If there’s one thing that I’m gonna do, it’s look up some stats. And when it comes to New Year’s Eve and how folks choose to celebrate it, I recently read that around 92 percent of Americans celebrate it, 70 percent at least make plans to stay up well past midnight, 54 percent drink (alcohol) and surprisingly, only 1 in 5 people actually go out to someplace like a bar or club. The reason why I’m sharing all of this (especially that last part) is if there’s a part of you that’s on the fence about staying at home and ringing in the new year by yourself because you secretly wonder if that’s wack or not…it’s not.
Aside from the fact that COVID is still lurking around, there is something about making the decision to stay in to pause, ponder, reflect as you welcome in a new season solo that is surprisingly…refreshing. Just make sure that you take things up a notch from sitting in some ratty old sleepwear, ordering a pizza and watching the rom-com that you’ve already seen a billion times before. Nah, if you’re gonna do New Year’s Eve right, try incorporating at least a handful of these 15 recommendations below.
1. Buy a Blank 2022 Calendar
I’ve shared before that something a husband I know did that I thought was super romantic was he gifted his wife with a calendar that already had dates planned, for the entire year, throughout it (ain’t nothin’ like a man who loves with proactiveness and intention, y’all!). I’ve actually adapted that and “remixed” it a bit. Something that I try and do is plan out things for me to do, for/with myself, on a calendar.
For you, it could be a class that you want to take, a road trip that you want to go on, a concert that you want to see — the list is endless. The point here is to not go into a new year with a “ho-hum” attitude; instead, approach it with excitement about all of the things that you want to do with yourself…for yourself. Things that are already scheduled out on your own 2022 calendar.
2. Get Some Comfy PJs
I’m assuming that a big part of the reason why you are opting to stay in this New Year’s Eve is because you want to take the low-key approach. So, why not get as comfortable as possible? At the same time, a new year should bring new things, so treat yourself to a pair of new pajamas or a really cute onesie. Just because you’re gonna be home, that doesn’t mean that you have to be looking a hot ass mess or that you shouldn’t want to embrace the evening as being special and significant — in your own special way.
3. Update Your Bedding
Personally, I think one of the best things about being home on New Year’s Eve when you’re single (with no kids) is you can go to bed as early as you want and then turn around and sleep in for as long as you want the following day. For me, my bed is already like Six Flags the remix; the only thing that makes it even better is when I change my bedding or when I get some new sheets.
No time like the present to ring in the new year with some flannel ones that will keep you extra toasty or bedding in a color that represents the energy that you want to vibe on for the next several months (check out “Understanding Color Psychology Will Sharpen Your Lens On Life”). What are you waiting for?
4. Partake in Some Patchouli Aromatherapy
I don’t know too many people who don’t strive to be centered and grounded individuals. Well, guess what essential oil actually taps into those very things? Yep, patchouli. It’s also great at soothing dry skin, relieving headaches, decreasing depression and anxiety, reducing cold-related symptoms, and relaxing you. So, whether you decide to mix it with a carrier oil and apply it to your body, sprinkle some on those new sheets that you’re about to buy, or put it into an infuser, the sweetly musky scent of this particular oil can help your health and well-being on a myriad of levels.
5. Write Yourself a “Year in Review” Letter. For the Future.
When you get a chance, also check out “Every Woman Should Write A Love Letter To Themselves”. Something that I think all of us should do, married or not, at least once in our lifetime, is handwrite a love letter — yes, to our own selves. The main reason why is because a lot of us keep feeling slighted by others not giving us the love that we think we deserve when we’re actually being pretty hypocritical for not doing it our damn selves.
Well, along these same lines, a year in review is something that I came up with once upon a time. It’s basically like writing a letter of intent when it comes to how you want the upcoming year to go. In other words, write the letter with the plan of reading it on New Year’s Eve 2022. In it, share all of the great things that you’ve accomplished and how you’ve learned to treat yourself better. This is helpful because one, it will hold you accountable throughout the year when it comes to what you wrote, and two, it can be a lot of fun to see the differences that 12 months can make as it relates to who the person of 2021 was when she wrote it vs. who the person of 2022 is who is actually reading it. Just make sure to put it somewhere you’ll remember to get it from when the time comes.
6. Design a Memories Jar
Along these same lines, go to someplace like Walmart, Target, or a local arts and crafts store and get yourself a mason jar along with some colored construction paper. Then cut the paper into thin strips for the purpose of writing different favorite moments and memories in 2022 that you can put into the jar. The cool thing about this kind of project is it can remind you to get excited about what’s to come. Plus, you can put the pieces into a balloon, come next NYE, pop it at midnight, and read about how great your year actually was!
