20 Ways to Find Your Calm in 2020

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Happy 2020! A new year is here, and if one of your intentions/goals is to have less stress and more inner peace in your life (and honestly, it totally should be), I got you!

But before I get into the tips, finding your calm:

  • Boosts your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.
  • Can help reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Improves your focus and concentration.
  • Helps improve relationships (including with yourself).
  • Stabilizes your mood.

Now, here are 20 ways to tap into your inner peace this year:

  1. Meditate. Taking a few minutes a day (5 or 10 minutes) to get still and breathe can work wonders for your calm.
  2. Practice yoga. Start your own home practice with the help of YouTube or check out a class at a local studio (Check out Yoga Green Book for black-owned studios).
  3. Be in the present moment. Ideas for this: do nothing; focus on one task at a time; practice conscious listening when having a conversation.
  4. Relax. Catch up on one of your shows, read a novel, take a nap.
  5. Practice self-care. Do something every day to make sure you’re taken care of physically, mentally, spiritually and/or emotionally.
  6. Protect your peace. Whenever possible, eliminate the things that cause you to feel stressed, overwhelmed and/or anxious.
  7. Be grateful. Do your best (especially in moments of stress) to focus on the good in your life.
  8. Embrace where you are. You’re right where you need to be.
  9. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to be human. Treat yourself like you would your child and/or best friend.
  10. Use affirmations. The words you say to and about yourself greatly impact you and your life, so speak on what you want to manifest and create.
  11. Journal. Writing down how you feel is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Also, keeping a gratitude journal helps increase your calm and positive energy.
  12. Trust your journey. Know that the Universe/Spirit/your Higher Power has your back. Always.
  13. Protect your energy. Some ideas: spend time with high-vibing individuals; speak your truth; surround yourself (energetically) in a protective bubble of white light; consume media/social media that’s uplifting.
  14. Focus on what you can control. Don’t stress yourself about things you can do nothing about. Instead, focus on what you can do and maintain your calm.
  15. Learn what your stressors are. When you know what’s actually stressing you, you’ll know whether you can do something about it (like get rid of it or make necessary changes) or if you need to be more intentional about creating calm practices.
  16. Try aromatherapy. A few scents that help bring inner peace are lavender, lemongrass and sandalwood.
  17. Use crystal healing. Great crystals for finding your calm include amethyst, smoky quartz, blue lace agate and howlite.
  18. Spend time with friends + loved ones. Do something fun with your girls, your kid(s) or your significant other.
  19. Slow down. All the things that you’re trying to do aren’t going anywhere, and you’re not in a race. Keep calm and take your time.
  20. Take deep breaths often. “Deep breaths are like little love notes to your body.” – Unknown

How will you find your calm this year? Choose two or three to focus on, then go from there. đź’™

Top 5 Lessons I Learned in 2019

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

  1. I am enough and so worthy. I realized that there’d been many experiences in my life that caused me to feel unworthy and not good enough (religion and divorce to name a couple), and I’d often act in a way I thought I “should” or not speak my truth to try to prove myself and my worth to others. Although I still have to remind myself of this, I now know that I’m inherently worthy and enough, simply because I’m here and I’m a child of the Divine.
  2. I will get to the other side; this, too, shall pass. When you’re in the middle of a stressful situation, it can feel like it’s never going to end. But even when you think it’s taking a long time (too long), things will eventually improve, and you’ll move through whatever life circumstances you might currently be in. Things will get better.
  3. You can make a different choice. A lot of times, we feel like we have to always be the person who everybody knows us to be and do the things that we’re known to do — because that’s “who we are” or what we “should” do. One thing I realized this year is that if I want to be different/want my life to be different, I can literally just make a decision to do something else, and that’s okay (and often necessary)! I have the right to choose who and what I become.
  4. Self-compassion is necessary. I have the tendency to beat myself up about my failures, disappointments and mistakes. This year, I’ve learned to be compassionate with myself, give myself grace and allow my best to be good enough. I’m going to make mistakes and fvck up sometimes, but I have to be gentle with myself and take life a day at a time.
  5. Be at peace with where you are. Of course, I set intentions and create goals for my future, but life only happens in the present moment. And if you want to have peace, joy and contentment in your daily life, I believe you have to have some level of peace with where you are in this moment as you pursue/manifest your intentions and goals. Breathe, practice gratitude, be where you are joyfully while you go forward.

What lessons did you learn in 2019? Leave a comment below to let me know or send me an email.

5 Signs You’re Stressed (And May Not Know It)

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

It can be tricky to know you’re experiencing stress, especially if it’s constant and you feel that’s “just how things are” and/or it’s a way of life. If you’re reading this blog post, I’m sure you’d like to recognize signs of stress so you can create more calm in your life.

