I’m a super busy thirty-something-year-old mom who homeschools, blogs, acts, teaches English, cooks 2 to 3 meals a day, and more, I have to make sure my day starts with things I know that will keep me fresh, awake, and going strong. So, I have a minimum of 4 mood and energy boosting tools I use to start my day.
Since two out of my many jobs involve me being in front of the camera, I have to use products that will help me look and feel my best. That means having clear skin, nice hair, staying mentally & physically healthy, and keeping my teeth as close to white as I can outside of the dentist’s office.
Here are 4 Mood & Energy Boosting Tools I Use to Start My Day
*Note this post does contain affiliate links. They are completely free to click on them. If you choose to make a purchase through them, I’ll only earn a tiny commission.
**Also know that I’m not a physician. Consult your doctor before taking anything I mention here. Everything I write is of my own experience and opinion.
Hello’s anti-plaque and whitening toothpaste is number one on my list as it is the first thing I use in the morning. It’s made with natural peppermint, tea tree, and coconut oil. I love using this toothpaste because it helps to me to feel fresh, keeps my teeth bright and shiny, and it’s super affordable. It’s one of the few affordable natural and sugar-free toothpaste brands out there.
2. Minimo Skin Essentials Dé jàvu Sea Buckthorn Face Serum.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that this serum has appeared in a few posts on here and on Instagram within the past few months. I love this serum! When I use it, it leaves my skin looking hydrated, and with a healthy tone.
The reason why I serum works for me is that it helps to control my skin’s natural oils and helps to prevent breakouts. My skin is oily-combo. It seems the older I get, I get really dry on certain parts of my face (chin and forehead). I also easily get acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Right now I’m on a mission of prevention and maintaining my baby face.
Click here to shop for this serum and use promo code ‘EBONY20’ to get 20% OFF your first purchase.
I hope these products help you as much as they’ve been helped me. I would never recommend anything that doesn’t work or that I don’t like. These brands are trustwor because they do what they say they will do.
Check them out, try them for your morning routine, and see for yourself. Leave a comment with your favorite supplements.
For some, this is brag-worthy. You might be like me. You grew up being an overachiever. Most of the time it came with ease because you knew what you wanted to do, you knew what the end result looked like, and you did it. It also came with ease because you are talented in many areas. You received gifts, awards, great grades, praise, and more. During those times, life was good… until it wasn’t. And you begin to wonder what YOU did wrong. Well, that’s how I think. For me, none of it brag-worthy.
Unfortunately, it’s all because I placed my value on my accomplishments. I didn’t mean to. It just happened and it started when I was really young. I was bullied for being fat but praised for being smart. I had a hard time seeing my value as a human being. Everything about me was and still is the total opposite of what America has deemed beautiful. I know I’m beautiful, but… yeah. Some days I don’t feel like I am. I’m a chubby dark-skinned old-soul who is smart. I’m not popular and I never was. So, I immerse myself in work and what I “have” to do. This will make me worthy. Right?
I Want What I Was Told That I’m Supposed to Have!
I just want to be great at what I do and have it pay the bills, but I can’t tell if I’m good enough yet. The problem is that I suffer from not knowing if I’m actually not trying hard enough or if I’m actually held back in a society that never meant for me to win. I can’t even write this post without feeling like it’s meaningless and no one will read it because it’s not like other’s blog posts. Or it will easily be overlooked because a Pinterest-worthy post 1,345,978 written by a popular blogger who said that I must do these “50 things” before submitting a blog post and that crap is a 300-Level college course of tediousness.
The problem is that I suffer from not knowing if I’m actually not trying hard enough or if I’m actually held back in a society that never meant for me to win.
To add, COVID, lockdown, and reduced income has put me in a mode where I feel like if I don’t create something for myself, I’m going to become homeless and die. That there is Anxiety running her mouth!
Of course, I’m not in that position now, but I feel that I must create so that I can provide. I must also create so that I can survive. I’m an artist at heart and the capitalist mentally that I have as an American makes it difficult to see the good in my work unless it has produced some type of cash and praise. It’s human nature to want both. Respectively, they are a form of security and love.
Over the past year, I was so stuck on creating to earn instead of creating to share what I’ve learned. Yes, some of my posts are helpful, but I wanted growth and popularity. Well, I think I should first apologize to everyone who’s read my blog. I deleted posts that were raw and honest in fear of what others thought. Therefore, causing everyone to miss out on the most vulnerable parts of myself.
From now on, I want to be transparent because I have a story to tell… a really good story to tell. Will you read it?
I’m currently on my second round of Whole30 and I wanted to share this journey with you all as well. I made it to day 30 back on January 10, 2020. Before I could make it to day 30 I began to feel as if I should go another 30 days.
Click to read more about it and how you can do #Whole30 too!
