I began my journey toward finding my peace after moving out of my parents' house about five years ago. After living in the chaos of having undergrad and grad school roommates, then back to a house with my parents and older brother — and having to write my name on my groceries — I was ready to venture off to a new place of solitude and quiet peace. I wanted to own and enjoy this transition.
I learned early on, that while a place can affect peace, perspective is one of its largest contributors.
With that revelation, I began the self-work necessary for cultivating peace. I unlearned and unpacked baggage I'd been carrying for years. I started rejecting the negative ways I associated myself in this world. I started looking at my life with a positive lens and I started becoming the love I wanted to see in the world. It took a lot of work, but I arrived. And with that, I recognized that arriving is half the battle — the other half is maintaining it.
With all the tragedy, hate, and insecurity looming in the world, it's critical to constantly assess and adjust our perspective, to ensure that we're manifesting the peace we so rightly deserve. Chaos will happen, but how we respond to it is what enhances, or threatens, our peace. Below are a few practical ways to protect the peace you've worked hard to achieve.
Social Media Cleanse.
There are countless articles and Twitter threads dedicated to the ways a social media hiatus has improved the quality and peace of one's life; I can personally attest to this. One of the most prominent disruptions of our peace is the internal conflict between what we think we want, and what we truly want.
GG Renee said it best, "If you're not careful to check your ego and the message that can sneak into your head, you can get out of alignment with yourself, chasing an image or a lifestyle that's not really you, envying opportunities that you don't even want."
To rid ourselves of this internal battle, we must step away from the external sources, and connect back to ourselves. Taking a break from social media allows us to do that. It gives us a moment to silence society's voice and get in tune with our own. It also allows us to take a break from the constant comparison, insecurity, and frankly, nosiness of trying to stay in the know of what's going on around us.
Purge your Home.
Sometimes too much abundance can be overwhelming. To clear your mind, it's important to clear your home. Purging, reorganizing, and removing clutter allows you to create a more functional home where everything has its place and its purpose. It also eliminates the physical chaos that often turns into mental chaos.
Organize your closet in a way that excites you to choose an outfit. Decorate your living room in a way that affords you structure and clarity – not clutter. Create a home environment where everything in your space brings you joy – not because you have stuff, but because that stuff is meaningful, beautiful, and functional. You spend most of your time at home, it ought to be a space that ushers in good vibes, happiness, and love. For help mastering your purge – because let's be honest, letting things go can be difficult – reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a great place to start.
Release Toxic Energies.
Misery loves company, and the easiest way to disrupt your peace is to allow someone in your space whose energy, aura, or intentions, are not aligned with yours. Release people who breed negativity. Stop tending to places that cause you to revisit traumas. Let go of things that threaten your joy. And don't feel bad about doing so; remember, when you're at your best, you can be more present for the people, places, and things that make you happiest. Releasing energies that threaten your peace is critical to maintaining your peace.
Find a Quiet Space.
Sometimes noise is the culprit. When chaos erupts in your life, sometimes just the sound of something can set you off. I've been in mental roadblocks where just the sound of the television would send me up a wall. I've learned that when those moments occur, it's my spirit's cry for attention. Recognizing this has taught me the importance of silencing that noise and allowing myself time to think through what may be going on around me. Maybe there's an internal dilemma that I need to think through. A thought I must get out. Or an emotional response I need to express.
Regardless of what that moment may be for you, it's hard to think through issues without the silent space required for doing so. Give yourself some time to shut down the noise, sit in silence, and reflect.
Focus on What's Important.
When life gets away from you, it's important to remember what's most important to you. Whether it's family, friends, a fulfilling career, or a thriving social life, re-centering yourself on what's important will help remind you of what this entire journey is for. Sometimes understanding that the chaos has a purpose is enough to set your perspective back toward peace.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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- How To Find Balance When Your Life Is A Tightrope - xoNecole ›
- 5 Daily Steps To Protect Your Peace - xoNecole: Lifestyle, Culture, Love, & Wellness ›
Zoe Hunter is the writer, speaker, and creator behind the women empowerment brand DEAR QUEENS. She uses vulnerability, storytelling, and spiritual development to empower women toward healthy decision-making. Stay connected to Zoe's work by visiting DEARQUEENS.com or following her on Twitter @zDEARQUEENS.
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.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood