All Articles Tagged "relaxation"

That One Time I Had Shingles

April 3rd, 2015 - By Kendra Koger
Share to Twitter Email This
That One Time I Had Shingles


Around the time that I started my Musiq Soulchild workout plan, I decided to try to cultivate a more healthy lifestyle.  I decided to start eating better and taking vitamins.  So one morning while I was in the vitamin section at Walmart I saw that they had a sale on those gummy vitamins (you know, the ones where on the commercial people are jumping on them like trampolines).  I got excited and was like:  “I want trampoline vitamins!” and bought the discount supplements.

After about four days of taking them I realized I was developing a rash on the left side of my face.  Even though I used my best zip zapping remedies, the left side of my face just got more inflamed, and painful with each day.  Finally, I realized I couldn’t take it anymore and went to Urgicare.  As I got dressed my mind raced with:  “What could be causing this?” and my eyes fell on my gummy vitamins and I immediately felt betrayed.

I grabbed the jar, sat in Urgicare with my four year old bouncing next to me, and avoided eye contact with anyone who would look at my inflamed disfigurement.

After the doctor examined me, and though I presented the bottle of offending gummies, I was in a for rude awakening.

“You’re not having an allergic reaction.  You have shingles.”

“What?!  The old people’s disease?!”

Yes, disgusted readers, after two more doctors checked me out, it was unanimous.  I, a woman still in my twenties, had developed shingles (a disease that is usually advertised for people 55 and older).

After getting enough pills to make me feel like Elvis, and tons of paperwork to read about it, I discovered that shingles (“SHINGLES?!”) can develop from a weakened immune system (usually by having leukemia, HIV or stress).

As the blisters on my face turned into scabs, I made countless doctors’ appointments, to get tested, blood drawn, and inserted into any machine to tell me what was wrong.

After about losing a pint of blood, many examinations and a few weeks of waiting for all the results I learned that I didn’t have anything.  My shingles were caused by stress.

What I guess I should have mentioned earlier was that around the time I started my new workout regimen I was personally dealing with a few deaths of people around me.  I was put in a position of acknowledging my own mortality, and trying to do the best that I could to ensure a good future for not only myself, but for my daughter.

I had a lot of sleepless nights wondering:  “What if?” and trying to figure out if I was making the right steps.

All that stress culminated in me getting shingles.  That’s when I realized my folly.  I was spending so much time worrying about my future that I wasn’t enjoying my present.  Each day was used to fixate on my past, worry about my future, and being a spectator in my current life.

Two things came from my weeks of having shingles (“SHINGLES?!”).  The first was the knowledge that I needed to RELAX!  I eliminated a lot of unnecessary stressors and I haven’t been happier. Life is too short to spend it worrying about everything.  I now have a better sense of perspective.  My drive is still the same, but I’m not so stressed about things I can’t control.

The second thing that developed from this is that I now have a few scars on my face from the whole ordeal.  I thought about getting a few cosmetic creams to lighten the appearance of scars, but I decided to keep them for now, as a reminder to myself of what could happen anytime I begin to become stressed out.

My complexion isn’t as clear as it used to be, but I’ll always cherish these few reminders to enjoy each day and remember that stress is nothing but damaging.

Disappear Day: Why Every Woman Needs One

September 5th, 2013 - By Erica R. Williams
Share to Twitter Email This

I’m infamous for taking “Me Days,” which I affectionately call “E Days” because my name is Erica. Maybe it sounds corny or even self-absorbed, but they are much needed days that I truly believe every woman should have to pamper herself and do things that she enjoys; but taking it a bit further, I recently took a day where I did absolutely nothing, with absolutely no one. In fact, I didn’t take calls for the majority of the day. In essence, I was missing from the world, to rejuvenate my mind, body, and soul. Yes, for one day I decided to disappear.

Sounds a bit risky for women who have responsibilities, right? Well, you actually have to plan for it. Take care of business before the day and let everyone know that you will be out of commission for most of it–or don’t tell them, whichever you decide. The point of it is just to get away from everything that consumes your days. You won’t be able to get advice, opinions, criticisms, complaints, or even compliments from anyone else. Everything that you do will ultimately come from you. It’s a day to be alone, totally alone. And I truly believe, every once in a while all women need a day like this.

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed. A lot of times we take on more than we can handle and don’t have the time to figure out what things we should keep in our lives and those that need to be eliminated. After all, we’re too busy to think! Life becomes a chaotic routine with hardly any time for rejuvenation. The only time we allow ourselves to rest and relax is when we are asleep, and for some, even that time is questionable.

A day for you to disappear and spend only time with yourself will allow you to gather your thoughts, face your insecurities, answer questions that you’ve been too busy to even ask yourself. It’s a day when you get YOU together. Turn off the phone and don’t check your email. Just focus on you.

If it sounds like too much to handle for the busy-body, opt for a few hours instead of an entire day; but you owe yourself some serious alone time to focus solely on you. And as selfish as it sounds, everyone will benefit from a person who has taken time to rejuvenate. You will (or at least should) come out feeling more calm, peaceful, and tranquil.

For one day, just disappear, girl!

Resolutions Every Black Girl Should Make: Make Time For Your Number One…YOU

January 11th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

black woman reflecting

As black women, I think we’re internationally known for taking care of everything and everybody to the max. And while it’s not a bad thing to be reliable and strong, sometimes we’re so busy worrying about everybody else that we forget to look out for ourselves. As crazy as Katt Williams seems to be acting now, he once said in a stand-up performance that in the new year, you need to look out for your star player–you. Why? Because nobody else is going to go out of their way to take care of you, so why neglect yourself trying to run up behind somebody else?

I know sometimes I’m so busy trying not to disappoint people that I’m ripping and running around the city trying to meet up for brunch, dinner, drinks and everything else, and if that’s not enough, I’m trying to make time for my boyfriend, my God (which I have no problem going to classes and service for), and to reconnect with my parents every couple of days. I’m doing the absolute most the minute my feet hit the ground out of bed that by the time my weekend comes to an end, I’ve not really had the chance to relax before the hectic work week begins. Because of such neglect to myself, by the time it’s Monday morning, I’m wishing, hoping and praying for Friday, struggling to keep my eyes open and my spirits high. After having numerous times during this last year where my immune system gave up on me because I wasn’t getting enough rest, and after waking up with my face was covered in pimples because of stress, I realized I wasn’t really taking care of myself like I should.

For someone like me, all I need is time to lay around in bed until I can’t stand to anymore, and after that, I should be good to go. But for others, making time to pamper and care for yourself might mean relaxing and getting your nails done, going to a movie by yourself, cooking and catching up on your shows, or cuddling up to a book you’ve been meaning to read for a really long time. Whatever you decide to do to reboot, just make sure it makes you happy. We spend so much time trying to please other people in this life that when folks ask us how we’re really feeling, “happy” is the last thing on our minds. Your time is more precious than you think, and while it’s fun to grab mimosas and pancakes with friends and run from train to train to meet up with folks, it never hurts to say, “No thanks, I think I’m going to chill for once.” Your body and your mind (if you’re still in your right one) will thank you for it.

Short on Cash but Need R&R? Spring for a Staycation

August 16th, 2012 - By Mame Kwayie
Share to Twitter Email This

Did you suddenly look up to find that it’s August?

It’s funny that not too long ago, many women were eager to greet the summer with a fresh stack of summer reads they hoped would accompany them on a beachside hammock. Now, as the air starts to cool and hint at autumn and the onslaught of back-to-school commercials pipe through the television, the middle of August beckons with an even more disheartening revelation: you haven’t had a summer vacation.

Summer’s the easy season, a time for sunny adventures in an exotic locale or a road trip with girlfriends. But at a reported average of $1,180 per person, a relaxing vacation can come with unwarranted financial stress. Did an unexpected car repair eat into you vacation savings? Don’t think you can scrape together airfare before Labor Day hits? Were you caught in a harried work schedule during June and July? Though your cruise ship dreams may have fallen short this summer, you haven’t missed the boat. You don’t always have to vacate to have a vacation; a staycation (a period of time where you relax at home) in your neck of the woods might be what you need to recharge, regroup, and recalibrate your senses. Here are some hints for finding some R & R right where you are:

– If you inform your boss that there’s no cell phone service on the high seas or of the exorbitant cell phone roaming fees in Rome, he shouldn’t expect you to be available via text or e-mail. And you shouldn’t be – you’re on vacation. The same rule applies to a staycation. Just as you’d do miles away from the office, unplug from the responsibilities of work. Let your boss know you’ll be unavailable. Resist the urge to check e-mail or to swing by your nearby office one afternoon to “check in.” A simple “I’ll respond to e-mail messages upon my return” should suffice for your automatic out-of-office reply to senders, no matter how close you are to home.

Be A Tourist in Your Town – Been meaning to check out the observatory deck on the local skyscraper? Never had the time to eat at the famous hole-in-the-wall on the outskirts of town? A staycation is the perfect opportunity to explore your city with fresh eyes. Why not grab a tourist guide and appreciate the sights you may have taken for granted as resident? Walk at a tourist’s pace downtown, look up at the height of the buildings, take pictures at all the landmarks. Instead of stomping across the bridge, stop to marvel at the gleam of the river below you. Pack a picnic for the rolling meadows or go for a hike on the trail that’s only a few miles away from you that thousands may travel long distances just to see.

