Listen, I don't know about y'all but if there is one thing that the past several months has taught me, it's to embrace the space that is all mine that I have total control of—my house. While I have always been pretty domesticated in the sense of wanting my place to feel as warm and inviting as possible, lately, I've been intentionally investing in the rooms of my home so that they evoke intense feelings of peace, tranquility and calm. Basically, every time I walk into my front door, I want to be able to exhale whether I go into my living room, kitchen, bedroom or even my bathroom.
A part of the reason why this is so important to me is because I have worked from home for years now. Yet whether or not that is your personal testimony, I want to take out some time to encourage you to do all that you can to make your weekend hours at your own house feel as much as an oasis as possible. After all, an oasis is the perfect word for what most of us need right through here, don't you think?
Oasis: something serving as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from what is usual, annoying, difficult, etc.
If this is exactly what you want, but you need a little help finding some inspiration, I've got 15 tips to help to get your started. Ready?
1. Invest in Some Greenery
There are a few awesome reasons to have plants in various rooms of your home. They're proven to be able to help to improve your mood, make you more creative and decrease your stress levels. Growing up, there were quite a few plants in my house, but I must admit that I like my place being on the darker side, so I don't have any around at present. What I do have is a huge faux tree in one of my rooms and I adore it to no end. So, whether it's the real deal (which can also decrease indoor humidity and noise levels) or something that's just for show (click here for some of the best fake greenery around), add some plants to your place. It will definitely—and immediately—create an oasis effect.
2. Make Your Own Scented Candles
Personally, I don't know anyone who isn't close to being totally in love with candles; especially if they're scented. If you happen to be one of them but you've never contemplated the benefits that come from lighting a few of 'em up, candles provide a calming effect. Based on the scent that you choose, they can also appeal your sense of smell and put you into a better mood. Plus, candles are a wonderful complement if you're someone who likes to meditate, pray or journal. And, if your oasis is going to consist of a partner being in your space, candles are mad romantic too.
Thing is, candles aren't always or necessarily the cheapest things on the planet. So, if your budget is super tight, something that you might want to do is make some of your own. It might sound like quite the feat at first, but they're actually easier to make than you might think. You can get a thorough walk-through by checking out this article right here.
3. Get Some Big Throw Pillows
Other than the pillows that you've got on your bed, how many other ones do you own? Something that I dig about big throw pillows is they immediately make a room look warmer and more appealing. Plus, there's nothing more comfortable than putting a couple of them on the floor and laying on them while listening to some music or watching a movie. As a bonus, many throw pillows are pretty inexpensive. You can find them everywhere, from Target and Walmart to Big Lots and Bed Bath & Beyond (Apartment Therapy did a feature on where to get some higher end ones; you can check it out here).
4. Switch Up Your Wall Art
I'm not sure what makes us think that just because we've hung up a particular picture that we can't ever switch it out with something else. By rotating your wall art—based on your particular mood or even season of the year—not only is it a simple way to avoid getting bored with your décor but it can totally shift the energy of any given room in your house. If you want some one-of-a-kind pieces, I've found some really unique and affordable prints on Etsy. Just go to the site and put whatever your favorite kind of art is in the search field.
5. Use Natural Light As Much As Possible
There are a few reasons to make the most of natural light. On the financial tip, it's cheaper than relying on your overhead lights and lamps. Also, natural lighting keeps seasonal depression at bay, helps you to get more Vitamin D into your system and can improve your quality of sleep as well.
If you're someone who is hesitant to open your window treatments up because you're worried that someone can peep in to see what you're up to, there is something called mirror window film that you can apply to your windows. It's cool because it makes it possible for you to look out of your windows while preventing others from being able to look inside of 'em. Just know that this is designed to work during the day not at night (as far as looking outside from indoors). Anyway, you can find rolls of the film at a pretty reasonable price at your local home improvement stores.
6. Add More Neutral Hues
If you speak with interior decorators, many of them will say that nothing welcomes the feeling of calm and tranquility quite like neutral colors do. For the record, the four basic hues of neutral are white (which represents purity and cleanliness), black (which represents sophistication and affluence), grey (which represents maturity and reliability) and brown (which represents authenticity and warmth); however, "near neutrals" (which are lighter or darker versions of the four) are great too. Speaking of colors that are wonderful for creating an oasis-like feeling, pale pastels can also provide a feeling of serenity.
7. Cop Some Seasonal Blankets
I think one of the best things that I ever did to pamper myself was purchase several throw blankets. At this point, I believe I've got around 10 of 'em. I just like stringing some along my loveseat and ottomans, so that I can curl up in one at any given moment while I'm chillin' in pretty much any room of my house. Just make sure to get the ones that match the season you're in. Cotton and fleece are most ideal for spring and summer while wool, cable knit and cashmere are more ideal for the fall and wintertime.
8. Take a Milk Bath
The reason why I wrote the article, "Did You Know There's A Right & A Wrong Way To Take A Bath?" around this time last year is because, the reality is, not all baths are created equal. The reason why I also wrote, "Make 'National Bathtub Party Day' Your Favorite Day Of The Year" (which rolls around at the top of every December, by the way) is because, soaking in your tub is one of the most cost-effective yet also luxuriant ways to pamper yourself. If you opt for taking a milk bath from time to time, depending on the kind of milk that you choose, it can perform mini miracles for your overall health and well-being.
Coconut milk and buttermilk contain lauric acid which supports the skin and the production of collagen. Oat milk soothes dry skin and eczema-related symptoms. Goat milk helps to gently remove dead skin cells. Plus, all of these milks will moisturize your skin in a way that is simply incomparable. Just pour two cups of your preferred milk under warm running water. Then add 1/3 cup of your favorite carrier oil (like coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or avocado oil) and a few drops of your preferred essential oil to provide an aromatherapy effect. I promise that you will struggle with getting out of your bathtub once you set the stage with all of this holistic healing stuff.
9. Create Your Own Massage Oil
In a perfect world, we'd all have a man who lived to give us massages on demand. But if that's not your personal testimony (mine either, chile), that doesn't mean that you have to deprive yourself. Self-given scalp massages are divine. So is rubbing your feet while you're watching your favorite show on Netflix, Hulu, UMC or a free streaming site Tubi. Just make sure you pamper your scalp or skin with an oil. Warming up something like olive, avocado or Jamaican black castor oil is good for your scalp. As far as your skin is concerned, why not make a divinely scented one? I actually happened upon a site that lists a whopping 22 different DIY massage oil recipes. You can check it out here.
10. Play Some ASMR or Soothing Music
The reason why there are articles on this platform like, "Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life" is because, there's no way around the fact that music is powerful—and powerfully influential.
From a scientific standpoint, music is proven to do everything from slow down your breathing and heart rate and reduce stress and anxiety to relieve muscle tension and trigger the production of serotonin so that you're calmer and are able to sleep more soundly.
As far as ASMR goes, while it's only been close to a couple of years now, it has gotten to the point where I never turn in for the night without some rain or ocean waves playing in the background. There is an article I once read that said that ASMR actually has the ability to produce "brain orgasms" from a physiological standpoint. So, if you wish you could be at a beach house, trapped indoors on a rainy day or could hike through a tropical rainforest, hopping on over to YouTube and putting in your favorite nature sounds can be almost just like being there.
11. Sign Up for a Wine Subscription
If there is one thing that gets y'all super hype on this platform, it's wine! I ain't mad about it either because wine is an alcoholic drink that has a significant amount of health benefits; especially if it's red wine. Red wine is scientifically proven to contain antioxidants known as polyphenols that will help to keep your heart healthy, the plant compound resveratrol that helps to lower your blood pressure and improve your cognitive functions, and other properties that assist in lowering depression-related symptoms. Wine also has nutrients that support you having stronger immunity and glowing skin. You can always run up to your closest liquor or even grocery store to get your favorite bottle. Or, if you're like me and you prefer to be indoors as much as possible on the weekends, another option is to join a wine club or subscription box service. You can find over 20 of the best ones by going here.
12. Order Some Takeout
Eating out isn't always the cheapest thing; especially if you're ordering food to be delivered. I'll give you that. But if you want to support local eateries in your area and enjoy a good meal without having to prepare it, that is always an option that you can take advantage of. If you're a bit leery because of the pandemic, check out, "10 Safety Practices For Ordering Takeout (During A Pandemic)". If you'd prefer to help out a Black-owned restaurant specifically, Eat Okra is a new app that features those in your local area.
13. Or, Eat Some Calm and Comforting Foods
Really. What's the point in cultivating the perfect ambiance if you're gonna be a nervous wreck either way? Sometimes, in the effort to find a little peace and tranquility, we mess up by chowing down on foods that ultimately cause us to climb the walls (umm, like sugar). Certain foods that promote a sense of harmony are featured in the article on our site, "8 Foods That Will Keep You Cool, Calm & Totally Relaxed". Some other foods that didn't make the list, that are both calming and comforting, include homemade soup, sautéed spinach, avocado toast, grilled salmon and turkey melts.
