Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Recovery Period

Once I started running outside, it was very hard for me to go back to the treadmill. I have officially
become a runner since COVID-19 shut the gyms down. I love everything about early morning runs. Well, almost everything. I don't really like waking up before the crack of dawn and I don't like those gnat clouds I have to run through sometimes. Other than that, running outside is life.

The gyms shut down in March 2020, so I've been running outside for about 7 months now. I go out 4-5 days/week. I make it the first thing I do in the morning so I know that I accomplished at least one thing even if my whole day goes to shit. Which it often does with a husband, 2 kids and a business. LOL! Anyway, I am getting faster every day. My form has improved, with the help of my physical therapist and the coaching in MapMyRun app when paired with my HOVR running shoes (gifted by one of my early morning running friends). 

I started walking in August 2019. I wanted to get more active. I was trying to
lose weight after having my second baby. Walking is actually great for weight loss but I ain't got time to be walking for no hour everyday. I needed to cover the same distance but faster, so I started jogging....and then running. I've found my groove. I have my little run routines that I alternate so that my body won't get accustomed to the same workout. One of those routines is my "Interval Run". It's like an HIIT workout for runners. If you aren't familiar with interval runs, it is when you run as fast as you can for a set time, like really push yourself, then slow down to catch your breath for a set time. Rinse and repeat. After about 4 months of adjusting my routines, I finally got into a good rhythm. I call it my "sweet spot". I found that I get my fastest pace when my recovery time is twice as long as my fast run time. So, if I run as fast as I can for 60 seconds, I need 120 seconds to recover. 

The other great thing about my morning run is that I really have quiet time to think. Over the past 7 months, I have come up with the best creative solutions to my day-to-day challenges while running. I think it's because I really don't have anything else to distract me. The only thing I have to focus on is my breathing, my stride and my thoughts. One of the things that my running routines have taught me is to pace myself. It's no secret that operating a business during a pandemic is challenging. One would think that a small business like mine, that heavily relies on in-person vending events to generate revenue would suffer with most large festivals and events being cancelled. My challenge was actually the opposite. The pandemic coupled with racial injustice being highlighted caused people to go out of their way to support black businesses. Orders surged and I was faced with a new challenge to find a solution to, how to pace myself in work.

Traditionally, I am a go hard or go home kind of person. I shout "TEAM DO THE MOST!!" from the mountain tops. However, with so many unknown factors to consider, I knew that I'd have to pace myself, work smart and ask for help when I started feeling overwhelmed. That's where my morning run taught me invaluable lessons. 

When I was faced with piles and piles of work that needed my immediate attention. I paced myself, like I do when running long distance. If I were to sprint like I do on interval runs, I wouldn't be able to go the distance. I'd tire out very quickly. Creating a schedule. Scheduling in breaks. One task at a time. Not trying to finish an entire manufacturing run in one day and stretching it out for 2-3 days. Processing 10 orders at a time instead of 30-40 at once. Pacing myself, so I can go the distance.

But sometimes I would need to sprint or work very quickly. I have a deadline. I have multiple deadlines. I go hard. Focused work. A sprint. 

Then. I. Rest. The resting is the most important part. When I don't rest, when I'm tired, I make mistakes.
I mess up someone's order. That wastes money. I mess up a product. That wastes money. I start walking circles because I'm tired, wasting time. That wastes money. 

The recovery period allows me to recovery. Physically and mentally. When I'm doing a manufacturing run, I need to rest physically. I need to sit down, maybe even soak in the tub, and get some sleep. Manufacturing is "back breaking work" as a former employee calls it. LOL! When I'm doing focus work like product development, generating content, updating my business plan, work that requires a lot of thinking, I need mental rest. I may zone out watching trash tv or play with my kids. Either way, the a recovery period is required. 

