My goddaughters’ mom thinks it’s comedy that I look for two different presents whenever my birthday rolls around. I mean, even though both of my “babies” and I are Geminis, it’s not like I give the 10-year-old and two-year-old the same present, so why should I get a collective one from them? Not to mention the fact that they really get off easily because I don’t observe holidays. Shoot, I better get my gifts (LOL)! And since I am single, I make sure that on my birthday, I gift myself as well. I mean, I love me — why shouldn’t I celebrate and treat myself?
Along these same lines, if you are someone who totally adores this time of year, while you’re out getting things for others, why wouldn’t you get a couple of goodies for you too? I totally think that you should, which is why I’ve got a list of 10 different ways for you to treat yourself this Christmas. Most are super affordable. All have their own special significance. And each will help you to feel good about the holiday season — even if there is no reason to use any mistletoe…quite yet.
1. A New Color
When you get a chance, check out an article that I wrote for the site a couple of years ago entitled, “Understanding Color Psychology Will Sharpen Your Lens On Life.” It can give you a bit of an intro, not just into what certain colors represent but why you might gravitate to the ones that you do, along with why that attraction might change from time to time. You know, something that I recommend some of the clients that I work with to do is to pick a color that represents where they are in their relationship in this season. Then I suggest that they get some things in their home that reflect that exact hue. For instance, if red is a couple’s “thing” because it represents things like love, passion, and courage, bringing some red into their bedroom could help to bring the energy surrounding those words into their dynamic.
Along these same things, why not “gift yourself” with a favorite new color this holiday season? It can help you to gain some perspective when it comes to how you want to end 2021 and also how you want to enter into 2022. It might sound odd on the surface, but I promise you that it can clear up a few things. For instance, while I’m more of a neutral kinda gal, I’m into brighter colors right now. I know that means that I’m about to show more of the extroverted side of my ambivert personality over the next few months. I can just feel it. More professionally than personally…but still. Anyway, this recommendation is totally free. Can’t hurt to give it a shot.
2. A New Bathrobe and Pair of Slippers
One of the best things about going to a high-end spa or hotel is those extremely comfy bathrobes. OK, so the one that you’ve got hanging on the back of your bedroom or bathroom door, how’s it currently holding up? Hmph. Do you know what’s a trip about those? We’re supposed to wash them every 3-4 wears (like our towels) and we’re supposed to get a new one every couple of years. Are you following through on either one of these things?
As far as slippers go, my nail tech gets pissed at me, almost every time I go to get a pedicure because she knows that I am barefoot all of the time in my house and she’s constantly reminding me of all of the bacteria and fungus that I could be picking up off of my floors. So, while socks are more my thing, a new pair of slippers can be a wise move for you too. Not only can they keep all of the “stuff” away from your feet but the warmer your feet are, the easier it is for blood to circulate to them which is good for your immunity in so many ways. (By the way, slippers need to be replaced every six months.)
3. New Bedding
Shoot, isn’t shedding 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells every minute of the day enough of a reason to not only wash your sheets every week but to get some new bedding right about now? At this point, I probably have more sheets than I will ever need yet there’s something about how different fabrics, colors, and patterns give me a different experience when I’m reading, watching a movie, or getting ready to fall asleep in my bed.
A part of the reason why I’ve written articles for the site like “12 (Affordable) Ways To Make Your Bedroom More Tranquil & Beautiful” is because, if you’re doing life right, you should be spending around one-third of your time in your bed (sleeping and/or sexing), so why wouldn’t you invest in the kind of bedding that beckons you to do just that? Bedding shouldn’t be treated like an afterthought. It absolutely should be a top priority purchase, at least a couple of times a year.
4. A New Journal
I’ve written about sex journaling (here), self-love journaling (here), and even vaginal mapping (here) for this platform before. A part of the reason is because, as a writer, I’m a huge fan of journaling. Also, because I’ve got several full journals at this point and I know for a fact that they helped me to write my past two books and a couple of ones that I am working on now, I know that journaling is amazing when it comes to documentation and reflecting on personal growth and progress. There are also studies that say journaling can help to tap into new levels of creativity; can better your communication skills; is excellent when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety levels; can assist with both setting and tracking both short- and long-term goals; can help to strengthen your memory; can boost your self-confidence levels and is a great way to spend some quality time with yourself as well.
That’s why I’m all about setting aside at least an hour a week to do nothing but journal. I also think it’s wise to get two new ones every year — one for your personal life and another for your professional life. It’s the kind of investment that is truly incomparable on every level. And new ones represent a fresh start.
5. A New “Symbolic” Gemstone
While a lot of people spend time understanding zodiac signs, I personally am more into understanding various gemstones. Not only are they beautiful to look at but a lot of them have some really profound meanings. I started doing this when I was reading about all of the different ones in biblical Scripture and I haven’t stopped since. Anyway, something that can be cool to do is to do your own research on them, meditate on a stone that you really gravitate to in this particular season of your life, and purchase a pendant, some earrings, a ring or bracelet that is made from that very stone.
