Runako Inside Out with Corey Givens

Inside Out is our weekly profile on people and all things personal care. Our profiles will look into different aspects of personal care including physical, skin, mental and health care. We want to know how you’ve been taking care of yourself inside and out and help us share tips, tricks and advice with others. 

This week we spoke to Corey Givens. Corey G. holds a Juris Doctor from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. He also obtained his Master’s of Education in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University. Corey’s research interests include social justice, race and social identity in higher education, and the intersection of law and education. Corey has presented his research on invisibility syndrome and Black masculinity at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Annual Conference.

Runako: How are you? Especially now with the on-going coronavirus pandemic? 

Corey: I am good. I am thankful. I am healthy. Trying to stay sanitized and sane…lol. In addition to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as a Black man, I have to navigate systemic racism and the racial injustices that have been plaguing Black lives for far too long, most recently with the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. These tragedies have lit a fire under me.

Runako: How have you been taking care of your mental health? Have you implemented any changes to your personal routine?

Corey: In an effort to take care of my mental health, I’ve been taking time to unplug from technology and social media. I’m journaling more. I’m reading more. I’m becoming more grounded in my spiritual practice. I’ve also recently become a “plant dad.” I’ve purchased two plants: a dieffenbachia (dumb cane) and a snake plant. I’ve named them Harry and Hermione (I’m a Harry Potter fan…lol). I think constantly seeing and being around the plants has helped me to feel calmer and relaxed, and decreased my anxiety. Songwriting has also helped me take care of my mental health. I’ve always loved music, but recently I’ve been using songwriting as a creative outlet to help me manage stress and negative emotions related to the pandemic. I’m also using this time to launch a consulting business, Society West Consulting Group. All of these things are fueling my purpose and joy.

Runako: How have you been taking care of your physical health? If not, why?

Corey: When everything shut down in March as the coronavirus took off in Georgia, I stopped working out, I stopped meal prepping, and I really let myself go physically. I let my anxiety get the best of me, and I wasn’t making great decisions when it came to my health: not working out, eating badly, and not sleeping well. I packed on almost 25 pounds of unhealthy weight in the span of a few months. I looked in the mirror and really didn’t recognize myself or my body in June, and I knew it was time to get back on track. I purchased resistance bands, found a few great HIIT bodyweight workouts online, and I’ve started back meal prepping and making smarter choices with the foods I eat and my serving sizes. Because of COVID-19, I’m not comfortable going into a gym setting with other people yet, but I have been consistently working out at home. I’m getting back on track, and I’m trying to be kind to myself and my body during this process. 

Runako: We can’t forget about skincare, how has your skincare routine been during the quarantine? Any significant changes?

Corey: For years, I didn’t know how to properly take care of my skin. I didn’t have a routine, I didn’t moisturize properly, and I didn’t drink enough water. As a Black man, I didn’t know that I needed to use sunscreen. Thank God for age, melanin, and great dermatologists. My skincare routine is pretty simple. I’m a no fuss guy. For my facial skincare routine, I cleanse, tone, and apply a few drops of grapeseed oil to moisturize twice a day. Grapeseed oil has been a lifesaver because it has helped me control breakouts while hydrating my skin. My full-body skincare routine is simple also. I cleanse with antibacterial soap, and I moisturize with body lotion (with cocoa butter) during the day, and body butter at bedtime.

Runako: What are some products you’ve been loving and using?

Corey: A few products that I love are CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser and their Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30, Pompeian’s 100% Grapeseed Oil, Thayer’s Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Rose Petal, Vaseline’s Cocoa Radiant, and the Original Organic Body Butter from Runako. Since I’ve started using Runako, I’ve noticed that my skin is softer and smoother. I love the product because I’m frugal, and a little goes a long way. 

Runako: Any natural skin care tips or products you’ve tried and are now part of your personal routine?

Corey: I honestly can’t say enough about how much grapeseed oil has changed my skin. It has helped to hydrate my skin, and reduce dryness. It has also helped to brighten my skin, and control acne breakouts. The only other tip that I have is to drink a ton of water every day.

Runako: Do you have any go-to DIY skincare recipes or combinations that you can share? 

Corey: Once or twice a month, I make a face mask at-home using a mixture of Bentonite Clay (1 part) and apple cider vinegar (2 parts). This mask is great for detoxifying and cleaning pores. 

 Runako: What’s a must in your personal care routine? (Don’t be shy)

Corey: A MUST in my personal care routine is starting every day with a few minutes of meditation and journaling. I fell away from this practice during the pandemic, and it was almost as if I lost an anchor. Whether I’m physically writing in my journal or typing a memo in my iPhone, this practice really helps to ground me because it helps me to be intentional about visualizing my day, week, year, and future. It also helps me to focus on gratitude. 

Runako: Any advice, tips or tricks you want to share? Something you might have discovered recently that might help someone reading this?

Corey: The forced stillness that came with the ongoing pandemic has really helped me to discover the importance of self-compassion. Pre-pandemic, in my grind and hustle to accomplish all of my goals, I often confronted my personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, with harsh self-judgment. These days, I’m learning to treat myself with the same concern, kindness, and support that I show to my relatives, close friends, and the people I love. Life is too short to spend time beating yourself up. 


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