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Natural Hair Care for Men: Q & A

Natural Hair Care for Men: Q & A

The hair care world is overflowing with the glorious fros, slicked styles, helpful tips, tricks and influence of amazing women... and we LIVE for it! However, we mustn’t forget that men are taking charge of their hair regimens too! It’s not often that we hear men talk about their personal hair journeys, so to shed a little light, we're passing the mic to a few fellas who are passionate about their curls!



MEET THE GUYS

 

 

Q1: Has taking care of your hair always been important to you, or is it something you grew interested in over time?


OZZIE: Taking care of my hair has not always been a priority, it was something I defaulted to nature and thought just washing it and using grease occasionally was enough when I had short cuts. Over time, I picked up tips from my mother, friends, women I dated, and random pages online. But over the last year, I really started asking more questions and doing research and trying different natural hair product lines because I moved to a new city, and my mother wasn’t doing my hair for me. It dawned on me that I am responsible for my hair’s health. That’s how I discovered EDEN BodyWorks,  through a friend, because I wanted to do a better job taking care of my hair. 


STEPHON: Taking care of my hair has always been important to me, but how I took care of my hair has evolved over time. When I was younger, "taking care of my hair" meant trying to have waves and getting haircuts and shape-ups to keep looking sharp. I was using Luster's Pink Lotion and a hair brush... religiously. My parents didn't allow du-rags in the house, so I would borrow a headscarf and tie it down tightly at night for protection! Dark times. 

Over the last 5 years, haircare is much more about how my hair, beard and scalp feel, rather than how it looks. Pink Lotion and Head and Shoulders can't do anything for me. I've taken the time to understand what my hair needs to thrive, and build a regimen to support it. 

 

DARIUS: It’s definitely something that I grew interest in over time. My mother and sister really informed me about how important it is to take care of your hair. Or at least take care of it as best as you can. 



Stephon - @stephmart_ceo

 

 

Q2: How much time do you put into your haircare daily/weekly?


SHELDON: I always take at least one day out of the week to care for my hair's needs. This typically starts with wash day & takes about 3-5 hours from start to finish.


DEANDRE: I dont put as much time into my haircare as people would think, my wash day is the longest day of course. But after wash day it takes no time to refresh my curls for the day. 


DARIUS: Usually everyday at least 5 or 10 min. Stray bottle with water, hair moisturizer and coconut oil to seal everything in




 

Q3: Most important step to your regimen?


STEPHON: Water! My hair loves moisture, and it's really the only way that it's able to absorb any product. I think it’s a very slept on step for most men, but I recommend that every guy has a small spray bottle full of water handy.


DEANDRE: The most important step in my regimen would be deep conditioning. A lot of hair problems can be solved with deep conditioning



 

Q4: Favorite EDEN product + why?


OZZIE: My favorite product is the Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo because I feel like it does such a good job of cleaning my hair, especially since I frequent the gym and therefore sweat quite a bit. Also, washing my hair thoroughly in between getting it braided is super important to help the braids look crisp because clean hair and a clean scalp go a long way. 


STEPHON: Hands down it's gotta be the Coconut Shea Pudding Souffle. I love the texture, and I love how it moisturizes my hair strands. It also helps that coconut and shea butter smell great 100% of the time.


DEANDRE: My favorite EDEN product is the Coconut Shea Leave In Conditioner because it moisturizes, defines and clumps my curls. It also pairs well with a lot of gels, and my curls are ALWAYS poppin' when I use it! 

 

DARIUS: Favorite product would have to be the  Coconut Shea Leave In Conditioner. The reason why it’s my favorite is because it has coconut oil and shea butter in it, which has always worked best for my hair. Also, it really keeps my hair moisturized and soft. 

 

Darius - @dariusbeckett

 

 

Q5: Do you feel there's enough male representation in the natural hair industry/community?


OZZIE: There is definitely not enough representation for men in the natural hair community. I’m hoping to help change the narrative. We have hair too and we want to know how to treat it as best we can. A lot of men just use their girlfriend’s products, allow the hairdresser or barber to use products or recommend things, and we really have no way of knowing what's best for us or our hair.  I’m thankful to companies like EDEN BodyWorks making efforts like this article. I think this is a great way to let men know help is available, plus the brand and products are of high quality and integrity. 


STEPHON: This is a loaded question - on one hand, I believe that women deserve to be *more* represented in this industry. Society has policed women's (and black women's, in particular) hair for centuries, and I think it's high time that natural hair becomes a societal staple in all of its shapes, lengths, textures and styles. On the other hand, I feel like there is room for growth in terms of marketing and educating men on their hair. While hair education is universal, beard textures are niche to men, and the application of hair education is a little different. A lot of men are just using whatever they see their friends, family or partners using, and it would be great to help build their knowledge base moving forward.


SHELDON: Definitely not-there's really only a handful of male natural hair influencers who are consistently producing content, I really hope this is something that changes this year!

 

DEANDRE: I do not feel there is enough male representation in the natural hair community. The community needs to know males want their curls to be poppin' as well! This is one of the reasons i started my YouTube channel! (Major Ways

 

Ozzie - @ozanidas

Q6: Something you'd like others to know about men + natural hair care?


OZZIE: I want men to know to take care of their hair.  It is an extension of you and whatever look you go for, be intentional. If you are nice to it, you will have it longer. As men, we all want to keep our hair for as long as possible. I would recommend reading articles, watching videos and trying out different things. 


SHELDON: It's OK to take care of your hair! You won't have it forever, so cherish it for the time that you do!


DEANDRE:  I would like people, especially males, to know it’s ok to want to take care of your hair, test out different products, and experiment with different styles! Learn to love your hair!



 

Q7: What do you love most about your hair?


OZZIE: I love the versatility of it and how it can be worn in many different styles. Also, when I see that it is growing and looks healthy, I feel proud of my efforts. There is always something new to learn about natural hair. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. 


SHELDON: I love everything, the shape, the texture, the curls, my hair plays a huge factor in my overall self-esteem. When I have a good hair day, no one can tell me anything haha!


DEANDRE: The thing I love most about my hair is how versatile it is. I can wear it curly, braided, twisted or even blown out! 

 

 Sheldon - @kxd.sheldy

 

Q8: Do you share your opinion with your significant other or the women (whether family or friends) in your life about how they wear/style their hair?


STEPHON: I do, but only to a certain extent. I believe that you should be empowering those around you, so an opinion on whether or not a protective style or a wig is "suitable" for them does nothing constructive. Further, if you distill most of those "you shouldn't wear your hair like this" opinions down to its core, a lot of them are rooted in racist and misogynistic philosophy. I offer my girl feedback on styling based on what her desired "look" is, and I encourage her to explore her hair in every fashion she sees fit. If she's having an off day, I'll let her know too...(carefully of course.)


SHELDON:  I do, but my opinion is merely that-an opinion. I always want the best for all of my loved ones-even if it just down to choosing the hairstyle that suits them best!


DEANDRE: Yes, I share a lot of my opinions with the women in my life. They know that I know a lot about natural hair, they know I take very good care of my natural hair and I'm always here to help! 



 

Q9: Did a woman (or women) have influence on how you wear your hair - or the products you use?


OZZIE: Absolutely! When I first started growing my hair, any women I saw with nice natural hair,  I would ask what they used in their hair and the response was always very warm and informative about their approach to caring for it. They would tell me products and some dos and don’ts. Once my mother began to braid my hair, she shared a lot of information about methods and products too. Even still to this day, I take the approach of asking women that I meet information about their hair and I try many of their suggestions out. 


SHELDON: Most definitely! That's all you saw-particularly on YouTube-was women giving insight on natural hair. Learning about my hair inspired me to start my own channel & share with a male audience as there weren't that many men doing it at that point in time. Three of my biggest inspirations were Mini Marley, Bri Hall, & Sayria Jade.


