How This Chef Found Balance After A Nearly Fatal Encounter With Burnout
In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
I don't know who needs to hear this, but quarantine was a reminder to sit your ass down. I said what I said, don't @ me. Society tells us that securing a bag means staying busy but if your work hard, crash hard lifestyle is costing you your sanity, how much is that bag really worth, sis?
If you're too busy hustling to mind your mental health, you're on a one-way street to self-destruction and Miami-based international chef and recording artist Daniella Abraham wants you to check yourself before you wreck yourself, and this is a lesson that she has learned from experience. She told xoNecole, "I always make time for myself, that's non-negotiable. If I don't, my body and spirit will do it for me."
Courtesy of Chef Danie
"I always make time for myself, that's non-negotiable. If I don't, my body and spirit will do it for me."
In our interview, Danie explained that after a nearly fatal encounter with burnout six years ago, regularly scheduled self-check-ins are mandatory and her views on the value of self-care have changed dramatically.
Whether that means meditating, shopping for new crystals and books, writing in her gratitude journal, or having a one-woman happy hour, the culinary architect says that she makes it a point to be intentional about finding balance every damn day. She continued, "When I look back, it's almost scary how I just let things spiral out of control. Now there's nothing that can take me out of balance."
Danie and I talked more about how she's been staying grounded, the real reason she doesn't use alarm clocks, and why a 36-hour alkaline water detox is the reset you didn't know you needed.
Here's what I learned:
Courtesy of Chef Danie
What’s been the driving force behind all of the hats that you wear these days? What is your “why”?
Every hat that I wear expresses a different side of me, making sure that I'm tapping into the talents that I've been blessed with. I don't want to leave this earth thinking "what if?" and I don't want to bore myself being stuck on one thing. I've been through a lot growing up so I'm taking full advantage because statistically, I wasn't supposed to be here.
At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause and finding balance in both your personal and professional life?
I was 26-years-old when life hit me really really hard. On the outside, my professional life was going beyond amazing. I was getting crazy recognition, gigs, celebrity attention, always on the scene, however, my personal life was so dark and heavy. The majority of the people I thought were my friends were actually just there to enjoy the perks, drive my car, crash at my home, and be plus-ones. No one cared how mentally exhausted I was. I had just gotten out of a screwed up contract that really took a toll on me, especially because I looked up to the person and it was in conjunction with a particular celebrity I used to admire as well.
I was fighting many demons and was exposed to so much. Suppressing my feelings with nightlife, people that didn't care about me, and being alone in my mind, which was the worst. I was definitely living a double life. Then one day, I decided I wanted out. I didn't go through with it and the very next day received some amazing advice from none other than Oprah that ultimately changed my life.
"I was fighting many demons and was exposed to so much. Suppressing my feelings with nightlife, people that didn't care about me, and being alone in my mind, which was the worst. I was definitely living a double life. Then one day, I decided I wanted out."
What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of.
Whew, this question is super tough because my life gets super random, but I'll answer what quarantine life has been like for me. Since I've been confined to my home due to COVID-19 [at the time of this interview], I start the first quarter of my day by responding to emails and social media direct messages. I actually handle my own SEO, so I get in computer geek-mode and make sure my website is running correctly and appearing on search engines as they should. I'm currently working on some international consulting projects remotely, so those are the first calls that happen then all others.
I love getting calls and emails done early in the day so things can be addressed and completed as soon as possible if there's any corrections or additional approvals needed. In the afternoons, I usually work on content or recipe development. Then, because I'm home, I try to mentally clock-out.
What are your mornings like?
My mornings fluctuate as I don't believe in alarms, just natural light—so on average, I'm up at 7am. I keep water by my bed so I consume that upon waking. I start my morning off extremely quiet—I mean zero sound. This goes on for 30 minutes to an hour depending on the day. Then I begin playing music from my favorite quarantine album, A Muse In Her Feelings by DVSN. Two tracks in particular that get me going in the AM are "Keep It Going" and "Flawless". I don't typically eat breakfast as I do intermittent fasting, so I just stretch out to get the blood flowing while the album plays.
