5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself Physically

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

September is Self-Care Awareness Month! Each week, I’ll be sharing tips that will help you take better care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Here are a few ways to practice physical self-care:

  1. Move your body. My favorite way to do this is yoga, of course, but some other ideas are walking a few days a week, hitting the gym or using workout videos on YouTube (a couple I really enjoy: Blogilates and HangTightwMarcie.
  2. Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water keeps your blood pressure regulated; it also keeps your skin moisturized and boosts your mood, concentration and energy levels.
  3. Get enough sleep. I know it’s often easier said than done, but try to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night. This allows you to be (and feel) well rested, more productive, improves your mood and concentration, plus lowers your risk of serious health issues like heart disease and stroke.
  4. Eat more healthful foods. Incorporate more fruits and veggies, whole grains and limit your salt and sugar intake.
  5. Take breaks more often. Trust me, I get it: You’re busy, and you have a lot going on. However, if you don’t take time for breaks, your body will decide to do so for you: You’ll get sick or experience burn out. So make time for at least 5 to 15 minutes a day to just breathe and be.

Start making yourself a priority in your life by joining me for our self-care challenge! We start September 16th, and it’s free. Click here to sign up.

Using Crystals to Find Your Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

“[Crystal healing is] a wonderful tool for finding your own spiritual, mental, and emotional empowerment so that you, too, can lead a life that truly invigorates you and brings you joy.”– Karen Frazier

Used for healing purposes for thousands of years, crystals each have their own individual energetic properties that can help you mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even physically.

I first learned about crystals at my friend, Trelani’s writing retreat back in 2016. Since then, I’ve become kind of obsessed with loved them! If you know me IRL or seen pics on social media, you know I wear a stack of crystal bracelets, and you might have seen me mention that I carry them in my bra and purse/bag. I also use crystals often when I meditate and when I’m doing some visualization.

So How Do They Work?

If you’ve studied the Law of Attraction, you know that everything has energy and vibrates at a certain level. Our vibrations can differ daily (or even hourly) depending on factors like our moods, emotions, circumstances, etc. Generally speaking, when we vibrate at a lower frequency, we often get to not-so-great situations where things seem to just keep getting worse. However, higher vibes help us create more positive changes.

Crystals, on the other hand, vibrate at a consistent level, and because of how they’re structured, most of them “vibrate at relatively high levels.” So, using crystals can help us vibrate at a higher frequency, so to speak, lifting our moods, focusing our minds, and manifesting what we want.

Crystals for Calm

There are crystals for just about every issue you can think of, and these are just a few that will help you overcome your overwhelm, stress less and find calm:

Amethyst helps relieve stress, protects against negative energy, helps provide restful sleep, encourages spiritual growth and helps you tap into your intuition.

Howlite calms and soothes, relieves stress and anxiety, assists with meditation, balances your chakras and teaches patience.

Smoky Quartz absorbs negative energy while increasing positive energy, helps ground you and allows you to feel more balanced and centered.

Clear Quartz is known as the master healer, assisting with all types of healing; it increases energies, provides protection and holds your intentions.

Selenite cleanses and purifies your energy, provides protection from negative energy, assists in balancing your emotions and helps you connect to the Divine.

Rose Quartz strengthens all types love, promotes joy and emotional healing, instills calm and peace and helps raise self-esteem.

Ways to Use Crystals Include

  • Wearing jewelry like bracelets, necklaces, earrings.
  • Keeping them in your pocket, bra or purse .
  • Placing them in various areas of your home and/or work space.
  • Using them to enhance your spiritual/mediation/visualization practices.

The Find Your Calm Shop will have amethyst available soon, and crystal bracelets are available now!

#MeditateInMay Meditation Challenge

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

May is National Meditation Month! As I’ve mentioned many times, having a meditation practice is one of the top ways I’m able to find my calm on a daily basis, which is why I’ve creating this challenge.

Every day, I’ll share a quick and simple meditative technique that will allow you to find your inner peace, calm, and harmony. To keep with the day’s practice, be sure to follow Black Mom’s Guide to Calm on Instagram and Facebook (I’ll send a weekly reminder via email as well). Here’s the official calendar:

Additionally, here are a few useful resources/tips for the challenge:

Meditation/breathing tips:

  • Do the exercises in a quiet, distraction-free space, if possible. Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine.
  • When inhaling, breathe through your nose, filling your belly with air like a balloon. When exhaling, breathe through your nose or mouth, bringing your belly button back towards your spine.
  • To help you focus on meditating instead of the amount of time that’s passing, use a timer or an app like Calm.
  • If you find your mind wandering, bring your awareness back to your breath/the present moment.

