10 Small Habits That Can Make A Really Big Difference
OK. Who remembers India.Arie's song "Little Things" from back in the day? If you do, you probably can recall the line in it that says, "In the quest for fortune and fame, don't forget about the simple things". Indeed. Sometimes, in the quest to live out our absolute best life ever, we forget that it really is the little moves that make up the big impressions along the way.
That's the inspiration for this article today. No matter what it is that you want to improve upon or make better in your world, if you apply small habits like these to your life, you might be blown by how BIG of a difference they can make—to you and ultimately, to those around you too.
1. Pull an “Issa” in Your Mirror Every Day
Anyone who's an avid watcher of Insecureknows that a signature scene that has been happening, ever since season one, is Issa looking into the mirror and talking—sometimes in the form of rapping—to herself. While it is funny to watch, if you look deeper, she is oftentimes doing it in order to gain clarity, hype herself up or to make a big decision.
In the psychology world, a technical term for this is "external self-talk". The reason why you shouldn't "feel crazy" for doing it is because talking to yourself can be a practice in self-affirmation. It can help you to blow off stress and steam. Talking to yourself is also a cool way to hold an impromptu forensics debate between your feelings and your common sense (which aren't always one and the same), if you're trying to look at the pros and cons of a particular situation. The list of benefits really does go on and on.
So yeah, when you get up every morning, encourage yourself to talk to yourself. You might get the confidence and/or answers that you seek, if you do.
2. Tell Someone What You Like/Love/Appreciate About Them
I used to find myself in the position of feeling taken for granted…a lot. Some of it had to do with codependency. Some of it had to do with poor boundaries. Some of it had to do with putting people into the "friend" category long before they deserved it or moving them into a level that they weren't worthy of (check out "Always Remember That Friendships Have 'Levels' To Them"; you might wanna read "7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One" too). So, what broke me out of the pattern? Some self-love. Some prayer and meditation. Some journaling. Oh, and also becoming totally unapologetic about my primary love language (words of affirmation) and accepting the fact that people who truly value me will not only show appreciation because "words are my thing", but because they want to keep me around; they don't want me to feel taken for granted. Ever.
Making sure that others feel appreciated has levels to it, just like friendships do. But I can promise you that, when you take a moment to tell someone what you like, love or appreciate about them, not only will it do wonders when it comes to (further) establishing confidence and trust in their connection with you, it can make them feel good about looking out for you in return. Besides, a wise person once said, "If you don't show appreciation to those who deserve it, they'll learn to stop doing things that you appreciate." There are a lot of people in my relational rearview window who can probably attest to that, chile. For real, for real.
3. Do Something Nice. Anonymously.
Motives. I'm big on motives (the Bible is too: "We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives."—Proverbs 2:12[Message]). That said, it's one thing to do something nice for someone and then post it for all of the world to see. But if you really want to know if you're doing something, and that it is totally for the right reasons, without it having absolutely anything to do with you, do it anonymously. You know, there's a verse in Scripture that basically says that if we do things for applause, applause is all that we will get. But if we decide to do things "secretly", it will be God who rewards us (Matthew 6:1-2). The something that you do doesn't have to be anything big. Maybe put your co-worker's favorite snack on their desk or mail your friend something from Etsy and ask for only a gift receipt with no name to be attached. Listen, no one said that playing Secret Santa had to be reserved for Christmas (although you might wanna call it something else). The seeds that you plant into someone's life, solely for benefit alone, are ones that you can feel the best about—and know that the Most High totally has your back on.
4. Eat Something Raw Every Meal
Eating fruits and vegetables when they are in their rawest form makes it possible for you to get an optimal level of nutrients from them. In fact, many nutritionists say that if you commit to eating at least one raw fruit or vegetable each meal, within a month's time, you will notice that your skin is clearer and you've got a lot more energy. As a bonus, you help to reduce the risk of heart disease (which is currently the leading cause of death in Black women) too. As far as what food qualifies, pretty much any fruit or veggie goes. Just remember that it needs to be cleaned with water and that's pretty much it. Anything "extra" is gonna take the food out of its purest form which means you will lose some of the potency of its vitamins and minerals as a direct result.
5. Drink an Extra Glass of Water
Here's something that's crazy. 75 percent of Americans are not only dehydrated butchronically dehydrated. And since our bodies are made up of more than 60 percent water, I'm pretty sure you can see how that can cause real health issues. If you don't get enough fluids into your system, not only can it cause dry mouth, fatigue and dizziness but, over time, it can also lead to kidney problems, low blood volume and even seizures. If you're already intentional about drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, that's awesome. But I'm pretty sure that more than a few of us fall into the "75 percent" category. You've got to crawl before you can walk so, do yourself a favor and ease into drinking more water by committing to a glass more a day for a week and then doubling that by the end of the month. I'd be shocked if your body doesn't feel a thousand times better after you do.
6. Read a Chapter of a Book Each Day
While you can't really go a day without reading something (because most of us are online all day long, in some capacity), what I'm referring to here is leisure reading (which can help to relax you) or checking out something that will truly benefit you like an educational or spiritual book or maybe even something that is self-help related.
If you set aside 30 minutes a day to do a little bit of reading, not only can it help to calm you, it can also stimulate your mind, expand your vocabulary, make you a better writer (and all around communicator), improve your level of focus and concentration and, even make you a more empathetic individual (especially if it's literary fiction).
I know life is hectic, but we've all got time for what we want to make a priority. For so many reasons, reading on a daily basis can only benefit you. Fit it into your schedule. It'll totally be worth your while.
7. Take a Morning or Evening Walk Outdoors
Aside from the fact that indoor air pollution is as much as 2-5 times worse than the pollution that is outside (especially if you rarely open up your windows), there are quite a few benefits that come from taking a stroll outdoors every day. If you walk outside in the daytime, it will help you to get more Vitamin D into your system (something that we, as Black women, are oftentimes deficient in). Walking outside can also keep your joints and muscles from getting stiff, can release endorphins to improve your mood, can help to decrease health risk issues like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, can make it easier to digest your food and, it's also a great way to lower anxiety levels. So, whether you opt to do it alone, with your boo or maybe with a friend or neighbor, start or end your day by walking outdoors. Your health can only get better if/when you do.
8. Discuss/Debate in Question Form
People can be so freakin' defensive these days. Don't get me started on how I think that social media and the narcissism of it all plays a direct role in that. It's like, unless you are feeding someone's ego, by constantly agreeing with them or telling them what they want to hear, they feel attacked. While that is certainly NOT your problem, interacting with individuals is pretty much unavoidable too. Something that I've learned to put into practice is, when I'm in a potentially challenging discussion or debate with someone, is I try and pose my responses in question form. For instance, rather than hearing something that I know is wrong (because I have data to back it up or because it's based on an assumption), instead of quipping, "You're wrong", I will say, "Why do you think that?". Not only does it take the edge off of my own tone and potential attitude but, more times than not, it prevents the other person from going on the defensive so that some progress can be made in communication. Sure, it's an extra mental step, but if you want to keep harmony with others, it can be worth the additional effort. Trust me.
9. Review the “High” and “Low” of Your Day
Back when I used to mentor teenage girls (and sometimes their boyfriends), something that I would ask them to do is to share the high and low that they experienced since the last time we saw each other.
We live in a world that tends to lean so much on the side of negativity that, for one thing, it helps them to see the brighter side/silver linings in life. Plus, when you think about the best and worst things that have transpired, on a consistent basis, it helps you to see that life is quite the balancer. Not everything is bad. Not everything is good. But, if you really take a moment to put the best and worst into their proper perspective, it can be easier to see how they might be working together to make you a better person, in ways that you didn't quite expect until you actually thought them through.
This is why I also incorporate this exercise with my clients. If you take out a moment, every day, to think about your peak high and low, it can make that day make (more) sense. It can also make preparing for the next day, a lot easier to do.
10. Keep Your Phone Out of Your Bedroom at Night
Earlier last year, I wrote an article for the site entitled, "8 Solid Reasons To Put. Your Phone. Down." If you take a few moments to check it out, you'll see why being plugged into the Matrix—I'm sorry, your smartphone—can actually do more harm than good, if you're not careful. This is especially the case when it comes to bedtime. Aside from the fact that your mind needs time to decompress from all of the information that it already received throughout the day, looking at the light on your phone's screen can make it very difficult to fall back to sleep once you look at it (like when you get up to pee, for instance). And sleep deprivation isn't good for you. Not by a long shot. I say it all of the time, because it will forever be relevant—your bedroom should be set aside for sex and sleep. No more, no less. So, do your mind, body and spirit a favor and either put your phone in another room or turn it off at night. Whatever is happening inside of it will be awaiting you in the morning. Tackle it all—then.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
This New Scalp Care Line Is Exactly What Your Wash Days Need
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
DC Young Fly Pays Tribute To His Longtime Partner Jacky Oh After Her Sudden Death: 'You Are The Greatest Mother I Know'
Actor, comedian, and Wild 'N' Out star John "DC Young Fly" Whitfield mourned the loss of his longtime partner and the mother of his three children, Jacklyn "Jacky Oh" Smith, with a heartfelt tribute.
For context, Smith --who rose to fame as a model and participated in the hit comedy game show Wild 'N' Out for five seasons-- tragically passed away on May 31 at the age of 32 in Miami, Florida. Although Smith's official cause of death has yet to be determined, TMZ reported that the entrepreneur was in town to undergo a cosmetic procedure known as a "mommy makeover."
As the news about Smith's passing was officially confirmed by family and on Wild 'N' Out's social media pages, a magnitude of people, from fans to the couple's close friends and colleagues such as B.Simone, Jessie Woo, Vena "Pretty Vee" Excell, Lauren "Lolo" Wood, Odell Beckham Jr., Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and so many others offered their condolences while honoring the mother of three.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Warner Bros
Two days after Smith's death, Whitfield released a public statement to People magazine thanking everyone for their "well-wishes" and asking for "privacy during this difficult time."
