Let's be real, we can all use a boost these days. Whether you're an essential worker putting your best foot forward every day or a working-from-home mama who's balancing homeschooling and career, we're experiencing some great highs and pivotal lows. When it comes to our new normal, we can't say what that will be. In lieu of that, everyone is focusing on the inside, how they feel, and the little ways we can keep ourselves sane.
Unfortunately, we can't rely on our go-to favorites like nail salons, drinks with your girls, or a simple getaway to give us comfort. We're living in a limited world right now, so our self-care is limited too.
We know there's a link between what you wear and how you feel, but did you know certain colors can actually boost your mood? Color psychology suggests certain colors can evoke certain feelings, and could even have an influence over your well-being and mental health. Sometimes, the best way is the simplest: to change up your wardrobe. A simple sweater swap can uplight your day and bring a sense of peace to your everyday life. Here are 5 colors that can immediately make you happier, calmer, and a bit less stressed from the comfort of your home.
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This color is often linked to feelings of calmness and tranquility, but this particular shade elects a sense of serenity. While different shades are associated with different emotions, any shade of blue will evoke harmonious vibes; perfect for your at-home environment.
Free People Strong Statement Maxi Dress
We can't be calm all the time and there are moments where we need a bit of spice. This shade is uplifting and evokes energetic vibes on the psyche. The shade is enthusiastic and can help overcome feelings of complacency that we are all feeling.
DON'T WORRY BABY California Pants In Tangerine
DON'T WORRY BABY
Warmth, and energy — what more can I say? It's a calming attention-grabber, both chic and relaxed; invigorating and consistent. Bonus: Melanin + yellow is the perfect spring combination.
Golden Yellow Satin Ruched Maxi Dress
For feelings of love and kindness, opt for fuchsia. It's nurturing and can help alleviate feelings of loneliness or inadequacy. This could be the perfect shade to slip into for date night, whether virtual or in your own home.
ASOS DESIGN Slim Suit Pants In Satin
White / Ecru
White and off-white colors like ecru are perfect for self-isolation. These shades evoke peacefulness and cleanliness - two feelings we're all grasping for right now. There's an added bonus that white or off-white already resides in your wardrobe, so no need to shop to boost your mood.
High Waisted Lined Cropped Wide Leg Pant
Off The Shoulder Smocked Eyelet Lace Bell Sleeve Top
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Courtney is a contributing writer, based in Puerto Rico by way of Tennessee. Interested in the intersection of fashion and culture, she has an affinity for fashion, empowerment, and really good tacos. Keep up with her on Instagram (@hautecourtxo).
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Release Stress & Restore Harmony In Your Body With Shaking Meditation
When we reflect on our own path as women in light of the women who came before us, it’s easy to see that the loads we’ve carried haven’t always been the lightest. From everyday stresses to generational trauma with roots that are difficult to trace, one must ask where all that weight goes if we never release it.
The body holds the score for all the anxieties, worries, and unease that we’ve endured over time. Family and society often tell us to quiet our emotions, maintain a brave face, and keep our emotions bottled up within. But as we know, anything with too much pressure will eventually burst.
And while we are steadily discovering self-care methods like meditation to shed this emotional baggage, it may take a little more than sitting still in the quiet of our mind to let go of our deep-rooted tension. Fortunately, mindful movement could be an unexpected way for you to let go of worry and anxiety while building emotional resiliency, and such is the case with shaking meditation.
What Is Shaking Meditation?
Shaking meditation is a form of tension and trauma-releasing exercises or TRE that “assists the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension, and trauma.” This series of exercises of muscular shaking and vibrating activates a natural reflex mechanism that releases muscular tension, thus calming down the nervous system and encouraging your body to return back to a state of balance.
“Shaking meditation can be powerful because it moves your body — and in Eastern medicine, we say that moves your chi,” says Jenelle Kim, DACM, L.Ac, a ninth-generation doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and author of Myung Sung: The Korean Art of Living Meditation.
According to Dr. Kim, understanding chi helps us understand our bodies and how we're feeling mentally, physically, and spiritually. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chi is known to represent your life force; it is the energy that flows through you and everything, and in many cultures, plays an essential role in our health.
“We have chi that moves in our blood and throughout our entire body; connecting our organ systems, muscles, and joints,” she tells xoNecole. “It allows everything to function and to be nourished. We know blood travels throughout our body through our circulatory system, but chi also travels through our body — much in the same way — through the meridian system. If you picture chi as vital energy, it moves the blood.”
It’s important for our body’s chi to stay in flow. When we go about our daily life with stress, trauma, or even mental injuries, our energy becomes stagnant. But various movement practices like Qigong or shaking meditation encourage your chi to circulate through your body which activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which “is in charge of telling our brain and body to calm down, relax, ultimately, let go,” Dr. Kim says.
As Black women, there are times in life when it feels like we bear the weight of the world on our shoulders, with few spaces to go when we need to lighten the load. But as Dr. Kim explains, because women are “naturally yin beings,” we take on more because we can handle more. “According to the energies of nature that have been passed down for thousands of years, women are more complex. And what that almost always means is that we can think a lot more.” And while that speaks to the resiliency of our being, it can have a negative effect on our bodies when we store more than we release.
“If we don't have ways of releasing this, it will ultimately affect our lives physically, mentally, and spiritually. Then it passes on to our children, and that's where we get generational trauma,” she says.
Although shaking meditation may be a new and unfamiliar practice, it’s one that could prove to be beneficial to those who have experienced trauma on an individual and communal level. The movements are simple to follow and accessible, and in a matter of minutes, you’ll feel more calm and relaxed, while relieving any anxiety, frustration, and tension inside of you.
So if you’re ready to restore harmony within your body, here are the steps to perform shaking meditation on your own.
How To Incorporate Shaking Meditation Into Your Daily Routine:
Step 1: “Stand with your feet hip-width apart. You can do this while sitting or standing — depending on your comfort level. Make sure all of your joints are soft, so nothing's locked.
Step 2: “Begin raising onto your tiptoes and falling back onto your heels. Not so hard to where you're shocking your spine, but enough to just kind of wake up your body. Repeat three to five times, dropping down onto your heels.”
Step 3: “Next, start with your hands first and shake them. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Shake them and go up to your arms, to your elbows, and then up to your shoulders. Now your whole arms should be moving.”
Step 4: “Then you can start your legs, repeating the same shaking movement. You then move your feet moving, go up through your core, and then shake everything out through your head.”
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