All Articles Tagged "relaxation"
A couple of weeks ago I received a package of goodies from Proctor & Gamble’s My Black is Beautiful community organization. Inside were the typical items you’d expect from P&G, like Pantene and Aussie hair products, but there were also some unexpected bonuses like Andrea Pippins’ “I Love My Hair” coloring book and a set of colored pencils.
My co-workers thought I was joking when I said I was going home to color the night I received my gifts. We’d just been discussing the trend of adult coloring books and trying to figure out why it had caught on so rapidly. I was about to find out.
My mom and I used to spend weekends coloring together when I was a kid. It was one of our “things,” like going to lunch, shopping, and watching movies at the $1 theater. But once I became a teenager — aka thought I was grown — I didn’t have much interest in coloring anymore. But a few things happened once I had a coloring book in my possession again:
I realized coloring is harder than I remembered. If 6 year old’s can color inside the lines, it shouldn’t be that hard at 31. It is.
I also found coloring is extremely relaxing… almost to the point of exhausting. Pippin’s designs are so intricate, you can get lost coloring in all the detail — and tired, the patterns literally go on forever.
I felt like a kid again, like the kid who used to beg her mom for the 120-pack of Crayola Crayons with the pencil sharpener in the back because 12 colors wasn’t enough. I’ve literally spent whole minutes deciding between soft pink, blush, fuchsia, and magenta.
My eye pencil sharpener became my coloring sharpener. Don’t judge.
I unplugged. In this multi-tasking world, nobody hardly does anything by itself anymore. You tweet while you watch TV, have full conversations with people in front of you while scrolling the ‘gram. It’s pretty impossible to do any of that in addition to coloring if you want your end result to actually look like something. See point 1.
Have any of you gotten back into coloring?
All moms can agree, parenting stress is inevitable, but the last thing you want is for your baby, toddler, kid, or teen to feel is the impact of your stress. Author and founder of Stress Free Kids Lori Lite says “the constant juggling act between work and home can take a toll on your personal health, and chip away at your family unity. Stress depletes your mental and physical energy-key elements needed to maintain a productive work level and cohesive family.” To avoid the depletion of your mental and physical energy, Lite suggests in her latest five-star parent’s guide a few small things that moms can do during the day to take care of themselves.
Get out of the kitchen!
You don’t always have to grab lunch at home. Lite suggests stepping out and grabbing a bite to eat with a friend “meet other working moms for lunch or attend networking events. By speaking with others, you get out of your own head.”
Surround yourself with dreamkeepers
While you are out, make sure you’re in good company. A great way to nurture yourself during the day is to focus on your goals as well. Lite says “spend your time and share your ideas with friends and relatives who believe in you. A positive attitude supported by positive people will help manifest positive results.”
Outsource and hire help
When time permits, get help mommy. Search the web and hire help. Lite says “realize you cannot be an expert in every area. Hire help on an as-needed basis, or consider what tasks you can delegate at work. Even one hour a week of offloading or outsourcing can free up precious time you can use to revitalize your soul.”
Take a moment to read an inspirational passage
Renewing your mind with inspirational passages is a great way to block out negative thoughts. Take time out to review and mediate on an inspirational passage that is sure to motivate you.
Avoid stress by staying as prepared as possible. “When you have an important deadline or task at work, carve the necessary time out of your day to be prepared,” says Lite. Preparation reduces worrying and mistakes.
Dress for success
If you are a work-at-home-mom or a stay-at-home-mom, don’t stay in your PJs, get dressed, it will help with your mood. Lite says “when you look successful and pulled together, you will feel more positive and upbeat.”
Speak from the heart
Always use your voice and speak up. Always speaking from your heart can avoid miscommunications. Lite says “when you are truly heard, miscommunication is far less likely to occur–decreasing the potential for the stress caused by misunderstandings or untruths.”
Do you ever feel like there is just too much going on and you’d give anything for a little break? Are bathroom visits starting to feel like mini vacations? Does the idea of a spa visit make you grin from ear to ear? If your answer to all of these questions is yes, you are way overdue for a mommy getaway. It’s time to call your homegirls (or not) and start planning.
Mommy getaways are necessary because when moms become overwhelmed, tired, and stressed, no one wins. Not only does it begin to hurt mom, both physically and emotionally, but it starts to damage the kids too. When moms take the time to have fun, release stress and unwind, they come back to their families feeling happy, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world (even though that’s what got them so tired in the first place).
Planning a getaway can be a pricey endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few getaway ideas at a number of price points. Look at your calendar, call your friends if you’d like some company, make sure the kids will be taken care of, and pack your bags.
Here are some suggestions on what to pack:
Fact: airplanes are cold, no matter how warm the climate of your destination. A matching sweatsuit keeps you comofortable and looking sleek through possibel delays and plane changes and yes, it’ll keep you warm on your flight. Wear a cute tank top underneath so you can show a little something cute when you get to warmer temps. Try this one from Spice Boutique, $60.
Keep calm and carry-on luggage is the motto. Pack light, and never check your bags, so you can have an easier time getting to your hotel…and the fun. We’re loving Rockland Luggage.
It’s time for you to getaway. Try one of these easy getaway ideas.
Enjoy the spa. Sure, a mani and pedi over the weekend is cool, but it’s about time you splurged on a spa experience. Miraval Resorts is said to be one of the best spas in Arizona, and they offer a girls getaway package that offers everything you need to feel better than new before you head back home. If taking a trip to Arizona is too much, many hotels in your area may have great spas, so you can always book a room and spend your days with hot stones on your back.
