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4 Self-Care Habits to Improve and Support Your Mental Health

4 Self-Care Habits to Improve and Support Your Mental Health

The state of your mental health affects your overall quality of life and how you think, feel, perform, and respond to daily challenges. So it’s important to nurture yourself to prevent developing mental conditions such as depression or anxiety. You can do so with four self-care habits proven to enhance your overall sense of wellness.

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

Adequate sleep means sleeping for 6 to 9 hours daily. Sleep is a much needed self-care habit that is vital for proper body and brain function, immunity, and mental wellness. When you’re well-rested, you’re better able to think clearly, and cope with negative events or feelings. Adequate sleep also protects your mental health against anxiety and depression. You can improve sleep with daily habits such as having a regular set bedtime, avoiding caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime, sleeping in a dark or dim-lit room, and sleeping on a good mattress with proper comfortable pillows and bedding. You can also practice relaxing one to two hours before bedtime by reading, listening to calming tunes and turning off phones, computers and social media.

2. Increase Physical Activity

Believe it or not, people with increased physically-active lifestyles tend to feel happier and have a more enthusiastic and positive outlook on life. Physical activities that promote good mental health include walking outdoors, jogging, hiking, exercising, and yoga. Regular exercise, increases blood circulation, boosts energy, mental alertness, and lightens mood. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, releasing hormones in the body that leave you feeling relaxed or on a natural “high.” You may also sleep better and even notice an increased sense of self-worth. Some days you may feel too exhausted or overwhelmed to move, take the time you need but don’t give up completely.  Once you get past the first 5 to 10 minutes of your workout, you’ll start to feel energetic and able to resume the habit of marching daily toward your goal.

3. Get in Touch with Nature

Frequent or daily outdoor activities are an effortless way to connect with nature. You can start by spending time around your home relaxing outdoors or working in your garden. Planting and caring for plants (both in and outdoor) can be quite therapeutic for the mind, body and soul. Other ways to connect with nature include soaking up the sunshine, taking an easy walk, listening to the birds in the trees, or watching animals and insects.  Finding ways to  connect with mother nature and your environment, will help you feel less stressed.

4. Eat Healthy Foods Daily

Eating healthy foods every day is a natural therapy for your brain, and highly beneficial to the rest of your body’s vital organs. Certain foods, such as whole foods (not processed) and organic fresh fruits and vegetables, contain nutrients that also support mental wellness. Processed foods, including those with excess sugars and caffeine, can adversely affect brain health. Processed foods also contain chemicals that destroy natural gut bacteria and produce inflammation leaving your body feeling bloated and tired. Increased inflammation in the body and brain is linked to anxiety, mood disorders depression and chronic disease. Opt for foods packed with antioxidants, folate, B vitamins, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and other valuable nutrients that help reduce inflammation, balance brain chemicals, and stabilize mood or even elevate mood.

It may take some time to cultivate habits that enhance mental and physical health. Start by picking one activity and one healthy habit at a time. Do it daily for at least 30 days. It will eventually become second nature, leading to an overall healthy lifestyle.

How to Meditate for Beginners

How to Meditate for Beginners

How do you master the practice of meditation? The primary purpose of meditation is to improve your mental health through mindfulness. You are learning to be aware of your mind and your breathing.

While learning how to meditate is straightforward, many find it strange or even awkward to sit in silence and do nothing. Despite it seeming like a passive activity, meditating really is an active practice and a great way to train and tune the mind. It can even transform your perspective on life, helping you to cultivate new habits. Finding a place that’s quiet and feels calm is vital when meditating. Avoid any distractions that can make your mind wander or prevent your body from relaxing. While a little soft background music isn’t discouraged, we suggest avoiding it if you’re a beginner.

To build  a habitual meditation practice, you’ll need to practice a few times a week if possible. Additionally, set a time limit for every meditation session. For example, if you’re a beginner, start with short periods of 2 to 5 minutes and work your way up with time. Relaxation is a vital aspect of meditation, so always wear comfortable clothes. Inhale deeply and expand your stomach. Then breathe out, slowly drawing your stomach in. If you notice your mind starting to wander, bring it back by focusing on your breathing. Thoughts can arise that distract you. Don’t be too hard on yourself when your mind wanders. It’s a common occurrence. Just come back to centered, bringing your mind’s attention to the stillness and silence around you, the sense of your own heart beating and again, your breaths.