Beadage is a website that has a list of over 100 gemstones and crystals, along with their pictures and meanings (you can look for yourself right here). Every year I do this and I adore, not just all of my pieces, but what they represented at each stage of my journey. It’s a beautiful tradition. (Etsy carries a ton of different options at affordable prices if you decide you want something but you’re on a really firm budget. Just go to the site and put the name of the stone in the search field.)
6. Some Sexy Underwear
Personally, I think it’s kind of crazy that some women think that lingerie/sexy underwear is unnecessary if no one is looking at them in it but them. Chile, I have so much stuff that it’s almost criminal at this point and I adore putting it on, just for myself. There’s something about wearing silk and satin in really sensual cuts and styles that affects my walk, my tone of voice, and my energy all the way around. Some of us really need to get out of the habit of thinking that sexiness is for someone rather than being just who and what we are.
A new stash of sexy underwear can certainly help to emphasize this very point. If you need some tips on how to make the best selections for your personal taste and body type, check out “Lingerie Hacks: How To Choose The Best Kind For Your Body Type.” Then check out “10 Black AF Lingerie Brands To Buss It In This V-Day & Forevermore,” so that you can support Black-owned businesses.
7. Some Takeout for the Week Between Christmas and New Year’s
I like to cook. So much that I do it, pretty much six times a week. One day a week, though, I will either go out and pick something up or have it delivered and, every time that I do it, I feel like I am treating myself. I know exactly what I’m getting. I don’t have to prepare it. And because of the containers that the food comes in, I don’t have to clean up afterward either. Although you may be with family and/or friends on Christmas Day, definitely set some money aside to order some food in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Don’t overthink it either. Choose whatever puts a huge smile on your face as you binge-watch a show, catch up on a podcast, or vibe to some of your favorite playlists. (If you’re still “iffy” about takeout right through here, check out “10 Safety Practices For Ordering Takeout (During A Pandemic)”.)
8. A Wine or Flower Subscription
Wine is packed with antioxidants. Studies show that it can help with your heart health, libido, digestive system, vision (because it reduces inflammation and oxidative stress that could damage your eyesight over time) and it can even help to prevent cancer cells from forming (and that’s just for starters!). Fresh flowers are a wonderful thing because they are proven to reduce stress and anxiety, plus they can improve your mood and even your memory! At this point, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve emphasized the importance of celebrating yourself on this site.
In 2022, make it a practice to either toast your accomplishments (both small and large) with a new bottle of wine or end your week with some fresh flowers. You can make this really easy by purchasing a wine or flower subscription. They aren’t as expensive as you might think either. Some wine subscriptions are less than $20 a bottle and some flower subscriptions are under $40 a month.
9. A New Bank Account (and/or New Stock)
Something that I recommend married couples get is a sex jar (you can read why here). Something that I recommend singles do is have an account (or your own jar if you can keep it in a safe place and have the self-control to not take money out of it). No, not a checking or savings one (I’m thinking that is a given). I mean one that solely goes towards a plan that you have that you keep not manifesting because you think you can’t afford it — a trip, a class, funds to start an Etsy page or your own company…money that can help you to get to the next level in some area of your life.
While we’re on the topic of coins, something else that can help to make big things happen is investing in some stock. No time (or space) to get deeply into that now but man, speaking with a financial consultant about how to invest a few dollars can be truly life-altering (I know too many people in my life who can personally attest to this!). A good example is cannabis stock. Don’t let these white folks reap all of the benefits from investing in that lane. If you want to do more research in this area, click here, here, and here for intel on some of the best cannabis-related stocks to invest in right now.
10. A Spa Day
I recently read a tweet that said something along the lines of, “Next year, I’m done acting like waxing and getting my nails done is pampering. That is maintenance.” That woman and I definitely “see each other” because I’ve been on that page for quite a while now. Listen, I’ve only had a couple of full-on spa days in my life and they weren’t cheap. Oh, but they were super duper worth it. Even if you can’t make a spa day happen by Christmas — shoot, even if you’ve got to wait until around this time next year — definitely make it a top priority to book an all-day spa appointment sooner than later.
I mean, get a full body massage, take advantage of some aromatherapy, get a few facials (face, hand, feet, etc.), do some microdermabrasion — go all out! You’ll honestly need a good $600-1000 to pull it off but if you save $85 starting now until next December, you’ll have $1000 and $20 for a tip. It will remind you to really indulge yourself, hold you accountable to saving for it, and remind you that your beautiful single self is totally worth it. Happy Holidays!
Featured image by Getty Images
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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.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports