Sometimes, it really is crazy that no matter how much sleep I get (I pretty much make it a priority to get no less than six hours every night), I can still end up feeling mad tired. Sometimes, it's right when I wake up, other times it's around lunchtime. I work from home, so while I do know that it can ever hurt a sistah get a catnap in on the regular, I've gotta admit that sometimes, even that isn't enough. Since I don't wanna walk around feeling worn out and weary all of the time, I decided to do a little research.
If you read the title of this article and was like, "Yeah. Why is that?", while I don't promise to provide all of the answers, I'm hoping that this will at least point you into the direction of connecting some dots, so that you can go throughout your day feeling energized instead of drained (because feeling drained sucks).
Some Pretty Common Causes of Fatigue
So, what exactly is fatigue? It's when you are constantly feeling tired or exhausted, sometimes with no clear understanding of why. When it comes to what causes this to happen, there are a variety of things. Sometimes it's due to not getting enough rest (if you're getting less than six on the regular, that's not good, wise or healthy; try and make sleep a top priority). If you are anemic or borderline anemic, this can sho 'nuf zap your energy. Allergy season is a huge fatigue trigger. Depression or anxiety is another one (because it's hard to relax and rest when you're feeling low or your mind is working into overtime).
Heart disease is yet another cause of fatigue. Did you know that food allergies are as well? That actually makes a lot of sense because, since food is designed to fuel us, if your body rejects it for some reason, how do you get the nutrients that you need? An underactive thyroid, diabetes and a poor diet are also things that can lead to you feeling tired all of the time. Oh—so can a lack of exercise because when your body becomes lethargic, that can also fatigue you.
When Should You See a Doctor for Fatigue?
The reason why it's so important to know the various (main) causes of fatigue is so you can decipher what you can do on your own vs. when you need the help of a medical professional. In a sec, I will share some energy restoration hacks that can help you to get closer to your goal of feeling revived again. However, if after a couple of weeks, none of those things work and/or you've got symptoms like unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, body inflammation, numbness, blurry vision, nonstop headaches or migraines, constant muscle weakness or cramping—all of these point to indications that there could be an underlying health issue that you may not be aware of.
Make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible, so that they can run tests and let you know for sure what is going on. Also, if your doctor does offer up a clean bill of health, it can't hurt to schedule a session or two with a reputable therapist/counselor/coach. Sometimes physicians aren't able to pick up on emotional stress or trauma and that also could be a reason why you are feeling the way that you do.
Mental health is vital when it comes to feeling energized too. Make it a priority as well. Now for the DIY hacks.
10 Quick Hacks for Boost Your Energy Levels
1. Pay attention to your posture.
Here's something that's interesting. Did you know that if you slouch it can make you tired? The reality is that when your bones are in alignment, it makes your muscles do much less work which means that your body, overall, is less weary. So, sit up straight in that office and chair. Watch the burst of energy that this one shift in your daily routine is able to provide.
2. Depend on sugar and caffeine for energy? Watch how often you do.
If sugar and caffeine are the two things that you rely on in order to get the energy boosts that you need, they actually could be working against you rather than for you, long-term. The reality is that sugar causes your blood sugar level to spike and then tank (which is why you can be hyper one moment and exhausted the next). As far as caffeine goes, while it has the ability to temporarily suppress your body's sleeping mechanism, it doesn't actually "produce" energy at all.
This is one of the reasons why, if you're tired, you can oftentimes find yourself needing more and more of it throughout the day. Sugar and caffeine are "fixes", not a real solution. You'd be better off checking out our article, "In A Bad Mood? These Foods Will Lift Your Spirits!" and snacking on something from there instead.
3. Sniff some citrus essential oil for an energy boost.
Sometimes, we underestimate our sense of smell. That said, if you're looking for an immediate midday pick-me-up, something that you might want to try doing is putting some citrus (sweet orange or lemon) essential oil on a pressure point like your temples or your wrists. It's the kind of oil that can enhance your mood and invigorate you. Just make sure that if you put it on your face that you dilute it a bit with a carrier oil like sweet almond or grapeseed; sometimes essential oils are a little on the strong side.
4. Take several online breaks.
I semi-recently checked out an article that said "infomania" can actually cause our IQ level to drop. The reality is that constantly checking emails and being on social media can overwhelm our mental circuits and totally zap our energy. This is why it's a good idea to take several online breaks throughout the day and to set firm "off hours" at night.
Whatever is happening out in cyberspace will be there when you return. Trust me.
5. Chew some gum.
A lot of us chew gum simply because we like the taste of it. But there are actual benefits that come with putting a piece of it into your mouth. Gum has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress levels, increase your alertness, help you to focus better and, because a minty flavor has the ability to stimulate blood flow as well as your senses, chewing something like peppermint or wintergreen gum can actually make you more alert too.
6. Spend some time outside.
First up, indoor air pollution is oftentimes 3-5 times worse than the pollution that is outside. Taking in too much "yuck" can drain you, off top. Also, there is a pretty common connection between low energy levels and Vitamin D deficiency. Since the sun is a great source of Vitamin D, that's why spending some time outdoors, perhaps during your lunch break, is such a good idea.
7. Turn the temperature up a bit.
This might be an ah-ha moment for you. Did you know that when the temperature drops around us, that causes our body temperature to fall as well which sends our system a cue that it's time to go to sleep (that actually provides good insight into why bears hibernate)? At nighttime, this doesn't matter much but if you're feeling chilly throughout the day, turning the thermostat up a degree or two might help you to yawn a little less.
8. Eat some honey for energy.
I'm a big fan of honey for a lot of reasons (check out "Manuka Honey Is The Ultimate Beauty Find"). The reason why it's a stellar energy hack is that honey is an unrefined sugar that can be easily absorbed into your system. And since carbs are what cultivate energy, it can only benefit you to take in a teaspoon of honey on the days when you feel super out of it.
9. Don't suppress your feelings.
Last fall, when I wrote the article, "You're Tired AF. But What Kind Of Rest Do You Need?", it explored some of the kinds of rest we need in order to feel our best selves. Well, something that I discovered about myself was that during my own fatigue moments, oftentimes it was emotionally related. Because I used to be somewhat codependent, I would sometimes stress over relationships and that would be draining. While there is definitely something to be said for being polite, respectful, and using good timing in sharing what's on your mind, if you feel weighed down on the mental tip, this too could be the cause of your tiredness. Get that ish off of your chest. You'll sleep so soundly if/once you do.
10. Have a set bedtime.
OK, raise your hand if you've got a scheduled bedtime. If you don't, that could be another reason why you're tired all of the time. Going to bed at the same time every night keeps your body's internal clock in great shape. This, in turn, makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up the next morning. I get that if you've got a work deadline or children, this may not always be possible. However, if you're sacrificing sleep for Netflix or Black Twitter, it's really not worth it. Create a schedule, read a book for about 20 minutes before the time you decide to go to sleep (reading poetry, non-dramatic non-fiction, Scripture, etc. has a way of settling the spirit), and watch how much better you feel. It's a proven hack that can give you a boost of energy. I can vouch for it personally.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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