fitness, Healthy Living, Mental Health, Self-Care

5 Self-Care Tips For The Overwhelmed, Working Woman

Hey y’all! You know your girl is BIG on self-care. So, let’s talk about it. One of the biggest misconceptions around self-care is that a lot of time is required. I know you’ve heard people say “I just haven’t had enough time”, “I’ve been super busy” or “As soon as things slow down, I’m going to do that” in reference to making time for their own self-care. It’s as if we’re waiting for our lives to make room for our self-care when, in all actuality, WE should be making room for self-care. According to an article from Psych Central, self-care is deliberate. This means it is to be done consciously and intentionally. Translation…MAKE IT HAPPEN! But how? Trust me, it’s much easier than you may think. There are ways to implement self-care into our daily lives that don’t require much planning or time. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your house. That’s right! Check out my list of effective and efficient self-care tips that are SURE to help.

Self-Care Tip #1: Essential Oils

Essential oils are my favorite! I use my peppermint oil to relieve headaches and lavender oil to help my son sleep. Below is a list of various essential oils and the ways in which they are effective.

  • Orange – uplifting
  • Lavender – heightens relaxation
  • Rosemary – eases anxiety
  • Peppermint – improves concentration
  • Basil – fights mental fatigue
  • Helichrysum – clarifying and grounding

And there are so many more essential oils out there. I even found a good Black owned essential oil brand on We Buy Black! I encourage you to do some research and find the ones that you feel would be most helpful to you. And be sure to purchase a diffuser while you’re at it. Click here for a list of specific ways that you can use essential oils to promote self-care.

Self-Care Tip #2: Exercise

Exercise is bigger than just making us look good. It also helps us feel good.  Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. When we exercise, endorphins are released that can help improve your mood, help you feel more relaxed, and as a result, help you deal with stress and reduce the risk of depression. Exercise can also improve your sleep by helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

And you don’t have to devote hours of sweating buckets in the gym to your day. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is all you need. You can even break it into two 15-minute workouts if that’s easier. If 30 minutes doesn’t seem doable for you right now, start with 5-10 minute exercise sessions and gradually increase your time.

Self-Care Tip #3: Feed your Spirit

My relationship with God is a major part of my life. I’ve been through some really dark times where I know that if it had not been for my faith, I would not have made it out with my sanity. Taking time to feed your spirit gives you a level of fortitude that you can’t find anywhere else. Here are a few ways that you can feed your spirit in order to keep yourself grounded and strong enough to combat the enemy.

1. Read a Devotional

Some people start their day with it while others end their day with it. For me, I’ve found it most effective to read my devotion in the morning. This allows me to start me day on the right foot with God at the center and better prepares me to respond in a more productive manner to the stresses that come. The YouVersion Bible App has a plethora of devotionals to choose from, and they are organized by topic. So if you want to actually read a devotional that will help with anxiety and stress, it’s there. You can find a devotional to cover just about any topic within the app.

2. Read the Bible

Sometimes you may find yourself in a place where you just need to go straight to The Book. I have yet to face a challenge or season in my life that stumped the Bible. There’s always been a scripture that I’ve been able to apply to my situation and find comfort and encouragement in. My pastor always says when you open your Bible, God opens your mouth. Make time for God to speak to you. Don’t rush it. Be sure to take time to hear him clearly through his Word.

3. Prayer

Make your requests known to God. Yes, he knows everything, but all relationships thrive off of effective communication. Even our relationship with The Father. Talk with him just like you would talk with a friend. Share with him the desires of your heart, your worries and anxieties, your dreams and aspirations. Then ask him for wisdom, guidance, and clarity. You will feel so much lighter once you do!

Self-Care Tip #4: Music

Music is a language that we all speak, no matter our race, ethnicity, background or upbringing. It heals the soul in ways that nothing else can. Here are some ways you can incorporate music into your life as a form of self-care.

1. Create Various Playlists

When you create your own playlist, you know you won’t have to skip many songs (if any) because they’ve all been handpicked by you! Having a set of playlists that will bring the vibe that you may need on any given day is a game changer. For example, I have a chill playlist that I listen to when I want to feel relaxed. I have a few gospel playlists that I use when I either want to feel close to God or I just want to jam out to something that’s edifying. I’ve also created a neo soul, a jazz, a love song, and a plain old ratchet playlist. No matter what mood I’m in or want to get to, I have music that will get the job done.

2. Add Music to the Mundane

The basic, boring tasks of life don’t HAVE to be basic and boring. Literally throwing some music on as you do it makes a world of difference. I LOVE to play music while I cook. Although cooking in and of itself is a form of self-care for me, that’s not the case for everyone. So try throwing on one of your playlists as you cook. The same thing goes for working out. You may find yourself going harder and working out for longer when you have good music playing. Washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, taking a shower or bath, the list goes on and on. Start adding music to the mundane and I bet you money that you will feel the difference!

3. Relaxation Playlists

For me, Spotify is my place for all things music. Not only do I use it to create my own playlists, but I absolutely love their pre-made playlists for relaxation. They have everything from actual music to nature sounds, and they have playlists for babies and even some for dogs! I advise you to check it out.

Self-Care Tip #5: Just Breathe

There are various breathing exercises for relaxation and stress management, but my go to is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Simply put, you breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, then exhale for 8 counts. “The 4-7-8 technique forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath, rather than replaying your worries when you lie down at night. Proponents claim it can soothe a racing heart or calm frazzled nerves. Dr. Weil, a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, has even described it as a ‘natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.’”

