#CalmTip: Protect Your Peace.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

The result of this year’s election has a lot of us feeling anxious, fearful, on edge, a swirl of various emotions. It’s definitely warranted and necessary to process whatever we feel. And during — and after — you’re working through your feelings, I think it’s super important that you protect your peace.

That doesn’t mean you need to be totally oblivious to what’s going on, ignoring it, or pretending to be super happy. It means just doing what you need to do to stay centered and grounded. With that being said, here’s what I did the past couple of days to make sure I maintained and protected my peace:

  • Social media break. I did make the mistake of getting on Facebook early Wednesday morning, but I ended up taking a break from there and Instagram until Thursday evening.
  • Read. I read some good, drama-filled urban fiction.
  • Meditated with/carried crystals. If you want to do the same, here are some suggestions:

For calm/peace —  amethyst, rose quartz.

To ground yourself — black onyx, smoky quartz, black obsidian

To boost your mood — citrine, rose quartz, yellow jasper

By the way, I’ve gotten a few crystals from ThirdEye Naga.

  • Deep breathing.
  • Yoga.

Some other ideas:

  • Journal and get your feelings out.
  • Go to the gym/work out.
  • Smudge yourself/your space.
  • Chat with a friend.
  • Laugh.
  • Watch some ratchet TV (don’t judge lol).

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

What do you do to protect your peace? Let us know by leaving a comment!

#CalmTip: Ground Yourself

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Grounding is a technique that helps keep you in the present moment. It’s a way of practicing mindfulness and can be helpful when you feel overwhelmed or anxious.

Here are a few methods you can use to ground yourself:

One

  • Look around the room, noticing your surrounding and details.
  • Hold a pillow, stuffed animal, or ball.
  • Hold something cool (like a can of soda) or place a cool wash cloth on your face.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Place your feet.
  • Focus on someone’s voice or a neutral conversation.

Two

Name:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can feel
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste or 1 good thing about yourself

Three

Walk outside barefoot for a few minutes, in the grass if possible.

Four

  1. Place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lean back into your chair, and notice how the chair feels underneath you and against your back.
  3. Cross your arms over your chest.
  4. Gently tap each shoulder, one side at a time. If you’re in public, you can place your hands on your thighs and tap on each thigh, alternating sides.

“Get yourself grounded, and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.” – Steve Goodier

Do you have another grounding technique you use? Did you try one of these? Let us know by leaving a comment! : )

Sources: peirsac.org, drcordes.com


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

#CalmTip: Make Sure Your Cup Overflows

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

As many of you know, this past weekend, I attended the 2016 Self-Care Retreat (#HereWeGrow16) in Virginia Beach, which was hosted by Tara Pringle Jefferson, self-care coach and creator of The Self-Care Box. I attended to lead meditation and yoga, but I ended up learning a lot (blog post about the amazingness coming soon)!

In the first session, Tara suggested that instead of filling our cups just enough, just so we can give to others, that we allow our cups to overflow. That way, when we give from the overflow, we’ll still have something left for ourselves, and we won’t be drained, burned out, frustrated, etc.

After her talk, she had us come up with 20 things that fill our cups (without thinking too much about it) and we posted our lists in our phones so we’d have the lists whenever we need them. For this week’s #CalmTip, I’m encouraging you to try it yourself and create your own Fill My Cup list: Use your note app (or an app like Evernote) and take about five minutes to write down 20 things that make you happy or that you can do to practice self-care. When you finish, you’ll have several activities to choose from when you need them and/or to practice daily (or at least a few days a week) to make sure you’re good. A few of mine are:

  1. Yoga/meditation.
  2. Listening to the 2 Dope Queens podcast.
  3. Reading.
  4. Lifting weights at the gym.
  5. Watching ratchet TV.

What are some of the things on your “Fill My Cup” list? Let me know by leaving a comment! 🙂

“My cup should overflow.” – Tara Pringle Jefferson

#CalmTip: Practice Camel Pose

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Heeey! It’s a new month, and that means it’s time for a new yoga pose. This one is a favorite of mine: camel. According to YogaOutlet.com, camel pose (ustrasana) can be emotionally moving and energizing.

