Brandy Norwood is insurmountably precious to the culture. She has timeless classics, has been dubbed the 'vocal bible', and she has gracefully pillaged through the music industry ever since she was 14-ish years old. She has avoided all the major chaos of child stars, and now our girl is back to her old self, and feeling allllll of it!
And after releasing a new, highly-anticipated (and snubbed) album in 2020, our sis has re-emerged happy, healthy, and playing no games with the people, m'kay?!
And rightfully so, as she took to social media to show off her glow; a glow that made her appear as if she hasn't aged a single day in her life. I mean, this woman has been balancing fame for almost thirty years. Thirty years! *Randy Watson stomps*
It all started with an Instagram post, where the 42-year-old mega star showed off something new about herself, something we haven't seen in a while: her stepping into her full self. Simply captioned, "There she goes...," Brandy had us all questioning what year it was, as her youthful appearance caught the attention of the world wide web.
From here, a variety of other photos have been posted to her social media, dubbing her the queen of "42 where?!"
And needless to say, her noticeable light took a while for her to get back to. She told People last year that the journey is landing her footing where it is now, took time.
"I was a little bit lost eight years ago musically, creatively, spiritually, I had to pull myself together, I had to pull it all together and make it all make sense. I remember laying in bed super depressed. And I [told] myself, 'So, you're just going to go out like this? That's wack. You have a daughter. If you can't do it for yourself, do it for her because this is not the way to leave a mark in her life.'"
And neither her, or Sy'rai, who is now 18 and who Brandy credits for saving her life, have looked back since.
"If Sy'rai wasn't here, I wouldn't be either. The place that I was in, it just felt like I wasn't going to make it through."
Well, sis has done more than triumphed through, as she has a new TV show premiering on ABC this year. The show stars Naturi Naughton, Eve, and Nadine Velazquez, all of which she has also flaunted on her social media. Additionally, her latest album, B7, has received critical acclaim from industry peers and fans, alike, cementing her place as a living legend within her own right.
So the fact that sis is basking in the moment, so openly and so fulfilled, likeeeee, we're here for ittttt. All of ittt.
And listen, I say all of this to say...
...as women, we come into who we are in our thirties, and we actually are these people in our forties. And Brandy, who has openly struggled with her confidence as a celebrity, may have always felt like she may not be thin enough, or pretty enough, or light-skinned enough to maintain longevity. But she has single-handedly revolutionized what it means to be a vocalist, or an actress, a mom, a legend, or even a princess.
And she had to figure it all out in front of the world, she had to learn what this means, herself: a young Black girl, becoming a woman.
So, to see her glowing, to see her age over the span of thirty years (without a single trace of proof that she even aged at all), and to see her make big energy strides, unapologetically, is wtf we love to see. And we can't wait to see more.
Thank you for everything, Brandy!
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Featured image by Leon Bennett/STA 2020/Getty Images for BET
Motivation can feel hard to come by when you get to a place in life where you no longer feel moved to operate at your full capacity.
The things that pushed you to hop out of bed each day can make you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or resentful when you lose sight of your "why" or worse: realize that you haven't found your "why" at all.
Motivation stems from three areas of your life: autonomy, competence, and relationships. When you lose touch of these areas, you may feel stuck and unable to move forward.
Event planner Champagne Braswell felt all of the feels of being stuck and unmotivated when her life changed dramatically in 2020. "Last year, COVID messed up my income. I lost a lot of business, my home went into foreclosure, and I didn't know what I was going to do," she says.
Braswell felt pressure and anxiety because instead of fearing the unknown, she was staring directly at it in the face. "I knew I had to pivot and use my resources to survive," she said.
Image via Giphy
Set Specific Goals
"What can I do to keep myself focused?" is the question that Mija asked herself when she realized she was getting off track. She created laser-focused goals that kept her preoccupied as she coped with her loss.
The American Psychological Association shares that people who set specific and challenging goals are 90 percent more likely to achieve what they've set their mind to do. The more detailed and out of reach a goal may feel, the more adrenaline you'll receive to bring it to life.
Incorporate Mediation and Journaling Into Your Routine
After losing what felt like everything, Champagne began to incorporate meditation and journaling into her life.
"Daily meditation helped me visualize what I was going to do that day. I started a journal because it helps me talk through things and how I feel. I hope my thoughts can eventually help somebody else.'"
