Black Mom's Guide to Calm

5 Ways to Find Calm Through Life Transitions

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

So, I recently decided to find a part-time job after years of only working from home, and I completed my first week last week. Of course, I still have my motherhood duties and my business, plus all the day-to-day things. Needless to say, it’s been a hectic week, and I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed by things.

Because I’m a recovering perfectionist and control freak, I felt like this adjustment process should have been easier for me and that I should have been able to get everything done for the day in spite of the fact that 1. I now have fewer hours to do things in; 2. Life — and children — don’t always adhere to the plans in your head or on paper; and 3. It’s only been a week. That’s 7 days. Still, I’ve been beating myself up because I haven’t been able to do all I want when it comes to working on my business and spending time with Nailah (enter more mommy guilt). And I haven’t figured out a schedule that works yet.

Thankfully, though, this process has been another great reminder in learning how to stay calm in the midst of life’s changes. Here’s what is working for me:

  1. Practicing mindfulness. Most of my feelings of stress and overwhelm comes from worrying about what’s not getting done or what I have left to do — and feeling like I won’t be able to get it done (which is also a waste of valuable time). I’ve been more intentional about staying in the present moment and concentrating on one thing at a time, which allows me to focus and feel more at ease.
  2. Making sure I practice my morning routine. This consists of meditating, reading/reciting my affirmations (with crystals), writing what I’m thankful for and my daily intentions, and pulling a card from my Womanifesting Fertility Goddess Affirmation Cards. Yes, I now have to get up a bit earlier to get it done before my daughter wakes up, but I can definitely tell the difference when I don’t do it (it’s not good). So, to make sure I stay relatively calm, centered, and grounded, I make sure I do these things.
  3. Being gentle with myself. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been beating myself up about things. Therefore, when I feel that negativity trying to creep in, I remind myself that it’ll take some time to get acclimated to this new normal and to just focus on doing my best.
  4. Creating a (rough) schedule for my days/ week. Adding a job to the mix has helped me see that my days weren’t super structured before. However, I see why they should be: My days will likely go more smoothly, and I won’t feel as overwhelmed because I’ll know what days I do certain things. For example, I’ll choose one day to write, one day to create social media posts, etc. I’ll also stop adding too much to my to-do/intentions list.
  5. Allowing myself to be where I am. I think this is the biggest one for me. I tend to be someone who focuses on the future and lot and where I want to be (like I mentioned in this post). Planning and thinking of your future isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but it can become an issue when you’re always wishing things were different or you were somewhere else than where you are now. The present moment is all there is, so I have to allow myself to simply be here, work with what I’ve got, and make the most of now.

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.” – Bryant McGill

Create More Calm in 2018! 3 Intentions to Set

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

We’ve just begun a new year, making it a great time to create your calm by setting some intentions for inner peace. Creating calm and stressing less allows you to feel more centered and at peace more often than not, you’ll feel better (physically, mentally, emotionally), plus you’ll worry less and be happier.

Now that you know a few reasons why you should be intentional about creating calm, here are 3 intentions to set to help you do just that:

1. Know your stressors. It will be difficult to find your calm if you’re not sure what, exactly, is stressing you. And I know that the thought of not actually knowing why you’re stressed might sound kind of weird, but because we’re such “go, go, go people” and have a lot going on, it’s probably not super easy to pinpoint why we’re feeling overwhelmed. With that said, some common stressors include working long hours, money woes, relationship problems, emotional issues, and unrealistic expectations. Once you figure out what’s stressing you, you can then determine whether you can change the situation or if you need to accept it and learn ways to cope, which brings me to…

2. Have go-to calm practices. While there are some things you can do to get eliminate stress in your life (e.g., limiting contact with people, taking things off your to-do list, etc.), you’ll still deal with stress from time to time — because, human. And that’s where having calm practices come in. Some of my favorites are meditation, mindfulness, yoga, deep breathing, smudging, spending time alone, reading, and crystal healing. Try one (or a few) to see what works best for you.

