I grew up in Lagos Nigeria. There, people are generally very nice and extra friendly, like they want to know ALL your business, however, they MAY hesitate to share theirs. For instance, people can be very private about simple things like their travel plans. As your may imagine, when it comes to serious issues like mental health disorders, well, it is discussed in hushed tones, behind closed doors.
“Never mention this to anyone, It will bring shame to our family”
As a result, many suffer in silence. The shame, the stigmatization, No one talks about it.
That is why I am INCREDIBLY PROUD of my guest on the podcast. Her Name is Ms. Chinazor Onyebuchi. She is an SME business consultant; supporting small and medium sized businesses withixn and outside Nigeria.
She is an amazing young lady who is doing awesome things while battling clinical depression
She courageously shares her story to say ENOUGH of the stigmatization. She shares her story to let people know that mental health disorders are REAL, and to let others know that it is wise to seek help
In Her own words “ If I can Impact just one person, that would be totally worth it”
She also speaks about how depression has affected her personal and professional relationships. In her own words
“ I have lost a lot of friends and it hurts“
She also shares some of her lowest moments to show that if she can rise from depression and live a fully functional life, then you can too
Click on the player below to listen to the full episode.
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The inspiration for this podcast episode and blog came from the facebook 10-year challenge. On the podcast today I shared a little of what life was like for me in 2009, and some of the changes and lessons I have learned since then.
In 2009 I had just finished a Voluntary one-year service to my country; Nigeria, where I was privileged to teach high school students Integrated science for a year. I also supervised polio immunizations in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State during that time. At the end of the one year service program, I returned home to my parents and had a hard time finding another job. So in 2009, I decided to go to graduate school.
Here are 5 lessons I have learned from the 10-year challenge
Time is Precious
One key thing to remember is that time is the most precious gift that we have been given and that we can, in turn, give others. Spend time with the people you love, show up for their events; weddings, birthdays and celebrations ( if you are invited LOL).
Often people say they are too busy to be there for their friends and family. This sort of reasoning almost always leads to regret. Over the years, I have trouble remembering the specifics of all the gifts I have received, but I never forget who showed up when I needed them the most. SHOW UP!
Time is precious and expensive, so spend your time wisely.
You cannot stop time, you cannot rewind time, and you cannot fast-forward time, so LIVE in the present.
Have fun, let your hair down and don’t get too serious all the time. Invest your time in things that will make you proud in the future. Every day, do something to get you one step closer to your goals and dreams. MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT.
The best time to get started on a goal was yesterday, the next best time is NOW, so get your favorite planner/ stationary and start writing down your goals and action plans; turn those precious goals to reality.
2. Take care of your Body
Take good care of your body from the inside out. Eat good food, drink lots of water, exercise and recharge your mind and body. By all means lather on that sunscreen.
There are no readily available spare parts for your body so treat your body with the love and respect it deserves. Don’t skip that daily beauty routine and your future self will thank you for it. Don’t get carried away with every new beauty product that comes in the market. Choose non-toxic and gentle acting products. I use Cetaphil and Cerave products for cleansing my face. They are incredibly gentle on the skin and very affordable.
Take good care of your Teeth. Your smile is one of the first introductions you can make. It tells a lot about your personal hygiene. So take care of your teeth. Invest in a good toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, mouthwash and please see a dentist. Below are the products I use to take care of my teeth daily. (Previously I had really sensitive teeth and Sensodyne toothpaste worked well for me). See a dentist, get your specific dental issues addressed.
There is absolutely no reason to walk around with bad breath and vegetables stuck in your teeth. personally, this is a MAJOR turn off for me. Maybe because I spent 5+ years of my life in a Ph.D. program investigating gum disease (LOL).