Research shows that meditating for as little as 20 minutes can increase your focus and allow you to achieve more. People who journal each day experience a 22 percent increase in performance and achievement.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Sometimes the root of a lack of motivation may stem from physiological or mental issues. For example, if you have anemia, you may experience decreased motivation from iron deficiencies. If you are experiencing mental issues, you may experience avolition. This condition is a total lack of motivation due to mental illness or medicines used to treat mental illnesses.
Consult with a doctor to see if the changes in your body are the root of changes in your motivation. It may be easy to lose and hard to gain, however, you have to re-explore your why and pivot if necessary to preserve your sanity and peace of mind.
Motivation will manifest when you put yourself in a position to understand what is making you feel stuck and detail a master plan on how to get back on the saddle and ride.
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Featured image via Getty Images
Goal-setting is at its highest point around the first of the year. But all too often, the grind of our everyday routines distract us from reaching the finish line. Before we know it, days turn into months, in what seems like the blink of an eye, and we end up putting our dreams on hold until the countdown of a new year. According to a study by the University of Scranton and published in December in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 92 percent of people who set goals as New Year's resolutions fail to achieve them. I've been guilty of this myself, in the past, so I know just how frustrating it can be. But instead of staying stagnant and continuing to let my dreams fall by the wayside, I wanted to know the secrets of the 8 percent of those who do achieve their goals. I did some research on the habits of successful people and this is what I found.
1. Real change begins with a shift in mindset.
As a communication researcher, I love seeing what I call "the mindset movement". What most people refer to as a shift in mindset is actually derived from a combination of theories known as cognitive reframing, or looking differently at a person, situation, or relationship and intrapersonal communication or self-talk. Most people apply these concepts in the form of an affirmation, a short statement that offers encouragement and support. Using affirmations to replace negative thoughts with positivity is a great way to rearrange your thoughts. Changes in your mindset, even small ones, can be used over time to help you cope with problems, embrace change, and move you in the direction towards reaching your goals.
2. Get clear about what you want.
When setting a goal, it's important to understand what exactly you're working towards. For example, if you're looking to improve your love life, ask yourself some key questions like: Am I looking for a committed relationship or do I want companionship, instead? Am I ready for a long-term relationship or a close friendship? When you don't really know what you're looking for, then you may not recognize it once it shows up. Oftentimes, it's easier to identify what we don't want but we're unclear about what we do want. This is why it's important to seek clarity. Eliminate vagueness.
3. Make a plan & write it down.
I didn't always understand the importance of having a written plan but now I see it as a way to organize my ideas, and it serves as a tangible representation of my thoughts. I've also learned that it helps to have physical evidence of your goal. Vision boards, checklists, or daily planners work well for personal ideas. And business plans are usually required for aspiring entrepreneurs. While I've used this strategy in my romantic life by making a "bucket list" of what I want in a future partner, this idea can be extended to specify your goals, whether it's getting into shape, meditating, or writing a book.
The key to a great plan is to be specific, so try creating a plan that specifies when, where and how often you plan to work on your goal. Instead of just saying, "I want to work out," you could write something like, "I plan to work out at the gym for 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday of next week." Once you have it on your calendar, or somewhere you can see it, it's no longer an idea but something you are responsible for checking off your list.
4. Save money to fund your dream.
Whether it's a dream vacation or starting a new business venture, your goal will likely require some kind of cash flow. I like to use what I call the trade technique where you trade the money that you would usually spend on one monthly expense, for another. For example, if you are someone who subscribes to a monthly subscription box, manicures, or haircare, you'll use the money from those expenses to go towards your "vacation fund". It's not easy, but it's worth it knowing that your money is going towards something more valuable than acrylics.
5. Find a coach, mentor, or accountability partner.
These days, you can find a person for everything from financial advising to career planning. I, myself, work as a Breakup Coach so I recognize the value of having a checks and balances system in place. Not only do coaches hold you accountable and provide support, but we also seek to help our clients maximize their potential with positive feedback and practical strategies to reach their desired results.
6. Set small goals.
Experts suggest when you have a long-term goal, like writing a book, that it's best to break down your goals into more short-term ones. For example, if you want to be a writer, set a weekly goal for a certain number of words you'd like to write. This does two things: first, it creates a sense of immediate gratification because you've completed something you set out to do. Second, it coincides with the bigger picture of writing your book and gets you one step closer to your goal.
7. Celebrate success, no matter how small.
It's helpful to acknowledge the progress you're making towards your goals. Celebrating your accomplishments can remind you of how far you've come and motivate you to continue on. You can do this by cutting a deal with yourself. Decide if you do 'X' by 'Y' then you'll reward yourself with 'Z'. Take time to reflect on what you accomplished. A win is a win.
8. Send yourself a reminder.
Write yourself a letter (or an email) in the future and schedule it to send to yourself on a certain date. You can do this in one of two ways. First, you can write a letter to your future self to remind you of your goals and deadlines you set for yourself. It may even help you remember ideas that have slipped your mind. You can also write yourself a "love letter" just to check on yourself, love on yourself, and encourage yourself. Remember to be kind to your future self and remind yourself how proud you are of everything you have accomplished.
9. Take a break if you need to.Shutterstock
Burnout is a real thing so taking time to reset or tweak your original plan may be necessary. Just be sure that if you take a break, you establish a timeline for getting back to work. When I was going through my breakup, I gave myself a designated amount of time to cry. I decided that I could cry for a day, a whole day if I needed to, but then I'd pick myself back up the following day and get back to my routine. That doesn't mean I didn't cry again after that day, likewise, you may need another time to step away and reset again, but the important thing is to not allow your break to become permanent.
10. Stay the course.
Consistency. In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear explains the importance of consistency and describes how breakthrough moments can change the trajectory of our goals. The moments leading up to the breakthrough are what the author calls the "plateau of latent potential." Clear uses the analogy of an ice cube to illustrate how shifts in temperature from 29 to 31 degrees seem to do nothing in terms of melting. But with the increase of just one more degree (to 32 degrees), the ice cube begins to melt.
Just as we can't see the inner workings of molecules in an ice cube, it's important to remember that while we may not always see the process working, that doesn't mean it's not. If you get a chance to read his book, I think you'll find it's packed with tips for successfully creating habits.
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Lord have mercy. I remember when I used to be pretty codependent. Because of that, I would find myself giving a ton to people who barely offered crumbs in return. This kept my starving which kept me thinking that crumbs were all I would ever get to somewhat fill me. That's why I'm so thankful for the time that I took to really figure out what it means to value myself. "Value" is a dope word because it speaks of worth, it speaks of importance, it speaks of acceptance, respect and esteem. And the truth is, until we truly value ourselves, we can't expect someone else to do it. We really can't.
While this form of self-love requires quite a bit of time, energy and effort to learn, I do have some life hacks that can help to put you onto the right path, if you're interested. 15 things that will hopefully remind you that validating yourself isn't about ego. It's about self-preservation, so that you can truly live your best life.
1. Turn Your Phone Off for an Hour a Day
Let's start with the phone. When I read that Americans tend to spend about five and a half hours on the phone every day, I've gotta admit that I thought it was much higher than that. Still, when you factor in that you should be getting no less than 6-8 hours of sleep every night, that you're probably working (at least) eight hours a day and also that there are only 24 hours in a day, that is still quite a bit of talking time. While sometimes being on the phone can be fun (like when you're catching up with a friend or reading something on Black Twitter), it's still a data source, and constantly taking in information can be taxing—both mentally and physically. So, give yourself a break by putting your phone on silent or airplane mode for at least an hour, whether it's on your commute to and from work, during your lunch break or right when you get home. It's the kind of "woosah" that you probably didn't know you needed…until you actually do it.
2. Toast Yourself at the End of Each Workday
I've mentioned the importance of toasting before. It's a practice that acknowledges accomplishments or what you appreciate about someone.
Well, who said that you shouldn't toast your damn self from time to time—let me tell it, every single day? Why? Because it helps you to remember that each day is different and there is certainly, at least one thing, that you've done in every one, that you can feel proud about.
Now, I'm not trying to turn anybody into a lush; therefore, I'm not encouraging you to down liquor every time (sparkling cider is cool too). Just make sure that you have a special drink set aside (along with a toasting glass that is only used for this purpose) and that you deliver a toast to yourself, at the end of each day. You deserve it.
3. Pamper Your Hands and Feet Every Week
I try and get mani/pedi twice a month. Yet even on my "off" weeks, I still put forth the effort to do something that would pamper both my hands as well as my feet. I might give myself a foot soak, a hand massage or change the color of my nails. Aside from the fact that tending to your hands and feet is a great form of pampering and self-care, this is also a simple act that reminds you to get off of the roller coaster of life, slow down and do something that will make you feel a little better. So, definitely set aside 30-60 minutes each week to watch a favorite show and tend to your hands and feet while you're doing it. It's an easy way to immediately look and feel so much better.
