5 Days to More Calm: Affirmations

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

What you think and say to and about yourself has a huge impact on how you feel and the way you live your life. This is why using affirmations is so important! If you want to have more inner peace, joy, harmony, abundance (just to name a few), you have to focus on and speak life about what you want.

One definition of affirmations is “simple, positive statements declaring specific goals in their completed states.” (Jack Canfield)

I’ve been writing down positive quotes since I was in high school, and I think I first heard the word “affirmation” when I was in college or right after. I’ve been using them consistently for 10+ years, and they have improved my life — and me — greatly.

What are benefits of using affirmations? They:

  • Allow you to become more aware of your thoughts so you can focus on the ones that serve you.
  • Help you form a more positive, productive mindset.
  • Improve the quality of your life.
  • Assist in creating the positive changes you need to make in yourself and your life.

Ways to get started with using affirmations:

  • Find ones you like on Google or Pinterest (even create a board) and check out the Find Your Calm Affirmation Cards.
  • Write your own (see below) or ones you find, and put them on index cards or on sticky notes around your home.
  • Record them and listen to them in the morning or at night.
  • Use them as mantras while meditating.

A few tips for writing your own:

  • Think about/focus on what you want (not what you don’t want).
  • Write them positively (for example, “I experience calm,” not “I’m not stressed.”).
  • Start with “I am” or “I have.” If you have trouble really believing what you’re saying, you can say something like, “I choose to believe …” or “I believe it’s possible…”
  • Keep them short (so you can remember them more easily when you need to).

Interested in receiving monthly affirmations that will allow you to feel more calm? Learn more about our subscription service on Patreon!

 

10 Blog Posts for Finding Calm Through COVID-19

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

If the Rona and all that’s come with it (like staying home, worrying about loved ones, trying to be a teacher, etc.) has you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I get it! So I’m sharing some of my blog posts (older and newer) that will help you overcome your overwhelm and find calm in the chaos:

  1. Guided Meditation for Anxiety and Overwhelm
  2. 4 Breathing Techniques for Calm
  3. Everything Is Working Out! A Guided Meditation
  4. 4 Ways to Clear Energy That’s Not Serving You
  5. How to Start A Home Yoga Practice: 5 Things to Do
  6. Finding Your Calm During Life’s Challenges
  7. 10 Affirmations for Your Root Chakra
  8. 8 Spiritual Practices That Keep Me Grounded
  9. 3 Types of Yoga to Try
  10. This, Too, Shall Pass: 18 Quotes and Affirmations for the Rough Times

 

If you find this useful, please share the link to this blog post with your people!

Do you have questions related to finding your calm? Reach out to me here; I’m here for you, sis. đź’™

 

On Protecting Your Peace

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Now, more than ever, it’s important to create — or maintain — practices that allow you to protect your peace. Although I know how to find my calm when I feel overwhelmed or frustrated most of the time, I have to admit: Lately, it’s been somewhat of a challenge. I’m determining what works best for my business now, figuring out what my work-from-home situation will be with my 9-5, being a mama/teacher and just trying to process everything happening. It’s been a lot. So I’ve had to be more intentional about maintaining and protecting my peace. Here are some things I’ve been doing:

Starting my mornings peacefully.

Because everything has been so different, my usual routine had fallen off a few times (which is understandable). However, I know how important it is for me to set the tone for my day, and having a morning routine helps me maintain my peace or find it when life throws me curve balls. To start your mornings on a peaceful and positive note, create a practice you can do in (at minimum) 5 or 10 minutes, preferably in a quiet and distraction-free space. Some ideas to get you started: meditation or deep breathing, yoga, gratitude journaling, say/write affirmations, visualize, read something inspirational.

Taking social media breaks.

It can be tempting to scroll on Facebook and Instagram all day if you have more free time in the house. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending time on social media (because I do), too much time can cause you to feel anxious, overwhelmed and even depressed with all of the not-so-great news or even comparing yourself to other people. To protect your peace, you can:

  • Take a break for half a day, a whole day, a weekend or a week (or several).
  • Choose how much time you’ll spend on social media per day. 
  • Place your phone across the room or in another room so you won’t be tempted to pick it up just because.
  • Use an app to restrict your usage.

Don’t consume so much news.

Since the info surrounding COVID-19 changes multiple times a day, you may want to stay informed about what’s going on which I totally get. However, think about how much news you really need and limit how much you consume so that it doesn’t amplify any stress or fears you have.

Chat with a friend.

