7 Ways This Pandemic Quarantine Can Actually Be A Blessing In Disguise
Yeeeeeah. I'm not sure what any of us were actually expecting 2020 to be like as the clock struck midnight on January 1, but I'm fairly confident when I say that this was certainly not it. I don't need to tell you what, barely six months into this year, has been like. Not only can you read articles like "Covid-19 Is Killing Black People Unequally—Don't Be Surprised", "Few Minority-Owned Businesses Got Relief Loans They Asked For" and "The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying" if you wanna get a semi-brief media recap (SMDH), but most of us personally know someone who has passed away from the pandemic, lost their job and/or is battling some level of depression (if that "someone" isn't us). Not to mention all of the regular day-to-day stuff that can straight stress a sistah out, even without COVID-19 being all up in our space.
It's been rough. I'm not going to patronize you by trying to act otherwise. But if you've ever heard the quote, "Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place" before, you'll get why I believed it was so important to pen this piece. It's definitely not written with the intention of making light of any of the challenges or struggles you and yours may be facing. It's simply something to offer up a perspective that will hopefully remind you of how resilient you actually are and how, even bad times, can refine you in ways that ultimately make sticking things out and going through the rough patches worth it in the end.
Are you ready to see some of the silver linings of this pandemic quarantine? Believe it or not, there are some truly priceless ones.
1. You Can See Who Your True Friends Are
Years ago, a filmmaker by the name of Molly Secours once said to me, "I'm in a season of being still and seeing who and what comes to me." That resolve has always stayed with me because, as a recovered codependent, I used to be notorious for doing the very opposite of that when it came to relationships, both romantic and platonic.
I'm telling you, sometimes you can be so busy in your dynamics with people that you don't even realize how much of the load you are carrying until…you…stop. And something that this pandemic has done has forced a lot of us to do just that. In many ways, it has forced us to get still, be quiet and pay attention to who is truly as invested in our lives as we are in theirs.
For me, it's really been something to see who has checked in, who has offered help, who has been "intentionally consistent" about making sure that I'm good. It's also been fascinating to see who hasn't done those things. The processing of both has provided me with some real—and what I believe to be lasting—clarity about who my peeps really and truly are; especially in this season. And believe you me, when you know who is fully in your corner, that brings forth a peace of mind and clarity that is nothing short of incomparable. Life-affirming, even.
2. You Can Push “Reset” on Areas of Your Life (That Aren’t Working)
The one and only time when I got fired from a job, while financially it sucked to have it happen, in hindsight, it was one of the best things ever. For one thing, I hated being there. For another, the gig had absolutely nothing to do with my purpose, passion or calling. I know some people who have lost their job in this season. Ugh. But what has been truly remarkable is to see how it has pushed them to cultivate a dream, write a screenplay or hop on a Masterclass or Skillshare's website so that they can learn a skill that they can…"expand" is the word that comes to mind.
Sometimes, life has us so caught up that we're too busy to step back and ask ourselves, "Is this really what I want to be doing with my gifts, talents and time?" Then, seemingly out of nowhere, something like this happens to slow us down and help us realize that the answer is not just "no", but HELL NO. The beauty in that answer is that you can give yourself permission to reset your life. Reset is a cool word because it means "to set, adjust, or fix in a new or different way".
Sis, just because you've been working—working at a job, working at a relationship, working at keeping things going—that doesn't mean that "it" has been working for you. Take this time to ask yourself if it's time to do something different or new. Thankfully, you've got the gift of time and space to set some things right so that you can thrive rather than simply…exist.
3. You Can Become More Responsible with Your MoneyGiphy
How crazy is this? Did you know that only 67 percent of Americans actually have a financial budget? What. In. The. World? You know what they say—if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Even if you've been fortunate enough to where not a lot has dramatically changed on the financial tip, I think we all can agree that it would be beyond foolish to be out here maxing out credit cards or blowing stimulus checks. Whether money is tighter than it's ever been or this pandemic is simply reminding you that a whopping 78 percent of us are literally living paycheck to paycheck, hopefully this time has served as either a reminder or a confirmation to get (or keep) your coins in order. Remember, budgeting can help you be accountable of your money, to plan for the future, and to even save up for some special things that you want. Times are tight, that's for sure, but this is when you can become more financially savvy than ever; if you want to be. That's definitely an upside. (By the way, if you need a little help in this area, feel free to check out our article, "10 Budgeting Apps That Will Get Your Coins All The Way Together".)