Benefits of this pose:

  • Stretches your neck, chest, abdomen, thighs, hip flexors, groin, and ankles
  • Strengthens your back, gluteal muscles, and triceps
  • Massages and stimulates your organs and chakras of the abdomen

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by kneeling upright with your knees hip-distance apart. Press your shins and the tops of your feet into the floor.
  • Rest your hands on the lower part of your back, letting your head come back if it feels okay for your neck.
  • You can stay there, or you can take the full expression of the pose by reaching back and grabbing a hold of your ankles or feet (you also have the option of doing one side at a time). Your palms should rest on your heels with your fingers pointing toward your toes and your thumbs holding the outside of each foot.
  • Keep your thighs in line with the floor with your hips directly over your knees. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
  • After releasing, immediately come into child’s pose so you don’t get lightheaded or dizzy.

Tips

  • Don’t force yourself into the pose; practice a modified version until you can get into the pose safely. If it’s difficult for your hands to reach your feet, tuck your toes to elevate your heels.
  • If it’s still difficult to reach your feet or ankles, place yoga blocks on the outside of each foot and put your hands on them.
  • Create length in your vertebra; don’t collapse or crunch into the pose.
  • Move into it slowly and move within a pain-free range.
  • Don’t bring your head so far back that you strain your neck. Keep it extended and comfortable throughout the pose.

“If you don’t bend, you’ll break.” – Unknown

#CalmTip: Communicate

Black Girl's Guide to Calmm

The other day, I was feeling frustrated with my husband (hey, it happens), so I wrote about it in my journal to get my feelings out and to explore solutions. I discovered that the source of my stress with him is that I often fail to communicate how I feel and what I need. Here’s a little of what I wrote:

I can’t keep keeping stuff inside. I have to say how I feel and tell him what I need from him. Period. For a while now (or a lot of the time), I’ve just let stuff slide without saying anything, just to keep the peace…

Here’s the epiphany I had as I kept writing (bolded for emphasis): But I’m not keeping peace with myself, which is the most important thing. 

Growing up, I used to ask my mama why she never, or rarely, said anything to my daddy about his lack of help around the house (by the way, I love my parents, think they’re amazing, and have been married almost 32 years ; I’m telling this story to make a point). She said that most of the time she didn’t (because trust me, there are plenty of times when she does speak her mind) because she wants to keep the peace. When she would say that, I’d always think to myself, I’m never  gonna be like that. (HA!)

I now recognize that I probably do the same because of what she told me and because of who society tells women they’re supposed to be. However, here’s what I’ve come to realize: Not saying what’s on your mind (and I’m talking about the big stuff, the stuff that actually causes you to “feel some type of way” and that creates issues within your relationship) is not actually keeping the peace. It’s only giving you the illusion of peace. How can you have peace in your relationship and in your home if you don’t have it within? Yeah, you might appear or pretend to be at peace, happy, going with the flow, but is that the reality? More than likely, no. So my #calmtip is to communicate. Say how you feel. Own how you feel. Start your statements with “I feel…”

If you’re a woman who’s not used to really speaking up and likes to be “non-confrontational” *raises hand* this will probably be a bit challenging for you. My suggestions are:

  1. Work on your throat chakra. A few affirmations:
    – I speak my truth. I have the right to.
    – My voice is strong and clear.
    – I communicate my feelings with ease.
    – I am open, clear, and honest in my communication.
  2. Do it afraid. Because that’s the only way to keep your inner peace and to actually enjoy your relationship. If you don’t, you’re going to be resentful and disappointed and frustrated, and one day, it’s going to come to ahead. And you don’t want that. Let it out now in a rational, calm, direct manner.

“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn

#CalmTip: Yoga Pose of the Month – Child’s Pose

 

This week’s #calmtip and this month’s yoga pose is child’s pose. According to YogaOutlet.com, this is a restful pose that brings serenity and peace to your yoga practice.

Child’s pose:

  • Gently stretches your lower back, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Relaxes your spine, shoulders, and neck
  • Increases the blood circulation to your head, which reduces headaches
  • Massages your internal organs
  • Calms your mind, helping relieve tension and stress

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start on all fours, your hands and knees.
  2. Keep your knees hip-distance apart and your big toes touching. Another option is to spread your knees a little wider for wide-legged child’s pose variation.
  3. Inhale and bring your hips back toward your heels (your butt may or may not reach your heels). Your heart and chest should rest on top of or between your thighs; rest your forehead on the mat or floor.
  4. You can keep your arms long and extended with your palms down on the ground, or place them down by your sides.
  5. On your exhales, allow any tension in your neck, shoulders, and arms to melt away.
  6. Stay here at least five to 10 breaths.

“When you own breath, nobody can steal your peace.”

#CalmTip: Do a Shower Meditation

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Of course, showering is how most of us stay clean, but did you know they can also reduce anxiety, lower the tension in your body, and free up your mind (cold shower)? I saw the idea of a shower meditation on Pinterest and loved it! Here’s how to do it (it’s really easy):

“Every time you take a shower, visualize washing away your stress and anxiety. Concentrate on the feel of the water upon your skin. Envision the power of the shower washing away your negative thoughts! Woosh! Envision fear, regret, and anger soaping off you and swirling down the drain.” – Karen Salmansohn

#CalmTip: Start Your Home Yoga Practice

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Because it’s International Yoga Day, today’s calm tip is to start your home yoga practice. Practicing in a studio is amazing, but doing yoga at home has its benefits as well (and is what I’ve been doing for the past two years). According to researchers at the University of Maryland and the National Institutes of Health, students who practiced at home reported more positive mindfulness, subjective well-being, and better sleep. Here are a few more reasons to consider a home practice:

It’s super convenient. You can fit it into your schedule more easily because you can practice whenever is best for you: morning, afternoon, or night. This is especially helpful if you have children or a tight schedule.

You can more easily focus on certain areas. For instance, if your shoulders and neck are tight, you can focus more on asanas (positions) that concentrate on those body parts.

You can practice for as little or as long as you need to. Most yoga classes in a studio last an hour, which is great if you want to/can dedicate 60 minutes of your time. When doing it at home, you can practice for as little as 5 or 10 minutes.

It’s only about you. If you’re in class, it’s easy to compare yourself to how the next person is doing and be in your head about if you’re doing a pose perfectly. At home, it’s just you, so it’s easier to focus on yourself and doing your best.


Start your home yoga practice with my free yoga workshop! It’s happening Friday at 7PM Eastern; sign up here.

#CalmTip: Practice Standing Pigeon Pose

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

It’s a new month, and that means it’s time for a new yoga pose! June’s is standing pigeon pose, which is great hip opener. Additionally, the hips are where we often hold pent-up emotions and negative feelings; hip openers can also create space for new ideas and pathways. So, if you have tight hips and/or sit a lot, this pose is for you.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand on your mat or the floor with your feet hip distance.
  2. Make sure your right foot is firmly planted. Bring your hands to your heart, then cross your left ankle over your right thigh.
  3. Exhale, bend your right knee, and bring your torso down towards your legs. On each exhale, come down a little further; the further down you come, the deeper the stretch will be.
  4. Stay for 5-10 breaths, and on an inhale, come to standing.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.” – Unknown

#CalmTip: Use Affirmations

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

A great way to create calm and even change your mindset so you’re more calm and peaceful more often is to use affirmations.

Using them not only has created a positive change in my life, I’ve also realized that it’s a powerful way to relieve stress, too. According to success coach and co-author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series Jack Canfield, an affirmation is a statement of your goal or desire now realized in the present time. They’re statements you can write down or record then repeat/listen to regularly so you bombard your subconscious mind with the thoughts, images, and feelings you’d be experiencing if your goal was complete already.

You can either use ones you’ve found or read, or you can create your own. If you choose the latter, here are a few tips:

  1. Begin with the words “I am,” and/or use present tense. You want to speak your affirmation like it’s happening now. (Because your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between reality and your imagination).
  2. Make it positive. Instead of saying, ” I don’t let negative people disturb my peace,” say, “I surround myself with positive people, and that brings me peace.”
  3. Keep it short.
  4. Be as specific as possible.

Some of my favorite affirmations for creating calm are:

  • I am calm and centered.
  • Breathe in peace, exhale overwhelm.
  • Just breathe.
  • Life supports me in every way.

And if you like guided meditations, here’s a sample meditation for creating calm from my ‘Meditation Audios for Calm, Happiness, and Success’ (which you can download here):