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Navagating Peace of Mind

There have been many analogies used to describe your mind, but likening it to the ocean is a perfect comparison to living in today’s modern world. Like the sea, your mind is constantly moving, can be stirred up at any moment by ever-increasing storms and surges, and you always have to navigate around the pollutants that are ever-present.

Finding calm in the ocean is tough, as is finding peace of mind in our hectic, modern age. When you learn to reduce the influence of your thoughts on your actions and emotions, you can create a calmer sea in which to thrive. Learning to still your mind is a skill that must be practiced, but it is possible to develop peace of mind.

Peace of mind is merely a mental and emotional state of calmness. When you are at peace, you can let go of worries, anxiety, and other mental activities that disrupt your mind. One of the critical components of peace of mind is being present, which requires letting go of the past and not worrying about the future.

How to Create A Peaceful Mind

Like all other mental skills, creating peace in your mind must be practiced and learned. It’s not something that will just happen simply because you want it to, unfortunately. But, by practicing these strategies regularly, you can become more at peace and develop a calmer mindset that allows you to live in the present.

Meditate

The most significant practice you can learn and perfect to develop peace of mind is meditation. The mindfulness you learn from regular, meditative practice is the cornerstone of all the other skills necessary for cultivating peace of mind. Learning to meditate and be mindful of how your emotions are affecting you and how your thoughts influence your behavior is crucial.

If you have never meditated before, try a guided practice that teaches you the basics and instills the tenets of this practice. There are not many, and it’s easy to learn with just a little practice.

Meditation reshapes your brain and how it is wired, allowing you to better cope with stress and push away negative thoughts as they intrude into your peace. Meditation practice can reduce anxiety, which is the most likely reason your mind is at unrest, as well.

Forgive

Holding onto grudges for past mistakes is robbing you of inner peace. This type of negative thinking holds you down and keeps you living in anxiety and negativity, which rob you of your peace of mind. Learning to forgive is vital for moving on and finding joy and peace in your current world.

Worry Only About Yourself and God

When you are constantly thinking and worrying about what others may think of you or your choices, you will not be able to find peace. Fear of judgment creates the negative emotions that make finding peace of mind difficult. You will never please everyone, and others do not have to live your life or with the consequences of your actions. The only perons that has a heaven or hell to send you to is God. Stop caring what others think. You’ll be much happier and at peace.

Be Patient

Patience and tolerance go a long way in today’s hectic world. When you learn to accept that much is not in your control, you can better roll with the situations life hands you and take things for what they are.

Whether it is the behavior of others, the pace at which the world is moving, or even how much things cost, the only thing you can control is your reaction to these. Learning patience and tolerance can allow you to put your focus where it needs to be, which is you.

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How I Found “Me” Time

I, like most women, am pre-programmed to take care of everybody else before me. It’s hard in this day and age when we seem to be doing it all. We’re daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, professionals, and we feel the pressure every single day.

But we all know how we can be after a couple of nights (or months) of not getting adequate sleep, or how frustrated we get when we don’t get even 15 minutes a day to ourselves.

Taking time off to do something you enjoy as a means of taking the edge off and releasing the pent-up pressure of your daily responsibilities isn’t a luxury – it’s a must!

Studies show that when you don’t prioritize yourself and your needs for, at least, a few minutes each day, you become resentful of those taking up your time and space. Then you start taking it out on them by lashing out, being frustrated all the time as opposed to your usual calm and sweet self.

Taking a breather gives you the opportunity to relax and recharge so you come back with a better ability to carry out your commitments with more clarity and a sense of enjoyment. Learning to be “in the moment” is crucial to your own personal sense of happiness.

This is what those who practice meditation refer to as “practicing mindfulness.” It gives you the power to control your emotions and lower your stress levels. When stress levels are low, your perspective on things tends to be more balanced, and positive, you’re not angry as much, you’re more organized, in control and energetic.