4. Take Yourself on a Date Once a Month
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "15 Date Ideas Based On Your Love Language". As you can tell from the title, it was all about customizing dates in a way that will make your partner feel like their personal love language is being spoken to them (you might also want to check out "This Is How To Apply Love Languages To Your Friendships"). Well, along these same lines, when's the last time you took your own self on a date that speaks your own primary two love languages? A massage can be physical touch. Treating yourself to a movie can be quality time. Going out and purchasing something that you've always wanted, simply because you've always wanted it, can fall into the category of gifts. Volunteering for a day at a cause that is near and dear to your heart and then taking yourself to dinner can be acts of service. Blowing up a favorite quote, 10 things that you like about yourself or your mission statement and then shopping for a frame so that you can hang it in your bedroom or home office, can be words of affirmation. Of course, these are just some ideas. Still, making sure that you actually set aside some time to enjoy things that you truly adore is another profound way to remind yourself of your value. When's the last time you've done it?
5. Create a List of What Makes You a Great Woman
It really is a damn shame, how many of us are so quick to list the things that we don't like in ourselves while going radio silent on the things that we do. I know, off the rip, it might come off as being arrogant to brag on yourself; in this case, though, it's a conversation that is totally being you and yourself. Sometimes, in the midst of all of the lessons, mistakes and even drama, we can lose sight of how awesome we really and truly are. That's why I'm all about folks comprising a list of what makes them great. Not good. GREAT. I'm actually an advocate of them doing it a few times a year too because, as we evolve, we change. So does how we see ourselves. So sis, when you get a sec, bullet point a list of no less than 10 things that you think makes you pretty damn awesome. Then put it somewhere that is easily accessible on the difficult days when you need a reminder. We've all got things that make us stand head above the rest in our circle. It's OK to document what those things are and feel good about them. It's a private list. It's up to you who else you want to know.
6. Invest in a (New) Gemstone
Over here at xoNecole, we're pretty big on gemstones and crystals (check out "I Use Jewelry To Tap Into My Spirituality & Sexuality", "8 Healing Crystals You Need To Feel More At Peace" and "The Best Healing Crystals For Your Zodiac Sign"). Matter of fact, it's usually around my birthday when I'll think about the head and heart space that I'm currently in and will cop myself a ring or pair of earrings in a gemstone that reflects it. For instance, right now, I've got two white opal rings on my hands. Before I knew what the stone represented, I was drawn to them. They represent goodness, love, nurturing, positive energy and protection from the heavenlies. Anyway, gemstones are dope because they're oftentimes affordable (like on Etsy), plus, there's an abundance of different ones to choose from. Who said you need a special occasion to adorn yourself? If this sounds like something you'd like to do, click here and here to learn more about gemstones and what they mean/symbolize.
7. Get More of Your Favorite Color
One of my godchildren will be 10 this coming June and I must say, that's she's quite amazing—especially when it comes to arts and crafts. Anyway, one day, out of the blue, she sent me an email asking what my favorite color and scent was. Honestly, shades of brown are what I like the most in this season; however, I'm into blues and greens as well and that's what I told her. Then I thought about the fact that it's been a minute since I've been intentional about getting things that are in my favorite colors and that inspired me to put doing just that on my to-do list.
Color psychology is fascinating because the colors that we're drawn to can reveal a lot about where our psyche is overall. For instance, if you are a blue-kind-of-person, it could mean that either you're naturally calm or you desire more peace in your life. Red? Red is all about love, passion and desire. Purple represents royalty, wisdom and extravagance. Yellow is about energy, joy and friendship. If grey is your thing, you tend to like (or want) balance in your life.
Psychology literally means "the science of the mind". So, if you're in a season where you want to emphasize or even shift some of where you are mentally, bring more of your favorite color into your world. You might be amazed by how much it can influence you. For the better.