DARIUS: Yes definitely, my mom and sister. Because they have natural hair I started to use the products that helped them. I learned mainly everything from them. They also showed me what products work best for our hair texture. 




 

Q10: Advice you'd give to other fellas looking to put more effort into their hair care?


SHELDON: It's OK to care for your hair. It's not going to be easy at first, you will have to find what works best for your hair-most importantly make sure you keep it healthy! The feelings you get when you finally start to learn about your hair, & you get to physically see the difference, is incomparable!


DEANDRE: My advice to other men would be to get educated and listen to your hair. It may seem like a lot at first, but it gets so much easier! I promise! 


DARIUS:  I would say to stay consistent with it and that will make it easier because that will train your hair to stay a certain way. Wash and condition it at least once a week but keep it healthy and moisturized with some type of leave in conditioner and oil. I prefer coconut oil 9/10. 

 

 DeAndre - @therealdremajor

 

***


Wanna learn more? Share your questions, comments and concerns below + be sure to keep up with Ozzie, Stephon, Sheldon, DeAndre, and Darius on social. 

 

See you next time!

 

 

 



February 12, 2020 — EDEN BodyWorks
Feed Your Hair: 5 Natural Ingredients You Need To Know

Feed Your Hair: 5 Natural Ingredients You Need To Know

Ever wonder what the actual benefits are of the ingredients listed on your favorite products? We’re not just talking about the “hot” ones that everyone has come to know and love, such as Coconut Oil or Shea Butter, but those that tend to be less talked about; the ones whose names may sound familiar, but their exact purpose is not so clear.

As always, we’re here to help! Highlighting a few lesser known ingredients from our own formulas, we’re sharing what it is that makes these underdogs so great. 

 



For Scalp Conditions

 

1. Carrot Seed Oil

Vitamin and antioxidant-rich, this vegetable oil does an amazing job at hydrating both the scalp and hair. It increases circulation and alleviates flaking, rash, and itchiness due to skin conditions on the scalp. Carrot Seed Oil also protects the hair shaft, preventing breakage.

Products containing Carrot Seed Oil: Peppermint Tea Tree Conditioner + Hair Milk, JojOba Monoi Conditioner + Deep Conditioner

 

 

 

2. Vitamin E 

Amazing for healing irritated or scarred skin, Vitamin E is the perfect component for treating a flaky scalp. It penetrates and repairs at the root while also increasing circulation. It reduces breakage as well! Implement a little into your routine and experience a decrease in shedding and an easier time retaining length.

Products containing Vitamin E: Coconut Shea Collection, JojOba Monoi Collection, Citrus Fusion Collection

 

  

 

3. Aloe Vera

Due to its cool and soothing nature, this green, leafy plant is most commonly known for its ability to treat skin irritations. This quality makes it an excellent choice for healing a dry and itchy scalp. Aloe Vera has properties that break down dead skin + product build up that can block hair follicles from growing. 

Aloe can also help condition the hair. The plant is packed with vitamins and minerals that are incredibly moisturizing to the entire hair shaft. Whether applying directly from the leaf, or in juice or gel form, it maintains all its beneficial properties. 

Products containing Aloe Vera: Almond Marshmallow Trio, Coconut Shea Collection, JojOba Monoi Collection, Peppermint Tea Tree, Hibiscus Honey

 

 




 

For Hair Growth

 

4. Acai

This superfood is packed with vitamins such as A, C, + E, and it contains omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. It’s also made up of many of the B-complex vitamins that are essential to natural hair growth.  All of this goodness promotes a healthy environment for strands from root to tip and helps to reduce overall thinning + breakage.

Products containing Acai: Citrus Fusion Collection

 

 

 

 

For Dry Hair

 

5. Mango Seed Butter

High in antioxidants and fatty acids, Mango Seed Butter is perfect for combating dry hair. Its nutrient-rich composition helps to soften and seal moisture into the strand, protecting it from becoming brittle or damaged from environmental factors. 