The following week on June 8, Whitfield paid tribute to Smith by sharing a post on Instagram that featured various photos and videos of the pair and their children, daughters Nova Whitfield,6, Nala Whitefield,2, and a son, who was born in July 2022, named Prince Whitfield.
In addition to the upload, Whitfield revealed that he waited a while to post this because he wanted the tragic event "to be a dream." The 31-year-old would add that as the days go by following Smith's passing, he's "reminded of" the reality that she's no longer here, and he wanted to make sure to commemorate her in a "proper manner." Further into the post, Whitfield praised Smith for being the "greatest mother" and human being.
"I wasn't in no rush to post this because I wanted it to be a dream so bad, but every hour, I'm reminded of reality, so I wanna make sure I applaud you in the proper manner,” he said. “You are the GREATEST MOTHER I KNOW your soul was beautiful. You always wanted the best for others, and I admired how our family love each other!!! Never had to worry about our kids loving each other cause you were on top of Dat!!!"
Whitfield would disclose that although he may not understand Smith's untimely passing, however, because he and their family are "God-fearing" people and "grounded by the spirit," they aren't questioning "the higher power" but rather rolling "with the punches," while holding on to their faith during this tragedy.
The Almost Christmas star went on to say that the pair's "strong" children will constantly be reminded of how great of a person Smith was, "especially a great mother."
Whitfield would wrap up the upload by mentioning how much he loved Smith and that, even though everyone is hurting right now, they would be okay because God covers them.
"The QUEEN of my children will always have a spot in my heart and the paradise (You gon get me for Dat but it's true). LOVE YOU FOREVER. Just know we going harder than ever, and GOD is in control, and he got us covered," he stated.
In light of Smith's death, xoNecole takes a look back at her relationship with Whitfield and the love they shared over the years.
DC Young Fly and Jacky Oh's Relationship History
Whitfield and Smith met in 2015 in a hotel lobby while working together at Wild 'N' Out.
At the time, Whitfield became a recurring cast member during the show's seventh season while Smith was one of the Wild 'N' Out girls. Whitfield and Smith would become an item shortly after the season seven taping of Wild 'N' Out wrapped.
In 2016, after dating for a year and a half, the couple welcomed their oldest daughter Nova. In addition to expanding their family, Smith and Whitfield would give fans a closer look into their lives through social media and the model's YouTube page, which instantly became a hit.
Smith and Whitfield would ultimately become couple goals because people enjoyed their honesty, interactions with each other, and their family life.
Jacky Oh On What Makes Her Relationship With DC Young Fly Work
In a 2017 interview with DJ Smallz Eyes, Smith shared that her relationship with Whitfield works reasonably well because they aren't afraid to have an open line of communication and are willing to address any situation head-on.
"I think communication, I know it sounds really cliche, but just communicate with each other. I think getting things off of your chest in a nice, calm way. You don't always have to be confrontational with the person. But letting a person know how you feel about something so they don't carry on doing it for the next three, four, five months, years later on down the line."
Smith added that another factor that plays a part in the couple's relationship being so successful is her selectively picking her battles and choosing to address the situation in a timely manner.
Jacky Oh On The Pair's Humble Beginnings As A Couple
In 2019, during a Q&A session on Smith's YouTube page, the couple opened up about their humble beginnings as they addressed the wild rumors that she was using Whitfield for financial reasons.
While responding to the remarks, Smith clarified that when she met Whitfield, he didn't have money "like that."
"He had no money. It's not like he didn't have any money because he was broke, but he didn't have no money like that," she said.
Following Smith's comments, Whitfield jumped in and said he was "up" $40,000 and still living with family members with the occasional "hotel" stays, to which she interjected and corrected the comedian by saying that the pair were staying at "motels" early on in their relationship.
"We didn't stay at hotels, get it right. We stayed at motels. Talking about hotels, hotels are nice," she stated. "We stayed at motels that the bed stunk... You know I really like love him. Like it was dirty."
Whitfield would add that although they stayed at motels several times, Smith "thugged it out" with him because she loved him. Smith also shared that due to Whitfield rarely being home due to his profession, the couple slept on his sister's couch and his niece's room.
But as Smith and Whitfield's careers took off respectively within the entertainment industry and the beauty world, with the star launching her eyelash and lip gloss brand J Nova Collection, they would ultimately settle down and purchase a home.
Years later, in addition to their professional success, Smith and Whitfield's family would expand even more following the birth of their second daughter Nala Whitfield in 2020 and their son Prince Whitfield last July.
Although it is reported that the couple never married after eight years together, their love seemed stronger than ever, especially following Smith's Mother's Day post back in May, which featured images of the couple and their family.
All of us at xoNecole would like to send our condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy. Rest In Peace, Ms. Jacky Oh!
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Feature image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images