Sitting here, sipping an herbal tea blend, serenaded by the glorious chatter of birds at the start of another beautiful summer morning, and reflecting on the tremendous personal transitions that have occurred over the first half of this year. All sorts of transitions. 

And as disruptive as transitions can be, at their core they nudge at personal transformation, a unique invitation to go deep and do the inner work required to shift, grow and flourish in the newly created reality. Healing.

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 9.11.03 PM.png

But healing requires stillness, feeling, praying and breathing through the adjustments that come with change. When we ignore and ‘power through’ transitions, we are at risk of becoming stuck. Literally. Pain, stiffness, indifference, depression, anxiety, doubt, loss of joy, and isolation are stuck indicators. 

The summer season signifies the transition from slower (yin) energy to active (yang) energy, from inner reflection to outward experiences. It’s the season of graduations and weddings, vacations and impromptu activities. Quite naturally, constant sunshine and warmer temperatures translate to more social interactions, being out and about, and a tendency to shun planning, routine, and structure.

High activity can, however, serve as a distraction from the inner self work. Even in the midst of sun and fun, we must find quiet moments to rest, meditate, move and care for self in order to relieve stress and create pathways for emotional accountability and healing.

To help you maintain your self care, and to facilitate any healing you are working towards, I’ve turned to a few dedicated, holistic colleagues to share their tips for summer wellness ...

Tasha Edwards, The Hip Healthy Chick - FB | IG | Twitter

Summer can have us feeling light, easy and social. It’s usually when we break from the normal and vacation and stay out enjoying the late sunshine. Often times we forget about our exercise routine.

It is so important to keep up with some type of physical activity. Whether it is a nice, walk with friends, a few laps in the pool, a weekend yoga class or an at-home Pilates routine, it is vital to our overall wellness to not get so far away from taking care of our bodies that we enter into Fall with the promise to do better, only to fall prey to Halloween candy, Thanksgiving meals and Christmas celebrations.

For your heart’s sake, stay active during the summer.

Rhonda Kuykendall-Jabari, Advanced Reiki Practitioner at Wellness Uprising - FB | IG

As a lifetime allergy sufferer, I have mixed feelings about summer. I love the sun shining on my body, brightly colored clothes, and lounging at the beach or park. I HATE the tingling nose, watery eyes, scratchy that, stuffiness and post nasal drip. At the first signs of allergy season, I do three things.
First, I reach for my lemon, lavender and peppermint essential oils. I use this powerful combination in diffusers at work and at home.
Second, I mix one drop of each in the palms of my hands, and rub vigorously for a few seconds, and practice Reiki self-treatments, making sure to gently massage a bit into the back of the neck. I do this every morning and night through allergy season.
My third revolutionary anti-allergy act is to consume blends of lemon, lavender and peppermint oils in either a cup of hot water or in the form of doTERRA TriEase Seasonal Blend Softgels.
These three steps help remove airborne allergens, clear and align the aura and chakras, and provides the body with natural antihistamines without the drowsiness and other side-effects of over-the-counter drugs.

M. Hakikah Shamsideen, Holistic Home, Health & Spirit Coach - FB | IG

Most of us are overstressed and overbooked. Even though summer is considered a leisure season, it's filled with much to do: vacation travel, events, camp, figuring out what to do with the kids, the list is endless. Those endless tasks can fill you with unhealthy levels of stress, much of it undetectable. I have a solution. Whenever I fell overwhelmed or out of sorts, one of the things I can do anywhere and anytime and helps me and my clients enormously is taking a moment to just stop and breathe. Breathing heals. So I created, 21 Breaths: Self Care Through The Chakras. It's a gentle guided meditation through your 7 energy centers; its purpose, peace. You can download your copy here. Just like that, simple, accessible, self-care. And like breathing, it's free.

Adult coloring for fun and wellness

Last year I posted an article on Facebook about the benefits of my rediscovered hobby - coloring. The post sparked a wonderful, yet unexpected, response from my friends. Who knew that so many people were open to reclaiming this favorite childhood pastime?! It's no wonder that adult coloring is the new relaxation hobby.


Shortly after posting the article, I scoured several art supply stores (a very creativity-stimulating way to spend an afternoon!) to find just the right markers. I stumbled into Plaza Art, one block from VCU's Siegel Center, where the helpful clerk guided me to several suitable options. I already owned a beautiful coloring pencil set, so after some testing I selected the Stabilo Pen 68 and the Stabilo Pen 68 Mini. Once back home I looked through Amazon's extensive list of coloring books and settled on a few that caught my eye. All in, launching my new hobby cost about $30. 

 Vibrant results with Stabilo Pens.

Vibrant results with Stabilo Pens.

Now, a year later, I'm still at it with several more coloring books. I even found a lovely purse-sized coloring book at Five Below, so my trademark itty-bitty purses are on extended vacation! Seriously though, now I can color in between clients, while getting my hair done, waiting at the car wash or the doctor's office. 


Over the past year I've noticed that (at least for me) consistent coloring helps lower blood pressure, maintain hand-eye coordination, improve spatial reasoning, boost problem solving skills, relieve stress and anxiety, and promote good memories, plus it's heck-a-fun! Coloring's ease and affordability places it at the top of my self-care list. I'm even encouraging my clients give it a try.

 Filled using colored pencils.

Filled using colored pencils.

