Guided Meditation for Anxiety and Overwhelm

Are you feeling anxious and/or overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic and everything surrounding it? If so, this meditation is for you! It will allow you to feel more grounded, centered and at peace which is what we all need right now.

Get the products you need to find the calm you desire and deserve in the Black Mom Calm Shop!

4 Breathing Techniques for Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Breathing is one of my favorite ways to find calm when I feel overwhelmed, anxious or frustrated. And best of all, you can do this whenever you need to, no matter where you are, and you can practice multiple times a day. In this post, I’m sharing five breathing techniques you can use to tap into your inner peace. But before I do, here are a few tips:

 

  • If possible, get somewhere that’s quiet and distraction-free.
  • These can be done with your eyes opened or closed (but obviously, if your eyes are going to be closed, don’t drive or operate heavy machinery or anything like that). Sit up with your spine straight.
  • You can also listen to some music to help you focus better. Search for meditation music or relaxation music on YouTube, Google Play, etc.
  • You can practice the techniques until you feel more relaxed.
  • Be gentle with yourself and remember, it’s a practice.

1. Deep/belly breathing. (This is actually the way you’re supposed to breathe, so it’s good to practice regularly).

  • Sit tall with a straight spine and relax your shoulders.
  • Inhale fully and deeply through your nose allowing your belly to fill with air like a balloon.
  • Exhale completely through your nose, allowing your belly button to go towards your spine.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times or until you feel calmer.

2. Equal Breathing

  • Use the same breathing technique as above.
  • Count to 4 as you inhale, then count to 4 as you exhale.
  • Repeat a few times or until you feel more relaxed.

3. 4-7-8 breathing (This is a great technique to use if you have trouble falling asleep).

  • Inhale fully and deeply (fill your belly with air) through your nose as you count to 4.
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7.
  • Exhale fully and deeply (allowing your navel to go towards your spine) as you count to 8.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times or until you’re more peaceful (or asleep).

4. Relaxation Response.

  • As you sit, start your from the top of your head and scan your body, releasing any tension you might be holding on to.
  • Inhale through your nose, focusing on your breath.
  • Exhale and say a word to yourself like breathe, relax, calm or peace.
  • Continue for 2 minutes or until you feel calmer.

 

Get the products you need to find the inner peace you deserve! Shop your calm at BlackMomCalmShop.com today.

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.

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. 💙

5 Signs You’re Stressed (And May Not Know It)

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

It can be tricky to know you’re experiencing stress, especially if it’s constant and you feel that’s “just how things are” and/or it’s a way of life. If you’re reading this blog post, I’m sure you’d like to recognize signs of stress so you can create more calm in your life.

Here are five signs that you might be dealing with stress and don’t know it:

  1. You’re irritable or experience mood swings. You might find yourself getting annoyed easily or that the smallest things get on your nerves. You might also find that you snap on people more quickly
  2. You have a hard time concentrating. If you find that you have difficulty focusing on tasks or that you often forget things, you might be dealing with stress and overwhelm.
  3. You may have physical symptoms. You might experience headaches, muscle tension, a change in your appetite and weight loss or gain.
  4. You procrastinate often. You may feel overwhelmed by all you need to do, so you put tasks off or wait until the last minute.
  5. You have sleep issues. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep at night, and/or feel tired throughout the day, stress may be the culprit.

A few ways to combat your stress and find calm (in case you need a reminder):

  • Meditate.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Live in the moment.
  • Create daily habits and routines for calm and self-care.
  • And, of course, check out the shop for resources!

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.

#MeditateInMay Meditation Experience

 

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

May is National Meditation Month! As I’ve mentioned many times, having a meditation practice is one of the top ways I’m able to find my calm on a daily basis, which is why I’ve creating this challenge.

Every day, I’ll share a quick and simple meditative technique that will allow you to find your inner peace, calm, and harmony. To keep with the day’s practice, be sure to follow Black Mom’s Guide to Calm on Instagram and Facebook . Click here to download the calendar.

Meditation/breathing tips:

  • Do the exercises in a quiet, distraction-free space, if possible. Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine.
  • When inhaling, breathe through your nose, filling your belly with air like a balloon. When exhaling, breathe through your nose or mouth, bringing your belly button back towards your spine.
  • To help you focus on meditating instead of the amount of time that’s passing, use a timer or an app like Calm.
  • If you find your mind wandering, bring your awareness back to your breath/the present moment.

Equal Breathing

  • Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your belly to expand while counting to 5.
  • Exhale fully through your nose while counting to 5, allowing your navel to go back towards your spine.
  • To help keep each breath equal, count in your head. And if/when your mind wanders, bring your focus back to your breath/counting.
  • Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes.

 Alternate nostril breathing can:

  • Give you an energy boost.
  • Increase your focus and concentration.
  • Bring you calm and help you relax.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Make a gentle fist with your right hand. Extend your thumb and last two fingers, leaving space for your nose.

