For full transparency, I envy the person who can jump out of bed in the morning and conquer the day. While I do consider myself a morning person, because I set my bedtime at 10:30pm, I admit I need to ease into my day. I've found that the best way to do this is through something that can set the tone on how I want it to end: on a good note. Talk to anyone balancing their success with inner peace, and they'd tell you morning routines play a huge part in the color of their lives.
In light of that, I was curious in trying different ways to start my mornings off right and wanted to share my experience to the world. And let's just say my experiment on morning routines was surprisingly helpful in all sorts of ways. Let's dive in, shall we?
I Tried 6 Different Morning Routines
The Wim Hof Method
Recently, I came across this new regimen called the Wim Hof Method. It was founded by a Dutch extreme athlete named Wim Hof who is known as "The Iceman'' for his cold exposure achievements which have landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Wim Hof Method consists of three pillars: Breathing, Cold Therapy, and Commitment. The benefits include increased energy, better sleep, reduced stress levels, enhanced creativity, etc. How it works is, you start with a breathing exercise, take a cold shower, then end the regimen with a commitment that you are going to accomplish a task or goal for that day.
When I got to the cold shower part, it was exactly what I expected it to be, COLD. I am a warm/hot shower type of woman myself, so the cold shower did give me the wake-up call I may have needed. Despite the few sneezes I got afterwards, I felt I was more alert and it allowed me to be more focused and disciplined with the work I had to get done. The laziness was gone folks! If you are interested in trying the Wim Hof Method, you can download the free mini class here.
I love a good vlog. Watching someone share their story, tips, or shared activity with you through a video is engaging and interactive. According to YouTube stats, out of 2 billion monthly users, people upload 500 hours of video every minute and each visitor spends 11m 24s per day on the site, on average. That's a lot of video time, am I right? So why not use it for your own personal life?
With this morning routine, it was about starting a video diary. Start your day by talking about whatever you want, to yourself for yourself. There was something about looking at myself in the camera, messy curls and all, and saying what was on my mind that made me feel at ease. It was a good way to say, "Hey, you good sis?" We can get caught up in social media and need a break from technology sometimes. But taking the time to use technology and giving myself the space to be vulnerable made me feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It feels necessary to do in such a digital world. I approve.
The 5-Hour Rule
Knowledge is power, right? We have probably heard that personal development should always be a part of our wellness goals. When you learn a new skill or talent, you feel better about yourself. So I applied the 5-hour rule to my mornings. It has been practiced by Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Oprah herself. The 5-hour rule is simply you intentionally setting aside 1 hour a day (equaling 5 hours a week) for learning or practicing a new skill.
You can do this by reading a new book, reflecting on small/large achievements, and/or experimenting by practicing a new skill or brainstorming new ideas. The 5-hour rule is honestly one of the things I used to manage my mental health better. When I was able to give time to myself with zero distractions, I was able to focus better on my 9-5 work and even my school work. I felt more in control in a sense. I didn't feel like time got away from me or that something was missing because I made the choice to start my day doing what I wanted, to get my brain going. This is a routine I appreciate continuing to help with my growth.
Writing is my therapy. I have countless journals and hundreds of pages filled with my thoughts, feels, and wild imagination. So I figured the concept of future journaling would be great to try. The key is to write a detailed letter to yourself from your future self. It can be as detailed as you want with the lifestyle you dream about. There are no rules when it comes to future journaling because it all boils down to making dreams into reality.
When I wrote down my future, I took the next step in taping it to my wall and reading it out loud. I even wrote my future in different stages (overachiever, this one). This kind of writing reminded myself that my life is mine and no one else's. Everything that was written is the life I am working towards and I am setting intentions while tapping into manifestation. I am my number one motivator and personal hype man. As we all should be.
We all love a good playlist. When we are driving in our cars or in our rooms alone, there is always that one song that hypes us up and gets us in a good mood. I took a nice 10 minutes out of my morning and danced my ass off; no matter how good or bad I looked. The song of choice was "CROWN" by CHIKA. Let me just say, if you haven't listened to this song yet, I'm going to need you to download it ASAP.
The words of this song mixed with my controversial dance moves made me feel happy, sad, empowered, and unapologetic all at the same damn time. I felt free. I felt that all my worries of yesterday were shaken off and left in the past. Bringing my body to movement helped me become more energized and just overall better emotionally. It's important to work hard, but I prefer to play harder.
Now this one, this routine surprised me the most. It was one of the simpler routines that I found to be the most rewarding. With these 'Free Hugs', I was able to be present with my surroundings and give myself grace. We can get caught up in the next big idea or working towards that new promotion. But we forget to stop and just say thank you. This routine gives you time to appreciate what you have that is right in front of you. I went around my apartment and hugged everything I had, while saying "I appreciate you and I am grateful for you."
This honestly felt really nice for me. I started hugging things like my pets, my bed, and my clothes. But the more I was hugging, the more comfortable I was in hugging things you probably don't think about. I hugged my table, my shower, my wall paintings, and even my trash can. Yes, I said my trash can. I ended my hugging spree with hugging myself, because why the hell not? Embracing what I currently have allowed me to feel more content and grounded. Even though it's not something you typically hear people do during their spare time, I think everyone should at least try to incorporate 'free hugs' in their lives. When you feel you are always on the go and need to take second to rest, hug something. Enjoy the moment and appreciate all the blessings you have in order to look forward to the blessings that will continue to come. Definitely recommended.
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'K' is a multi-hyphenated free spirit from Chicago. She is a lover of stories and the people who tell them. As a writer, 9-5er, and Safe Space Curator, she values creating the life she wants and enjoying the journey along the way. You can follow her on Instagram @theletter__k_.
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
Halle Bailey Says She Appreciates That Everyone Wants To Protect Her, But She's Got This
Halle Bailey and her boyfriend of over a year, rapper DDG, are young and in love. We learned the two were dating in January 2022 after they were spotted together at Usher's residency concert in Vegas. DDG later confirmed the romance that March when he made it all IG official with a birthday shoutout to his bae. And since then, they've been seemingly inseparable, attending public events together, most recently, for the Vanity Fair Oscar party as Halle prepares for the premiere of her career-defining role in The Little Mermaid.
While there, DDG gave flowers to his bae, telling PEOPLE, "I'm very proud of her. And I'm just happy to see it. I feel like sometimes I'm even more excited than anybody else. Just seeing it and seeing everything that she dreamed of coming to life, it's really dope."
It's the support for me, m'kay?!
And listen, Halle loves her 'some him' too, showing that she pulls up for his music career by starring in the music video for his single, "If I Want You." "Everyone go watch 'if i want you' by @ddg it's out now ❣️you might see a familiar face 🤭💗," she wrote on an Instagram post. She doubled down on her support, revealing to ESSENCE that she had been "a fan" even before they met, adding to the cocktail of their romance that has captured the hearts of many by simply being two young lovebirds navigating their journey of fame, loyalty, and love for the world to see (and dissect).
Well, that was until a little drama, or ex (his), showed up on their doorstep and publicly tested whether the couple's relationship is what they say it is. And after the dust settled (and a little PR work), Halle hopped on IG Live to basically tell us what's understood between the two of them, does not--and will not--be explained. In fact, after sending comment sections into a frenzy for weeks because the culture was coming to her defense, she let us know that, yeah, she appreciates the love, but she's got this.
When speaking about the new music she's recording she said, "This music that I'm making right now, is a lot about the time, how I felt, when I was filming. I was very independent and on my own but also felt isolated and it's also about what happened when I got back home and being in love and all of that..."
"I just think it's so funny, people getting to see me, you know, being in love, in a relationship...I think because I've grown up in the public eye since I was younger, people just feel like this sort of protective energy that they feel like they have to have with me, which honestly I think is sweet, but it's funny."
Halle also wrote on Twitter in a now-deleted tweet, "the devil is working ♥️ lol please don’t feed into the lies, especially from a third party 💕✨stay blessed everyone."
In other words, it's giving 'nothing-to-see-here-but-I-ain't-the-one-and-he-knows-that-so-we're-not-even-going-to-entertain-this.' And as grateful as Halle is for the continued support she has received, she admits is in the process of setting boundaries surrounding matters outside of her craft.
She touched on the subject again, telling Yahoo!'sThe Unwind, "They still see me as that 13-year-old girl that they first discovered and I understand how if you've been supporting somebody for a long time you get invested in their personal lives," she says.
"It's definitely been a learning experience for me. And the beautiful people that have supported me and stuck with me for a very long time, can continue to support what I do publicly in my business affairs, and I really appreciate that, but everything else is my business. And I have to make that priority."
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Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic