World No Tobacco Day!

We’re right at the end of May and as it goes in every year, it’s World No Tobacco Day! We here at Girl Boss stand in solidarity with The World Health Organisation (WHO), which, in a bid to drive and increase awareness on the harmful effects of the substance, observe today as a day of self-restraint from tobacco. 

It is reported that approximately 6 million people worldwide die due to tobacco and this is the number of people that the world loses each year. This is a huge number and a great cause for concern and whilst this speaks to the bigger issue of addiction, it is also understandable that the World Health Organisation, in 2008, called for a worldwide ban on the promotion, sponsorship and advertising of Tobacco. Their aim was to target advertising specifically directed at the youth as they dubbed their campaign “Tobacco-free youth”. Initially, back in 1987, when the World Health Organisation initiated the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), the goal was to encourage a 24 hour refrain from tobacco from its users with the hope that this step would encourage them to quit or motivate those trying to quit

Photo by Idy Tanndy

The World Health Organisation themes each World No Tobacco Day as a means to not only drive its deeply humanitarian message but to also highlight the industry’s attempt to derail the organisation’s work in creating awareness and pushing an initiative that makes it clear to all that tobacco is a life-threatening drug. In 2012, for example, the theme was “Tobacco Industry Interference”. Accompanying each annual theme are publicity materials such as brochures, fliers, press releases, websites and posters. The purpose of each theme is to also ensure that consumers are not misinformed and disillusioned about the effects of consuming tobacco.  World No Tobacco Day celebrations include the sharing and circulation of the latest research conducted on tobacco in order to keep people informed and as well challenge ‘anti-tobacco’ arguments circulating in the world

The theme of WNTD 2019 is “Tobacco and lung health”. This year the focus is on the numerous ways in which exposure to Tobacco affects the health of people’s lungs all over the world. Some of the related diseases that are highlighted include lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), tuberculosis, asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and lower respiratory infections, amongst others. The reduction of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure is motivated as an effective measure in improving lung health. As part of this year’s campaign, The World No Tobacco Day 2019 campaign will conscientise the world on the implications of tobacco smoking and second-hand exposure and it’s danger to lung health, it will raise awareness on the global fatalities as a result of lung diseases including tuberculosis deaths, it will highlight the importance of not only achieving lung health but general health and well-being and recommend the actions that people all over the world can take in order to reduce the risks of tobacco in relation to lung health

It is important for us to take such global matters to heart and support calls for action. Overall health matters and whilst it may not seem like an easy feat to quit smoking tobacco, we support our brothers and sisters in putting their health first by joining in on this years’ World No Tobacco Day. For at least 24 hours, let us all try to steer clear of tobacco and protect ourselves from second hand smoking. And for those of us who can take it a step further, let us make it a ‘World No Tobacco Weekend’!

It is, admittedly, tough for the youth to not adopt smoking as a habit as most marketing is directed at them and it would seem that in whichever way they turn, even people they look up to have a cigarette in hand. What immediately comes to mind is the latest music video release by South Africa’s most loved and celebrated rapper, Kwesta. His song, ‘Khethile-khethile’ is just plain sweet as he tells the world that he has chosen his ‘forever’ and that there’s no turning back for him. The music video beautifully captures his wedding and now and again we see him either with a cigarette in hand or smoking it. Even as a non-smoker myself, I must admit that there’s a look of ‘cool’ associated with it. And perhaps that’s why most young people easily pick up on habits such as drinking and smoking; it’s associated with a lifestyle; celebrating, partying and generally having a good time. 

Photo by Helzio Pires Cupertine

But, for today and perhaps for the rest of the weekend (and dare I say, and for forever and a day), let us, especially as young people, take heed of the World Health Organisation’s World No Tobacco Day 2019 and put our health first and the health of the ones around us. Let us also thrive to encourage one another as we join in, in creating awareness over the destructiveness of tobacco. Let’s circulate the brochures, fliers, posters and press releases and share the information we come across on websites. The World Health Organisation also encourages that, “Parents and other members of the community should also take measures to promote their own health, and that of their children, by protecting them from the harms caused by tobacco.”

