I have a favor to ask you. Help me build a stronger Thriving Mindfully Academy that can support your life, relationships, and career. All I need you to do is to compete my self-care survey. It consists of four questions that take less than 5 minutes to complete. Go here to complete it.
July was a powerful self-care month in the lives of three of my favorite women athletes, Naomi Osaka, a 23-year old Japanese-Haitian American world tennis champion and entrepreneur; Simone Biles, a 24-year old African-American Olympic gymnast; and Simone Manuel, a 24 year-old African-American Olympic swimmer. Each of these women of color have chosen to make their mental health, well-being, and self-care a priority. Watching them put themselves first above their demanding careers and public scrutiny has been a master class in what it means to embrace, embody, and express the radical self-care wisdom of African-American writer, womanist, and civil rights activist Audre Lorde: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” I think we can all learn something from these self-care sheroes!
After watching Naomi step away from the French Open and withdraw from Wimbledon to prioritize her mental health, I read her essay in TIME and watched her Netflix documentary. Her courage to be vulnerable with herself and willingness to share her vulnerability on the world stage filled my heart with deep gratitude. Gratitude because here is a woman who clearly has her own personal issues (like the rest of us) and is deeply engaged in her own wellness journey, stepping out and shining a light on a topic most of society is hesitant to acknowledge, discuss, and address. In her TIME essay, she writes, “I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s OK to not be OK; and it’s OK to talk about it.”
Naomi’s decision to speak openly, honestly, and from her heart inspired Simone Biles (“Simone B.”) when she decided to withdraw from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games. During one of her interviews, Simone encouraged other athletes to “put mental health first, because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to.” She also reassured them, “it’s OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself, because it shows how strong of a competitor that you really are, rather than just battle through it.” Her mental health activism stems directly from the deep commitment she has made to herself to get help when needs it. In her most recent interview with Health Magazine, she shares how she uses the support of a psychologist, her family, and her boyfriend to navigate her life and career.
Like Naomi and Simone B., Simone Manuel (“Simone M.), represents a new wave of women of color who are using their global platform to champion mental health, well-being, and self-care as they express their own vulnerability and how they are nurturing themselves. Last year, Glamour Magazine interviewed Simone M. about the importance of mental health. Check out her candid response: “Mental health is so crucial because it contributes to how you navigate through this world and what you think of yourself. I’ve been seeing a sports psychologist since I was 15 and I use that to talk about my experiences as a Black swimmer and a Black woman in this world. I think that it genuinely has helped me be able to handle some of the hardships or the experiences that I’ve dealt with in my life. It’s such a powerful, powerful tool to be able to exercise your mind and strengthen your mind.”
Throughout the interview, she gives an inside look into her self-care which includes two of my favorite mindfulness practices, meditation and journaling. She urges us to resist numbing our feelings. She also reassures us that it’s okay to feel and talk about our emotions and listen to our bodies. I know she was following her own advice when she took a break from training after being diagnosed with overtraining syndrome earlier this year.
THE GEN Z + GEN X CONNECTION
When I look at these three 20-something women who represent my niece Jordan’s Gen Z generation and their self-care journey, I realize we share a similar path. As a 56 year-old African-American woman who sometimes self-identifies as a Gen X member, I remember what it felt like to be an overachieving stressed and time-pressed lawyer and investment banker in my late 20s and early 30s. My self-worth was tied to my career. When my career didn’t produce the success I expected, my mental health and well-being were nonexistent. With the support of my parents, family, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority sisters, Howard University School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center classmates, friends, and a therapist, I started to recognize how important it was to ground myself in self-care. It became the foundation for how I currently live my life. It also inspired me to express my creativity as a writer and an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital and Walter Reed National Military Hospital. In addition, it led me to study and become a certified yoga and meditation teacher, a reiki master and sound healing practitioner, and a digital wellness educator. Today, I am blessed to use my experience and expertise in my work with people of all ages who are struggling with self-care as the Chief Mindfulness Officer of my wellness company, Ananda Leeke Consulting, and the founder of the Thriving Mindfully Community and Academy.
As I closed out July, I decided to write a thank you to letter Naomi, Simone B., and Simone M. for showing up as their REAL selves. Check out what I had to say.