“We’re a multitasking society. If we’re having a conversation with a friend, we’re thinking about the other things we have to get done,” says Allison Cohen, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. “Instead, you need to be present in the moment…”

Often people ask me how I do so much. My response is I have learned to be in the moment. Whoever I am with, whatever I am doing, I concentrate on that and only that. No additional phone calls, no extracurricular activity, nothing. Just that encounter. It keeps things in perspective and creates clarity and strategic moves.

Here are a few tips to remind you how important it is to carve out some time for yourself.

You deserve it.

In order to lower stress levels, women need to stop feeling guilty about leaving the dishes unwashed, leaving the kids to play on their own for a few minutes, or leaving their work at work. So the first step is to consciously make the decision to free up some minutes during the day for you – everything (and everyone) else can wait.

“You have to build in battery recharge time,” says Margaret Moore, co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. “We’re very good at project management in our work lives, but not so well in our personal lives. Treat it like any project…”

Decide how you’d like to spend these precious minutes.

Some women exercise, others read a book; some do yoga, while there are those who just want a cup of coffee and some quiet. Whatever provides you with relaxation and a chance to free your thoughts and release some of the pressure, then that’s what you should do.

Remember, though, that you should treat this time as you would any other appointment and don’t get bullied by your sense of guilt into doing housework or running errands during your special time.

It takes practice, but you’ll quickly discover that you become a much calmer version of you when you make time for yourself, and who doesn’t want that!

Practice smart time management skills.

Whether it’s scanning emails, surfing the net or answering personal calls during your workday, then it’s time to put a stop to anything that wastes time and leads to nothing. Learning to organize your responsibilities should be your top priority, this will eliminate stress and free up time, which you can use for something more enjoyable.

You can even sit down during the weekend to organize your time, and write down everything that should be accomplished for that week. Sometimes, this means that there may be times when you have to say “no” to some obligation or other that you don’t want to participate in that doesn’t bring satisfaction or joy into your life.

On the plus side, if you’re facing a problem at work or at home, sometimes the best way to find an answer is to stop thinking about it altogether.

Channel your energy into doing something creative. Being creative could be what you need to grease those brainstorming wheels and regain your focus. It could also be the exact thing you need for better sleep.

Find the time.

Well, unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day – you won’t ever be able to change that. However, what you can do is free up some time here and there to your own personal gain. Juggling your work or study schedule, traffic and everything in between can be freakishly difficult to handle.

However, all you need are some smart organizational skills, and you can be the one in control of your time and not the other way around.

  • If you drive, use this time to listen to music or the radio. You can even enjoy the quiet and your own thoughts.
  • If you can ditch your car and use public transportation, then you can use that time to do something you enjoy, like read a book or writing or even meditation.
  • If you can walk, all the better. This way, you’re doing some exercising; you can listen to music or an audiobook.
  • If you have an appointment, try to get there 15 minutes, or even more, early so you can have those minutes to yourself.
  • If you can, have lunch by yourself at least once a week. Go to the park to get a break from all noise pollution, or if you can’t, stay in your car or a quiet cafe or restaurant where you won’t find any distractions. Many associate being alone with loneliness, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being by yourself allows you to enjoy your own company. You get back in touch with your interests, likes and dislikes so you know exactly what makes you happy, and a stronger version of yourself.

“Solitary time can help you have a better understanding of yourself, your thoughts, and your emotions,” says Katherine L. Muller, PsyD, associate director at Center for Integrative Psychotherapy.

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Ladies: What’s Stopping You from Taking Care of Yourselves?

Women take care of everything and everyone usually falling asleep at night from sheer exhaustion. Shouldn’t that be enough? But it isn’t, because the most important person in that equation is being the one most marginalized.

Women are predisposed to be the caretakers of the family, no matter what role we’re playing; daughters, wives, mothers, friends. And it’s sucking the life out of us. Meanwhile, the men in our lives sometimes don’t get how much we sacrifice to make sure their lives are running smoothly

We have to take a step back and ask ourselves one fundamental question: “If we don’t start taking care of ourselves, who will?”

The answer is, no one!