One of the great ways to improve your self is to travel. See the world and experience different cultures. I Know for many, this may seem unattainable, Yes, not everyone gets the chance to travel to different countries and experience different cultures, but on the pages of a book, you sure CAN! Just read BOOKS! A lot of incredibly amazing people have traveled and seen the world and documented their experiences on the pages of these amazing books, all you have to do is open the pages of the books. Challenge yourself to see life through the eyes of another. Question your beliefs and get grounded in your truth. The way to do this is by seeking knowledge, read more books, be inquisitive.
One of the easy ways I read more is by getting audio versions of my favorite books so that I can listen to the books during my daily commute or whenever I find the time. I use Audible! click on the link below to get started with Audible and get 2 free audiobooks
I also download my favorite books on my mobile devices using kindle and viola! never a boring day. Click on the link below to download the Kindle app and get your first month for free.
4. Do Not Worry
Looking back at 2009, everything I worried about was resolved, if I didn’t get what I wanted, I definitely got a solution that I needed. I know life is difficult, but try not to worry and fret over things you cannot control. Instead, focus on working towards your goals. Always do your best! Things will work out. Doing your best doesn’t mean working yourself to near exhaustion, NO. It means seeking out information first hand from the source, burning the midnight oil, and asking for help when you need it. No man is an Island, find good mentors. Good things will come.
Moisturize Moisturize Moisturize. Your skin will thank you in the future for moisturizing. Remember to choose a moisturizer that has sunscreen to protect your precious skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. Please forget about bleaching your skin and treat your skin with love and care. EVERY SKIN COLOR IS BEAUTIFUL, INCLUDING YOURS DEAR SISTER. In 2019, LOVE THYSELF!
10 years from now, when you look back at your pictures from 2019, you want be proud of the man/woman in that picture.
Get a good body lotion and moisturize. Below are some good body moisturizers.
Wash your face before bed and remove ALL traces makeup before bed (if you use makeup).
(Full Disclosure as an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases)
The 10-year challenge is a great opportunity to look back in gratitude for how far you have come. Give yourself a pat on the back. You are doing good. Progress may be slow, but you are progressing and succeeding. You definitely are not where you used to be. Celebrate that. Finally, Never compare your journey with that of another.
Click on the player below to listen to the Full episode on the podcast; Episode 59: 10 years Ago!
A common new year resolution that most people have is to stay fit, stay healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Sadly few truly know how to go about it and often give up on these goals few days into the year.
On this UNIQUE Episode, I interview a Registered Dietician Ms. Abigail Clarke who encourages us to EAT WITH OUR HANDS, as a way to manage weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle in 2019.
Ms. Abigail Clarke is a Registered Dietician, and currently a Ph.D. student in Nutrition at Loma Linda University California.
It isn’t what you may be thinking. I am not directly asking you to start eating with your bare hands, but to consider using your hands as portion control for your meals.
The hands are proportional to the body, they are readily accessible for measuring food portions because you always carry them with you!
I am going to show you in the following images below a few pointers on how your hands can serve as a guide for portion control. I also recommend Amazon products that will help with meal prep moving forward (Full disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases). One effective way that I control what I eat during the day is by packing my own meals.
A portion of chicken, fish, beef or other protein is the size and width of your palm. Vegetables in yhr palm of your hands
starchy carbohydrates like pasta, pototoes, and rice are the size of your fists. One palm full of nuts, a serving of fat including oil or butter is half a thumb.
Find out the benefits oif eating with your hands by clicking on the player below to listen to Epiosde 58: Eat with your HANDS!
I haven’t always been big on smiles. Growing up, I was always the one to be reminded to “smile” in family photos, and even then I would forcefully stretch my lips till they hurt.
As you set your goals for the New Year, I want to encourage you to do 3 little things every day that will help you make meaningful connections this year, and take your networking game to a new level.
Smiling is one of the easiest things you can do this year that will help you establish a real and lasting connection with people. Did you know that it takes as little as 7 seconds to make a first impression? Why not do it with a smile? In a world where there are so many reasons not to smile; BILLS, disappointments, sorrow, pain, and responsibilities, for some, smiling may seem so difficult.
Personally, I wear my emotions on my face, so it’s so easy to tell exactly how I feel by merely observing my endless facial expressions.
Even while walking on the street, strangers have told me to “smile”. (To be honest, I find this really annoying)
One of the things I learned how to do last year was to smile more. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve had a lot of practice, oftentimes by modeling different smiles in front of a friend and asking her which smile she liked the best, or by using good old mirrors!
I often chuckle now when people say that I’m friendly. It hasn’t always been this way. I’ve had practice and smiling is the easiest way to break the ice.
P.S I still find it difficult to smile when I’m hungry.
Benefits of Smiling
It shows compassion and care
Brings hope and lifts the spirits
Puts a smile on someone else’s face too
Did you know that everytime you smile the brain receives a signal to release the happy hormone “endorphin” which in turn can be effective in calming and relieving stress, thereby creating a positive feedback loop of continued happiness?
Here’s your first assignment this year, Try smiling at the next person you see and watch what happens!
I took the picture below on the same day, which picture do you think looks more welcoming? Which picture says I’m open for conversation and ready to network?
“If someone is missing a smile, give them one of yours”
– Dolly Parton
2. Be Present and Maintain Eye Contact
Another easy thing you can do differently this year is to be 100% present in conversations and maintain eye contact during conversations. Lots of things compete for our attention these days, but to make a real connection with people, you want to put away distractions i.e. your best friend: THE CELLPHONE, and make a genuine connection.
Maintaining eye contact in a conversation makes you come across as confident, reliable, sociable, warm and honest.
I’m not saying keep gazing into people’s eyes non-stop. However, make an effort to focus when you connect with people this year.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
– Maya Angelou
If you only have a minute to make a genuine connection with someone every day, make them feel like they are the most important person in the room for that minute, and they will long to be around you all the time.
I personally love the 10-4 Rule. When I am about 10 ft away from a person I make a conscious effort to smile, and then when I get within 4 ft of them I then say hello! It shows people that you are warm and open to having a conversation.
3. Address People By Their Names
One last thing you can do this year to make meaningful connections and be warmer and welcoming this year is simply to address people by their names.
A powerful way to connect with a person is to address them by name. It not only shows you value them but makes them feel important as well. Personally, it’s a turn off when people forget my name or call me the wrong name, and then proceed to ask me personal questions.
I know some people are genuinely forgetful, but you can improve on this skill by asking for a brief history behind the name or the meaning of the name when you first meet a person, and by using their names throughout the conversation. (I find that this is most helpful with non-English names)
You will be amazed at how many conversations I’ve started this way! People love to talk about their experiences. It not only makes them feel special, but it also helps me remember their names.
Always ask people how they will like to be addressed before you get comfortable calling them their first names. I find that in the African setting people love to be addressed by their titles. LOL.
In summary, smile more this year, be present in conversations, maintain eye contact, and address people by their names.
These 3 little things will help you connect better with people this year and improve your networking game.
Click on the player below to listen to the full podcast episode on “The Power of a Smile”.
On this episode, April walks us through her journey dealing with breast cancer and how it impacted her life. She speaks on how her relationship was affected, getting a mastectomy, breast reconstructive surgery, and her new interests.
April also speaks on the role of faith, support from loved ones, finding the right medical team, diet, exercise, and communication with one’s own body as key elements to her recovery.
Even though life dealt April a tough card with breast cancer, she has chosen to use her experience to empower other women who might be going through a similar situation, to let them know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. In my eyes, April turned an imperfect situation into a perfect opportunity to spread love.
Listen to the complete episode by clicking on the link below
If you are wondering how to help a friend who has breast cancer, click here.
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control, and form a malignant tumor. It is the most common cancer in American women, after skin cancers. Presently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12%. For more information on breast cancer please visit this Link.
