Hint: these have nothing to do with your immediate hair or beauty regimen, but they matter just as much.
me taking a #selfieforselflove

Hint: these have nothing to do with your immediate hair or beauty regimen, but they matter just as much.

1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up

I am a daily coffee drinker whose internal body clock does not actually wake up without a few ounces of espresso running through my veins, but that does not mean I neglect the fact that my system also requires proper hydration. Start your day off with a glass of purified water with lemon. According to Sleep Journal studies, the mouth-breathers (AKA snorers) lose about 42 percent body fluids while they sleep, leaving them with a dry mouth upon waking up. Lemon will balance the alkaline levels in your blood, and a full glass of water will help to improve your cognitive performance, attention to detail and stress levels throughout the day.  

2. Wash your hands when necessary

If you care about your internal health as much as you do your curl definition and glowing skin, regularly practicing the act of washing your hands before every meal and after using the restroom ought to be a no-brainer. You would be surprised the average amount of times we all touch our hair and face throughout the day. This also goes for an occasional disinfecting session that involves wiping the germs off your laptop keyboard, phone screen, desk surface, car steering wheel, and anything else you frequently put your hands on. I also keep plenty of mini hand sanitizers around my work and home common areas to ensure that, when I feel it is needed, I'll slather and rub one into my hands. Keep in mind that in order to be considered effective, your sani must be at least 60% alcohol-based.

3. Log off for the day

Many of us use computers and social media at work, but I dare you to log off your personal accounts for an entire day. Do something for yourself in the present moment, whether it is in solitude or around people who appreciate your existence. Not saying that every one of your online friends, connections, or followers have bad intentions and don't like you personally, but we all have the tendency to get wrapped up in overwhelming our brains with mundane, negative and distracting far too often than what is healthy, according to psychology researchers. I recently logged off--and deleted my social media apps--for five whole days, and I cannot express how rejuvenated I felt once I returned back to my online presence. With all of the current news, namely in politics and culture, you owe yourself some quality time to unplug.

4. Eat plenty of chocolate

Preferably, raw, organic dark chocolate. This sweet treat is known to offer multiple health benefits for improving heart function, increasing healthy blood circulation, reducing bad cholesterol levels, and protecting your skin against the sun. While most researches state that 100mg does the trick, I certainly aim for consuming a healthy amount of chocolate on a weekly basis. Sure, each meal in the day is meant to nourish our bodies, but it is so necessary to maintain a balance and treat yourself to something that not only tastes like heaven, but will hopefully prolong your time here on Earth, as well.

5. Listen to a lit playlist

Have a jam session no matter where you are: during the commute on the way to work, at work, while cooking dinner, while taking a bath, and before bedtime. When it's time to get things done, music is my personal key that opens the door of productivity. Experts in neurology agree, saying that, "music stimulates an ancient reward pathway in the brain, encouraging dopamine to flood the striatum—a part of the forebrain activated by addiction, reward, and motivation." Next time you have to practice more attention to detail, or if you feel the urge to refill your coffee cup, put on a good playlist that will give you the good vibes to uplift and encourage.

6. Breathe intentionally and mindfully

This is a healthy habit I picked up just a few months ago, and it definitely works. Next time you are faced with a potentially stressful situation that is seemingly out of your control, be aware of just how much power you have over making the moment either tolerable and brief or long and painful. Conscious breathing shows effects of regulating stress levels, and is a "is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system," according to Dr. Benjamin Gonzalez, M.D., who supports the popular 4:7:8 breathing technique created by alternative medicine guru, Dr. Weil.

To sum it up

Self-care starts with doing more of the things that matter to you. It also includes an incredibly diverse array of tasks, routines, habits and rituals that do not necessarily directly correlate with hair and skincare. It's time to get back to putting ourselves first. Start by checking in with yourself, asking, What do I want?

The answer may or may not surprise you, but I hope this post encourages you to look within and start doing the work.

How do you practice self-care?

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Watch how some of the NC editors practice self-care here: