• Brettney Douglas-Al Hindi

Why You Should Be Deliberate About Experiencing Joy No Matter What Season You're In

"Do not feel guilty for finding joy during this time. Remember, our ancestors found the will to sing through their troubles."-Melanie Fiona

Let's face it...life is hard AF...and it probably won't get any easier. But, while we're here why not make the MOST of it by being deliberate about our PEACE and JOY?!

If you would've asked me what brings me a joy a few months ago, I would have said something along the lines of peace of mind, seeing my friends and family happy, and living well; and witnessing the things that I've worked hard for/prayed about coming into fruition. While all of that is still true, these days my joy is personal. I used to put so much stock in other people, their needs/wants, and oftentimes I would be left feeling depleted and downright exhausted. After seeing the ramifications of what putting other peoples' needs above my own looks/feels like, and experiencing uneasiness in my spirit, I knew that something had to change.

To be aligned in mind, body, and spirit, your self-care practice has to be non-negotiable.

To prepare for what's ahead, we need to refuel and rest, and even say no to some things that we want to do to keep our lives in check. You can't run on empty. We have to stop and smell the roses, and to marvel at the beauty around us because joy brings hope. How you show up for yourself matters.

With all the pain and anguish around us, finding ways to experience joy and pleasure is what will keep us sane, productive, healthy, and happy.

Here are some ways that I have been showing up for myself and being intentional about joy:

Scheduling uninterrupted "Me Time" to nurture my spirit

As a working mom, and wife sometimes my to-do-list feels like it's never-ending and I could get overwhelmed trying to tackle everything I've got to get done. My need to step away from all the busy-ness and noise is a daily practice. I try to take a walk outdoors every day, do some deep breathing as I take the time to be present, and notice the world around me. At least twice a day, I pray, meditate, and cleanse my space with Palo Santo to set my intentions to invite good vibes and to clear my mind.

Honoring my body through movement and physical touch

Back in the day, I used to dance daily. Somewhere along the line, I stopped for whatever reason, but just recently I got back to it. I like to listen to a variety of music from hip hop, R&B, Pop, Trap, Reggae, Afrobeats, Salsa/Bachata, you name it.

Epsom salt baths with fresh lavender and other essential oils have been a nice relaxing addition. If I'm not taking a hot bath, I'll settle for a warm shower and imagine wiping all the stress from the day off and inhaling calm.

Just recently, I got accepted into a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training course so I'll be adding

yoga to my practice as well.

Acts of service for my well-being

Since the beginning of the year, I have committed to going to therapy bi-weekly. It has helped me tremendously in unpacking some heavy emotional baggage and has given me the tools to develop healthier coping mechanisms to live more purposely.

I also just recently started a CBD Oil regimen as an additional resource to help me to stay grounded and improve my overall wellness. "CBD is a natural, plant-based alternative to pills that helps to restore balance to your Endocannabinoid System, which can result in improved mood, better sleep, reduced inflammation, and reduced pain." I purchased mine from a black woman-owned company called Be Jubie.

Uplifting conversations and empowering affirmations

One of my biggest blessings in this season has been joining the Breathe by OMNoire Tribe. As a moderator and member of this amazing community, I have had the opportunity to connect with so many beautiful, humble women from all over the world, who are committed to their self-love journey. Between the happy hours, masterclasses, and a social community platform to connect with other members; it is definitely worth the investment. It feels good to have a sisterhood with women who are transparent, impactful, and serious about building up others as they navigate through their own path of healing. This tribe makes me feel seen, heard, and powerful; and is a huge source of my joy.

Treating myself

I used to feel so awkward about receiving gifts, especially when it came to treating myself. I would always give myself the excuse that the money could've gone towards something else, or that it was too expensive, or that I didn't need it or haven't done anything that would merit buying myself something just because. Lately, I've been a little bit more open-minded and have gone out on a limb to spoil myself with more than just a delicious meal, and it feels good. I want to be more intentional about pouring into myself, and showering myself with gifts because I work so hard, and I deserve to enjoy the fruit of my labor.

"Be good to yourself. You're surviving a pandemic. If you're Black, you're surviving two. You're living where you work. Or deemed essential and not paid like it. You're raising children in quarantine. You're caring for elders in the same. You're still here. Be good to yourself...I think in some ways because this is no longer novel socially, we've relaxed in being good to ourselves. Our calendars filled back up. The pressure mounted again. The weight of it all seems to be ignored by those who have expectations of us. But be good to yourself anyway."- Brittany Packnett Cunningham

Have the courage to seek the inner peace that you so desperately desire. Joy is your birthright. Find what brings you joy, and hold onto it like your life depends on it, because it does.

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