We constantly hear about the various ways to create healthier eating habits and improve our exercise schedules so that we can become physically healthier. However, a healthy body alone does not make for a healthy person. Your mind is a muscle just as much as any other part of the body, and it’s the muscle in charge of everything else. If you’re stressed out constantly and feel there’s no end in sight for such emotions, you should look to making a few changes – excess stress can deride health and even shorten your life span, no matter how healthy you are in other areas. Below are six easy ways to lessen stress in your every day life and find peace of mind.
1. When you want to go to bed, really go to bed – Often, when we feel tired during the day, we think we just need “more sleep”. While making sure you get a good amount each night should be a priority, the amount doesn’t mean much if it’s not a satisfying sleep. Don’t just “crash” while do something to get to sleep. Try making an active effort to want to go to bed, whatever that time may be, without distractions. It lets your mind have time to power down and get into a deeper, more consistent and relaxing sleep that will leave you feeling refreshed for the next day.
2. Find some time to vent – Don’t just keep every little thing that bothers you to yourself. Stress relief isn’t about simply avoiding any stressful situation or pretending it’s not there. Find a quiet space to yourself, such as your car, to vent and let loose how you really feel, even if it involves yelling. This can be cathartic for many people as it’s a relief to many to let go of pent up feelings. Others take it a step further and get a punching bag to physically release their aggression if they need it.
3. Find someone to listen to you – Of course, just venting about a problem doesn’t make it go away. Sometimes something can linger in our minds, whether we’re feeling depressed about a relationship we’ve gotten out of, or a promotion at work we’re vying for. In these cases, voicing our concerns to someone can help because they can offer us solutions and perspective. While weekly therapy sessions are a good option for many and are used to help people cope with more serious, ongoing issues, you don’t always need to pay a professional – sometimes a friend who also needs someone to vent to is all you need.
4. Learn to let the little things go – This one might seem a little contradictory to the last two. However, when something’s a small nuisance – perhaps stepping in a puddle on the way to work or a long wait at the grocery store – it doesn’t always need to be analyzed and assessed before moving on. We encounter many little things that force us to be more patient than we’d like to have to be, every day, most of which we can’t change and can’t predict. In these little moments, the ability to take a deep breath and understand it’s a minor problem is a great coping mechanism to have.
5. Find a small stress relieving activity you can do almost anywhere – We’ve all heard “Take a chill pill” and some say it isn’t practical advice. A mint or glass of water however might do the trick. Or perhaps a quick walk or pace can. When we’re stressed, our minds can stew on what we’re thinking about, so a small, simple activity to stimulate us and allow us to focus on something else for a moment can re-energize us so we can view our problems with more clarity. This helps you not get tunnel vision and to be able to view your problem from all angles. One step back goes a long way.
6. Have something to look forward to every day – This is a simple one. Have some time set for yourself so that you can unwind and have something to think about when the day’s getting long. Whether it’s looking forward to that day’s dinner plan or a television show you’ve been waiting to see all week, focusing on something you’ll enjoy and that you’ll have soon can help the problems you have feel smaller. There are many ways to relieve stress, but the most important one is finding ways to also create enjoyment. When you’re enjoying your life, stress as a whole tends to crop up less in the first place.
It seems like yesterday we were ringing in the new year, and now already we’re a month in. While it feels like time can fly and the “newness” we feel as time passes from one year to the next fades quickly, many people find those early weeks to be a marathon for their new year’s resolutions. By this time in the year, it is estimated only 64% of Americans have still kept their resolutions (forbes.com). That can seem like a discouraging statistic – about 1 out of 3 of us will have already thrown in the towel. However, just because you stumble early on doesn’t mean 2018 is a wash. Rather, it means you just need to find your footing. Here are four reasons why so many Americans don’t succeed at their new year’s resolutions and what you can do to keep yours or to get back on track.
- We make too many. Self-improvement is a jog, not a sprint. While there’s no quota on goals we can have for ourselves, too many at the same time boggles our mind with too many new obligations and can overwhelm to the point we don’t know what we want to do anymore.
What you can do: Pace yourself. You don’t need to think of a new family recipe while on your daily jog to the animal shelter you volunteered at – pick the one most important to you and work hard at settling into a groove on that. Once you’ve done that, it’s much easier to add something else that’s new to work on.
- We’re too vague. “I want to get healthier.” “I want to help my community.” “I want to try new things.” A lot of our resolutions are filled with good intentions and often, just having an idea of what we want to do initially is better than not thinking of anything. However, when we stick to generalities, it doesn’t give us a clear path to making goals fit in our lives.
What you can do: Once you have an idea of what area of your life you want to focus on, be specific on what changes you’ll undertake to accomplish your goal. “I want to go to the gym once a week and eat about half the snack foods I do now.” See what a world of difference that description makes? When you’re more specific, it helps paint a picture so that you can actually see yourself taking steps to achieve your goal.
- We’re too ambitious. This one might sound counterintuitive. After all, ambition is a huge reason we take on resolutions; because we want to be more than what we are. However, ambition is like nearly anything else – too much of it can devalue it. Saying you’ll go to the gym every day so you can lose fifty pounds in two months is a clearly marked goal that avoids being vague. However, it leaves no room for error and requires so much of your time it’s a scenario where the odds actually are against you in succeeding.
What you can do: Be more realistic. “Small” goals are not a bad thing and do not diminish your success at accomplishing them. There’s also never a deadline on when you can stop striving for a goal, so use the whole year if you need to, or make a plan that might take multiple years. If it takes a whole year to lose fifty pounds by going to the gym three days a week, that’s still fifty pounds lost. Whatever you’re doing, remember that small changes are still changes and that more importantly, they’re the ones that often get done and lead to bigger things.
- We procrastinate. We’re often told that simply writing down our goals is motivating and promotes following through. However, it’s not the whole deal – we still have to actually do them, not just want to do them. Often, that’s where we fail and what each of the three previous reasons have in common, a failure to initiate.
What you can do: There’s no time like the present. After writing out what you’re doing for your goal, start as soon as possible or pick a date within the next few days to start. Committing to a deadline to begin helps us know when to buckle down and accomplish what we want. The first day may seem daunting and often, it is, especially when it involves a life style change we’re not used to. So don’t resolve to do better “next year” if you didn’t have any resolutions this year or already had issues keeping it – a new year might be a holiday event, but a new day and week are always around the corner.
In the middle of Winter, it can feel easy to just want to stay indoors all day, curled up by the fireplace. However, Winter is unique in that some activities can only really be experienced by the colder weather Winter provides. Below are six activities best experienced in the winter that can be fun for you and your whole family.
- Ice Hockey – A beloved classic in America, local hockey rinks have become popular as a way to enjoy this sport and to allow it as a recreational pastime. It is a good choice for those looking for exercise, as well as for anyone that enjoys a competitive team sport.
- Ice Skating – Similar to ice hockey, ice skating requires coordination when traversing across a rink of ice, or even a nearby heavily frozen body of water. This activity is perfect for those who enjoy the skating aspect of hockey but prefer something laxer or that can focus on the physical maneuvers they can accomplish while skating.
- Sledding – Sledding down a tall hill on a cold winter’s day can be exhilarating and makes the weather worth it for many. This sport is great for the whole family, and is a good physical for parents to monitor and take part in with their young children.
- Skiing – Combining the maneuvering aspects of skating with the thrill of moving down a large, winding slope, skiing takes a lot of balance and coordination, but is a rewarding activity to all those who learn it.
- Snowmobiling – For those who love to drive terrain vehicles but are hampered by snow, snowmobiling is the answer for them. These vehicles require age and skill to drive, and should only be handled by responsible, legal drivers. However, nothing quite matches the fun of driving through the snow just for fun. Remember to wear helmets!
- Building a Snowman – Not into anything extreme or requiring skill? Not a problem. Building a snowman is a timeless family activity that is peaceful, low cost, and be done as close as your backyard. Be sure to have some hot chocolate when you go in the house after you’re done!
