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Quarantine Life: How To Pamper Yourself (For Singles)

I needed to do more than survive, I needed to thrive.

Inspiration

"Get enough groceries and water for the next two weeks, get some cash on hand and fill up your gas tank." That's what my dad told me mere days before the pandemic hit America and we went on lockdown with what we now call "The Quarantine". Of course, as a single woman, I was in a state of shock. How was I going to get through this on my own with no family? What were my girlfriends doing? And how would I function as a newly single woman? I had questions, ya'll. But, as a black woman, I knew all too well how to rise to the occasion and SURVIVE so that's all I focused on was surviving and getting through my first pandemic.

From binge-watching movies, eating all of my snacks, and taking care of myself physically because I thought I had "The Rona" - I was strictly in survival mode. Since I was sick, I had to deal with thinking about the virus every single day so per Solange, I "netflix and chilled" it away, ate it away, slept it away and IGNORED it away. It wasn't until the end of April, after I started to feel better mentally and physically, that I began to realize that I needed to do more than survive, I needed to thrive. With this "new normal" of self-quarantining and the endless amount of abysmal news, it was easy for anxiety and depression to kick in while sheltering in place - especially by yourself. But I realized that now was the best time to really tune into myself and give my brain - and my body - a chance to process these emotions and reset.

So, here are 10 things that I've done to pamper and self-care myself back into thriving in this crazier world that we now live in.

1. Do nothing. 

In a world where the hustle and bustle of life is applauded, rest is a valuable and sometimes slept-on commodity. Although the grind is real, so is your need to step back and indulge in doing nothing from time to time. The quarantine has been a reminder to slow down, why not surrender to that? Watch TV, sleep, crack open that book you've been meaning to get around to reading. But most importantly, in the immortal words of Whitley Gilbert, "relax, relate and RELEASE!"

​2. Read lots of books.

Speaking of reading, something that people in busy seasons admit to often is that they do not have the time to pour into reading as much as they'd like to. In this interim, I've carved out meaningful space and time to do so. Fictional stories are the best to help escape reality, but also consider reading self-improvement books and inspirational books that pour into you positively. Check out our article, "13 Books To Read For A Better Relationship With Yourself" to start.

Photo Credit: Kanobi Pollard

Annisa LiMara/xoNecole

3. Pray, mediate or journal. 

Whenever you find yourself feeling anxious, overwhelmed or stressed, tune into your higher source to help you stay grounded. Prayer, meditation and journaling are all spiritual practices that can help make you feel more grounded. The clarity that you find as you connect with your inner self and connect with a higher power is invaluable. In addition to that, you will also feel more centered and less stressed as a result...as you deserve!

4. Move your body! 

Although we're in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to our feelings about whether or not we should amp up productivity during this time or give into this season of rest, one thing's for sure: Movement is vital. Rest doesn't mean to never get up and show thanks to the able body you've been given. Give gratitude while increasing your overall wellness by moving your body each day. Climb some steps, turn on YouTube and do a workout routine or a yoga practice. Whatever you do, move.

Annisa LiMara/xoNecole

​5. Make a FaceTime date with...YOUR FRIENDS! 

While some states are opening back up, some of us are still declining invites to functions and meet-ups and deciding to self-isolate a bit longer. That being said, it can feel lonely and without in-person energy to pour into you, you can feel less like yourself. There's nothing like a community of women who support you that lifts you up and reminds you of who you are. Take this time to get creative with how you spend time with your friends and girlfriends. Have a much-needed girls' night in TODAY! All you need is Zoom and wine.

6. Take an elaborate shower or flower bath.

"Treat yo' self" is a phrase that is often associated with sitting back and relaxing in a warm bath, and we know why. Not only does it come with its fair share of health benefits, taking a bath provides a sense of renewal as you cleanse away dirt, stress, worry and anxiety. Candles add a soothing mood to your space and smell amazing. If you're up to it, light some candles, put on some Jill Scott, add a bath bomb, fix yourself a glass of wine, and engage in some glorious pampering.

Photo Credit: Kanobi Pollard

Annisa LiMara/xoNecole


7. Put your phone down. Seriously.

In this day and age, when so much of what we do is done through our phones, some may find it difficult to take the breaks they need from their devices. However, I implore you to put your phone down every now and then. Not only is it great for your mental health to lessen your preoccupation tied to your phone, but you also effectively connect to yourself more when you disconnect from the world by unplugging. In short, put the phone down, sis.

8. Develop a green thumb and focus on taking care of something else.

Many black women are taking after our ancestors and developing a green thumb during this time. Caring for plants allow you to focus on the health and growth of a living thing outside of yourself while beautifying your space. Some plants can also improve air quality and humidity levels in your place (fights off the Rona), reduces stress (because of the Rona), and make people calmer and happier (in spite of the Rona). It also reduces workplace negativity and helps relieve symptoms of discomfort and minor ailments. If you want to know what plants you can get started with, check out our article, "These Easy To Care For Plants Can Thrive With Little To No Sunlight".

Photo Credit: Kanobi Pollard

Annisa LiMara/xoNecole

Through it all, everyone needs to take care of themselves mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Period. Our world before this didn't prioritize self-care in a real way, it was a mere hashtag for many, including myself. However, because I'm a natural introvert, I learned at a young age that my very own personal love language IS pampering myself, and tuning into my needs because that is vital to my overall wellbeing. Have I always succeeded in doing so? Absolutely not but before this, I always tried to make it a priority.

Photo Credit: Kanobi Pollard

Annisa LiMara/xoNecole

But in a time that has forced us to really sit with ourselves (poor, poor extroverts), this is the perfect time to really love on ourselves and appreciate just being. Self-care isn't always pretty nor as simple as lighting some candles and getting a manicure, it's really about tending to whatever part of you that needs some extra TLC at that time.

This pandemic has really shown us that we have a plethora of needs that we must tend to and now have the time to do so. So do it.

Do you have a beauty, wellness or self-care find that you've tried recently and want to share your experience? Join the xoTribe members community to connect with other beauty lovers and share your wins with the tribe.

Featured image courtesy of Annisa LiMara/Kanobi Pollard

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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