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Your Marriage Needs These 6 Things. Now More Than Ever.

2020 is out here trying to wreck everything. These six things can protect your marriage.

Marriage

While it's not often that I'll write a marriage-related article that is specific to a particular year, after the ride that 2020 has been, I thought it was absolutely necessary to do so. One of the main reasons why is because, I can't tell you how many times I've read articles with headlines like, "US divorce rates skyrocket amid COVID-19 pandemic". The reasons why vary. Some folks aren't used to spending so much time, day after day, with their partner. Other couples are struggling because of the financial stress and strain that the pandemic has caused. Then there are those who are only looking to love to keep them together, when a marriage needs the manifestation of that love to look a lot different than romantic comedies or novels portray.

That's where today's article comes in. Marriage is beautiful. Marriage is beneficial. And, despite what the media may say, marriage is still relevant. But when you're being constantly tried and tested, like this year is relentlessly doing, it's important to know what things you may need to prioritize in your marriage—not just so it will last, but so it can remain really healthy too. You ready to read what makes my top six list?

1. Empathy

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2020 has been nothing short of a trip times one billion. Yet, out of all of the things that I've seen that has really caused me to pause, it has to be the lack of empathy that, let's be honest, masses of people have shown. Not wearing masks to protect others? Apathy. Acting like social justice is nothing more than an annoyingly passing trend? Apathy. Misusing Scripture to serve some twisted racist agenda? Apathy. Shoot, overlooking the needs of others when they know that they can do something to help them out? APATHY. Hmph. And don't even get me started on my sessions with couples. While I do most certainly agree with the late Ruth Bell Graham when she once said, "A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers" (single folks, if you are a grudge holder, stay single. You're not a realistic candidate for marriage if you're not good at forgiving others. Marriage requires A LOT of it. Just ask a married person), something that I think doesn't get nearly enough of a "marriage shout-out" is empathy.

An empathetic person is a really dope individual, to me. The reason why I say that is because, they go beyond merely feeling bad for someone (like a sympathetic person tends to do); they actually are intentional about trying to identify with someone's thoughts and feelings.

Some signs that someone is empathetic? They care deeply about others. They are very proactive about solving problems (because they loathe conflict). Their intuition is pretty on point. No pun intended but, for better or for worse, they are very sensitive. And they listen in order to really and truly understand what is going on.

If you really let all of those traits sink in, I'm pretty sure you can get why I said that husbands and wives need buckets and buckets of empathy in order to make their marriage, not just "work", but last and thrive. That's why, in a year that is filled with so much loss, mayhem and even confusion, I wholeheartedly believe that if there's one way to keep a marriage intact, it's when both individuals are committed to being empathetic towards one another. Not just when they "feel" like it—consistently so.

2. Intimacy

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I once read a quote that said, "Intimacy is not who you let touch you. Intimacy is who you let text you at 3am about your dreams and fears. Intimacy is giving someone your attention, when 10 other people are asking for it. Intimacy is about the person who is always in the back of your mind, no matter how distracted you are." OK, let me just say that, while I dig this quote, I TOTALLY disagree with the first line. Well, let me actually put it this way—if a word was added to it, I'd be down with it. "Intimacy is not JUST about who you let touch you." I've written way too many articles on marriage and sex (check out "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important", "8 'Kinds of Sex' All Married Couples Should Put Into Rotation", "10 Married Couples Share The Keys To Their Totally Off-The-Chain Sex Life", "7 Things Married Couples Do To Damage Their Sex Lives & Don't Even Know It", "10 Simple Ways Married Couples Can Make More Time For Sex", "What 5 Men Had To Say About Married Sex" and "Bible Verses That Remind Married Couples To Explore Their Erotic Sides"…for starters) to act like physical intimacy, including sex, shouldn't be a very top priority in a marital union. Because, after all, who else are you having sex with if you've got a spouse? (A layered question, I know but y'all get my point.)

However, the reason why this particular point isn't a shout-out to just sex alone is because, what I adore about the quote, is it defines intimacy as putting your partner on the very top of your favorite person and to-do list, on a daily basis. It speaks to the fact that, no matter what else may be going on, when your spouse hits you up, has a need, seems disconnected in some way—everything else needs to be put on pause until they are addressed. This kind of intimacy speaks to your spouse being your bestie. This kind of intimacy speaks to cultivating quality time. This kind of intimacy speaks to them feeling safe, comforted and reassured whenever they are in your presence. When two people are truly intimate with one another, especially when the outside world is so disheveled and uncertain, it brings a true peace that passes all understanding into the relational dynamic. An intimate couple is pretty close to unshakable. That's why intimacy—both physical and emotional—is oh so very important; especially in times like these.