Let’s meet today with some excitement, positivity and zeal. Cheers to World No Tobacco Day! Or, if you like, World No Tobacco Weekend!

How All Returning Varsity Students Should Boss Up

This article is dedicated to those who are returning students, and have a desire to improve their ways. These ways could be academically, physically, mentally and just ones overall health. But of course we can all learn from this, even ‘freshers’ or first year students.

The university experience is by far one of the most challenging and tiresome, as returning students we can all detest to this. I think the most challenging aspect about it is trying to find the balance between everything. You obviously want to do well at school, perhaps you’ve already had these visions about your academic success, and you already know what you have to do in order to achieve your ultimate academic goal. But reality doesn’t always unfold the way we plan it, and this can be frustrating. Well, it is for me. It doesn’t unfold the way we planned for it because we constantly have to remember that we are more than just our academic journey. Perhaps if we wanted to be highly successful beings we’d have to have a plan for our mental health and activity, our spiritual journey as well as our physical health… oh let’s not forget balancing our social life. Oh god how do people do it? How? Please share?

What I’ve learnt from those who are ahead in life than I am is how imperative it is to be organized and the best way to be organized is to possess a diary, and start scheduling. Yes, schedule. Become that girl ‘Oh, I would have to check my schedule/diary and get back to you’ it’s 100% okay. I don’t know why we think that we can remember everything that has to be done, the cool thing about a diary or schedule is that you don’t have to actively remember everything, as soon as you know that something has to be ticked off from your to-do list, instantly write it down and your diary will remember it for you. All you have to do now is be disciplined enough to do what you have scheduled to do when you have scheduled to have it done.

Yes, our biggest friend and enemy at the same time has to be unfriended and unfollowed, PROCRASTINATION. Procrastination is the enemy of progress. Why do we procrastinate? It has been found that one of the biggest reasons humans procrastinate is because the workload seems unmanageable, therefore we opt to do something that does not require as much effort, like watching a series, even if we binge watch, it still does not require that much effort. How can we resolve this? Once, a woman I value to be considerably wise told me that ‘you shouldn’t think that everything has to be done all at once, that is utterly impossible, and that is when you will feel overwhelmed, and the result of that is that you will get nothing done. What you should do instead, is make sure that you do one thing at a time, and no day should pass without you haven’t done anything, even if it’s just one thing.’ What you choose to have done will be what you consider to be the most important things to do on your list. You can judge that according to time, like which is more urgent than the other.

Once you have mastered your academic organization and scheduling readings, writing down lecture notes in your own words, that assignment, and that test you will be able to find time to schedule other things that add value to your well-being, like socializing. Socializing is just as important as doing well at school, the only difference is applied energy, and that is why some people get carried away with this. It seems so much easier to just hang out with friends than it does doing anything involving schoolwork. But this is where your priorities are questioned, which is more important and which is more rewarding? How about going out as a reward, and it doesn’t have to be something big all the time, even if you have completed something minor. For example, ‘okay I’ve completed all the readings I intended to have done and made notes, sure I can meet with my girl for a movie now’. Socializing doesn’t always have to be big and loud either, dinner is a sufficient way to get your mind off many other things.

Exercise! I cannot distress this enough, physical exercise is just beneficial in all ways possible. You gain a feeling of happiness; this is due to a change in hormones.

Side note: the minute you sense yourself slipping into a depressive state just head to the gym or for a walk, put your headphones on and break a sweat.

This extra blood flow and release of serotonin (hormone responsible for happiness and satisfaction) will improve your current mental state. Exercising adds agility and motivation in many aspects than just the physical, which is very useful when one wishes to complete anything.

 There are some things that we are unaware of that we may have to schedule in but are important to our perseverance and ultimate survival, such a thing is your spirituality, it is your grounding element. Whether religious or simply spiritual it is important to have constant retreats where you tend to nothing else but you and your spiritual journey. This is where the source of your doings lie. This is where your journey begins and is where your journey on this earth ends. Therefore, maintaining a healthy relationship with your spiritual self is crucial to your success as a person.