3. Flow and trust. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning over the past few years. A huge cause of stress for me has been trying to be in control of everything, and when I couldn’t, worrying about those things I couldn’t control. It’s been challenging (and I still have difficulty at times), but I’ve learned how to go with the flow of what comes in my life — even when I don’t understand — and trust the process and the journey. Know that everything is working FOR you, and life is conspiring in your favor.

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives to responding to conflict.” – Dorothy Thompson

Are there any more calm intentions you would add? Let me know by leaving a comment!


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Keep Calm, Sis: 5 Reasons You Need to Find Your Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

 

2014 was the year I started finding my calm. It was a few months after my daughter was born, and not only was I learning how to be a mom, trying to find harmony between everything I had going on, I also felt I didn’t have enough help from my husband. So, the time after her birth was extremely stressful, overwhelming, and frustrating. Ultimately, I realized I had to do something about it because I couldn’t keep being nor living the way I was. Discovering ways to overcome my overwhelm and find my calm was like a breath of fresh air and life-changing.

As a Black woman, I know many of us don’t see the importance of having tools that will help us lessen or eliminate the stress in our lives (thankfully, more of us are starting to see the benefits). Culturally, we’re taught to “just deal with it” and to put everyone else’s needs, wants, and well-being before our own. If you’re one of these women (and it’s okay if you are!), I encourage you to let go of that outdated way of thinking and make yourself and your peace a priority. Here’s why:

  1. You will go with the flow and worry less. Having practices that help you stress less (like meditation, mindfulness, and yoga) help keep your mind calm, clear, and relaxed more often than not. These practices also remind you and assist you in living in the present moment, which helps you not to worry so much, since you’re focused on what’s happening now (as opposed to the future).
  2. You become happier. Being stressed all — or most of — the time can rob you of your happiness; more than likely, you’re almost always irritable, moody, frustrated, and/or sad. So, when you make finding your calm a priority, you invite more joy in.
  3. You have better focus. Stress hormones can mess with your normal brain function, causing your mind and thoughts to be all over the place. That makes it hard to focus on what’s important and what you’re trying to accomplish. Discovering ways to find your calm will allow your mind to be more clear so you can get shit done.
  4. You’ll feel better. Stress takes a toll on your mental and physical health in various ways: headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and sadness, just to name a few. Finding ways to lessen or get rid of your stress will allow you to feel great mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  5. Your life will work better. Finding your calm and living from a space of peace allows you to make the best decisions in your life, relax more, create more positive energy, and it can even attract your desires to you (because you’re flowing instead of worrying).

“Everything you do can be done better from a place of relaxation.” – Stephen C. Paul


Find your calm by downloading my guided meditation below! 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

15 Simple Ways to Relax

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, most of us find it hard to simply relax. And a lot of times, we don’t even feel it’s necessary to do so. However, having some down time has many benefits. It:

  • helps prevent stress from accumulating
  • reduces general anxiety
  • increases your energy level and helps with productivity
  • improves your concentration
  • boosts self-confidence

Now that you know why you probably need to unwind more often, here are 15 simple ways to relax:

  1. Do some yoga.
  2. Meditate.
  3. Read for pleasure.
  4. Take a bubble and/or spiritual bath.
  5. Spend some time alone.
  6. Laugh.
  7. Listen to your favorite music.
  8. Take a phone/social media break.
  9. Nap and/or sleep in.
  10. Visualize/daydream.
  11. Netflix and chill…with yourself.
  12. Create a gratitude list.
  13. Spend some time outdoors.
  14. Journal.
  15. Color

What are your favorite ways to relax? Let me know by leaving a comment!


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

10 Black Women Who Can Help You Find Your Calm

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of the resources provided here at Black Mom’s Guide to Calm that help you find your calm (if you’re not, click here and here). And of course, I’m not the only one who can guide you; there are some other dope ass Black women out here provide products, services, and resources to make sure we’re calm, centered, cared for, and mentally well.

