Like most people, I hate feeling stressed even though I work well under pressure. Yes, I am one of those people who often get things done last minute because set schedules do not work for me. I have had plenty of structure, but I need the flexibility to just do me. Though, I don't think I can continue to keep up this level of procrastination. But I promise you I am working on better time management habits. The minute I start to feel overwhelmed, I feel like I'm mentally drowning in my to-do list. Fear and doubt begin to slowly dominate my mind as I began to go down a rabbit hole of "what ifs". I'm sure many of you can relate to what I just described.
Parts of me feel like I should no longer feel stressed anymore, after walking away from a six-figure corporate career. I physically removed myself from an environment that no longer served me or my purpose. I finally reached a place of happiness and peace too. And the life I am creating now is completely under my control. At least, that's what I tell myself.
But now that I am self-employed, managing my personal life, family, friends, and my craft seemed to get a whole lot harder. If I don't pre-plan my week, the day will surely run away from me. Other times, I have to give myself grace because there are days where I just can't do it all. As much as I want to believe I am Wonder Woman – I am not.
Thankfully, we now live in a society that supports mental health and well-being. And there are so many different ways to manage your stress. For me, managing my stress looks like anything that I can do to get my mind off what tasks I still need to finish and how much time I have left. Typically, my go-to stress relievers are mindfulness and physical activity. Sometimes, this could also look like enjoying a hot cup of tea that I made. For whatever reason, a warm drink is very soothing to me. Hell, holding the warm cup by itself even makes me feel calm. But let's look at some simple things you can do during your day to minimize stress.
Manage Your Time
Time management sounds easier than it looks but learning to manage your time looks different for all of us. And for me, time management is currently my number one stressor. I have a bad habit of piling things on my plate and not knowing how to plan my day to succeed. Mainly, because I like my flexibility and I find block scheduling quite stifling. Over the years, I have also learned to prioritize deadlines. Apps like Trello, a daily planner, or calendar can help manage your time. The key is to figure out what time management looks like for you and commit to some form of a schedule. But also realize, it's OK if certain things didn't get done the way you would like. Think about how you can fit whatever that is on the next day. You are not a machine and you shouldn't treat yourself like one either.
When I say stay grounded, I am not only referring to breathwork and meditation. I mean connecting with nature. According to an article by Harvard Health, 20 minutes in nature helps lower stress hormone levels. Do you ever stop to notice how you feel when you are outside? Do you pay attention to the colors of the grass, leaves, and flowers? What about how the fresh air feels on your face? How about how the sun feels on your skin? And by all means, if deep breaths and meditation is what gets you through your day, try doing it outside. It's a game-changer. Next time you're feeling stressed, step outside for a few minutes, you'll notice the difference in your energy level.
Physical activity is my all-time favorite stress reliever. It allows me to refocus and clear my mind. Remember, your physical, mental, and emotional well-being are all interconnected and exercise helps all three. But for me, it just can't be any workout. It must be high-impact – boxing, running, plyometrics, jumping rope, or a boot camp style strength training workout. It's the high-intensity workouts for me that give me the out-of-breath feeling that I need to feel a sense of relaxation. Some prefer low-impact workouts like yoga or walking while others enjoy Pilates and Barre classes. But honestly, as long as you're moving your body, that's all that matters.
Take A Break
Put down your phone, shut down your laptop, and walk away from your workspace. Take a break. Do nothing for 15 to 20 minutes. Your body is good at telling you when you need a break too. The key is learning to listen to your body. The excessive yawns, stiff joints, dry eyes, and back pain? Those are all signs you need a break from whatever it is you are doing. So, next time you feel that pain in your neck while you are working, know that your body is telling you to take a break.
At the end of the day, you know yourself best. At least I hope you do. Self-care practices vary for everyone but do realize the way you choose to manage your stress is just as important as a healthy diet and setting boundaries.
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Camille is a lover of all things skin, curls, music, justice, and wanderlust; oceans and islands are her thing. Her words inspire and her power is her voice. A California native with Trinidadian roots, she has penned personal essays, interviews, and lifestyle pieces for POPSUGAR, FEMI magazine, and SelfishBabe. Camille is currently creating a life she loves through words, self-love, fitness, travel, and empowerment. You can follow her on Instagram @cam_just_living or @written_by_cam.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports