Finding Your Calm During Life Challenges

life challenges

Trust me, I know it can be difficult dealing with life challenges Like you, I deal with parenting woes, financial stuff from time to time, relationship stuff, feeling discouraged and the list goes on. And when ish happens, it’s easy for me to get stressed, overwhelmed and to start worrying and overthinking (maybe you can relate?). 

Fortunately, I’ve learned how to find calm in the midst of life’s curve balls (even though I sometimes have to remind myself to stay calm). And by doing so, I’m able to find my inner peace and get grounded and centered. These are some of my practices:

I breathe (literally).When I notice that my mind is racing with stressful thoughts, I pause and take 5 deep breaths or breathe until I feel calmer.

How to do it: Inhale through your nose, filling your belly with air like a balloon. Exhale through your mouth, creating a small o, and allow your navel to go towards your spine. Repeat 5 times or until you feel more relaxed.

I do my best to stay in the present moment. Your mind cannot occupy two thoughts at the same time. So if you find that your mind is filled with the stress of the future, bring your focus back to the moment; the more often you do this, the calmer you’ll feel.

How to do it: Take a moment to observe everything around you without judgement. Become aware of what you hear, smell, see and what you can feel. Also, single-task, focusing only on what you’re doing.

I meditate and/or do some yoga. Meditation is something I do daily, and because of it, I tend to worry a lot less than I used to, and I feel lighter and more at ease overall. Additionally, when I need some extra grounding, I get on my mat for some yoga. 

How to do it: Take time daily, or a few days a week, to meditate and/or practice yoga. All you need is 10 or 15 minutes per session

I do something to take my mind off of whatever I’m worrying about. I definitely believe you have to deal with whatever is happening in your life and your feelings, but sometimes, you just need to put your worries on the back burner for a little while. A couple of ways I do this are by reading or listening to a podcast or music. 

How to do it: Do something you enjoy that allows you to concentrate on something different for a bit.

I journal. When I find myself overanalyzing and worrying about a situation, I find it helpful to write it all down so that, for the most part, I get it out of my head and clear my mind.

How to do it: Write down whatever comes to you about your circumstances. Don’t worry about how it sounds, and don’t hold back. Get it all out.

I use affirmations. Whether we realize it or now, we’re constantly talking to ourselves, and the things we say have a big impact on our lives and how we feel. When I’m in the middle of a challenging moment, I sometimes find myself thinking negatively about myself and/or my life. To counter this, I recite affirmations which brings a sense of relief, calm and positive energy. 

How to do it: Say affirmations when you feel your thoughts going in a downward spiral of negativity. Some of my favorites:

  • Life is conspiring in my favor.
  • All is well in my world.
  • I choose to trust my journey.
  • Spirit has my back.
  • I got this.

I focus on the good. In challenging times, it’s easy for me to go down the rabbit hole of all the things that are supposedly wrong with me and my life which, of course, only makes me feel worse. So, in addition to keeping a daily gratitude journal, when I notice I’m doing this, I think of what I’m grateful for and even say it out loud. 

How to do it: Start keeping a gratitude journal, and write down 5 things you’re thankful for daily. Or, when you find that you’re focusing on everything that’s wrong, change your perspective, and list or say all the things you’re grateful for.

How do you find inner peace when dealing with life challenges? Or which of these will you try?

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. 💙

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.

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

Tap Into Your Inner Peace: 8 Quotes for Inspiration

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Even as the Calm Coach, 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!

 

10 Quotes to Help You Remember Who the F*ck You Are

 

 

2017 has been a roller coaster of a year for me. I’ve had a lot of positives happen (new friends, business ideas and opportunities, discovering more of myself) and negative things that are allowing me to grow as a person (my separation, moving back home, figuring out my finances). Admittedly, some of the lessons had a not-so-great effect on my self-worth and self-esteem, so for the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of work around truly loving myself. And part of that has been reminding myself of who I really am.

The quotes that I’m sharing are ones that I have in my phone’s “Inspiration” photo album, or I have them saved in my IG collection. They are my go-tos when I need to remember who the fuck I am — and they’ll do the same for you!

  1. “She remembered who she was, and the game changed.”
  2. “Note to Self: You good, you poppin.'”
  3. “Give yourself permission to live a big life. Step into who you are meant to be. Stop playing small. You’re meant for greater things.”
  4. “Own your power.”
  5. “Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are; let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.”
  6. “Dear ladies, Please don’t let one day pass without you feeling like the beautiful, talented, bomb ass goddess you are.”
  7. “You are magic. Own that shit.”
  8. “Trust your dopeness.”
  9. “You’re a bright beautiful goddess.”
  10. “Admit it. You’re dope. Stop pretending you’re less than you are to protect someone’s ego. Be unabashedly aware of your fresh.”

And here are a few affirmations I use to remind me of who I am:

  • I am that bitch.
  • I am magic.
  • I am a goddess.
  • I am a badass, boss bitch.

Know who the fuck you are, and own it. You got this!

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

Trusting the Process of Life

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

As I mentioned on social media a few weeks ago, I’ve been dealing with some personal issues. My husband and I are currently separated. And while I was hurt and taken aback by the way it happened, I’m not totally surprised by what happened because we’d grown apart and had our issues (and I’d actually been going back and forth with it myself).

Due to our separation, my daughter and I have been staying with my parents for almost two months, and needless to say, it’s been an adjustment. It’s been…interesting, to say the least, because although moving back had crossed my mind, I didn’t think I’d actually have to do it — and definitely not now. So, basically, I’ve had to create a new normal and trust whatever comes next.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and things happen when they’re supposed to, even when it doesn’t feel good or necessarily make sense to us. Admittedly, it took me a really long time to learn this (maybe it’s one of those things you learn after 30?), but now that I know — for sure — it’s true, I generally go with the flow of whatever happens in my life. Trust me, it hasn’t been easy, but here’s how I learned to do it:

  • I constantly remind myself that I can’t control everything. I’ve pretty much always been someone who likes for everything to go exactly how I envision. And when it doesn’t, I had the tendency to kind of freak out about it. But getting older — and having a child and life itself — has helped me really see that I can’t control everything. And that’s okay.
  • I focus on what I can control, and take inspired action. Here’s what I mean by taking inspired action: Instead of acting from a space of desperation and lack, I listen to my intuition and Higher Self about what steps I should take next, even if Spirit tells me to be still.
  • I (do my best to) stay present. Practices like meditation and yoga have helped me learn how to be more mindful in my daily life and focus on what’s happening now.
  • I practice gratitude and look for the good. When we have situations that are less than favorable, we tend to focus on how much it sucks, and notice the other things that suck, drawing more sucky things to us. On the flip side, when we focus on the good (either in the situation or in general), not only do we feel better, we also attract more good to us.
  • I reflect on other situations where the Universe had my back. If you’re like me, you’ve made it through other times when you didn’t know how the hell you would. And you’ll do the same now!

Trust the Universe (or your Higher Power) and the path you’re on. Life loves you and is always conspiring in your favor! Know it with every fiber of your being!

Affirmation:

I choose to trust the process of my life.”

 


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

10 Quotes to Inspire You to Live in the Moment

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Over the past few years, I believe the Universe has been trying to teach me to live in the moment. As a daydreamer who has been developing her patience forever (it seems), being present and allowing everything to unfold the it is has not been my strong suit. I am, thankfully, getting better at it. Because what I’ve come to realize is that the only moment/time there is is the present moment, and fretting/obsessing over what’s to come does nothing but stress me out and cause me anxiety (and it probably does the same to you).

If you have trouble staying present and living in the moment, here are 10 quotes to inspire you to do so:

  1. “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” – Eckhart Tolle
  2. “Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” – Brene Brown
  3. “Trust the timing of your life.” – Unknown
  4. “I know that the big miracles we’re waiting on are happening right in front of us, at every moment, with every breath. Open your eyes and heart, and you’ll begin to see them.” – Oprah Winfrey
  5. “Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot
  6. “Be. Here. Now.”– Unknown
  7. “Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience, moment to moment.” – Jon Kabat Zinn
  8. “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  9. “Wherever you are, be there. If you can be fully present now, you’ll know what it means to live.” – Steve Goodier
  10. “Living in the moment brings you a sense of reverence for all of life’s blessings.” – Oprah Winfrey

Having a meditation practice is a great way to learn how to live in the moment! Download my guided meditation to get started.

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

 

4 Ways to Clear Energy That’s Not Serving You

Black Girl'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