We had the good fortune of connecting with Nita L. Watson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nita L., what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process started with, how can I do something different with therapy? How can I clinically connect with people who might not be as open to talk psychotherapy? How can I impact families within my community? All of these questions came to mind. I have always been an advocate for self-care and decided that would be a dope creative name. I went online and created some inexpensive t-shirts and began wearing them while I worked out at local gyms and parks. So, the idea was birthed out of a need and a determination to change the face of mental health. Also, as an African American woman, I knew culturally, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety were not day to day dinner conversations. Families, especially brown and black, needed outlets to cope and communicate, outside of religious organizations or seeking wisdom from elders within the family unit. So, I am back to my idea of how can I fix this? How can I talk about health and wellness to my family, friends, etc? The reality was, inwardly looking into my own character flaws, emotional instabilities and aggressive behavior to dictate that I was the problem (acceptance) and needed an outlet (accountability), before I blew it all. Self-Care. I began boxing at local clubs and training rigorously, all while still attending my own therapy. After a few months, it was apparent that I was on to something. Something the world needed, families needed, more importantly, I needed. The Self-Care Lab is my own personal story! Exercise actually did help reduce my aggressive and anxious behavior.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Self-Care Lab Boxing & Fitness Club is an organization which utilizes exercise (boxing) as a replacement coping skill for mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, symptoms of PTSD and suicidal ideation. The Lab is bigger than a boxing club or a gym, it is a vibe, a movement, and overall experience. The workouts are intense, the competition is hard yet we find the time to smile, laugh and just be. Here at The Lab, you will find a bunch of unpopular jocks, mixing with a few law enforcement, possibly felons and foster youth. A place you can call home. An unorthodox therapy office. A place you anticipate the doors opening and hate to see Sunday’s come because it is closed (Self-Care Sunday). Faith, perseverance, consistency and support got me where I am today. This has by far been the hardest, most costly, stressful decision I have ever made. One that I would not dare take back. Many around me know the nights that I have spent in my own boxing club, studying for my California state board exam (therapy), after training youth and athletes all day, and yet fail! To come back the next day and try and encourage others or motive them, is… Well, unheard of. This is why I created this project. I wanted people to hear my story, know my journey, but never feel sorry for me. Hold me accountable to keep going as well as finish what I started. I have learned that these challenges are overcome by acceptance. Embracing failure. I would like to world to know that if you do not push yourself, no one else will. Some people will allow you to self-loathe or purposely not support you. If you are not confident enough, you too will begin to buy into the “woe is me” mentality and that is exactly what they want you to do. They are simply intimidated. Intimidated and hoping you do not heal and keep going. Because if you ever tapped into your dopiness, who you are, etc., GAME OVER! It is a vow to always put you first! Let me leave you with this; even if people leave you during your (business) journey, stand! Even, if you hit rock bottom, stand! When you are tired, that is when it counts the most. Can you do it without a “like,” in the middle of a break-up, at the dying bedside of your grandmother, when you have more debt than income… That is what I would like to world to know about me, my brand, The Self-Care Lab. I am no quitter and this simply depends on how bad YOU want something! SELF-CARE! Keep going!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Self-Care Lab is in the heart of Downtown Pomona. Of course, we would start a good workout at “The Lab”, hear a good workout playlist ,etc. Afterwards, I know they would be beat and in need of some energy, but nothing too heavy. Maybe a protein shake or natural fruit juice from “Mi Mercadito.” They also make the best tacos! If it were a Saturday night, we would definitely enjoy the city’s “downtown art-walk.” Check out the cool new “Artist in the Alley”, see a live paint show over at “Alley Gallery.” A few days have gone by and they said, hey, I need to pick up a birthday gift, a candle to be exact, we would grab a coffee from “Sergio’s” and head down to “Vital Pomona.” Every thing you can think of is in that store. The two of us have been training hard all week and wanted to take some cool pictures, we would head over to “I.E. Photos”, rent a camera and ask the owner of “WonderWall Space” if we could use his space for our background. Wow, it has been such a great week. My friend asked if we could grab a cheat meal before we got to the airport, so I stopped over at the “Pomona Fish Market” and ordered her a lunch special. “We gotta do this again”, she stated!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My journey has been a rollercoaster. Some angles awesome and some, well not so awesome. All the while, my team of coaches, Lalo, Alex, Paul, Anthony, Lydia and Nick. My “kids” at The Self-Care Lab and my family. This is in honor and for my grandmother! Anita Watson. You told me “finish what you started…. put your game face on and handle your business, Minnie!” This is for you!

Website: www.theselfcarelab.com

Instagram: @theselfcarelab

Linkedin: Nita L Watson

Facebook: /theselfcarelab

Yelp: The Self-Care Lab

Youtube: The Self-Care Lab

Other: 273 South Park Avenue Pomona, CA 91766 909.561.1751

Image Credits
A. Herrera

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