I switched up my morning routine. I tried meditation and I've upped my Omega-3 intake. It seems like no matter what I do, my Google results haven't given me an adequate solution to my lack of focus and productivity problems during quarantine and according to our good sis Issa Rae, she can totally relate.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Insecure star explained that although she's been able to check a lot of items off of her to-do list, the side effects of the pandemic have fumbled her focus in a major way.
"I've been getting a lot done; I turned in two scripts and I'm working on the third one. But it's like, you don't even know if we're going to be able to shoot these anytime soon. So now I'm like, 'Am I working for nothing?' I've reached that phase where it's like, 'Let me just be sad and wake up sad and not do anything.' I'm trying to get back into my groove again."
In an attempt to overcome her self-isolation-induced sadness, the multihypenate hustler says that she seeks comfort in one of her favorite classic movies, but at this point, even that isn't enough to get her out of her mid-quarantine slump.
"Yesterday in my depression I was like, 'What can I watch right now?' And I was flipping and that made me sadder because I was like, 'I don't have anything that I turn to.' I think 'Groundhog Day' is my comfort movie. I think that's gonna be my happy place — but it may feel too familiar. I don't want to come out of this hating 'Groundhog Day' so I also have to be precious with my s---."
The actress, who made the decision to release her latest feature film, TheLovebirds on Netflix instead of in theaters, explained that while the quarantine has thrown a wrench in her plans, now, more than ever is the time for professionals to level up their creative toolboxes:
"I get anxiety about it. Like I know my internet is s—-y, and I'm gonna be frozen on the screen in a stupid position. I feel like internet connections are gonna have to step up. I think people are going to try to get creative in terms of how they're showcasing talent, and they already are — but I know as a viewer I'm not trying to watch a split-screen of Zoom that I also use on all my conference calls. That's not appealing to me."
To read Issa's full interview, click here!
Featuring image by Matt Baron/Shutterstock.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
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.
The world is filled with tons of distractions vying for our attention. Our workloads can be demanding, social media chatter can be deafening, and it all makes you wish you could flip a switch and shut everything off.
But since life doesn’t come with a mute button, we have to find ways to turn the volume down so we can reset our mood and fade into the present moment. Interestingly enough, singer Coco Jones knows a thing or two about this.
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In a recent red carpet interview with Harper’s Bazaar, singer Coco Jones was asked by an interviewer, “What was the last song you listened to?” Ready for the R&B starlet to sound off a Billboard-charting banger, we were surprised and humored to learn that the songs to land in her rotation come from a more sonic style of music known as ambient music.
“The last song I listened to was probably ambient music,” she shared. “It be so loud in this world of mine, I just need to listen to a gong.” This had us thinking that maybe we too use a few gongs, harps, and xylophones in our music rotation, especially if Coco approves.
What Is Ambient Music?
Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes atmosphere, mood, and tone over traditional musical structure and melody. This vibe-setting, atmosphere-shaping sound is often described as "background music" as it’s designed to create an immersive and ambient sonic environment rather than being the primary focus of the listener's attention.
Ambient music has rich, audio texture while being shapeless in its melodies. Many songs in the genre tend to be minimalist in nature, with simple and repetitive musical elements. It often features long, sustained tones or chords, with lengthy compositions that listeners can get lost in — in a good way, of course.
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Why You Might Love Ambient Music
Taking your first listen to an ambient track, may take some time to adjust to. If you’re used to songs with structure and reliable flows and chords, it could take a couple of listens to ease into the amorphic style of this music genre. Its primary goal is to evoke a specific atmosphere or mood that can be calming, meditative, introspective, eerie, or even unsettling, depending on the artist's intentions.
As TikTok creator and DJ, Lovie shared in her video detailing the genre, “We also go through too much as a people to not be listening to some Tibetan singing bowls and some gongs, okay?” And we couldn’t agree more. Sometimes we need sounds to transport us from reality, even if that’s just for 30 minutes at a time. Life is tough enough, why not allow our music to feed into our escapism just a little?
Exploring Ambient Music
If you’re looking to give ambient music a spin in your playlist, your next question might be where to even begin. You might be pleased to know that as a beginner, you don’t have to venture too far to find that you may have already been introduced to the genre through singer and songwriter, Solange Knowles. Her fourth studio album, When I Get Home, features the atmospheric sounds of ambient music throughout.
Some of the pioneering artists in the ambient music genre include Brian Eno, who is often credited with coining the term "ambient music," as well as artists like Tangerine Dream, Harold Budd, and Aphex Twin.
The sounds of ambient music are unhurried and full of ease, which can provide the perfect momentary escape from the outside noise or as background music for your studies or creative processes. So if you're looking to widen your music taste and tune out this noisy world, take Coco’s advice to give ambient music a try because you can never go wrong with a gong.
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Featured image by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage