I don't know if it's age, wisdom, experience or all three but, the older I get, the more aggressive I am about removing any person, place, thing or idea from my life that stresses me out. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that putting "aggressive" in the context of removing stress might seem like a bit of a contradiction, but you know what they say—if nothing changes…nothing changes. Sometimes—shoot, most times—you can't just "will" something to shift in your life. You've got to develop a mindset of progress, then follow that up with habits that will help you to evolve.
When it comes to stress, I've done my research. I'm aware that it is a leading cause of premature death. So yeah, I'm definitely out here looking for things that I can do in order to be anti-stressed out. One thing that might surprise you is, altering your diet a bit can do wonders for keeping you in a cool, calm and totally relaxed state of mind. If that's something you'd like a bit more of right through here, I've got eight foods that can help you to reach your goal.
If you've ever wondered what yogurt is, it's fermented milk that creates a yogurt culture which is basically a form of fermented lactose. As a result of the yogurt-making process, lactic acid is produced; it's what gives yogurt the taste and texture that it has. As far as health benefits go, yogurt is great because it's high in calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins B and D. This means that it's the kind of food that strengthens immunity and bones, as well as being high in protein and promoting heart and gut health.
The reason why yogurt makes this particular list is thanks to the magnesium (which is a natural nerve relaxant) that is in it. Plus, a study from several years back revealed that yogurt is wonderful at treating stress and anxiety because it can actually lower the levels of activity in the brain that are directly responsible for us feeling emotions and even certain levels of pain.
2. Dark Chocolate
It's kind of crazy that something so delicious can also be so good for you. If you make a point it eat a small piece of dark chocolate (that contains no less than 60-70 percent cocoa), you can improve your blood sugar levels, fight off free radicals, improve the appearance of your skin (thanks to the antioxidants that are in it), keep your cholesterol levels under control and reduce your chances of getting heart disease by as much as 57 percent. Because dark chocolate also has a pretty good reputation for improving cognitive function, if you find yourself feeling irritated or not being in the best of moods, a little bit of it may be all that you need to lift your spirits right on up.
Garlic is the kind of plant (that's a part of the onion family) that is used for all kinds of medicinal purposes. It shortens the lifespan of colds. It improves cholesterol levels. It helps to purify blood. It contains the type of antioxidants that help to prevent the type of oxidative damage that can ultimately lead to Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Speaking of oxidative damage, another benefit that comes with eating foods that reduce it is they can help to decrease stress levels in the body too. Plus, garlic can lower glucose levels which can also induce feelings of calm and tranquility.
4. Citrus Fruit
You probably already know that citrus fruit has lots of Vitamin C (which means tons of antioxidants). But that's not all. Citrus fruit is also high in fiber, reduces the risk of kidney stones, boosts heart health and strengthens your cognitive function. If you're feeling kinda stressed out, snacking on a few slices of orange or grapefruit, or even sipping on some water that has lemon and lime in it can reduce stress levels. Why? Because that is something that Vitamin C is naturally able to do. Matter of fact, if you'd rather go the aromatherapy route, orange essential oil can relieve anxiety and reduce some of the symptoms that are associated with panic attacks; grapefruit essential oil can help to keep you from feeling burned out and lemon oil can improve your mood and instantly make you feel more relaxed.
5. Bell Peppers
Whether they're red, orange, yellow or green, you are only doing your health a favor if you eat bell peppers on a regular basis. Not only do they contain vitamins A, C and E, they are also a vegetable that is loaded with fiber, folate and iron. On the health tip, bell peppers contain 30 different carotenoids (a type of plant chemicals) that help to keep your eyes healthy as they also fight off free radicals. Something else that's cool about red bell peppers specifically is, if you eat a cup of them, you'll get over 150 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C that you need.
Bell peppers are considered to be a "calming food" due to the Vitamin B6 that they have in them. It's the kind of vitamin that helps your brain to produce serotonin and norepinephrine so that you remain in a tranquil mood throughout the day and you're able to sleep more soundly at night.
6. Whole Grains
In a nutshell, whole grains are foods that consist of the entire grain—the bran, germ and endosperm. When you choose to eat whole grain foods, it can benefit you because, not only are whole grains packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and B vitamins but whole grains can also lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and reduce chronic inflammation as well as support healthy digestion. If you consume whole grain popcorn, cereal, pasta or bread, another thing that whole grain can do is help to release serotonin into your system, causing you to feel happier and more at ease than before you ate it.
7. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is something that I am personally a big fan of. I like sour stuff so I will give you a heads up that it does have a bit of a "bite" to it. But, after a couple of cups, it's pretty easy to get used to. Anyway, this is a type of juice that is high in vitamins A and C. It also contains some manganese, potassium and Vitamin K. If you're an athlete, it's great at relieving muscle soreness. One study reveals that tart cherry juice can reduce inflammation that is related to arthritis. It's also the kind of juice that contains antioxidants that help to keep your brain in good condition. Drink it hot or cold before turning in at night and tart cherry juice will significantly increase your chances of getting a good night's sleep; that's thanks to the tryptophan and anthocyanins that's in it. Both of these compounds work together to create melatonin, which is a natural hormone in the body that helps to promote calm and ultimately, sleepiness.
