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Encourage Yourself: Tips to Avoid Slipping into Depression

“Not that I am happy with the suffering; I simply refuse to be defeated by it”.

Huey P Newton

I am prone to fall into depressive states. When a depression hits, all I want to do is eat, sleep, and feel sorry for myself. There are certain triggers that if not handled immediately, can send me spiraling into depression until I muster the strength to pull myself up and out. This can take days and sometimes weeks.  Over the years I have learned how to recognize when I am on the verge of a depression and I take matters into my own hands to prevent that from happening. This level of self-awareness is especially important for self-mastery, personal growth, and ascension. I wanted to share with you four ways I avoid falling into depression to bring myself back to a state of equilibrium. As I wrote this article, the song Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence came to my mind. As you read this article, feel free to listen to this song.

  1. Practice Gratitude

“I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the lord

Psalm 27:13-14

Now this isn’t the gratitude that’s discussed in the post-modern spiritual circles where you write down 3 things you are grateful for and meditate. This is the gratitude of the Black Church. The, “when I think of the goodness of Jesus and all he’s done for me, my soul cries out Hallelujah, I thank God for saving me”. The, “when I look back over my life” gratitude. The type of gratitude where you use praise as a weapon. I put on my gospel music, grab my tambourine, and give God glory. It works! I thank God for all my many, many blessings. Because despite my present circumstance, despite my feelings of anger, shame, guilt, sadness, and fear, I know I can overcome them. Praise is a powerful weapon that is guaranteed to make you feel better and keep you from spiraling.



2. Exercise

“It is easier to act yourself into good thinking than it is to think yourself into good action”

Bill Gove

High intensity exercise releases feel-good endorphins that improve your sense of well-being. Exercise also takes your mind off your worries. I love a good run or a good lifting session. I may not feel like it, but once the workout is over, I feel so much better. Even a walk outdoors will help to lift your mood and stave off depression. If you are unable to do any intense exercise; stretch or do a positive activity that brings you joy; knitting, painting, or gardening.  A good workout boots my self-esteem and confidence and the negative emotions that were waiting to weigh me down have been transmuted.

young ethnic woman with fit ball sitting on floor while training in modern gym
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

3. Clean & Organize

“Like a sunflower, I am learning to always face the light”

Sabrina Laura

When I’m feeling down, I will open the windows (yes, even in the winter), let the stale air out and let the fresh air in. I will light my sage or palo santo to cleanse my aura and the energy of my home. Then I will turn some music on and get to cleaning. I will sweep, mop, dust, or clean the bathroom. If everything is already clean, I will start throwing things away. I will go through my closet and get rid of old clothes. I will go through the stack of mail and papers and toss whatever isn’t needed. Our physical environment is a direct reflection of our mental state and clearing physical clutter will clear mental, emotional, and energetic clutter.

5. Self-Talk: Encourage Yourself


“Whatever you put into your mind, in one way or another, is what you will get back out, in one way or another”

Shad Helmstetter

Like the song Encourage Yourself says, “Sometimes you gotta look in the mirror and tell yourself I can make it. You gotta remember that life and death lie in the power of your own tongue. Even if nobody tells you, you can run on. You tell yourself”. I begin to repeat my affirmations. I begin to combat the negative thoughts and words that are running rampant in my mind. I remind myself that there is nothing I can’t overcome. That there ain’t no quit in me. That I am my ancestors wildest dream, and that resilience, power and strength is embedded in the fabric of my DNA and I will not only be ok. But I will win.

Cry if you have to, scream if you must. But don’t you ever give up and don’t you ever quit. And when you feel yourself slipping into a depression, try to incorporate these steps to ground yourself, center yourself to as the old folks say in the church begin to , “ believe I’ll go on and see what the end gonna be”.

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Avoiding the Winter Skin Blues: 4 Ways I’ve Kept My Skin Glowing

The skin is our largest organ and is responsible for removing nearly 25% of all the toxins that the body eliminates. If the body is unable to eliminate toxins via the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, or lymphatic system, it will use the skin as an overflow route. Therefore, healthy skin indicates a healthy body.

Buffalo NY winters are rough on the skin! Each winter I struggle to keep my skin adequately moisturized and avoid flaky, ashy, itchy skin. In the past I’ve tried all different kinds of creams and lotions, but this winter my skin has been soft and supple with minimal ash, lol. Here are the 4 ways that I’ve kept my skin healthy this winter

Drinking Sufficient Water

Healthy skin starts from the inside out. The greatest and most effective skin care product is water! Water clears the skin, makes it smoother and helps decrease the effects of aging. It also keeps the skin moisturized. At a minimum, everyone should drink half their body weight in ounces daily. For example, someone who weighs 200lbs should drink at least 100oz of water daily. Adding fresh lemon or limes is an added benefit and will produce greater results.

lemon juice in cup
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Dry Brushing

I dry brush my skin every day. Dry brushing removes dead layers of skin. It keeps the pores open and functioning well. It makes the complexion brighter by removing the things that dull the skin and improves circulation. It also decreases cellulite and increases collagen production. Dry skin brushing allows your skin to breathe and cell renewal is stimulated. How to dry brush? Starting from the feet, dry brush in a firm upward motion toward the heart to increase circulation.

wooden hanger with towels and body brushes
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Baking Soda Baths

I’ve been taking a lot more baths than showers lately. I find that showers leave my skin feeling dry, even with a shower filter. I take baths almost daily with baking soda (after dry brushing). The baking soda alkalizes the water, making the water less harsh on your skin. It also draws out toxins from the pores while softening the skin. You will notice an immediate difference in your skin. Start with 1-2 cups of baking soda to your bath along with essential oils and Epsom salt for added benefits.

a romantic setting in the bathroom
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Choosing the Right Moisturizer

I always use natural butters and oils on my skin. I avoid any of the name brand, drug store lotions and creams. My winter go to’s are Shea butter, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil and Castor oil. I also use MarDavon Company skin care products. They are a black owned local company and I have been using their handcrafted body butters and lotions for nearly a year. I LOVE the way they make my skin feel and smell. Check out their products at:

 mardavonco.com

IG: @mardavon_co

Etsy: @MardavonCo  

Your skin doesn’t have to be dry, ashy, or dull. Try out these 4 skin care tips to avoid the winter skin blues!

