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Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.

Who said you need a ton of cash in order to treat yourself?

Wellness

Man. Wouldn't it be great if you could take off an entire day to do nothing but get a facial, then a mani/pedi, then a massage and then perhaps indulge yourself with some shopping, followed by eating at your favorite high-end restaurant? Between (most of our) finances not being exactly where we want them to be and this damn pandemic (and folks not wearing a mask…whew), it seems like it will be FOR-E-VER before we're able to pamper ourselves in the ways that we truly desire. That's the bad news.

Ready for some good news? There are actually quite a few things that you can do to make yourself feel extra special, from the comfort and safety of your own home, that won't cost you much money at all. You just need a little creativity and a few items that you probably already own and you're all set. So, are you ready to love on yourself without breaking the bank or catching other people's germs? Awesome.

1. Take a Half Day. Then Read and Rest.

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Sometime last year, I read a study that said almost 770 million vacation days went unused back in 2017. Listen, your employer is all about you being in the office as much as possible, so that they can reap the benefits of what you have to offer. So, if you're waiting for someone to approach you and say, "You seem worn out. How about using one of your vacation days?", you can probably hang that up. On the flip side of that, if you've got vacation days, USE THEM. You can even do something as simple as take a half day, once every season, to do nothing other than go home, catch up on a book and take a nap. Sometimes, just getting off of the roller coaster known as life for a few hours can be just what you need to recharge and feel more energized and positive again.

2. Write a “How to Love Me” Bucket List

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There is absolutely no downside to having high self-esteem. While some people think that too much is a form of arrogance, actually cocky folks have a low sense of self-worth; they are merely overcompensating in areas where they feel that they lack. OK, but that's another article for another time. The reality is, the more you know your value, the better equipped you will be to make wise choices and solidify your destiny. A couple of ways to boost your self-esteem is by checking out the articles, "Every Woman Should Write A Love Letter To Themselves" and "Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey". Another is to make a self-love bucket list.

What is that? It's basically a list of different ways that you plan on expressing love—to you and to you only. It can be saving up money to go on a trip. It can be scheduling a reflexology appointment before the year is out. It can be indulging yourself by getting that new pair of shoes that you've been eyeing.

The key is to have no less than 20 different self-love items on your list and to be intentional about checking everything off before the turn of a new year. Then, once you've completed the first list, put some other never-been-done-before items on a new one. It costs absolutely nothing to put the list together. Besides, just making time for yourself in this way, can make you feel more confident in who you are as a woman.

3. Customize Your Own Nail Polish

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I don't know what it is about doing my toes while watching a movie that I find to be so relaxing; but it is. If it's been a minute since you've been out to get a mani/pedi or you simply want to switch out the hue on your hands that you currently have, something that could be fun is to make your own nail polish. Believe it or not, all you need is some clear polish and eyeshadow. You can get some step-by-step instructions on how to easily make it all happen here.

4. Make Your Own Hot Water Bottle

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Chances are, there was some point in your childhood when your mom sent you to bed with a hot water bottle. And when you reflect back on it, didn't it almost immediately make you feel so much better? Quiet as it may be kept, a hot water bottle can relieve all kinds of health issues including neck and back pain, menstrual cramps and muscle discomfort, plus it can also help to relieve digestive issues, stress and anxiety symptoms and, it can help you to have a better night's sleep too.

If you don't already have a hot water bottle in your home, no worries. All you need is a rubber bottle and a flannel cover to wrap it up in. Fill the bottle with boiling water, wrap it up in the flannel, test the heat on the inside of your arm and, if it's not too hot, place it anywhere you're feeling uncomfortable or in between your feet to help you to fall asleep faster at night. It's one of the best hacks I know, and it costs absolutely nothing to do.

5. Have a Wine and Cheese at Home

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I don't know what it is about wine and cheese that makes so many of us feel bougie AF but it does. I'm pretty sure that you've got some wine and probably even some mozzarella cheese in your house, right? If you pair them together, you can have your own wine and cheese party without spending anything to do it. On the other hand, if you want to come across as an expert in this lane, Wine Mag has a pairing guide that makes it really easy to figure out which wine goes with what cheese—specifically. Check the online guide out here.

6. DIY a Bottle of Champagne

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Y'all, I'm all about folks toasting others as well as themselves. It's a very simple yet effective way to both acknowledge and celebrate what someone has done or what you appreciate about them. That said, when's the last time that you toasted yourself? Upping the ante, when's the last time that you toasted yourself with some champagne? If you're totally down but you don't have the coins, all you need is some wine, sugar and champagne yeast and you're good to go. As far as how to go about making it, it's a little extensive but nothing super stressful, once you grasp the overall concept. Some pretty thorough instructions are right here.

7. Soak in a Cocoa Bath

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I'm about at the point where I'm gonna start recommending dark chocolate for everything on the planet because there is little that this food—one that is loaded with antioxidants—can't do, including giving you one of the most pampering baths that you've ever had.

Yep, if you add some cocoa (along with Epsom salt, baking soda, powdered milk and a favorite essential oil) into your running bathwater, you'll be able to detox and soothe your skin, lower your stress levels, increase blood circulation and reduce bodily inflammation.

If all of that sounds really good to you, there are some wonderful recipes that you can try out here.

8. Treat Your Feet to a Foot Mask

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Did you know that each foot has somewhere around 7,000 nerve endings in it? Another fun fact is feet perspire somewhere around six ounces a day. That's why it's a really good idea to consider pampering yourself by treating your feet with a mask, at least twice a month. Not only can it help to detox your feet, but a foot mask is also great at increasing blood circulation to them, sloughing off dead skin, eliminating foot odor and helping to make your feet super soft and smooth. To get the best benefits, start off by using a pumice stone to exfoliate the skin on the back of your feet. Then your feet will be ready for the mask; one that should remain on your feet for 10-15 minutes before thoroughly rinsing them off in warm water. If you'd like to give a recipe a shot, there are a few easy to make ones right here.

9. UNPLUG. ENTIRELY.

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Here are some signs that a lot of us are more addicted to our devices than we probably would care to admit. Many of us check our smartphone at least 150 times a day (geeze). Tons of us watch six days' worth of television each month. Hell, almost 90 percent of us can't even watch TV without staring at our cell phone or laptop at the same time. Our brains really don't need to be constantly going. Our eyes either (check out "8 Solid Reasons To Put. Your Phone. Down."). That's why, it can most definitely be a sign of self-love to take off a day—or shoot, even an entire weekend—to unplug from any device that will prevent you from resting and hearing your own thoughts. By the way, if you just read that and was like, "Shellie, I'm with you except when it comes to this, you are the main one who needs to do it." (Check out "Social Media: How To Take Back Control Of What You're Consuming" and "What I Learned From My Two-Month Social Media Fast".)

10. Sleep on Rose Petals

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Believe it or not, there are some really easy and cost-effective ways to upgrade your house, even when you're on a really tight budget (check out "10 Home Décor Hacks To Make You Love Being At Home").

But if you want to do something that is super quick and can still make you feel extremely luxuriant, throw some fresh rose petals all over your bed before turning in at night. The petals are super soft and the scent of rose helps to reduce anxiety, menstrual discomfort, headaches/migraines and even menopause-related symptoms.

Who said a man has to be in the bed with you when there are petals everywhere? When it comes to pampering and self-love, see that as merely a bonus. #wink

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Featured image by Shutterstock

Originally published on December 20, 2020

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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