Looking After Yourself During the Coronavirus Pandemic


Now, more than ever, we need to be looking after ourselves and those around us. We are in the middle of a global pandemic that has seen whole countries go into lockdown, and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have lost their lives. We must reclaim a little bit of time where we can for ourselves and look after our mental health and wellbeing.

However, when leaving your house for anything other than the bare essentials is discouraged, and you have to maintain social distancing, how can you keep your mind and body well? In this post, we will look at a few of the things that you can do.

Nutrition
This is fundamental if you want to stay healthy, but it can also be challenging at the moment. There are some food shortages in stores, and we are having to think very carefully before going grocery shopping. However, if you have a plan in place before you go to the shops, you can avoid panic buying and wiping out supplies for the rest of your community. 

Before you head out, take inventory of what you already have in your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards and plan meals around those. Every meal should be nutritionally balanced - the NHS Live Well plate is an excellent representation of what you should include in your meals.

Fitness
You might not be able to get to the gym right now, but that does not mean that your fitness regime has to come to a complete halt. It is still okay to walk, cycle or run outside, as long as you are maintaining a two-metre distance from other people. Many fitness instructors are offering online classes at the moment to follow at home. Just check out Joe Wickes or even Oti Mabuse dance classes on Facebook and YouTube.

Remember, fitness does not have to be intense cardio-based activities or weights, either. Some everyday activities, such as gardening or vigorous cleaning, all go towards maintaining fitness levels.

Stress and sleep
Stress and sleep often go hand in hand. Not getting enough sleep can cause additional stress, and stress can prevent you from getting enough sleep. It is possible to break this vicious cycle, however.

Yoga and meditation are excellent ways of coping with stress. Try it for a while, and you will soon see what yoga does to your body. They can be done at home in a relatively small place with very little equipment. Look online for yoga classes.

In terms of sleep, maintaining some routine is key. If you have been furloughed from work or are shielding, it can be tempting to stay up late and have lie-ins. While this is fine once in a while, it can be disruptive to sleep patterns. Try to keep to a set bedtime every night and wake up at the same time every day.

Screen time can also be detrimental to getting a good night’s sleep. If possible, avoid looking at your phone, tablet, computer, or TV for at least an hour before you go to bed and certainly not if you wake up in the night. 

Another thing to do is to avoid caffeine after about 2 pm. This includes coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and fizzy drinks such as cola.

Have a calm space
You know how children are often sent to time out to calm down and regather their thoughts? Well, why not create an adult time out area? Make it cosy and calming - perhaps a big beanbag or comfy seat with cushions and a blanket, candles or soft fairy lights, no technology other than maybe a speaker to play calming music and an air-purifying plant. When things feel like they are getting too much, retreat to the area with a drink and a book or sit and do some meditation for a while.


Maintain social interaction

While face to face social interaction is a no-go at the moment, that does not mean that you can’t talk to anyone. It just means you have to be a little bit more creative. Zoom, Houseparty, Facetime, Whatsapp - these are all great platforms for helping you to stay connected with your nearest and dearest. 



Get up and get dressed

It can be tempting when we have nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one to see to sit around in our PJs or baggy sweats and forgo the shower and hair care that day. It may not seem like it matters too much in the grand scheme of things, but maintaining your usual personal hygiene routine and getting dressed every day can do wonders for your mental health.






Having fresh second day curls


Have you have ever styled your curls so well that you didn’t want to sleep to avoid messing them up? Styling your curls after the shower will definitely take some time. But if you are using the right products, the results can be breath taking. But now that the day is over and you need to go to bed, you might feel worried about having to style your hair again in the morning.

As you sleep your amazing curls can get a little bit crazy. Sleep in a bun and your curls will go flat. Using a hair band to tie your hair can leave an unattractive dent that will look bad in the morning. If you decide to sleep without styling your hair, you might wake up with an unbelievable mane.  As a result, you might feel that you will have to style your hair all over again, just to be able to leave the house with confidence. You might even go weak and finally given in to chemical treatments that promise no hassle. 

Washing and styling your hair every single day is not a practical option. On one side, it strips your hair off its natural oils. These are the oils that naturally moisturise your scalp and hair strands. They are essential to keep your hair elastic and strong.