Pay attention to your body! If you are uncomfortable you may want to sit in a different position. Meditation is not just about the moment; it’s about practicing mindfulness every day and being able to calm and center yourself in any environment. The more you meditate, the less likely you are to feel stressed and agitated. Once you become comfortable and confident with your meditation practice, you will see and experience more benefits in your life.

4 Daily Success Habits to Boost Productivity

4 Daily Success Habits to Boost Productivity

Choosing your success may sometimes seem like an out of reach goal.  You may even wake up many mornings lacking clear direction or purpose. Long-term success ultimately boils down to GOOD HABITS, practiced regularly over the long term. The trick is choosing the right success habits to ground you to each day, putting you on track toward achieving those goals. Take a look at these simple, achievable daily habits for some ideas on how to jump out of bed and jumpstart your day for success.

Wake Up Earlier
If you’re already a morning person, you know how precious those first few hours of the day can be. The hours before the world, your partner, and the kids wake up and email notifications start going off can be among the most productive.  Set goals, meditate, sit quietly and sip your coffee or just fit in a little moment of self-care. I often spend my early morning time, soaking in a hot bath, readying myself for the day ahead. Even as little as one extra hour to yourself can have a huge impact on your whole day’s productivity.
 
Prioritize Focused Thoughts
Whether you prefer prayer, reading, or gardening, spending some time each day, focused on a task that increases your sense of peace is essential to productivity. Not only does it train your mind in a way that helps your brain to better identify and achieve goals, it also helps sharpen your perception, problem solving, and decision making skills. If this isn’t already one of your regular daily habits, you can start with just ten to fifteen minutes each day. See if you can spend a whole hour without breaking your concentration.
 
Choose Your Own Goals
Goal setting is important. Well all do it. But when setting those goals, are you clear about what, why, for whom you are working?. Everyone has a different path, and it’s up to you to choose yours. After all, what’s the point of boosting productivity if the end result is something that benefits everyone but you? If you find yourself running up against a wall, or frequently feeling burned-out or feeling all poured out. It may be time to take a step back and reevaluate your goals and motives and choose you first.
 
Stay Healthy and Mentally Sharp
The body and mind are intricately connected, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that physical wellness is an important step toward mental health. Be sure to exercise regularly, get in your daily dose of fruits and veggies, and drink plenty of water. Of course, don’t deprive yourself of a treat every once in a while. You deserve it.
 
#PracticeGoodHabits
 
The Good Habits Team
Why It’s Important to Look After your Mental Health

Why It’s Important to Look After your Mental Health

While everyone has been taking steps to protect and sure up their physical health during this time, the issue of mental health is still often ignored. Mental health is just as important, and can certainly affect your physical health. The body follows the mind. High levels of stress can take a toll on your mental and your body. It’s important to always be aiming for a calm, peaceful state of mind. Here are a few of the many reasons why it’s important to look after your mental health:

Improved mental health can lead to greater, sustained success.

Becoming mentally healthy can make you more likely to achieve business success. You’ll be better equipped to eliminate distractions that may make you less productive. This can improve your work performance in your business and at any job. Positive thinking and focused optimism is crucial for your success, especially if you’re an entrepreneur.

Meditation and other relaxation practices improve your overall health.

Not only can meditation and other practices that improve your mental health benefit your state of mind, but these practices can also reduce your overall level of stress. Stress weakens the immune system and leave us more susceptible to physical ailments. Protecting your physical health will reduce your level of physical stress as well, which can have tremendous benefits for your overall quality of life.

When you know better, you do better.

It takes only an average of three weeks to create a new habit.  Paying closer attention to your thoughts and your words is critical to protecting your mental health.  We live in a world that is constantly feeding us garbage, negativity and messages that can be troubling to us. Being mindful to feed ourselves more positive and inspirational messaging with lift our mood and help to keep our minds and bodies healthy.

Mental health problems can be serious, and they often develop gradually over time.

