Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search
to find that voice can be remarkably difficult. 

– Melinda Gates
Black and white image of three ladies Photo of Congress
Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

In the early twentieth century, Emmeline Pankhurstled
led the suffragette movement to get British
women the right to vote.
Her voice, accompanied by the voices of
thousands of other women, was finally
heard in 1928 when women over the age
of 21 were granted a vote. 

Decades later, British women and women
around the world, use their votes to voice
and support views, opinions, and ideas that shape
modern society. 

The voices of Emmeline and the women who come before us echo through
history to remind us how important it is to speak up for ourselves and others. 

What happens when you lose your voice?

We often need to speak up when we feel a boundary has been violated. 

Reinforcing a boundary can conflict with your desire to be accepted
or avoid conflict and punishment. If you have had negative experiences
while advocating for yourself and being assertive, you are likely to shy away. 

But as Malala Yousafzai once said
‘We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.’ 

When you remain silent, you internalize the emotional fallout and lose
your self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence. And to deal with the distress,
you will be forced to rationalize behaviour that does not align with your
values and beliefs.

How To Find Your Voice

Women Who Run With the Wolves Book Cover
Photo by Guilherme Almeida on Pexels.com

Even when your voice has been muted, ignored, and
punished, you can reclaim it, stand up against a bully, and
negotiate a better salary.
Here is what you can do: 

1.   Understand Your Body. 

If your boundary is violated, you may experience a physical or
emotional nudge to speak out.
You may feel your breathing quicken or feel a lump in your throat. 

Understanding these nudges prevents you from interpreting
the sensations as threats and helps you identify instances
when you need to speak. 

2.   Avoid Apologizing And Over-Explaining. 

If you aren’t used to standing up for yourself, you might notice yourself
apologizing or overly explaining your motives. These actions often steal
focus from your message and accomplishments and water down your

Apologizing when you are wrong is the right move, but avoid doing
it unnecessarily. And always remember that speaking up is a right, and
those listening to you are not doing you a favour, so do not make excuses.

3.   Identify Trigger Phrases That Prompt You To Speak Up. 

The emotional or physical nudge you get to speak out often resembles
a fight, flight or freeze response. If you are prone to flight or freeze
responses, the following phrases might help you speak up. 

4.   Know Your Rights

Women speaking

Women often fail to speak out because
they do not know their rights, especially
in the workplace. Understanding company
policies and escalation procedures will
give you the confidence to stand up for
yourself in case of a violation. 

5.   Use “I” Statements

When communicating your feelings or needs, try to use
“I” statements rather than “you” statements. For example,
instead of saying “You always make me feel upset,” try saying,
“I feel upset when I feel like you are not listening to me.” 

Such statements help express your feelings without placing blame
on the other person.

Do Not Be Silent

A safe book with the words You Can't Find Your Voice If You Don't Use It
Photo by Hussein Abdullah on Unsplash

Overall, finding your voice involves taking
the time to understand your thoughts, feelings,
and values and expressing them confidently and authentically.
It creates a path to a meaningful life
and allows you to tell your story and take up space. 

Madeleine Albright once said

It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that
I have it, I am not going to be silent.

Do not be silent either. 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

“The Lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through together.”

– Garrison Keillor

Christmas promises joyful carols, laughter, gifts, and a happy meal with those you love. 

But if we’re being honest, spending Christmas with the extended family can be stressful. You might have to deal with dysfunctional patterns, underlying resentment, unsolicited advice, intrusive questions, and the occasional angry outburst. But don’t despair. You can still have a merry time. Here are a few ways to deal with difficult family members. 

How To Deal With Difficult Family Members Over Christmas

Try Not To Fix Everything And Everyone

blur face of a women seated on a sofa holding a coffee mug - christmas socks are the focus point

If you feel upset about something from the past or feel the urge to confront family members, don’t!

Christmas is not the right time to fix all those festering issues with family. Sometimes, it is just better to bury the hatchet and be cordial for a couple of days. This could set the stage for a better relationship and make it easier for the family to pursue therapy. 

Also, remember it is not up to you to fix everything. Instead, show kindness and compassion.

Get Some Alone Time

Christmas is an overwhelming time, even for the most functional families. There are relatives to catch up with and a lot of group activities. If you ever feel overwhelmed, take a break to recharge. 

You can schedule solo activities such as reading a book, star gazing or meditating. 

Try Not To Regress

Sometimes, family interactions trigger old wounds and coping mechanisms. You may find yourself reacting like your fourteen-year-old self, instead of a healthy adult with better-coping mechanisms.  

This is often frustrating and could leave you feeling vulnerable. Luckily, you are an adult now. So if you catch yourself regressing, take a deep breath and affirm your adulthood by reminding yourself of all your achievements and growth. 

Understand Your Family Member’s Coping Mechanism

Every member of the family has varied personality traits, expectations, and coping mechanisms. All these contribute to a complex family echo system that affects each family member differently. 

More often than not, your relative’s behaviour has nothing to do with you. It is just a way to cope with other family members. So show compassion and empathy and lower your expectations towards their behaviour. 

Set Boundaries

You can always say no to toxic family members, discussions, or triggering activities. Family gatherings are already stressful enough, so set boundaries to protect your mental health and keep you comfortable. 

Your boundaries can look something like coming home only for dessert instead of the whole meal or making it clear that you will not discuss your personal life or relationship. 


wood fireplace on the background and a coffee mug and bowl of popcorn on the front

If you feel too overwhelmed by your family get-together, schedule a debrief session with a trusted family member, friend, or therapist. 

This session allows you to discuss stressful interactions and negative emotions that may worsen if left unchecked. It will help you reflect on your relationships and coping mechanisms and help you identify a way forward.

Even the most dysfunctional families have a little bit of love and joy to share. So let it be a season of happiness and healing. Cheers.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In addition to being essential to your survival, food also affects how you feel, look, and connect with others.

A few bites of something sweet can evoke pleasant childhood memories, while unhealthy foods will often influence and sour your mood. In fact, food is so dynamic that you can use it to express your gratitude to others and on hard days and use it as a coping mechanism.

fruit platter

But how deep does the relationship between food and your well-being go? And, could your diet be responsible for your prolonged low mood, anxiety, or ashy skin? Well, the answer is yes!

We often think of our brain as an independent from our body. However, how you look and what you think can be determined by your next snack. 

The Correlation Between Food, Mental Health And Beauty

The link between food and mental health is tied to the digestive system. Gut bacteria influences the production of neurotransmitters that affect cognitive processes and emotional regulation.

Healthy foods promote the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine which enhance your mood. In contrast, high-sugar content foods stimulate the production of cortisol, which increases anxiety, irritability and makes depression and other mood disorders worse.  But it does not stop there, the sugar in processed foods also causes inflammation resulting in puffy, dull, saggy, and wrinkled skin. Further, it also suppresses your white blood cells making it harder to fight acne-causing bacteria. The good news is that you could maintain healthy skin by consuming nutritious foods rich in antioxidants and fiber.

Feeding Your Body And Mind

A white platter of a variety of vegetables and fruit

As you know, your body requires minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates to function effectively. The question is, which food will uplift both your spirit and make your skin glow? 

Well, here are a few suggestions for you:

  1. Nuts

Nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. The antioxidants flush out toxins that cause excessive oil production and pimples. Additionally, they keep your skin feeling smooth by reducing facial wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. As a bonus, these antioxidants prevent oxidation in the brain and encourage the development of new neurons, both of which are crucial for maintaining your mental health. You can get these benefits from walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios. 

  1. Beans

Beans are fantastic mood enhancers. They are rich in vitamin B, which increases feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Actually, low levels of vitamin B12 have been associated with higher rates of mood disorders and depression.

Beans also contain iron, zinc, and biotin, which contribute to the growth of longer, stronger hair. The high zinc content has a powerful healing effects and can assist with acne.

  1. Lefty Greens

Kale, spinach, lettuce, parsley, broccoli, collard greens, and other leafy vegetables can improve cognitive function and reduce anxiety.  Leafy greens have a detoxifying and anti-ageing effect thanks to vitamin E, which protects skin from free radical damage. They also contain vitamin A, which prevents acne by slowing sebum production and flushing out toxins. 

  1. Fatty Fish
a grilled salmon dish surrounded by a variety of vegetables

Fatty fish are full of essential fats known as Omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). In fact, part of the brain and nervous system is composed of fats that are partial to DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids improve brain development, cell signaling, and memory. They also lower levels of depression and anxiety by enhancing neurotransmitter function, which improves dopamine and serotonin signaling. 

Additionally, Omega-3’s anti-inflammatory qualities, lessen acne and redness and keep your skin supple and moisturized. Salmon and other fatty fish contain vitamin E, which protects your skin from free radical damage, and zinc, which encourages the growth of new skin cells.

You can find Omega-3 in fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna, mussels, Anchovies, sardines and Trout. 

  1. Dark Chocolate

Good news for chocolate lovers, do not feel guilty when reaching for a piece of chocolate when you are feeling down. 

Chocolate enhances the production of endorphins which regulate mood, and cognitive function and reduce brain inflammation associated with depression. Additionally, chocolate contains the fatty acid N-acylethanolamines, which helps reduce anxiety and irritability. This tasty snack also keeps your skin hydrated and thick by enhancing blood flow to bring nutrients to your skin. It also contains antioxidants that help fight UV radiation.

You can maximize the health advantages of dark chocolate by choosing a brand with above 70% cocoa and a low sugar level.

a black background with five white dishes showing different meals - red soup, pasta, egg, split soup and croissants

Food For Thoughts

So next time you reach for a snack, go for something that will boost your mood. Remember, it is all about mindful eating. So, try to pick foods that will enrich your skin and spirit. As the saying goes: 

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.”

