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The Mindfulness Routines Of Successful Career Women

"Our feelings and emotions paint the picture of how we see reality."

Workin' Girl

You've seen them—women who are completely about their business. And they are damn good at it, too. Some refer to them as bosses and others refer to them as Queens, but no matter what you call them, know that they didn't get where they are without hard work and determination. And their road to success always includes an intentional daily routine for healthy body and mind.

Mindfulness is essentially the ability to be aware and fully present of what you're doing and where you are. And because you are fully present, you aren't easily overwhelmed by what may be going on around you (i.e. a whole pandemic). So often we find ourselves becoming distracted, overwhelmed, and dare I say obsessed over what's going on around us or even what may occur in the future. This can lead to anxiety, getting off track, and eventually becoming stagnant which will without a doubt affect your ability to level up in your career. Practicing mindfulness or developing a mindfulness routine takes practice. It's both a mindset and a lifestyle.

I reached out to 5 successful career women who so graciously spilled the tea on their morning routines, intention-setting, and how practicing mindfulness has helped them in their careers. They even shared advice on things they do to stay present and in the moment. Take notes.

Her Mindful Morning Routine:

"To be completely honest, I am not a morning person! Never have been, never will be, which makes disciplining myself in the morning even more important to set the tone for my day. First, I absolutely must make my bed. There's something about this small accomplishment—a tidy room and home—that keep my mind decluttered as well. Second, I meditate and pray. Even if only for 10 minutes, while sitting on the floor or standing in the shower, I take a moment to pause, thank God for another day and be present with the breath flowing through my lungs to remind myself that I am human and it's a blessing just to be alive and healthy.

"After indulging in my skincare routine, brushing my teeth, and getting dressed, I spend another few minutes brewing and sipping my coffee while listening to some music or a podcast. All of this is before I pick up my phone to scroll through Instagram or jump on my laptop to check emails. At some point, I'll work some exercise into this routine, but for right now, that's my morning. It's taken a lot of practice, and working from home without a commute can make one lazy, but doing each of these things before getting the workday started makes me feel energized and ready to conquer anything thrown at me."

Setting Her Intentions:

"If you don't set intentions for your day, your day has the ability to set its own course. The external world is not something that you can control, but when you focus on what is within your control, that sense of empowerment can fuel you to overcome any potential procrastination, dreadfulness and negativity."

"Setting positive intent for myself and my life has been my lifeline lately. I've been working from home for my full-time, product marketing career in fintech and my side hustle interior-design business in complete isolation for about nine months now. Without prayer, therapy, and a solid support system, I'd have gone bat-crazy by now! However, having these three things and setting clear intentions for myself daily, weekly, and monthly have kept me sane. There is no secret superpower or helpful trick. You just have to commit to doing so every single day."

The Role Mindfulness & Intention Have Played In Her Career:

Photo Courtesy of Amber Guyton

Photo by Brandon Grate

"The further I grow in my career, the more I realize that empathy, self-awareness, and other soft skills just aren't as common among adults and professionals as it should be. We are all human, make mistakes, and fall short. Being able to see your own faults and areas of improvement is truly a gift and one that everyone should embrace. When you're your worst critic, you never let up on yourself. Those impossible expectations you set for yourself daily, you also impose on everyone around you, and girl, that's not healthy.

"Give yourself grace and remember that you're only human. There, too, is value in your imperfections and weaknesses."

"This type of mindfulness, honesty, and vulnerability has made me a better friend, daughter, team leader, business owner and mentor. It's helped me grow up and be a better woman. Most of all, it's kept me from burning out, because delegation, taking breaks, and setting boundaries are not only a form of self-care, but they also enable you to fill the cups of others as your own overflows."

Her Intention Of The Moment:

"Interrupt anxiety with gratitude. It's so easy to allow depression, anxiety, worry, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, or any dose of negativity to disrupt your mood and shift your mindset and emotions. Whenever this happens to me (which is pretty often), I just remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for. OK sure, this hiccup happened on a work project or your colleague isn't pulling his weight. But you love your job. You have a job. You are gainfully employed and the good outweighs the bad. Your ancestors would be so proud of all you have and all you've achieved. You are their wildest dream and that could only be possible here as you stand on their shoulders. You've had some hard days, but nothing is too hard for God.

"Don't allow this five-minute problem to ruin the next five hours of your day. Don't allow another human being to make you think less of your own soul. Concentrate on the positive so the temporary negativity won't consume you. There is always something to be grateful for."

For more of Amber, follow her on Instagram @blessedlittlebungalow.