Even if you are generally a healthy and “reasonable” person, that does not mean you couldn’t develop a serious mental health issue. It is important to practice self-care and do everything you can to maintain your strength. Mental health issues often develop gradually, over time making it difficult to recognize when there may be a problem.

Cultivate and maintain healthy sleeping habits.

Improper rest and poor sleeping habits are link to poor mental health and a breakdown in the body’s immune defenses. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you establish good sleeping habits and relaxation routines that protect your mental health, maintaining the mind-body connection.

5 Simple Habits to Help Improve Mental Health

5 Simple Habits to Help Improve Mental Health

As the outer world seems to become more hectic each day, and for some even feels as though it’s closing in. The saying, “go within so you won’t have to go without” seems to resonate with so many during these very unusual times. It’s never been more vital to look inward.  Start making it a habit to listen to your heart, and learn how to nurture your mind. Improving your mental health is an investment for life, so why not read on for some tips to get you started?

1. Know, and love thyself.
Understand that you are a child of the God who needs to be cherished, and treat yourself accordingly. Ask yourself: what do I need today in order to thrive? For some this feels selfish but trust that if you don’t take care to put yourself first, you will not be available to help others. Try finding out what your love language is, and love yourself in that way. In other words, DO YOU! If you value time alone, take it. If laughter lifts your spirit, take the time to listen to comedy. If your heart feels warmed by words of affirmation, write little positive messages for yourself each day. Making these things part of your daily habit routine should greatly improve your quality of life.

Write little positive messages to yourself: love notes for you, by you.


2. Take time to unwind.
We humans are simple creatures, and modern lifestyles can feel overwhelming and ask too much of us at times. So it’s absolutely valid to give yourself time to just breathe now and then. Set a period of time aside each day that’s just for you and whatever you’d like to do to relax: meditation & prayer, journaling, a hot bath, listening to music, reading a good book or any other wellness activity.

3. Make a safe space and time for yourself.

Preserve your peace of mind by saying no to distractions and stressors and even people.  Limit your news and social media intake, set healthy boundaries in your relationships, and learn to say “no” when your plate’s gotten too full. Save some room for yourself to live happily and authentically. No one can or should be mad at you for choosing you.

4. Keep in touch.

Staying connected to healthy habit sources and getting lots of support is absolutely crucial to keeping mentally fit. It’s important to cultivate a strong support system, a small crew of trusted allies to see you through the ups and downs of life or just to make you laugh. Socializing, distanced or otherwise can insulate you from stress, loneliness, and all kinds of mental and physical ailments.

5. Seek help.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional! Shop around and find the right therapist for you, or get involved in group therapy. You may even have a wise mentor or close friend that you can talk to. You could also contact a mental health warmline, a telephone service for anyone who just wants to talk about their daily struggles. No matter what kind of problem you’re dealing with, there are solutions out there. Take advantage of them and be well.

How the 2020 Pandemic Inspired Me to Take My Side Hustle to the Next Level

How the 2020 Pandemic Inspired Me to Take My Side Hustle to the Next Level

Back in August of 2019 I launched an online boutique selling clothing and accessories. My offerings were part of a small curated collection of items I’d found during my travels. Shortly after launching the online store and enjoying a fair amount of success, I began receiving ideas and visions about expanding the store. The vision was somewhat unclear and fragmented. It would come in pieces, almost like a puzzle baring the faces of women who seemed very familiar to me. Mostly brown-skinned women and girls who wore the look of youth on their faces but carried the timeless style, energy and wisdom of a thousand ages. We were all building something together. It wasn’t the first time I’d received a vision or idea. I get them all the time. This vision however, was different. There was something about it that felt and looked bigger than my usual inner visions. More than that, there was a different feel that accompanied the vision.  
The need to know more and further explore the idea felt stronger than it had in times past.  When I would ask for clarity in my prayers and meditation, a series of – call them “related” signs would show up in my daily experience that were  undeniable. Occurences I’d be foolish to write off as mere coincidence or happenstance. I was very intrigued but struggled to understand how the fragmented parts of my vision fit together to form a complete picture. Then I recalled a passage I’d read somewhere that said, you don’t need to have all of the answers, just get started. The answers will come.” I knew then that I needn’t concern myself with the outcome nor the reason. I was stimulated by a challenge which felt similar to the sort that comes with putting together a puzzle. For my part, I was to pay close attention and listen. The rest of the pieces would reveal themselves in time. 
2020 A Vision for Transformation Brunch
2020: The Year of Perfect Vision

They say it’s darkest just before the dawn. If there is any truth to the saying, we can only pray we’ve seen the worst as 2020 had us see some pretty dark moments. . Either way, I’m claiming it. Better days are ahead. Period!

