#CalmTip: Do Less

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you’re like most of us, you have a lot going on and several responsibilities. So, you might be wondering why today’s tip is “do less.” Well, doing less can improve your focus (because when you do too much, you’re probably switching from task to task, constantly being distracted); you’ll have more time for the things you enjoy; and, of course, it helps you create calm because you’re not allowing yourself to be pulled in many different directions.

Here are tips for doing less (from Leo Babauta of ZenHabits.net):

  1. Slowly cut back on non-essential commitments
  2. Single-task and focus
  3. Set limits on how many things you do daily
  4. Focus on what’s important first before you get distracted.

“Do less with more focus.”

#CalmTip 24: Take a Social Media Break

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

With all the tragedy, violence, and heartache going on in the world, social media can be a place full of negative news. If you’re like me, you want to stay aware of what’s going on (to a degree), but seeing it constantly on your timeline can be overwhelming and draining. To center yourself and find calm, it helps to take a break from social media, whether it’s for a few hours, a day or longer. Use the time to read something positive or inspirational or do something to get you closer to your goals.

How to Stress Less This Holiday Season: 6 Tips

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

In less than a week, the holiday season will officially be upon us (can you believe it?)! And with this time of year comes parties, gatherings, kids being home, shopping, decorating, baking, and cooking; in other words, a lot of hustle and bustle. With all that’s going on, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, anxious, and to put everyone and everything before yourself.

But, even in all the craziness, there are ways you can stress less this holiday season. Here are a few:

1. Schedule your self-care.

When you have a lot going on, it’s easy to put yourself on the back burner. That’s why it’s important to make time to take care of you — and don’t cancel on yourself! And it doesn’t have to be a long time; you can read for 30 minutes, catch up on one of your TV shows, or just sit and do nothing for five or 10 minutes. Putting yourself first will ensure that you don’t get too frustrated or burn out.

2. Don’t try to do too much.

In other words, feel free to say no. If attending every gathering is going to stress you out or overwhelm you, don’t go. Your family and friends should understand; and if they don’t, well, that’s their issue. Like I mentioned in this week’s calm tip, you have to do what’s best for you. Period.

3. Plan ahead

Set aside specific days and times for shopping, decorating, baking, cleaning, etc. That way, you’re not scrambling around at the last minute trying to get things done, and you’ll have more time for relaxing and to spend with loved ones.

4. Budget

Do not stress yourself and go broke buying things for the holidays, especially gifts. Create a budget, and stick to it. Don’t try to buy your kids’ (or anyone else’s) happiness with tons of gifts. Remember, even though it’s cliché, it’s the thought and sentiment behind the gift that counts.

5. Don’t let go of healthy habits 

There’s so much good food this time of year (I can’t wait to get some dressing), and while it’s okay to indulge, try not to go overboard.

Some tips:

  • Don’t overeat (eat mindfully so you’ll know when you’re full).
  • Have a small, healthy snack before going to dinner or a gathering so you don’t overeat.
  • Get the rest you need.
  • Make time for physical activity a few times a week.

6. Practice mindfulness.

Focus on one task at a time, and do you best to stay in the present moment, concentrating on whatever is happening with no judgment. Just observe, breathe, and move through it. And, of course, meditate and practice yoga as a part of being more mindful.

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Check out my virtual workshop on this topic here.

 

 

Do you have any tips for dealing with stress around the holidays? Share them below by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: arekmalang

#CalmTip: Do What’s Best for You

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Trying to be who someone else wants you to be or living up to someone else’s expectations of who you should be is stressful. Living unauthentically can drain your energy and make you unhappy.

Well-meaning people might try to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, but since they’re not you, they don’t necessarily know what’s best for you. That doesn’t mean to forget about everybody in your life and your responsibilities. Figure out what you want and what’s good for you then find a way to incorporate it into your life in a way that works. Even if other people don’t ‘get you,’ be true to who you are, and do what’s best for you.