Like I mentioned before the most challenging aspect about all of these is about finding the balance. But as I’ve listed, once you find your academic balance the rest can follow, in no particular order too, it depends on which you find the most mandatory, but all are equally important. Once there is a sense of organization and you find that you can manage your time better, then there is noting that can stand in your way, you could even get a part-time job, take on more responsibility but you shouldn’t reach a stage where you’re choking. Create a healthy balance.

Moulding Your Career While Studying

Amongst other things, the aim of going to study in a tertiary institution is to get that paper. The one that certifies that you are knowledgeable in whatever course you’ve enrolled for. But what happens when 300 students receive that same diploma/degree that you have and graduate along with you? Now that is just considering the students in your college or university. Let’s take that number and multiply it by the number of institutions which offer the same course you just graduated in. I don’t know what the exact figure is, but I do know that it is a lot.

How do you then set yourself apart from the other thousands of students who’ve got the same qualification as you? How do you make sure that your CV stands out and recruiters see you amongst all those who’ve got the same skills as you?

These are the two main questions I think you need to keep in mind while studying. Yes, the immediate need is to submit assignments on time and pass semester tests and exams. But what happens after all of that? According to Stats SA 430 000 people were unemployed in 2017 and 7.3% were graduates. This number of unemployed graduates is horrifying to be honest and begs the question of whether a tertiary qualification is necessary. That, however needs an entire article dedicated to it.

The simplest answer to these questions is this; you need to get involved in things than can assist you to develop your career outside of the formal structures of learning. Do not confine yourself to only learning in lecture halls, find learning and development opportunities separate outside of that. Tertiary institutions are actually structured in aa manner which is conducive to this learning and development. Campus itself is a community of various industries which can assist you in building yourself for after varsity.

Working on campus is a viable option to consider while you’re studying towards getting that paper. Campus radio and newspaper are great starting points for aspiring broadcasters. Do not despise small beginnings because you do not know what they can lead to. A Girl Boss like Hilisani Ravele’s campus radio experience has been a contributing factor to the success of her career. She has co-hosted shows on Power FM and 94.7 to name a few. Even if you do not become a broadcaster, being on radio or writing for the newspaper will develop your communication skills and give you invaluable experience.

Here’s a brief list of other developmental avenues to consider while studying:

  • Internships and volunteer programs – these provide great work experience and also indicate how your able to balance school and work
  • Involvement in SRC and campus societies – these will expose you to how the working world is like through the various seminar/events the society organizes. You can pick a society which is both social and purposeful; for example, being part of the student’s law society as a law student is rudimentary.
  • Part-time work: retail stores/tutoring
  • Campus work: tutoring/ radio/newspaper/ IT services – working on campus is great because you would have access to it easily. There are various services provided by the varsity/college to students which need student to work in them. For example; the IT department helps students with issue they have with their own laptops; these services administered by “student employees”.

See your qualification as the bare minimum requirement to getting a job and work towards making your CV stand out from the rest of the applicants’.

I unfortunately did not have the foresight while I was still in varsity regarding all of this. Do not buy into the dream that all you need is a qualification and for that reason, finding a job will be easy; because a rude awakening awaits. By the time I realised the importance of truly moulding my career while studying, I was halfway through my second year and only had about a year and a half to try and up my game. Had I known the importance of this from orientation week in 1st year, I would’ve been more proactive about giving myself a competitive advantage from the onset.

Finding Different Ways to Exercise

We recently posted an article (https://girlbosssa.com/2019/02/13/the-healing-powers-of-celery/) that looked at the Healing Powers of Celery. But more specifically the article covered how we could go about achieving our body goals focusing on 80% clean diet and 20% exercise, the 80/20 rule. Health and fitness gurus are constantly developing innovative techniques to assist with physical exercising outside of the conventional gym institute. Nowadays heading to the gym only counts as a singular approach, and there is more than one way to obtain physical satisfaction.