8. Design a De-Stress Space in Your Home
Tell me something. What area in your house, when it comes to mind, immediately makes you think "de-stress"? If you can't really think of one, there's no time like the present to cultivate an area like that. In the article, "12 (Affordable) Ways To Make Your Bedroom More Tranquil & Beautiful", one of the things that I shared is how beneficial it can be to make your own reading nook. That's one idea. Another thing you could do is purchase several big throw pillows, blankets and a long ottoman that you can lay—and daydream—on. Or, how about surrounding an area on your back deck with plants so that you can have your own lil' oasis to enjoy an afterwork glass of wine? The point is, pretty much every space in our home has a function. It would be a shame if you didn't carve out someplace, somewhere, for you to do absolutely nothing other than chill out.
9. DIY a Skincare Product
Right now, as I'm writing this, I am making my own herbal infused oil for my hair. I get excited when I do it because I am able to control exactly what I put onto my head. Also, I always like the results that I get. The same thing applies when I make my own bubble bath, lotion or even lip balm. And here's the thing—it doesn't require as much cost or effort that you might think that it does. Plus, making your own skin (or hair) care products is another way to love on yourself because, rather than running to the drug or grocery store and getting something that has a ton of chemicals in it, you're making a move that says, "I want to take extra special care of my body. I want to be in control of my health by making my own stuff."
Anyway, if this is something that you'd like to try, Hello Glow has some homemade bubble bath recipes here; Measuring Flower can walk you through how to make your own lotion here; the YouTube channel Whole Elise will show you how to make all-natural tinted lip gloss here; the YouTube channel Real Creative Real Organized will explain how easy it is to make your own deodorant here; Tip Junkie has nine different kinds of nail polishes that you can create here and, if you want to learn how to DIY some herb infused oil for your hair or skin, it's pretty easy if you follow these directions on Garden Therapy's site right here.
10. Throw Some Stuff Out
Something that I've slowly become more and more of over the years is a minimalist. When it comes to defining what that means, I once heard someone say that being a minimalist is about having the right things instead of just having a lot of stuff. Since living this way, there's less clutter in my space, I've decreased my financial stress, my utility bills are lower (because being a minimalist and becoming more eco-friendly basically go hand in hand) and life is way more simplified, all the way around. And you know what? A simple life tends to be an easier and even fuller one.
That's why I'm a huge advocate of taking out, at least a couple of times a year, to throw some ish out. Come on—you know that if you haven't worn that skirt in two years, read that magazine in five or used that foundation in 10 months that you're probably not going to (and don't get me started on all of your hair products and make-up!). Letting stuff go is freeing. It also makes room for better things. We value ourselves when we make space for upgrades.
11. Use Your Personal Days
It's a damn shame, how many people I know who don't take their lunch breaks, let alone their personal days. This fact was further confirmed to me when I read an article on The Muse's site. It said that a lot of companies are trying to be slick and merge personal (days to go to the doctor, attend a funeral, etc.) and vacation days together (what in the world?!). That's why, if you're someone who is interviewing for a job, you should definitely check out the company's PTO policy and be open to negotiating your time off.
That said, you're not going to win a prize for not using your personal days and it's certainly no one's business why you need to. So, if you've got some days stored up and you can't remember the last time you've used one, this is your sign to do just that. Some stuff, you can't get done if you don't. Some stuff, you need to take care of, so make sure that you do. (Pretty sure I don't have to say this about vacation days as well…right?)
12. Conduct a Negativity Test
One of the reasons why I don't regret not being on social media is because, even when I tiptoe onto certain platforms to see what's going on, I find myself saying, "Damn. Do you wake up angry or gaslighting every single day?" It really is kinda crazy, just how many people live in a constant space of negativity, sometimes without even really noticing. That's not good either because being negative all of the time can lead to low energy levels, a weakened immune system, depleted brain chemicals, unhealthy relationships and/or a defeated mentality. Knowing all of this is actually why I removed myself, even from certain family members, because they are so toxic that they thrive off of negativity which makes them very difficult—and exhausting—to be around.
Unfortunately, some of us have dwelled in toxic energy for so long that we don't even realize it anymore. So, how can you know if you're leaning long and hard towards being a negative person?
- You get triggered easily.
- You complain. A LOT.
- You expect the worst out of people.
- You pick fights—online and off.
- You stay stuck in the past.
- You don't know how to celebrate anything.
- You state things in the extreme (you know, "always" and "never").
- You make excuses for any and everything that's your fault.
- You self-sabotage.
- People tell you that you're hard to deal with. Personally and/or professionally.