Since many of us are distancing ourselves and may have family that’s driving us crazy (hey, I’m just keeping it real), reach out to a friend to say, ‘Hey’ and catch up as you support each other through this.

Ground yourself.

In these uncertain times, there are moments when I feel ungrounded and all over the place, and my energy has been off. When this happens, I take a minute (or several) to ground myself. Some of the things I do:

  • Stop what I’m doing, relax my body, close my eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  • Do some yoga (practicing mountain pose in particular).
  • Take in my surroundings with my senses.
  • Slow down and focus on the task I’m doing

Practice self-care.

These days, I’ve been listening to my body and intuition and giving myself a lot of down time when I feel it’s necessary. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, watching Netflix, playing with Nailah, listening to music and older episodes of The Read podcast. Do whatever you need to to take care of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being and do things that bring you joy (and make you laugh) often.

Flow and embrace what is.

I’m naturally someone who likes to be in control, but one thing that I’ve truly come to understand is that there are so many things I can’t control. So I’ve been making more of an effort to go with the flow of whatever is happening, doing my best to accept what is and being in the moment. One mantra I use to help with this is, “I surrender and let Spirit do her thing.”

Give yourself (and others) grace.

There are times when I have good intentions about crossing things off my intentions (to-do) list, and when I’m not able to get it done, I might beat myself up about it or feel bad because I’m not being “productive enough.” I have to remind myself that I’m only human and that sometimes, life just gets in the way. Plus, things are different at the moment, so I have to be extra gentle and compassionate with myself now.

One final note: It may not be possible for you to feel 100% peaceful and positive all the time (I don’t either), but it is possible to feel a little bit better and a little more calm than you did before your practices.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings then move to one that feels better. Do your best to maintain your peace, focus on the good and take it one day at a time. We got this. đź’™

 

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’™

Moving Through Overwhelm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed with life lately. In the past few weeks, I was in a car accident (no one was hurt, thankfully, but I was driving my parents’ car). After that, I ended up getting my own car (yay!); however, the process of getting there was a little stressful since I had to rearrange my schedule to look, sign papers, etc. Additionally, I’ve been feeling like I’m behind on my business-related work, dealing with issues with my ex more recently (Venus retrograde, perhaps?), and just day-to-day life.

During this time, I’ve really had to remind myself and practice staying calm, at peace, grounded and centered.  And I say remind myself because even as the calm coach, I, too, have to remember to practice what I preach: Peace is a choice, and it’s up to me to actually do the things that bring me peace because my inner peace is inside of me, no matter what’s going on around me. With that said, here are some of the things I’ve been doing, just in case you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, too:

1. Pause and breathe.

If you’re anything like me, when you’re stressed, you can find yourself overthinking and overanalyzing things, which — of course — leads to more stress because you’re probably thinking of all the things that might go wrong. Or, you’re obsessing over your to-do list, wondering how it will all get done.

When you have these moments, stop (and you can do like I do sometimes and literally tell yourself to “stop” out loud). Bring yourself back to the present moment, and take 5 to 10 few deep breaths. As you inhale, fill your belly with air like a balloon and count to four. And as you exhale, bring your belly button back towards your spine, counting to four.

2. Release any physical tension. 

As you may already know, we often physically hold on to stress, and it’s usually unconscious — we don’t realize we’re doing it.  Most commonly, we hunch our shoulders by our ears, clench our jaw, furrow our brows.

So, when you notice that you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to scan your body, starting at the top of your head and going down to your feet. As you do this, breathe deeply and note if you’re tense in any area of your body; if you are, relax that area. (This is also a good practice to get in the habit of doing regularly).

3. Stay present and focused.

Like I mentioned before, thinking too much about the future is a big cause of our overwhelm (trust me, I know). Being mindful and staying present, brings you inner peace, improves your mood, reduces anxiety, and brings emotional balance.

Some ways to practice mindfulness are:

4. Practice gratitude. 

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to have a “woe is me” attitude and feel sorry for yourself, like nothing is going right. Taking time to focus on the positives in your life and what you have to be thankful for brings you more joy, calm, and contentment. A couple of ways to do this:

  1. Start a gratitude journal, and every day, write down three to five things you’re thankful for or positive things that happened during the day.
  2. When you feel stressed, take a couple of minutes or so to write down everything you can think of that is going well for you.