As noted, what really contributes the most to one’s physical health is your diet. If we can simply get this under wraps than we are more than half way to reaching our desired body state. Eating 80% clean requires that we become more conscious about the foods we feed our body. If it does not fuel you then it may not be necessary. The best way to go about a clean diet is becoming informed about what you are consuming. Actively participating by reading food labels, understanding how many calories are required per day according to our Body Mass Index (BMI – Weight and height combined), eating more wholesome foods etc. In the past the idea of eating 5 – 6 meals a day is what was regarded to be the ideal, especially when trying to minimize unnecessary binging. However, not everyone is designed the same, and eating only when we find ourselves hungry is just as sufficient. The trick is eating well, with the occasional ‘cheat treat’.

Working out from home

I like to consider myself as somebody who is inconsistently consistent when it comes to maintaining an exercising routine. What I mean by this is that a long period such as 6 months could never go by without me engaging in some physical exercise, and by engaging I mean for a good 3 months. But I usually die out. That is why is has become imperative that I find other means to keep fit outside of the gym, because I speculate that the biggest reason behind my fall is boredom or simply finding the process tedious.

Home Workouts:

To be quite frank, the most amount of weight I have lost was outside of the gym, simply working out in an open space at home. Cardio was my main focus, as I knew that I needed to shed more fat. But shedding fat alone is not enough, as what helps your body maintain a certain weight is toning. This is muscle that is layered over the fat, so basically it is the process of converting the remaining fat into muscle, which would make it harder to revert back to fat. YouTube should be your best friend as there are plenty of free home videos at your disposal, catering to all type of workouts, ranging from toning, cardio, core strength, you name it. Alternatively, you can purchase DVDs or buy online videos. There are videos that don’t require for you to have any equipment.

I don’t know about your social media timelines, but mine is trending with home workout videos. Lately this has been my go to source, and it is as simple as monkey see monkey do. You can also Google or use Pinterest to source still imagines that guide you, e.g. 10 burpees, 30 squats, 1 min wall sit, I find that all of these are just as effective.

Yoga:

I just love yoga because it goes beyond hardcore training; it is also a spiritual exercise that coaches you on breathing as well as raising your consciousness. It highly underestimated but in all of my yoga classes I have died, because they are so intense.

There are different types of yoga practices, some focus on breathing, some on stretching and other strength. But it is definitely effective and you will break a sweat. YogaTrail is an app Iove to use. It provides you with classes that are happening nearby and in your city. It gives you information about the instructor, it also tells you which classes are free or not. You can reserve your spot for a class on the app and even go as far as communicating with the instructor. YouTtube is an alternative great source for practicing yoga in the comfort of your own space.

Hiking:

Even though I regard myself as inconsistently consistent, I still never seem to be fit enough for hiking. It always seems like I should opt for beginner level even though I want to think that I am at least intermediary level. Hiking is not joke, but it is refreshing as being out in nature has the propensity to relinquish and refresh one soul. But you must be prepared, especially when hiking with people who are experienced the sport, you will fall behind and you will work those quads! Download and look at the Komoot app for trails and information near you, it is helpful!

Boot Camps:

These are fun and exciting, especially if you enjoy outdoor training. I use to love boot camps that take place at the botanical garden. The energy is high and everyone is in on same mission. It is also a great way to make friends. You develop a fitness circle and in most cases your friends will push you beyond what you can push yourself. I honestly love boot camps, because I find outdoor training to be the most effective form or exercise, especially if you have established goals.

There really is no excuse as to why we cannot reach our desired weight or fitness level. The most work we have to do is find internal motivation, which should be easy because you are the person who is not happy with the scale or whatever reason. Training boosts our energy levels, it releases endorphins and hormones which make us feel good and happy, it is the ultimate solution to any of your internal and physical problems!

At-Home Spa for Valentine’s Day

“Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, and so are you.” Yes, you. I’m referring to you, the Girl Boss reading this article. You’re awesome because “you’re the girl who loves deeply, who nurtures her inner Goddess and dances to her own beat. The girl who honours her beauty and body as a living, sacred temple.” Honey, you’re sweet and I think you deserve to be pampered this Valentine’s day.

Why celebrate Valentines day?

Many believe that this is a day that was ‘invented by greeting card companies’ and is about the commercialisation and shallow expression of romantic love. That valentine’s day is a capitalistic holiday that encourages mindless consumerism. You shouldn’t have to work at an unfulfilling job just so you can spend, spend and spend on Valentine’s day gift cards, heart shaped jewellery, fancy wrapped chocolates, teddy bears and other valentine’s day trinkets, in order to show your love and affection. Just imagine all the red and pink, heart shaped trash that’s going to pollute the ocean and land, long after your fleeting valentine’s day crush has passed.

This is a valid critique of our consumerist society. However, gift giving and words of affirmation (in the form of valentine’s day cards) are two of “The 5 Love Languages” written by counselling psychologist Gary Chapman. These are the 5 main modes through which humans express love. They are quality time, acts of service, gift giving, words of affirmation and physical touch.  

What if you’re single?

Self-love is a buzz word and for good reason. We need to love ourselves more, not in a vain or arrogant way. But so, we can increase our happiness and life satisfaction. Loving yourself improves your confidence and elevates your vibration. It gives you that va-va voom, that x-factor that you can’t describe but makes a person stand out. Not only does it make you magnetic, self love allows you to adequately express the love you have for others. Nothing is more painful than loving someone and not being able to appropriately express it. It’s also painful for the person who loves you, but is unsure whether you feel the same way. Insecure love leads to heart break. Real love, deserves certainty. You need to know deep down that it’s not all in your head and that the feelings are indeed mutual. When you treat yourself with tenderness, you can truly and softly hold the heart of another. When you’re comfortable in your own skin you can give your beloved that passionate hug and lingering glance that says indubitably; I adore you.

Self-love makes you authentic. You can express who you really are and this integrity makes you love yourself even more. The feel-good vibes just go on, as you know, true love is infinite!

Humans are social creatures, we all crave intimacy and connection. Love, bliss, joy, playfulness and sexiness make life worth living! I believe life is meant to be fundamentally enjoyable. Your best life isn’t a day dream, it should be your reality. Of course, there is pain, and suffering but hopefully that leads to growth. Which leads to understanding and that increases your sense of freedom and therefore, happiness.  

So how can you tangibly love yourself and/or your partner? There are the usual valentine’s day gifts and messages, those can be sweet. But you can try something different and have an at home spa day. I propose that this valentine’s day, you treat yourself with deep relaxation. You can practice this alone, or with your sweetheart.

Here are some DIY spa tips to try this Valentine’s Day

Create the Spa ambiance

  • Hopefully you’ve read Zani’s cleaning article and were inspired to show some tender love and care to your household, specifically where you will be doing the relaxing like your bathroom, bedroom and lounge area. If not, I suggest you do some tidying up. Treat yourself as you would a guest, prepare the space. You can even put a house plant in the bathroom to really have that Spa tranquillity theme going.
  • Practice some aromatherapy and burn incense or essential oils. Pleasurable scents improve your sense of well-being. Also, the sense of smell leaves a strong impression on your brain and you definitely want to make this a valentine’s day to remember.
  • Make some refreshing lemon water or other vitamin infused water by using other fruits like strawberries or mint and basil. Give this drink some time to brew, leaving it overnight is ideal. You could also drink herbal tea.
  • Or you could drink some wine, rose or champagne to give your Spa day a luxurious feel. You can also prepare some light snacks, like fruit such as grapes, berries and nuts. Fresh salads are a good option for food that leave you satisfied but keep you feeling light. You can be healthy, but what’s valentine’s day but an excuse to eat chocolate? So do indulge, even if it is just a little.
  • Dim the lights. Light some candles, these can be scented. Be careful not to leave candles unattended and near flammable substances.
  • Play some relaxing music, this can be meditation music or nature sounds. Anything that makes you mellow and stress free. I love Sade and recommend her smooth voice and sensual ballades if you want to keep to the romantic theme of valentine’s day
  • Consider switching off your phone, or putting it on silent. Dedicate this time, to some me time. Or quality time spent with your beloved.
  • Set out clean bathrobe, towel, slippers, socks or comfortable clothes like pyjamas to wear afterwards.