This is the time we will start seeing the Twitter and Facebook posts with folks saying, “New Year, New Me!” [insert eye roll here] Then, there is an increase in gym membership sales across the country as people attempt to change and refresh themselves as we go into the new year.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to change yourself. However, that all starts in the mind with the renewing of your mind.
We want success so bad and we want to succeed at everything we do. We have hopes and dreams and we write them all down and just leave them there. Or we get started and quit within weeks.
We can be our biggest obstacle to overcome. I’m not going to smack you with the “you need to stop making excuses” line because that doesn’t break down what needs to be done or what we need to stop doing. It doesn’t allow one to do a self-assessment and it only makes room to be down on yourself.
So, you ask “How would I sabotage myself if I want to be successful so bad?”
Well, it’s all about what we don’t recognize that we do. It’s the habits that are a societal norm that slows us down or bring us to a complete halt.
Here are the 4 ways you are sabotaging yourself every day.
1. Distractions and Time Wasters.
The right thing (or not so bad thing) at the wrong time is the wrong thing. Social media, YouTube videos, mobile, and console games, etc all are cool up until you’ve lost track of time and are late for work or have missed pilates at the gym. Or until it makes you forget what you were supposed to for that blog post, school project, or audition for the third time this week.
There’s nothing wrong with social media because they keep us informed and games keep us entertained. However, it can make us forget all that is necessary to remember, respond to, and complete.
Social media is a trigger for many to constantly compare ourselves to someone else. Personally, I find myself comparing my home, my body, my motherhood, my marriage, and my career to others whom I have never met, but have assumed their lives are better than mine.
Social media is also notorious for sharing horrific news (real or fake) and they can disturb your mood and your sleep. Also, lack of sleep can make it more difficult to wake up and be on time for work or school as well.
Solution: Pick certain times of the day or week to scroll through social media or play games and stick to them. The best times are during lunch or after work before dinner and on your days off when you’re not busy.
Try skipping scrolling and playing games before bed. Unless your projects are social media related, don’t scroll until you get done with homework.
Stop comparing your life to others. You can succeed like many others in just about everything you do. However, your success isn’t supposed to look like anyone else’s.
2. Overthinking/ Feeling Inadequate.
It’s an easy thing to do when you are the type that wants to do everything, but feel like you don’t have enough time and the nothing you have is good enough to start the process. The time isn’t right. The space you have isn’t right. You aren’t right or good enough or perfect. This usually stems from playing the comparison game. We compare ourselves and what we have to others.
Granted some thoughts make sense to have. For example, you want to start a YouTube channel. You look in the description box and begin to take note of what camera and editing software your favorite YouTubers use to create the videos you love. Then, you notice that they use a camera that costs over $800, lights that cost over $60, editing software that costs over $200, and then there is the cost of what you want to show on your channel. (Hair products, makeup, clothes, shoes, etc)
You think, “Holy crap! I can’t afford any of that! Now, what will I do?” You being to think that you have to have thousands of dollars to start a YouTube channel. Since you don’t have it and don’t know when you will, you begin to feel down and hopeless.
Solution: First, know that the situation isn’t hopeless and thousands of dollars aren’t needed to start a YouTube channel or to start anything for that matter. Take note of the things that you are able to afford. If there isn’t much, then use what you have until you can afford it.
Stop comparing yourself to people who have been in the game for many years. You’re probably comparing yourself to them in their prime. If you go to someone and ask them to show you pictures or videos of how things were when they first started, it would probably look exactly the same as it does for you right now. Basic, boring, cheap, and everything we think it shouldn’t be. When you build something from the ground up, there will be dust. Accept that!
Every smartphone has a camera and you can find boxes or books to prop it up. If you have a little cash to your name, say like $25. you can invest in a tripod for phones.
You want to eat better and begin working out? Most insurance companies pay for visits to the nutritionist and doing workouts at home via YouTube is free. I’ll write more about how that has actually worked out for me.
You want a more organized house? Pick one room in your house to work on for the week. I recommend starting with the room with the least traffic. Work in that room for about one hour a day. If you want to do longer, it’s up to you. Ask for help from a friend to help you organize your home. Two pairs of hands are better than one.
3. Trying to be 100% Independent.
Yep! I said it.
There is no such thing as being completely independent of anyone. Period!
We like to admit that we’re independent of the ones we don’t want help from. However, I understand why people try to be “independent” of needing the help of others. We get too proud to ask for help and don’t want to deal with being let down or mistreated while being in need. In fact, the latter feeds the previous.
You don’t want people to think that you are a bum and a moocher who doesn’t want to try, but your struggle is over 9000!
So, you either ask for free help or you pay for help. Neither of which makes you less or more independent because help is help. Help is you NOT doing it all by yourself. We need to get over being afraid of asking for help.
