13 Mantras from Black Women to Start Your Day

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

It’s March, and it’s Women’s History Month! To celebrate, I wanted to share a few quotes that you can use as mantras from Black women. These are great for when you wake up in the morning to set the tone for your day or when you need a little motivation and encouragement.

  1. “I am different. I am an original. And like everyone else, I am here to take up space in the universe. I do so with pride.” – Shonda Rhimes
  2. “Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.” – Janelle Monae
  3. “Fuck fear.” – Akilah Richards
  4. “Don’t allow other people to define what success is for you.” Tara Pringle Jefferson
  5. Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah
  6. “There is no happiness on a layaway plan.” – Abiola Abrams
  7. “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” – Maya Angelou
  8. “Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.” – Michelle Obama
  9. “Bring your best to the moment.” – Angela Bassett
  10. “Follow your heart. It will take you where you need to be.” – Erykah Badu
  11. “I believe in me more than anything in this world.” – Wilma Rudolph
  12. “Do what makes you happy in your personal and professional journey.” – Mahisha Dellinger
  13. “Start moving and the inspiration will come.” – Valorie Burton

Do you know of any quotes from Black women that should be added? Let us know by leaving a comment! : )

Photo Credit: langstrup/123rf.com

My Secret to Finding Calm (Almost) Daily

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Here at Black Girl’s Guide to Calm, I teach various ways to create calm. Most of what I share are things I do and/or have done myself, so I’m speaking from experience and what works for me. But I’ve never really shared how I find my calm on a daily basis in a post, so here’s what a typical day looks like when my daughter, Nailah, is home with me (because those are the days I have the most going on):

I usually wake up around 5:30, 6 (Side note: This is because I’m naturally a morning person; I’m not suggesting you get up that early unless you want to or have to). I set the tone for the day by reciting a prayer from the book, Speaking With Spirit, reading affirmations, and meditating or taking a few deep breaths. I also eat breakfast.

My husband, Chris, usually gets home from work around 6 or 7 AM, and most days, I hand over the reigns so I can shower alone (trying to shower with a two-year-old in the bathroom? Not fun.) and do yoga. I’ll either do my own practice, or I’ll do a 15 minute video from Yoga By Candace. If Chris is super tired or if he gets off later than normal, I’ll do some creative yoga (i.e., try to practice in the midst of the two-year-old’s chaos).

Tip: Ask for help when you need it. It took me a few months after Nailah was born to tell Chris that I needed him to watch Nailah so I could shower, meditate, do yoga, or just have a minute to myself. But I finally realized that even though I work from home, I still need — and deserve — to have time for me. Now, asking for help is no longer an issue of mine. For the most part. 

After I get Nailah settled with her toys and everything, it’s time for me to get to work. I know exactly what needs to get done because I write my intentions/to-do list before going to sleep at night.

Tip: Do not (I repeat DO NOT) try to cram a bunch of things into your day. If you try to do too much, you’ll only drive yourself crazy trying to get it all done, or you’ll be beating yourself up because you didn’t get to everything. Also, leave space between so you can take breaks.

As I’m working, I’m also, of course, making sure Nailah isn’t getting into things, getting her snacks, potty training, etc., and throughout the day, I’ll play with her a little, which I use as a break from work, and we’ll also walk to my sister-in-law’s across the street to get out.  I’m able to get things done when she’s awake by staying as focused as possible and making sure she has something to pay attention to, whether it’s her toys, Sesame Street on TV, or letting her watch YouTube on my phone (judge if you must).

After we have lunch, Nailah takes a nap for an hour or two (and some days, I’ll take one for about 30 minutes or so), and that’s when I’m able to get a lot accomplished. I work a little more after she wakes up, then around four, I put my computer away to cook dinner since Chris leaves for work around 5:30. Unless it’s a day like yesterday, when we ordered pizza so I could finish something I was working on (*hint, hint*). And when I cook, I’ll usually get Chris to watch Nailah so I have a little time to myself (sort of).

Tip: I try to make sure I’m taking full deep breaths throughout the day, and if I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I’ll stop, and take 5-10 breaths to center myself. Also, I do my best to practice mindfulness, and I often do a body scan to see if I’m holding any tension. I relax my shoulders, and make sure I’m not clenching my jaw and that the space between my eyebrows is relaxed.

We eat dinner, then I clean up the kitchen and living room. (Side note: I generally do other chores like laundry and cleaning the bathroom on the days Nailah goes with her grandparents). She and I go upstairs to wind down so she can get ready for bed. If I have a lot of work to do, I’ll let her watch videos on my phone until it’s time for her to go to sleep. After she goes to sleep, I’ll get more work done except if it’s Thursday, I’ll place my computer to the side for an hour to watch Scandal.

