2020 and 2021 were hard years for many of us due to the COVID-19 pandemic, personal and family health issues, the death of loved ones, racial injustice, remote work and learning, economic challenges, divisive politics, and more.
Perhaps you struggled with the basic decisions required to navigate daily life because each day was filled with new levels of uncertainty and the fear of the unknown.
The uncertainty and the fear of unknown may have created a revolving door of choices that changed how you handled your daily routines.
Keeping up with these choices and changes may have created or increased your stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, and/or physical and mental health issues.
What’s more, you may still face these issues in 2022.
How has it all impacted your life, relationships, and career?
How are you planning to navigate 2022?
Mindful self-care is one of the best ways you can nurture yourself as you navigate 2022.
So what does mindful self-care mean?
Let’s start with understanding mindfulness. Mindfulness is your birthright. That’s right. You were born with it.
Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of what’s happening inside and outside of yourself in the present moment.
Self-care is the act of nurturing your spirit, heart, mind, body, breath, and life in uplifting ways.
Like mindfulness, self-care is also your birthright that helps you outsmart stress when you experience pressure or a situation that exceeds your ability to cope.
Mindful self-care happens when you CHOOSE to pay attention to what’s happening inside and outside yourself in ways that nurture and uplift you.
CHOICE is the key word in your ability to practice mindful self-care.
Every year gives you a choice in how you show up in your life, relationships, and career. You get to exercise these choices monthly, weekly, and daily. Within each day, you get to choose how you show up.
Check out the amount of times you get to exercise your power of choice each year.
That’s a lot of choices, right?
I invite you to use your power of choice to practice my signature mindful self-care exercise called H.U.G. today.
Before you get started, here are a few things you should know.
My self-hugging journey started during the first weeks of the pandemic in March 2020. When I realized I would not be able to see or hug my loved ones in person, I started to panic. Stress and anxiety from the fear of the unknown set in. My eating and sleeping patterns were disrupted. I spent way too much time online. My news consumption was at an all-time high. Every aspect of my well-being was suffering. In addition, my clients were also struggling in similar ways. When I checked in with them, I learned we all shared a common concern: unable to give and receive hugs.
In an effort to nurture myself and support them, I did some research on hugging. I learned that going without hugging for long periods can impact your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. I also learned hugging helps to boost serotonin, the happiness hormone that is produced and spread by neurons in the brain. Feeling more happiness strengthens your well-being.
All of this information inspired me to experiment with self-hugging. That experiment strengthened my well-being and led me to become a self-hug advocate.
Check out the benefits of self-hugging.
Hugging yourself is FREE and takes less than one minute. A self-hug is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
When you hug yourself, your body releases the hormone, oxytocin, the “love hormone.” Oxytocin helps reduce stress and tension by lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body. It also lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and improves moods.
Hugging yourself for 20 seconds or more is a serotonin booster. Serotonin is known as the “feel good” hormone that is produced and spread by neurons in the brain. It helps you feel happy, calm, and confident.
What is H.U.G. and Are You Ready to Choose It?
Over the past two years, I have used my self-hugging journey to develop H.U.G., a one-minute mindful self-care practice that has helped my clients and Thriving Mindfully Academy members nurture themselves and navigate stress no matter what’s happening in the world.
H.U.G. is an acronym for
-Uncertainty & the Unknown with
-Grace, Grounding & Gratitude
Now it’s time for you to H.U.G. yourself!
There are many ways to hug yourself. Feel free to use my Thriving Mindfully Academy’s self-hugging tips below.
1) Open your heart and claim your birthright of mindful self-care. Why? Because you have GRACE. That means you don’t have do anything to receive it. You get it just because you are you. When you claim your mindful self-care birthright and allow yourself space to experience GRACE, you are also giving yourself a dose of self-compassion and self-kindness.
2) Take a moment to slow down and breathe deeply. Try 1-3 deep breaths. As you breathe, notice how your breath and body feel. Guess what? You are practicing mindful self-care and living in the present moment. That’s GROUNDING.
3) Give yourself a hug for 20 seconds or more. Breathe deeply as you notice what’s happening in your body during your hug. Feel free to gently rock back and forth while hugging yourself.
4) After you hug yourself, reflect on what you are grateful for. It will lead you to GRATITUDE.
Need more help?
Click on the buttons below to sign up for my FREE webinar on January 19th and January 26th at 8-8:45 PM ET and January 23rd at 4-4:45 PM ET. The same information will be shared in each webinar.
Invite 5 family members and friends to join you. See you in the webinar!
READY TO GO DEEPER IN YOUR WELLNESS AND PERSONAL GROWTH JOURNEY?
Click on the button below to learn how I can help you as a Thriving Mindfully Academy member this year.
Get your monthly subscription by January 31st. Membership doors close on January 31st.
Happy Wellness Wednesday!