7. Burn, Baby, BURN
Listen, something that I am all about, a billion times over, is a burning ceremony. Several years ago, someone and I held one in the parking lot of their apartment complex and it was absolutely bomb. We wrote down mistakes that we wanted to stop feeling bad about, relationships we wanted to let go of, habits that we wanted to break, and people we needed to forgive and/or release, then we set them on fire and let the pieces of paper turn into ashes.
While it’s merely a symbolic gesture, there’s something about watching those things go up in flames that is super freeing. (If it’s too cold to go outside to do this, you can always burn the pieces in your kitchen sink.)
8. Watch Teleparty with a Couple of Friends
If you want to spend most of your time alone but you know that you’ve got a couple of other friends who are celebrating NYE by themselves as well, it could be fun to take out a couple of hours to watch a movie with them virtually. One way to do that is to download the Teleparty app (go here). It makes it so much easier for everyone to watch the same programs and movies on Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
9. Order Yourself a “2022” Gift
Yes, you need to be financially responsible. At the same time, you also need to celebrate yourself. So, with the extra coins that you saved by opting out of turning up this NYE, hop on one of your favorite sites and order something online. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Just make sure that, whatever it is, if there is an option to get it as a gift with a note attached, make sure to say “Happy 2022” with your name on it. It’s a token that will remind you to remain in the spirit of appreciating and honoring yourself all year long.
10. Have Your Favorite Meal Delivered to You
You’re probably gonna be hard-pressed to find a ton of eating options after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Still, who wants to cook (or do any clean-up from cooking) on that night? That said, this is just a gentle nudge to make sure to order something on 12/30 and warm it up the next day or to order food for NYE early in the day so that you can have it before the world shuts down. Me? I’m good for some lamb chops and nothing makes me happier than having them delivered to me from one of my favorite restaurants and then eating them at home while binging A Different World for the billionth time — New Year’s Eve or not.
11. Eat Something Green
Personally, I’m a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) observer which means that “my” new year has long come and gone. For those who are all about 12/31, though, a tradition from that culture that you can easily apply to your own is to eat foods that are green. The intent is, since green symbolizes things like fertility, prosperity, health, harmony, nature, growth, and wealth, why not “take in” that kind of energy via foods that are that very hue?
The lead pic is fried zucchini (recipe here). Some other green foods that fit the criteria include dark leafy greens, avocados, asparagus, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, Granny Smith apples, and Thompson seedless grapes (frozen grapes that come with a fruit dip are absolutely delicious!).
12. Consider a Going on a Virtual Tour (or to a Virtual Party)
Technology is a trip, ain’t it? If you’re not in the mood to watch a movie or listen to some music, something else that you can do is take a virtual tour. These days, there are sites that will help you to gain access to famous museums, zoos, and aquariums, international spots — you name it. As far as virtual NYE parties go, Time Out featured an article last year with some. Perhaps check back there the week of 12/31 to see if they’ve updated their list.
13. Soak in the Tub
Soaking in the tub can do everything from soothing aching muscles and reducing anxiety to balancing your hormones and improving your quality of sleep. And if ever there was a night that had “tub soak” written all over it, it’s New Year’s Eve. In fact, it’s one night when you can stay in there for literally as long as you want. Although National Bathtub Party Day happened at the top of this month, if you check out “Make 'National Bathtub Party Day' Your Favorite Day Of The Year”, you can get some tips on how to enjoy yourself so much that you might not even notice (or care) when the clock actually strikes midnight.
14. Toast Yourself
Lawd. How many times have I recommended toasting yourself within the copy for this site? That’s because it’s something that I do on a regular basis as a way to remind myself that I am truly worth celebrating! Listen, there are going to be champagne flutes clanking all over this planet at the stroke of midnight. Just because you’re at home, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get in on the fun.
Whether it’s champagne or you decide to go a little off-script and have something like a chocolate martini; Boulevardier, Cider Sidecar; Vanilla Plum Shrub; Champagne Shirley Temple; New Year’s Sparkler; or something else that’s equally as festive, definitely make yourself a drink and verbally declare what needs to be affirmed about yourself. After surviving a year like 2021…chile, you’ve most definitely earned it.
15. Stay Off of Social Media and Your Phone
If a part of the reason why you’re staying home is to enjoy some peace and quiet, what sense does it make to be online all night looking at other people partying, kissing their boo, and getting engaged, only to get your emotions all stirred up? Sometimes, we send ourselves through stress (or triggers) that can easily be avoided by unplugging from mediums of communication with other people. Shoot, even when it comes to the phone if you know that your mom is going to call you to talk about how sad she thinks it is that you are going to be alone for NYE or a friend is going to do nothing but want you to be their impromptu therapist for the evening — it really is OK to let folks know beforehand that for NYE and New Year’s Day, you are going to go totally off of the grid, that you are fine and that things will resume on 12/2.
It’s OK to really want to devote NYE totally to yourself — as a way to release the past and prepare, in your own way, for the present. Happy (Almost) New Year, sis!
Featured image on Getty Images
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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