How do you wind down at night?
I pretty much do a reverse system of my mornings. It starts loud, almost like an intimate happy hour with myself where I vibe out to music blasted through the speakers in the house, pour some wine, and really get into the vibrations. This helps me chip away any stresses I may have had in the workday. Depending on the mood, the playlist changes daily!
When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?
When I'm so focused that I forget to eat or sometimes even sleep because of deadlines and trying to have phone conversations with people on the other side of the world.
Do you practice self-care? What does that look like for you usually?
100%. Meditation is very important to me daily. I try to take multiple solo spa trips to de-stress. I'm a huge music lover, so I use that as an outlet of practicing self-care. Once a month, I do a self-care Sunday––I let everything go. No weave, no clothes, phones, anything. Just lots of candles, fruit, soft music, and just vibe.
What are some ways you stay focused on the positive when things get hard?
I practice the act of gratitude every single day. I do have a gratitude journal that I write in daily. I have something in my car that I randomly touch and say something I'm thankful for. On hard days, I try to go somewhere quiet so I can reset. I pray for understanding, if I have to cry, I let it all out. If I have to scream, I scream. Then, I focus on my breathing and while I'm sitting in silence, I allow the universe to be loud. After doing this, it definitely gives me a mental reset and I just remind myself that everything is temporary. I try not to stay out of frequency for too long.
"On hard days, I try to go somewhere quiet so I can reset. I pray for understanding, if I have to cry, I let it all out. If I have to scream, I scream. Then, I focus on my breathing and while I'm sitting in silence, I allow the universe to be loud. After doing this, it definitely gives me a mental reset and I just remind myself that everything is temporary."
How do you find balance with:
Courtesy of Shanique Diaz
My friends circle is extremely tight and selective. They're more like family to me and understand me so if they don't hear from me for a period of time they know I'm either busy or just need some time alone. We're big on travels so we definitely go on random trips throughout the year, annual international birthday trips, and weekly ladies' nights. No matter how busy we are, we are always a bottle of wine away to lend an ear.
Tricky, tricky! It's only recently I can honestly say I've found an energy worth making a part of my daily life but honestly, this happens effortlessly when both parties are on the same frequency. You don't have to make, force, or balance anything, it happens by falling in place where it was meant to be.
"It's only recently I can honestly say I've found an energy worth making a part of my daily life but honestly, this happens effortlessly when both parties are on the same frequency. You don't have to make, force, or balance anything, it happens by falling in place where it was meant to be."
Exercise? Does it happen?
For me personally, barely but I did challenge myself for the month of May to tone up. The most I usually do is yoga. Because I'm a chef and always lifting, running and going fast, I typically stay at a certain size.
When do you feel most beautiful?
When I first wake up. I'm completely free with no layers. No makeup, no extensions, nothing perfect, I'm just raw and myself and there's that morning glow.
Do you cook or find yourself eating out more often?
I cook for myself all the time. If I do go out to eat, it's work-related. For leisure, it's usually girls' nights with my best friend or publicist.
Do you ever detox? What does that consist of?
I do a 36-hour water detox. Only consuming alkaline water throughout the day to reset the internal organs, metabolism, and gut.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I'll have to admit that this has happened a couple of times since quarantine. I just have to reflect back on the other many uncertain times I went through only to come out better. It's all about how we grow through things. We'll all have these moments but we have to stay focused mentally, spiritually, and emotionally by trusting and loving ourselves and remaining fearless yet grateful every step of the way.
"It's all about how we grow through things. We'll all have these moments but we have to stay mentally, spiritually, and emotionally by trusting and loving ourselves and remaining fearless yet grateful every step of the way."
For more Chef Danie, follow her on Instagram!
Featured image courtesy of Instagram/@chefdanie.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy