is a short term band-aid that will not stick. It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. Nourishing yourself in every way possible will help you blossom and grow into the man or woman you are meant to be.” - E.E. Cummings 


We were also joined by Tash for a Facebook Live session to chat about how she is managing her time at home since stay at home orders went into effect due to COVID-19. You can watch that full session here!