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Why Luxury Portraits? Story Time: Embracing Self-Care Amidst Daily Struggles

A girl stressed at work, working customer service

Today was one of those days that reminded me why self-care isn't just a luxury—it's a necessity, especially when you're juggling multiple demanding roles. As many of you know, I'm not just the face behind the lens at Au Courag, but also a dedicated online customer support specialist for a major company. This weekend, coinciding with Spring Black Friday, my full-time job was inundated with calls, starting bright and early at 7 a.m. with an angry customer. The call volume was so crazy, and I could feel the stress physically manifesting—welp-like hives began appearing on my arm, my normal response to stress and anxiety.

Normally, the calls don't get to me, but today was different. The calls were back-to-back from Saturday to Monday, my anxiety was through the roof, and I was genuinely concerned about the possibility of a panic attack. On top of that, I didn’t have any sick time left, and missing another day's pay was not an option, considering I had already lost a day due to internet issues. It was a real catch-22: continue working at the expense of my health or listen to my body’s and have faith that everything will work out.

After taking a few more calls, I made a decision—one that the old me would have never done regretting it later. I chose me. I'm so grateful to be supported by an amazing manager who truly understands mental health and friends who want nothing but to see me care better for myself. It was a moment of clarity and self-respect that I'm learning to embrace more fully in my life. Shortly after leaving, I received a lead on a potential headshot project with an agency I work with occasionally. Get this! Not just for one day, but possibly two! What missed coin?! A few more inquires followed out of nowhere. It felt like a sign from God that I had made the right choice.

I realize something major, something life continues to teach me over and over again, a lesson I want to pass along to the person reading this blog entry right now. Something I make sure my clients know.

Our bodies are our best indicators of our limits. Ignoring them can have real consequences, not just physically but also for our mental well-being.

It's not just about taking a day off when you're at your limit; it's about incorporating regular self-care into your lifestyle, making it as essential as any other appointment in your calendar.

Keyonna, message therapist, giving massage before portrait session
Keyonna Singletary - Au Courag in-house massage therapist. 30 minute message pre photoshoot.

If you follow me or worked with me, you know I hype up the transformative power of Au Courag Studio + Gallery luxury portrait photography sessions, where we really hone in on self-care, making each session feel like a moment of peace from the everyday grind. Our pre-session massages are now live provide by our in house trained massage threapist Keyonna. We also have in house makeup/hair artist Jamika, and makeup/ facial esthetician, Erykah. But self-care isn't just for those special moments; it needs to be a fundamental part of our lives. That's why I created this experience, to remind people like me, and maybe you reading this, that push so hard, the importance of pausing and treating yourself with the same care and attention you so often reserve for others.

Because guess what? Life always have a way of balancing itself out, whether you listen or not. Don't get caught in the middle of a major moment shutting down. You really can miss your blessing by not listening to your body.

Erykah Storm - in-house esthetician/makeup artist making sure Ensie’s beauty is captured properly on camera.
Erykah Storm - in-house esthetician/makeup artist making sure Ensie’s beauty is captured properly on camera.

Let my little story be a reminder to all of us about the importance of listening to our bodies and making self-care a non-negotiable part of our lives. The money will come, as will the opportunities and successes. But none of these can be fully enjoyed without our health and well-being. As I often say, "The money will come"—and indeed, things tend to work themselves out. Let's make it a thing to treat ourselves with kindness, patience, and respect, every single day. Promise me that much! Love you, always.

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