Here are five signs that you might be dealing with stress and don’t know it:

  1. You’re irritable or experience mood swings. You might find yourself getting annoyed easily or that the smallest things get on your nerves. You might also find that you snap on people more quickly
  2. You have a hard time concentrating. If you find that you have difficulty focusing on tasks or that you often forget things, you might be dealing with stress and overwhelm.
  3. You may have physical symptoms. You might experience headaches, muscle tension, a change in your appetite and weight loss or gain.
  4. You procrastinate often. You may feel overwhelmed by all you need to do, so you put tasks off or wait until the last minute.
  5. You have sleep issues. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep at night, and/or feel tired throughout the day, stress may be the culprit.

A few ways to combat your stress and find calm (in case you need a reminder):

  • Meditate.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Live in the moment.
  • Create daily habits and routines for calm and self-care.
  • And, of course, check out the shop for resources!

Accepting Where You Are In Life

Most of us had an idea of how we thought our lives would turn out, but it probably looks differently that what we’d initially planned or imagined. I, for example, never imagined myself getting divorced, co-parenting, building a business like Black Mom’s Guide to Calm  or even having the spiritual beliefs I do, and I thought I’d have my life “together” by 30-something. (We plan, God laughs, right?).

When I first felt like my life was falling apart and my plan went off course when I got separated, I had a hard time accepting the fact that I wasn’t going to be married to this person forever (like I thought/planned) and the fact that I’d have to figure things out and start over. I admit: I still have moments when I’m like, “WTF happened?” and “How did I get here?” 

But fortunately, for the most part, I’ve learned to let go of how I thought my life should have/would turn out and accept where I am now. To do this, though, I had to learn a few things:

While I have some part in creating my life, I’m not in control of every aspect. I have to focus on what I can control and let Spirit handle everything else.

The past is the past. I can’t do anything about what’s already happened, so there’s no point in me worrying or stressing about it. Learn from your mistakes and missteps, let the rest go, and focus on moving ahead. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”

Most things happen for a reason. I may not understand why certain things happen while I’m living it, but looking back, I can often see why. Sometimes, situations occur to get you to the next level of your life and to where you’re supposed to be.

Shift your perspective. When I find myself feeling down about where I am, I do my best to focus on the positive aspects and what I’m thankful for about my current situation.

Trust the journey. At the end of the day, I don’t know how life will unfold for me (none of us do). We just have to remember that all is well and that things are working in our favor. Trust Spirit and your process.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

 

Trust Divine Timing: Letting Go Of The How And The When

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

A challenge I’ve been dealing with the past few months is letting go of how and when (which is almost always a challenge for me, TBH). I know, intellectually, that I can’t make things happen how and when I want them to. But I have to admit: When I feel like I’ve been doing the work, taking inspired action, laying low and planting seeds behind the scenes, and it looks/feels like nothing is happening, I get discouraged sometimes. And I start to have doubts — even though I know, for sure, that everything happens when it’s supposed to and how it’s supposed to.

And knowing this truth means I have to let go of how and when and surrender to the Divine.

Now you might be saying, “Yeah, that sounds great, and I can relate, but how do I do this?” Well, I don’t have all the answers, and I’m still a work-in-progress, but here’s what I’ve learned:

Focus on what you can control. I cannot control every aspect of the process, and that’s okay. So instead of worrying about what I can’t do, I put my energy towards what I can do.

Do your best and take inspired action. Continue putting in the necessary work to make your intentions a reality, and make sure you are:

1. Doing things that actually move you in the direction you want to go.

2. Getting guidance from Spirit/your intuition about what to do (ask, get still and quiet so you can hear, and pay attention to clues around you).

3. Do not act or do things from a place of desperation; it never works.

Remember your why.  When you start feeling discouraged and feel like nothing is working, remember the reason why you want what you want and why you began. Take time to visualize the outcome you desire and feel good about it coming to you.

Flow. The best ways for me to do this are to:

1. Stay in the present moment as much as possible. I focus on what’s in front of me (because it’s easy for me to let my mind wander and start creating all these worries and what-if scenarios). And when my thoughts stray (because that’s how the mind works), I gently bring my awareness back to the moment.

2. Use affirmations. This allows me to stay positive, vibrate higher and focus on what I want/what I’m creating vs. letting fear and worry take over. (See below for a few I like to use).

Breathe and keep reminding yourself that everything works out when and how it should. Again, I know this is true, but sometimes, doubt creeps in. When this happens, I take a few deep, full breaths and remind myself of this truth and of the fact that Spirit/my ancestors have my back.

My favorite affirmations to use for surrendering the how and when:

  • I listen to my Higher Self and take inspired action.
  • I do what I can and let Spirit handle the rest.
  • Everything happens when and how it’s supposed to.
  • I choose to trust Divine timing.
  • I choose to trust my process and journey

“Everything comes to you at the right time. Be patient.” – HealthyPlace.com

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.

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.

Check out the Crystals for Calm Bundle in the Black Mom Calm Shop!

#MeditateInMay Meditation Experience

 

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 . Click here to download the calendar.

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.

Here’s how to do a walking meditation. 

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.