#Calm Tip: July 14th, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

When you have a lot of things you need to do, trying to do it all can be overwhelming. And when you try to do everything at one time, you usually end up half-doing things or you end up doing nothing at all, causing yourself stress and anxiety. One way to remedy this is by making a list of all the things you need to accomplish, then prioritize/number them in order of importance. Then, focus on getting one task done at a time.

 

The Importance of Self-Care

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

 

Ever since I became a mama back in 2013, I’ve realized how important it is to take care of myself. And if you’re reading this, I’m sure you can relate: With all of our roles and responsibilities as women, it can be difficult to find — or should I say make — time for ourselves. What I’ve learned is that while people love and care about you, they, more than likely, aren’t going to make sure you make you a priority. You have to do that yourself, or it won’t happen. You also have to learn that you can’t give to and care for your family, clients, etc. if you’re depleted with nothing left to give.

I learned this the hard way after burning myself out a few times and just feeling extremely frustrated with how things were going in my life. I now know that if I don’t make sure I’m taken care of — spiritually, mentally, physically — I can’t do my best. So, I’ve made a commitment to putting myself first and taking care of me. Of course, as with all things, some days are better than others, but I see that when I make an effort to take care of myself, I find that I’m much more at peace and am better able to handle the curve balls throughout the day.

If you feel like you don’t have time to take care of yourself, I encourage you to remember this quote from Eleanor Brownn:

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

 

 

#CalmTip: July 7, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

Most of us multitask (myself included) because we think we’ll get more done. But, that’s actually not true. According to studies, multitasking causes us to be less productive and our ability to filter out irrelevant information declines. Also, trying to do too much (and not getting much done) can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Try single tasking and see how much calmer you feel and how much more you get done.

Moving Past Mommy Guilt

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

Last Sunday, Chris (my husband) and I had a cookout at our place. My mama wanted Nailah to spend the night with her and my daddy two nights in a row; however, I was a little hesitant. She’s spent the night with them a few times, but never more than one night. Anyway, Chris insisted that I let her stay because he said I needed a break. Which was true (don’t tell him lol).

Other than the two days a week she spends with her grandparents, Nailah’s pretty much with me 24/7. So yes, there are times I need a break because 1. It can be hard to get work done with her at home (at least when she’s awake); and 2. I don’t get a lot of sleep some nights because I’m still breastfeeding (working on weaning — if you have tips, let me know).

Even though I know I can use a break and I’m happy when I actually get one, I sometimes struggle with feeling guilty about needing/wanting that time. But what I’ve realized is that if I don’t give myself a break when I need to and if I don’t take time for myself, I can’t be the best mother because I’ll feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and stressed.

If you’re a fellow mama, I encourage you to take breaks when needed. Not only will they help you be a better mother, you’ll be more effective in the other areas of your life and you’ll feel more calm, fulfilled, and joyful.

Is it hard for you to take a breather from your kid(s), or do you take breaks? Let me know by leaving a comment.

#CalmTip: June 30, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

We often cause stress in our own lives by trying to make things how we think they should be instead of how they are. For the most part, you can’t control outside circumstances — you can only control you. You can’t control how much traffic there is or if there’s a long line at the grocery store, so don’t allow it to stress you out. Instead, live in the moment, and go with the flow.

10 Quotes to Remind You to Be More Mindful

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Mindfulness is the intentional yet gentle effort to be present with your experience in a nonjudgmental way. It means living in the moment and being right here, right now with a conscious, purposeful awareness of the present moment.

You’re not dwelling in the past nor focused on the future unless you’re doing so with mindful intention. However your experience is (or however you perceive it to be), you don’t judge it. Or, if you do judge it, you simply observe your thoughts with a friendly curiosity then release them.

Why be mindful?

  • Mindfulness reduces over-thinking, which causes stress, anxiety, and agitation and can lead to depression.
  • It lessens stress.
  • It promotes mental health.
  • Mindfulness helps with emotional reactivity. For example, it helps you not to lose your temper or speak before thinking.

