I'm so here for what many are calling a "women empowerment movement". We are conquering and taking over the world (as we've been doing for centuries) and achieving monumental success in so many ways. We are mothers, wives, sisters, friends, daughters, and caretakers. We are professionals, teachers, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, leaders, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, activists, coders, CEOs, and everything in between.
As easy as it is to list our titles and accomplishments, I've noticed at times how difficult it is for us, as Black women, to admit when we're tired or worn out from everything that we're doing. We're making a lot of things work so we can do it all and have it all, but are we carving out enough time to slow down and rest when we need to?
If you're like me, and at times, you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed, or feeling as if you're doing the most or putting too much pressure on yourself, here are some affirmations to remind you, as well as myself, to slow down and give yourself some grace.
1."My peace is more important than having a packed schedule."
You never have to chase or force what's meant to be. "Your gifts will make room for you" (Proverbs 18:16). There's a difference between being strategic and desperately seeking opportunities. The most authentic relationships, connections, careers, and opportunities usually happen by choice, not force. Hence, you don't have to beg people for an opportunity and you don't have to always be on the scene at every event trying to force something to happen.
When we stretch ourselves too thin, we end up sharing a piece of ourselves with too many people, and then we wonder why we don't have peace in our lives.
2."It’s OK to ask for help."Giphy
Whatever "help" looks like for you, don't be afraid to ask for it when you need it. I've learned firsthand that being the so-called "strong friend" also means being vulnerable and courageous enough to admit when you're not okay. As LeToya Luckett recently stated: "God placed angels to create support systems."
3."Rest is required."
Clearly my body can't do it like I used to when I was in my early twenties and when I was in college. Some people say "I'll sleep when I'm dead," but clearly someone missed the memo that sleep and rest is essential to our health. Listen to your body. Rest, reset, and refresh when you need to.
4."I can’t be everything to everyone."Giphy
If I'm not good to myself, then I won't be good to anyone else. Sometimes you have to take a step back and ask, "If I'm pouring everything into everyone else, then who is pouring into me?" You can't pour from an empty cup, and like they say, "Self-care is the best care."
5."My husband is my helpmate, so I will let him help me."
I love when the Bride-to-Be (@caranellbell via @yvonneorji) stated in her wedding vows: "My greatest blessing in this life is to finally be able to take off my superwoman cape and let you carry it…" In other words, I like being an independent woman, but I also love being able to depend on my man.
It really hit home for me as well when Erica Campbell recently shared at the Black Love Summit how she felt after having her first child. "I was so nervous and overwhelmed about everything and trying to figure it out. Warryn wanted to help but I didn't always allow him to. My mother had to remind me that if you try to do everything, then your husband won't be able to do anything to help you." Simply put, stop trying to be superwoman all the time and let your man be your superman. Let him help you.
6."I’m only human. I will not put unnecessary pressure on myself."
I remember when I first got married, I put so much pressure on myself to be a "perfect wife". When I told my husband, he was so confused because he never asked or put that pressure on me, nor did he expect me to be perfect. Turns out, I had put all of this pressure on myself because that's what I thought I was supposed to do.
Despite the #RelationshipGoals, #FitGoals, #WifeyGoals, #CareerGoals, #MomGoals…there is no such thing as a perfect wife, perfect body, perfect mother, perfect girlfriend, or a perfect friend. Moreover, there's a difference between inspiration and imitation. So, what may work for someone else, their relationship, or their lifestyle, may not work for you. You have to do what works for you.
Tell yourself: If I want to truly receive what God has for me, then I have to embrace my authenticity.
7."My 'no' can be powerful and polite at the same time."
I used to struggle with saying the word "no", but then I'd wonder why I felt so drained and so overwhelmed with anxiety; why I was doing things that I dreaded or didn't enjoy; why I was supporting so many people who weren't willing to do the same for me; or why I found myself surrounded by people who drained my energy.
Now, I realize how liberating it is to say things like, "No, I don't have time. No, I don't want to do it. No, we can't hang out. No we can't be friends. No, unfortunately I can't make it." Sometimes, a "no" to everyone else is a "yes" to yourself…and that's more than OK. It's necessary.
8."My timeline is not everyone else’s timeline."
People love to constantly quote: "We all have the same 24 hours in a day" to justify why we should be doing more of whatever. However, I loved when Kiah McBride tweeted: "You don't have the same 24 hours as XYZ celebrity. XYZ celebrity has a team, assistants, chefs, trainers, etc. at their fingertips. They're not doing everything alone or by themselves, so they have more time to focus on their primary tasks."
Even the mere fact that I'm a woman who doesn't have kids is another example of how my 24 hours are drastically different from a woman who has children.
Nothing happens overnight. Don't let Instagram trick you into thinking you're going to have insta-success, an insta-bae, or an insta-career or business. Things take time, and we're not always privy to the sacrifices that come before the success, or the growth that comes before the glow-up. Trust the process, and trust the timing and the fact that what is meant to be will happen when it's meant to be.
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Featured image by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
Originally published on August, 25, 2019
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
Sean Anthony Eddy/ Getty Images
Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
Carlos Barquero/ Getty Images
Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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