Vitamin D & Depression: Fighting the Winter Blues

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What Does Vitamin D Actually Do?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble that is naturally present in certain foods and is also produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight land on the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. The body producing vitamin D in response to sun exposure is why vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin”. Vitamin D has many important functions in the body, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth through calcium absorption, promoting bone growth, protecting against diseases and conditions, and reducing inflammation.

Vitamin D and Depression

Research has connected a link between people with depression and vitamin D deficiency. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and spikes in colder months, known as seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is not considered a separate condition, but a type of depression with a seasonal pattern. Weather affects people’s moods. Dull, cold, rainy days make us feel gloomy and unmotivated, while sunlight breaking through the clouds can lift our spirits and give us a little feeling of hope. In fact, the vitamin D receptors in our brain are in the same locations in the brain associated with depression (i.e. the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, cingulate gyrus, thalamus, hypothalamus, and substantia nigra)

Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

Limited Sunlight

Sunlight can be an individual’s primary source of vitamin D. During colder, darker months there is less access to the sun’s ultraviolet rays to trigger the vitamin d synthesis in the body.

Diet

There are actually very few foods that have high amounts of vitamin D. Without adding any of these foods into your diet there is a high chance that you are not getting proper amounts of vitamin D in your meals.

  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Red meat
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – certain cereals and juices

Age

Older adults have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency because the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D declines with age.

Greater Amounts of Melanin

Greater amounts of the pigment melanin in the skin reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure. 

Obesity

Obesity does not actually affect the body’s ability to produce vitamin D, but the higher levels of body mass and fat sequestered requires higher levels of vitamin D for the vitamin to work properly.

Diseases/Conditions

Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, conditions that affect fat absorption also affect the production of vitamin D. For example, conditions such as liver disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease all have a negative effect on vitamin D. 

Signs of Deficiency:

  • Aching bones
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Weak muscles
  • Headaches

Signs of Depression:

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Loss of interest in activities you’ve previously enjoyed
  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive weight loss of weight gain
  • Forgetfulness
  • Struggle concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Thoughts of suicide

Reach out to a doctor if you are having signs of depression. If you or anyone you know are having thoughts of suicide here are some support resources: 

  • Call 911
  • Go to an emergency room
  • Text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a crisis counselor at the Crisis Text Line from anywhere in the U.S.
  • Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected with a trained counselor at a crisis center anytime. People are standing by, ready to help without judgment
  • Call Samsha. 1-800-622-HELP (4357).  SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

Solving Vitamin D Deficiency

To treat your vitamin D deficiency the obvious answer is to increase your intake of vitamin D, but how? Ways to increase your intake are:

  • Adding foods with larger amounts of vitamin D into your diet
  • Vitamin D supplements
  • Increasing your sun exposure
    • Natural sources on sunny days
    • In-home light solutions

Helpful Tips for Combating Winter Blues

If the lack of sunlight and lack of vitamin D is affecting your mental health and causing symptoms of depression, the first (and best) thing to do is always talk to a doctor and seek professional help. Outside of that, here are some self-care tips during the colder months especially that can help combat the winter blues:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a sleep schedule
  • Communicate with loved ones and keeping a support system present
  • Join a support group
  • Stay tuned in with your body
  • Create a mindfulness moment

All in All:

Vitamin D and depression have been linked through various studies, making vitamin D essential for not only your physical health but mental health as well. Getting the proper amounts of vitamin D can be hard, especially in the colder, darker months, but making efforts to include vitamin D in your diet or through supplements will help prevent a vitamin D deficiency. The winter blues can get the best of us, but if we take care of our bodies and our minds we can make it through the gloomy days and get back to the sunshine! 

Remember to please seek professional advice or help if you are experiencing any symptoms of depression. 

This article was originally published at iveeapp.com.

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Home Remedies for Energy: 5 Ways to Boost Productivity and Mood

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Being in a mental rut can harm our health, productivity, and mood. Constantly bombarding ourselves with tasks, either through procrastination or just straight-up overworking ourselves, can give way to heightened levels of stress and anxiety. So, let’s look at five ways to help boost our productivity and mood.

1. Sleep good, work better.

Sleeping is a fantastic, and probably the easiest, home remedy to boost energy. Our mind and body are interconnected, so keeping one healthy ensures the other will do the same. A good start is maximizing sleep quality. Sticking to a structured sleep routine that provides our body with at least 8 hours of sleep will ensure consistent energy levels during the day. But for this to work, you must stick to a specific bedtime and wake-up time. Inconsistent sleep patterns are almost as harmful to the body as little to no sleep.

2. A healthy body is an optimized brain

As mentioned above, our body and brain are interconnected. We have talked about resting our bodies, but what about fueling them? Well, certain foods that are high in vitamin B12—one of the main vitamins known for energy enhancement—can help boost energy levels, giving you the fuel needed to get through the day. Fish, meat, poultry, and other dairy products are high in B12. Incorporating this vitamin into your diet can help power both your mind and body, helping you take on whatever life throws at you.

3. Stop workin’, start walkin’?

We know this may seem counterintuitive, but taking a step back from a task or assignment can actually help you get it done quicker! Exercise is not only crucial for the body; it also promotes mental well-being. And exercise doesn’t necessarily mean maxing your deadlift between paragraphs. It can be something as simple as going for a walk around the block. Just getting your body moving helps relieve stress, which can significantly inhibit productivity. Before you even start your work, early morning workouts have been said to get your mind and body prepared for the day.

4. Put down the phone

Social media, texting, and phone calls ranked as the 4th biggest workplace distractions only behind bathroom breaks and talking with coworkers. We’ve all been there: a text message alert or a Twitter notification goes off, and you are instantly entranced into the endless rabbit hole that is your cell phone. There are a bunch of simple ways to prevent this from happening. For starters, keep your phone and work separate. This can go as far as keeping it in a different room, whatever prevents you from distracting yourself. Other methods, such as putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” and “Airplane Mode,” can immensely cut down distractions without feeling disconnected.

5. Organize your workspace

For many, a cluttered workspace = a cluttered mind. Having a clean workspace can work as a productivity “placebo.” You can trick yourself into working harder when your surroundings are organized. Everyone has their own gauge on what is considered to be “clean,” so do whatever you think is necessary. If it means just clearing off your desk, then go for it. And if “clean” means sanitizing all of your work materials, then do that. Just make sure not to overdo it. There is a fine line between organizing your workspace and plainly pushing off work. Find that balance. Find that productivity.

Conclusion

Feeling run down can have a lasting impact on our short term productivity, leaving us feeling defeated and mentally exhausted. But simple changes to the way we carry on through the day can help boost productivity and increase energy levels. Simple changes to our sleeping patterns and diet are two vital ways we can achieve this added boost in energy. Other changes such as exercise and work habits can help maximize productivity without stretching ourselves too far. These tips do not have to be followed verbatim, but should act as a guide in helping you navigate what best fits your lifestyle.

This article was originally published at iveeapp.com.

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44 Positive Affirmations for Depression to Inspire Change

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MS Broudy Ph.D November 12, 2020

Have you ever given yourself a pep talk? You may not have realized it, but you were practicing a form of positive affirmation. Coping with depression can be discouraging and debilitating. Vocalizing certain phrases about yourself can provide a much-needed lift and motivate you toward positive change. Affirmations are a simple and useful tool that can help with depressive symptoms.

Reciting positive affirmations for depression

What Is a Positive Affirmation?

A positive affirmation is a self-statement that emphasizes your strengths, values, and favorable qualities. According to cognitive theory, depression is caused by distorted negative beliefs. Positive affirmations can be used to counter negative perceptions and bolster confidence in your abilities. For instance, you can replace the thought, “Nobody will ever love me” with the affirmation “I am worthy of love.” Many people who use affirmations recommend standing in front of a mirror as they repeat specific phrases to themselves, but you can perform them anywhere you feel is comfortable and effective. For increased success, it is suggested you practice your affirmations at least twice daily.

Do Affirmations Work?

Positive affirmations have been associated with multiple factors related to the reduction of depressive symptoms. Self-affirmation has been shown to activate parts of the brain that are associated with positive self-valuation. There is also evidence that suggests that affirmation increases the neural pathways related to a person’s reward centers, which undeniably boosts your mood. Further, an affirmation can serve as a protector against stressful situations that threaten your well-being. It can also help motivate people toward healthy behavior, such as eating fruits and vegetables. Maybe most importantly, the use of affirmation has been directly linked to feelings of optimism and happiness.

Keep in mind, however, the effectiveness of positive affirmations depends on their content. You need to be able to believe in what you are saying for them to be helpful. If you tell yourself something you know is not true or is unlikely to occur, it probably won’t help.