Almost always, you’ll find women with too many commitments, being pulling in each and every way. These women know that they should start exercising, eating better and sleeping more. But they don’t’ know where to start.

And since they’re already overwhelmed with things to do and people to take care, they see taking care of themselves as just another “job”, so they just keep pushing it down the list.

But one of the things we don’t take into account when we neglect to take care of ourselves is that through this behavior, we’re setting the bar of how we want the people around us to treat us. You can’t expect them to put your needs first when you don’t do the same.

Here is how I started down the path to some much- needed self-care:

The first thing you need to do is to stop feeling guilty about taking time off for yourself. I know it’s easier said than done but it is necessary. I still struggle some days. However, I remind myself that it is essential for others as well because I cannot take care of them if I haven’t been taken care of.

The second thing you should do is to find the things that you like.

The third, and probably the most important, is to schedule in time for yourself just like you would any other appointment so you reduce the risk of forgetting or cancelling. This is an amazing tactic. It is intentional and it works.

The final step is putting the plan in motion. Writing all of this down on paper is great but if it’s not implemented it’s just words on paper. Don’t think of it as a selfish act, because when you’re happy and relaxed, you bring a sense of calm and contentment.

Here are a few things I have tried to do to take care of myself:

  • Take time to do something for you and only you – even if it’s just for 10 minutes each day.
  • Meet up with friends and family, or talk on the phone at least once a week.
  • Read something that inspires you – it can be a book or even a short quote.
  • Don’t be passive. Learn how to be the one in control of your life, not just react to things as they happen. This is a reflection of how emotionally stable you are.
  • Stop prioritizing others’ opinions over yours. Don’t allow anyone else’s expectations to dictate who you are and what your likes/dislikes are.
  • Make sure you look and dress in a way that boosts your confidence. You’d be surprised how this can improve your outlook. I know I was.
  • Have goals and work towards them. From the small, daily goals to the big, life-changing ones, having something to strive towards helps keep things in perspective.
  • Ask for help. This is still the most difficult for me because like many women I see myself as being able to do it all, with no outside help. But that’s not being realistic and it’s stressful. And you’ll quickly resent those you’re taking care of because the load is too heavy for you to carry on your own. No successful woman ever did everything by herself all the time – it’s just not possible. When you ask for help, it means you’re wise enough to know your limits and you love yourself and your family enough to know when it’s time to take a step back, reassess, rest then come back a happier, calmer version of yourself.
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4 Self Care Rituals I Practice Every Day

As women, we lead very busy lives. Juggling work and family leaves us with little time for ourselves. Traditionally we have been taught to put others before ourselves. However, if we are to care for others it is absolutely imperative that we care for ourselves first.

We must maintain our own health and well-being if we are to care adequately for those around us, not to mention maintain responsible positions at work. Here are four simple, self-care rituals that I have managed to work into my day, without having to take too much time away from my never-ending “To do” list.

Stretch In The Morning

A few minutes of gentle stretching when you get up in the morning can help increase your blood circulation, improve flexibility, and reduce pain in your muscles and joints. When done on a daily basis you may be surprised by the results.

Try stretching your muscles to incorporate their full range of motion: Shoulder shrugs, neck rolls, wrist and ankle circles, and forward/back movements, and so on. After a few weeks of daily routine, you will notice you are much more limber and can get dressed, tie your laces, reach, etc. with way more ease.

Meditate Morning And Night

Another easily incorporated daily ritual that I use to improve my sense of well-being is meditation. Meditation is known to help improve mood, deepen sleep, and develop a sense of inner peace and calm. It can reduce stress levels, decrease cortisol, and contribute to an increase in immunity and relaxation.

It can reduce high blood pressure and even aid concentration. I choose to meditate on positively affirming scriptures while listening to praise and worship music. But you can use whatever works for you.

With so many benefits for just a few minutes a day of your time, this is one self-care ritual you don’t want to miss out on. Try just 2 to 3 minutes per session at first and build up gradually over time.