Have a hotel slumber party. This can be as pricey or as affordable as you’d like. It all depends on the hotel you book and how many friends join you for the getaway. If you can, splurge a little, order room service, and pop a bottle of champagne. If you are able to leave town that’s great, but a hotel slumber party is the perfect local getaway. You can be just 30 minutes from home but still feel like you are hundreds of miles away. Visit sites like Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline to find the best deals.
Take a hike. Use your getaway as a chance to try something new and exciting. Plan a hiking or biking trip, or maybe you can even go skiing. It just might give you the peace of mind you are seeking. If you’ve ever thought about visiting Vermont, check out Inn to Inn for help planning the adventure you are looking for. Change is good.
Let the sun shine. If you’ve been dealing with snowstorms and the Polar Vortex, you are probably in desperate need of some sunshine (I know I am). Consider looking for a deal to the Caribbean or maybe even a short cruise. The Bahamas is a great weekend getaway and can offer the warmth, relaxation and fun you are looking for.
Rediscover yourself. As much as your may love your girlfriends, maybe you just want and need a weekend all to yourself. Maybe you want to go on a weekend yoga retreat, or maybe there is a conference you want to attend that is connected to your passion. A weekend alone can offer new experiences and a chance to engage in some of your favorite activities (like reading a book without falling asleep). Enjoy.
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.
Music has the power to do many things such as influence a good mood and ease stress. After a long day why not add the perfect slow tempo tune to soothe the night? The right song can be the perfect remedy–after a dose of D’Angelo or a nostalgic 90’s hit, you’ll be a lot less tense. So sway those hips and click continue to find 20 relaxing songs to add to your winding-down-after- work ritual.
Winding Down After Work: 20 Relaxing And Soulful Songs
When was the last time you bought something for yourself that you really wanted without feeling pangs of guilt? Or the last time you spent the day at the spa without feeling bad that you took a day off from playing chauffeur, cook, nurse and counselor? Mommies will never be without work to do at the house, but for the sake of your own sanity, it’s imperative that every once in a blue moon you treat yourself. Who deserves it more than you? Even if it’s only for a few hours, one day, every couple of weeks, everybody deserves a break. If it’s been so long since you’ve treated yourself that you can’t even think of the first thing you’d like to do, allow us to offer you 15 options here on how to give yourself a rest.
Treat Yo Self: 15 Ways To Indulge Yourself
I recently had a friend take part in an usually busy day with me. We had a huge project we were working on and, as a result, were running around like crazy trying to tie up loose ends and handle our business. Meanwhile, her hubby and son were at home hanging out, you know, doing what guys do. About mid-way through our day she reached over to show me a text she had just received from her son, “Mom, can you make me an appointment to get a haircut?” We both laughed as she expressed that her husband, who goes to the same barber, was sitting at home doing God knows what, but her son couldn’t ask him to call the barber, he had to call on mom.
And so, despite her hectic day and busy schedule, as any mom would, she called the barber and made the appointment. Moms are givers. We go to the extreme to ensure everyone in our family is taken care of and put everything and everybody first, above all—especially above ourselves. That said, it’s important to take a step back and take some time for yourself. Leaving the kiddos, hubby, dog and cares behind and fully indulging in an activity, day or even vacation, all by ourselves.
Sure, your family needs you, but they’ll also survive (and might even enjoy) some time away from you! And for those hesitant to skip out on the kids and spouse for a little R&R, perhaps you haven’t noted the benefits of me time. Allow me to fill you in.
Woo-sah: The Benefits Of Me Time
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!
Down south there’s a cute phrase that I absolutely love. You’ll often hear people say:
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
Truer words were never spoken! As moms we set the tone in our homes. When we’re smiling, it’s all sunshine and roses, and home is a heavenly place to be. But honey, if we get that look on our faces (you know — the one that makes both toddlers and daddies run for cover), then home can be hell on earth and the last place that anyone wants to be.
But your family shouldn’t have to tip-toe around you and silently pray that the funky mood will pass.
Here are some tips to help all of us temperamental moms change those frowns to smiles so the whole home can be happy:
• Stop the “funk” before it even starts. Starting your day with meditation, your favorite scripture or a pleasant thought will help you set the mood for your whole day. If you start off the day in a good mood, it’s harder for you to get thrown off kilter by whatever curveball life throws at you. Get the whole family involved by taking 5 minutes before the kids head off to school to have everyone in your home share a positive thought or affirmation for the day.
• Expect the unexpected. If you’re a busy mom, there is no such thing as a perfect day. As sure as the sun rises, something that you couldn’t possible expect will happen in your day. Knowing this will help keep you on your game. Being mentally ready for that unanticipated dilemma will keep you from spiraling into a funk.
• Take care of yourself. Studies repeatedly show that women who eat balanced meals, exercise daily and get adequate rest are better equipped to handle stress. Taking care of ourselves gives us added energy and makes combatting bad moods easier.**
• When in a funk, take 5. Before you let that stress cause you to yell at the kids or cuss out your partner, catch yourself and take 5. There’s nothing wrong with walking away from a conversation, taking a 5 minute walk and coming back. When you return to the family, your mood will be much, much more pleasant – I promise!
• Have a laugh. It’s hard to stay in a bad mood once you start laughing. Take some time to call your funniest girlfriend, watch reality TV (after all, you can’t help but laugh at Stevie J or the Braxton sisters), or listen to your kids talk about their day. Once you start laughing, your mood is guaranteed to get better.
Try a few of these tips the next time you feel your attitude going south. Your whole house will thank you.
Mommies, what’s your favorite ways to shake off the funk?
Source: University of Maryland Medical Center
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.