While this is a short list of ways to practice self-care, you can click here for a more comprehensive list. This link consists of 151 self-care ideas to increase mindfulness and avoid burnout. I implore you to explore the article and take note of 2-3 things you will vow to implement in your life. Write them down and make a promise to yourself. Remember, don’t wait for life to make room for your self-care. YOU take charge of your life and make it happen for YOU! There’s only one you in the world and she is loved and needed. Take care of you!

I love you and I mean it,

Coach Jo AKA Lady Grace

Mental Health

3 Tips to Change Your Perspective and Become Your Best Self

Perspective is everything. Our perspectives shape the decisions we make and can even influence how we show up in the world. However, we have the power to change our perspective by changing our position. How? I’m so glad you asked!

Where You Stand (Position) Determines What You See (Perspective)

Let’s break it down from a physical standpoint. When we talk about our physical position, we’re talking about where we’re located or placed. When we talk about our physical perspective, we’re talking about the angle or direction in which we look at something. These two things go hand in hand, and the latter is dictated by the former. A perfect example of this is something I stated in an Instagram post from earlier this week.

Have you ever been with someone who tried to point something out to you, but you couldn’t see it? Then, once they told you to shift over a little bit, all of a sudden you could clearly see what they had been pointing at? That slight, physical adjustment made the difference between seeing and not seeing. Change your position and you’ll change your perspective. Would you believe me if I told you that the same rule applies when it comes to our mental position and perspective? It’s true!

Change your position and you’ll change your perspective.

Coach Jo

Mental Position & Perspective Defined

Mentally, our position is our stance or attitude towards a particular matter, and our perspective is how we view it. For example, if you believe that toys corrupt children’s minds (position/stance), then from your perspective, you may feel that toy stores are evil. That perspective will then influence your actions. You won’t visit toy stores, purchase toys for your kids, or even accept toys as gifts from others.

So, I can hear you asking, “WHAT does this have to do with health and wellness?” Again, I am SO glad you asked! When it comes to your health and wellness, your actions are influenced by your perspective, which is dictated by your position. To make it all make sense, let’s look at these two scenarios.

Change Your Position, Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life

Scenario 1

Position: For so long, you’ve lived a life of service. You have been everything to everybody. Your family and friends know that if they ever need something, they can call on you and you’ll be there. While there’s nothing wrong with serving others, your stance has been that you’re going to do whatever you need to do to help other people, even if it means neglecting yourself. 

Perspective: Because your position has been to put other people and things above yourself, your perspective on taking time to yourself, for yourself or saying no to someone else to fulfill your own needs is that it’s selfish. You may even go as far as to think it’s an excuse to be lazy. 

Actions: You take every opportunity you can to help someone else. You never say no when someone asks you for assistance, even if it is an inconvenience for you. You also don’t take time to intentionally relax and replenish yourself which leads you to the point of anxiety, exhaustion, and eventually burnout.

Now, let’s change the position a little and see how this next scenario plays out.

Scenario 2

Position: You’ve lived a life of service and everyone knows they can count on you just the same. However, your stance has been to do whatever you can for others, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your personal time or leave you feeling depleted. You will only drop what YOU have going on or change YOUR plans in emergency situations. Period!

Perspective: Because your position is to make sure you’re good before giving to others, your perspective is that taking time to yourself, for yourself or saying no to someone is a form of self-preservation and self-love. You now recognize that if you do not prioritize your own physical and mental health, you won’t be ANY good to ANYbody in ANY way!

Actions: You pay attention and listen to your body. When needed, you stop and do what you need to do to ensure you are physically and mentally well. You use the word “no” when you need to and understand that it does not make you a bad person. You feel empowered because YOU are in control of YOUR life.

I Want To Change! Now What?

I’m sure everyone would love to live the life that played out in Scenario 2, but for some, you have no idea where you start. Here are 4 ways that you can begin to change your position, perspective, and live.

1. Disconnect From Negativity

It takes no God to be negative. I’m going to say that again. It take NO God…to be negative. As humans, it is often much easier for us to focus on the negative than it is to search for and point out the positive. And if our emotions are involved, logic usually loses out, sending is into a downward spiral of negative thoughts. If you spend a lot of time around negative people, it’s going to be dang near impossible for you to stay clear of those negative thoughts.

Along with negative people, you also have to rid your life of any negative content you may be consuming. These are the things that slide in undetected and program our minds to gravitate towards those negative thoughts.

2. Change Your Emotional & Mental Diet

How you feed yourself physically will manifest itself physically. The same is to be said for your mental and emotional state. In order to change your perspective, you have to change what you’re feeding yourself emotionally and mentally. Find positive, self-help books, devotionals and podcasts. Search for inspirational social media pages to follow. You can even look for empowering blogs written by women ministers for the purposes of motivating and encouraging (shameless plug). Also, employ yourself as a resource for positivity. Tap into affirmations, scriptures, and pay close attention to your negative self-talk.

3. Always Look For The Win

Every trial or adversity that we face is attached to a bigger and better purpose. It’s the silver lining in every cloud, the sunshine after the rain, and the light at the end of the tunnel. It may not always be blatantly obvious what it is, but “the bright side” will always be present. Sometimes, you just have to take the time to look for it. Roman 8:28 reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The keyword here is ALL. That means the good, the bad, and the ugly. God uses all of it and works it out for our good, to help us grow, increase our faith, and make us stronger and wiser.

There’s Power In Perspective. Take Your Power Back!

If you haven’t felt genuine joy, peace, or happiness in a while, it’s probably due to your perspective. While happiness is an external job affected by what goes on around us, joy and peace are both internal jobs. Both external and internal factors influence our perspective on life and ourselves. Today is the day for you to take inventory of the things going on around you and flowing into your mind. Anything that does not edify you or cultivate a positive perspective needs to go. The time is now for you to do something different to experience the life you deserve. Take your power back, Sis!

Yours In Power & Love,

Coach Jo