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” (Unknown)

How to Be More Grateful: 3 Things to Do

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Gratitude is an awesome tool you can use to create calm in your life. Research has shown that being grateful effectively increases happiness and reduces depression, frustration, and regret. Additionally, having an attitude of gratitude when you feel stressed helps pull you out of your negative mindset and helps you put things into perspective.

Here’s how to be more grateful :

1) Create a gratitude journal.

Having a gratitude journal helps you remember the good you have in your life, puts you in a positive mood, and encourages you to look for the good throughout the day.

Every night before I go to sleep, I write down five things I’m thankful for that happened during the day; you can use a journal, a memo app or a gratitude journal app (I use Attitude of Gratitude Journal by Vista Media on Android).

2) Make a list when you’re feeling stressed.

This idea is similar to the one above with a twist. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated (or any other emotions that aren’t serving you), get a piece of paper (or whatever you can find to write on), and take a few minutes to write down everything you can think of that you have to be thankful for. Doing this helps me change my focus to something positive, which puts me in a better mood.

3) Tell someone else thank you.

Think of someone who’s made a profound impact on your life (a friend, family member, your spouse, even a Facebook friend) and send them a quick note, email, or message, letting him/her know how much (s)he means to you.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

What are some ways you express your gratitude?

#CalmTip 22: Practice Gratitude

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

According to gratitude researcher Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., gratitude effectively increases happiness & reduces depression. It also reduces toxic emotions like frustration and regret.

Being grateful when you feel stressed helps pull you out of your negative mindset and helps you put things into perspective. Something I do when I’m feeling anxious or frustrated is take out sheet of paper or my journal and write down everything I can think of that I’m thankful for. After I finish, I feel a lot calmer and have a more positive outlook, which helps me get through the rest of my day. Try it whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” – Ralph H. Blum

Finding Your Calm at Work (A Guest Post for The Cubicle Chick)

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

Whether you work 9-to-5 in an office or from home as a solopreneur, stress in your career is inevitable. In fact, a 2014 study from Harris Interactive for Everest College reports that around 83 percent of American workers feel stressed out by their jobs.

Fortunately, there are ways to combat this stress and anxiety (whew!). A few weeks ago, I wrote a post for The Cubicle Chick sharing four ways you can find your calm in the middle of your work day, while you’re at work. Read the entire post below (and let me know what you think!):

4 Simple Ways to Find Your Calm at Work

Photo Credit (stockyimages/123rf.com)

#CalmTip: November 3rd, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Music is a great way to create calm. According to the University of Nevada, Reno, music can have a profound effect on your emotions and body and is an effective method for reducing stress. For example, faster music can make you feel more alert and help you focus better, while a slower tempo can quiet your mind, relax your muscles, and make you feel soothed.

“Meditation music” (Native American, Celtic, etc.) is very helpful in reducing stress. In addition to meditation music (one of my favorite stations on Google Play is Gerald Jay Markoe Radio), I also listen to jazz and classical when I need to create calm. If these genres don’t work in helping you relax, listen to a few types to figure out what works best for you.

Visualizing with Meditation

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Visualizing is a great tool to create more calm in your life, especially when coupled with meditation and deep breathing. Below is a guided meditation audio that includes visualization (if you prefer to read how to do it and do it on your own, go here). It’s just a few minutes long, and you can do it anywhere.

I hope you enjoy it!

“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.” – Richard Bach

 

 

#CalmTip: October 27th, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If I’m having a particularly stressful or overwhelming day, I repeat a mantra while I meditate. A mantra is a “sound, word, or phrase that is repeated by someone who is praying or meditating.” (Merrian-Webster.com); you can repeat it silently in your head or out loud.

To create your own calm mantra, think about how you want to feel or be, then state it affirmatively. For example, one I use often is “I am calm and centered.” Saying a mantra while you meditate can help you: 1) Focus on something other than what’s bothering you; 2) Relax; and 3) Believe what you’re saying is true at a deeper level so that it actually becomes true.

“Never underestimate the power of words. You make your world with your words.” – Dee Rimmer