5. Choose a different thought and affirm.

It’s challenging to just change how you feel from one minute to the next, especially when you have a lot going on. But, one (relatively) simple way to start feeling better is to choose to think differently (because generally, our emotions come from our thoughts). Again, you can literally tell yourself to “stop” when you feel yourself going down the path of thoughts that don’t serve you. Then,  bring your awareness to what’s actually going on in the moment. You can also use affirmations or reminders to shift gears. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • All is well.
  • Trust the process.
  • Focus on one thing at time.
  • Life/Spirit/God/the Universe is conspiring in my favor.
  • Everything is working for my good.
  • I got this.

Do you have another suggestion you would add? Do any of these resonate with you? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Guided Meditation for Overwhelmed Moms

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Although I’ve only been a mama for four years, I definitely know how overwhelming it can be. If you’re like me, not only are you raising your child(ren) and trying to be the best mother you can be, you’re also juggling a lot of other things outside of that: work (your job and/or business), relationships, making time for some sort of social life, and (hopefully) self-care, not to mention you might might be going through other life transitions and situations.

Even as the Calm Coach, I find it pretty stressful at times, trying to keep up with everything I have going on. There are plenty of times when I’m not able to check everything off of my to-do list, when things don’t get done when I think they should, and I experience mommy guilt because I feel that I’m not spending enough time with my daughter. And when this happens, I often start feeling bad about myself and beating myself up, which only leads to me feeling more stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Thankfully, I have tools to help me cope; two are my favorites are meditation and using mantras/affirmations. And here’s what I remind myself:

  • I am enough, and I am doing enough.
  • I am doing my best, and that’s good enough.
  • I am a great mom.
  • I got this. Everything is going to be okay.

If you’re finding that you need a little encouragement as an overwhelmed mommy, check out the guided meditation below!

 

 

 

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

 

 

15 Simple Ways to Relax

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, most of us find it hard to simply relax. And a lot of times, we don’t even feel it’s necessary to do so. However, having some down time has many benefits. It:

  • helps prevent stress from accumulating
  • reduces general anxiety
  • increases your energy level and helps with productivity
  • improves your concentration
  • boosts self-confidence

Now that you know why you probably need to unwind more often, here are 15 simple ways to relax:

  1. Do some yoga.
  2. Meditate.
  3. Read for pleasure.
  4. Take a bubble and/or spiritual bath.
  5. Spend some time alone.
  6. Laugh.
  7. Listen to your favorite music.
  8. Take a phone/social media break.
  9. Nap and/or sleep in.
  10. Visualize/daydream.
  11. Netflix and chill…with yourself.
  12. Create a gratitude list.
  13. Spend some time outdoors.
  14. Journal.
  15. Color

What are your favorite ways to relax? Let me know by leaving a comment!


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

4 Ways to Clear Energy That’s Not Serving You

 

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Although empaths tend to experience it in a more pronounced way, I believe we all feel when we’re in negative environments or when people around us affect our energy in not-so-great ways. The good news is that there are ways you can protect yourself and clear energy that’s not serving you. Here are four techniques to try:

1. Smudging is an ancient practice in which you burn sacred plants (like sage, for example) and allow the smoke to clear and bless a space — or yourself. I smudge our apartment, and myself, with sage weekly, but I also smudge myself when my energy is off or I’m feeling down, frustrated, anxious, etc.. Here’s how to do it:

  • Light the stick, and let it catch fire.
  • Let the fire out, letting the smoke billow from the stick.
  • If you’re smudging your home, walk around along each wall (or close to each wall), allowing the smoke to go everywhere. If you’re smudging yourself, wave the smoke, starting from your feet and moving up, over you body in front of and behind you. While smudging, you can verbalize what you’re releasing; For example, “I release doubt. I release fear. I release anything that no longer serves me.”
  • When you’re done, open a door or window to allow the old energy to leave.

2. Visualization. This is a technique you can practice if you know in advance you’re going to be in a negative environment or around negative people (say, work or around certain family members) and you want to protect yourself:

  • Sit comfortably and breathe deeply.
  • Visualize yourself surrounded by an orb of white light and love. See that it’s only you within this circle, and nothing can get to you.
  • You can practice “wearing” the orb throughout your day, and before you deal with people/situations/places that drain you. The visual will let love and light come through while fending off and releasing any energy that’s not serving you.

3. Affirmations are a great way to change your mindset and help you stay focused on the positive. Here are a few to use:

  • I release any and everything that does not serve me.
  • I release all fear, anxiety, and overwhelm.
  • I let go of all negativity from my mind and body.
  • I easily let go of thoughts and beliefs that disempower me.
  • I release anything, any person, and any situation that keeps me from moving forward.

