34 Things I’ve Learned By 34

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

It’s my 34th birthday!! Since I was feeling kind of reflective this year, I decided to list some of the biggest things I’ve learned up to this point in my life. I hope you find them useful and inspiring for your own life — or that they at least serve as a reminder to you. 💙

  1. I create my own calm.
  2. I can’t effectively take care of others and handle what I need to if I don’t take care of myself first.
  3.  I don’t have to wait for a special occasion to treat myself.
  4. I deserve the very best in life.
  5. I don’t have to sacrifice myself and my needs.
  6. Worrying is a waste of time.
  7. I am worthy and enough just as I am, simply because I’m here.
  8. My best is good enough, and my best varies from day to day.
  9. It’s important to protect my peace and energy always.
  10. Forgiveness doesn’t require re-connection.
  11. Setting boundaries and learning to say no are crucial when it comes to self-care.
  12. It’s okay to allow people to be who they are; I can choose whether or not to deal with them.
  13. Done is better than perfect.
  14. Feel the fear. Do it anyway.
  15. I’m exactly where I need to be.
  16. It’s important that I listen to my intuition. She knows.
  17. Spirit has my back.
  18. Everything is working out for me, even when I can’t see it or it doesn’t feel like it.
  19. I’ll never know if something is possible if I don’t try.
  20. It is possible to experience love again after breakups.
  21. What’s for me is for me; it won’t pass me by.
  22. Sometimes, I have to be my own cheerleader and encourager.
  23. I must make time for myself daily.
  24. My mental and emotional health are as important as my physical health.
  25. It’s important to appreciate the “little “things and the things I generally take for granted.
  26. I need to be in and embrace the present moment as much as possible.
  27. Go with the flow instead of trying to force things to happen.
  28. Trust in Divine timing. Everything happens when it’s supposed to.
  29. Life ebbs and flows. Learn to ride the waves.
  30. It’s important to cherish my loved ones.
  31. I have to enjoy my journey.
  32. I’m on my own unique path, just like everybody else.
  33. I should be open to new ideas, people, experiences and open to life being different (and better!) than I could have ever imagined.
  34. It’s important for me to love myself fully and unconditionally while also being unapologetic in my evolution.

10 Blog Posts for Finding Calm Through COVID-19

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

If the Rona and all that’s come with it (like staying home, worrying about loved ones, trying to be a teacher, etc.) has you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I get it! So I’m sharing some of my blog posts (older and newer) that will help you overcome your overwhelm and find calm in the chaos:

  1. Guided Meditation for Anxiety and Overwhelm
  2. 4 Breathing Techniques for Calm
  3. Everything Is Working Out! A Guided Meditation
  4. 4 Ways to Clear Energy That’s Not Serving You
  5. How to Start A Home Yoga Practice: 5 Things to Do
  6. Finding Your Calm During Life’s Challenges
  7. 10 Affirmations for Your Root Chakra
  8. 8 Spiritual Practices That Keep Me Grounded
  9. 3 Types of Yoga to Try
  10. This, Too, Shall Pass: 18 Quotes and Affirmations for the Rough Times

 

If you find this useful, please share the link to this blog post with your people!

Do you have questions related to finding your calm? Reach out to me here; I’m here for you, sis. 💙

 

Guided Meditation for Anxiety and Overwhelm

Are you feeling anxious and/or overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic and everything surrounding it? If so, this meditation is for you! It will allow you to feel more grounded, centered and at peace which is what we all need right now.

Get the products you need to find the calm you desire and deserve in the Black Mom Calm Shop!

On Protecting Your Peace

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Now, more than ever, it’s important to create — or maintain — practices that allow you to protect your peace. Although I know how to find my calm when I feel overwhelmed or frustrated most of the time, I have to admit: Lately, it’s been somewhat of a challenge. I’m determining what works best for my business now, figuring out what my work-from-home situation will be with my 9-5, being a mama/teacher and just trying to process everything happening. It’s been a lot. So I’ve had to be more intentional about maintaining and protecting my peace. Here are some things I’ve been doing:

Starting my mornings peacefully.

Because everything has been so different, my usual routine had fallen off a few times (which is understandable). However, I know how important it is for me to set the tone for my day, and having a morning routine helps me maintain my peace or find it when life throws me curve balls. To start your mornings on a peaceful and positive note, create a practice you can do in (at minimum) 5 or 10 minutes, preferably in a quiet and distraction-free space. Some ideas to get you started: meditation or deep breathing, yoga, gratitude journaling, say/write affirmations, visualize, read something inspirational.