And though I’m not always successful, I do try to unwind before going to bed so I’m relaxed and can sleep better, so I write in my gratitude journal, maybe read a little or do a word search, say a prayer, and visualize until I fall asleep.

I think the most important tip is to do your best. As women (and even men if there are any reading), we have a lot on our plates, and a lot of times, we put so much pressure on ourselves to make sure everything is checked off the to-do list or that everything is done perfectly. Let. That. Shit. Go. Just focus on doing what you can — whatever that may be — and be happy with what you get done. Let your best be good enough. Because it is.

To summarize, to stay calm throughout my day, I:

  • Meditate/breathe deeply
  • Read Affirmations
  • Pray
  • Do yoga
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Take breaks/rest
  • Have time for myself
  • Do what I can by doing my best
  • Practice gratitude

What do you think? How do you find calm during the day? Let us know by leaving a comment! : )

“Stress management is life management. If you take control of your stress, your life will thank you for it.” – Shereka Dunston


Stress less and create more calm in your life with The Black Girl’s Guide to Experience, launching on November 1st! Click below to learn more.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up

Do you constantly beat yourself up because you feel like what you do isn’t enough? It’s time to stop that! Beating yourself up and constantly putting too much pressure on yourself is a recipe for stress, anxiety, and frustration.

Check out my latest YouTube video to see how to stop doing this:

 

7 India.Arie Lyrics to Inspire Your Life

 

india.arie lyrics

India.Arie is, hands-down, my favorite music artist. One of the reasons I love her so much is that her music is inspirational and empowering. Because of this, I wanted to share a few of my favorite lyrics that will hopefully inspire you, too:

1. “If you create the game
Then you create the rules
And if you just be you
There’s no way you can lose.”
– Just Do You

2. “Soulbird rise
Lift your eyes
Spread your wings
Prepare to fly
This is the moment
Of your life
Go ahead and fly.”
– Soulbird Rise

3. “I learned to love myself unconditionally, because I am a queen.”
– Video

4. “I am not my hair
I am not my skin
I am not your expectations, no, no.”
– I Am Not My Hair

5. “It’s the little things
And the joy they bring…”
– Little Things

6. “It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my face
It’s been elusive for so long but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith it’s time to show my face
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found
Strength, courage, and wisdom
It’s been inside of me
All along.”
– Strength, Courage, and Wisdom

7. “Child it’s time
To break the shell
Life’s gonna hurt
But it’s meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky
From inside yourself
You cannot fly
Until you break the shell.”
– Break the Shell

What song lyrics inspire you? Let me know by leaving a comment! : )

Photo Credit: 123rf.com/Eugenio Marongiou

7 Mantras to Start Your New Year Off Right (Plus a Free Printable!)

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Using mantras help you focus on the positive and on what you want to happen in your life. Saying them regularly helps shape your day and keeps those intentions in the forefront of your mind, making you more likely to live the mantra.

Here are seven that I think are great to carry into this new year (and beyond):

1. Just breathe.

When you’re in a situation that’s causing your stress or anxiety, remember to stop and take a few deep breaths. That way, you’re calmer and better able to make good decisions concerning whatever you’re dealing with.

2. I am enough.

It’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough as a mom, entrepreneur, employee, wife, girlfriend, friend, etc. and that you could be doing more. However, it’s important to remember that you are enough and you do enough. You’re doing the best you can with the resources you have. Be okay with that.

3. I believe the best about myself.

What you believe about yourself and your life on the inside is what will manifest on the outside. Trust that things will always align for your best and believe that you’re the type of woman who can (and will!) co-create what she wants.

4. I am the best version of me.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to do what other people do or be like they are, particularly when it comes to social media. But you have to take your eyes off of others and work on being the best YOU that you can be. One of my favorite quotes is from Kimora Lee Simmons: “Live life on your own path. Everybody’s got something different. You can’t keep up with all those people, so you better keep up with yourself.”

5. I live in the moment.

Commit to going with the flow and staying in the present, and watch how calmness becomes a bigger part of your life.

6. I let go of what no longer serves me.

Letting go of people, situations, beliefs, etc. that don’t benefit you any more allows you to make room for better.

7. I am open to receive all the good Spirit has to offer.

Spirit wants you to have good in your life, so stay positive about what you want, do your best to feel good, and take inspired action.

“I know for sure that what we dwell upon we become.” – Oprah Winfrey

Want a way to keep these mantras fresh in your mind? Download my free printable to be inspired to make them a part of your life! Go here to download.