Products Containing Mango Seed Butter: Papaya Castor Collection

 

 

 

***

  

Learn a bit more about what you’re feeding your hair with? We hope so! Quality ingredients are what EDEN is all about. We’re happy to share the knowledge!

 

If you're having trouble deciding exactly which collection to try ('cause don't they all sound pretty great?), have a little fun by allowing your zodiac sign to do the picking! 

Click here to get more info on our key ingredients. In the comments below, tell us what natural ingredients you nurture your hair with.

 

See you next time!

 

January 15, 2020 — EDEN BodyWorks
Therapists Speak: 5 Ways to Survive Holiday Hooplah

Therapists Speak: 5 Ways to Survive Holiday Hooplah

It’s that time of year again! Holiday gatherings + festive themes and decorations are everywhere you turn. While this season can be fun and exciting for some, it can also bring about anxiety, depression, and a number of other mental health concerns for many others. If you’re having a tough time, please know, you are not alone! To provide a little support, we reached out to a few black women experts in the mental health field for a few tips on combating the anxiety that the holidays can bring. 




TIP #1

“Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. Make sure you’re making your physical health a priority by staying active and eating clean, nutrient-rich foods. Eat at least 3 balanced meals a day, get out of the house and go for walks, or get some gym time in a few times a week. Prioritize these necessary acts of self care!”

 

Kristin Sutton, Licensed Professional Counselor Practice 
Her Therapy Space (@hertherapyspace, @kristinsuttonlpc

Serving Washington, DC

 

 

 

TIP #2

 “Get Enough Rest. For some, excitement can kick in during the holidays. Sometimes you’ll lose sleep because of stress, and sometimes you’ll lose sleep because of excitement. Either way, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by concentrating on relaxation and getting to bed at a good hour. If you start a pattern of getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep per night, you could be setting yourself up for stress without even really knowing it, thus, making it harder to maintain your mental wellness during this time of year.”

 

Shayla Peterson, LCSW, LISW-CP
Owner of Ctrl Shift Balance Mental Wellness (@ctrlshiftbalance)

Serving South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee & Florida

 

 

 

TIP #3

“In general, people become more consumed with responding to and meeting the needs of others than they do for themselves. This can lead us to feeling drained, resentful, and just plain unhappy. The holiday season brings these levels higher than normal, as we find ourselves interacting with more folks more frequently, with more demands. I highly recommend for people to use this rule every day, and especially during the holiday season: NO SOCIAL MEDIA  UNTIL AFTER LUNCH. How we start our day impacts how we live our day out. If your first action of each day is checking on others via social media, you will train your brain to do this throughout the day and will do so compulsively. It ain’t good for ya! Take each morning to focus on YOU first. Wake up and ask yourself how you want to feel today. Then, close your eyes and visualize how you will look and feel today. Doing so will get you in the habit of checking in with YOU first and help you keep your balance a little better this holiday season.”

 

Soco Reynoso, LCSW
Owner/Psychotherapist
Soco Rey Therapy (@yourfavoritetherapist)

Serving Inglewood, CA

 

 

 

TIP #4

“We’re about two weeks beyond the dreaded Gregorian calendar box which tricks us to believe we gain an extra hour of sleep. The sun bids us adieu, shortening our daylight hours. This adopted time management system related to agriculture and energy-saving can cause a grand shift in the mental health processes of many. And while an extra hour of sleep seems rewarding, our brains tell a different story: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression may be a negative consequence November through early spring. Want to know a practical way to increase the amount of serotonin, the neurotransmitter thought to be responsible for your mood, sleep, appetite, and social behavior? Create your own sunshine. That’s right, I said it. But, how? Creating your own sunshine means laying out boundaries in your environment to reduce triggers. Because frankly, who can see the sun when clouds are in the way? This can mean not going to a family holiday dinner because a personality there upsets you, instead, start your own tradition. It can also mean easing into your day utilizing a light box or not checking social media until after 12pm. Engage in activities which warm your soul: reading, mindful eating, traveling, or connecting with a licensed mental health therapist to work through your mental climate."