14. Put Your Phone on Vibrate
Tell me something. If you were on vacation right now, at your favorite spot, would you have your phone with you, 24/7? Unless you're a parent and your kids aren't with you, if your answer is "yes", please check out "8 Solid Reasons To Put. Your Phone. Down.". We've got voicemails on our phone for a reason; one of them is so that we can have moments when we're not constantly checking social media notifications or even chatting back and forth with other people. If you want to create a sense of calm and serenity on your weekends, put your phone on a charger in another room. Whatever is awaiting you on it…it can wait. It really can.
15. Sleep In
While recently checking out a pretty extensive sleep survey, I noticed that two-thirds of Americans claim to not sleep well during the week. That's a lot of people. If you're one of them, why not use the weekend to get some extra rest in? For the record, there really is no such thing as "catching up on your sleep", but being able to have a couple of days when you don't have to be a slave to your alarm clock—that can be super refreshing and a perfect way to recharge for Monday. So, definitely make it a point to either go to bed earlier or to stay in bed a little longer on the weekends. Get some new bedding. Sprinkle some lavender essential oil on your sheets (lavender oil is a natural de-stressor). Drink a little tart cherry juice (the melatonin in it will have you out like a light!). Sleep is a very simple way to get the peace that you've been looking for while you're in the oasis atmosphere that you created for yourself. Make sure that you get some this weekend, aight?
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
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September is National Self-Care Awareness Month, so for my girlies who have been putting off self-care, here’s your opportunity to start. Self-care means exactly what it says: taking care of self. Why is it important? Well, many of us have busy lives that may include careers, family, and activities that consume us daily. Taking some time for self regularly can help prevent depression, stress, anxiety, and burnout.
In February 2023, Future Forum polled 10,243 people in six countries, including the U.S., and 40% said they are experiencing burnout, and 46% of that number are women. According to CNBC, many factors contributing to burnout include companies demanding employees return to the office, hiring freezes, and layoffs.
Psychologist Debbie Sorensen explained to CNBC why women and millennials are experiencing burnout in higher numbers. “We haven’t had time to recover from the trauma of what we’ve been through the last few years,” she said. “Women and young people, in particular, are putting an immense amount of pressure on themselves to keep going, keep working, no matter the cost.”
As women, particularly Black women, we tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Other people's problems become our problems, and then we are expected to show up to work and show up for our family and friends with a smile on our faces. Whew, chile! What if we are having a bad day? How are we supposed to cope if we have to be everything to everyone? Well, here’s your sign to make time for yourself, especially on the days when you are feeling down.
Below is a list of self-care ideas for when you are having a bad day.
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Spend time in nature
Sometimes something as simple as surrounding yourself with trees, grass, and/ or water can improve your mood exponentially. The American Psychological Association’s (APA) research shows that spending time in nature can improve attention, lower stress, and reduce the risk of psychiatric disorders.
Got to a Spa
There’s nothing like going to a spa. You can relax in a sauna, get a massage, and just be. According to research, massages help release serotonin and dopamine, which are often referred to as “feel good” hormones, that will instantly perk you up and have you going about your day with a smile on your face.
When was the last time you did arts and crafts? Drawing a picture, painting, or even coloring can help you discover your inner child, thus boosting your mood. Purchase an adult coloring book, or go to a paint-and-sip class by yourself, or you can make it a group activity and bring your besties.
Look your best
The old saying, “When you look good, you feel good,” didn’t just come out of thin air. There’s some truth to it. The Kentucky Counseling Center shared a link between self-care and feeling good. “Self-care regimens are extremely important not just to stabilize your day but to make you feel great. Simple things like getting a facial, taking care of your hair done, or exercising can make you confident because when you look good, you also feel good,” according to its website.
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There’s a reason why it is suggested that you breathe when you begin feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Breathing brings oxygen back into your body, and WebMD reports that it can decrease the fight or flight response that happens when you are stressed.
Spend time with babies
I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me smile quicker than a baby, especially a smiling baby. If you’re the same way, then spending time with a baby or babies may help put you in a better mood, too.
Last but certainly not least, do nothing. There’s nothing like laying in your bed and not being forced to do anything. Stay in this moment and use this time to relax and replenish your energy.
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