Every Naturalista’s Must Haves!

If you are currently going through or have gone through the natural transition, you’ve probably become addicted to the following: YouTube and product shopping! Having gone through my initial transition 5 years ago, it has been a true learning experience. I began my transition with the keratin treatment and gradually cut the straight parts of my hair (3 inches every 8 weeks) until it was all back to my natural state finally last year. While my decision to go natural was a medical one (the relaxer was too harsh and caused very bad scarring to my scalp in addition to my hair thinning), I have truly enjoyed my journey. It has made me feel more comfortable in embracing myself as a woman and has definitely made life easier in a lot of ways! I’ve never been knowledgeable in how to manage my hair. Even when I had a relaxer, I could not even use a curling iron much less learn how to roller set! The only tool I mastered was the flat iron. By no means have I become a hair guru with my natural curls, however, I find natural hair to be more forgiving. No matter the hairstyle that you are trying to achieve, the following will definitely help you pull a very stylish look:

  • Oils: one of the most important ingredients that all hair especially natural curls need is oils! Olive, argan, avocado, shea – any of these oils are very helpful to your hair but my must have oil is coconut oil! It is non greasy and helps with scalp health, shine, and nourishment for your curls.
  • Hair ties: these should be purchased by the hundreds! For some reason, no matter how many you think you have, you can never seem to find one when you are really in need. So buy them in high quantity and keep a few in your most frequented places: in your personal drawer at work, in the glove compartment in the car, and definitely in your purse.
  • Hair pins: just like the ties, hair pins are a must. Curls tend to be unruly therefore a few pins are always needed to help secure them and help you keep your polished look intact.
  • Hair gel/ custard/ jelly: in the spirit of keeping flyaways tamed, these different types of products will definitely be lifesaving. Remember, a little goes a long way.
  • Spray bottles: use them to mix your favorite LOC method (liquid, oil, conditioner), or simply to have water easily accessible while doing your hairstyle, spray bottles are important. I also suggest having a travel size which you can carry with you when travelling to keep your hair looking fresh!

When it comes to your journey in the natural hair process, no two stories are alike. Some of us have been very fortunate to quickly learn how to effectively manage the transition while some of us may continually be conducting research on YouTube on the best methods to address various natural hair dilemmas. Here’s my suggestion: don’t worry so much about achieving a professional status within the first few months of transitioning. The first years will be tough as you will be dealing with various textures of hair unless you did a big chop. Plus if you chose to transition, you will have to pay closer attention to maintaining your hair healthy. However, a full year into being fully natural I’ve come to heavily rely on some of my favorite YouTube channels such as Moknowshair, MahoganyCurls, and Naptural85. These ladies share short videos on hairstyles, various processes for natural hair and most importantly do some product reviews which can help you make a decision when considering a new line.

I hope these tips will help you conquer your transition and no matter what, don’t give up!

Reese

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Overcoming a Negative Work Environment

With the various shifts happening in the professional world throughout major companies, more and more adults are facing a lot of tension in the workplace which has been increasing the level of stress amongst working adults. From fear of losing employment to dealing with hostile coworkers to working for a supervisor who does not appreciate you, today’s adults have a lot more challenges in the workplace and at times may feel like the negativity of the environment might get the best of them. Having been in a similar situation recently, I know that such an experience can not only add a lot of stress to your life but will also affect the following: sleep, appetite, and self-esteem!
In my excruciating experience, I went through many effects of stress that many would not think were possible. You are overcome by a sense of fear that truly is unsettling and simply will literally keep you up at night and paralyze you to the point that you could spend all day focusing on these factors. Your relationship with food will fluctuate from binge eating to losing all appetite and having to remind yourself that food is essential to living. Finally, along with these two effects, you will lose interest in doing most of the mundane activities in your daily life such as household chores and eventually you may end up in a depression and questioning your purpose in life.
In the middle of all of these emotions, as the saying goes – “life goes on…”, and as much as you are aware of that fact, it’s almost impossible for you to shake the feeling as walking into work every day become a constant reminder and an internal battle to try to motivate yourself to stay active and positive. It is hard to achieve amidst all the stress but it is very important that you keep your morale up and avoid falling deeper into depression. While I’m not an expert in any way, the following helped me overcome this hard time in my professional life:
– Keep yourself entertained: throughout the day, I always kept my earbuds on (well one because you still want to be able to hear your phone or colleagues when you’re being addressed) and had some kind of entertainment going on. I made music video playlists on YouTube, had various comedy stations and music genre stations on Pandora which I’d alternate depending on the one that best suited my mood for the day.
– Attract positivity: surround yourself with positive people, find some time to reflect and find peace. If you are religious, pray like you have never before! If not, find the most amount of activities that put a smile on your face and do them! The key is to keep yourself positively entertain to chase away the feelings of depression.
– Keep busy: go to the movies, spend some time with friends and family to uplift your mood. If you are an avid reader, take a trip to your nearest bookstore and purchase a couple of good books. If you’re into cooking, painting, crafts: find some time to dedicate to that passion.
– Market yourself: if you haven’t done so, revamp your resume and build your professional brand on the appropriate social media professional platforms such as LinkedIn. Be sure to be grammatically correct and use proper punctuations in your resume and letters of interest and send them out to positions you may be interested in and also to head hunters. You’ll never know what could have been unless you try!
– Rediscover yourself: search for that fire that you have continually repressed due to obligations or reality and explore it! Whether it’s a longtime dream to learn to sew or you’ve always wanted to start your own fitness program, just focus on that dream of yours and work as hard as you’ve ever worked to turn it into reality!
Overall, the goal is for you to keep yourself busy and surrounded with as much positivity through your professional ordeal. In the end, it will help you come out as the victor no matter what the final outcome in your workplace. You will learn so much about your strength and about yourself. Being positive will help you serve as your best cheerleader when it seems like no one is appreciating your intellectual value and will help you rediscover this person that slowly was starting to wither due to the oppression you’ve been subject to in your workplace.
Keep a positive spirit, and as they say “this too shall pass…”, just be sure to hold on tight and never let anything or anyone take your smile away from you.
Reese