Solution: Admit you need help to people you trust and to those who have experience with your problems. They may be able to offer help and recommend solutions, products, or services to relieve you of some of your struggles.
I’m scared. You’re scared. We’re scared.
Fear is a natural emotion and it serves a purpose in dangerous situations. However, if we continue to operate in fear a number of problems arise that will sabotage just about anything. It will feed overthinking and feelings of inadequacy. Fear can cause you to fight, flight, or freeze. Living in fear will taint your relationships. It can make it hard to say “no” when we really mean NO. It’s an emotion that tricks you into thinking that your anxious thoughts are correct about your future.
Solution:Do a ‘Fear Breakdown’.
A fear breakdown is something that I do to get to the heart of why I am fearful. It breaks apart the cluster of fear into bits more understandable and to be more quickly dissolvable by the truth.
Fear: I’m too afraid to go into acting.
Why? Because I’m afraid I won’t be hired because of my color and size.
What will happen if I’m not hired? I will be extremely hurt.
Why? Because it’s been a big dream to be an actress since I was a young girl. If I don’t become an actress, I’ll be devastated.
Why? Because if I don’t become an actress, I’ll feel like I haven’t accomplished anything and I’ll be on my death bed wishing that I could have been an actress. I’ll be forced to spend my life wishing that I could do what I love to do and forced to watch people do what I love with every movie, show, and commercial I see. It will hurt.
I fear to be on my death-bed and feeling like I would have missed out on a dream that’s been with me my whole life. I fear the pain and assume that it would be impossible to heal from. That’s not true. I’ve survived 100% of my worst moments. I’ll survive that too.
It shows that I think that I’m not attractive enough to be seen with other actors and actresses that are thinner and lighter in complexion. That’s not true, there are more dark-skinned and curvy women on tv and in film. I can be one of them too.
It also shows that it’s the only thing I assumed would make me an accomplished person. I have to recognize that this isn’t a fact. I have many accomplishments already. All of which I was fearful that I would fail at or miss the opportunity of having. Yet, here I am.
You may be fearful, but don’t bank on it. We fear losing money, losing our homes, looking and sounding foolish, and public humiliation. Most times what we fear won’t happen and if it does, we will survive that too AND we will succeed either way.
Tell me in the comments. Are any of these something that you do to yourself or have done? What are your plans to overcome them?
**A throwback post I have previously written for another blog over a year ago. Originally written 11/17/2016**
This will be the fourth holiday season without my mom. This is the fourth year I prepare the food she taught me how to cook. The fourth time I wish I could call her for some tips because I still feel like I am “mixing it wrong”. Even though it always turns out just like hers or very close to it. I miss her and it makes it very hard to enjoy the holidays without her. At times, I get sad and angry. Or I may feel nothing. Within all the memories, the good is mixed in with the bad. Good holiday moments and bad holiday moments. I won’t mention all the memories but dealing with them hasn’t been easy this year.
Since my last mental health-related post (here), I have been newly diagnosed with PTSD and recurring depression while getting treatment after having a panic attack and injuring myself. The day that it happened was July 24, 2016. That day would have been my mother’s 70th birthday. I thought I was okay most of the day. I didn’t cry or feel sad.
I don’t recall even thinking about her a whole lot either. But that day, a family member posted on Facebook a picture of her at her old job, wearing a very familiar wig and a pair of glasses, and she was smiling her beautiful smile that I miss so much. Unfortunately, seeing the picture lit the fuse to a lot of negative emotions that were piled high like sticks of dynamite. Without going into too much detail, I lost it. I was throwing dishes and I injured myself on my wrist. I spent the night in the emergency room and voluntarily spent just under a week at a local psychiatric crisis facility.
I don’t want myself or anyone else to go through what I went through. I want to help ease the angst the holidays can bring to those still in mourning. I’m not a professional counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist, but I do believe in bearing one another’s burdens for the sake of making them a little lighter.
Ever since my mother’s passing, the months of February, July, November, and December have been tough. February is my birth month. July is her birth month and the same month she passed, 4 days after her 66th birthday to be exact. November and December are, of course, the holiday months’ families get together.
For you, it may just be the holiday season, but whatever time of the year it is, it’s okay to acknowledge that they aren’t here anymore and that you miss them. It’s okay to cry or not cry. It’s okay to want to skip the holidays with family, but try not to. My next point will explain why.
All Too Familiar Faces, Sights, & Sounds = Triggers!
It’s hard to see and hear from family members who will remind you of your lost loved one in some way. They may speak of them because they miss them too. You may remind them of the one who is gone because you could have been raised by them, look like them, talk like them, etc. You may have a family member or two that look like your loved one, sound like them, etc.