Crystal Renee' Hayslett: Actress, Creative Director, Producer

Photo by Kayla Madonna of Madonna Studios

Courtesy of Crystal Renee' Hayslett

Her Mindful Morning Routine:

"Each morning, I make a conscious effort to take a moment to pray, meditate, and write in my 'I Am' journal. The front of the journal states, 'I am grateful. I am joyful. I am abundant. I am successful. I am worthy.' It's a constant reminder that whatever you say you are, it will begin to manifest in your life. Once I'm done, I get a good workout in, make breakfast, and it's time to get going!"

Her Intention Of The Moment:

"I like to set daily intentions since we are in a constant state of evolution and growth. My intention at the moment is to be more present. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you miss how beautiful your life really is."

The Importance Of Practicing Mindfulness:

"Practicing mindfulness helps you see things for what they are, and with that, you can have a much better handle on life. When you're mindful of others, you don't take things personally. You are able to show empathy and support, instead of taking everything personally.

"When you're mindful in life, you understand that everything happens for a reason and it's always for a greater good. There is so much peace in mindfulness."

The Role Mindfulness Has Played In Her Career:

"Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I take a moment to remember when I asked God to enlarge my territory. When I remember what I asked for, a sense of responsibility comes over me. I also find comfort in knowing that if my plate is feeling heavy, it's because He knows I can handle it."

For more of Crystal, follow her on Instagram @luvcrystalrenee.

Dr. Andrea Alexander: OBGYN 

Photo courtesy of Dr. Andrea Alexander

Her Mindful Morning Routine:

"'You reap what you sow.' My mother drilled in my head growing up. This has transferred into almost every aspect of my life. I'm a Virgo, so I used to sow seeds of anxious planning and sleepless nights filled with busy work, so guess what I reaped? Days filled with anxiety and fatigue. For the past two to three years, I have made great efforts to start my day with peace and intentions of self-growth, and I have noticed a superior change in my mood and productivity level.

"I started praying twice a day. For the year of 2020, I made the new year resolution of praying once in the morning as soon as I wake up, and once at night before hitting the sack. I've noticed that I have become more grateful for the things I already have, less anxious in the morning, and more excited to start the day.

"What they say is true: When you look good, you feel good. So I stopped checking emails and rushing to take my dogs out as soon as I broke my sleep in the mornings. Taking care of yourself first in the morning is a form of self-care. Take care of your skin, do your hair, put on something cute to wear, put on your favorite perfume, and I promise you'll feel more excited to then be more productive. Your dogs and kids and those emails can wait five minutes."

"Exercise and stretching have been shown to decrease anxiety. Stretching to my favorite music, or something a little more relaxing, like classical music, and/or a quick ab workout in the morning add to my zen factor throughout the day. Release those endorphins and stress and you'll feel like a million bucks. I promise."

Setting Her Intentions:

Photo courtesy of Dr. Andrea Alexander

"For a good portion of my post-residency life, I have lived by the phrase, 'If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.' Intending to simply be mindful, is not enough. We must plan to act on it. I set daily intentions for myself. Because every new day is a chance to make another chance. Why wait a week or a month to make changes in your life? I'm a fan for setting out to better yourself daily.

"One way to accomplish daily intention-setting is asking to meet your goals and asking to be productive during morning prayer. Every time I have asked to be productive, I more often than not, have been. Ask and you shall receive. An organized and itemized to-do list also contributes to me meeting my intentions for the day. Let's face it, we all get busy, and we all forget things. Use technology to your advantage by making a to-do list on your phone, and keep it updated. You'll inevitably be carrying it around with you all day and this will be a reminder to be great and productive throughout the day.

"Speak positivity into the day as well. The tongue is powerful, and if you speak greatness and speak meeting your daily intentions and goals into existence, I promise you will."

The Role Mindfulness & Intention Have Played In Her Career:

"Listen, I don't want to brag, but there is a reason why I'm known as the doctor who stays calm during high-stress times. It's because I have taken it upon myself to implement that as above. When I was in residency, I was surrounded by a good number of negative people, some who didn't believe in me. (This feeling is inevitable as a black physician, unfortunately). It really messed with my self-confidence, and for a lack of better terms, I felt like shit. Getting into therapy after residency and practicing more self-care helped me to regain my confidence. I feel amazing now.

"Those around me trust my judgment because my decision isn't based off of a snappy emotional decision, but rather, it comes from a place of calm decision-making and self-confidence. This is why I say self-care is more than applying a face mask and lighting a scented candle. Actively going to therapy, praying, practicing gratefulness, and speaking positivity all changed my life from the inside-out. These are the most important ways to practice self-care.

"I stay present in the moment by reminding myself that I have the proper training to complete any task at hand. I also remind myself that I serve an amazing and powerful God who is capable of carrying me through even the scariest of situations."

For more of Andrea, follow her on Instagram @paging.dr.dre

On Mindful Morning Routines:

"How we start our day drastically affects how we will feel throughout the day. Our feelings and emotions paint the picture of how we see reality, and creating positive feelings will improve the quality of your day."