If you see yourself in at least three of these 10 points, something needs to change—sooner than later too. As much as a lot of people dwell in negativity, it's kinda ridiculous to do because there really aren't a lot of benefits that come with doing so. Life is too short and you are two precious to dwell in bad/dark energy most of the time. Whether it's going to a therapist/counselor/life coach, talking it over with a dear friend or removing yourself from the people, places, things and/or ideas that have got you in that kind of space, shift towards positivity. Life can only get better if/when you do.
11. Have a “Hard” Conversation
There are so many of us who find ourselves more stressed, worried or depleted than we ever need to be and it's all because we remain in situations with people (whether personal or professional) that really aren't serving us. Why do we do that? A part of the reason is because we do everything in our power to avoid having some really hard conversations—ones that may be uncomfortable yet can actually make our lives easier in the long run.
Listen, I don't care if the conversation is with a controlling or narcissistic parent, an emotionally abusive boss, your spouse, a friend—shoot, it might even be a noisy neighbor that is getting on your very last nerve…when you learn to speak up for yourself, set some limits and express your needs and expectations, it helps you to become more confident. It also reminds you of the fact that, far too often, we tend to settle more than we ever should.
So long as you're clear and respectful in your approach, what's the worst thing that can happen by addressing what needs to be said? If what immediately comes to your mind is it could ruin the relationship—well, if your needing to get your needs met or something that is truly bothering you off of your chest comes with such dire consequences, you were in something far more toxic than you probably realized. Coming to that conclusion will be for your greater good, sis. Wins all the way around.
14. Forgive Yourself
I know a lot of people who live in the space of unforgivingness. Know what else? Interestingly enough, I don't know too many where it's beneficial for them to do so. As much as a lot of folks think that it's punishing the person who hurt them to not forgive them, more times than not, all it does is keep the one who was offended stuck. And that can lead to bitterness, a fear of moving on in a healthy way with other people and/or constantly seeing life through that same situation—all because they chose to not let ish go.
When it comes to past abuses and disappointments, trust me, if life was handing out trophies, I'd at least get one of those short elementary school field day ones. Yet accepting that the past cannot change, accepting that I've also done some pretty f'ed up stuff in my day too and also realizing that sometimes the pain is the lesson that helps us to evolve and do things differently—all of this has brought a quality to my life that I didn't have when I was just…pissed all of the time. Forgiveness might seem like you're telling someone that what they did was OK. It's not. It's telling yourself that it's OK to release the situation, set better boundaries and get on with your life. Why would you deprive yourself of that?
15. Learn How to Wait
If you check out the article "Bless Up: 8 Scriptures To Remind You That God Sees You", one of the references that I make is one of my all-time favorite Message Version Scriptures: Romans 8. I'm a doula, so a part of the reason why I like it so much is it compares waiting to being pregnant. In it, it mentions that sometimes waiting can be really uncomfortable. Still, the longer we wait, the larger we become as individuals and the more joyful we end up being once what we are waiting for actually prepares itself to arrive.
As I close this out, words cannot express how much so many of us miss out on the best that is in store for us, all because we're impatient. That's why, what I want to encourage you to do is to value yourself, love yourself, honor yourself enough to do what one of my favorite definitions of wait says—"hold oneself in readiness". Personally, it was very humbling for me to come to the conclusion that if I'm waiting on something, chances are, God is allowing me the grace and mercy to realize that I'm not as "ready" for it/them as I might think that I am. Indeed, the waiting season can be extremely humbling and yet, another Scripture says that with humility comes promotion (Luke 18:14). Not only that but "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life." (Proverbs 22:4—NKJV)
You're worth waiting for, right? Because you are something of extreme value. Treat your blessings with the same mindset. Waiting isn't a bad thing. Waiting is about two things getting ready for what's in store. When it comes to knowing what you're deserving of, there's not too much of a better life hack than that.
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Like many of you, I grew up watching The Cosby Show and was always in complete awe of Clarie Huxtable. To me, Claire Huxtable was that beautiful, highly intelligent, super badass mom and wife that I dreamt to one day be. Not only was she a true boss in her professional life (remember, she was a PARTNER at her law firm), but she also held it down in the house for her five kids and husband and looked like she had it all. #boss
While I know that Claire Huxtable was a fictional character and that in real life, there's truly no such thing as always "having it all", there are some women that have managed to simultaneously successfully juggle the titles of "wife", "mother", and "boss" just like Auntie Claire did.
Recently, I was able to catch up with these successful working moms and wives and they shared how they manage to be the best wife and mother they can be, while also fulfilling their career dreams. Keep reading to learn more about their "happy life, happy wife" hacks!
Juggling Unrealistic Expectations
Courtesy of Jade Kendle
Jade Kendle, CEO & Founder of #LifeIsContent
Courtesy of Jade Kendle
"I'm always having to mitigate the expectations I put on myself, and others. I'm always trying to be my best, and sometimes that impacts me (and others) negatively. I put too much pressure on myself to be the best that it becomes stressful when there's no way I can ever be perfect at everything - no matter how hard I try!
"Being a woman in 2020 comes with so many expectations. I try to remind myself that there's no one to chase. There's no one chasing me. It's about me practicing excellence, not just when it's easy, but when it's hard. It looks like coming out of a frustrating moment and reflecting on how things could've had a better outcome and making a commitment to do better. Continuously evaluating and reconnecting to my ultimate why - helps me let go of that 'perfectionist' energy."
The Self-Care Struggle
Courtesy of Shakyna Bolden
Shakyna Bolden, Brand Partnerships at xoNecole & Founder of Little Village Collective
"Last year was incredibly tough for me because overnight I went from being a stay-at-home mom to starting a new venture. It was overwhelming and at times too much... That being said, I can't take another year of neglecting my body, mind and spirit while trying to build my family and career. So I started 2020 with the intention to prioritize my well-being."
Courtesy of Shakyna Bolden
"Currently, I'm struggling the most with self-care and consistently maintaining a sacred space/daily regimen that builds my mind, body and spirit so that I can perform better in all areas of my life from my work to my mothering and being a great partner. Last year was incredibly tough for me because overnight I went from being a stay-at-home mom (only working part-time) to starting a new venture. It was overwhelming and at times too much.
"To be honest, I gained all my post-baby weight back that I had worked so hard to lose, suffered from extreme exhaustion, fatigue, and burnout, faced role dynamics shift in my partnership and so much more. That being said, I can't take another year of neglecting my body, mind and spirit while trying to build my family and career. So I started 2020 with the intention to prioritize my well-being.
"I would say support is VITAL to juggling work and home. My partner unquestionably shares in household responsibilities on everything from taking care of our son to cooking. When I travel for work, he's on complete daddy duty and we have family and friends that truly support us as well. Lastly, I'm blessed to be able to work from home and have a flexible work schedule that helps me be fluid in my work and home. There's no secret at xoNecole that I'm a mom. A lot of times in the workplace moms have to sneak off or apologize for momming, but that's not the case with me."
Dealing With Guilt
Courtesy of Ashley N. Cash
Ashley N. Cash, Interview and Salary Negotiation Expert
"Sometimes I feel guilty for losing my patience, forgetting an important date, saying no to a birthday party, or getting frustrated with my husband. I overcome guilt by reminding myself that I am a human, I'm doing my best, and giving myself grace in those imperfect moments."
Courtesy of Ashley N. Cash
"Mommy guilt is a thing...there are days when I feel guilty about the moments where work pulls me away from my family. Sometimes I feel guilty for losing my patience, forgetting an important date, saying no to a birthday party, or getting frustrated with my husband. I overcome guilt by reminding myself that I am a human, I'm doing my best, and giving myself grace in those imperfect moments (so many imperfect moments, ha!).
"My other mommy guilt hack is using feeling guilty as a trigger to give myself a quick reminder of all the other things that I've done right and done well, which is really a hell of a lot (shoutout to my therapist for that one). Which is another mommy boss hack: Have an outlet or two to help you clear your head and get out of wife, mom, work mode. My outlets are scheduling alone time doing something I enjoy by myself and seeing my therapist once a month.
"I think I'm able to be a great wife, mom, and entrepreneur all at the same time because I'm good at aligning what I do with what's most important to me at home and in business, asking for what I need and saying no when I need to because I'm not afraid of missing out on anything. I'm positive that there's enough time, money, clients, and opportunities in the world and that I don't have to trade marriage and motherhood to have them. I think that's an abundance mindset with a little bit of grace mixed in."
Trying to Find Balance in an Unbalanced World
Courtesy of Mattie James
Mattie James, Entrepreneur & Influencer
"What I had to come to terms with is that balance looks different every day. Some days, I kill it as a mom and entrepreneur, but not so much as a wife. Other days, I'm the wife of the year, an amazing mom but my business was put on the backburner. And guess what? That's fine."
Courtesy of Mattie James
"What I had to come to terms with is that balance looks different every day. Some days, I kill it as a mom and entrepreneur, but not so much as a wife. Other days, I'm the wife of the year, an amazing mom but my business was put on the backburner. And guess what? That's fine, because there's always tomorrow and I'm not obligated to be everything to everybody at all times.
"What I do oblige myself with is self-care. Because when I take care of myself, I can be the fullest version of any of the roles in my life including wife, mother or entrepreneur. I'm not interested in being any of those things running on an empty tank. Self-care is what keeps me full. It helps me achieve balance."
Featured image courtesy of Shakyna Bolden
Originally published May 2, 2020
In life, I live for two things - food and a solid self-care routine. Having a weekly restart routine has been an influential part of my mental health, but it hasn't always been this way. In the past, I have fallen victim to the old 2017-2018 trend of #TeamNoSleep. The idea of grinding seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year towards your goals was once the ultimate burnout cocktail I drank daily.
Through conversations with friends and loved ones, I've come to realize many of us have suffered from a case of burnout. Especially people of color and those who come from Caribbean backgrounds. As black and brown people, we more than likely watched our elders work harder than their white counterparts for the "American dream". Witnessing them sometimes work two to three jobs and placing self-care on the backend. To them, overworking was a form of survival.
Fast forward to today, self-care is becoming an increasing priority within the black and brown community. We realize that our mothers' and fathers' work ethics may have been effective in the short-term but not sustainable in the long-term. Although most of us are doing our best to keep our cup in flow, it's natural for us sometimes to get caught up in overdrive. Here are some rituals to offer an assist with your reset button.
Sleep is a simple yet very effective way to recover from a case of burnout. Sadly, sleep can also be hard to come by when you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed. It has been very easy for me to feel guilty for honoring my body with rest in my experience. The pressure of guilt had caused me to push myself when I had nothing left. My lack of rest also contributed to mood and productivity. When our bodies lack rest, our brains are naturally less alert and reactive.
Making sleep a priority has helped me recover from several cases of burnout. There are many benefits to resting your body. According to health.gov, a few of those benefits are thinking clearer, interpreting conversations, reducing stress, anxiety, mood, and overall productivity. Our bodies and brains need rest for us to operate as our best selves.
When I am feeling burnt out, it's only natural for me to need space to myself. On the contrary, I find I can also become a little too comfortable in isolation. Purposely avoiding human contact because I'm not ready to open up about how I am "really" feeling. During these times, my body and mind are weakest, and so are my thoughts about myself. I slowly begin to suffer in the darkness of my thoughts, and that's when I know it's time to let the light shine on me.
Mother nature is our friend; she is always here to help and is an excellent energy source. When we are in a state of burnout or need to reset, we are also more likely to fall into depression. Burnouts can cause us to feel low and lead to isolation because we don't have the energy to be social. Although it's important to remember that burnout isn't depression and depression isn't burnout - it's also essential to know one can lead to the other. During these times, it's healing to enjoy the company of the sun.
There are many benefits of using the sun as a source of healing. Some of those benefits include increasing your mood, easing depression, as well as increasing your energy. A perfect way to get in your vitamin D source is by taking a simple 10-15-minute walk (with sunscreen, of course). We also recognize that during these spring months, there may be more rain than shine. Investing in a sunlight lamp can also be a great way of supplementing your source of vitamin D on those rainy days.
I believe we can find growth in every situation, even the position we place ourselves in. Over the years, I have realized that burning out is also a perfect time for some self-reflection. I enjoy asking myself questions like, "How did I get here?" and "What habit can I change?" I discovered self-reflection helps me adopt better habits and prevent future burnouts.
A perfect way to incorporate self-reflection during your time of rejuvenation is journaling. Taking time to write out our thoughts and emotions can help guide us to how we got there in the first place. Journaling prompts are a great source to help us learn how we can make gentle decisions for ourselves in the future. To help you get started on your self-reflection journey through journaling prompts, please click here.
Finally, remember to be gentle with yourself. We understand being a #bossbabe is hard, but also remember how deserving you are, Queen! You are worthy of a break, sleep, and success! Heck, you're worthy of success while you sleep! When you're a queen building a kingdom, it's only right to take a moment to polish your crown. Rest easy!
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Featured image by Shutterstock