Self-Care is not selfish — Being that I am a single mom and my kids were with me 24–7, I had to learn to set boundaries. If that meant closing my door or going on a walk in the neighborhood alone then that was ok!
With the success of the vaccines, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this difficult period in our history. But before we jump back into the routine of the normal life that we lived in 2019, it would be a shame not to pause to reflect on what we have learned during this time. The social isolation caused by the pandemic really was an opportunity for a collective pause, and a global self-assessment about who we really are, and what we really want in life.
As a part of this series called “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic”, I had the pleasure to interviewRaioni Madison-Jones.
Raioni Madison-Jones is the founder and Executive Director of 3D Girls, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to educate and empower young women to be advocates for themselves and their families. She is an alumnus of Clayton State and Kansas State University where she received a Master’s Degree in Family Studies and Human Services. 3D Girls, Inc. has served over 500 families annually through programming and outreach efforts. Through COVID-19 relief efforts, the organization has distributed over 50,000 diapers, delivered + 550 care packages, provided 85 uber rides to help moms in need, hosted eight pop-ups and virtual community baby showers.! Raioni resides in Atlanta, GA with her two daughters.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
My name is Raioni Madison-Jones and I reside in Atlanta, GA. As a former educator and now Nonprofit Leader, I am passionate about serving others. As a young mother, I experienced hardships that shaped me into the woman I am today. I am empowered to serve and support young women and girls like myself who experience hardships that serve as barriers to their success.
Are you currently working from home? If so, what has been the biggest adjustment from your previous workplace? Can you please share a story or example?
I currently work from home with my 13 and 6-year-old daughters learning virtually. It is such a challenge trying to balance work and life at home. As a single mom, the weight of helping with school work, cooking, and the painstaking laundry…in addition to the many tasks that are tied to work…man, that is so tough. I am still working on creating systems that are effective and that work for me and the kids.
What do you miss most about your pre-COVID lifestyle?
I miss being able to get up and go! I was always on the go; going to events, speaking, working, and serving the public. I miss the freedom of walking and being in a setting without the onset of anxiety and restrictions.
The pandemic was really a time for collective self-reflection. What social changes would you like to see as a result of the COVID pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic created a space for a collective outcry for social change. As a servant leader, it is important to advocate for those who are marginalized and limited due to systemic oppression. I advocate for black women and girls to be seen and heard in health and educational spaces that allow them to thrive. As a mom of two daughters, I am motivated by my children. I am working to build a legacy for my girls. I want them to live in a world where they can equally succeed without barriers.
What if anything, do you think are the unexpected positives of the COVID response? We’d love to hear some stories or examples.
As a nonprofit leader, I jumped into action when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state of Georgia. My organization 3D Girls, Inc. gathered volunteers to help deliver over 500 care packages of 40,000 diapers, wipes, feminine hygiene products, PPE, and other resources to help moms with basic needs. The impact was rewarding, but what people didn’t know is that at the peak of the pandemic, I tested positive for COVID. In quarantine, I had to teach my daughters how to be independent. They had to cook for themselves and manage their school work with me only being a FaceTime call away. It was very hard, but I realized that this “valley” was only for a season. I learned to depend on my faith and hope to carry me and my girls through.
How did you deal with the tedium of being locked up indefinitely during the pandemic? Can you share with us a few things you have done to keep your mood up?
Since I have lived through such a traumatic experience, I have a better outlook on life and a positive view on maintaining self-care and self-preservation. I have found value in losing friends and gaining new and positive perspectives through building community and going to therapy. I held weekly check-ins and video calls with my peers at the end of the week to celebrate wins and goal-setting.
Aside from what we said above, what has been the source of your greatest pain, discomfort, or suffering during this time? How did you cope with it?
As a result of COVID, I suffered from brain fog, fatigue, and chronic pain for six months after having COVID. Around the same time, I learned about the term “long hauler” on Facebook. I was surprised that there were many people across the world suffering just like me. I found community in this group and I did not feel alone. When people were experiencing challenges, they posted them and we would uplift and empower them by sharing best practices and resources from our medical professionals.
Ok wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Give yourself grace — Realizing that I was no longer the same person physically, mentally, and emotionally after COVID, I had to constantly fill my mind with positive self-talk.
- Self-Care is not selfish — Being that I am a single mom and my kids were with me 24–7, I had to learn to set boundaries. If that meant closing my door or going on a walk in the neighborhood alone then that was ok!
- Faith makes all things possible — Depression really set in during this time, I had to depend on my Faith in God to pull me out of those dark days. Reading my scriptures and devotions became a daily habit during this time.
- Distance > Isolation –Don’t allow distance to keep you isolated. Finding ways to connect with my family and friends virtually helped so much! Each week my family hosted themed events online and through a group text thread.
- Do what makes you happy! The saying “Life is too short” became so much of a reality to me during this season. When I started to feel better, I made it a habit to start doing things that made me happy because I never wanted to experience such lowness again.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you during the pandemic?
I know it may be corny or cliche’ but I have always believed in the concept of “Live, Laugh, Love”! These small words are mighty and essential in living a full and complete life.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Wow, if I had it my way, I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Sara Blakely! She is the founder of Spanx and works to empower women innovators. I love that she provides an incubator for women to grow and scale their businesses.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Check out all the great work that 3D Girls, Inc. is doing in Atlanta by visiting our website www.3dgirlsinc.org and following us on social media www.instagram.com/3dgirlsinc www.twitter.com./3D_GirlsInc
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.