In honor of Black History Month, here are 10 Black women who can help you find your calm:

1. Dianne Bondy is a celebrated yoga teacher, social justice activist, and leading voice of the Yoga For All Movement. With over 1,000 hours of training, she helps her students find freedom, self-expression, and radical self-love in their yoga practice. Dianne shares her message and provides millions of followers with affordable access to online yoga classes, workshops, and tutorials at her virtual studio: Yogasteya.com.

2. Itiel McVay is the founder and owner of Smell Good Spa, purveyors of fine fragrance oils and hand-dipped incense sticks that blend creativity and wholesome ingredients together. It is the company’s belief that a whole woman deserves wholesome products; therefore, each raw-ingredient based bath, body, and home fragrance product can be customized with their signature scents, creating an aromatic spa-at-home experience for the woman who loves to live good, feel good, and smell good.

3. As The Body Relationship Coach™, Ivy Felicia helps people build a loving relationship with body and self. She is passionate about helping individuals learn to embrace the bodies they have right now and supporting them in learning to love themselves no matter what. Through her brand, Me, My Body, and Love, Ivy promotes body peace and provides empowerment, education, and encouragement for those who seek to embrace a body positive lifestyle by loving their own bodies and extending the same love and acceptance to others.

4. Created by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed psychologist in Georgia, Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. Because the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy prevent Black women from taking the steps to see a therapist, Dr. Joy developed her blog to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant. Her primary areas of interest include break up and divorce recovery, depression, work-life balance, relationship skills, and self-esteem improvement.

5. Dr. Nadia Richardson is the founder of No More Martyrs, a mental health awareness campaign committed to building an online community of support for Black women with mental health concerns. By bringing together organizations from across the country that focus on the holistic wellness of Black women, the campaign serves as a clearinghouse of resources for living successfully with mental health concerns as well as virtual support for Black women who believe they are facing these issues alone.

6. Founded by Dr. Shanesha Brooks-Tatum, the Life Balance and Wellness Institute, Inc. (formerly the Black Women’s Life Balance and Wellness Conference) supports Black women in their quest to live well and thrive. Their mission is to provide evidence-based tools and facilitate dynamic, creative relationships that support women in achieving and maintaining optimal wellness in all areas of life including physical, financial, spiritual, occupational, social, and emotional.

7. Suntia Smith, MSW,LISW-CP, is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist based in Greenville, SC. She uses proven emotion-focused techniques and cognitive behavioral methodologies to help her clients deal with everyday life and relationship struggles better. By taking a positive, proactive, and practical approach to emotional well-being, Suntia teaches others how to develop a stronger sense of self, so they can love deeper and live lighter.

8. Created by Tara Pringle Jefferson, the Bloom Beautifully Box hits women’s doorsteps every eight weeks, full of self-care goodies in the following categories: beauty, health/wellness, and personal development. Tara created the box because she knows just how difficult it can be for women to focus on themselves during the years where their time and attention is often required by someone else — their boss, their children, their family. She wants each box to feel like a deep exhale, a fresh reminder that while you are many things — an entrepreneur, a stay-at-home mom, a student– you are still you underneath it all.

9. Tracey Coretta Ferdinand is a writer and certified 200 hour vinyasa yoga teacher. Her writing inspires lifestyle transformations guided by self-love and self-care, and her mission is to encourage women and girls of color to live vibrant and healthy lives by exploring creative wellness practices.

10. Vernetta R. Freeney is the creator and producer of the podcast “A Toast to Truths” and founder of The Truth Confidant™, a training firm specializing in teaching mental detox as a way to increase your productivity and have peace each and every day of your life. Her assignment is to curb burnout for entrepreneurs, teachers, and corporate employees by teaching journaling as a daily mental detox to ensure productivity and creativity.

 

Creating Self-care and Calm Intentions for the New Year: 6 Things to Do

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Happy New Year! I hope your 2017 has gotten off to an amazing start. If you’re reading this, you probably already have set some goals for the year. But do you have self-care and calm intentions? Wait, what does intention even mean? An intention is “to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, to aim.” (healing.about.com) Having them helps us stay focused and on the right track with what we desire.

Why set intentions specifically related to calm? They will help you:

  • live from a space of peace
  • practice mindfulness and stay in the moment
  • stay calm and centered more often than not
  • create inner peace and contentment

With that said, here are five steps to create your own for 2017:

1. Get clear about what you want/need in your life. When it comes to finding your calm and practicing self-care, do you want to start a yoga practice pr meditate regularly? Or maybe you want to stay calm in stressful situations, get more sleep, or have more time to yourself. If you’re having trouble figuring out what you want and need so you can live from a space of peace, take a moment to get quiet, and ask yourself, ‘What do I need?’, then journal about it. Just write whatever comes to mind until you feel you have your answer.

2. Write it down. After you know what you want and need, write it down. As Erykah Badu said, “Write it down on real paper with a real pencil. And watch shit get real.”

3. Write affirmations. According to Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Jack Canfield, “an affirmation is a statement of your goal or desire now realized in the present time.” They are statements you can write down/record, then repeat and/or listen to regularly so you bombard your subconscious mind with the thoughts, images, and feelings you’d be experiencing if your goal was complete already.

Your affirmations should be positive and in present tense. For example, “I am calm and centered,” or “I choose to practice self-care daily.” Here are some to choose from or to draw inspiration from.

4. Schedule it. If your intentions include specific practices like yoga, meditation, reading more, or exercise, write down the days and even times you’ll practice in your planner or calendar, or create a reminder on your phone. That way, you’re more likely to stick with what you want to do.

5. Start small. Doing this will help you stick with your intentions as well. If you try to do too much too soon, you might get overwhelmed and give up because it seems difficult. So, for instance, if you want to start a home yoga practice, consider starting with a few stretches in the morning and/or before you go to bed or doing a five or 10 minute sequence. If you want to begin meditating consistently, start with 10 deep breaths or a 1-2 minute meditation daily.

6. Find tools and resources to help you stay on track. YouTube is a great place to find meditation music and yoga videos. You can also use a resource like The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm Experience for tools that will help you find your calm.

 “Stress is not what happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.” – Maureen Killoran

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Black Mom's Guide to Calm

 

 

#CalmTip: Protect Your Peace.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

The result of this year’s election has a lot of us feeling anxious, fearful, on edge, a swirl of various emotions. It’s definitely warranted and necessary to process whatever we feel. And during — and after — you’re working through your feelings, I think it’s super important that you protect your peace.

That doesn’t mean you need to be totally oblivious to what’s going on, ignoring it, or pretending to be super happy. It means just doing what you need to do to stay centered and grounded. With that being said, here’s what I did the past couple of days to make sure I maintained and protected my peace:

  • Social media break. I did make the mistake of getting on Facebook early Wednesday morning, but I ended up taking a break from there and Instagram until Thursday evening.
  • Read. I read some good, drama-filled urban fiction.
  • Meditated with/carried crystals. If you want to do the same, here are some suggestions:

For calm/peace —  amethyst, rose quartz.

To ground yourself — black onyx, smoky quartz, black obsidian

To boost your mood — citrine, rose quartz, yellow jasper

By the way, I’ve gotten a few crystals from ThirdEye Naga.

  • Deep breathing.
  • Yoga.

Some other ideas:

  • Journal and get your feelings out.
  • Go to the gym/work out.
  • Smudge yourself/your space.
  • Chat with a friend.
  • Laugh.
  • Watch some ratchet TV (don’t judge lol).

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

What do you do to protect your peace? Let us know by leaving a comment!

#CalmTip: Ground Yourself

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Grounding is a technique that helps keep you in the present moment. It’s a way of practicing mindfulness and can be helpful when you feel overwhelmed or anxious.

Here are a few methods you can use to ground yourself:

One

  • Look around the room, noticing your surrounding and details.
  • Hold a pillow, stuffed animal, or ball.
  • Hold something cool (like a can of soda) or place a cool wash cloth on your face.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Place your feet.
  • Focus on someone’s voice or a neutral conversation.