 

Crystal Joseph, LCPC, LPC, ACS
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (MD) | Licensed Professional Counselor (VA)
PsycYourMind® (@thereal_psycyourmind)
Serving Silver Spring, Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia

Learn more, PsycYourMind.com

 

 
 


TIP #5

“Grieving a loss during the holiday season can be complicated by the expectations that others have of you to be connected, joyous, and ‘ok’. Allowing yourself the space and time to ‘feel’ will make engaging less emotionally taxing. In an effort to fill a void that invariably recurs every year, be intentional about: 1.) Creating new traditions to commemorate your loved one(s); 2.) Connecting with professionals to talk, or close family and friends to share special memories; and 3.) Chronicling your thoughts for reflection each year. Give yourself permission.”

 

Barbara Ford Shabazz, Psy.D., CPEC
Clinical Psychologist, Certified Personal and Executive Coach
Intentional Activities: Your Life Coaching Source (Virtual/Online/Telephonic) (@dr.bshabazz)

Serving Virginia Beach, VA

 

 

***

 

 

If you’re in need, don’t hesitate to reach out!

 

Got a tip to share? Tell us in the comments below.

 

See you next time!

 

December 11, 2019 — EDEN BodyWorks
Hello Fall 🍂

Hello Fall 🍂

Autumn has officially arrived, and Content Creator/Writer, Alley Sinai, has a few thoughtful words to share with us on the transition to this time of year. Enjoy!
October 02, 2019 — EDEN BodyWorks
#AskEDEN: Answering Your Questions

#AskEDEN: Answering Your Questions

What an honor it is to say that EDEN BodyWorks has now been in the game for 15 years! One of the most important contributions to our growth has been your support and feedback. Education and open communication about our products’ functions are essential! We’re always on the lookout for your questions and concerns; that’s why today, we're answering a few of your most frequently asked product questions!
September 04, 2019 — EDEN BodyWorks
5 Back-to-School Tips for the College Girl

5 Back-to-School Tips for the College Girl

August is nearing its end, which means college students across the country are packing their things and getting set for a brand new semester. It's an exciting time for many, but it can also bring on the anxiety, especially for first-timers!
August 21, 2019 — EDEN BodyWorks
Breathe, Shake + Let It Go: Detox Your Doubts This Spring

Breathe, Shake + Let It Go: Detox Your Doubts This Spring

“Wake up at 5a, meditate, workout, go to work, eat clean, read, yoga, check in with family, fall asleep” and repeat. Day in + day out, you’re striving to stay on track without dropping the ball to life’s juggling game.
May 02, 2019 — EDEN BodyWorks
Compare + Contrast: Shift Your Beauty Social Media Lens

Compare + Contrast: Shift Your Beauty Social Media Lens

Doctor? Dentist? Maybe even chiropractor? How did we miss the memo that adulting feels like an ongoing list of health appointments in an attempt to keep us from falling apart.
April 03, 2019 — EDEN BodyWorks
3 Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself This Fall

3 Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself This Fall

Fall can be busy. It’s easy to get so caught up in daily tasks and appointments that you begin to neglect your own self care a bit. But, don’t underestimate the power of taking even just a few minutes a day to slow down and do something for yourself.
October 03, 2018 — EDEN BodyWorks
5 Tips to Living Healthier with DejaFitBeauty

5 Tips to Living Healthier with DejaFitBeauty

Deja Lewis (DejaFitBeauty) is a Beauty and Fitness Vlogger, Entrepreneur and Personal Trainer. She's here to share a few fitness tips to help us all reach our goals in 2018!

photography by James Burk  -@youngestson_ 

 

Getting in shape and living a healthy lifestyle is everyone’s goal; But let’s face it, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There is so much information about losing weight and how to be healthy. Should I go vegan, low carb? Should I try the military diet, the grapefruit diet, a detox?  What kind of workouts should I be doing? Should I lift weights, or just do cardio?

It’s no wonder so many people are stuck!

I’m DejaFitBeauty. I’m a Beauty and Fitness Vlogger as well as Personal Trainer, but I had the same struggle before I started my fitness journey. I was confused just like most people but eventually after a lot of trial and error (a lot!)  I figure out what works for me to be able to sustain living healthier LONG TERM.  I have condensed it down to 5 main things to know, so here are my 5 Tips to Living Healthier in 2018.

 

 

1. Make Small Changes First

When we first start our healthy journey, we are super excited and motivated so we want to make big drastic changes immediately. But what you will notice is that when we make drastic changes too fast you will burn yourself out really fast.

For instance, if you’re not used to working out 6 days a week, don’t just jump right into it.  A good number to start with is 3 to 4 days a week for at least 30 mins to an hour. Let your body get used to the added stress of exercise before you dive into the deep end. When you feel comfortable with more workouts, add another day or increase the length and intensity of your workouts. However, you always want to have at least 1-2 days as a rest day so your body can recover.

 -This goes for your diet as well.

Eating clean 100% of the time is not easy (even for me, pizza and donuts are life!)

If you are a beginner at eating clean, making small changes gradually will make it more likely for you to stick to it long term.

Start with cutting out sugary drinks (Soda, Fruit Juice, Alcohol). If your successful, another task would be to incorporate healthier food choices in your meals. More green vegetables and complex carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. Every month or so, make a small change and before you know it, you’ll be eating clean, living healthier and losing weight!
.

 

 

2. Set Realistic Goals.

As a personal trainer, I get a lot of weight loss clients who want to lose weight really fast. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it is highly unlikely that the average person will lose 25 lbs. in a month. And it’s not necessarily healthy to lose weight that fast.  I suggest aiming for 5-10 pounds a month. 15 pounds in a month in some cases is attainable (depending on body type).

We want to set realistic goals because if your goal is to lose 20 pounds in a month, if you only lose 7 you might give up thinking all the hard is not working fast enough. When in hindsight, 7 pounds a month is really good!

Now I must warn you that initially, you will lose about 5-10 lbs. really fast. That is mostly water weight. When you start eating healthier your body sheds excess water. After the initial water weight flush, you will typically lose about 1-2 pounds a week depending on your body type.

 

photography by James Burk @youngestson_

 

 

3. Find The THING That What Works for You

When I first started going to the gym I thought to get in shape I had to do a lot of cardio, so I would go to the gym and do tons of cardio on the treadmill or elliptical. The only problem with that is I HATE CARDIO.  So, I would always give up after a few weeks because I hated it and I was bored (sounds familiar).

One day I stumbled across a group fitness class. It was a high intensity class, set to the latest music. It was the hardest I have ever worked thus far but I LOVED IT!  Then, something weird happened. I started to actually look forward to going to the gym. I know, crazy right! That class literally changed my life. Two years after my first group fitness class I became a certified Group Fitness Instructor and started to teach my own classes.

I say all that to say, find your “thing” that you like about fitness. You may like cardio, or Weight lifting, Zumba, Cross Fit or kick boxing… whatever it is, keep experimenting until you find your “Thing”. It doesn’t feel like work when you’re having fun!

 

 

4. No More Fad Diets

For research purposes, I did a quick google search on Fad Diets. There are some weird diets out there! There’s a diet called the 5-bite diet, where you eat whatever you want but only take 5 bites of food per meal.  Granted, you will lose weight by doing this, BUT you’re also starving yourself (who comes up with this stuff?). You should focus on total lifestyle changes instead of a quick fix. If the diet can’t be sustained for a long period of time it’s not a diet you should be trying. Personally, I usually stick to a low carb diet.  It’s what works for me when I’m attempting lose weight or maintain. But everyone’s body is different. The best place to start is to just make healthier choices when eating.

