Y'all. Y'ALL. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to get a humidifier (which is basically an electronic device that helps to put humidity into the air). The main reason why is because I read an article that said that COVID thrives in low humidity. I'll get into that in a second, though. Anyway, what I thought was going to be a quick trip up the street ended up being a day-long endeavor because I had to go to four different stores and all of them had inventory issues. Most said it was because of the labor shortage that's been happening all over the country.
So, before I get into the reasons why investing in a humidifier is quite possibly one of the smartest things that you can do this fall season, let me first say that there are plenty of articles out in cyberspace (like this one, this one and this one) that are warning that between labor issues, supply chain drama and yes, inventory nightmares, it would be best to purchase as much as you can as soon as you can. That way, once the holiday season does roll around, you can be cozied up in your house rather than frantically out in stores. Feel me?
That said, here are 10 reasons why I am sleeping better than ever (and I typically sleep pretty well), now that I have a humidifier running every night.
1. Moisturizes Your Skin
Something that I make sure I do before turning in every night is I put some rosemary oil on my face (and neck) and some shea butter on my lips. However, it never fails that while my skin ends up fairing pretty well, oftentimes my lips will be slightly chapped come morning. This hasn't been the case since I've been using my humidifier, though.
One reason why getting a humidifier for this time of year is such a good idea is, the colder it gets, the more we tend to rely on central heat. And the more central heat blows, the more the humidity level drops within the rooms of our house (oftentimes around 20-30 percent). That produces dry air that can wreak total havoc on our skin.
So, if you know that you naturally battle with dry skin anyway, first read "If Your Skin Stays Dry, No Matter What, Check This Out". Next, strongly consider purchasing a humidifier. Trust me, your skin (and lips) will totally thank you for it!
2. Conditions Your Hair
If your skin can get zapped of the moisture that it needs, you definitely know that your hair can be too, right? And here's the thing — when it's cold outside, that can cause your hair cuticles to lift and that can result in your hair becoming brittle which can ultimately lead to breakage. So, if you want to gain as many inches as possible between now and the spring season, having a humidifier can certainly help; especially if you're prone to not tying up your hair with a silk scarf or satin bonnet and/or you don't sleep on a satin pillowcase (hopefully, you do, though).
3. Soothes Headaches
Are you someone who suffers from headaches or even migraines? This is just one more reason why a humidifier could totally change your life for the better. Oftentimes, what causes this kind of discomfort is, when you're taking in dry air, that can dry out your mucus membranes. When that happens, they can end up becoming irritated and inflamed which can lead to painful head pressure. This reminds me — when you're looking at all of the humidifier options that are available, you might wonder if a cool mist or warm mist one is best.
While I personally prefer cool mist ones (they're more energy efficient, plus I like sleeping in a cooler space), you might wanna go the warm route, simply because it heats up the water, is able to kill more bacteria, can ease head pressure quicker and can help to warm up your room during the fall and winter seasons. If you do go with "B", just make sure to keep it away from young children or pets. Some humidifiers boil the water which could end up harming little ones and animals that don't know to stay away.
4. Clears Sinuses
It's not uncommon for people to have more bloody noses and/or sinus headaches around this time of year, especially if that's something that they experience from time to time anyway. A humidifier can assist with this as well because not only does extra humidity help to soothe your sinuses passages and reduce bloody noses (which typically happens as the result of overexposure to dry air), it can also help to clear up congestion. And the less pressure you feel, the easier it will be to breathe in the day and sleep at night.
5. Protects Your Throat
If your nasal passages and sinuses require moisture, it would make sense that your throat would too, right? Plus, if there's bacteria that's in your bedroom, a humidifier could help to keep it under control, so that your sore throat doesn't get worse over time.
A cool hack as far as this is concerned is to get a humidifier that also works as an essential oil diffuser. That way, you can put some oils into the humidifier that help to ease a sore throat. Some of those include the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of lavender; the antibacterial compounds of peppermint; the antioxidant properties of bitter orange; the antimicrobial of lemon and the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger.
6. Eases Cold and Flu Symptoms
It does need to go on record that if you happen to have asthma or really bad allergies, you should probably speak with your doctor before getting a humidifier. The reason why is because sometimes higher humidity levels can trigger symptoms associated with either issue. Still, if you're trying to get a leg up on the cold and flu season, a humidifier can certainly help you out. I actually checked out a study that said low humidity levels can actually help the viruses that cause colds and the flu to not only thrive but last longer.
This means that, say you share your bed with someone and they've got a cold or they're coming down with the flu. Keeping a humidifier close by can actually reduce your chances of getting sick because in high humidity, viruses have a harder chance to survive. This actually brings me to another super valid point.
7. Fights Against the COVID Virus
Since so many folks out here don't wanna wear masks (lawd), one of the main reasons why I thought it was essential to get a humidifier this year is because I read several articles about how COVID also really enjoys low humidity. So, when you factor in central heat and then add to it stuff like lots of cooking and maybe even a fireplace — whew! It's like a customized party for COVID. So, whether you're vaccinated or not, out of all of the reasons on here to have a humidifier in your home, please take this one to heart. If you're wondering which humidifiers would be best for achieving this particular goal, there's a pretty thorough list that you can check out here.
8. Lubricates Your Vocal Cords
If you or someone who you know happens to sing, host a podcast or do something else that requires a constant use of vocal cords, you might want to gift yourself or them with a humidifier this year.
9. Helps to Prevent Snoring
So, here's the thing about snoring. Being overweight (because it leads to extra tissue in the back of the throat), consuming alcohol (because it relaxes throat muscles), nasal congestion and even sleeping on your back (because it narrows your airways) are all things that can trigger a snore fest. And while dry air isn't another cause, there is no way around the fact that it can certainly make the sound of snoring a heck of a lot worse.
Not only that but since dry air usually has allergens floating around, the extra humidity in your bedroom that comes from a humidifier can keep allergens on the floor, so that they don't irritate your nose which could cause you to open your mouth to breathe easier which could also lead to more or louder snoring (funny how all of that works, huh?).
10. Improves Your Quality of Sleep
It's been reported that a whopping 50-70 million Americans have some sort of sleep issue. And y'all, that ain't good. If you happen to be one of them, a humidifier can assist with this too. Less snoring aside, sleeping with a higher level of humidity oftentimes makes your bedroom feel more comfortable which makes your body feel more comfortable which makes it easier for you to fall and stay asleep.
The Potential Disadvantages of Using a Humidifier
So, with all of the praise that I've just given these bad boys, do humidifiers come with any challenges? Good question. All a humidifier does is turn the water inside of it into mist; this means that if the water is dirty, you're taking that in. That's why you need to clean your humidifier, just the way the manufacturer recommends and, if it comes with a filter, you should change it regularly.
Another point to consider is too much of a good thing could backfire, humidity included. When you've got too much humidity around you, that can lead to mold or mildew (which is why they shouldn't be blowing directly on your walls or sitting on the carpet without something underneath).
Also, unfiltered water tends to have minerals that might be too much for your system if you're constantly breathing them in. So, filling up your humidifier with a faucet that has a filter on it, boiling the water first or using distilled water is probably best. But if you keep all of this in mind, I don't know how you could regret investing in a humidifier. I know I don't. Not one freakin' bit.
Featured image by Getty Images
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. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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Featured image by Justin Lambert/Getty Images