Creating A Morning Routine Changed My Life For The Better
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When I think about successful people, all roads seem to point back to the effectiveness of having a proper morning routine in place. And why shouldn't it? Our mornings literally set the tone for the kind of days we intend to have -- "intend" being the operative word. If you look into any CEO, entrepreneur or business owner, the intention they pour into creating a purposeful morning routine truly seems to be what separates the basics from someone with a boss mentality.
For those of you who aren't familiar with what a morning routine is, it is a set of actions you perform in the morning before you start your day. For those of us with success on the brain, it has become increasingly popular to finetune your mornings in a way that starts you on the right foot, cultivates mindfulness, and helps you to maximize productivity to ensure you are ready to conquer your to-do list when it's officially grind time.
I don't always do my morning routine, however I do notice a distinct difference in my day when I am intentional about completing my routine versus when I'm flying by the seat of my pants and just trying to get things done. During the former, I am at ease, I am happier, there is more of a flow and a sense of effortlessness as I move throughout my day. But the latter? I feel overwhelmed, tense, short with people around me, and chaotic energy charges everything I do or don't get around to doing for that day (or days if slacking off on my mornings is a pattern for a few days at a time).
If you want a glimpse into what a perfect morning looks like for me, routine included, read on below.
Photography by Taylor S. Hunter
An integral part of beginning your day on the right note is waking up well-rested. In a generation that proudly touts how grind season involves "no sleep", let me just say, I'm proud to be a contrarian. Sleep is important for memory, learning, stress relief, immunity, improved mood, better interpersonal relations, and more. While a lack of sleep could potentially prove detrimental to your overall health and well-being. Operating at E isn't a vibe, and certainly shouldn't be a wave for anyone.
Any given night, I aim to sleep for 7-8 hours. As of late, my quality of sleep has been just as important as the quantity of sleep I get. And lately, I have been achieving incredible restful nights of sleep thanks to my new Tuft & Needle mattress (read more about that here). Creating a space that invites sleep is a great foundation for achieving a lot of it. So, if you don't love sleeping, think of ways to make your bedroom more inviting -- be it removing technology, changing your bed frame or buying a new bed, or investing in a new mattress. Your peace of mind will love you for it.
Sidebar: Secure the bag and the mattress by using this link when you purchase your very on Tuft & Needle Mattress. In honor of Cyber Monday, T&N is offering $300 Off T&N Hybrid Mattress, $200 Off Mint Mattress, and 15% Off Furniture & Accessories.
After drinking a glass of room temperature water, because hydration is key, I really like to force myself awake once my alarm does its thing. One of the best ways to facilitate that is to go to the bathroom, wash my face, and brush my teeth. There's nothing quite like the wakeup call of a cool splash of water to your skin. And ever since Evelyn From The Internet put me on to the fact that you should wash your face for 60 seconds to allow products to truly do their thing, I've been humming The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song as my official time clock.
I bounce between two cleansers depending on what I feel like any given morning, so sometimes it's Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser and other times it's Mario Badescu's Glycolic Foaming Cleanser. Then, I use Mario Badescu's Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, followed by Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 and then some tea tree oil (diluted, of course) if I have any blemishes I want to go away.
Writing is an important part of my day-to-day but as the managing editor of xoNecole, I don't often get as much time to write personally or creatively. Journaling has become an intersection where my purpose and my passion can meet, and it's great to just write and the only intention being to get closer to self. Admittedly though, I used to have a tricky relationship with journaling. I'd only journal if I had something I was upset about or needed to vent over. In making it a daily practice, I've found it beneficial to do morning pages where I allow streams of consciousness to flow, spill out, and fill three pages at the top of my morning. I learn a lot about myself in those moments and find some of my best ideas.
If morning pages aren't your thing, you can definitely get reflection time in through a gratitude list, writing down your intentions, or just gathering your thoughts for what your to-do list might look like for the day ahead.
I think it was Stephen King who said, "Read a lot, write a lot" and it's a definitely a quote to live by, especially if you're a writer. The writers I respect most tend to have bookshelves upon bookshelves of books and are constantly consuming other people's words to ignite sparks that will allow them to more strongly create their own. I've been on a self-help wave for the past year and have recently peeled open Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life by Ruby Warrington. We're all about the vibes outchea. I try to read at least 1-2 chapters every morning. One of the most satisfying parts of reading for me is being able to highlight the things that resonate with me the most. I find this habit to be incredibly therapeutic.
Set The Vibe
Let me tell you something about aromatherapy, it works. The role that our noses play in terms of scent and which smells trigger and settle which emotions will never be something that ceases to amaze me. Whether it's with my oil diffuser (and some grapefruit oil or lavender oil on deck) or a good-old fashioned candle, the vibe is set by the scent you choose as its signature. Some mornings, I'm known to light some palo santo or sage but most mornings (and days if I'm being perfectly honest), a soy candle stays lit for hours. My most recent favorites have been "Blush Orchid" (pictured above) and "Tea Leaves" by Chesapeake Bay Candle as well as "Calm Down" by Ryan Porter Candle.
I typically start checking the site (xoNecole.com) around this time to make sure everything is running as it should. Are there any posts that I need to update and republish? Are there any new articles that trickled overnight that can get the greenlight to fast-track to being a post set to publish that day? Are there daily news articles that our fabulous Senior Editor Taylor Honore has waiting in the cut for me to review? Are there urgent emails that need returning? So, I spend 15-30 minutes addressing those things before making my way to having my first meal of the day. My favorite breakfast of the moment is either overnight oats with dried cranberries and apple slices, or eggs, spinach, and some sausage. I then prioritize drinking my remainder 1.5 liters of water before noon, as well as consuming my daily supplements by Binto which is a packet of two multivitamins and one probiotic.
After I've done these things, I feel ready to officially start my day and face the whirlwind of my day, well-rested and well-armored by intention and self-care. Now that I've shown you mine, what does your morning routine look like? Share with me in the comments down below.
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Featured image by Taylor S. Hunter
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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
Savannah James Credits Her Mom For Helping Her Deal With Fame By Instilling Self-Confidence In Her As A Child
Savannah James has won the hearts of many over the years because she showcases the power of self-confidence and staying true to oneself through various fashion and beauty posts, regardless of the current trends and the opinions of others.
The 36-year-old, who has been with Lakers forward LeBron James for over two decades, shared she was able to form her own identity with the help of social media by unapologetically being herself because of a past experience and the lessons her mother, Jennifer Brinson, instilled in her long before LeBron became a basketball star.
During a recent interview with Vogue, Savannah revealed that one of the reasons why her mother was adamant about her having self-confidence and self-assurance was because Brinson didn't want her to conform to societal pressures as she entered the spotlight alongside LeBron.
Savannah On The Self-Confidence Her Mother Instilled in Her
In the discussion, the mother of three recounted a time when she experienced a hair disaster before her prom due to not explicitly informing her hairdresser about the particular style she wanted.
Savannah disclosed that after viewing the finished product, which consisted of a "partial updo with long bangs," she left the salon with tears streaming down her face. Although she made the best of the situation after composing herself and even posed with LeBron for the infamous prom photo, Savannah explained that was the last she remained silent about what she wanted.
As LeBron got drafted into the NBA in 2003, and the spotlight increased for the pair, Savannah stated that when it came to her looks, she took into account the past horrible experience and the advice her mom gave her about being herself to become the woman she is today.
"My mom always instilled a certain level of confidence and self-assurance in me, so I didn't go into LeBron being in the NBA and having all these spotlights around thinking that I needed to change anything about myself," she said, "I was just going with what I knew, what I was comfortable with, and what I felt looked good on me."
Savannah also mentioned to the publication that she feels it's "pretty dope" that she receives positive remarks about her life, beauty, and fashion choices.
"I'm honestly just being myself. I don't put on air or try to pretend to be something that I'm not because I can't do that very well. So for people to receive me for being who I am, that's pretty dope," the star added.
Savannah On The Talks She Has With Her Daughter Zhuri When It Comes to Hair and Beauty
Later, Savannah opened up about why sharing the experiences she learned about self-love and self-confidence with her 8-year-old daughter, Zhuri James, was necessary.
In the interview, Savannah revealed that once becoming aware that she was welcoming a girl in October 2014, she asked God for Zhuri to have a lot of hair so that she could do it "all day."
"Once I found out I was having a little girl, I was like, 'Please Lord, can she have a lot of hair? Because I just want to do her hair all day.' I never thought it would get to where it is now. You get what you pray for," she said.
Savannah also mentioned that her wish of wanting Zhuri to have long hair wasn't solely based on her physical appearance but rather on the bond they would build overall as they do beauty routines together, something she did with her mom growing up.
"It's important for me [to do her hair] because it's something that I did with my mom. It was a true bonding time that we had, and a time for her to instill confidence in me, tell me that my hair is beautiful, and embrace my curls. I do the same with Zhuri, and we can have an open dialogue about not just hair but other things too," Savannah explained as she shared details about the conversations that occur between her and Zhuri.
Whatever tactic Savannah uses when it comes to being in the spotlight, it appears to be working because she is trending so often on social media for just giving fans an honest view into her life, which is commendable.
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Feature image by Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images