Tonight, head over to Black Doctor’s Facebook Live at 6 p.m. ET for The Doctor Is In conversation on opting into self-care for 2021. I am talking with Dr. Monique Gary and Ricki Fairley of TOUCH The Black Breast Cancer Alliance. Go here to watch tonight’s Black Doctor’s Facebook Live.
–December 20th, 2-4:30 PM ET
–December 27th, 2-4:30 PM ET
During the Come Home to Yourself Retreat, you will:
-Practice mindful self-care with deep breathing, meditation, affirmations, and gentle chair yoga
-Reflect on and journal about who you have been and the lessons you learned in 2020
-Identify who or what’s been getting in your way in 2020Release and practice forgiveness
-Explore who you want to be and how you want to show up in 2021
-Set intentions and identify the resources, action steps, and accountability support you need to manifest the person you want to be in 2021
-Create a self-celebration plan to appreciate your small, medium, and big wins in 2021
A Zoom video link will be emailed to you once you register for the online retreat.
Birthdays are some of my favorite celebrations. I love mine so much that I celebrate it monthly. I use my monthly birthday to slow down, reflect on, and celebrate my small. medium, and big wins. This year, I used many of my monthly birthdays as a personal retreat due to my emotional struggles with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on my life, career, and business.
During my personal retreats, I looked at my full self in a mirror and came face-to-face with my vulnerabilities, challenges, wins, and losses. As a result, I gained new insights, brainstormed innovative solutions, participated in women’s healing circles, read inspirational books and magazines, and spent more time walking in nature. I also decided to change my pescatarian diet to a vegan diet, get more sleep, seek support from a therapist, join a virtual meditation community, deepen my study and practice of digital wellness, and move my body with more dance, Barre 3, yoga, walking, and bike riding. All of these efforts helped me set intentions and create shifts in how I choose to show up in my life, relationships, and career. They prepared me to walk into my fantabulous 56th year later this month and 2021 with a new mantra and intention: SOAR.
The best thing about a personal retreat is you get to choose how long it will last and what you will focus on. Over the past several years, I have used several formats for my personal retreats. Here are several examples.
- A week: one to three hours per day starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday)
- A three-day weekend: several hours per day beginning on Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday
- A full-day: two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, and one hour in the evening
- A half-day: two or three hours
What changes occurred in your life and career this year?
Have you embraced or resisted the changes?
Do you need a personal retreat before 2020 ends?
Do you need help getting started on your personal retreat?
The Come Home to Yourself Retreat will be offered twice. You can choose to attend the virtual retreat on December 20th or December 27th. Consider giving the Come Home to Yourself Retreat as a holiday gift to your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Register here for the December 20th retreat. Go here for the December 27th retreat.
During the virtual retreat, you will:
- Practice mindful self-care with deep breathing, meditation, affirmations, and gentle chair yoga
- Reflect on and journal about who you have been and the lessons you learned in 2020
- Identify who or what’s been getting in your way in 2020
- Release and practice forgiveness
- Explore who you want to be and how you want to show up in 2021
- Set intentions and identify the resources, action steps, and accountability support you need to manifest the person you want to be in 2021
- Create a self-celebration plan to appreciate your small, medium, and big wins in 2021
A Zoom video link will be emailed to you once you register for the online retreat.
Register for the December 20th retreat here.
Register for the December 27th retreat here.
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.
- Mindfulness 101
- Mindful Self-Care
- Mindful Creativity
- Mindful at Work
- Mindful Communication
- Mindful Relationships
- Mindful Leadership
- Mindful Technology
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!
Keep in touch!
Have you ever used a vision board? A vision board is a mindful creativity tool you can use to help clarify, concentrate, and maintain focus on the highest and best vision of your life.
I started using vision boards in the early 1990s after reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way. I have used them for my artwork, business, career reinvention, fitness, home decor, personal style, relationships, travel adventures, yoga practice, and overcoming writer’s block with my creativity memoir, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetical Memoir of Self-Discovery and tech memoir, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.
A couple of years ago, I learned about National Vision Board Day, an annual celebration held on the second Saturday in January. National Vision Board Day is my opportunity to practice loving kindness as I give myself the gift of time to reflect on, journal about, and create a written statement and visual expression of my highest and best life. Last year I started my vision board process on January 14 and finished it several days later with three different vision boards (see a photo of one of my boards above).
This year I am spending National Vision Board Day as a creativity coach. I will be facilitating a vision board-making session with a client. Listen to the latest episode of the #ThrivingMindfully Podcast to learn how I use mindful creativity to help my clients create their vision statement and board. The episode includes a guided meditation, breathing and journaling exercises, and tips. Feel free to use it to prepare for your National Vision Board Day celebration.
Interested in learning more about how I help people just like you become aware of and express creativity in your own unique way while outsmarting stress and overcoming blocks and challenges? Check out my mindful creativity services.