4. You Can SLOW DOWN and (Better) Nurture Yourself
Something that a single female client and I are currently working on is making sure that her closet reflects the type of dates that she wants to go on. What is that all about? I'm sure you've heard the saying, "If you build it, they will come." Well, after she shared with me a lot of her relationship history, I wasn't even remotely impressed by what her dating life has looked like. And so, I suggested to her to invest into her dating wardrobe and then to only accept dates that will match it. It's one way to "upgrade" when it comes to setting a new set of standards for herself.
Meanwhile, I'm over here purchasing stuff on Etsy that will re-mineralize my teeth (you can DIY this type of toothpaste by checking out this recipe), deep condition my hair (Chebe powder is that one) and keep my skin super smooth. I'll be honest—I didn't think as hard about doing all of this until the world shut down and I got to meditating on how I could take better care of myself. So yeah, here's another reason why I think this pandemic has been a blessing in disguise. It's given me—and the people I've been working with—some time to make time for ourselves; to really self-nurture (and pamper) in ways that we hadn't been as thoughtful or thorough prior to the quarantine.
Nurture is actually a favorite word of mine. On the self-nurture tip, it speaks to protecting oneself, supporting oneself and cherishing oneself. What have you been doing, right through here, to make sure you are doing these things for your own mind, body and spirit? If the answer is "nothing", there is no time like the present to start.
5. You Can Emotionally Connect with Your Partner on Another Level
One of the reasons why I wrote "8 Hacks To Keep You & Your Boo From Falling Out (During A Quarantine)" is because I already knew that this pandemic—and more specifically, this pandemic's quarantine—was going to take quite the toll on a lot of relationships. It really is kind of a trip how, a lot of people don't even realize how little time they spend with their significant other until something like this reveals that it's not much at all (on average, married couples engage one another only two hours a day). If you live with your partner, this quarantine can help you to relearn your significant other, strengthen your communication skills and figure out ways to reprioritize your relationship. If you are quarantined away from your partner right now, while it can be really—and for some, really, really—hard to not be able to physically connect, watching Lives like the ones between Karrueche Tran and Victor Cruz can remind you that cultivating and then solidifying your emotional bond are very precious and special. It can help you to see what your relationship is truly made of so that when the two of you do come back together, physical intimacy will truly be the icing, not the cake.
6. You Can Make the Time for What Matters Most (to You)
You know what they say. It's not about what we have time for; it's about what we make time for. And, as author M. Scott Peck once said, "Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it." I've shared, a few times before, in my writings on this platform, that I firmly believe that not only is it possible to waste time, but that a lot of us do it. Waste means "to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return", so if we're doing things that we deem are not ultimately giving us an "adequate return", by definition, they are wasting our time.
Listen, there is only so much Netflix and Hulu that you can watch. Make the time to write yourself a love letter, to do some sex journaling, to ponder the patterns you've got with your family, friends and co-workers (check out "The Relationships In Your Life That Are Desperately In Need Of Boundaries" and "The Art Of Saying 'No' To Things You Don't Want To Do"). Think about what you're spending your money on, what you're doing with every moment of every day, and if you're actually planning out your future in a way that will truly benefit you. In short, ask yourself if you're doing what really and truly matters most to you and your life. The quiet of this season might scream to you that you are not. The good thing about that is, there is no time like the present to make a change; to stop wasting what you can never—ever—get back.
7. You Can Make Rest (More of) a Priority
If this quarantine has had you climbing the walls with boredom, I get that; especially if you're an extrovert. Just make sure that you know the difference between being bored and being a busybody.
Remember that job that I mentioned earlier. While I was unemployed, broke and trying to figure out what the heck I was gonna do with the rest of my life, someone who was close to me at the time said, "You better enjoy this time, Shellie. Something tells me that you won't get this kind of pace ever again." That was about 20 years ago. That individual was right.
The famous Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said, "We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don't allow our bodies to heal, and we don't allow our minds and hearts to heal." Did you catch that? Resting helps us to heal. To become healthy. To become whole. To cleanse ourselves. To free ourselves. To pray, meditate and shoot…sleep (be honest, when's the last time you've been able to get eight hours a night in, consecutively so?). So, if this pandemic quarantine has got you in the position where you are resting more so that you can heal more so that you can flourish more, give thanks. Praise the Lord that pandemics don't come around every day and the world doesn't shut down like this often. Use this time to take long baths, to sleep in and incorporate practices that will teach you how to become more calm and relaxed.
It might not feel like it right now, but nothing lasts forever; including COVID-19. Let this season teach you whatever the Universe wants you to learn, so that you can come out stronger and better than ever, as the direct result of choosing to see all of this as being a bit of a blessing; even if it's sometimes in disguise.
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- 4 Ways I’ll Continue To Save Money Post-Quarantine - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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