6 Tips For Creatives To Find Balance & Inspiration
When it comes to social media, viewers only get to see the results of our creative success, but to be honest, the majority of us are just winging it. I can wholeheartedly attest to not having all of the answers when it comes to work, life, and balance. I'm just figuring this ish out and learning more about myself and what I can handle during the process.
For the past few years, I've been juggling working in the beauty industry full-time, modeling, roller-skating, writing, and designing jewelry. Trust and believe that there are not enough hours in the day to do all of the things that I would like to. I have learned the hard way the importance of not pushing myself to the limit and neglecting the efforts of self-sabotaging because things aren't going as planned.
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Like most of us blossoming creatives, this is a one-woman show, so on the days that I am being too hard on myself I say, "You are not Beyonce, and you do not have her team. Do what you can to achieve your goals when you can."
Most mornings, I designate time to separate work goals, creative goals, and personal goals that have worked best for me. Also, writing my accomplishments daily and writing encouraging notes to myself helps give me the reassurance that my hard work and dedication are worth it. Realistically, balancing working a 9-to-5 and being a progressive can be very time-consuming and overwhelming at times. It can take years before our creative dreams become the reality that we envision for ourselves.
Every now and then it helps to be reminded that your creativity is worth pursuing. Keep it pushing sis with these 6 tips:
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1. Just go for it.
"Don't talk about it. Just do it." That is exactly what my best friend said after I shared one of my creative ideas with her on a train ride home. Ever find yourself sharing amazing ideas and forgetting to actually pursue them? Try your hardest to come up with ideas and then immediately create a plan to achieve them. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so now is the time to put your best foot forward. There will never be the "right" time to execute your creative ideas. My best advice for a blossoming creative is, that idea that you have just may not work but so what? At least you tried. I have made adjustments to my brand, tried things that worked, quit ventures that didn't suit me, etc. It all turned out for the greater good. I'm still a work in progress and making adjustments as I go.
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2. Don't rush your creative juices.
We live in a world where instant gratification is so necessary. It's easy to get caught up in rushing ideas and the execution of creative projects. Remember, greatness comes with time.
When I first started creating my blog, I realized the importance of patience in creativity. I noticed that whenever I took my time with acting on my creative ideas, I had better results. Balancing a 9-to-5 and working on your creativity can be tough, but over time I learned to not beat myself up about taking breaks.
Sometimes you aren't going to be motivated to work on your creativity after work and that's OK. Commend yourself for the small efforts you do make towards your creative goals.
Try out different schedules to make your creativity more convenient and give yourself feedback in the process. Something that has helped me tremendously is scheduling creative freedom days. I literally wake up and say to myself, "Today, I'm going to come home straight after work, write in my journal and have 'me time.'" For whatever creative projects you are working on, make sure you take the time to create your best work. Don't rush, and take care of yourself.
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3. Don't allow people to convince you to turn your creativity down.
Do you, and stay true to yourself. People will mislead you all the time, so you might as well do what you want. Get acquainted with being misunderstood. Way too often people will tell you that you are "over the top" and you do "too much". Let those people continue talking and carry on. Speaking your dreams into existence is just the beginning. Only you know what you want to do and how you want to do it. This is about you and your vision. No one else can see it but you.
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4. Network and surround yourself with other creatives.
As a creative person, you need to keep a creative set of friends. If you don't have at least one, then it's time to find one. This is very helpful when it comes to expanding those creative ideas you come up with on the daily. When I first moved to Brooklyn, something that really helped me expand my business was surrounding myself with other creatives that I admired. I have creatives in my corner who I read my articles to and who try on the jewelry I design. I can always count on them to give me good feedback. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can be the push that you need. It's a great feeling to support other creative works and cheer each other on during the process.
5. Use social media to build your brand.
As a blossoming creative, it is essential to put your social media skills to good use in order to create your plan. You never know who's watching or who you might be inspiring through your platforms. Research yourself and figure out exactly what your social media accounts display about you. Allow your social media to show your most creative self.
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6. Do it for you.
No matter what, do what you want and do it for you. I make sure that if no one else likes my content or jewelry, I like it. I try to ensure that I actually value everything I create and that the sole purpose is not money-driven. Don't be afraid to say "no" to projects that don't necessarily spark your interest or those that appear to be detrimental to your vision or brand.
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How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Here Are 12 Of The Supplements That Your Vagina Totally Needs
Over the course of time, I’ve written articles for xoNecole on how to incorporate foods that will improve the health of your vagina (“The Foods Your Vagina's Been Craving”) as well as ones that will ultimately do your vagina more harm than good (“Here’s What Your Vagina Wishes You Would Eat LESS Of”). And while, in a perfect world, our daily diet would consist of all of the nutrients that our va-jay-jay needs, the reality is that most of us need to add a few supplements — ones that will keep “her” happy and thriving.