Drink Eight Glasses Of Water Per Day

The jury is out on exactly how many glasses of water you should drink in a day, but if you aim for eight, you will avoid dehydration and keep your skin soft, smooth, and supple. My personal best is a gallon a day, but that’s when I am in full exercise mode. Drinking water can help you stave off hunger pangs; in fact, feeling hungry is a sign that you are in fact, dehydrated.

Next time your tummy tells you to eat, drink a glass of water first, and see how you feel. Chances are you won’t need to reach for the cookie jar! Staying hydrated keeps your kidneys working optimally and aids in healthy digestion and excretion of wastes.

Smile

I have often been accused of being “too” happy whatever that means. But the truth is, a smile doesn’t cost you anything and can change your entire outlook. Even if you don’t feel like it, science has discovered that if you turn up the corners of your mouth, into a smile shape, you actually start to feel happier! Smiling releases neurotransmitters called endorphins. Endorphins make you feel happier. The brain doesn’t know how to differentiate between a fake smile and a real one; it reads the positioning of the facial muscles and acts accordingly. How cool is that? Practice smiling at others and notice the responses you get. A simple smile can help you feel better, and make others feel better too. Everybody wins!

Final Thoughts

Even though you are a busy woman with many responsibilities, you simply have to learn to put yourself at the very top of your list of priorities. After all, if you don’t look after yourself, how will you be able to do all that you do?

By incorporating these few easy self-care rituals into your daily routine, you will feel a lot better and able to continue caring, working and living your life to the full.

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How I Began Working on My Burnout

When you hear that women can have it all do you start to think it might be more apt to say that women can do it all?

Women are mothers, partners, bosses, employees, colleagues, daughters, sisters, best friends, clients, mentors, and caretakers to everyone. So, it makes sense that women can get caught up in the endless demands heaped upon their heads, right?

When you focus on being all things to everyone you start to lose who you are, leading to stress, resentment, feelings of being overwhelmed, and finally, the dreaded burnout. Here’s how I started on working to prevent that from happening.

  1. Focus On Your Needs First

When morning rolls around take care of your own needs first. When you wake up (raring to go or not) it’s tempting to just get right into the action, but don’t. How your day begins is how your day will proceed, so establish a routine that looks after your emotional and mental well-being, just as well as your physical.

Consider the following as part of your routine, reading while you enjoy your breakfast, meditation, yoga, a podcast, sitting in your backyard, a trip to the gym, focused breakfast, or really just about anything that fills you with happiness.

  • The Bedroom Is A Sanctuary

We’re all guilty of taking our mobile devices to bed and you probably have a list of reasons why it’s so important that you do so. When you wake up you probably reach for your phone before you do anything else, whether it’s to check emails or check out the latest news on social media.

This is radical thinking, I know, but find a real alarm and leave your gadgets out of the bedroom. You will fall asleep easier, sleep deeper, and even find getting up in the mornings easier, too. Once you’re up you’ll slip into your morning routine without the temptation of your phone looming.

  • Regular Breaks Are Key

When was the last time you finished a cup of coffee while it was still hot? Did you eat lunch, or even have a break? It’s one thing to slip into your flow and plow through your day, but your mind and body need a rest.

One effective method to ensure you are getting adequate breaks and focusing on your work is the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer and work in 25-minute bursts with a five-minute break before starting the next cycle. Use those five minutes to get up and get moving.

  • Breaks For Breathing

Stress tends to restrict your breathing and if you pay, attention to how you’re breathing during your most tense moments you’ll realize it’s shallow. Proper breathing is crucial to your overall well-being, so you may want to use your breaks to indulge in some deep breathing. Close your eyes and turn your focus to breathing and quieting your mind.

  • Move To Feel Good

It doesn’t matter whether it’s yoga or dancing, walking or cycling, if it makes your body feel good then you should be embracing it! It will help you relieve tension and improve your mood. Any type of exercise will give you an endorphin boost and leave you feeling better, so even just 10 minutes of activity should be enough to improve your mood.