3. Humor

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I like me a (super) tall, dark and handsome man, just as much as the next sistah. Yet two things that have always been equal turn-ons is intellect (whew, a smart man is sexy AF) and humor—matter of fact, for me, it's more like wit because wit is brilliance with a sense of humor. A funny man can make you smile. A funny man can get your mind off of whatever is stressing you out. A funny man tends to see the silver linings in things. All of that is needed in a marriage, don't you think?

Matter of fact, there is a particular married couple I know who struggles quite a bit. I've observed them enough to know that a huge part of their problem is the husband is hilarious while the wife is a killjoy in basically every sense of the word. There is a substantial age difference between the two (she's older) and so, the things that he finds to be really funny, she patronizes him over (kind of like how Stella was in the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back). When there are trying times and he tries to shed some light on it with humor, she chalks it up to him not caring. The entertainment that he finds fun and funny, she berates him over. Who wants to live like that?

An indie Black film that I find really cute (partly because Jason Weaver is in it and I've pretty much always been a fan of his, plus I have a bit of a girl crush on Caryn Ward) is He's Mine Not Yours. In the movie, Gabrielle Dennis plays his girlfriend while Carl Payne plays his bestie. When Gabrielle's character realizes that she's at risk of losing her man, Carl Payne's character tells her to "lighten the hell up". AMEN. There are plenty of medical studies which support the fact that humor helps to relieve stress. Not only that but it helps to combat feelings of fear and anxiety and even reduces the physical feelings of pain while boosting one's immune system.

While you can't control all of the mayhem that might be happening right outside of your front door, what you can do is control the energy inside of your own home. Watch some comedies together. Tell— and listen to—some jokes. Avoid always having to have "deep and serious" conversations all the damn time. Like Carl Payne's character said, LIGHTEN UP. Humor is not only a beautiful trait in a relationship, in many ways, it can be a real lifesaver. Again, there is plenty of science to prove it.

4. Spirituality

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While I don't have any social media accounts, sometimes I will tiptoe in to see what people are talking about. I think it was on xoNecole's Instagram where someone gave me a compliment that really made me smile. In reference to an article that I wrote earlier this year entitled, "7 Signs You're Spiritually Compatible With Someone", someone said (paraphrased), "I'm not a religious person and I thought this was gonna be really preachy, but it was actually great."

Do I think that God should be a part of every marriage? I am a Bible follower, so yes, I do. Genesis 2, Ephesians 5 and I Corinthians 11:1-16 are just three places in the Word that speak to that very fact. However, even if you're not "big on the Bible" or religion (of any kind because hopefully we all know there is more than Christianity out here), reportedly 87 percent of Americans still believe in God—a higher power who controls things that we simply cannot. The reason why this mindset is so vital in a marriage is because there are gonna be days, weeks, seasons even, when your marriage is gonna try and test you like nothing else. During those moments, if you're solely relying on yourself and/or your partner, at the very least, you're gonna end up being severely disappointed because you're human (which makes you flawed) and your partner is human (which also makes them flawed). If you add to that the fact that, even when both of you strive to do your best, there are still gonna be time when you both are going to miss the mark—there has to be room made for spirituality. Mediation (including orgasmic meditation). Prayer. Devotional time together. Spending time in nature. Both of you mutually deciding to release what is putting pressure onto the relationship, so that you both can put your trust and faith in God.

2020 has thrown us some real doozies and the year ain't over yet. Take some pressure off of yourself, as well as your spouse, by letting spirituality remind you that all you can do is what you can do. A higher power has to take over after that.

5. Accountability

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Man, if any year has revealed the true colors and tendencies of folks, 2020 would have to be it. And when you learn how some folks really are vs. how you thought that they were, the disappointment—if not flat-out shock—can shake you to your very core. If you're not careful, it can also cause you to question if you can truly trust anyone; including—and perhaps especially—your spouse. That's why, when it comes to the list of what marriages need more than ever, I thought it was imperative to put accountability on the list.

Accountability is simply about giving an account for what you say and do. While, in the marriage context, it's certainly not about your partner feeling like they should police or parent you, they should definitely feel like they can ask questions and you will give an honest answer, that you will do what you say you are going to do and, that you both can fully rely on one another to celebrate each other's strengths and challenge areas of weakness so that your characters can become better and your relationship can ultimately thrive.