#CalmTip: Ask for Help

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

As Black women, it can be difficult for us to ask for help. It’s been ingrained in most of us to be the “strong Black woman,” meaning we’re supposed to handle whatever life throws our way on our own; we’re not supposed to show signs of weakness, vulnerability, or needing help.

After I had Nailah, it was hard for me to ask for help even though I knew I needed it (and sometimes, admittedly, it still is. And I didn’t want to ask for a number of reasons: I felt like since I was her mother, I needed to be responsible enough to handle everything; if I admitted that I needed help, it would be a sign of weakness; and I felt guilty for needing help because I worked from home, so how hard could it be to do everything (and do it well?) /sarcasm. I finally realized we all need assistance sometimes, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. Needing help simply means we’re human  (welcome — there are, like, 7 billion of us). It’s important to remember that we can’t do everything on our own. So, don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need; you totally deserve it.

“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” – Anne Wilson Schaef

Good Reads: Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God by Trelani Michelle

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Anybody who knows me knows I live for a good book (and I love interviewing people; I was a print journalism major), so I decided to start an interview series with authors of books that I love that relate, in some way, to creating calm. First up is Trelani Michelle, Spiritual Writing Coach and author of Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God.

This summer, I was searching for a deeper connection with God/Source and was feeling frustration around my spirituality in general. Long story short (I might do a post about this later), what I’d been doing didn’t feel right to me. So, when I saw Trelani had a book coming out about that very topic, I was too ecstatic and had to pre-order it. I haven’t finished the book yet (you know, life), but so far, it has been über-beneficial in guiding me to create my own relationship with Source and to stand in my truth. I believe that her book is one to read if, like me, you’re someone who’s dealing with uncertainty or anxiety around your beliefs.

Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God is for free spirits and old souls who believe in the magic of:

  • me-time
  • ancestral guidance
  • visualization
  • mirror work
  • masturbation
  • chakra balancing

It also includes 31 contemplative writing prompts, meditations, and personal stories, summoning you to start from where you are to deepen your connection with Spirit, language, and the world around you.

Check out our interview below to see what Trelani has to say about her book:

What inspired you to write your book?
It started with a quote that I posted on Instagram: I be wanting to speak on stuff sometimes, but Spirit be like, “Leave that shit alone, here?” And I be like, “Yes, ma’am.” A couple of weeks later, a friend tagged me in my quote on someone else’s page. She cropped my name out and had it posted as if it was hers. Another friend, Akilah, who was also tagged, grabbed about 20 or so quotes of mine, added some of hers, and suggested that I make a book out of it. I did.

I love the title of it! How did you come up with it?
I actually suck at titles (lol). Akilah came up with that, too.

Can you talk a little about your spiritual journey?
I always quote 2005 and 2006 being my toughest years ever. In 2007, I rededicated my life to God — in the Christian sense — and really gave it my all. I started this young women’s Christian group and everything. It helped, but it didn’t give me the sense of purpose and peace that I so desperately needed. I also had questions that weren’t being answered. My spirit didn’t agree with it. I was trying to force it, so I stopped going to church. Then about three years ago, I stopped calling myself a Christian. I preferred saying that I was “spiritual and not religious,” but I wasn’t really living up to it. Even that felt empty, then I decided to take it a bit more seriously.

In what ways do you use spiritual practices to create calm?
Meditation was the first step. Every so often, Oprah and Deepak Chopra hosts 21-day meditation challenges. A friend invited me to do it with her. It was both of our first time doing so. I enjoyed it and immediately saw the difference in my life. Those answers that I sought in church, I gained while meditating. A host of other benefits, too, so I’ve grown to call meditating my “silent sessions with Spirit.” I’ve also discovered active meditations that serve me well, too. It’s what you make it. You just gotta be intentional about it, so a spiritual practice for me can be anything from going for a walk, showering, stretching on my yoga mat, running a couple of miles, making love, freewriting, or doing laundry. All support me in my need for calm.

What advice do you have for someone who is beginning a new spiritual journey?
Spirituality is our relationship with our higher power, whoever or whatever you consider that to be. So your first step would be to define who or what that is for you. Afterwards, begin to explore ways to communicate with that higher power. Remember that communication consists of speaking and listening. Speaking, for me, is praying; meditating is listening. Again, meditating doesn’t have to mean sitting criss-cross applesauce (as my children would say), and prayer doesn’t have to be verbal. It’s all what you make it. It’s your experience and your relationship. Resources like The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm are great to get you started, but don’t be afraid to tweak the practices to make it feel more personal.

What do you hope people take from your book?
You can’t be whole and not have a spiritual practice that fuels you. Spirituality is a part of our wellness, but doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Your relationship with Spirit is uniquely your own.