Now that you know why you should begin living in the moment, here are a few quotes to inspire you to be more mindful in your daily life:

  1. “Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t). ~ James Baraz
  2. “Today, I choose awareness. I choose to be aware of the beauty of life and living. I choose to be aware of the simple pleasures in life. I choose awareness of joy, awareness of peace, and awareness of love.” – Iyanla Vanzant
  3. “The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead. – Majorie Pay Hinckley
  4. “Just slow down. Slow down your speech. Slow down your breathing. Slow down your walking. Slow down your eating. And let this slower, steadier pace perfume your mind. Just slow down…” – Doko
  5. “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously, they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. And that’s a revelation for some people, to realize that your life is only ever now.” – Eckhart Tolle
  6. “You’re worried about how you’re going to feel at the end of your life? What about right now? Live. Right this minute. That’s where the joy is at.”  – Abigal Thomas
  7. “Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot
  8. “Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you’re going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.” – Stephen Richards
  9. “Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom. You don’t have to be swept away by your feeling. You can respond with wisdom and kindness rather than habit and reactivity.” – Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
  10. “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

How will you make mindfulness and living in the moment a priority in your life?

#CalmTip: June 23, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Journaling is a great way to decompress and get out of your head. Have trouble journaling? Write about how you feel and try to figure out why. Don’t worry about your grammar or spelling; just let it flow. Then, write about how you want to feel and what you can do to start feeling that way.

My Nighttime Routine

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

 

Last week, I wrote about creating a routine for when you get up in the morning. This week, I want to talk about how to create a routine before you go to bed.

Now, I have to admit, this is something I still struggle with. I think it’s because I work from home with a 1.5-year-old, so I do a lot of work-related tasks get done after Nailah goes to sleep, and most nights, by the time I shut things down, I’m too tired to do anything but read a little then fall asleep. But, I’m working on it because I know that it’s important to wind down before going to bed. One of the main reasons you should have a routine is so you can get as good a night’s rest as possible so you’ll be energized and ready for the next day.

With that being said, here’s what I try (or am going to start trying) to do before I go to sleep:

  • Stop working 30 minutes before I go to sleep. I’ve read that you should stop working an hour before bed. However, I’m not sure that will work for me at this time since while I’m working during the day, I’m also taking care of Nailah and the household. I do believe that there should be some period of time between when you stop working and when you go to sleep. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour is up to you.
  • Write my to-do list for the next day (I call it my intentions list). Doing this prepares me for the next morning since I’m not wondering what I need to do or just jumping from one task to the next with no direction.
  • Journal (I try to at least once a week). This one is on and off, but I’m working on trying to write in my journal at least once a week because it helps me process my thoughts, feelings, and emotions about what’s going on in my life. It’s cathartic.
  • Meditate. I try to do this for at least five minutes (10 is ideal).
  • Read affirmations and goals (and maybe visualize). For me (and lots of other people), nighttime is when my mind starts to wonder, I start overthinking, and sometimes, negative, fearful thoughts try to creep in. Reading my affirmations and goals and visualizing helps me to focus on something positive so I can fall asleep more easily and make sure something good is put into my subconscious mind.
  • Read a devotion (and maybe some of a book I’m reading). Another way for me to keep my mind on something positive.
  • Write in my gratitude journal. I write down at least five things I’m thankful for that happened during the day.
  • Pray. 

What do you do before going to be to help you keep your calm and get a good night’s sleep? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit | 123rf.com (Cathy Yeulet)

#CalmTip: June 16, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

If you have a hard time making time yourself and making your needs a priority, put it on your to-do list! That way, you’re more likely to actually do whatever you need to take care of you. “It” could be working out, meditating, reading a book for 15 minutes before bed, doing yoga, taking a bubble bath, etc.

Whatever you need to do to make sure you’re a priority, write it down, then do it!