I've shared before that I've got an ex-boyfriend who used to say that marriage should be a sanctuary, a place of refuge—and I totally agree. A part of what comes with feeling safe within a marital union is knowing that, not only does your partner totally have your back, but they are your biggest fan in the sense that they want to see you become your best self—and so, they will hold you totally accountable so that you can be just that. In a world that is currently filled with so much disingenuousness, while accountability doesn't get a lot of credit, it really is a blessing to know there is someone who wants you to be…a wonderful you. Other than yourself, your spouse should be that person. Without question.

6. Endurance

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If you've been reading my stuff long enough, you know that, while I am not even remotely the "average kind of Christian" when it comes to how I see things and move about (check out "What's The Difference Between Being 'Religious' And Being 'Spiritual', Anyway?"), something that I am a HUGE fan of is the Bible. That's why, whenever I go to a wedding and a couple is looking all googly-eyed at each other as they recite the Love Chapter (I Corinthians 13:4-8), there are usually two things that come to my mind. One, love says NOTHING about being happy all of the time; still, a leading reason for why a lot of couples end their marriage is because "they're not happy anymore" (we'll have to really unpack that on another day). And two, when they state that love is patient and love endures, I always wonder if they looked those words up, just to make sure that they really mean what they are saying. Hear me when I say that neither of those words are for the weak. Not by a country mile.

I've actually broken down the word "patience" on this site quite a bit. A patient person isn't just someone who knows how to wait; they are also an individual who "bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like". According to the Good Book, LOVE IS PATIENT, so if you don't know how to deal with hardship, pain or even annoyances without remaining calm, not complaining (that's a big one) or not popping off all the time—are you as "in love" as you think? (Ouch and amen, right?)

As far as endurance goes, it's a "big boy and big girl word" too. Endurance means "the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions". Another way to look at this is, someone who endures has stamina and, according to the Bible, love "…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (I Corinthians 13:7-8—NKJV) Does this mean that you're called to endure abuse? Absolutely not. Yet I'll tell you this. In my over a decade of counseling couples, when physical abuse has come into play, it's actually been the wives hitting on their husbands (also another topic for another time) and when it came to affairs, those happened in both directions. Other than that, couples have wanted to end things for a lot less than abuse or affairs. It's been because they are bored, they feel like they've outgrown their partner (or felt like they chose the wrong one) or marriage simply wasn't what they thought it was going to be. In those cases, sometimes the word "endurance" needs to be brought into the equation more than it usually is.

No one said that marriage was easy. Sometimes, it's going to try you like nothing else ever could. Yet when you make the choice to endure because you love your partner, you adore your relationship and you know that seasons come and go—that kind of strength is what matures you, what benefits you and what equips you to handle things like this year in a way that you wouldn't be able to otherwise.

2020 has been something. It continues to be. But I really do believe, with everything in me, that if you and your spouse put these six things into daily—shoot, sometimes hourly—practice, your marriage will make it to 2021…and beyond. Hold each other close, OK? Your partner needs you. You need them too.

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Every day, Black women elevate the world. We are trendsetters and visionaries; the shapeshifters that lead by virtue of presence alone. In a world that sells our identities for consumption, we remind everyone that joy is our birthright and the grace we carry will always be authentic. Our existence is not a social experiment but a crafted emblem of perfection. And for that, we deserve everything good this world has to offer.

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Mj Rodriguez has been giving us all of our lives since she emerged on our screens as the ever-so-fabbbulous Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in Pose, in 2018. Since, she has captured the hearts of many all over the world, from LGBTQ advocates, to everyone in between. The beloved series officially came to a heart-wrenching end, after three seasons of tackling homelessness, sex work, the rejection that the trans community deals with on a daily basis and combined it with heart and dance to captivate millions around the world weekly.

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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping

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Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking

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If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails

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If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms

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If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness

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Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss

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One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness

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OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings

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Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

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I can honestly say that I haven't used Cantu since I went natural back in 2016. It's not that I don't like the brand — let's be honest, Cantu is the holy grail brand that a lot of us probably started our natural hair journey with. It was and still is affordable, accessible, and effective haircare. I somewhat strayed away though because it's very easy to get caught up in trying different brands that some products honestly just get lost in the sea of haircare. Nevertheless, Cantu has dropped a few collections that I couldn't help but try. One of their most recent drops is the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line which works for all hair types but is made with 4C hair in mind.

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Born between December 22nd and January 19th, these Saturnians are notorious for being pragmatic workaholics who are constantly striving to reach the peak of their proverbial mountain of acclaim and success. Ruler of the 10th house, Capricorn is no stranger to grind as they are internally driven by their duty to fulfill their obligations.

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