"Check-in with yourself before checking in with the world. It's a natural response for us to grab our phones immediately upon waking up, check our emails, and check social media. Unfortunately, this pattern allows us to become disconnected from ourselves, our own feelings, and needs. Take a few moments to start your day, asking yourself: 'What would make today great?' Before responding or contacting anyone by phone, email, or social media, ask yourself: 'Am I open for business?' In my 6 Weeks to Self-Love Coaching program, all of my clients learn how to gracefully set boundaries with others and this starts with self-awareness of our own needs. By asking yourself, 'Am I open for business?' you are assessing yourself to know if you are ready to receive from others and to give to others.

"Honoring your own needs by sleeping a little longer, not responding to that work email just yet, or even deciding to put your phone on Do Not Disturb, improves mood, relationships, and overall wellness."

"Drink something warm! Warm water and lemon or lime in the morning jump-starts your metabolism and it makes you feel more energized. Warm drinks are nourishing and comforting. If you are into presentation, pour it up in your favorite mug and sip slowly. Talk to yourself and talk to God. If we want those we encounter to be kind to us, we must first start a kind conversation with ourselves. It takes strength to find compassion for yourself and having a higher power to trust in, will allow you to feel supported. Look yourself in the mirror and say: 'I am strong. I am loved. I am enough.'

"Be gentle with yourself. Some mornings you will fall off the routine you established, but love yourself back to your mindful practices instead of feeling guilty."

Setting Her Intentions:

"I set intentions for myself not at any particular moment or time frame but more so when I am approaching things that require great actions from me. In 2020, that can just be getting out of bed; it's been a challenging year, setting clear intentions has been my saving grace.

"Intentions are the thoughts that create the action and they really determine the outcome of a situation. Before I speak to a group of people, I set the intention to speak my truth and to spread light to others. I encourage your readers to set intentions for their relationships, workdays, and moments that they want to approach in their lives with grace."

The Role Mindfulness & Intention Have Played In Her Career:

"I redesigned my lifestyle and career to lead a more mindful life. I created freedom and flexibility. I worked as a critical-care nurse for eight years on the night shift. I did everything in my power to prepare myself for my work with critically ill people in various ICUs around the country. During my career as a nurse, I would take long periods of time off to travel and really pour into myself through spirituality and self-love practices. By allowing myself this time off, I realized that I really prefer to work remotely and the hospital was not the best place for me to help others. I now have a career that meets my lifestyle needs.

"Often, we believe that we have to fit our lives to our career, but to create a fulfilling life, we must create a career that meets our life."

For more of Monique, follow her on Instagram @iamnursemo.

Her Mindful Morning Routine

"For me, having a mindful morning starts, number one, the night before. I like to create an intentional schedule by listing out my work commitments and my personal to-do list by its level of priority and importance. Once I know what to expect for the day ahead, I wake up with more enthusiasm and guidance to conquer the day. Second, practicing becoming an early riser is helping tremendously with my morning mindfulness. When I'm in the bed lights out before 10pm, I wake up feeling so refreshed and extremely energized, allowing me more time to enjoy a cup of tea, a morning meditation or workout and or just a few extra moments of quiet time instead of feeling so rushed out the door.

"I'm loving this practice as it's been keeping me full of gratitude and in tune with my higher purpose. It's a very soulful practice."

Setting Her Intentions:

"I try to make setting my intentions as a daily habit in everything I do. I truly feel like setting my intentions allows me to keep a clear understanding of what I intend to accomplish and feel, or how to be of service to others throughout my day-to-day life. Setting my intentions also keeps me aligned with my purpose and my reason why I'm doing what I'm doing."

Her Intention Of The Moment:

"The intentions I have for myself at the current moment is to be fully present in the now—meaning to be consciously present in the moment. Many times we are so detached to what is happening right under our noses or around us that we miss out on the present moment and seeing life's small gifts. There's so much power and enlightenment in learning this approach. I use the book, The Power of the Now by Eckhart Tolle, as a day-to-day guide for helping me find the importance of living in the present moment."

The Role Mindfulness & Intention Has Played In Her Life & Career:

"For me, practicing mindfulness in my personal life and career has honestly allowed me to have a more fluid mindset. It keeps me open to change, more calm, and an overall more peaceful person. These characteristics become very useful when life and career can become demanding. It allows me to stop myself in my tracks before becoming overwhelmed. It's almost like I can see anxiety and stress in slow motion, allowing me just enough time to be formless and adjust to its energy.

"One of my favorite quotes is by Bruce Lee: 'Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.'"

For more of Khat, follow her on Instagram @khatbrim & @hairareus.

*Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Featured image courtesy of Monique Doughty

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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