Traditionally, black women are seen as strong and bold, oftentimes taking life's hits to the chin, sucking "it" up---"it" meaning feelings, concerns, and frustrations---or shrugging off pain and discomfort. We all know this to be a stereotype that is true for some, but it is far from true for others.
If I could raise my hand in agreement with the latter and type at the same time I would. I'm an empath, wear my emotions on both sleeves, and am the first to let you know how I feel. In the past, I've been told I'm "too sensitive" if I voiced concern about a very valid issue or if I didn't let something "slide" that was demeaning, demoralizing or just plain disrespectful.
In the workplace, this takes on a whole different meaning and can have very detrimental effects on a woman's career, especially since women who speak up can be called far worse words than "sensitive." If you are authoritative or an assertive leader, you're either a bitch, uncooperative, or "hard to work with," and this is a problem that is super-magnified for women of color who are often already code-switching just to keep their jobs.
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Well ladies, the next time you are accused of being "too sensitive" or "in your feelings" at work, there's a recent study that gives you a bit of redemptive recourse. (At the very least, it should put a smile on your face after that 10th annoying encounter with an insecure, insensitive, or inappropriate boss or coworker.) I was delightfully surprised to read that men are actually "more sensitive" at work than women. The study, conducted by Totaljobs.com, a U.K.-based hiring platform, states:
- Men were 1.6x more emotional than women about being criticized
- Men were 2.4x more emotional than women because their "ideas weren't heard"
- Men were 2.5x more emotional than women about "having a fall out"
- Women were 25% more emotional than men about "stress/frustration"
The study also found that men were "more emotionally invested" in workplace projects than women and that they are three times more likely to get "emotional" because a project "went over budget, missed a deadline, or got canceled." (Some of my sistas read this and said, "Well I didn't need a study to tell me that. I see that every week!" Amen, sis. Amen.) The researchers of the study also found that women "experience more stress at work," are feeling "sadder", and often mask those feelings.
They offer the following tips for dealing with emotions at work. Use them for yourself or pass the memo on to the men in your life and workplace:
Acknowledge the Feelings
"Let yourself feel the emotion for a while. Let the emotion out. Cry if you need to. Recognize what your sadness is telling you. Write it down."
Do Something Active
"Go outside if possible. Exercise has been shown to improve mood and getting inside your own head on the treadmill can help work through the messages that your sadness is sending you."
Get Support From Someone You Trust
"Chatting it through often helps to organize thoughts and helps to order responses to feeling sad."
If you're the one giving the support...
Researchers recommend the following:
- No matter what the emotion is, acknowledge it.
- Don't jump to give advice.
- Focus on your role as an advocate, but you're not the problem-solver.
- Don't downplay their response.
- Stay away from saying, "Cheer up" or "It will be alright."
- Keep things confidential as to avoid loss of trust or instigation of drama.
- Make listening a priority.
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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