The New Year is always an important marker in the passing of time. Whether you celebrate it much or not, the first few weeks of the year are a great time to reflect on new things you’d like to try, old habits you wish to break, and changes you wish to make. Many people like to use the New Year to resolve to exercise more, eat healthier, and generally lead more active lives. Setting actual goals however can feel daunting if you don’t know where to begin. Here are six different mini-resolutions you can use to make this your best year yet:
- Look into finding some healthy new recipes – Healthy living is very much based in what we eat. Although many people know they could eat better, changing the diets they feel comfortable with can feel difficult. Instead of looking for an easy “miracle” diet though, try finding a couple of easy, healthy new dishes you can make and incorporate in your regular meal plans. Of course, nothing tastes good all the time, so try find a good two or three – you never know what could end up being your new favorite snack.
- Take up one sport or physically engaging hobby – Exercise for just 30-60 minutes a day can improve your health and fitness so much, especially if you’re coming from having no consistent exercise. It’s easier to achieve this daily if you’re doing something you love. So whether you join a local basketball team at a rec center or take up cycling around a few neighborhoods with friends, make it something you enjoy doing and you’ll be looking forward to exercising, not dreading it.
- Find a friend and make a resolution together – People are an excellent motivator and can give direction to us when we feel alone. If you feel like you might have a hard time staying committed to your goal, see if any of your friends are looking to make a change as well. Having that friend to wake up at sunrise to go jogging with or to grin and bear a new diet with makes you feel like you’re part of a team, not just going it alone, which can make sticking to your goals feel more rewarding.
- Get a consistent schedule –When we make significant changes to our bodies, such as changing our diets or becoming more physically active, that can be straining. It’s even harder on them when there’s no routine to set their internal clock to and there is no rhythm to set into. So if you’re going to add a new exercise to your day, try setting it in approximately the same time every day as much as possible so your body is prepared. If you’re making adjustments to your diet, try to have consistent eating times so you don’t feel too hungry at times and too full at others. Whatever changes you make, having a plan in place for how you’ll fit them in helps.
- Take note of your progress – If you want to lose weight, keep track of the pounds you’ve lost each week. If you’re looking to have more energy whether physically or mentally, talk about how you feel each day with someone, or keep a journal about what you’re feeling and note the changes you feel. Articulating your progress allows you to see the benefits of your efforts and encourages you to keep at them, even on the days they feel more difficult.
- Have a positive attitude – Simply put, be excited for the new year! If you only set goals out of a feeling of obligation or doing them because someone told you, you won’t feel motivated at all. Set goals on your own terms, even if they’re small, and look forward to accomplishing them. Whatever you decide to do, as long as you’re happy with your goals and progress, you’ll find your resolutions to be ones worth keeping.
Thanksgiving is always a great time of year to gather with friends and family and to appreciate everything you are thankful for.
If you are planning on celebrating the holiday, check out our top 7 tips that will help keep you healthy this Thanksgiving:
November is National Sleep Comfort Month. This month is all about helping your body to get a better night’s rest.
In case you are having difficulty sleeping comfortably, here are six tips that can help:
The summertime brings heat, opportunities for outdoor activity and vacations, as well as concerns for overall health. To help you be healthy over this summer, we have compiled our list of the four major things you should do:
Protect Your Skin
We know time in the sun provides your daily dose of Vitamin D, but too much exposure can be detrimental to your health and skin.
June 17th is eat your vegetables day. In case you have neglected this healthy food group, now is your chance to dedicate an entire day for getting your recommended daily intake of veggies. In honor of this yearly holiday, we are giving you our top 5 healthiest vegetables:
- Broccoli— To get the maximum nutritional value out of this vegetable, it’s best to eat it raw. Broccoli can help fight cancer, reduce your cholesterol, and reverse blood vessel damage caused by diabetes. It’s also rich in Vitamin C and K, folate, and iron.
We know what you might be thinking, how can gardening be a form of exercise? Anything that gets your blood moving can be a form of exercising. Still not convinced? Check out these 7 benefits gardening has on your health:
- Get more sleep— You typically need 7-9 hours of sleep a day. If you are getting less than 7 hours of sleep, your body and heart will have to work harder to give you the strength you need to function during the day.