It’s International women’s day, so why am I talking about the need for Black women to love protect our mind, body and spirit? I have mixed feelings about this day. Don’t get me wrong, I believe us women should be celebrated, whether our achievements are big or small. Yes we have come a long way. While us women still fight for wage equality; and to be given the recognition in society we deserve. The fight for Black women’s equality is a never ending battle. So, I question if us Black women are celebrated equally in society or the world in general.
Work and financial equality
How we work informs so many areas of our lives. From starting out in a junior role to building a career path, we still fight for recognition. I know from bitter experience the projects I have not received the recognition for or being passed over for promotion. Its not surprising that set-backs at work will create financial difficulties. One of the most difficult things is when our white colleagues, who are under experienced or qualified go ahead and get these opportunities. Repeatedly we have the feeling of being behind – never catching up.
Touching every part of our lives
As Black women we know our bodies and beauty are not celebrated in the white western world. The western beauty standard of being thin, with white skin, narrow hips and noses is the ideal we were given. When it comes to hair, well we know that Black women are still on a journey to show the world that our natural beauty and hair is good enough.
Why protect our mind, body and spirit?
I came to these three things because I believe more than ever that these are the areas to help us Black women withstand the challenges we face. If you’ve been thinking about this or don’t know where to start, here’s some things to help you – with advice from these Black women – Sabrina and Janet:
For your Mind – The Mind Flow
Janet Brown is a transformational life coach who works with people assisting them to be more empowered. Her advice on how us Black women can take care of our minds is as follows:
Our mind is the data system which connects and enables functioning of the mind,body and soul. How we treat ourselves will determine the manifestation of life that we live. We all have a past made up of experiences, values, habits etc which have bought us to the current moment impacting our future going forward.
The society we are born into has a mission to condition us through family, communities, school, religious denominations. This can impact on our beliefs of who we are and where we belong. If you think about it we are constantly responding/reacting to teachings and expectations of others. Competitiveness is rife as we constantly fit into the unscripted rules laid down for us. The unseen script goes from gaining qualifications after school &university,working in a good job, having a partner becoming a parent,being financially wealthy and accessing material assets.
Be aware of your stress
What you’ll see is there is no time to think whether these are our deep desires for contentment. The fact that we are born means our purpose here is already sealed. There are many outside forces that hold a light against our race, gender, social mobility, health and wealth. Knowing all this there is no surprise that we become stressful.
Stress, raises its head when we are being stifled. When the stress hormone cortisol is released for a short time it’s fine once resolutions are found relatively soon. The danger lies when it prolongs without healing or treatment.
We may not have dealt with our trauma
In the mix are past traumas not dealt with especially from childhood, work related issues, complex family issues, health problems, racism and grief. This can commonly lead to depression, anxiety, heart, disease and obesity. The ability to be aware of stressful issues and finding resolution to them once represented is the best way forward. Leaving it for a long while without intervention can be catastrophic to living life at optimum levels.
The world we live in will move at its own pace. We have choices to identify what’s success for us. I believe that self-development is the key to discovering who we are. For a lot of us women we come across self-development at a crisis point in our lives burnt out and frustrated. I sometimes wonder what the outcome of life would have been had access been available in childhood. That’s why I am all for teaching the young ones who they are and who they become is totally down to them.
Wherever you are now ask yourself “Who I am as a woman and what are my desires for living optimally”.
My general tips for keeping well are a mix of methods for taking care of your mind and body as shown in this list I wrote for you:
- Schedule time to do things that keep you calm and well.
- Quiet time/mediation/sitting/walking/smoothing music.
- Sipping tea taking in the aroma.
- Talk to someone who supports your mind.
- Affirm yourself daily.
- Read/listen positive information aiding problem solving.
- Have a wellbeing app on your phone.
- Journal all what’s going on for you.
- Exercise-yoga-pilates-cardio-Qi gong
- Tune into yourself everyday and analyse thoughts and feelings.
Learn more about Janet and her services:
Janet’s services include the following:
She’s partnered with a company working on a womens health programme(HSE/Juice Plus) Inc. providing Wholefood nutritional products, a 16 week online programme, with activities including nutrition, movement, spirituality and mindfulness.