Okay now that you have set the scene; let’s get down to the business of self-care.

  • If you have a bath you can do a body soak
  • If you have a shower you can wash your hair, and put on a hair mask.

If you have both a shower and bath you can do, both!

For a relaxing bath, you can try Girl Boss’s brand-new hydrating bubble bath. It smells divine and leaves the skin ultra-soft. Nothing says luxury like a good quality bubble bath.  Or, you could try a classic salt bath, use either Epsom, Sea or even Himalayan pink salt. A salt bath, detoxes the body and skin as well as help soothe aches and pains. Add essential oils to your bath to help heal the skin like tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender oil and they smell amazing!  You could also try a bath bomb which has a combination of Epsom salts, bicarbonate of soda, fragrant essential oils and adds colour to your bath water. On a budget? Have no fear, you can try adding oatmeal to your bath, this makes your skin soft, soothes inflammation and helps treat eczema and psoriasis.

  • If you’re using a shower, you can also try a Hair Mask. Girl boss products are excellent because they’re made of natural ingredients, not tested on animals and are proudly South African and black owned.  The Hair Mask which is super moisturising, is recommended for relaxed hair and it contains, aloe vera, marula oil, castor oil, mango butter and vegetable glycerine. Your hair will love this, it’ll be shiny and healthy afterwards. For deep conditioning you apply the hair mask from roots to tips of clean damp hair. Don’t forget to give yourself a scalp massage to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth, it also adds a deeper layer of relaxation. Then you put a shower cap on and wrap your head with a towel to lock the moisture in and utilise the body’s heat to penetrate the moisture into your hair. Sit like this for 1 hour. If you have natural hair you can try the Girl Boss Deep Conditioner which has aloe vera, marula oil, castor oil, vegetable glycerine, mango butter and vitamin E oil.
  • While waiting for your hair you can care for your feet by soaking and then scrubbing them with a pumice stone. This isn’t glamourous but the results are so satisfying.  And/or do a facial mask.  I know the Korean sheet-masks are trendy but you can do a good old-fashioned clay mask with turmeric and rose water if you have acne prone skin. For dry skin, you can try a mashed banana, honey and oatmeal mask. Whilst you’re at it, put sliced cucumber over your eyes to decrease puffiness and relax whilst you wait for the facial and hair masks to do their magic.
  • After washing out the deep conditioner from your hair, if you’re using a shower, a body scrub is ideal. Now I prefer exfoliation gloves over body scrubs made of sugar, olive oil etc I think they’re messy and expensive for no reason. I know many people simply use an old orange sack to remove dead skin. Be careful not to press hard when exfoliating, just lather up with soap and move the hands in a circular motion.  
  • After your bath or shower, you can apply the Girl Boss body cream, there is one for normal skin and one for dry skin. The normal skin body butter contains mango butter which is an emollient, it soothes the skin and also reduces the appearance of scars. Marula oil, which is Africa’s ancient beauty secret, helps keep skin firm and reduce the appearance of cellulite. And, Aloe vera leaves the skin radiant. The Body butter for dry skin has all of this goodness but contains moisturising royalty, shea butter. When applying, be sure to give yourself or your partner a full body massage for even further relaxation (don’t forget to moisturise the feet).

After you are clean, soft and smelling heavenly. You can put on your robe or pjs and slippers or socks; and write out some affirmations.  For example, I am powerful, I am caring, I am grateful for all the blessings I have, I am simultaneously a masterpiece and a work in progress. These make you feel good and programme your mind to start believing the truth of your awesomeness. Remember words of affirmation, is one of “The 5 Love Languages”, so affirm yourself. Or, you can read a book if that helps you relax. Or else, you can watch a romantic movie whilst you paint your nails. Rub a natural oil into your nails beforehand (to keep them strong), and don’t forget to file your nails, this keeps them nicely shaped and stops them from chipping.

  • If you do have a romantic partner you can cuddle them, and whisper all the reasons you think they are epic.

Valentine’s day is about love. And I hope you feel nourished this valentine’s day. Whether you’re alone or with someone special, you can keep the spirit of Love alive.