  • Set Boundaries

In truth, it is all about respecting your time and priorities because if you don’t then who will? Set boundaries with everyone in your life and be assertive as you stick to them. You don’t need to justify your no, so stop offering reasons to placate the masses and start focusing on yourself.

Burnout is totally preventable, but it takes a well-planned and deliberate effort. Don’t get sucked into the vortex of a busy life, where you ignore yourself and your needs, your wellness really depends on you!

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How I Set My Mind Towards Self-Care in 5 Steps

Are you a stressed-out, busy woman with no free time? Odds are you answered with a resounding yes that was so loud you startled your kids, your dog, and your significant other. And I can tell you that I can relate

Women today have more on their plates than ever before. Natural caregivers, who often place the needs of others before our own, we have to make time for our career, kids, friends, siblings and parents, and even our coworkers and neighbors.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a social worker, or a nurse, self-care often becomes a lesser focus as you work on healing and caring for those around you.

Self-care should be something that we have in our minds at all times. It should be a habit, a lifestyle and a routine that is seen as something just as important as taking care of other people’s needs.

Yet, we still find ourselves at the end of a week, exhausted and with no energy or effort left to put into ourselves. You can’t fill a cup if your pot is empty?

Here are 5 steps I took to make sure that I was keeping my self-care at the top of the priorities list.

Listen to Yourself

One of the things that we do is ignore our own emotional needs. I know I have done this and still do from time to time. Whether it’s because I wanted to avoid confrontation or because I just felt my feelings and emotions weren’t as important, I chose to put myself to the side while tending to the feelings and emotions of others. An in the spirit of transparency it wasn’t until I overheard two ladies talking about their dogs’ anxiety that it dawned on me. Do people really care more about animals emotions and feelings than we do about our own? Well, Psychology Today recommends that people start taking care of themselves by active listening to their self. You can do this by re-stating your thoughts gently, out loud to yourself.

A good example of active listening to yourself will be if you are feeling lonely on the weekends to state softly, “It’s hard to feel lonely on the weekends.” This practice puts you in the habit of acknowledging your emotions.

Take Time for Meditation and Reflection

A few minutes of meditation or quiet reflection every day can help you soothe your soul. BuzzFeed notes that you don’t have to sit in an ashram saying ohmmm repeatedly to get the benefits. A few minutes of silently watching the rain or reflection on the beauty of the moment is just as good. I choose to meditate on Scriptures that are uplifting and affirming. I also have several affirmations that help as well.

The best part about meditation is that the longer you do it, the easier it gets. Start with as little as five minutes a day and see if you can work up to 20. Meditation also helps reduce your physiological reactions to stress and can help you feel better.

Make Time for A Morning Workout

The road to Hades is paved with good intentions. This is true when it comes to working out. We have every intention of working out when work is over, and then it just doesn’t happen. What does happen is that extra-large pizza from the place on the way home?

Huffington Post recommends you commit to working out in the morning. First, you are guaranteed to get your workout in. Second, you are going to feel amazing all day because of the post-workout endorphins.

While I don’t do a full workout in the morning I do ascribe to a full routine of stretching after morning meditation. I prefer to workout in the afternoon.

Say No

While not the easiest thing to do, especially if you’re like me and love to make people happy, saying no is one of the most important parts of self-care. You learn to honor yourself by respecting your time. If you cannot do a project or a favor, then say no. Don’t add stress to yourself just to be accommodating.

Learning to say no can also be amazing. People will learn how to respect your boundaries, and it allows you time to continue your focus on self-care.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Other People

Strong Sensitive Souls recommends that you stop comparing yourself to other people. When you practice constant comparisons, you rob yourself of the ability to be happy with who you are.

It is impossible to be perfect all the time. With the advent of social media platforms, we mostly see the perfect images of people’s lives that they want us to see. The reality of these people likely looks much different. When you stop trying to be something that isn’t real, you learn to be happy with who you are.

If you can remember to do these five things, self-care will always be at the front of your mind. It is so important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Setting social boundaries online and offline can improve your self-worth almost instantly. Do these things, and your entire perception of yourself will improve.