6 tips to give yourself the rest you deserve

 
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MEDITATION

 

has been the most vital tool I've utilized to relieve stress and anxiety. Nights I have been unable to sleep, I meditate in bed to release thoughts that have been non-stop. 

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JOURNALING

 

  is one of favorite things to do, when I actually sit down to do it. I will say that I've fallen off on this aspect, however journaling has been one of the practices that led me to a higher level of self actualization. This is my favorite journal, "Start Where You Are" by Meera Lee Patel.

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I had an epiphany.

And it hadn't dawned on me until I spoke the words out loud to my sister. "I feel like I can't take a break from productivity, or I won't accomplish my dreams." After I said it, it dawned on me how ridiculous that thought was. That thought was existing in my mind ever since I decided to become an entrepreneur. I was so afraid of failing that I was holding myself to an expectation that only a robot could live up to. 

Where did I even get this idea from? Coming from corporate America, or at least the company I'd been working for the last 7 years, it was drilled in. Work, work, work. How many calls did you make? How many calls did you receive? How much work did you get through per hour? How fast were you able to perform each task? And it doesn't stop there, in the culture we live in, we constantly see messages and rhetoric that tells us in order to be successful you have to constantly be in production, and in constant motion towards your goal. How many memes have you all seen, or songs have you heard that goes something like, "Sleep when you die", "While y'all sleeping, I'm working", "If you broke you don't deserve to sleep." Im rolling my eyes just thinking how silly that is. Think about the pressure that creates. Just the mere thought that I must be productive at all times of the day is exhausting. Draining of energy. It's no wonder we are all tired before we begin many tasks. Tired from the potential energy (anxiety)  bottled up for said tasks.

One of my favorite people to follow on social media is @theshelahmarie on instgram. She actually inspired this post today. On Shelah's Instastory she discussed how busy she has been; as an entrepreneur, bonus mom, personal assistant to her musician bae, and of course taking time for herself. Her days are action packed to say the least. She created a poll asking her followers how much sleep they get in a day, the average answer ... 3-4 hours! She was very confused at this number, questioning how her followers are functioning off this amount of sleep?! I wasn't confused by that figure AT ALL. I understood because I used to be one of those people. 

3-4 hours of sleep is insane, knowing what I know now. As I reflect I realize most of the times I was sleepless was because of stress. I was unable to shutoff my problems, my to-do list, my anxiety of the day and it kept me up through the night. 

If this is you, I have a couple tips to help you let go and give yourself permission to rest. These tips are what guided through my healing.

Tip #1

MEDITATE

Meditation has been an essential part of my healing, it still is. When I begin to feel overwhelmed with my own expectations and pressure I take time to meditate to release the pent up energy. 

Tip #2

YOU TIME

It's vital to take time to yourself, for self care. Whatever that looks like. Take a break from productivity and give yourself a date. What are my go to's? Reading a book with a cup of tea, mirror concerts (my fav), playing in my makeup, finding a fun project on Pinterest, or going to my favorite spot in the park and journaling. Whatever it is you do, make sure it's something that you enjoy, and it is done alone and at your pace.

Tip #3

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION

Take a step back from the pressure of productivity by merely giving yourself permission. Try this mantra  "I work hard. My work is enough. I am manifesting. I deserve to connect with (__your name___)."

Tip #4

NIGHTLY ROUTINE

Pick a time of the day to disconnect for the night. Disconnect from the to-do list. Disconnect from social media.  Shut off the noise and rest with a book and steaming cup of tea. 

Tip #5

WRITE IN A JOURNAL

Getting your thoughts on paper can be the most therapeutic practice you can do for yourself, at least it has been for me. Taking a few minutes to get the thoughts in your head out and onto paper will release the anxiety that has been residing in your brain. Take a few moments before bed and get thoughts out. Plan your next day, reflect on the day you had, write down your concerns and how you're feeling in the moment. Use this as your opportunity to leave it all there in the journal and allow yourself to rest. 

