We're right around the corner from Christmas, and there are so many emotions brewing.
Some of us are frantically preparing for holiday parties and last-minute shopping for gifts. Others are in a mental state of bliss that's heightened with each Christmas song and ugly sweater we encounter. Yet others of us are battling through conflicting feelings about the holiday season due to the loss of loved ones or other traumatic experiences that've put a damper on the Christmas spirit.
Either way, each of us deserves to remember ourselves during this time of giving by indulging in self-care. As such, xoNecole encourages you to take part in our 12 days of Christmas Self-Care Challenge as the ultimate gift to yourself. Each day, participate in the designated activity below. Feel free to bookmark this page as a guide, it's our way of making spirits bright.
12 Days Of Christmas Self-Care Challenge
Day 11: Take A Personal Day & Do Nothing
Decide to stay in for a day in the middle of the work-week. While you are home, don't lift a finger. Simply allow yourself to be.
Featured imaeg by Getty Images
Kandice Guice is a lifestyle and beauty writer who doubles as an attorney and entrepreneur. She prides herself on helping multidimensional women discover personal and professional fulfillment by encouraging them to live with ambition, sass, and a whole lot of pizzazz. When Kandice isn't closing corporate transactions or writing blog posts, she is usually cheering on her husband as a football coach or looking for new travel adventures with friends and family. Check her out at kandiceguice.com and follow her on all things social @kandiceguice.
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.
Known for her viral artwork that illuminates the beauty and joy of women of color, her new partnership with Schick Intuition Sensitive Care razor for Hispanic Heritage Month beautifully reflects her signature artistic vision, drawing inspiration from the vibrant tapestry of Latinx culture, which runs true throughout its limited-edition design.
Growing up with a father who transitioned from being a professional baseball player to a full-time artist was a path that influenced Reyna to follow her passions fully. “Early on, that ingrained in me that it is possible to have a fruitful career in whatever your passions are,” she tells xoNecole. “That helped to keep me brave enough to take a chance on myself as I got older and gave me the audacity to believe that everything I love, I incorporated into my artwork, whether it's fashion, whether it's travel, beautiful women.”
Her signature style, which blends colors like orange, teal, and pink, creates the perfect backdrops to center the brown and deep bronzed women that are featured in her art pieces. Although the women in her designs tend to be faceless in an effort to allow women to “see themselves in the artwork,” the source of her musing is an intentional display of Afro-Caribbean heritage that pays homage to the rich and soulful Latin culture.
Courtesy of Schick Intuition
“My work is all about uplifting women, making them feel beautiful, and encouraging them to take up space,” she says. “Knowing that I was going to be able to put those figures on the razor and for it to be an unapologetic celebration of femininity and of my culture made it a very easy fit.”
"My work is all about uplifting women, making them feel beautiful, and encouraging them to take up space."
The initial inspiration for the Sensitive Care razor design came from her desire to create abstract representations of the art of shaving. What she envisioned was drawing little figures of a woman gently brushing herself with a flower, symbolizing the idea that women need self-care and nurturing to flourish, much like tending to flowers.
Courtesy of Schick Intuition
“It’s a sign of how gentle the act of shaving can be and how women, like flowers, have to water ourselves, we have to put ourselves in the right environment and give ourselves the love and attention we need in order for us to bloom,” she explains.
As an artist who juggles many projects at a time, Reyna knows a thing or two about creating space for moments of self-care. To combat creative block and maintain a consistent source of inspiration, Reyna shared the importance of watering yourself first and setting aside time for self-care rituals to ensure that self-care remains a priority.
“I’ve learned that I have to water myself so that I have inspiration continuously,” she says. “Not getting too caught up in the day-to-day aspects of work and creating that I forget about myself has been integral. It's those little intentional actions of setting aside some time to make yourself feel good and make yourself feel beautiful to build into my routine so that I'm always feeling good about myself. From there, all the goodness inside of me is projected out into my work and to the people that I'm impacting.”
"I've learned that I have to water myself so that I have inspiration continuously. It's those little intentional actions of setting aside some time to make yourself feel good and make yourself feel beautiful to build into my routine so that I'm always feeling good about myself."
Courtesy of Schick Intuition
As someone who had successfully transitioned from being a high school art teacher to becoming a full-time artist, Reyna has seen a significant shift in her life from betting on herself and taking a leap of faith to pursue her creative endeavors. A step that she says is marked by self-discovery and self-belief. “There's a lot of internal work that I had to do to be able to believe in myself, take up space authentically, and navigate the uncertainties of being like a freelance artist,” she shares.
"There's a lot of internal work that I had to do to be able to believe in myself, take up space authentically, and navigate the uncertainties of being like a freelance artist."
“Quieting the noise of anything that goes against the vision that I had for myself and anything that goes against filling me up with the confidence to keep going, because there are so many routes you can take to be a full-time artist,” she continues. “But where you have to navigate an industry and make a name for yourself, it takes a lot of work and a lot of confidence. And those are those things that you have to really dig deep for in order to form and solidify yourself.”
Courtesy of Schick Intuition
This process involved understanding one's identity, the factors that shaped them, and surrounding oneself with inspiring individuals who had successfully pursued similar paths. It also involved silencing any negativity or doubt that contradicted one's vision and goals.
For aspiring artists, especially those aiming to create meaningful representations, the advice is to embrace and share their unique stories and perspectives. Recognize the value in your cultural background and personal experiences, and start by identifying the unique story you want to convey and the community you wish to connect with.
“We want to hear your story,” she says, “There’s a certain way that we can each say and show things that are very unique to us. They're unique to our culture and our experiences — start there.”
“Figure out what is the unique story you want to tell and the community that you’re talking to. And just keep making art: keep trying things and fall in love with the process, not the destination. The good things will come, so just fall in love with the process.”
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