If you haven't started coloring because you worry about rules like 'staying in the lines' or 'using appropriate colors', you might be happy to know that regardless of whether you stay within the perceived boundaries or not, simply coloring is therapeutic. So go ahead, give it a try and discover how it enhances your sense of well-being. 

I'd love to hear ... do you color? why? and how is it benefiting you? I hope you'll share. To your health and wellness!

Are you positive?

It’s amazing how easy it is to spread negativity without even realizing it, or possibly even meaning to. Certainly, when our day begins with a lack of enthusiasm, we cannot be surprised when the day turns out to be unproductive. And one day turns into two, then three ... and boom, the result is an unfulfilled life.

But how to change the script? By embracing a new definition of radical self-care!

There is nothing wrong with pampering and treating oneself to spa treatments, mani/pedis, and healing sessions. In fact, I highly recommend them! But what about the internal work - the work that needs to place deep down in the soul, that space where no one else can go with you, the place we often cover up, gloss over and avoid because intuitively we know it requires some WORK and we are the only ones who can do it? Yes, THAT inner space.

The first (and most difficult step) is developing the habit of shifting the focus of the critical eye away from others and onto ourselves. When we are avoiding that inner work, it's easy to gaze outward and see all that's wrong with the world, as if we are somehow above it all - exempt, apart, better than.

The challenge is to accept that there will ALWAYS be situations beyond your control, that there will always be people who act contrary to what "I" think is right, and that more times than your care to acknowledge, you often create your own negative situation(s). In essence, the task is not to focus on others, but rather, on self, and create opportunities for BREAK THROUGH.

Begin by devoting the first few minutes upon waking to the planting of positive seeds that will continue to grow, manifesting compassion, humility, joy, peace and beauty throughout your day.

Give prayer, meditation, laughter, generosity and peace an exalted seat within your sacred internal space.

Check YOURSELF for behaviors of self-sabotage, manipulation, and divisiveness.

Commit to the intentional, conscious ushering out of negative energy by refusing to loiter in conversations and situations that make themselves known as energy drains.

Surround yourself with people who are continually working on self-improvement and moving toward greatness.

Count your blessings, literally - every. single. day. Maybe even write them down or say them out loud.

Hug a tree. Take a walk in nature. Or simply sit quietly and breathe without action or thought (or television or phone or music) for a few minutes each day.

Help someone just because you can.

Look directly in the mirror and tell yourself "I. Love. You." 7 times. Slowly. Do it.

Eat something that grows naturally from the earth (a fruit or vegetable) in it's raw form without any preparation, at each meal.

Give yourself 30 days of positivity and observe how you begin to naturally redirect and quell the rudeness, nay-saying, jealousy, sarcasm, indifference, and other negative attitudes.

Always remember ... positive energy flows abundantly in the universe. Open a pathway for it to come in and help you create a empowered and joyful life. 


Verbal energy

Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs. -Pearl Strachan

A while back, a friend shared that she was about to receive her college degree. I asked what her major was and she replied, "Art History, but I could only go part time so it's just an Associates degree".  

Say what?! ONLY? JUST?? 

Uh last time I checked, earning a college degree was a huge accomplishment in and of itself, so it's a pretty BIG DEAL for a single 37-year-old mother of 2 with a full time job

I clearly remember a special day many years ago. My grandfather woke me early so we could shine our shoes before gathering round the dining room table for my grandmother's homemade breakfast. Then we donned our Sunday best and piled into the family car. Everyone was smiling as we headed to my mom's graduation from the local community college. I was 9.

Being present when Mom received that Associates of Science degree in Political Science remains one of the highlights of my life! For 3 years, I lived with my grandparents during the week so Mom could attend night school after working all day at her full time job, to earn that darn piece of paper. This day represented triumph over the history, obstacles, and the naysayers. Mom was the first in our immediate family to both attend AND graduate from college.

Yet the real success rested in reclaiming HER personal dreams and writing her own story rather than succumbing to perceived notions of a young single woman of color raising a child in a world that deemed her future as limited. That day, I learned many great lessons about being a strong, resilient, determined, goal-oriented woman, as well as the necessity of a powerful support system.

Today, I feel the impact of those two small words - JUST and ONLY - in diminishing the hard work and sacrifices we make to achieve a dream or reach a goal or shine from within or simply function. As a health coach, I personally witness people giving away their power, their energy: "I only ate 3 vegetables today" or "I'm only 23 so no one is going to take me seriously" or "I'm just a paralegal" and "I'm just working out 3 days a week". 

Using these two words, in this way, is an unconsciously learned behavior that is rooted in our history. The practice sucks the life out of our accomplishments, and all that went into achieving them. It's an unintentional dishonoring of how we've spent our time and our energy, which is the stuff life is made of, truly. 

The good news is that we can choose to energize our lives by honoring our efforts! And let me be clear that this is not bragging but rather stating what is AND not making excuses for it in the same breath.

My challenge to you is to take the 3-day Words Have Power Challenge by committing to:

  • being more conscious about the words you use
  • spreading the word about self-limiting vocabulary

Start whenever you want or whenever you can. If you forget, start again. Make it fun by engaging a partner. No rules. Just be more mindful of your own vocabulary and inspire others to do the same in a loving and gentle way. I hope you'll share how you are embodying this new verbal energy. Your words have power, so use them wisely!

Much ♥