Take a Spa Weekend at a Local Hotel – Scour travel websites to find deals on spa getaway packages at a nearby inn. Pack a small bag and stay the night to make the luxury last. Check out the services offered by local massage and cosmetology schools, too. You can find professional-quality treatments and rubdowns for prices that won’t dent your pocketbook.

Camp Out in Your Own Backyard
– Erect a tent and fire up the grill for some s’mores . Enjoying the great outdoors in your own backyard makes for a great late-summer’s night retreat with friends or a romantic romp with your honey.

Pamper Yourself and Your Place – Hire a cleaning crew to handle your weekend chores. Have them freshen your sheets, fluff your pillows, and light candles on the tables before they leave. The collection of take-out menus stacked in the kitchen drawer? Put them to good use this weekend and have your meals prepared and brought to your front door. Bring the spa to you, too: many spas offer mobile massage services that will come to your home.

Need A Break? Try These Relaxing Fall Vacation Ideas

October 29th, 2011 - By Grace N. Edwards
Share to Twitter Email This

vacation, fall vacation

Are your co-workers getting on your last nerve? Are you one minute away from murdering your boss? Don’t catch a case, my friends; it may be time for a getaway. Summer is not the only season to get that vacation in. In fact, the cooler autumn months can be a perfect time to plan a trip.  You avoid the summer crowds and prices are often lower. So where are some good spots to visit during the fall months?

Check out our picks.…

Read the rest of this entry »

Mantras and Meditations to Help You Relax, Relate, Release

September 12th, 2011 - By Christelyn Karazin
Share to Twitter Email This

Life can be a frenetic experience.  Work. More work at home.  Hardly Sleeping.  All that work with little downtime makes for a very grumpy and less beautiful madame.  Worse, stress and anxiety are directly attributed to chronic diseases that are often a plague for the black community–diabetes, high blood pressure, mental health issues, heart disease, and stroke.  Since many people go to church, they pray.  That’s a good thing.  Research shows that the brain makes visible changes when you pray.

If you don’t go to church, there’s always meditation, which, if done properly, will reap the same brain-changing, peacefulness you get after you pray.  Better, pray AND meditate.  Pay no attention to the church folk who think yoga is the debbil’s exercise.  They’re no doubt stressed as heck, and that’s why they’re all up in your business as a distraction.

The key with praying, meditation and mantras is mindfulness of the present.  That means you block out everything–no thought of the past, no worrying about what comes next, just be in the moment.  It’s one of the hardest things for us to do sometimes–to stop the whirring brain is for some, like holding their breath for 10 minutes.

“Mindfulness may be the mental ‘seat belt’ that protects us along the bumpy, twisting, turning road of life, whether we encounter unexpected drop-offs, terrible accidents, or smooth sailing,” says Sue Smalley, PhD and Diana Winston in their book, Fully Present.  It helps protect against unhappiness, depression, anxiety, pain and suffering, they say. So here are a few ways to practice mindfulness when you need it the most.

Hot Yoga Styles You’ll Love

February 2nd, 2011 - By Grace N. Edwards
Share to Twitter Email This

There are quite a few fabulous reasons to become a yoga diva. Benefits of a regular yoga practice include: increased flexibility, toned muscles, weight-loss, stress relief, cute yoga outfits; the list goes on and on. However, choosing from the myriad different styles of yoga, can be confusing.  And going to the wrong class for your fitness level and personality can turn you off yoga all together. For example, balancing on one leg in a 100 degree room may sound like a fun challenge to one sista, but sound like a bucket full of crazy to another. So what kind of yogi are you? Here’s a look at five popular styles to help you decide.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Create a Meditation Corner At Home

January 26th, 2011 - By Khadija Allen
Share to Twitter Email This

You have long workdays that sometimes continue on even when you get home. It’s tough to be on the grind, but you put in the work because you know in the end, you’ll be in a better position. Create a special meditation nook in your home so that no matter what,  you know that you’ll always have a little corner of serenity in your world.  Creating a meditative space in your home is fun and easy. Plus you’ll be so glad you did it!

Here’s how to create a meditation corner within minutes:

Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Yoga Poses to Do at the Office

November 20th, 2010 - By Khadija Allen
Share to Twitter Email This

By mid-day in the typical 9 to 5 job, your energy level has gone down and your stress level has increased.  You are well-deserving of a few stretches to regain your strength and calm. For the overworked professional who has spent long hours at the computer desk, refer to these office-friendly yoga poses that will help your back, legs and arms. And most importantly, gear you up for the next challenge!

Take a look!

Read the rest of this entry »