Barbara De Angeli

Do you ever feel like you can’t catch a break? That your days are full of chores, meetings, and people? Well, you are not alone.

A seated women looking at the mountain

In today’s fast-paced world, there is little time to slow down and relax. And this is especially true for women. We nurture their families, make career moves, and maintain social schedules without skipping a beat. But in truth, most women, yourself included, can do with a break. After all, there is more to life than being superwoman. And what better way to take a break than spending some time by yourself. 

Let us look at why being alone is important and how you can slow down and refocus your energy. 

Why is Alone Time Good for You?

“Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own.”

Oprah Winfrey

Solitude is known to increase mental health and life satisfaction. This could be a chance for you to:

Focus Inwards. Take this chance to slow down and focus on your thoughts and feelings away from the world.

Unleash Your Creativity. There is a reason why creatives prefer doing solo tasks. It is a chance to let your mind wander and test out different ideas. 

Build Mental Strength. Alone time gives you a chance to practice mindfulness and fortify your mind against stress and depression. 

Practice Self Love. Solitude allows you to learn more about yourself. Think of it as a chance to practice self-love, identify your values, and explore your passions.

Here Are Some Fun Alone Time Suggestions

There are hundreds of fun activities that you can indulge in. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.  

candle light
photo by She The King

Have Your Own DIY Spa Time

Spa days are a great way to unplug and unwind. Unfortunately, getting pampered can be costly, but that should not stop you. You can create a DIY spa day and get some premium home relaxation. There are several tutorials on DIY home spas and a range of affordable beauty products and gadgets. Some DIY spa time will soothe your body, improve your sleep, relax your mind, and boost body image. 

Karaoke. Be The Star of The Show!

If you want something fun to spice up your solo time, consider listening to your favourite music and hosting a solo karaoke night.  Listening to music can uplift your spirits and stimulate your brain. Plus, singing along has been known to have numerous benefits like improving memory and breathing. It can also be a cathartic experience that helps you release intense negative feelings. 

Learn a New Instrument

Taking up a new instrument is always fulfilling and can be a great way to improve your skillset. Unfortunately, learning a new instrument can be difficult and embarrassing, especially with a critical audience. Luckily, there is a better way to learn. Solo time is the perfect time to play your nasty tune until you perfect it. 

Solo Date Night

Dress up, slap on some make-up, and walk into your favourite restaurant. Despite the stigma of eating alone, it is often an empowering and fulfilling activity. You get to savour each bite without interruption and enjoy your own company.  

A lady looking al paintings at a museum

Visit a Museum or Exhibit

If you are into art and culture, consider spending your solo time at a museum or art exhibit. Both activities are a playground for your imagination and can offer a tranquil and insightful time. You will also have a chance to choose your itinerary and move at your own pace, spending more time on pieces you enjoy without being whisked away. Visiting a museum improves your imagination and creativity. So do not be afraid to bring a sketchbook along. 

Go To a Movie or Musical

Going to the movies or seeing a musical alone can be a rewarding and refreshing solution to your busy schedule. Sure, there are people around you, but you do not have to interact with them.  

A lady cooking

Experiment In the Kitchen

Contrary to the idea that solo time is all about relaxing and winding down, it can also be a time to try out new recipes or create a unique dish. 

Binge Watching a Series

Perhaps the most popular form of alone time is binging on a Netflix show for a couple of hours. This is especially easy if you need to relax your mind. After all, TV is the perfect form of escapism. 

Treat Yourself Like A Queen

Most of us are conditioned to self-hate or rely on outside validation to feel worthy. You can break that cycle by changing how you perceive yourself, practicing self-awareness, and self-love.

Pamper yourself, buy some flowers, and practice positive self-talk. Even with your shortcomings, It is important to show yourself kindness. More importantly, applaud your achievements. This will have a positive effect on your confidence and outlook. Always remind yourself that you are worth loving, flaws and all. 

Meditate Or Pray

Solitude creates a perfect atmosphere to get in touch with your spirituality. Meditation and prayer can ground your emotions, increase positivity, and give you a sense of fulfillment. Let’s take a deep breath, clear your mind and focus. 

Sip Some Tea or Wine

There are assortments of calming and relaxing tea blends that would make a solo evening magical. Alternatively, you can pour yourself a glass of wine or fix yourself a cocktail. Next, pair your tea or wine with slow music, aromatic candles, and a good book. Alternatively, you could also use this time to journal to declutter thoughts and feelings.

A lady looking at a bright sunrise

Watch The Sunrise or Sunset

Watching the sunrise or sunset will pump new life into your soul. You can find peace and calm in all the brilliant colours as you sip your favourite beverage. 

Let The Fun Begin!

Venturing into the world of solitude often seems overwhelming. But, give it a try and find out by yourself that you are much braver than you give yourself credit for.