Sleep Right
You need to learn how to sleep right so that you can easily refresh your hair in the morning. Sleeping in a pineapple will help keep your curls intact. You can avoid having flat hair after sleeping for the night. 
Satin or silk pillow cases are so much better for your hair than cotton. Cotton causes static that makes your hair frizzy. Satin and silk will allow your hair to glide smoothly and your curls will look better in the morning. If you don’t have silk pillow cases, you can sleep in a silk or satin bonnet. It will keep your hair smooth and frizz free. 


Rise and shine
After sleeping for the night, you need to refresh your hair in the morning. Avoid brushing or combing your hair as it can change your curls to a messy frizz. Simply tilt your head upside down and scrunch some styling product in. If your curls have gone flat overnight, simply mist your hair so that it is easier to style. You can mix some of your favourite oil with the water to add some shine and smoothness to your strands. After applying more leave in conditioner and some styling gel or mousse, it is time to recoil your hair. Wrap the flat strands around your fingers and scrunch as much as you can. You can set your blowdryer on cold to dry your hair if it is a bit wet. 


Having good looking second, third and even fourth day curls is all about what you do the night before. If you don’t take care of your curls overnight, you will definitely get frustrated in the morning. It is all about using the right products and techniques in order to save precious time in the morning. You will easily have great curls that look like a lot of effort.

The Best Post Workout Foods & Supplements



If you’re a regular reader, then you may recall a recent post on the best pre-workout foods and supplements to consume before exercising. A lot of people seemed to enjoy that, and it gave you a few ideas to kickstart your workouts and attack them with more energy and alertness. Naturally, it got me thinking about another important aspect of working out: your post-workout routine. Taking care of yourself after exercise is just as - if not more - important than taking care of yourself beforehand. You should think of it as your recovery stage. This is where you give your body a chance to repair and refuel following a lot of hard work. With that in mind, you can improve post-workout recovery by consuming the right foods and supplements. As I said before, I’m not a nutrition expert by any stretch of the imagination. If you want professional advice, then speak to a nutritionist! However, I have done a lot of research and have found a few ideas that are proven to keep you fit and healthy after your workouts: 



Proteins
Anyone with a slight bit of exercise experience will know that protein has to be at the top of your supplements list. You’ll notice that many of the foods, later on, are here because they’re an excellent source of protein. Your body needs this substance to grow muscle. In essence, it’s essential to help fuel the muscle cells and encourage them to repair and grow even stronger than before. If your body was devoid of all protein, then your muscles would basically waste away. It’s a very easy supplement to get your hands on as well - there are loads of great protein powders out there for everyone. Think about your fitness goals before you choose a product, some protein powders are called ‘mass gainers’ as they help you put on more weight. If you want to lose weight, then opt for one with few calories.

BCAAs
BCCA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. This is a crucial supplement that helps you recover a lot faster after a workout. Amino acids exist within the body to help with something called protein synthesis. Effectively, BCAAs work to improve the way your body produces and uses protein. For this reason, it’s an excellent thing to take alongside your protein shake after a workout. In fact, when consumed in powdered form, you can mix it in with your shake and get two supplements in one. There are lots of BCAA benefits to help you feel better after working out. Do you often feel really sore the next day? This is called delayed onset muscle soreness - DOMS -and taking a BCAA supplement is shown to help prevent it. Or, at least, reduce the soreness you feel.

Glutamine
This is another amino acid that you should definitely think about adding to your supplements roster. Again, it will speed up the recovery process by improving the way your body functions.
Glutamine will make your body use carbohydrates far more efficiently, providing you with the energy needed to avoid a huge comedown. It also helps you produce more muscle mass, which can increase the size and tone of your muscles. Again, you can take this in powdered or tablet form depending on your preference.

CBD/CBG
Lastly, we have two supplements in the form of cannabinoids. There is some controversy surrounding things like CBD and CBG because of where they come from. Yes, they derive from the cannabis plant, but they are not drugs at all. In fact, many professional athletes take these supplements while performing as they are safe and not banned by any athletic organizations. CBD is the more well-known, and it can help fight inflammation, provide a better night’s sleep, and make you feel more relaxed. The benefits of CBG are believed to be similar, but potentially even stronger! As such, these supplements are great at helping your body recover following a tough exercise session. Reducing inflammation stops muscle soreness, you feel more relaxed, and you can sleep deeper and for longer - giving your body more time to recover.


Foods
The thing about supplements is that they can’t and shouldn’t exist on their own. You should use them alongside a healthy diet composed of whole foods. Essentially, the purpose of supplements is to give your body a boost of things that you might struggle to get a lot of when you eat. So, here are some foods you should definitely start adding to your post-workout meals as well:

Eggs
There have long been stories of people gulping down raw eggs after workouts. You don’t need to do this, but eggs themselves are an excellent post-workout food source. They contain lots of protein per egg, and the yolk is a wonderful source of essential vitamins, fats, and minerals. You get a good bit of iron from eggs, which a lot of women are deficient in. A good way to incorporate them into a post-workout meal is to either poach or boil them. These are the healthiest ways to cook eggs as you don't use oil!

Salmon
Salmon - and lots of other types of fish - are the perfect thing to eat after workouts. Again, you get a good source of protein from salmon. However, it also contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential for your brain health, but they also work with your body to prevent muscle soreness. It’s very easy to implement salmon into a post-workout meal or to have it as a little snack between meals.

Sweet Potato
A killer nutritional mistake is to avoid carbs after a workout. Carbohydrates are a key source of energy for your body. After a workout, you will feel a natural lull as your body is tired. So, adding carbs to your meal is a great way to refuel yourself and continue attacking the day. This is essential if you work out during the day and still have things to do. Of course, some carb sources are healthier than others. Sweet potato is a great thing to have as it’s an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Another benefit of sweet potatoes is that they support your immune system. After working out, it’s common for your immune system to suffer a little dip, so this helps correct that.

Nuts & Seeds
If you don’t eat a big meal straight after working out, then nuts can be your best friend. They are chocked full of protein, good fats, fiber, and lots of other minerals and vitamins. The high protein and fiber content means that they tend to fill you up quite quickly as well. This makes them an ideal post-workout snack as you’re biding your time between meals. Plus, you can easily bring them in a little bag or tub to snack on as you leave the gym. Seeds also fall into the same category, though they can be a bit harder to eat on their own. Still, a great benefit of nuts and seeds is that they can be used as toppings for so many other things! Sprinkle them on oatmeal, yogurt, or even salads.
So, there you have it: the best post-workout foods and supplements to consume. Pair these with the pre-workout ideas mentioned in my previous post, and you’ve got yourself a great nutritional plan! Taking care of your body both before and after exercise will help you improve performance and speed up your recovery. The only thing left to consider is how you should fuel your body during workouts!

How To Care For Dyed Natural Hair


There's a lot of fear and confusion when dyeing natural hair. As the strands are already fragile and prone to dryness and breakage, the added chemicals from dye can exacerbate common issues. However, dyeing natural hair isn't out of the question, as long as you're ready to commit to your hair care routine. If you've started the dyeing process or want to change your look, here are some tips to help you care for your dyed natural hair.

Make Changes Slowly
The number one rule of dyeing your hair is to make changes slowly, especially when going lighter. You can't go into the salon one day and expect to walk out a platinum blonde, otherwise, you'll wake up without hair. Know that it could take a few months of dyeing and aftercare to achieve the colour you want. You may have to go a few months with a shade that you don't like to be able to eventually achieve the shade you love. In the meantime, consider wearing a wig until you're where you want to be. Wear a silk cap to help protect your natural hair underneath— learn more in this post about how to secure a wig at EvaWigs.

Hydrate and Moisturise Daily
Hydration and moisturisation are an essential step in caring for natural hair. Dyes and bleach strip moisture from your strands, so this step becomes critical. Make time every day to hydrate and moisturise your hair. This process will look different for everyone but should consist of adding a daily conditioning spray or cream. If you aren't already pre-conditioning your hair when you wash it, consider adding this step to the process as well.


Use a Detangler
Detangling becomes more important when your natural hair is dyed as well. To take care of your hair, forget the simple wash-and-go when you're rocking colour. Use a detangling spray and set aside time to detangle with a wide-tooth comb every time you wash your hair. Remember to be extra gentle with your hair when detangling. Start from the ends and work up to the roots, carefully working through knots to avoid breakage.

Add a Protein Treatment to the Mix

When you dye your hair, you should plan on doing a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week.  If you're going lighter, consider adding a protein mask to the mix. A keratin hair treatment can help nourish and strengthen your locks, giving them the gusto they need to withstand the dyeing process. 

As healing begins from the inside out, ensuring that your diet offers enough lean protein, collagen, and biotin can help prevent breakage as well. 


