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. 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 the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan mention in a lecture—can also cause stress. Are we defaulting in our duty to take care of ourselves? 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 Minister 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, Allah (God). 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 kickboxing 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? When we neglect our homes or our bodies, we’ll see visible signs. 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 age, I have come to appreciate yoga and relaxation activities more and more. Now, I always add yoga movements at the end of my workouts.
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 a recent retreat, I didn’t have my computer and was able to “unplug” a little and not be consumed with the information online. I was able to focus and appreciate the abundance I saw in nature every day. We are “enough” and God has given us plenty.
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. In “A Torchlight for America,” Minister Farrakhan emphasized eight guidelines preventive care guidelines. “Get proper rest and relaxation” was number six. 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 (pg. 124).
May Allah (God) bless us all with peace, health, wealth, love and happiness.
(Audrey Muhammad is an aerobics instructor and the author of “Get Fit to Live: Be Your Best You” available at www.virtuetodaymag.com. Please consult a physician before beginning any new exercise or dietary program).