Dear Naomi, Simone B., and Simone M.,
Your courage to stand up, speak your truth from your heart, say HELL NO to society’s hustle culture, and say HELL YES to your mental health, well-being, and self-care has become a powerful gift to all of us Black and Brown women, women of color, all women and girls, and folks on Mother Earth.
You are showing many of us how to declare our self-care independence unapologetically.
Your choice to honor yourself on the global stage is helping some of us see what it means to be vulnerable, loving, kind, gentle, and compassionate with ourselves. When we see you, we are able to look in the mirror and see folks who look just like us claim and practice their birthright of mental health, well-being, and self-care.
Without even knowing it, you are helping us all recommit ourselves to a healthier life mission. One where we are humans being instead of humans doing. One that carves out a public pathway to self-care beyond survival, the very thing Dr. Maya Angelou spoke about in her ancestral wisdom statement: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive.”
One last thing! I wrote a poem, “What’s Next: A Lifeline to Stop Doing, Start Being” that expresses what this thank you letter could not. Watch a video of me reading it below.
Check out the IG Live conversationI had with Xina Eiland, President of X+PR, co-founder of Unmute, and co-host of the Get Found Get Funded podcast on August 1, 2021, about the impact of Naomi, Simone B., and Simone M.’s decision to prioritize their mental health and self-care.
SELF-CARE SUPPORT FOR READERS
Just in case you need self-care support, I invite you to do three things.
Go here to take my self-care survey (4 easy questions that take less than 5 minutes to answer).
Click here to claim your complimentary membership in my Thriving Mindfully Community, a digital sacred space that inspires you to nurture, transform, and celebrate your life and career.
If you wanna deepen your wellness commitment and expand your personal growth journey with my support, join me for the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Master Class on August 4th at 8–9:15 PM ET or August 7th at 1–2:15 PM ET. Click on the links below.
-Buy your ticket here for the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Master Class on August 4th at 8–9:15 PM ET
-Buy your ticket here for the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Master Class on August 7th at 1–2:15 PM ET
Digital Wellness Month is a new initiative that was created in response to the time most of us are currently spending on technology to communicate in our lives, careers, and businesses during COVID-19 (known to some of us as the new normal, #QuarantineLife, lockdown, or my personal favorite – Q-Life).
The purpose of Digital Wellness Month is to encourage and help people to practice tech life balance with small steps.
During each week in May, tips and resources will be shared to help you create tech life balance in your life, career, and business on my blog and social media. Follow Ananda Leeke on Facebook and LinkedIn. Check out @anandaleeke on Instagram and Twitter.
Go here to listen to the Thriving Mindfully Podcast to learn more about Digital Wellness Month and my digital wellness journey that included my struggles with spending way too much time online and burnout.
What Is Digital Wellness?
Digital Wellness is the use of technology in mindful, intentional, and healthy ways.
Go here to listen to Thriving Mindfully Podcast about digital wellness.
Becoming Mindful About Your Tech Use
Get your favorite pen, journal, or a piece of paper. Take a few minutes to answer each of the questions below. They will help you become aware of how you currently use technology. Your responses will help you identify what needs to be included in your Digital Wellness Intention.
How much time do you currently spend online Monday through Friday and on the weekends?
Do you take breaks from using technology?
What stresses you out when you are online?
Does your body experience tension, tightness, or discomfort while you are online?
How do you take care of your body while you are online (the way you sit or stand, screens that protect your eyes, etc.)?
Do you sleep with your digital devices on or near your bed?
Being Intentional About Your Tech Use
Digital Wellness becomes a reality in your life, career, and business when you take time to slow down and to create a Digital Wellness Intention, a statement about the way you want to use technology. Use my Digital Wellness Intention as a sample (see below).
Sample Digital Wellness Intention
I am mindful and intentional about the ways I use technology. I honor my spirit, heart, mind, and body with mindful self-care practices including breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and mindful movement while I am online and offline. I take breaks, use time boundaries. and unplug to manage my tech consumption. I place my digital devices in my living room or kitchen at the end of the day. The end result is a healthier me.
Digital Wellness Plan
A digital wellness plan is a gift you give yourself to help manage your time online with mindful self-care practices. Mindful self-care practices encourage you to slow down, become aware of how you spend your time online, and identify and take small steps towards having a healthier digital life. Examples include breathing exercises, journaling, massage, meditation, physical movement (walking, running, yoga, and aerobic classes), rest (naps and a good night’s sleep), setting time boundaries, unplugging, and more.
Tech Life Balance Tips
Make Your Breath Your BFF: Before you get out of bed, incorporate breathing exercises into your morning routine by taking 7 deep breaths. Place your hand on your heart as you inhale and exhale through your nose. Do the same thing before you go to bed.
Mindful Moment: Take 1 deep breath before turning on your digital devices, answering your phone or responding to an email or text.
Mindful Movement Break: While you’re working during the day, step away from your digital devices and take a 3-5 minute break to breathe deeply move your body.
A Few More Things!
Remember to be patient with yourself as you make changes in your life, career, and business.
Take small steps. Make them baby steps.
Celebrate your victories no matter how small, medium or big they are.
Go here to get the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s resources on mindfulness, self-care, and wellness.
Happy Second Year Anniversary Thriving Mindfully Meetup Group!
I am deeply grateful for everyone who has attended the Mindful Monday Meditation classes since April 16, 2018, at Qi Kratom CBD Tea. It’s been a blessing to share meditation, mindfulness, self-care practices, gentle yoga, silence, hugs, and delicious tea with you. Building community with you is powerful!
In case you didn’t know, our powerful community was launched as a Meetup Group during Stress Awareness Month and on Stress Awareness Day to support folx who wanted to practice meditation and mindfulness in community, felt stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious about issues in their life, career, and business.
I have learned so much from everyone. Your presence has been a gift that continues to bless me even now that we are living in a new normal with new opportunities to embrace loving kindness for ourselves and others virtually. My prayer and intention for our third year is to continue to open my heart and serve our diverse community with your support.
REFLECTION AND SHARING
Check out the photo slideshows below and leave a comment that expresses how the community has helped you. Feel free to share your favorite moments like my poetry and favorite meditation cues, Martin’s poetry and amazing baked treats, Sincere’s sound baths, the guest teachers Angel and Corey, my favorite sayings, or the fabulous tea blends that Qi Kratom CBD Tea served.
PHOTO SLIDESHOW #1
PHOTO SLIDESHOW #2
We will continue to meet on the first Monday of each month via our new virtual platform on Zoom. Check the Meetup Group page here for the dates in May and June.
Right now, I am leading Mindful Monday Meditation and Sound Bath, a donation-based series, on Zoom from 7-8 p.m. ET in April and May. Sign up here. Invite your family, friends, and colleagues to join you. The first May session will serve as our monthly Meetup Group.
Special thanks to ee, Kai Kai, Gigi, Sincere, Naima, and Vince of Qi Kratom CBD Tea for hosting our group, providing tea, and being a vital part of our community. You have been an amazing community partner.
Many thanks to Angel Dungee, Corey Castle, ee, and Sincere for leading the classes when I was away.
Deep bow of gratitude to Martin Parker for your support, poetry sharing, and tasty baked goods.
Together, we have successfully laid the foundation for an awesome and diverse mindfulness community that supports folx in and who visit the DC area. I look forward to serving our community together in our coming year!
FINAL WORDS WITH NEW RESOURCES
Have you heard about the Thriving Mindfully Academy, an online learning platform that provides personal and professional development education, coaching, training, and resources in the areas below.
Mindful at Work
In March, I decided to to offer a soft launch of the Thriving Mindfully Academy to support and help people just like YOU and mission-driven companies, organizations, and communities navigate the COVID-19 emergency. Go here to learn more about it. Feel free to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues.
May we all continue to take great care of ourselves with loving kindness and embrace Thriving Mindfully in everything we think, feel, say, and do!
Here’s a much needed reminder I received recently.
WE ARE RESILIENT!
That’s right I used the big “R” word and claimed it for all of us!
What is resilience?
It’s a human quality and a choice that allows us to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of any adversity, crisis, difficulty, disappointment or failure in our lives, careers, and businesses. It takes choosing to tap into the quality of resilience that lives within us. It takes making a commitment and then doing the work needed to navigate the rough spots and tough times that I like to call our greatest growth opportunities.
So how can we tap into our resiliency?
Here’s what I know to be true from my own life and work as a wellness professional, an artist, an author, and a recovering high achiever, a lawyer, and an investment banker.
