As a Black woman with a beautiful Black daughter, I know the stress that we can experience. I want to give my daughter and other women tools that help us navigate this world.
Both my daughter and I have had a stressful semester. She is a senior computer science major and leader of an organization on campus. She worked hard striving to get all of her projects completed before the end of the year. I, on the other hand, am in my final year of graduate school while teaching 8 classes. To say I was overwhelmed and overworked is an understatement. So, when I saw the email saying 2 spots were left for a yoga retreat in Jamaica, I immediately thought, “I need this!”
We traveled to Jamaica and had a wonderful experience; I will share more about Jamaica in a future article. However, for now, I want to share some wonderful ways to “protect your peace and guard your spirit.”
Why is this important? If we protect our spirit, which is God’s essence in us, we are also helping to maintain a state of harmonious mental health. When our spirit and peace are disturbed, we can lose hope. When we lose hope, it can lead to other problems including illness, lack of sleep and depression. Defaulting in duty, I heard Minister Farrakhan mention in a lecture, can also cause stress. Are we defaulting in our duty to take care of self? I had to reflect on my first duty, which is to preserve my body physically and spiritually. My top tips for protecting one’s peace are:
1. Prayer or connecting with your divine source helps to give us hope and strengthen our faith. I remember The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan saying that we can never doubt God’s ability to bring us out of the worst of circumstances. I bear witness! Can you? Do you remember having something happen to you or being in a bad situation and your prayer was answered? Always strive to express thoughts and gratitude to the Creator. Remember, we must express ourselves, so we don’t “depress” ourselves.
2. Exercise. After prayer, exercising is one of my favorite ways to engage in self-care. Whether I perform a few yoga poses, take a walk in the sun, or participate in a kick-boxing workout, I get energized and prepared for the day. Exercise is a form of self-care because I am strengthening and paying attention to my body. What we love, we pay attention to…right? If we love our children, we pay attention to them. When we neglect our homes or our bodies, well see visible signs of neglect. When you pass a home with a well-manicured lawn, it is a sign that the home is being properly cared for by someone. The same can be said for our bodies and eating healthy foods. As I add more rotations around the sun, I have come to appreciate yoga and relaxation activities more and more. Now, I always add yoga movements at the end of my workouts. Now, I also value an entire yoga workout, when I didn’t previously.
3. Thinking, reading, and writing positive thoughts. Since every action is preceded by a thought, what we think about takes up our attention. There is a saying from the movie The Secret that says, “Energy flows where attention goes.” When I was at the retreat, I didn’t have my computer and was able to “unplug” a little and not be consumed with the information online. Instead, I was able to focus more on being still, thinking, reading, and reflecting on my thoughts. I was able to appreciate the abundance I saw in nature every day. We are “enough” and God has given us plenty. One of our yoga instructors at the retreat reminded us to look around in nature whenever we feel we are having a feeling of lack.
4. Lastly, I was able to embrace “peace.” I wasn’t rushing anywhere, which I usually do. I felt more present during the day and was able to sleep at a decent hour, which led me to be more refreshed when I woke up. I didn’t realize how sleep deprived I had become. It felt wonderful to sleep and naturally wake up around 5 a.m. for prayer. It was priceless. In Torchlight for America, Minister Farrakhan emphasized eight guidelines preventive care guidelines. “Get proper rest and relaxation” was number #6. He said, “Allow your body time to recuperate from the emotional stress and physical exertion of the day, and to re-energize itself to meet the challenges of the next day (p. 124)