How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in Stressful Times

We’re dealing with some stressful and overwhelming times at the moment. In this video, I’m sharing 10 ways you can take care of your mental health and find calm in this chaos. Plus, I do a brief guided meditation.

Just to give you a quick overview, the ways are:

  1. Practice mindfulness (live in the moment).
  2. Practice self-care.
  3. Use affirmations.
  4. Take a digital break.
  5. Develop a (loose) routine.
  6. Journal.
  7. Go with the flow.
  8. Be gentle with yourself.
  9. Allow your best to be good enough.
  10. Breathe/meditate.

For products to help you find and maintain your calm, visit the Black Mom Calm Shop.

How to Stay Calm During COVID-19 Crisis

If you’re someone who already deals with anxiety and overwhelm regularly, then the recent news of COVID-19 might have you stressing and freaking out.  I know it may be challenging, but it’s important to stay calm and at peace for your own mental/emotional/physical well-being.

With that said, here are some ways to stay calm (by the way, these are techniques that’ll work for your child(ren) too!):

Breathe.

Taking deep breaths is the simplest, most effective way to tap into your inner peace. As you go throughout your days (and especially when you feel stressed), be aware of how you’re breathing (is it shallow from your chest or deep from your belly?), and if you’re not already, take a few deep breaths. Here’s how:

  • Inhale fully and deeply through your nose, filling your belly with air like a balloon as you count to 5.
  • Exhale deeply through your nose, counting to 5, allowing your belly button to go back towards your spine.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times or until you feel calmer.

Meditate.

Meditating on a regular basis — even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes a day — assists greatly in staying calm and centered. A few tips for a simple meditation.

  • Find a quiet, distraction-free space (if possible).
  • Sit comfortably in traditional meditation style, in a chair with your feet flat on the floor or kneel.
  • Sit with a straight spine, close your eyes, and bring your palms to face up or down on your legs.
  • Breathe fully and deeply (see above), allowing your body and mind to relax. When thoughts come to you, let them float on by then bring your awareness back to your breathing and the present moment.
  • Use a timer, app or videos on YouTube if needed.

Practice self-care.

While I don’t think we should be panicking about the virus, I do think it’s important to take necessary precautions and take care of ourselves. This includes:

  • Listening to your body.
  • Protecting your peace and energy.
  • Getting the rest you need.
  • Seeing a physician if you need to.
  • Eating well.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Listening to medical professionals.

Focus on the good/practice gratitude.

When much of the world is freaking out and (intentionally or not) creating a sense of fear, it’s easy for us to internalize these messages and let them affect our thoughts and what we focus on. What you give your attention to expands. So, to feel more peace and joy right now, do your best to find the positive in all situations. Focus on the big and little things that bring you joy, and notice the things you have to be grateful for in this moment.

Take a break from social media/the news.

Spending too much time scrolling through social media and watching the news can cause you to feel more anxious, overwhelmed and fearful. If you want more calm, take some time away from all the noise. Take a media break for a few hours, a weekend or a week, and/or consider limiting the amount of time you spend on it daily.

Focus on what you can control. 

Fretting about what you can’t control does nothing to benefit you and only increases your stress levels (which can also suppress your immune system). Instead of worrying about what might happen or what could happen, breathe, allow yourself to be in the moment, focus on what you can do and trust that Spirit’s got you.

Want to learn more about ways to find your calm? Download your copy of the ‘The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm book!

4 Ways to Love Yourself and Find Your Calm

Learning how to find your calm is a great act of self-love. Why? Because it means you’re taking care of you!

In this video, I share 4 ideas for finding and maintaining your calm as an act of loving yourself. Get into it, and let me know what you think.

Calm Mama: Omaria Tucker

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Omaria is a mom of 2,  founder of SoulScribe Omaria and a Creative Soulpreneur who provides crystals and mantras to entrepreneurs and professional overthinkers to help them look good and feel good at the same time. Additionally, she’s a certified numerologist and reiki master.

