Living & Breathing #BlackGirlMagic: 5 Tips To A Better You
Master’s Degree. Check. Managerial Promotion. Check. Book Launch. Check. First Panel Premiere. Check. Women of color are exceptional. Although things that can be done by all women, what makes women of color exceptional is that they can still fulfill these incredible accomplishments given the fact that they began well behind the race’s starting line. Being on your #BlackGirlMagic mindset can get daunting.
I’m sure many other women of color can relate to the feeling of always needing to be at the tippy-top of your game in every aspect of your life. Now I have my theories of where this feeling stems from — historically being put down as an inferior (race), 2nd class citizenship as a woman (gender), the world hating you and wanting to be you at the same time (#blackgirlmagic), to name a few— but that’s a topic for a later blog. The greatest revenge is your personal success and development, and I want to help you make sure that you continue to revel in it.
Here are five tips that will help you stay on track to entertaining both your haters and supporters, without burning out:
Refresh and Rejuvenate
The mind and body work best when well-rested. They both essentially ask for the same thing: time that you are inactive. For the body, ensure that you get 8 hours of sleep, boosting the likelihood that you will fall into a REM sleep (when your body really gets to work at rejuvenating your cells, etc), leaving you refreshed and re-energized. As for the mind, for increased productively and energy, make sure that you are taking the time to clear your thoughts, so much that you can actually hear your body work (i.e: your heartbeat). This state of mind can be accomplished via meditation or breathing practices.
On the flip side, activity is also recommended in an effort to improve blood circulation, which ultimately helps with your energy. First thing in the morning (after coffee, tea, or smoothie of course) or even right after you get in after a long commute, get your body moving and blood pumping through light workouts involving stretches, yoga, and/or Pilates. Check out one of my favorite videos from Fitness Blender, called Goodbye Stress. It’s all in the name!
In addition to what’s listed above, I personally love to start my day with affirmations. For those of you who aren’t familiar, they are statements that you read aloud or to yourself, which hold the sole purpose of reinforcing positive thinking and self-empowerment. I like to start with my appreciation & gratefulness statements such as “I am thankful for my creativity, ambition, and strength,” then lead into my claims, including “I will become a published author.” The goal is to ensure that your affirmations are in present or present future tense, unique to you and your situation, and of course positive.
When you’re feeling like your crown is too heavy or starting to slouch, just take a moment to read your affirmations to yourself and continue to speak your aspirations and self-worth into existence. I can co-sign behind the fact that when you get to the bottom of that list you will feel renewed, empowered, and strong.
I also listen to the “Affirmation Pod” podcast led by Josie Ong available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. When you are looking to delve into affirmations for a specific topic or need, like “Affirmations for Success and Focus at Work” or “Affirmations When You’re about to Freak Out and Lose It,” check out Josie’s podcasts!
Sometimes we tend to feel down & out when we have so much going on in our lives and just can’t get a handle on everything. Things start slipping through the cracks, you start to push things further down the to-do list, and meetings start to become meetings about meetings with no direction because everyone is just trying to play catch-up.
It’s time to get organized. No, I do not mean for you to just create a new to-do list or just look at your existing list and reprioritize and shuffle asks/items around. It’s simple; the reason you are feeling overwhelmed is because your brain storage is overflowing. If our brains worked like our bladders did, we would be in deep trouble.
So what do you do? Empty your brain. Sounds scary huh? I promise it’s not. Just carve out 10-15 minutes to just let your thoughts flow. Every “oh yeah, I gotta do that” or “did I do that” moment, capture it and write it down. At the end of your session, go down your list and mark items as TRASH or KEEP. The trash items are most likely items that have been taking up space for a month or so and obviously aren’t that important or won’t get done anytime soon anyway. Get rid them. Now this is very important, you have to write “TRASH” so that your brain fully registers that you don’t need to do this anymore. You’re essentially telling your brain, “you can stop storing it and pushing your version of Outlook’s annoying 15min calendar reminder.”
In order to stay in a state of encouragement and confidence, you have to do a status check and see what type of environment and energy you are exposing yourself to. Sometimes we have a tendency of slipping into a stagnant mindset because we put in so much work, experienced some results, and now feel like we can “coast.” It’s in this coasting phase that we tend to feel unaccomplished, uninspired, and unmotivated.
Get back in the grove and think about times that you felt you were thriving. During those times, you were most likely feeding your brain positivity and encouragement through taking advantage of every unscheduled time slot (like your morning commute).
Use that time to listen to podcasts that push you to want to cross things off of your to-do list. One of my favorites is the “EntreLeadership podcast” hosted by Ken Coleman, available on a Spotify, offering tips on leadership & business.
When we are super busy and running from one endeavor to the next, the first thing that tends to slip is our healthy eating habits, or just eating in general. In order to remain focused throughout your busy day, you have to make sure that you take the time to fuel your body with the nutrition that it needs to provide you with the energy that you need.
Make sure to eat breakfast, pack protein snacks, and healthy lunches. Coming from a coffee drinker addict, trust me when I tell you that substituting several cups of coffee for a healthy, energizing snack is the best practice to avoiding the 3PM slump.
Finally, the best way to revel in your magic is to ACKNOWLEDGE it. Go ahead and touch that crown on your head real quick. You are still standing. You are still here. You are beyond worthy.