Quarantine Life: How To Pamper Yourself (For Singles)
"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
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.
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
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
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
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
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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
Marsai Martin Gets Real About Her Decision To Undergo Surgery To Remove A 'Grapefruit-Sized' Ovarian Cyst
Actress Marsai Martin is showcasing the importance of advocating for one's health after recently opening up about her ovarian cyst surgery. For context, the 18-year-old revealed in a now-deleted Instagram story last December that she underwent a medical procedure to remove the large ovarian cyst that gave her "constant pain" for years, especially during her menstrual cycle.
According to Mayo Clinic, an ovarian cyst is described as a sac "usually filled with fluid" in an individual's ovary or near it. Although it is relatively common, with one in ten women diagnosed with a cyst, many experience little to no symptoms because it usually goes away. Those with pain and discomfort often have a large ovarian cyst, which was the case for Martin.
During a discussion with Women's Health magazine, Martin opened up about her menstrual cycle and when she started noticing the symptoms. The black-ish star told the publication she started her period at 11 but didn't experience any unusual pains until she was 14.
Coincidentally this event occurred a little after she was diagnosed by a medical professional with an ovarian cyst "the size of a small grapefruit."
Martin's Symptoms With A Large Ovarian Cyst:
In light of her diagnosis, Martin didn't think much of it because, at the time, her doctor told her that cysts usually disappear on their own. Over the years, as she got her menstrual cycle, Martin had extreme pain and severe nausea.
Even though she often combated the cramps with medication such as Aleve and naproxen, per doctor's orders, Martin shared that the pain would eventually progress so much that she couldn't keep "food or water" in her system.
Martin also revealed that these symptoms negatively impacted her daily routine, such as work and participating in social activities. The star further explained that she thought these signs were typical and didn't go to the hospital because of what her mother, Carol Martin, previously mentioned and warned her about while discussing the history of her own menstrual cycles.
Martin's Health Took a Toll At Age 17:
All this came to a head when Martin was 17 years old. The Little star decided to go to the hospital because the pain became unbearable.
"But one day, when I was 17, I just couldn't take it anymore. I had extreme cramps, and I was so nauseous, I wasn't able to eat or drink," she said. Martin added that the pain and nausea had limited her mobility.
"It felt like I couldn't move. The slightest sip of water would make me projectile vomit. I had lower back pain, dizziness, migraines, and tender breasts, and on top of that. The pain had been constant from the moment I woke up, and it was so unbearable that I finally went to the ER around 8 p.m.," the star stated.
During her hospitalization, Martin was informed that she was dehydrated and that the pain she was going through was because of the large cyst. Despite already being well aware of the ovarian cyst, which was "9.5 centimeters in diameter," due to her diagnosis years before, Martin shared she didn't know that it was the primary cause of her pain.
Following her stay, Martin's physician would refer her to a gynecologist, who gave her various options to resolve the issue. The list included taking birth control pills to shrink the cyst or having surgery to remove it completely. Martin disclosed after taking two weeks to weigh her options following her 18th birthday, she ultimately decided to undergo the procedure and scheduled it for December 2022.
Although Martin was initially afraid about the operation because she was uncertain how her body would react, all of that disappeared after the surgery. Martin would go on to express that it was one of her best decisions ever.
Following the procedure, even though Martin experienced some pain post-surgery, it ceased as the days passed, and she started moving around. Since the operation, Martin shared that her menstrual cycles have drastically improved.
Martin On Why She Shared Her Story:
Near the end of the interview, Martin explained that one of the main reasons she's been very vocal about her experience with her ovarian cyst by sharing it online is because she doesn't want others to remain silent about their health struggles and wants them to get a "second opinion."
"I hope my story will encourage other women to not accept a life of pain, to get a second opinion. Pain is not normal," she said. "I want other women to talk about their pain, and to keep speaking out until they're taken seriously. And to the women out there suffering silently right now: You owe it to yourself to speak up."
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Featured image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Paramount+