Thinking back, the New Year started off with a bang. For so many it felt like it was going to be a magnificent year. I was several weeks out from hosting a women’s empowerment brunch, the website build was going well and I even had my sights set on the perfect launch date. 2020 was starting off fruitful and inspiring. By all accounts it was forecasted to be an epic year for women.

We had all gotten the memo, felt pumped and were off to the races. We would however, be called back to the starting blocks, abruptly and shortly after the first of many devastating blows.  -I like most, remember exactly where I was, and who I was with when we heard the news…. “Yo! Ya’ll heard what happened to Kobe?”

MAN PLANS, GOD LAUGHS.

Public Enemy’s 13th Studio Album title sums up 2020 perfectly. Man Plans, God Laughs. Allegedly the group’s frontrunner Chuck D. was inspired by a story he’d heard from basketball great Dr. J. -One that invoked the sentiment, “stay humble”. 2020 has indeed been, among other things,  humbling. Few among us knew the wild ride we were in for. The next few months played out like an unbelievable, science-fiction fantasy-thriller, horror movie.

Though it seemed the future had become more uncertain than ever, there was something else happening and it felt refreshing. I was spending more time at home, with family. I was learning to adapt. And I now had even more time to really manifest the vision. It hadn’t completely disappeared. It simply went out of focus for a time. Time enough for plenty of self-reflection and several adjustments to accommodate the “new normal”. There were so many lessons to learn during this time of isolation. Perhaps the most poignant for me has been, no matter what, you keep going. Times will get tough. But you   find a way to keep building and keep moving forward.

I BELIEVE in building a foundation of GOOD HABITS, the importance of community development and having each other’s back. She’s Got A Habit was created because we are stronger together – We Got This! 

Malinda Williams

IN HER OWN WORDS!

Malinda shares inspiration for SGAH with Rolling Out beauty editor, Tie Cooper.

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Yoga to Stretch Neck Muscles & Ease Shoulder Stiffness – OneNest Yoga with Lisa

Yoga to Stretch Neck Muscles & Ease Shoulder Stiffness – OneNest Yoga with Lisa

Our resident yogi and wellness expert, Lisa Sorensen serves up an easy to digest 10-minute yoga practice that will help stretch out stiffness in the neck & shoulder area and relieve tension.

“the perfect practice for loosening up the body”

This sequence will relieve stiffness, pain and pressure that are common in the upper body due to stress, lifestyle or other forms of fitness activities. This is a beginner friendly class that I hope you will enjoy! If you sit at a desk all day, or spend a great deal of time on your computer, this is a great class to do on a regular basis to improve tension in the neck and shoulder that can sometimes cause headaches.

Namaste

Connect with Lisa Sorensen

Yoga for Stress Reduction & Ultimate Peace of Mind

Yoga for Stress Reduction & Ultimate Peace of Mind

Our resident yogi and wellness expert, Lisa Sorensen serves up an easy to digest 10-minute yoga practice that will help reduce stress and bring peace of mind.

“go within and you’ll never have to go without

Ultimate peace is within all of us, and when we make tapping into this place of peace a daily habit, we can improve our energetic, physical, and mental health. I hope this short practice will go a long way in bringing you stress relief and PEACE of mind.

Namaste

Connect with Lisa Sorensen

How to Become an Entrepreneur: 7 Simple Tips

How to Become an Entrepreneur: 7 Simple Tips

Are you thinking of starting a black owned business? If so, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns, including – first and foremost, where do I start? Here’s a quick-start guide that’ll help you get started and ensures you’re on the right path.

In a world where consumer demand is high, entrepreneurship has become very trendy. However, becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy and doesn’t solely involve writing down your business idea. There are many aspects involved.

How does someone become an entrepreneur?