Short coaching sessions or one-to-one individual coaching for self development, stress, confidence, self-esteem etc. If you are interested in her services please email Janet at: [email protected]
Helping your Body to thrive
Botanical By Brina is a UK based independent beauty brand founded by Sabrina Allen, with the mission of helping people take care of themselves and the planet. Sabrina shares her advice on how us Black women can take care of our bodies to thrive:
Self-care is our best defence. Honestly, life is tough. We have two choices: Survive OR Survive and Thrive. In August 2019 I started my healing journey because my mental and physical health were at stake. In the words of Ms. Lauryn Hill “How you gonna win when you ain’t right within”. Taking care of our minds and bodies is a necessity especially as Black women. But where do we start? Always give yourself 30 days to form a new habit. You don’t need to go ham straight away. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I want to share with you 5 habits to help you take care of your mind, body and spirit:
I started working out in August 2019 and it saved me. I am more in tune with my mind and body. Move your body and do what feels good for you. I personally work out at home with my weights and YouTube because I’m a homebody. Exercising doesn’t need to be expensive. There’s yoga, pilates, going for a walk or a run, you name it.
This year I set myself a target of meditating every morning for 5 minutes. I now meditate 10 minutes every morning after my workout. My mind still wanders A LOT but that’s ok. I see it as time to sit with my blanket and SAD lamp. Also, there’s different ways to meditate. Walking, gardening and tai chi are known as movement meditation.
Throughout my teens I used to write in my diary everyday. I released all my thoughts, feelings, joy and pain. I lost touch with it for a few years but now I’ve gotten back into it. Journaling doesn’t have to be award-winning. Just write whatever is on your mind. It’s all ok. You don’t even need to read it back if you don’t want to.
This year I’m committed to reading more books as I find it really healing. I’ve gradually gone from reading 5 pages a day to 10 pages a day and I’ve set myself a goal to read 10 books this year! I recently found out that reading improves critical thinking skills. Its also a great way to unplug. All the more reason to read!
In July 2022 Botanical By Brina, my beauty and wellness brand, was born. I wanted to create products that feel and smell good. I LOVE the smell of my Sweet Orange Hair and Body Butter and the way my Body Oil makes my skin pop. Taking care of our skin is so important. It’s self-love. When you love yourself, you want your body to look and feel its best.
Remember Self-Care = Self Love
Peace and love,
How to find Sabrina’s products and services:
Shop my product range at www.botanicalbybrina.com
Saturday 11th March 9:30-4pm Black Northern Women
Saturday 25th March 1-6pm Midlands Melanin Market @ Future Makers, 22 Daleside Road, Nottingham, NG2 4DH
Saturday 8th April 10am-2:30pm Sherwood Vegan Market
Connecting to your Spirit
Whenever I think about my spirit, my mind, emotions, and feelings are the first things that come to mind. I think about the feelings we talk about called gut feeling. Or when something just doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it’s a casual comment or just the way someone looks at you. But when you feel uncertain, even unsettled, you know when that feeling is making you question a situation.
As women listening to our spirit or inner voice is particularly important when our boundaries are disregarded. Those times when we say ‘no’ to something and it’s ignored. Or when we agree to do something to please others but our spirit feels angry or short-changed.
Bringing clarity to your spirit
From experience I also know how being too busy can also leave you feeling like your spirit is flat, at times broken. This is when you need to think about your balance. What can you take away or stop doing to help your mindset and inner voice calm down. Yes being calm and in my opinion having peace is at the core to connecting to your spirit. This will bring clarity and the ability to stop a racing mind to really listen to your spirit. What else can we do to connect to our spirit? The following are good places to start:
- Listen to your body. Your stomach, pulse and breathing are all physical clues.
- Feel what you feel good or bad. Be aware of your true feelings as much as possible.
- Notice what creates negative and positive feelings. Is it the people around you or the environment ?
- This world wants Black women to live in doubt and fear but you must practice listening to yourself. Stop and listen to your body, voice and breath. Trust your voice.
- What can you change or do to help yourself?
- Pray and/or speak to your higher power. I believe in God and start my days with prayer and meditation to seek guidance and deal with any problems throughout the day.
How do you connect to your spirit ? As a Black woman, how are you managing your mind and body? Leave your comments below:
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