Taking social media breaks.

It can be tempting to scroll on Facebook and Instagram all day if you have more free time in the house. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending time on social media (because I do), too much time can cause you to feel anxious, overwhelmed and even depressed with all of the not-so-great news or even comparing yourself to other people. To protect your peace, you can:

  • Take a break for half a day, a whole day, a weekend or a week (or several).
  • Choose how much time you’ll spend on social media per day. 
  • Place your phone across the room or in another room so you won’t be tempted to pick it up just because.
  • Use an app to restrict your usage.

Don’t consume so much news.

Since the info surrounding COVID-19 changes multiple times a day, you may want to stay informed about what’s going on which I totally get. However, think about how much news you really need and limit how much you consume so that it doesn’t amplify any stress or fears you have.

Chat with a friend.

Since many of us are distancing ourselves and may have family that’s driving us crazy (hey, I’m just keeping it real), reach out to a friend to say, ‘Hey’ and catch up as you support each other through this.

Ground yourself.

In these uncertain times, there are moments when I feel ungrounded and all over the place, and my energy has been off. When this happens, I take a minute (or several) to ground myself. Some of the things I do:

  • Stop what I’m doing, relax my body, close my eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  • Do some yoga (practicing mountain pose in particular).
  • Take in my surroundings with my senses.
  • Slow down and focus on the task I’m doing

Practice self-care.

These days, I’ve been listening to my body and intuition and giving myself a lot of down time when I feel it’s necessary. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, watching Netflix, playing with Nailah, listening to music and older episodes of The Read podcast. Do whatever you need to to take care of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being and do things that bring you joy (and make you laugh) often.

Flow and embrace what is.

I’m naturally someone who likes to be in control, but one thing that I’ve truly come to understand is that there are so many things I can’t control. So I’ve been making more of an effort to go with the flow of whatever is happening, doing my best to accept what is and being in the moment. One mantra I use to help with this is, “I surrender and let Spirit do her thing.”

Give yourself (and others) grace.

There are times when I have good intentions about crossing things off my intentions (to-do) list, and when I’m not able to get it done, I might beat myself up about it or feel bad because I’m not being “productive enough.” I have to remind myself that I’m only human and that sometimes, life just gets in the way. Plus, things are different at the moment, so I have to be extra gentle and compassionate with myself now.

One final note: It may not be possible for you to feel 100% peaceful and positive all the time (I don’t either), but it is possible to feel a little bit better and a little more calm than you did before your practices.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings then move to one that feels better. Do your best to maintain your peace, focus on the good and take it one day at a time. We got this. 💙

 

4 Breathing Techniques for Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Breathing is one of my favorite ways to find calm when I feel overwhelmed, anxious or frustrated. And best of all, you can do this whenever you need to, no matter where you are, and you can practice multiple times a day. In this post, I’m sharing five breathing techniques you can use to tap into your inner peace. But before I do, here are a few tips:

 

  • If possible, get somewhere that’s quiet and distraction-free.
  • These can be done with your eyes opened or closed (but obviously, if your eyes are going to be closed, don’t drive or operate heavy machinery or anything like that). Sit up with your spine straight.
  • You can also listen to some music to help you focus better. Search for meditation music or relaxation music on YouTube, Google Play, etc.
  • You can practice the techniques until you feel more relaxed.
  • Be gentle with yourself and remember, it’s a practice.

1. Deep/belly breathing. (This is actually the way you’re supposed to breathe, so it’s good to practice regularly).

  • Sit tall with a straight spine and relax your shoulders.
  • Inhale fully and deeply through your nose allowing your belly to fill with air like a balloon.
  • Exhale completely through your nose, allowing your belly button to go towards your spine.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times or until you feel calmer.

2. Equal Breathing

  • Use the same breathing technique as above.
  • Count to 4 as you inhale, then count to 4 as you exhale.
  • Repeat a few times or until you feel more relaxed.

3. 4-7-8 breathing (This is a great technique to use if you have trouble falling asleep).

  • Inhale fully and deeply (fill your belly with air) through your nose as you count to 4.
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7.
  • Exhale fully and deeply (allowing your navel to go towards your spine) as you count to 8.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times or until you’re more peaceful (or asleep).

4. Relaxation Response.

  • As you sit, start your from the top of your head and scan your body, releasing any tension you might be holding on to.
  • Inhale through your nose, focusing on your breath.
  • Exhale and say a word to yourself like breathe, relax, calm or peace.
  • Continue for 2 minutes or until you feel calmer.