In my case, my aunts and uncles may do or say something that will remind me of her. One of my aunt’s voice sounds just like her, except she speaks a little slower. Also, the older I get, the more I begin to look like my mother. My young son also looks a lot like her too.
Then, there are the family members that will remind you of what was wrong with the loved ones that are gone or what went wrong while your loved one was alive. Those are very hurtful and draining moments. Whether they’re truthful comments or not, we aren’t obligated to deal with any of it.
There is also the music, there are shows, and movies that were their favorite and they heavily remind you of them. You hear their voice, their laughter, you see their smile, and you want it all back.
Holiday Milestone Plan of Action:
I’ve concluded that every milestone after my mother’s passing shouldn’t be ignored anymore. No more pretending I’m fine. Even when I don’t feel sad, I should still do a little extra to make sure I am still intact mentally and physically. The very thought of a lost loved one is a trigger.
It’s important to find or create ways to continue mourning in a healthy way because the stages of grief have no special order, no expiration date, and they may reappear. I understand that every person is different in how we deal with missing someone, but I would like to share 12 different ways that we can make sure we remain whole during this holiday season and the others to come. I believe that the piled sticks of dynamite can be diffused days or weeks before the holidays come around.
**Just to let you know, I may mention some spiritual/religious things. Please know that I am not trying to offend or force anything on anyone. They are just some ideas and I will be exercising with you and will try to share the results on my blog.**
Make sure your basic needs are being met. Your basic needs are non-negotiable. Do not skip meals and water, bathing, sleep, and trips to the bathroom during this time or at all. Making sure you are well-fed, rested, clean, and refreshed will help to keep up your resilience during some of the most draining moments of the year. So, even if you are the holiday host this year, don’t neglect yourself for anyone. Have a shower or soak in the tub while the turkey is roasting. Ask someone to come over to help you cook or have them bring something already made.
Journal your good memories of your loved one. Decorate the journal and make special doodles in it that relate to him or her. Make that one specifically for the holidays and keep it in a private place for the next milestone.
Keep a box of tissues near for when you feel like crying. An empty room and a thick pillow are awesome for when you feel like screaming.
If you are lacking emotions but still want to keep yourself whole, do something that day that will make you feel good. Take the day off work or do a half-day, go to a movie, have a snowball fight, jumping on trampolines, visit an old friend, look for free or darn-near-free stuff to do on Groupon, etc.
Write down all the movies, shows, and songs you’ve enjoyed together. Make a playlist, Netflix list, or Redbox Rental list and plan to listen or watch them this year. If you don’t remember what they liked, pick something you think they would.
Write a letter to them or to God about how much you miss them. Pour your heart out about the good and the bad about them. Say what you’ve always wanted to say. Update them on what’s been going on since they’ve left. Write a letter of forgiveness, if needed. Some of the loved ones we miss have hurt us and it’s time to work on letting it go.
When the words escape you, look up bible verses or in memoriam quotes about mourning, sadness, family, and forgiveness. Then write them down in your journal.
Wear their favorite color during the milestones. My mom’s favorite color was blue.
Avoid storing those clapbacks in your mind. The bag of clapbacks can be heavy during a sensitive time. When the family gets disrespectful, attempt to drain your energy, and try to bring up the past about your lost loved one, either walk away, walk completely out, or shut it down and let them know that they are being rude and it’s not the time or place to bring up some mess. Then, say nothing else to them about it.
Briefly share good memories about your lost loved one to your children, friends, or partners who may not have met them or have known them well. Share photos and share advice they used to give to you with others.
Attempt to talk about how you feel (or don’t feel) with a licensed counselor. They are skilled professionals who may be able to give you tips on how to cope in a healthy way during the holidays.
Start a new holiday tradition in their honor. It can be anything. It can be a combination of any of these tips. Try attending a play or an orchestra concert wearing their favorite color and afterward eat some of their favorite snacks. Or visit their gravesite and leave flowers in their favorite color or a color that represents how they left. For example, my mother passed of a cardiac arrest. Therefore, I would wear red or leave red flowers and ribbons for women’s heart health.
There is no wrong way to take care of yourself and there’s no wrong way to mourn if you are not harming yourself and others. And no matter you much you miss them and want them back or to be in heaven where they are, it’s imperative that you are safe and healthy while still on this earth.
Your existence is important. I’m telling you what I have told myself and I wouldn’t tell you if I didn’t believe it and practice it.
I had an awesome mother. I miss her so much and because I miss her, the importance of my self-care is even higher. I know that she wouldn’t want me to neglect myself. Self-neglect isn’t an option because self-neglect is the loss of oneself. Except, the body is still present. Especially, when I have my husband, my son, my family, and friends who love me. I wouldn’t want to force them to mourn my loss whether I am alive or with the Lord.
Please let me know what self-care tips you have for the holidays. How do you celebrate the life that was once here?