Tip #6

HERBAL TEA

If you are having a hard time relaxing and relieving yourself of anxiety at night, there are a number of herbs that are beneficial for sleep. My favorite, which if you follow Sip Teahouse on instagram, you know by now, is chamomile. There are plenty of other herbs used to get a good nights rest also, just to name a few; lavender, skullcap, valerian, and passionflower. The Unwind blend is also a healthy delicious option to promote sleep.

 

 

 

 

The City With Soul .. and a cup of Chai

A memorable trip would be a gross understatement for the weekend I just experienced in a city that has left tattoo on my heart within 4 days of visiting, a city with a vibrant soul, New Orleans. My boyfriend, Aaron, and I traveled to New Orleans to celebrate my 31st birthday. Little did we know by the time we left we would be feigning for more ... more music, more art, more history, more of EVERYTHING the N.O. has to offer. 

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I wish I could pinpoint my favorite part about this trip, but that would literally be impossible. We arrived at our Air BnB, and met our host, Baba Ken. He was THE ABSOLUTE BEST! We found out shortly after meeting Baba Ken that he is an activist in the city, working and fighting to hold the regentrification of the city back. The home he shares with his lady, Mama Dee, is in a historically black neighborhood, called Pontacharian Park. The home is very afrocentric with African art decor on the walls and in every place you look. Baba Ken, being a true Rastafarian, provided intellectual conversation and gave us a history lesson and the ins and outs of the black activism movements in the N.O., (of course in between the puff puff pass). He even took us around and gave us a tour of the REAL New Orleans. We ventured to an area that had a number of shops owned exclusively by black women. He showed us where the locals partied, Frenchman Street; and even took us around to the vintage shops in town. Our stay would not have been anywhere close to as amazing as it was if it wasn't for Baba Ken. 

My birthday was THE BEST!!! Thanks to some good friends of ours I got a birthday photo shoot in New Orleans, for the free :) Thanks G and Court! My birthday was filled with art, laughs, and love ... basically the only things you ever really need in life. We shopped at some vintage shops, because what are you really doing in New Orleans if you don't visit the thrifts shops. We made a stop in a cute record store and a black owned book store. One of the art highlights was Studio BE, which is a MUST SEE!!! The best thing about New Orleans is the readily available artwork;  street art, street music, fashion, architecture.

I would say one of Aaron's favorite parts about the city is the food (of course), but more specifically the beignets!! Seriously though y'all, beignets might be the best dessert ever created and since we were in the Big Easy, we HAD to get some authentic ones. There are cafes on literally every block in the French Quarter. When you step inside the intoxicating smell of roasting coffee hits your nostrils like the marching bands in the street hits your ears. Unfortunately I have to try my best to pass on every cup of coffee offered to me (a health decision I've made for my body),  instead I opted for a cup of chai to eat along with my beignets. Sooooo ... in honor of New Orleans and everything it taught me this weekend, here's a recipe to make yourself a cup of chai to go along with your dessert as well =)

 

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THE BIG EASY 

CHAI, CHAI, CHAI

 

INGREDIENTS:

winter apple bliss ( 4 teabags or 6 teaspoons)

2 inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds

2 teaspoons black peppercorn

10 whole cloves

6 cardamom pods

6 cups cold water

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup golden brown sugar

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

COMBINE GINGER, PEPPERCORN, CLOVES, CARDAMOM INTO A MEDIUM SAUCEPAN. USING A LARGE SPOON OR MALLET, LIGHTLY CRUSH (OR BRUISE) SPICES. ADD 6 CUPS OF WATER, BRING TO A BOIL OVER HIGH HEAT. REDUCE HEAT TO SIMMER GENTLY 10 MINUTES. REMOVE FROM HEAT. ADD TEABAGS AND STEEP 5 MINUTES. DISCARD TEA BAGS. ADD MILK AND SUGAR. BRING TEA JUST TO SIMMER OVER HIGH HEAT, WHISKING SUGAR UNTIL DISSOLVED. STRAIN CHAI INTO TEAPOT AND SERVE.