It is a beautiful thing when one discovers ways to stay in optimal health both physically and mentally. Oftentimes, the road to that discovery is anything but easy. Esmeralda Baez, 35, the author of “Reset & Reboot: Regaining Mindfulness,” experienced this first-hand. While the public relations executive and founder of Elite Vision Media can now educate others on ways to find a healthy balance, it took a life-threatening disease for her to finally prioritize herself.
“It was a very dark moment, full of questions, concerns, stress, and fatigue,” Baez tells POPSUGAR about the aftermath of being diagnosed in 2018 with cerebrovascular disease, which includes several conditions that affect blood flow to the brain like strokes and brain aneurysms. The diagnosis came after years of Baez working herself into the ground. Her hustle mentality worked as she climbed the ranks of a successful entrepreneur in media. The Dominican-American media personality, author, music executive, and businesswoman from New York City has been featured in more than 50 national magazines. She is also a member of the Grammy Recording Academy, Forbes the Culture, and the list goes on and on. While Baez, who is originally from the Dominican Republic and based in New York City, was checking off all the boxes for success in business, like so many Latina entrepreneurs and professionals, she was forgetting about something that should have been a priority all along — self-care.
“It served as a wake-up call because prior to the diagnosis, I didn’t quite understand the importance of taking care of both my mental and physical health.”
“It served as a wake-up call because prior to the diagnosis, I didn’t quite understand the importance of taking care of both my mental and physical health,” she says. For months, Baez suffered from panic attacks and severe insomnia in isolation. After about four months, she made the decision to seek help from a psychiatrist after she listened to her body, which was alerting her to a problem that needed attention.
“Afterwards, I started keeping doctor appointments and paid attention to anything that seemed or felt different in my body. I also started developing a better relationship with God,” she recalls. “As hard as it may be to find out something is wrong with you, it’s better to be aware and proactive.”
As Baez began adapting to a new way of life, she knew that her overarching goal was to maintain a sense of normalcy, which included healthier eating, exercising more, and consciously detoxing herself from certain people and things that no longer served a purpose in her life. Additionally, a top priority was understanding her illness, the risk factors, and how to manage them appropriately. “I made appointments with experts in the field to make sure I was OK. And therapy,” Baez says about how she armed herself with the knowledge to stay healthy. “I also just anticipated a journey that looked different from others.”
Sadly, the jefa isn’t alone in her journey with cerebrovascular disease. In fact, death rates from strokes have increased among Hispanic people since 2013, whereas for other racial or ethnic groups, death rates have fallen. Social determinants like language barriers, access to healthcare, education levels, income levels, and access to transportation also play a role in the rates impacting the Latine community.
Baez is in a position to educate the Latine community as a well-known and established media personality, successful businesswoman, and now author. “Reset and Reboot” covers topics like sorrow, detoxification, and new beginnings, with self-mastery and self-care as the main focus. The Spanish-language version, “Restablecer y Reiniciar: Recuperando La Plenitud Mental,” was released on September 14.
“Self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy,” Baez says from first-hand knowledge. “My mental and physical health has definitely improved. I started meditation, which helped with managing stress and increasing my energy.”
Other things that helped improve her overall well-being include drinking more water, taking vitamins, sleeping more hours, and staying sober. Baez also practiced celibacy, which she says allowed her to put energy into other areas of her life. Celibacy created a path to meaningful clarity and focus for her. She also fasts at least once a week.
“The brain aneurysm is in stable condition,” she says. “Outside of that, I’m pretty healthy, with no other health-related issues.”
These days, Baez is still slaying in business. The major difference is that now she is seeing life through a whole new lens, prioritizing things like spending time outside, writing gratitude journals, strategically being around positive and happy people, seeing a therapist, and just doing things that bring her joy. A beautiful thing she discovered was how prioritizing her self-care also impacted those around her.
“Self-care encourages you to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself so that you can transmit the good feelings to others,” she says. “You cannot give to others what you don’t have yourself. While some may misconstrue self-care as selfish, it’s far from that.”
If you’re wondering where to start, Baez shares three simple things to consider: “If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. If you do not break out of your comfort zone, you’ll always be stuck in the same place.”
Baez jumped out of the hamster wheel she had circled for many years to embrace a new existence, which acknowledged time as her most valuable asset. When she began intentionally and mindfully embracing the time she has on this human journey, things improved rapidly, and today she is sharing the knowledge in hopes that others experience the shift, too.
“We must make the time to embrace our solitude but also enjoy human interaction,” she advises. “Focusing on what brings you genuine joy and peace of mind is key for mental health and enjoying everything we do, because tomorrow is not guaranteed.”