 

Get the products you need to find the inner peace you deserve! Shop your calm at BlackMomCalmShop.com today.

4 Exercises to Bring You to the Present Moment

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

If you’re not used to being in the moment, it can be challenging to train yourself to do so (but it’s not impossible). Here are a few exercises that will help you practice mindfulness so you can be present more often:

1. Focus on your breathing. Take 3 minutes (set a timer if you need to) to simply focus on your inhales and exhales. You don’t have to change the way you breathe; just close your eyes, noticing the sensations of your breath (is it shallow or deep?), how you feel, and be aware of any sensations in your body. Also, when thoughts come to you, acknowledge them, then gently let them go.

2. Savor your food as you eat. There are a couple of ways to do this: 

  • Choose one meal (or snack) during the day, and as you eat, just focus on eating (for at least the first couple of minutes): no phone, TV, book, work, etc. Instead, really pay attention to the flavors you taste, the warmth or coolness of your food, the texture, and remember to chew slowly. Savor your food.
  • For this, you’ll need a small snack (for example, a piece of chocolate, cookie or a piece of fruit. First, take a moment to see how the food looks (its colors and shapes) and how it feels in your hand (soft, hard, squishy, warm or cool). Next, slowly bring your snack to your mouth and take a moment to smell it. Then, put it in your mouth. Pay attention to the flavors you taste and the texture. Again, chew slowly and savor your food.

3. Single-task. Instead of focusing on trying to do three things at once — and actually getting nothing done — for your next task, try to concentrate only on doing that one thing. Not only will you be more productive, you’ll also be more centered.

4. Notice your surroundings. This will bring you to the present moment, and it’s a great way to ground yourself in moments of anxiety and overwhelm. Here’s what to do. Find:

5 things you can see

4 things you can feel/touch

3 things you can hear

2 things you can smell

1 thing you can touch or you’re thankful for

If you find that you’re mind is wandering

Get the products you need to find your calm in the Black Mom Calm Shop!

How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in Stressful Times

We’re dealing with some stressful and overwhelming times at the moment. In this video, I’m sharing 10 ways you can take care of your mental health and find calm in this chaos. Plus, I do a brief guided meditation.

Just to give you a quick overview, the ways are:

  1. Practice mindfulness (live in the moment).
  2. Practice self-care.
  3. Use affirmations.
  4. Take a digital break.
  5. Develop a (loose) routine.
  6. Journal.
  7. Go with the flow.
  8. Be gentle with yourself.
  9. Allow your best to be good enough.
  10. Breathe/meditate.

For products to help you find and maintain your calm, visit the Black Mom Calm Shop.

13 Ways to Be More Mindful Daily

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

This blog post is part of the Mindfulness in March series. 

Do you want to be in the present moment more often so you can experience more calm? Here are 13 ways you can do so.

1.  Focus on your breathing for 1 minute. Sit comfortably and simply notice your natural inhalations and exhalations. (Don’t consciously try to change the way you’re breathing). Is your breathing shallow or deep? How does it/do you feel? What sensations do you feel in your body? Whenever your mind wanders, bring your awareness back to your breath.

2. Concentrate on one task at a time. As much as possible, focus on doing one thing at a time.

3. Take a mindful walk. You can do this in your yard, if necessary, and here’s how to do it.

4. Drink mindfully. When you’re having your morning coffee or just drinking with your meal, do this: Slowly pick up your mug/cup/bottle and notice how it feels in your hands (Is it warm or cool? What’s the texture of the container?). Slowly bring it close to your mouth, taking a moment to smell it then take a sip and pay attention to what you taste, the temperature and the texture before swallowing. 

5. Observe your surroundings. Pause for a minute or two and look around you. Take in everything you can see around you without judgment. 

6. Take a moment to appreciate three things about yourself. It can be physical or non-physical.

7. Listen mindfully. The next time you’re having a conversation with someone, really listen to what the other person is saying without judging good or bad. Don’t come up with your response (like most of us do), simply listen.

8. Do a body scan. Sit comfortably with a straight spine and close your eyes. Start from the top of your head and observe how each area of your body feels.

9. Observe your thoughts for 1 minute. Sit quietly and “watch” your thoughts. Don’t get caught up in them, don’t judge them. Just allow them to come and go.

10. Slow down and pay attention. Instead of rushing from activity to activity, take your time and really focus on what’s happening in the moment.

11. Listen to music while doing nothing else. 

12. Take a digital break. Whether it’s for a few hours, a day or a week, take some time away from scrolling on social media or even take a break from using your phone.