Two

Name:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can feel
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste or 1 good thing about yourself

Three

Walk outside barefoot for a few minutes, in the grass if possible.

Four

  1. Place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lean back into your chair, and notice how the chair feels underneath you and against your back.
  3. Cross your arms over your chest.
  4. Gently tap each shoulder, one side at a time. If you’re in public, you can place your hands on your thighs and tap on each thigh, alternating sides.

“Get yourself grounded, and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.” – Steve Goodier

Do you have another grounding technique you use? Did you try one of these? Let us know by leaving a comment! : )

Sources: peirsac.org, drcordes.com


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

#CalmTip: Let Go and Allow

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

As most of ya’ll probably know, I recently started teaching yoga locally. While it’s been going okay with one or two students at one place, at another, no one signed or showed up. Now logically, I know I shouldn’t take it personally, and I know that it takes time to build a new business and to get clients (because I’ve been there myself). However, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me and that I wasn’t disappointed. And because my tendency is to over-think and wallow in what ifs, I was racking my brain, trying to figure out what I did wrong and what I should do next. As I was mulling it over, I remembered the affirmation I’d recently shared on social media: I let go, and allow the universe to do her thing. 

This is my go-to mantra (I repeat it at least once a day), but it’s often easier said than done. If you’re like me, you’re so used to just trying different stuff to see what sticks that it’s hard to step back, surrender, and just allow things to happen and come to you. Now, that’s not to say that action doesn’t have its place; however, 1) We need to utilize the feminine energy of allowing and receiving; and 2) When things don’t go how we’d like and/or we feel like we’re losing control (as if we ever had control in the first place, but I digress), we likely start to panic and feel desperate, and that’s not the best energy to act from. Because it often doesn’t work anyway or you make decisions that aren’t necessarily the best.

Instead, I believe the best thing to do is to let go and allow the Universe/Spirit/God/Goddess/Your Higher Self to do her/his/its thing. Sometimes, that means literally doing nothing about the situation. And it might mean taking inspired action, meaning listen to what you should do next, then doing something. This usually shows up as your intuition or that gut feeling. (This is one reason why meditating and being mindful are important, so you can hear).

Finally, whatever the action is, it’s important to remember that what you desire may not manifest overnight; and you might even end up going in a different direction. Either way, it’s important to trust the process and trust in Divine Timing.

“What’s the rush? Everything is coming to you. Don’t put an end date on everything. Just let the Universe yield it to you, because if the path is a fun path, you don’t care how long it takes.” – Abraham Hicks

#CalmTip: Make Sure Your Cup Overflows

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

As many of you know, this past weekend, I attended the 2016 Self-Care Retreat (#HereWeGrow16) in Virginia Beach, which was hosted by Tara Pringle Jefferson, self-care coach and creator of The Self-Care Box. I attended to lead meditation and yoga, but I ended up learning a lot (blog post about the amazingness coming soon)!

In the first session, Tara suggested that instead of filling our cups just enough, just so we can give to others, that we allow our cups to overflow. That way, when we give from the overflow, we’ll still have something left for ourselves, and we won’t be drained, burned out, frustrated, etc.

After her talk, she had us come up with 20 things that fill our cups (without thinking too much about it) and we posted our lists in our phones so we’d have the lists whenever we need them. For this week’s #CalmTip, I’m encouraging you to try it yourself and create your own Fill My Cup list: Use your note app (or an app like Evernote) and take about five minutes to write down 20 things that make you happy or that you can do to practice self-care. When you finish, you’ll have several activities to choose from when you need them and/or to practice daily (or at least a few days a week) to make sure you’re good. A few of mine are:

  1. Yoga/meditation.
  2. Listening to the 2 Dope Queens podcast.
  3. Reading.
  4. Lifting weights at the gym.
  5. Watching ratchet TV.

What are some of the things on your “Fill My Cup” list? Let me know by leaving a comment! 🙂

“My cup should overflow.” – Tara Pringle Jefferson