Default to Protective Styles
When you dye natural hair, you'll want to put it in protective styles 99% of the time. It's important to keep those ends tucked now more than ever. However, you'll have to be cautious of tight braids that cause tension and breakage to your sensitive locks. You'll also want to be extra cautious at night, using a braid-out or knots and silk pillowcase at all times. You might even consider adding a silk scarf if you move around a lot in your sleep.

Invest in High-Quality Products

Dyeing your hair is an investment. If you want to protect your natural hair during this process, you must be willing to invest in high-quality products. Avoid using box dye and visit your stylist instead, especially when you're going lighter. You'll also want to buy a high-quality colour protectant shampoo and conditioner  that's optimised for curly or kinky hair. 



If you want to protect your natural hair when dyeing it, the two things to remember are patience and quality. You need patience in building your colour and care routine, and quality in each product you apply. By keeping these things in mind, you'll get the style you love without causing lasting damage.


4 Steps to Self Care During LockDown



When it comes to self-care, a lot of people gloss over the term not really understanding
what it means and the significance it has in the lives of many people. It is even more important
at a time like this, where we are being encouraged to stay in our homes, maintain social
distancing from our friends and family and prevented from doing a lot of the things that we
usually do to keep our mental health stable.


However, there are some things that you can do to try and keep on top of self-care during the
Coronavirus outbreak and make it a priority without putting yourself at any risk.
Read on to find out more:

Exercise
When it comes to self-care, many people imagine lying back in a hot bubble bath with a face mask on. While that can be a form of self-care for many people, looking after your mind and body is the greatest thing, and there is no better way of doing this than exercise.

Of course, going to the gym or hitting the local swimming baths is not the best idea at the moment, so you need to think of things that you can do either at home or that allow you to maintain social distancing. Perhaps use this time to find out how to get into yoga, or maybe you discover you really like following an online Zumba workout class.

Check in with people
Just because you can’t socially mix with your family and friends in person, it doesn’t mean that you can’t socialise at all. Thanks to technology such as social media, WhatsApp and Zoom, you can have group chats with your loved ones. Why not arrange a party night? Everyone can get dressed up in their fancy outfits, pour a cocktail and have a night out but staying in!

Have a routine
One of the hardest parts of being shut away at home, particularly if you are not working at the moment, is the lack of routine. Not having normality can play havoc with our mental health, so implementing a routine and incorporating self-care within that is important. It may be as simple as getting up in the morning and having a long hot shower before slathering on body lotion and getting dressed. Sometimes, doing hair and makeup and nails can make us feel good, even if it is just to wrap back up in a blanket and watch Netflix on the couch!

Treat yourself
Buy that expensive piece of steak and bottle of wine, light the candles and use your fanciest dining plates, even if it is just you on your own! Dig out that fancy cream or perfume that you put away for a special occasion and use it. Order that pair of merino wool socks. If it makes you feel good, do it. After all, there is nothing much else to do at the moment!

Self-care is always important, but never so much as it is during a worldwide pandemic. Look after yourself and your mental health.

The Best Pre-Workout Foods & Supplements

{Source: Pexels}

I am not an expert when it comes to nutrition but I know there is no substitute for eating a
well balanced diet but sometimes our bodies need a little help and sometime we need a
little help. With the current rapidly changing environment many of use are choosing to work
out inside and may not be getting some of the nutrients we may need to stay in shape.

Some days our workouts go amazingly; we feel super energised, alert, and able to really
push for the burn. Other days, things don’t go so well, we feel lethargic, and that final thirty
seconds on the treadmill feels like an eternity! To increase your chances of having a fab
workout every time, the key is in what you put into your body before you hit the gym. You
should plan out your pre-workout meals and supplements carefully, to give yourself every
chance of boosting your performance. For a few ideas to get you started, check out some
of the best pre-workout foods and supplements.

Supplements

1 . Nitrate
Small amounts of nitrate are produced in our bodies, and you’ll find this molecule in
vegetables like beetroot, turnips, or spinach. The molecule is helpful for exercise because it’s
converted into nitric oxide, which helps to increase your blood flow. You can purchase nitric
oxide in supplement form or try drinking beetroot juice, a popular drink for runners.

2. Creatine
Creatine supplements are popular among keen athletes; it’s a substance that occurs naturally
inside our muscle cells. The substance helps the body to create the energy it needs to perform
intense exercise. Creatine can be found in meats such as pork and beef or fish like tuna and
salmon. Taking creatine supplements are often reported as helpful for those who complete
regular vigorous exercise. 

3. Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that differs slightly from other amino acids used by your body.
It’s non-essential, and it is not used to synthesize proteins. Combined with histidine, the acid
produces carnosine. From here, carnosine can help to reduce the build up of lactic acid, which
enables you to achieve an improved workout.

For more ideas, companies such as muscle rage have some great pre-workout supplements
containing beta-alanine plus a whole range of other supplements to support your exercise
regime.

Foods

1 . Chicken
If you want to achieve the best workout session, it’s essential to eat enough protein before you
begin. Protein is a crucial macronutrient that we all need to remain healthy. Protein helps to
boost the immune system, provide energy and repair damage. For a tasty pre-workout dinner,
chicken is undoubtedly the way to go. Besides protein, chicken is also full of minerals such as
phosphorus and calcium, which can help to keep your bones strong. Remember to add a
side of green vegetables for an extra nutritional boost. Increasing your intake of vegetables is
an excellent way to stay in shape and remain healthy.

2. Eggs
Another protein favourite, eggs make the best pre-workout breakfast. Add a little avocado and
smoked salmon on the side, and you’re good to go! Eggs also contain vitamins E and D, both
of which can help to boost our immune system.

3. Oatmeal
Oatmeal is another fab meal to snack on before you hit the gym. Oats are full of healthy
vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants too. Eating a large bowl of oats will help you to keep up your
stamina for longer, with a gradual release of energy. What’s more, eating oatmeal can help to
reduce the risk of heart disease and also to lower blood sugar levels.

When consuming any new supplements, be sure to check with your doctor first if you are
taking any pharmaceutical drugs.

Keep Safe & Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu




How to Avoid These Three Causes Of Ageing


We've all heard the phrase 'Black don't Crack!' (check out the Netflix clip below) and you may think it vain to worry about the process of ageing, but it’s also human nature. No one wants to feel like they are getting old while they are still young. I often look in the mirror and see a 21 year looking back at me but at 40, I have started to think about looking after myself more and how to keep that youthful glow that is starting to lose its luster. Unfortunately a lot of people do start to feel like they are looking older and it’s worth exploring why this is.

Why do some people find that their hair turns grey before they reach thirty?

Why do other’s struggle with wrinkles around their eyes at 25?

You would be right in assuming that some of this is definitely tied to genetics. You might be able to blame your parents if your skin starts to sag earlier than your friends. But there are often other factors at play here too. So, let’s explore the causes of age and help you handle them the right way. 


Smoking And Drinking 
We all have bad habits and crutches. You might be familiar with these two yourself and if you are, it’s worth noting that both are going to cause you to age faster than you would probably like. Smoking causes wrinkles to develop around your lips which is a sure sign of the ageing process. At the same time, it’s possible that if you drink, you might be more likely to develop a prominent tummy and notice other changes to your skin. We often forget that drinks like wine are actually filled with calories. If your diet isn’t working, your preference for a glass of red with dinner could be the reason. The best way to handle this is to find the right alternative. For smoking, you can try vaping instead with cheap vape kits providing everything you need to get started with this fashionable trend. Alternatively, if you like a drink you could consider a nonalcoholic beverage that provides the same flavour without the damage. 


Stress


Stress is another issue which definitely causes you to age faster than you would think. If you have noticed that your hair is starting to turn grey or perhaps even thinning, then this could definitely be a sign that you are overly stressed and anxious in your life. It’s often not possible to reverse the process once it has begun. But what you can do instead is to make sure that you are finding a way to cope with your stress. This could slow down the greying of your hair. One option is meditation. Through meditation, you will be able to calm your body and your mind at the same time. Research shows that it can have tremendous benefits. 


Pollution 


Finally, this one is a little more difficult to avoid because it all depends on where you spend most of your time. Studies do suggest that those who live in urban areas with high levels of pollution will age faster compared to those out in a rural location. This could also be tied to stress because it’s often more relaxing to live out of the city. Indeed, research shows that the best way to live is to have a house in the country at the weekend and an apartment in the city for the weekdays.

Even though we are getting older it is still advisable to look after your skin.

If you still don't think black cant crack, did you catch this sketch from the Astronomy Club from Netflix, I was left on the floor in stitches because we all know this too well. 

"What happened to her" " Oh girl,  she was 123, it was her time"

Embrace Your Inner '123 year old' AfroDeity
Leilu