No matter what you're working on. You need to rest. I don't know who started that "I'll sleep when I'm dead" movement but that is not a philosophy that fosters productivity. You need to rest and recover. Your brain needs sleep to remove toxins and so your neurons have time to communicate. Literally "connecting the dots". LOL! Your body needs rest to repairs damaged cells and fights infection. Rest is just as important to your health as food, water and exercise. It gives your body and brain a chance to recover from everything you've put it through during the day or whenever you're awake.

What's the secret to my "Super Woman"-like productivity? There are lots of little things that I do or don't do - I'll save that list for another blog. But a recovery period is essential. I am writing this blog from the comfort of a hotel room that I checked into for the weekend without my husband and children so I could recover. COVID-19 has me in a constant state "process improvement". How can I improve this particular manufacturing procedure so that we can increase output without increasing the amount of time? How can I keep my kids engaged and get any Fancy Free Hair & Skin work done while they're home from daycare and/or school that is closed due to a potential COVID-19 exposure? Why isn't this shampoo formula lathering like the last formula when I only made one little change? How can I improve my posture while I run? How early do I have to wake up to squeeze in "sexy time" with my husband? I mean, my brain is constantly going. That. Shit. Is. Stressful. More stressful than my normal stressful life. Monthly therapy sessions help but the recovery period is a huge part of how I handle everything. I know there's an end in sight. A period of rest. 

Go forth. Do great things. Recover. Rinse. Repeat.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Winter Weather Styling

As the weather changes, so should the way you style your hair. I'm talking to my kinky curly girls. The summer humidity gives us a lot, even though it always ruins a good twist out and any curl definition you thought you were gonna have. LOL! The cooler weather gives us more flexibility with hair styles and they usually last longer with the cooler weather. Here are things to consider when styling your hair:

  1. MOISTURE! MOISTURE! MOISTURE! There is less moisture in the air and if you live and/or work in a building that heats using "forced air" meaning the heat comes through vents, that air can be dry as well. You may want to consider co-washing, preferably using our Fancy Free Clay Wash, more often than using a clarifying, lathering shampoo - Fancy Free will be launching one soon, I promise. Deep condition. Especially when you're getting close to your scheduled trim time. Be sure to seal moisture into your hair while it's wet or damp with an oil, Fancy Free Castor Oil Blend or butter, Fancy Free Whipped Shea. If you need to moisturize in between wash days, try a water based moisturizer like Fancy Free Milk for Hair and Skin. Matter of fact, try the Fancy Free Hair Starter Kit to decide which product combination works best for you.
  2. Protect your ends. The benefit of dryer air is that those twist outs and rod sets are going to be BOMB!!!! But if your hair is longer, be careful about how your rubs against your clothes. Even if you moisturize and keep your ends trimmed, friction with those winter fabrics can lead to damage and breakage. I have a few videos on YouTube on how to achieve a bomb twist out, as well as my favorite protective styles for longer hair. Or course, weave, wigs and braids work too. LOL!
  3. Keep drinking water and eating whole, unprocessed foods. Your hair and skin are a direct result of what you put in your body as well as what you put on it. The winter holidays lead to drinking more cocktails, yummy ciders and comforting hot chocolate. Don't forget to get your daily quota of water in too. I use the "Drink Water" app on my phone to remind me to drink water. Keep the same thing in mind for fresh fruits and vegetables before you indulge in those baked goods. A daily multivitamin can help too.
Everyone's natural hair, lifestyle and hair goals require different kinds of care. It is important to figure out what your hair needs most. Once you find your routine, stick to it. Slight variations in your routine based on the weather and what you have going on in your life can make a huge difference. For me, I found that going longer than 3 weeks to shampoo my hair led to more breakage. I also tend to play in my hair when it gets close to time for a trim. I call myself untangling the fairy knots, those little single strand knots that signal it's time to trim those ends, but really I am causing more breakage than untangling. So, when my trim appointment approaches, I wear my hair in upstyles so I won't be tempted to touch my hair. That's just how I manage my thick, kinky hair. If you'd like some assistance figuring your hair out, book a Natural Hair Consultation. I'd be happy to work with you to meet your hair goals.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.