Here’s what she had to say about learning to find her calm:

Q: What are some of your stressors and/or mental health challenges you deal with?

A: Stressors and mental health concerns that I have faced are internalizing others’ reactions towards me and my response to situations. At times, I find myself having anxiety based on the perceptions of others. Another stressor that I deal with is trying to be the right person that others nee, while also struggling to be that person to myself. Some people may call it the strong woman dis-ease, where we bypass our needs to ensure others are taken care of first.

Q: How did you cope with stressful situations before you started using calming practices?

A: Before I started using calming practices, I did not cope well at all. I think the main (thing) was my alcohol intake increased to help me numb away the hurt and pain of feeling neglected.

Q: What are your top ways/favorite tools and practices for de-stressing and finding calm?

A: Currently, my top two ways two de-stress are handcrafting gemstone jewelry and doing my chanting practices.

As an over thinker, I had to find ways to “turn off” my brain from other situations that I could not physically change in the moment in order to help me come to the solutions I needed. They are types of meditations that I use to relieve my mind.

Q: What differences have you seen in yourself and your life (and children’s lives if applicable) since using calming practices?

A: Since using these calming practices, I have noticed that I am much more calmer in high stress situations. I also am better at not taking things personally when others don’t receive my truth. It has helped me to be silent and listen to what is being said and gauge my responses in a way to ensure that I am not flying off the handle in reaction mode; however, just letting things be as they may, especially if others are not able to see my point of view in situations.

Setting boundaries and knowing your triggers are very important when we are discussing how to find your own place of calm and peace in your life. The words “NO,” or, “I’m not going to be able to do this” without feeling the need to explain why are a godsend. It’s okay if you can’t do something and that you take care of yourself first. If it’s not an emergency, then it can wait until you [I] am in a place to focus and contribute without dis-honoring myself at the same time.

Like my mom says, “Poor planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

Connect with Omaria on her site: airamosoul.com.

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 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!

5 Ways to Find Calm Through Life Transitions

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

So, I recently decided to find a part-time job after years of only working from home, and I completed my first week last week. Of course, I still have my motherhood duties and my business, plus all the day-to-day things. Needless to say, it’s been a hectic week, and I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed by things.

Because I’m a recovering perfectionist and control freak, I felt like this adjustment process should have been easier for me and that I should have been able to get everything done for the day in spite of the fact that 1. I now have fewer hours to do things in; 2. Life — and children — don’t always adhere to the plans in your head or on paper; and 3. It’s only been a week. That’s 7 days. Still, I’ve been beating myself up because I haven’t been able to do all I want when it comes to working on my business and spending time with Nailah (enter more mommy guilt). And I haven’t figured out a schedule that works yet.

Thankfully, though, this process has been another great reminder in learning how to stay calm in the midst of life’s changes. Here’s what is working for me:

  1. Practicing mindfulness. Most of my feelings of stress and overwhelm comes from worrying about what’s not getting done or what I have left to do — and feeling like I won’t be able to get it done (which is also a waste of valuable time). I’ve been more intentional about staying in the present moment and concentrating on one thing at a time, which allows me to focus and feel more at ease.
  2. Making sure I practice my morning routine. This consists of meditating, reading/reciting my affirmations (with crystals), writing what I’m thankful for and my daily intentions, and pulling a card from my Womanifesting Fertility Goddess Affirmation Cards. Yes, I now have to get up a bit earlier to get it done before my daughter wakes up, but I can definitely tell the difference when I don’t do it (it’s not good). So, to make sure I stay relatively calm, centered, and grounded, I make sure I do these things.
  3. Being gentle with myself. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been beating myself up about things. Therefore, when I feel that negativity trying to creep in, I remind myself that it’ll take some time to get acclimated to this new normal and to just focus on doing my best.
  4. Creating a (rough) schedule for my days/ week. Adding a job to the mix has helped me see that my days weren’t super structured before. However, I see why they should be: My days will likely go more smoothly, and I won’t feel as overwhelmed because I’ll know what days I do certain things. For example, I’ll choose one day to write, one day to create social media posts, etc. I’ll also stop adding too much to my to-do/intentions list.
  5. Allowing myself to be where I am. I think this is the biggest one for me. I tend to be someone who focuses on the future and lot and where I want to be (like I mentioned in this post). Planning and thinking of your future isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but it can become an issue when you’re always wishing things were different or you were somewhere else than where you are now. The present moment is all there is, so I have to allow myself to simply be here, work with what I’ve got, and make the most of now.

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.” – Bryant McGill

Tap Into Your Inner Peace: 8 Quotes for Inspiration

 

inner peace quotes

Even as a teacher of calm, I have moments I need to tap into my inner peace. As I’ve mentioned here on the blog and on social media, my husband and I are separated (it’s not a terrible thing, btw), my daughter and I are back at my parents’ house, I’m working on myself, and I’m growing my business and getting my finances together. Needless to say, the past few months have been particularly stressful and overwhelming for me.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to stay (relatively) sane, calm, and centered with various practices like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, practicing self-care, and affirmations. If you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, here are a few quotes that will inspire you to find your calm:

  1. “Your calm mind is your weapon against your challenges. So relax.” – Bryan McGill
  2. “Relax. Everything is running right on schedule.” – The Universe
  3. “Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Trust the process.” – Unknown
  4. “If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt water mixed with air.” – Nayyirah Waheed
  5. “The day she let go of the things weighing her down, was the day she began to shine the brightest.” – Katrina Mayer
  6. “Everything you do can be done better from a place of relaxation.” – Stephen C. Paul
  7. “Quietness with thoughtful reflection and relaxation can be empowering.” – Cynthia Wright
  8. “Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. You are doing just fine. You’ll be just fine. It will all get done, whatever it is. You don’t need to stress. You just need to relax, trust, and take it all one slow step at a time.” – Lori Deschene

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you to find calm? Please share by leaving a comment!

 

Keep Calm, Sis: 5 Reasons You Need to Find Your Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

 

2014 was the year I started finding my calm. It was a few months after my daughter was born, and not only was I learning how to be a mom, trying to find harmony between everything I had going on, I also felt I didn’t have enough help from my husband. So, the time after her birth was extremely stressful, overwhelming, and frustrating. Ultimately, I realized I had to do something about it because I couldn’t keep being nor living the way I was. Discovering ways to overcome my overwhelm and find my calm was like a breath of fresh air and life-changing.

As a Black woman, I know many of us don’t see the importance of having tools that will help us lessen or eliminate the stress in our lives (thankfully, more of us are starting to see the benefits). Culturally, we’re taught to “just deal with it” and to put everyone else’s needs, wants, and well-being before our own. If you’re one of these women (and it’s okay if you are!), I encourage you to let go of that outdated way of thinking and make yourself and your peace a priority. Here’s why:

  1. You will go with the flow and worry less. Having practices that help you stress less (like meditation, mindfulness, and yoga) help keep your mind calm, clear, and relaxed more often than not. These practices also remind you and assist you in living in the present moment, which helps you not to worry so much, since you’re focused on what’s happening now (as opposed to the future).
  2. You become happier. Being stressed all — or most of — the time can rob you of your happiness; more than likely, you’re almost always irritable, moody, frustrated, and/or sad. So, when you make finding your calm a priority, you invite more joy in.
  3. You have better focus. Stress hormones can mess with your normal brain function, causing your mind and thoughts to be all over the place. That makes it hard to focus on what’s important and what you’re trying to accomplish. Discovering ways to find your calm will allow your mind to be more clear so you can get shit done.
  4. You’ll feel better. Stress takes a toll on your mental and physical health in various ways: headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and sadness, just to name a few. Finding ways to lessen or get rid of your stress will allow you to feel great mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  5. Your life will work better. Finding your calm and living from a space of peace allows you to make the best decisions in your life, relax more, create more positive energy, and it can even attract your desires to you (because you’re flowing instead of worrying).

“Everything you do can be done better from a place of relaxation.” – Stephen C. Paul