That’s what we’re gonna tackle over the next few minutes — different supplements that you probably knew were good for other parts of your body yet can also do wonders for your vagina (and vaginal-related activities) too.
1. Vitamin A
If you want to have a strong immune system, the ability to get pregnant easier/faster, great vision, and the assurance that your organs are receiving what they need in order to function properly, you definitely need to get some vitamin A into your system on a regular basis. Some foods that are rich in this particular nutrient include tomatoes, mangos, eggs, carrots, butter, and salmon.
As far as your vaginal health goes, vitamin A is essential because it helps with the development of your mucous membranes. This is relevant when it comes to your vagina because not only do they play a role in keeping your vagina moist, but they also make it easier for that part of your body to fight off infection as well.
2. Vitamin C
There’s a reason why health experts advise that you up your intake of vitamin C during cold and flu season. Not only is it a super potent antioxidant that’s incomparable when it comes to fighting off free radicals, but this vitamin also helps to keep your blood pressure in check, reduce your risk of heart disease, and helps your body to absorb iron. Vitamin C is also dope on the natural beauty tip since it helps your body to produce collagen (which is what helps your skin and hair to maintain elasticity). Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli.
Your vagina could benefit from vitamin C if you’re looking to treat a bout of bacterial vaginosis (BV) or if you want an all-natural way to decrease vaginal odor (although if the odor persists, you should definitely make an appointment to see your doctor).
3. Vitamin D
You probably already know that vitamin D is good for your teeth and bones. Did you also know that it’s essential when it comes to fighting bodily inflammation or that it helps to treat depression and can help you to lose weight? Foods that are a great source of vitamin D include dairy, salmon, fortified orange juice, fortified cereal, and mushrooms.
The reason why Vitamin D makes the “pro vaginal health” list is that it helps to prevent vaginal dryness in menopausal women. Studies also reveal that people who are deficient in this nutrient tend to have a lower sex drive and a more challenging time experiencing orgasms. Salmon tonight, anyone?
4. Vitamin E
From your brain to your blood to your reproductive organs, vitamin E is something that your body needs from head to toe. Personally, I’m all about it because I like what the nutrient does for my skin. That’s because it’s great at reducing the appearance of scars, softening the skin, and keeping it from premature aging (it’s also got properties that reduce the itching that comes with eczema and psoriasis). Foods that are good sources of vitamin E include almonds, peanuts, collard greens, pumpkin, and spinach.
Also, if you’re feeling a little dry down below, applying some pure Vitamin E oil can bring some immediate relief. Just make sure that you don’t rely on it for vaginal lubrication if you plan on using a latex condom. Latex and oil do not mix — even when it’s something as awesome as this particular oil-based vitamin.
5. Aloe Vera Juice (or Tablets or Gel)
Even though it’s definitely something that you’ll want to put into your juice or a smoothie (because it’s kind of…blah without some assistance), you can’t go wrong with adding some aloe vera juice to your diet. For starters, it’s quite the mega-nutrient when you stop to consider the fact that it includes vitamins B12, C, and E, folic acid, a ton of different enzymes, and magnesium and zinc (and that’s just scratching the surface!). That’s why it’s not surprising that aloe vera juice is good for regulating blood sugar levels, healing inflamed gums and ulcers, and treating constipation. Beauty-wise, it hydrates dry skin and soothes the effects of eczema and psoriasis.
And what can it do for your vagina? Well, consuming it in juice form can help to keep your vagina naturally lubricated from the inside out. If you apply it as a gel, it’s got a pH balance that complements your vagina, and its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties can make it a great vulva soother after a night of a lot of friction or even as a lubricant if you’d prefer to go a chemical-free route.
The reason why DHEA is actually called that is that its real name is dehydroepiandrosterone (right…try spelling that after looking at it only one time). Long story (and name) short, it’s a natural hormone that helps to produce other hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Because DHEA is somewhat of a hormone balancer, some people take it in supplement form to treat things like depression, erectile dysfunction, and even obesity. It’s also effective as it relates to slowing down the signs of aging. Plus, some studies show that people with type 2 diabetes have a lower level of DHEA in their system than they actually should (good to know if that’s a health issue for you).
Vaginally, DHEA is helpful at balancing estrogen levels inside of your vagina, which can help to make sexual intercourse more pleasurable. Just make sure to run this one by your doctor first because too much estrogen in your system can sometimes produce unwanted side effects.