There are several reasons why it can only work in your favor to snack on a handful of pistachios a couple of times a week. They are a pretty good source of protein and fiber. They're also high in copper (which is great if you're trying to fight premature greying the natural way). The health benefits of pistachios include the fact that they are loaded with antioxidants, they help to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and they have amino acid L-arginine in them. L-arginine is good because, when it changes over to nitric oxide in your system, not only can that increase blood circulation throughout your body, it can help your blood vessels to relax as well. Plus, being that pistachios contain more Vitamin B6 than most other foods, it's the kind of nut that can definitely keep you calm, cool and well-rested. Now, how about getting yourself a bag of 'em?
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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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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If there’s one celebrity who keeps her personal life on the low-low, it’s Issa Rae. Although we have watched her skyrocket to fame following the first season of the iconic series Insecure, she has kept her professional life and personal life separate. That was even more apparent when she married her longtime boyfriend, Louis Diame, on July 25, 2021.
The couple tied the knot in the South of France. However, when Issa began sharing photos of their wedding on social media (which are now deleted), she referred to one of the photos as an “Impromptu photo.” In a photo with her husband, she jokingly said it, “Then I took a few flicks with Somebody’s Husband," feeding us a little information, but not too much.
What we do know about Louis is that his career is in international banking. He’s said to be Senegalese, and he appeared on an episode of Issa’s web series, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl. It’s the episode where Issa’s character Jay goes on a date with white Jay and gets nasty looks from people in the restaurant, including her then-boyfriend Louis.
Another fun fact is that the American Fiction actress’ family seems to like him. Issa’s brother, Lamine, told Us Weekly in 2019, “He’s just a good guy, man. He’s just a cool guy,” he said. “They’ve been dating forever. He’s already been like a brother to me. Family ties at all the family events and dinners, Christmas, Thanksgiving.”
Here’s everything Issa has said about her relationship with Louis.
Issa on Her Wedding to Louis
Following their wedding, the Viarae Prosecco founder stopped by the Tamron Hall Show and said she “publicly” claims him and talked about the special occasion. "It was just a beautiful experience," she recalled.
"People tell you that it goes by fast, and they're right. But my thing was, it was a party. At the end of the day, it was just a big party. And it was a lot of fun. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by people who took the time out to just come and celebrate, and that's something that I'll cherish for the rest of my life."
Issa on Married Life with Louis and Whether She Wants Kids
Issa further opened up about being a newlywed in a cover story for SELF magazine and said she was “extremely happy.” When the question arose about having kids, however, she had this to say.
“I like my life, I like this selfishness, and I know that I have a window. I’ve always felt that way, that women, Black women especially—unless you’re Viola Davis or Angela Bassett—you have a window when people are going to want to continue to see you and see what you can do,” she explained.
“Then there are so many limitations placed upon you, and that does keep me up. I want to do as much as I can while I still can. I know it’s not the proper mentality to think that kids will slow you down, but I do feel that way.”
Issa on Being “Super Protective” of Her Relationship
Issa Rae and Louis Diame
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence
In the April 2021 cover story for Rolling Stone, the journalist shared how protective Louis was as she interviewed Issa. She explained how he was at their home, and later in the week, he showed up during her early morning stroll with the star, staying on the opposite side of the street. This was during the pandemic and yes, they quarantined together.
But Louis isn’t alone. The multi-hyphenate feels the same way about their relationship. “I just feel superprotective of any relationship I’m in,” she said. “That’s come from observing and making fun of people over the years who broadcast the most intimate parts of their relationships, then are left with egg on their face. I call them the ‘me and my boo’ people. Let me embarrass myself. Don’t let a nigga embarrass you. That’s always been my focus.”
Issa on How Keeping Her Privacy is a Form of Self-Care
The producer shared with SELF magazine about the importance of keeping her peace. Like many social media users, Issa often shared a lot of herself on the platforms. However, she began to change her habits pertaining to her personal life.
“I think the little time I’ve been in the industry, I’ve witnessed how so many people who are front-facing don’t have a peace and aren’t at peace, and that’s always been troubling to me,” she said.
“In this age of social media, where I was an avid user, I would share so much of myself, of my friend group, and it was fun because it felt like [it was] just among my friends. The more I started to seep out, the more I felt like people took ownership of me and my decisions and things that I did. That's just not something that sat right with me, and I found that I don’t like to be the subject of conversations that I don’t initiate. There’s just something uncomfortable about that.”
So, when it comes to her marriage, Issa is mindful of keeping some things for herself. "There's something really nice to have a piece of me that no one knows about or no one can talk about except for the people that are part of my life," she said. "Self-care has been having a private piece that's just for me."
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