Equal Breathing

  • Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your belly to expand while counting to 5.
  • Exhale fully through your nose while counting to 5, allowing your navel to go back towards your spine.
  • To help keep each breath equal, count in your head. And if/when your mind wanders, bring your focus back to your breath/counting.
  • Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes.

 Alternate nostril breathing can:

  • Give you an energy boost.
  • Increase your focus and concentration.
  • Bring you calm and help you relax.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Make a gentle fist with your right hand. Extend your thumb and last two fingers, leaving space for your nose.

2. With your thumb, close off your right nostril, and exhale through your left. 3. Fully and deeply Inhale through your left nostril.

4. Close your left nostril with the last two fingers, and exhale fully through the right nostril.

5. Inhale through your right nostril. Close it off then exhale through the left.

6. Repeat steps 2-4 for one minute.

Visualization Meditation

  1. Find a quite, distraction-free space (if possible), and sit comfortably with a straight spine.
  2. Inhale fully and deeply, filling your belly with air. Exhale fully, allowing your belly button to go towards your spine.
  3. Continue breathing deeply, and imagine yourself in a beautiful location, like a beach, mountains, or garden. See yourself as calm and relaxed with everything as you want it.
  4. Focus on what you can see, hear, feel, touch (e.g., hear the waves of the ocean, feel the sun on your skin, etc.).
  5. Keep visualizing for a few minutes and/or until you feel more calm.
  6. When you’re ready, gently bring your awareness back to yourself and the present moment, then open your eyes.

Mindfulness Meditation:

Mindfulness meditation encourages you to observe your wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind. The intent is to not get involved with the thoughts nor judge them but to simply be aware of them, and let them go on by without giving them your energy or attention. As you meditate today and thoughts come, be aware of them, then let them go.

If you find it challenging to “just let them go,” imagine the thoughts on a screen scrolling by or put them in a bubble and let them float away. Then, focus your attention back on your breath.

Concentration Meditation

With concentration meditation, you focus on a single point, like a single word or mantra, a non-moving object (like a candle or figurine), or your inhalations and exhalations, which is what I do primarily. For example, I will inhale and count to four, then exhale and count to four.

Of course, the idea is to continue concentrating the entire time, but you still might find that your mind wanders. When this happens (and it will, no matter how “seasoned” you are as a meditator), gently bring your awareness back to the chosen object of attention, and let the thoughts go.

Here are the links for the guided meditations (on the 15th, 19th, and 30th):

Guided Meditation to Get Grounded

Guided Meditation for Self-love and Self-worth

Everything is Working Out! Guided Meditation

 

This post will be updated frequently, so be sure to check back for more tips and resources!

#MeditatingInMarch: 4 Ways to Meditate On The Go

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Welcome to week four of the #MeditatingInMarch series! This week’s focus is on how you can meditate pretty much anywhere you happen to be.

Of course, as you probably know, I’m a big fan of sitting in silence to meditate, but hey, maybe it’s not your thing. Or, maybe you’re curious other methods you can use while still getting the same benefits. And best of all, like I mentioned, you can do these practices basically anywhere:

1. Focus on your breathing.

Concentrate on the sensation of your inhalations and exhalations, and breathe slowly and deeply. When you breathe in, allow your belly to expand; when you breathe out, allow your belly button to go back towards your spine. Do this for a few minutes and/or take 5 – 10 deep breaths.

2. Do a body scan.

With this exercise, you start from the top of your head, and bring awareness to parts of your body/your muscles to release any tension you’re holding on to (which you probably don’t realize you’re doing). Unclench your jaw; relax the space between your eyebrows; bring your shoulders away from your ears, etc.

3. Ground yourself.

Here’s an exercise for when you feel anxious. Find:

5 things you can see.

4 things you can touch.

3 things you can hear.

2 things you can smell.

1 thing you can taste or 1 emotion you feel.

4. Practice mindfulness.

This means simply allowing yourself to focus on one thing — what you’re actually doing — and being completely present with it, whether it’s your work, cooking dinner, or having a conversation. Allow yourself to be wherever you are, concentrating fully on what you’re doing.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series on meditation and that it’s helped you see how you can begin and/or become consistent with your own practice. Share your thoughts, or ask questions, by contacting me here.

 

#MeditatingInMarch: Start Your Home Practice

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Welcome to week 3 of #MeditatingInMarch! This week’s focus is on starting your meditation practice at home:

1. Find/create space. Having a space that inspires you and/or makes you feel peaceful will likely motivate you to actually meditate. If you don’t have an entire room you can use (I don’t), no worries! Just use what you have and get creative. You can use a corner in your bedroom or put your items (like crystals, incense, candles, etc.) on your nightstand or table.

2. Make time. To become consistent with your practice and experience the amazing benefits of meditation, you must make time for it. Ways to do this: 

  • Write it in your planner.
  • Put a reminder in your phone.
  • Schedule it in your calendar.

3. Start small. If you’re just getting started with meditation, you don’t have to start with an hour, 30 minutes, nor even 15 minutes a day. Begin with 2 to 5 minutes, then work your way up to longer times as your practice continues.

4. Be gentle with yourself. If you remember nothing else, please remember this: Meditation is a practice. There will be days when your mind won’t stop wandering; there will be times when it feels like it’s not working. Just remember that the more you do it, the easier it becomes (most days). And the more you keep at it, the more often you reap the benefits.

Learn how the Create Your Calm Meditation Experience can help you begin your practice. Or, contact me to learn more about booking a 1-on-1 session!

#MeditatingInMarch: How to Meditate and Types to Try

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

This month, I’m doing a weekly series to help you get started with (or continue) your home meditation practice.

Welcome back to #MeditatingInMarch! This week we’re focusing on how to meditate and three types to try. One of the most common things I hear from people is they want to meditate (or at least attempt to), but they don’t actually know how to do it. If this is you, here are the very basics:

  1. Find a quiet, distraction-free place if possible. If you can’t, no worries; consider using headphones to drown out any noise.
  2. Sit comfortably with a straight spine. You can sit in traditional meditation style — each foot under the opposite knee, with your feet flat on the floor (if you’re in a chair or on the bed), kneel, or with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  3. Place your palms up or down on your thighs, or bring your palms together at your heart.
  4. Breathe fully, deeply, and slowly. When you inhale, fill your belly with air like a balloon. As you exhale, allow your belly button to go back towards your spine. Note that it takes practice to learn how to breathe properly, so be gentle with yourself and give yourself time.
  5. Release your thoughts. Something else people tell me regarding why they “can’t meditate” is that they can’t quiet their minds. Learning how to let go of your thoughts when meditating takes practice. And even when you’ve been meditating for years, you’ll still have to work at this. Again, be gentle with yourself.

3 Types of Meditation

Now that you know the basics of meditation, here are a few types you can try to see which you prefer:

1. Concentration.

With concentration meditation, you focus on a single point, like a word or mantra, a non-moving object (like a candle or figurine), or your inhalations and exhalations, counting to four when you inhale, then again when you exhale (for example). The idea is to focus the entire time, but you’ll likely find that your mind wanders. When this happens (and it will, no matter how much of a seasoned meditator you are), gently bring your awareness back to the chosen object of attention and let the thoughts go.

2. Mindfulness: 

Mindfulness meditation encourages you to observe your wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind. The intent is not to get involved with the thoughts nor judge them, but to simply be aware of them, and release then, letting them float on by without giving them too much of your energy or attention.

3. Affirmation: 

I’m not sure if this is the official name, but affirmation meditation is just as the name suggests: using affirmations while you meditate. You can find/choose affirmations for whatever you’re working towards in your life, like creating calm, joy, abundance, etc.

Here are a few tips for creating your own:

  • Begin with the words “I am,” and/or the present tense. Speak your desires/intentions as if they’re happening now.
  • If you’re having trouble believing what you’re saying, start your affirmation with, “I believe it’s possible to…” or “I give myself permission to…”
  • Make it positive. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t let people disturb my peace,” say, “I only allow positive, peaceful people around me.”

Enjoy these tips? Found this post valuable? Please share with your people who need it!

Also, if you need assistance in beginning and/or becoming consistent with your meditation practice, join the Create Your Calm Meditation Experience here.

#MeditatingInMarch: What Is Meditation?

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

This month, I’m doing a weekly series to help you get started with (or continue) your home meditation practice.

This first week, we’re focusing on what meditation is and why you need a meditation practice.

What Is Meditation?

According to YogaInternational.com, meditation is “a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.” It’s a way to understand the various levels of ourselves and ultimately experience the  consciousness within. And contrary to what you might have heard or believe, meditation is NOT a part of any particular religion nor does it have anything to do with witchcraft or “devil worship.” It actually has been scientifically proven to produce results.

Additionally, meditation can be a way to find your calm and a way to train your mind so you’re not constantly caught up in your thoughts.

It’s super important to remember that meditation is a practice. When you consistently meditate, you’ll really notice all the benefits that come with it, and your practice will become easier.

Why Should You Start (Or Continue) Your Practice?

Meditation:

  • Helps you create a more positive mindset and helps you control your thoughts.
  • Develops your intuition.
  • Decreases your tendency to worry and overthink.
  • Helps you keep things in perspective and focus on what really matters.
  • Brings your mind, body, and spirit in harmony.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Improves your concentration.
  • Helps you live in the moment.
  • Strengthens your immune system and can reduce chronic pain and cardiovascular issues.
  • Creates a sense of inner peace and calm.

“The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace.” – J. Donald Walters

Next week, we’ll be focusing on the types of meditations you can practice. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, sign up for emails from Black Mom’s Guide to Calm (and get a free guided meditation!).

P.S. — If you want to begin now, get my two week meditation program here

How to Stay Motivated to Find Your Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

I’m sure you’re well aware that the journey to being a more calm mama can be a challenging one. That’s why you’re here, right?

You want to know exactly how you can manage/lessen your stress, overcome your overwhelm, and find calm in your daily life.

I get it — with all you have going on, it can be hard to create calm. And feeling like you have the time to do so can be harder.

There are going to be times when you feel like you just can’t deal with the ups and downs of trying to stay in a peaceful space.

  • You’ll want to just lie on the couch, binging on Netflix, munching on chips and ice cream (which, by the way, won’t actually do anything to lessen your stress in the long run).
  • You’ll want to hit snooze and stay in bed that extra 10 minutes — even though you know that time is essential if you want get centered and grounded for a positive and peaceful day.

Yeah, the journey to staying calm most of the time will get challenging. So, how do you make sure you don’t give up?

What’s Motivating You?

It’s all about focusing on why you want to have more calm in the first place. And everyone has different reasons:

  • You want to improve your physical health (lower your blood pressure, for example).
  • You want to be more balanced and harmonized.
  • You want to feel better mentally and emotionally.
  • You want to feel less anxious and depressed.
  • You simply want to feel less stressed and overwhelmed (because that’s a sucky feeling to have ALL THE TIME).

Whatever your reasons, they have to be good and you have to keep them in mind.

So, the big question is: What’s your why for wanting to overcome your overwhelm and find your calm? What will finding calm do for your life?

Many times, we think just wanting the thing we want is good enough, but if our reasons aren’t compelling enough, it can be hard to keep the faith that we can actually do it.

Here’s a quick to-do for you: Grab a post-it note or sheet of paper and write this down:

I want to find my calm because ______.

Look at it whenever you feel too overwhelmed or tired to continue with your calm practices.

A few other ways to stay motivated when the process gets really challenging:

Know that you deserve it. As Black women (and moms in particular), we’ve been taught that we just have to “deal with it” when it comes to stress and that we have to put our wants, needs, and well-being on the backburner — if we even deal with them at all.

If/when you feel like taking time for yourself is frivolous and unnecessary, remind yourself that inner peace is something we all deserve, including — and especially — you.

Remember that you’re setting the example for your child(ren). Our children do what we do, not necessarily what we tell them to. So, if you want them (especially your girls) to practice self-care and be able to stay calm in the midst of life’s challenges, you have to model that for them.

Remember it can make your entire life better. How? Learning to find your calm and live from a space of peace allows you to worry less, relax more, hear your intuition so you can make the best decisions in your life, and create more positive energy.

Of course, I also have your back in this process.  Black Mom Calm Monthly was created to guide you in going from chaos to calm. Support is also a huge contributing factor in creating more balance and having more peace. If you want to stay focused, and keep moving to your goal of more calm together, subscribe here.

 

Guided Meditation for the New Year

2019 is here and well underway. And it's still a great time to get excited about the magic of what's to come and set (or remember) the amazing intentions for this year. 

In this guided meditation, you'll be able to do just that.