Kathleen is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor, Reiki Level 1 Practitioner, and Death & Mourning Doula. She is also an Intermittent Fasting Specialist, Herbalist, and Traditional Hoodoo Rootworker.

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Sleep: The Underdog of Health

“He that can take rest is greater than those that can take cities”

Benjamin Franklin

After air and water, the body’s need for sleep is most important. Believe it or not, adequate sleep is more important than food. But sleep is often the one thing we neglect the most. The human body cannot survive more than three minutes without air or three days without water. After three days of insufficient sleep, the body begins to show the signs of sleep deprivation. How long can the body survive without food? 3 weeks!

In our go-getter, do more, be more society, sleep is something for babies and the lazy. But one will never reach their full potential or experience true health and wellness without adequate sleep. Sleep is essential for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. It is estimated that more than a third (some estimate up to 70%) of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.

What happens to the body while Sleeping?

Dr. Frank Lipman explains, “When you sleep, your brain protects itself from toxic proteins…this overnight cleanup keeps the brain clear and healthy”.  Adequate sleep improves learning, memory, decision making, and problem-solving skills. Your body goes into recovery and healing mode, repairing muscles, organs, and cells. The immune system is dependent on sleep, as certain antibodies are produced during sleep.

What happens when you get insufficient sleep?

The CDC has said, “Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic”. Sounds a little dramatic right? It’s not. The impacts of consistently not getting enough sleep are extremely harmful. Lack of sleep can make you biologically older and results in a body and mind wired for stress. It also causes an increased risk of:

  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Weakened immune system
  • Mood changes
  • Poor focus, concentration, and memory

How much sleep do you need?

The National Sleep Foundation has recommendations for each age group. For adults aged 18-64, the recommendation is 7-9 hours of sleep per night. For adults 65 or more, the recommendation is 7-8 hours per night.

How to Improve Your Sleep?

  • Make sleep a priority
  • Stick to the same sleeping schedule every day (even weekends)
  • Develop a nighttime/bedtime routine
  • Disconnect from electronic devices at least a half-hour before bed
  • Don’t have caffeine after noon

Remember, being healthy, happy, and whole is your birthright and good sleep promotes good health.

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I Started Doing This One Thing and It Changed My Life

“If we are going to heal, let it be glorious”

Beyonce

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, my health and the health of my community is my number one priority. I am always looking for ways to improve my health and optimize the functioning of my body, particularly the systems that are designed to remove toxins and waste from the body… I’ll just cut to the chase. The one thing I started doing that changed my life was enemas! Once I started doing weekly enemas my health drastically improved. I felt lighter, I had less headaches and less toxins recirculating in my system.

The Colon

One of the most important systems of elimination is the digestive system and within that system the colon plays a very important role. The colon is responsible for reabsorbing fluids and processing the waste from the food we eat for removal and elimination (bowel movements).

Think about it. If we eat 3-6 times a day, 7 days a week, that is a total of 21-42 meals per week. If you only have one bowel movement a day that means you have 12-35 meals worth of waste still in your system. And some people do not have a bowel movement every day and that means more waste not being eliminated. Feces can become impacted in the colon and the bacteria and toxins will recirculate through the body causing several ailments and dis-ease.

The Benefits of an Enema

An enema helps to remove impacted feces from the colon. Enemas should especially be used when fasting. The following benefits are reaped with enemas:

  • Treats constipation
  • Clears out the bowels
  • Relives headaches
  • Increases energy levels
  • Clears the skin
  • Removes toxins from the body
  • Removes excess mucous
  • Alleviates Bloating

How to Perform an Enema

You can start with using store-bought enemas and then graduate to making your own. Lie on the floor or bed (yoga mat or blanket) on your left side. Gently massage the left side of your abdomen. Laying on the left side eases the passage and flow of fluid into the rectum. Gently insert the tip of the enema in the rectum (don’t go too deep) and squeeze the enema bag so the fluid is released into the colon. Gently massage the left side of the abdomen. When you feel the need to eliminate, feel free to release. You can use a stool for your feet for deeper cleansing. The water loosens up stool and allows for feces to pass though easily.

I do enemas at least once a week as preventative maintenance. This may be TMI, but I have the best and most productive bowel movements when using an enema. It feels great knowing that waste is no longer in me and I literally feel so light and free. After intermittent fasting and increasing water intake, enemas are my next and favorite recommendation. If you’ve never done an enema, you must try. If you have any digestive or bowel disorders, please check with your PCP to make sure there are no contraindications. One of the first articles I posted on my blog in 2015 was titled: Poop: The Perfect Sign of Pure Health. It was true then and enemas have made this even more true today.

Kathleen is the Owner of Melanin Rich Wellness Inc. The mission of MRW is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the black community using African Holistic Health. Kathleen is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator, Certified Yin Yoga Instructor, Herbalist, and Intermittent Fasting Specialist.