I do have a free meal plan that you can use to get yourself started. It’s just a basic outline of how to set up your meals to lose weight. Check it out at www.DejaFitBeauty.com

 

 

5. It’s a Lifestyle

If there’s one thing I can’t stress enough is that IT’S A LIFESTYLE. Being healthier and fit is an ongoing thing, not something you do for a few months to lose 10 pounds. Because guess what? as soon as you start making unhealthy choices again, you will gain the weight right back. Think long term when it comes to your health and fitness.

Every now and then (once a week or every other week) its ok to have a cheat meal. You actually lose more weight with a SMALL cheat every once in a while.  Having a pizza or piece of cake is fine in moderation. After a cheat meal, you are mentally and physically recharged and ready to get right back on track! So don’t be afraid or guilty to have a little cheat.   

 

photography by James Burk @youngestson_ 

 

I know this may sound like a lot but trust me, after a while eating healthier and exercising regularly will become natural and you won’t even have to think about it. I read somewhere that it takes at least 21 days for something to become a habit (I have tried this and it actually works). So, if your reading this and you’re ready to kick start your healthy lifestyle I challenge you to try for just 21 days. 3 weeks of consistency that’s all! I’m almost positive that if you can do this for 21 days your life will be changed. Let’s start 2018 off with a bang!

 

I welcome anyone to email me at Dejafitbeauty@gmail.com with any questions and to follow me on youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/DejaFitBeauty for more fitness and natural hair tips!
Deja Lewis (DejaFitbeauty on Youtube)
DejaFitBeauty.com
January 03, 2018 — EDEN BodyWorks
Mental Health + the Holidays

Mental Health + the Holidays

It's officially the holiday season, with Thanksgiving only a day away! When Eden BodyWorks reached out to me to write a piece on mental health and the holidays, I jumped at the opportunity. 


A little background, I have a Master of Arts in Counseling; Marriage and Family Therapy to be exact. I’ve worked in the Mental Health field for going on six years. I currently work as a school-based therapist with kids ages 5-17 who struggle with a host of mental health concerns such as Anxiety, ASD, ADHD, and Depression to name a few. I also have some experience working with Adults who struggle with SPMI (Serious and Persistent Mental Illness).

Holidays as most of you know can bring so much joy into our lives; it's a time to celebrate traditions, connect with family, friends and loved ones. Holidays, can also be a time of immense stress for others.  It can come with huge financial expectations or obligations; some people face loss of a job, loss of loved ones, anniversary of the death of a loved one, end of relationships, struggles with addiction, single and feeling pressured as to why you're not married yet; feelings of sadness and grief can take a toll on your mental state. These are just to name a few things that can really trigger or increase stress during the holidays and or lead to feelings of depression. Not to mention, if you have a mental health diagnosis, these situations can also exacerbate your symptoms.

While there's no empirical research that indicate suicides happen more often during the holidays, suicides do tend to happen during this time of year. I understand it's not something we may think about often, I want to encourage you  to reach out to friends and family and check in. Social media has a way of making it seem that you know what's going on with someone. As you know, things aren't always what they seem, especially on social media.
Today, I'm going to share a few tips on how to minimize stress this holiday season.

1) Be aware of your mindset. The power of positive thinking goes a long way. This is something I myself am still working on. It's a process, so don't be so hard on yourself.  Master your mind, master your life, they say.

2) Acknowledge your situation. If things aren't going the way you'd like, don't pretend your situation isn't happening by sweeping it under the rug. I currently tell my kids in therapy, if you hide a pizza box under your bed from mom, is the pizza box gone or just hidden?  You can't address what you ignore. Acknowledging your situation will help you adequately address your situation.

3) Utilize your tribe. Whether you have one person or three people in your life who are supportive, lean on them for support. If you don't have any supports; I strongly encourage you to start cultivating relationships, so that support is available to you not just in a crisis. The worst time to create crisis support is during a crisis.