Once while spending the night at a friends house, I asked to use her bathroom to shower and was quite surprised at the arsenal of soaps, liquids, and sprays that she had for cleaning out her ‘lady area’- yes, you guessed right! We’re talking “Vagina business”.
I started to ask her if that was really necessary but then held my tongue, as you never repay hospitality from a high horse. I immediately resolved to research this and speak with her when I had a more compelling argument.
Why am I talking about this you might ask? Well being of African descent, there are MANY topics that are discussed in hushed tones, behind closed doors and almost in the dark, because there is the fear that the mere mention of the word ‘vagina’ would immediately corrupt the girl-child. A lot of girls learn from their peers and colleagues, often picking up harmful and dangerous practices as they go along.
What is Douching?
The word “Douche” is of French origin, meaning “to soak ” or “wash out”. in this context, Douching means to wash out the vagina with soaps and liquids like vinegar, baking soda, and other commercially sold products. Most commercially sold douches contain fragrances and antiseptics as well.
To douche, you generally squirt the contents of the liquid into the vagina area and allow the liquid to trickle down and do its magic!
Why do Women Douche?
Many women say that douching makes them feel fresher and cleaner and even smell better down there, while others do it because some members of their immediate family do it as well. Some douche because they feel their sexual partners would appreciate it, or immediately after their monthly menstrual cycle to get rid of the blood and unpleasant odors. It seems like much of the reasons women douche has to do with its fragrance.
Should You Douche?
Surely the idea of a vagina that smells like roses must sound like something that most ladies would love, however, this is one case where the disadvantages of douching far outweigh the merits.
The healthy vagina is composed of good and bad bacteria all in a healthy balance. douching upsets this balance and this leads to the bad bacteria thriving over the good in most cases, leading to infections.
Scientific Research has shown that douching is associated with
Douching does not prevent pregnancy, so douching before and after sex does not prevent pregnancy;
Douching does not prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s);
If You were sexually assaulted PLEASE DO NOT DOUCHE. Go to the nearest Emergency room immediately. Dial The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) for information;
Do not douche to cover up odors. Douching covers up odors for a short period and ultimately makes the situation worse. If you already have an infection, douching only pushes the bacteria further up and into the fallopian tubes uterus and ovaries;
Douching before a Doctor’s visit makes it difficult for the doctor to figure out what is actually wrong;
If you experience problems like vaginal discharge that smells bad, pain while urinating or during sex, vaginal itching and thick, white, or yellowish-green discharge with or without an odor, or burning, redness or swelling, see a doctor IMMEDIATELY! These could be signs of a vaginal infection.
How can You keep Your Vagina Clean and Odorless?
Your body is amazing and designed to clean itself. The vagina makes mucous for this unique reason.
Every vagina has it’s unique smell (and it’s usually not of roses). This smell could be worse if you exercise and sweat a lot. However, if you are worried about a strong unpleasant smell then talk to your doctor ASAP.
Don’t be scared to shower as often as you need to. This greatly depends on your daily physical activities. I recommend showering twice a day. Morning and evening especially if you live in the warmer climates and perspire a lot.
Wash the outside area of your vagina with warm water when you bathe. You may use a mild soap that would not cause dryness and irritation;
If you currently have a vaginal infection see a doctor immediately;
Wear breathable underwear, preferably one made with material that can absolve sweat such as cotton
Don’t spray perfume into your vagina, or use scented powder or scented tampons. All these increase your chances of getting an infection.
Finally, the food we eat affect how our body secretions smell. The human body breaks down ‘smelly’ foods like garlic into equally ‘smelly’ chemical compounds that linger in our blood until we release them in our breath, sweat, and urine. Therefore a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, and grains will do you a world of good.
Remember to share this page with your friends and leave comments on recommendations on how you are keeping “the Sacred V” clean and safe. Visit this page to see all my must-have products for feminine care.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you research properly and go into it with the mindset of “safety first”.