1. Find the right business for you.

A common mistake many of us make when becoming entrepreneurs is starting a business simply because everyone else is doing it, and making it look easy. Remember, for your business to be successful, you need to be passionate about it. Therefore, focus your attention on something you care about. Something that you are good at and something that you enjoy. This will help keep you motivated to push through when the going gets tough. And it will.

2. Determine what type of education or formal training, if any is needed.

Although entrepreneurship doesn’t require any specific type of formal education, you shouldn’t ignore education and training entirely. Knowledge is power so get your training, do your research and learn all you can about the necessary skills and information for success in your business.

3. Plan your business.

Before opening your black owned business, you need a business plan that lays out your strategies, objectives, and goals. A business plan not only ensures you can get investors on board, but it also gives you a guide for measuring your progress, growth and how successful your business is.

4. Find your target audience or customer.

Loyal customers and consumers are the backbone of any successful business. You’ll need to research which group best fits your proposed business. Age, race, gender, income, culture are just a few broad ways of defining how to determine and target your market. Knowing your consumers ensures you can channel your marketing efforts towards the right audience, allowing you to generate leads and convert those leads into customers.

5. Network

Networking is a vital aspect of entrepreneurship.  It allows you to meet individuals that have skills you can use in your startup and exchange information. Networking is also a great way to build relationships. Relationship building is critical to success in business. A good network will send new customers your way once you’re open, ensuring your doors stay open.

6. Sell your idea.

Most customers need at least some convincing when purchasing products. They may not purchase your product or service at first blush but by making it unique and selling the value of a useful and desirable product, you can turn a browser into a buyer. Don’t be afraid sell people on your idea or product. It’s the whole reason you put in all that hard work.

7. Market

When running your own business, marketing is a must and a never-ending process if you want to attract customers and generate profit. It’s wise to use powerful, modern marketing techniques such as social media marketing and email list building strategies to promote and grow your business.

Entrepreneurship is not easy and is not a one size fits all prospect. You can a will achieve success with much support, hard-work and as much belief in yourself as you can muster and sustain.

The Good Habits Team!

7 Highly Effective Habits of Wellness

7 Highly Effective Habits of Wellness

Every day is a chance to introduce or reinforce good habits for a better life. Here are some that will help you get on a path to greater overall wellness and make it easy to stay on track.

Daily Meditation

Meditation is a great way to start any day. While many people think of “meditation” as a very specific act– it can take many forms. Prayer, focused breathing and even reciting daily affirmations are all forms of meditation that helps you focus on clearing your mind and setting intentions for a new day.

Drink Water

Water truly is the best thing for you to drink. And you should indulge as often as you can. Try starting your day with a glass of water or when thirst hits you, reach first for the purest thing you can put into your body instead or sodas, juice or other flavored beverages. Start with flavored water if you have to, but the goal really is to drink as much water as possible throughout the day. It’ll keep you hydrated inside and out– thus staving off some of those dry skin moments that can arise.

Eat Real Food

Make sure to incorporate as many no-processed foods into your diet each day as possible. “Whole” foods are foods that are closest to their natural form with minimal– if any– processing. Whole grains (not bread), beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables are all great whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. If you can’t make a meal exclusively out of whole foods, try getting 1 or 2 on your plate each time you eat. The goal is to be healthier– not stress you over food.

Practice Gratitude

No matter what’s going on in our lives, there is plenty to be grateful for. Make it an active practice by taking 10 minutes each day to write down a list of those things. It will help take some of the irritation away from your difficult days and put you on a track for even more things for which you will be giving thanks.

Pause

Find some time each day to do absolutely nothing. Not meditate, not watch YouTube videos, just– be. Allow your thoughts to wander, but try not to focus on any one thing– especially not anything upsetting. Take this time to breathe deeply for a minute or two or to perhaps take a 10 minute power nap. You’ll be at how taking a moment to intentionally relax, will allow more space and energy for productivity later in the day.

Get Moving

Balance is everything, right?! So adding as much movement into your day makes as much sense as taking time to pause. Many health experts say that daily moderate exercise is the key to longevity. Boost your metabolism, enhance your cardiovascular health and break the monotony of unending hours spent motionless (whether at a desk or on a sofa)…keep it moving.