4) Take some time for YOU. Whatever that looks like.  I almost feel like the word "self-care" has become a trend. Whatever is refreshing for your soul, do that. It doesn't have to mean shopping, getting your nails done or going to the spa, not that those things can't be self-care.  Turning your phone off for a few hours, not saying yes when you really want to say no. You cannot give to anyone what you don't have. Make sure you're not running on empty and trying to pour into everyone else.

5. Avoid toxic people and relationships.  While you may not be able to escape certain  family  members gatherings that might trigger stress for you; you can avoid certain conversations which will in turn be less stressful for you.

6. Know your limits, and don't over commit. Overextending yourself is a sure way to induce stress.  

7. ASK for help. There's SO much strength in recognizing when you need help and asking for help. I know at times it can seem daunting to ask, but doing so you find that people are more willing to lend a hand than you'd think.
A few resources:
Apps to utilize -
Calm
Relax Lite
Breathe
 
Resources-
NAMI- National Association of Mental Illness (www.nami.org)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
Crisis Textline (Text HOME to 741741)


Most cities or counties offer free or sliding scale therapy services
Psychology Today is a great resource to locate a therapist in your area. Don't forget to utilize your insurance provider to obtain lists on in- network providers to ensure services will be covered. 

I welcome you to email me to further the conversation at jewel@styleoptimist.com. Please visit my blog at www.styleoptimist.com. You can find me everywhere on social @styleoptimist.
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Happy Holidays from Jewel + the EDEN team
See you back here next week!
November 22, 2017 — EDEN BodyWorks
Tags: Self Care
Living Authentically with Britt Null

Living Authentically with Britt Null

Last month I was blessed to celebrate another birthday.  Turning 31 wasn’t exactly a milestone birthday in the traditional sense but considering some recent life changes, it was a milestone for me. Thoughts about what the past 31 years of my life have been raced through my mind, and while contemplating, one word surfaced; authenticity. 

Authenticity can be defined as “being true to one’s own personality , spirit or character”.  As I grappled with this word and the definition, several questions swarmed in my head. Have I lived an authentic life the past 31 years? Have I been true to my own personality, spirit and character?

While soul searching I was hit with a couple major epiphanies. The first was that I had spent a large portion of my existence living bits and pieces of authenticity, but not fully. The second was the realization that I was constantly seeking experiences to fulfill this “authentic” self I so desperately needed to be. Whether it was through friendships, traveling, motherhood, or finding the the perfect job. I was seeking authenticity or authentic experiences everywhere BUT inside myself.  As a society, we are all searching for something deeper; some sort of connection or way to be true to ourselves. We are stuck in an ideal of authenticity rather than it’s reality.  We jump on social media to find ourselves or relate to others but lose who we TRULY are in the process. So, what’s the solution? I don’t have the perfect answer or fix; but rather a few focus points I’ve found helpful in my own journey to living authentically.

  1. Embrace who God made you be:  Just be yourself! A concept so easily expressed by children but lost in adulthood. The older we get, the more we allow the opinions of other’s to shape who we are; finding ourselves drifting away from the person we were meant to be. Flaunt those quirks and be proud of all the pieces that encompass “you”. The gap between your teeth, or the loud, obnoxious laugh (yep, that’s totally me). 
  2. Spend time doing things that make YOU happy: Taking time for ourselves seems to be a lost art. Working or involving ourselves in a million activities has slowly become more important than experiencing life itself. Slow down and take a few hours or minutes (if that’s all you have) doing the things you love.
  3. Be vulnerable! Vulnerability is NOT weakness. Allowing ourselves a space to be completely open and honest is the gateway to living authentically. When we allow ourselves to make mistakes, take risks and be okay with it, we go from surviving to thriving! 

So, that’s it. I don’t have it all together, but I’m embracing the journey and so incredibly thankful to be authentically me. 
 
~Britt~
xoxox
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To keep up with Britt, follow her on Instagram at @brittnull and on YouTube at Britt's Space.
All pictures taken by @crissicurly
October 11, 2017 — EDEN BodyWorks