When we tap into our human birthright of mindfulness and choose to practice it along with self-care, we are nurturing and strengthening ourselves.
These two efforts begin with the Thriving Mindfully framework I have used in my mindfulness, self-care, and wellness work with individuals, companies, organizations, and communities for the past 20+ years.
The Thriving Mindfully framework consists of:
AWARENESS: We become aware of our birthrights of mindfulness and self-care: 1) Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of what’s happening inside and outside of ourselves in the present moment; and 2) Self-care is the act of nurturing ourselves in ways that uplift our spirit, heart, mind, body, life, career, and business.
ACCEPTANCE: We accept and claim our birthrights to mindfulness and self-care.
AFFIRMATION: We set an intention and affirm our birthrights to mindfulness and self-care with what I call the Big 5 on a daily basis: loving kindness, compassion, nonjudgment, patience, and forgiveness.
ACTION: We commit to and practice mindfulness and self-care by taking action steps.
ACCOUNTABILITY: We seek and secure accountability partners to support our efforts to practice mindful self-care.
APPRECIATION: We appreciate ourselves and mindful self-care efforts by celebrating our small, medium, and big wins on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis.
BONUS TREAT: Listen to the Thriving Mindfully Podcast episode on resiliency.
If you need mindfulness, self-care, and wellness resources, I am here for you! Check out the links to my Thriving Mindfully Academy, blogs, podcasts, and more below.
Thriving Mindfully Academy, an online learning platform that provides personal and professional development education, coaching, training, and resources on mindfulness, meditation, self-care, and wellness.
During this week’s Wellness Wednesday Meditation Class on Facebook Live, I shared a quote from the “phenomenal woman,” Dr. Maya Angelou, one of my favorite sheroes, about home.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
I used Dr. Angelou’s quote to introduce a mindful reflection on how we are nourishing our physical home and the homes we inhabit in our body, mind with our thoughts, emotions with our heart, and soul with our spirit.
I also shared an excerpt from my poem, “Home” that is published in my book, That Which Awakens Me (available on Amazon).
Guess what I have for you? A mindful reflection and/or journaling exercise that will help you explore your relationship with your home.
Check out the questions below. You may want to share the questions with your loved ones to spark a discussion.
When you hear the word ‘home’ what comes to mind?
How does your current home nurture and support you?
Do you feel at home in your body, mind, heart, and/or spirit? Why or why not?
What can you do in the next 30-90 days to support yourself in feeling at home in your body, mind, heart and/or spirit?
BONUS QUESTIONS: If you want go deeper, spend time exploring these questions.
Who will serve as your accountability partner and support you in taking the actions steps in the next 30-90 days?
How will you celebrate your small, medium, and big wins from the action steps in the next 30-90 days?
Meditation and Mindfulness 101 Session Videos
This week, Meico Whitlock, Founder/CEO of Mindful Techie, and I have led a series of Meditation and Mindfulness 101 sessions during the Plugged In Nonprofit Tech and Transformation, a free digital conference hosted by Keela. see the videos below. Feel free to watch them with your loved ones at home. We hope they will support your mindful self-care practice.
Wanna join me for the March 26th class? Sign up here.
March 24th class led by Meico
March 25th class led by your truly
Do You Need Help?
Does your company or organization need help in navigating the new normal of working from home?
Do you and your colleagues and clients need training and coaching support to learn how to mindfully work from home, manage stress with mindful self-care practices, use mindful creativity and communication practices to be more effective, and use technology mindfully to be more productive?
If you answered YES or MAYBE to one or both of these questions, contact me to see how we can work together: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you in the coming days and weeks.
PS: I am happy to support you and your team with online coaching and trainings. It’s something I’ve been doing for years!
Thriving Mindfully Academy
I decided to offer a soft launch of the Thriving Mindfully Academy to support and help people just like YOU and mission-driven companies, organizations, and communities navigate the COVID-19 emergency.
The Thriving Mindfully Academy is an online learning platform that provides professional development education, coaching, training, and resources in the following areas:
Mindful at Work
April is Stress Awareness Month. Outsmart stress in your life, career, and business during my Wellness Wednesday Meditation classes on April 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and April 29th from 7-7:15 AM ET via: Facebook.com/AnandaLeeke64.
If you miss the class, I will post the replay on my social media channels.
Mindful Self-Care Weekly Themes
Watch my video to learn how you can bring more mindful self-care into your life, career, and business with the Thriving Mindfully Weekly Recipe of Themes (for each day of the week; includes tips).
January is almost over and I have a HUGE confession to make. I needed to press the reset button on 2020 last week. That’s right I had to start the year over again. Does that sound like you?
Here’s why I hit the reset button on 2020. I discovered I wasn’t living what I have been preaching in the way I manage my home. This year, I made a commitment to Thriving Mindfully in my home with more joy, beauty, organization, and less stuff. I committed to using many tips based on the Marie Kondo method. FYI: Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and author.
I love Kondo’s approach to live with things you cherish and release those things you no longer want, need, and cherish. My struggle came with following through on my commitment. I procrastinated doing the work. So I enlisted the support of Meico, my brother, BFF, and accountability partner; Lauren, my BFF and Howard University School of Law classmate (affectionately known as the Black Martha Stewart); Wayne, my BFF and book editor; and Wayne’s amazing wife, Joy, my friend and home decor and lifestyle expert. Yep, I assembled a team of folks to help me overcome my struggles. Having a team made me more accountable and gave me tips, strength, support, and that extra nudge to get things done. They were also my cheerleaders and helped me celebrate my small, medium, and big steps
With my accountability team’s support, I was able to complete a large portion of my home beautification project over the weekend. Dig how I am using the phrase home beautification to describe my decluttering and cleaning efforts. I had to rename the process because the words decluttering and cleaning were too heavy. They made me resist the process. Using the phrase home beautification gave me more JOY and motivation to reset my 2020 button on my home. Check out photos of my new and improved living room above.
So what’s happening with you so far?
Do you need to restart 2020?
Is 2020 calling you to be more than you have ever been before?
Are you noticing a need to dive deep and explore who you are becoming in the new year?
Are you resisting what you need to be and do in order to be the REAL YOU?
Struggling with how you are showing up in your life, relationships, career, and/or business?
Well, let’s reset the 2020 button together and create space within ourselves to embrace Thriving Mindfully with self-care.
Join me this week for the encore offerings of my mindful self-care online retreats for women on January 30th and all people on January 31st. The online retreats offer you an opportunity to take a deep dive into who you were in 2019, who you want to be in 2020, and how you can use mindful self-care practices to support yourself throughout the year.
During the online retreats, you will:
Breath deeply and meditate
Practice affirmations and gentle chair yoga
Learn about mindfulness and mindful self-care
Reflect on and journal about who YOU have become
Explore how you have loved, valued, and honored yourself
Find out who or what’s been getting in your way
Release and practice forgiveness
Dive deep and discover the YOU that you want to be in 2020
Set intentions and identify the resources, action steps, and accountability support you need to manifest the person you want to be in 2020
Write a love letter to yourself about who you want to be in 2020
Create a self-celebration plan to appreciate your small, medium, and big wins in 2020
One of the best ways I have been able to practice self-care over the past two decades is through marrying my mindfulness practice with my practice of honoring the new and full moons and the astrological wisdom that supports each moon cycle. I call it being MOONFUL.
Being MOONFUL has helped me strengthen my relationship with myself and others. It has also helped me become more intuitive, intentional, focused, and open-hearted. All of these efforts have led me to the process of MOONIFESTING, the act of manifesting my heart’s desires in my life, career, and relationships with the support of the power and presence of the new and full moons. Last year, I launched the Thriving Mindfully Moon Circles to share what I have learned with folx in DC and online.
Join me for the Thriving Mindfully Moon Circles at Qi Kratom CBD Tea, 1517 U Street, NW in DC in February.
ONE-ON-ONE COACHING: I love coaching and supporting people just like you who are committed to exploring mindfulness, meditation, and mindful self-care in their lives. My seven coaching areas include: mindfulness, mindful self-care, mindful creativity, mindful communication, mindful leadership, mindful at work, and mindful technology. Contact email@example.com if you need more support. We can set up a free 20-minute consultation call to discuss how we can work together. I offer an hourly rate and three-month and six-month packages.
Check out my three mindfulness books here: Love’s Troubadours, a yoga-inspired novel; That Which Awakens Me, a mindful creativity memoir; and Digital Sisterhood, a mindful technology memoir. My books make great gifts for yourself and others.