Is there anything else you want to add?
For the next five days, I’m offering the eBook version of Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God for $0.99. Grab your copy and don’t forget to leave a review. Besides buying the book, reviewing is the best way to support an author. Plus, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

Get your copy at SoFundamental.com/spiritbelike.

Trelani Michelle was the girl beneath the covers with a flashlight and a journal. The teenager who documented her tragedies as poetry. The college student who experimented with erotic short stories. Now an author and Spiritual Writing Coach, her passions are novel writing, blogging, and teaching others how to explore and express their experiences through writing. Get to know her better at SoFundamental.com and on Instagram @Trelani_Michelle.

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?

11 Inspirational Quotes for Keeping a Positive Attitude

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you always walk around with your head in the clouds; it just means that you approach unpleasant situations in a more productive and positive way. Some benefits of keeping a positive attitude (most of the time) are:

  • An increased life span
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Better coping skills during difficult and stressful times

Since October is Positive Attitude Month, here are a few quotes to remind you to try to stay positive and look on the bright side:

  1. “Bombard your subconscious with a constant stream of positive thoughts, words, and pictures. Keep your goal in front of you at all times.” – Che Garman
  2. “It takes but one positive thought, when given a chance to survive and thrive, to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” – Robert H. Schuller
  3. “Positive thoughts keep you in harmony with the universe.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
  4. “Decide to be happy, knowing it’s an attitude, a habit gained from daily practice, and not a result or payoff.” – Denis Waitely
  5. “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  6. “Your choices of action may be limited, but your choices of thought are not.” – Abraham-Hicks
  7. “If you absolutely can’t stay positive, don’t go negative, just cruise neutral for a while until you can get back up.” – Terri Guillemets
  8. “Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented, and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  9. “It is only possible to live happily ever after on a daily basis.” – Margaret Bonanno
  10. “Happiness is there for the taking — and making.” – Oprah
  11. “True happiness is an acceptance of life as it is given to us; with its diminishment, mystery, uncontrollability, and all.” – Michael Gilbert
Photo Credit: Eric Reisenberger (123rf.com)

7 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Wellness

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

According to the University of California (Davis), emotional wellness “involves the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings.” It’s a key element in maintaining a healthy balance in our lives and our relationships.

Of course, maintaining emotional wellness has its benefits: It can lead to success in work, relationships, and health. When you’re emotionally healthy, you’re also in control of your emotions and behavior; you’re better able to handle life’s challenges, you develop strong relationships, and are able to rebound from setbacks.

Being emotionally healthy also means you have:

  • A sense of contentment
  • A zest for living and are able to laugh and have fun
  • The ability to deal with stress
  • A sense of meaning and purpose (in both your activities and your relationships)
  • The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change
  • A healthy balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
  • The ability to develop and maintain fulfilling relationships
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem

How to Improve Emotional Wellness

Just like you work to improve your physical health and wellness, you should work on bettering your emotional wellness as well. In fact, taking care of your body is a great first step towards emotional health since, of course, the mind and body are linked. Exercise strengthens your heart and lungs while also releasing endorphins, a chemical that energizes us and lifts our moods. Other ways you can take care of your body (and by extension, your mind) include getting enough sleep and eating well.

And here are seven ways you can improve your emotional wellness:

  1. Learn or discover something new. You could take an adult education class, travel somewhere new (it doesn’t have to be far), or visit a museum.
  2. Enjoy art or nature. Check out a local art show, or take a walk through your neighborhood or a park.
  3. Manage your stress levels, and limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. Practicing mindfulness and meditating are great ways to lower stress levels and help you worry less.
  4. Do work that’s meaningful and/or creative. This doesn’t have to be something you’re paid to do; it could be drawing, painting, knitting, or gardening.
  5. Take time for leisure. Watching a movie, reading a good book, talking to a friend, and listening to music are a few ideas.
  6. Practice gratitude. Take some time to focus on what’s good in your life.
  7. Connect with others. Ways to do this: Spend time face-to-face with loved ones; volunteer; join networking or other special interest groups in your city.

When to seek help

Below are red flag feelings/behaviors that might need immediate attention:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Concentration problems that interfere with your work or home life
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
  • Using nicotine, drugs, alcohol, or food to deal with difficult emotions
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears you can’t control
  • Thoughts of death or suicide (if you’re experiencing this, please call this number: 1.800.273.8255).

If you identify with any of the above, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional.

“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – from Approaching the Natural: a Health Manfiesto

How do you make sure you’re emotionally well? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Source; Photo Credit (123rf.com/Michael Simons)

P.S. — Join me on Periscope (@blackgirlcalm) for my new series!
Periscope #MeditationMonday