4. Crystal healing. Over the past few months, I’ve really been into learning more and using crystals for my mental and emotional wellness. One of my favorite crystals for getting rid of negative energy and feeling more positive is smoky quartz. Other crystals to try:

Black tourmaline absorbs negative energy and turns it into positive energy, provides energetic protection, and helps with stress relief.

Selentine cleanses and purifies your energy and provides protective energy.

What do you do to cleanse energy that’s not serving you? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

“Today is your day to let go of things that no longer serve you.”


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

10 Black Women Who Can Help You Find Your Calm

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of the resources provided here at Black Mom’s Guide to Calm that help you find your calm (if you’re not, click here and here). And of course, I’m not the only one who can guide you; there are some other dope ass Black women out here provide products, services, and resources to make sure we’re calm, centered, cared for, and mentally well.

In honor of Black History Month, here are 10 Black women who can help you find your calm:

1. Dianne Bondy is a celebrated yoga teacher, social justice activist, and leading voice of the Yoga For All Movement. With over 1,000 hours of training, she helps her students find freedom, self-expression, and radical self-love in their yoga practice. Dianne shares her message and provides millions of followers with affordable access to online yoga classes, workshops, and tutorials at her virtual studio: Yogasteya.com.

2. Itiel McVay is the founder and owner of Smell Good Spa, purveyors of fine fragrance oils and hand-dipped incense sticks that blend creativity and wholesome ingredients together. It is the company’s belief that a whole woman deserves wholesome products; therefore, each raw-ingredient based bath, body, and home fragrance product can be customized with their signature scents, creating an aromatic spa-at-home experience for the woman who loves to live good, feel good, and smell good.

3. As The Body Relationship Coach™, Ivy Felicia helps people build a loving relationship with body and self. She is passionate about helping individuals learn to embrace the bodies they have right now and supporting them in learning to love themselves no matter what. Through her brand, Me, My Body, and Love, Ivy promotes body peace and provides empowerment, education, and encouragement for those who seek to embrace a body positive lifestyle by loving their own bodies and extending the same love and acceptance to others.

4. Created by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed psychologist in Georgia, Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. Because the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy prevent Black women from taking the steps to see a therapist, Dr. Joy developed her blog to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant. Her primary areas of interest include break up and divorce recovery, depression, work-life balance, relationship skills, and self-esteem improvement.

5. Dr. Nadia Richardson is the founder of No More Martyrs, a mental health awareness campaign committed to building an online community of support for Black women with mental health concerns. By bringing together organizations from across the country that focus on the holistic wellness of Black women, the campaign serves as a clearinghouse of resources for living successfully with mental health concerns as well as virtual support for Black women who believe they are facing these issues alone.

6. Founded by Dr. Shanesha Brooks-Tatum, the Life Balance and Wellness Institute, Inc. (formerly the Black Women’s Life Balance and Wellness Conference) supports Black women in their quest to live well and thrive. Their mission is to provide evidence-based tools and facilitate dynamic, creative relationships that support women in achieving and maintaining optimal wellness in all areas of life including physical, financial, spiritual, occupational, social, and emotional.

7. Suntia Smith, MSW,LISW-CP, is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist based in Greenville, SC. She uses proven emotion-focused techniques and cognitive behavioral methodologies to help her clients deal with everyday life and relationship struggles better. By taking a positive, proactive, and practical approach to emotional well-being, Suntia teaches others how to develop a stronger sense of self, so they can love deeper and live lighter.

8. Created by Tara Pringle Jefferson, the Bloom Beautifully Box hits women’s doorsteps every eight weeks, full of self-care goodies in the following categories: beauty, health/wellness, and personal development. Tara created the box because she knows just how difficult it can be for women to focus on themselves during the years where their time and attention is often required by someone else — their boss, their children, their family. She wants each box to feel like a deep exhale, a fresh reminder that while you are many things — an entrepreneur, a stay-at-home mom, a student– you are still you underneath it all.

9. Tracey Coretta Ferdinand is a writer and certified 200 hour vinyasa yoga teacher. Her writing inspires lifestyle transformations guided by self-love and self-care, and her mission is to encourage women and girls of color to live vibrant and healthy lives by exploring creative wellness practices.

10. Vernetta R. Freeney is the creator and producer of the podcast “A Toast to Truths” and founder of The Truth Confidant™, a training firm specializing in teaching mental detox as a way to increase your productivity and have peace each and every day of your life. Her assignment is to curb burnout for entrepreneurs, teachers, and corporate employees by teaching journaling as a daily mental detox to ensure productivity and creativity.