13. Practice yoga mindfully. As you move through your asanas (poses), breath fully and deeply, focusing on your breath and what you’re doing at that moment. Notice any physical or emotional sensations that come up and observe your thoughts without judgement. And when you notice your mind wandering, bring your focus back to the moment.

Are there other ways you bring yourself to the present moment? I’d love to know! Comment below or contact me. And to take it a step further, sign up for the 5-Day Mindfulness Experience here.

Mindfulness Meditation and Affirmations

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

This is the second blog post in the Mindfulness in March series.

First, I want to say I hope you’re doing well through all that’s going on. If you want to check in with me to let me know how you’re doing, and/or if I can do anything to help, I’d love to hear from you!

Now, in this post, I want to share how to do a mindfulness meditation that will bring you to the present moment and also help you find calm. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with a straight spine in traditional meditation style, with your feet on the floor or kneel.
  • Close your eyes, relax your shoulders and body, and unclench your jaw.
  • Inhale slowly, fully and deeply, filling your belly with air like a balloon.
  • Exhale slowly and fully, allowing your navel to go back towards your spine.
  • As you continue breathing deeply, observe the thoughts that come to you. Don’t judge yourself for having them or the thoughts themselves. Try not to let yourself get too involved with the thought. Observe and acknowledge it for a moment, then it let it float on by. Allow yourself to be present.
  • Continue for 3 to 10 minutes (and so you’re not distracted by time, use your phone as a timer, an app or find a YouTube meditation music video).

Also, here are a few affirmations you can use to bring yourself back to the present moment when you need (especially during moments of overwhelm, stress and anxiety):

  • I choose to live in the moment.
  • I embrace where I am in my life.
  • I am in the flow.
  • I find peace and joy in this moment.
  • All is well, and I’m okay right now.
  • I breathe and focus on the here and now.

How to Stay Calm During COVID-19 Crisis

If you’re someone who already deals with anxiety and overwhelm regularly, then the recent news of COVID-19 might have you stressing and freaking out.  I know it may be challenging, but it’s important to stay calm and at peace for your own mental/emotional/physical well-being.

With that said, here are some ways to stay calm (by the way, these are techniques that’ll work for your child(ren) too!):

Breathe.

Taking deep breaths is the simplest, most effective way to tap into your inner peace. As you go throughout your days (and especially when you feel stressed), be aware of how you’re breathing (is it shallow from your chest or deep from your belly?), and if you’re not already, take a few deep breaths. Here’s how:

  • Inhale fully and deeply through your nose, filling your belly with air like a balloon as you count to 5.
  • Exhale deeply through your nose, counting to 5, allowing your belly button to go back towards your spine.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times or until you feel calmer.

Meditate.

Meditating on a regular basis — even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes a day — assists greatly in staying calm and centered. A few tips for a simple meditation.

  • Find a quiet, distraction-free space (if possible).
  • Sit comfortably in traditional meditation style, in a chair with your feet flat on the floor or kneel.
  • Sit with a straight spine, close your eyes, and bring your palms to face up or down on your legs.
  • Breathe fully and deeply (see above), allowing your body and mind to relax. When thoughts come to you, let them float on by then bring your awareness back to your breathing and the present moment.
  • Use a timer, app or videos on YouTube if needed.

Practice self-care.

While I don’t think we should be panicking about the virus, I do think it’s important to take necessary precautions and take care of ourselves. This includes:

  • Listening to your body.
  • Protecting your peace and energy.
  • Getting the rest you need.
  • Seeing a physician if you need to.
  • Eating well.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Listening to medical professionals.

Focus on the good/practice gratitude.

When much of the world is freaking out and (intentionally or not) creating a sense of fear, it’s easy for us to internalize these messages and let them affect our thoughts and what we focus on. What you give your attention to expands. So, to feel more peace and joy right now, do your best to find the positive in all situations. Focus on the big and little things that bring you joy, and notice the things you have to be grateful for in this moment.

Take a break from social media/the news.

Spending too much time scrolling through social media and watching the news can cause you to feel more anxious, overwhelmed and fearful. If you want more calm, take some time away from all the noise. Take a media break for a few hours, a weekend or a week, and/or consider limiting the amount of time you spend on it daily.

Focus on what you can control. 

Fretting about what you can’t control does nothing to benefit you and only increases your stress levels (which can also suppress your immune system). Instead of worrying about what might happen or what could happen, breathe, allow yourself to be in the moment, focus on what you can do and trust that Spirit’s got you.

Want to learn more about ways to find your calm? Download your copy of the ‘The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm book!