7. Sea Buckthorn Oil
Although it’s certainly not the kind of nutrient that comes up in daily conversation, never sleep on sea buckthorn oil. The backstory is it's an oil that comes from a Himalayan plant called — yep, you guessed it — the sea buckthorn, and it does all kinds of awesome things for your health. Not only is it a solid source of Vitamin E, calcium, zinc, and copper, but it’s also an oil that helps to reduce your blood sugar levels, keep your skin moisturized, support your liver health, strengthen your tresses, and even make menopause easier to deal with.
And why will your vagina adore it? If you want a source of fatty acids that will help to keep your vaginal walls lubricated, this oil can help to accomplish that goal. Also, if you’re post-menopausal and you don’t want to do traditional estrogen hormone therapy, sea buckthorn oil has studies to support that it’s an awesome alternative when it comes to treating vaginal atrophy (the thinning and dryness of your vagina that oftentimes comes with menopause).
8. Hyaluronic Acid
Probably what hyaluronic acid has the best reputation for is beauty. That’s because it’s awesome when it comes to softening the appearance of fine lines and reducing the appearance of scars on your skin. However, don’t overlook the fact that it contains properties that keep your joints working well as well as keep your eyes hydrated (because experiencing dry eyes is the absolute worst).
When it comes to vaginal atrophy, this is another all-natural treatment that leads the pack. Applying it topically can also help with vaginal dryness or discomfort from sexual penetration, especially if you’re currently dealing with cancer treatments.
9. Fatty Acids
If you’ve always wondered what a “fatty acid” technically is, the best way to describe it is, it’s a building block of fat — one that actually works in your favor. Take omega-3 fatty acids, for example. The properties in it are able to reduce anxiety, improve your vision, naturally assist with the treatment of ADHD (in children), bipolar disorder, and autoimmune diseases and make period-related discomfort more bearable. By the way, foods that are high in this particular fatty acid include tuna, walnuts, and canola oil.
Vaginally, you can benefit from fatty acids because they help to treat vaginal infections (like BV), vaginal dryness (especially in breast cancer patients) and increase pleasure-related chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, so that you’re able to have a more sexually-fulfilling experience. Very cool, indeed.
10. Cranberry Pills
Something that’s definitely packed with antioxidants is cranberries. Its high acidic content makes it pretty reliable when it comes to healing oral health issues, reducing the risk of heart disease, and providing a holistic approach to treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). If you’re also looking for a way to maintain your digestive health as you reduce bodily inflammation, cranberries have your back in those departments too.
Since cranberries are so good at keeping UTIs at bay, this means that they help to reduce the build-up of bad bacteria in your vagina, which is always a good thing. So, if you hate the bitter taste of cranberries, remember that you can always take them in pill form — unless you’re allergic to aspirin; some studies say you could experience side effects if that happens to be the case.
11. Black Seed Oil
Something that I’m a super fan of is black seed oil. It comes from the Nigella sativa plant, and another name for it is black cumin. Actually, who put me on to it is actor (and choreographer) Darrin Dewitt Henson. I can’t seem to find the clip on YouTube, but years ago, he was on The Breakfast Club saying that he attributed his ageless appearance to black seed oil. I looked it up, and an article on its whopping 101 benefits had me hooked. If you’re looking for an all-natural way to lower your blood pressure, heal breakouts, boost your immunity, and even treat asthma, look no further (although I adore it for what it’s done for my skin!).
As far as your vagina goes, if you’re like me and you have a natural fungal sensitivity, this is an oil that can help to keep candida in its proper place. It can also help to clear up vaginal discharge that may irritate your vulva.
Probably the easiest way to describe probiotics is they are live microorganisms that help to keep your gut healthy — and since 80 percent of your immunity is in your gut, taking care of that part of your body is always a vital thing to do. Probiotics help to keep bad bacteria from overtaking your system, make it easier for you to digest your food properly, can make taking medication easier to do, will reduce cholesterol levels, and is great at treating acne, eczema, and hydrating dry skin.
Definitely get some for your vagina because probiotics keep bad bacteria from causing a yeast infection, help to treat BV, and can even help to prevent the growth of cervical cancer cells. And since probiotics can also assist with improving your moods, boosting your energy levels, and increasing your libido — the next time you’re at your local health store, be sure to pick some up. If you need a bit of assistance in making the right selection, check out Byrdie’s “10 Best Probiotics for Women of 2023 for Gut Health” and Healthline’s “10 of the Best Probiotics for Women in 2023 According to a Dietitian.” Your vagina will certainly thank you!
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