2. With your thumb, close off your right nostril, and exhale through your left. 3. Fully and deeply Inhale through your left nostril.

4. Close your left nostril with the last two fingers, and exhale fully through the right nostril.

5. Inhale through your right nostril. Close it off then exhale through the left.

6. Repeat steps 2-4 for one minute.

Here’s how to do a walking meditation

Visualization Meditation

  1. Find a quite, distraction-free space (if possible), and sit comfortably with a straight spine.
  2. Inhale fully and deeply, filling your belly with air. Exhale fully, allowing your belly button to go towards your spine.
  3. Continue breathing deeply, and imagine yourself in a beautiful location, like a beach, mountains, or garden. See yourself as calm and relaxed with everything as you want it.
  4. Focus on what you can see, hear, feel, touch (e.g., hear the waves of the ocean, feel the sun on your skin, etc.).
  5. Keep visualizing for a few minutes and/or until you feel more calm.
  6. When you’re ready, gently bring your awareness back to yourself and the present moment, then open your eyes.

Mindfulness Meditation:

Mindfulness meditation encourages you to observe your wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind. The intent is to not get involved with the thoughts nor judge them but to simply be aware of them, and let them go on by without giving them your energy or attention. As you meditate today and thoughts come, be aware of them, then let them go.

If you find it challenging to “just let them go,” imagine the thoughts on a screen scrolling by or put them in a bubble and let them float away. Then, focus your attention back on your breath.

Concentration Meditation

With concentration meditation, you focus on a single point, like a single word or mantra, a non-moving object (like a candle or figurine), or your inhalations and exhalations, which is what I do primarily. For example, I will inhale and count to four, then exhale and count to four.

Of course, the idea is to continue concentrating the entire time, but you still might find that your mind wanders. When this happens (and it will, no matter how “seasoned” you are as a meditator), gently bring your awareness back to the chosen object of attention, and let the thoughts go.

Here are the links for the guided meditations (on the 15th, 19th, and 30th):

Guided Meditation to Get Grounded

Guided Meditation for Self-love and Self-worth

Everything is Working Out! Guided Meditation

 

This post will be updated frequently, so be sure to check back for more tips and resources!

How to Stay Motivated to Find Your Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

I’m sure you’re well aware that the journey to being a more calm mama can be a challenging one. That’s why you’re here, right?

You want to know exactly how you can manage/lessen your stress, overcome your overwhelm, and find calm in your daily life.

I get it — with all you have going on, it can be hard to create calm. And feeling like you have the time to do so can be harder.

There are going to be times when you feel like you just can’t deal with the ups and downs of trying to stay in a peaceful space.

  • You’ll want to just lie on the couch, binging on Netflix, munching on chips and ice cream (which, by the way, won’t actually do anything to lessen your stress in the long run).
  • You’ll want to hit snooze and stay in bed that extra 10 minutes — even though you know that time is essential if you want get centered and grounded for a positive and peaceful day.

Yeah, the journey to staying calm most of the time will get challenging. So, how do you make sure you don’t give up?

What’s Motivating You?

It’s all about focusing on why you want to have more calm in the first place. And everyone has different reasons:

  • You want to improve your physical health (lower your blood pressure, for example).
  • You want to be more balanced and harmonized.
  • You want to feel better mentally and emotionally.
  • You want to feel less anxious and depressed.
  • You simply want to feel less stressed and overwhelmed (because that’s a sucky feeling to have ALL THE TIME).

Whatever your reasons, they have to be good and you have to keep them in mind.

So, the big question is: What’s your why for wanting to overcome your overwhelm and find your calm? What will finding calm do for your life?

Many times, we think just wanting the thing we want is good enough, but if our reasons aren’t compelling enough, it can be hard to keep the faith that we can actually do it.

Here’s a quick to-do for you: Grab a post-it note or sheet of paper and write this down:

I want to find my calm because ______.

Look at it whenever you feel too overwhelmed or tired to continue with your calm practices.

A few other ways to stay motivated when the process gets really challenging:

Know that you deserve it. As Black women (and moms in particular), we’ve been taught that we just have to “deal with it” when it comes to stress and that we have to put our wants, needs, and well-being on the backburner — if we even deal with them at all.

If/when you feel like taking time for yourself is frivolous and unnecessary, remind yourself that inner peace is something we all deserve, including — and especially — you.

Remember that you’re setting the example for your child(ren). Our children do what we do, not necessarily what we tell them to. So, if you want them (especially your girls) to practice self-care and be able to stay calm in the midst of life’s challenges, you have to model that for them.

Remember it can make your entire life better. How? Learning to find your calm and live from a space of peace allows you to worry less, relax more, hear your intuition so you can make the best decisions in your life, and create more positive energy.

Of course, I also have your back in this process.  Black Mom Calm Monthly was created to guide you in going from chaos to calm. Support is also a huge contributing factor in creating more balance and having more peace. If you want to stay focused, and keep moving to your goal of more calm together, subscribe here.

 

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

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