For example, if you keep saying to yourself that you look like a supermodel or are as musically talented as Adele, you are less likely to be able to convince yourself. In addition, the above research concludes that personally relevant affirmations appear more effective. Therefore, the more specific the affirmation is to your life, the better. Finally, affirmations that focus on the future seem to be most powerful. As a result, emphasizing behavior or outcomes that you can work toward will make them more productive. It may be useful to think of an affirmation as an active roadmap for positive thoughts and behavior.

Affirmations for Coping with Depression

There are literally millions of possible affirmations. Here are 44 you can use that are specifically geared for dealing with depressive symptoms:

1) I have come this far and I am proud of myself.Tweet

2) This moment in my life does not define who I am.Tweet

3) My challenges bring me better opportunities.Tweet

4) My life has value and meaning.Tweet

5) These are just thoughts. Only I determine the way I choose to feel.Tweet

6) I choose to release negative feelings and thoughts about myself.Tweet

7) I will try to see the best in others.Tweet

8) I believe in who I am.Tweet

9) I am working toward making a better life.Tweet

10) I do not need to rely on others’ judgment for acceptance.Tweet

11) I do my very best and that’s enough.Tweet

12) I believe in my ability to get through this difficult period.Tweet

13) I am resilient and can handle problems that come my way.Tweet

14) I am worthy of happiness.Tweet

15) My goals are achievable.Tweet

16) Depression makes me sad, but it builds my resilience.Tweet

17) I feel low now, but tomorrow is another day.Tweet

18) Where there is life, there is hope.Tweet

19) I’m not limited to anything.Tweet

20) I love myself unconditionally, no matter how I feel.Tweet

21) I am not the first to deal with depression, and I won’t be the last.Tweet

22) Depression is just a human emotion and I am human.Tweet

23) My life is what I make it.Tweet

24) I find and enjoy the simple pleasures life is offering right now.Tweet

25) I experience depression but I can also experience joy.Tweet

26) There is nothing wrong with me because I feel sad.Tweet

27) If they can do it, there’s no reason I can’t do it.Tweet

28) I am taking control of my own mind.Tweet

29) My future is bright because I am designing it.Tweet

30) I am just as good as anyone else.Tweet

31) I am deserving of self-care.Tweet

32) My life is a gift.Tweet

33) Being depressed is not my fault. Tweet

34) I deserve love and happiness.Tweet

35) Smile and breathe.Tweet

36) I look forward to tomorrow.Tweet

37) This feeling will pass.Tweet

38) I’m okay right now.Tweet

39) I control my destiny.Tweet

40) I may be sad now, but that’s fine.Tweet

41) I am gaining strength every single day.Tweet

42) The depression I experience doesn’t define me.Tweet

43) I work on myself every day.Tweet

44) I will wake up tomorrow and do the best I can.Tweet

While the above affirmations are suitable for numerous situations, one of the strengths of using affirmation is that it can be tailored to fit any area in which you are struggling. For example, if you are lacking confidence in whether you will do well on a work presentation you could affirm “I am prepared for today’s presentation and I will be successful.” Again, the more specific an affirmation is to your particular situation, the more it will resonate with you and produce positive results. Fortunately, affirmations can be made as distinct as necessary and easily changed to fit a particular circumstance.

Positive Affirmation as Part of a Depression Busting Package

Practicing affirmations daily is a useful tool in the fight against depression. It can improve self-image, reduce stress, increase healthy behavior, and boost mood. It is especially effective if the affirmations are personally relevant, realistic, and future-oriented. In addition, creating and performing an affirmation is a relatively simple process that only takes a few minutes.

It should be noted, however, that affirmations are not suitable as a lone treatment for depression. Clinical depression is a serious psychological disorder that often requires professional intervention. Affirmation is most effectively used as part of a treatment protocol that may also include psychotherapy, online counseling, medication, and positive lifestyle changes. While some steps for dealing with depression can be initiated independently, such as reciting positive affirmations, the most significant improvements typically result from working with a trained professionals.

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The Benefits Of A Deep Clean

Cleanliness, Maid, Maintains, Cleaning

Image by pascalhelmer from Pixabay 

With another lockdown impending, you might be making a list of all of the things you can do while you’re stuck at home, and if cleaning isn’t one of them, then maybe it should be. This is the perfect time to do a deep clean of your home, and it’s not just because you’re spending more time there so it will feel nice if it’s clean, but there are loads of other benefits to doing a deep clean of your home and here are just a few:

Improves Indoor Air Quality

Deep cleaning will improve the air quality of your home because it will remove the dust particles. Having poor air quality in your home is bad for you, and your family’s health as a dusty home can cause eye irritation, asthma attacks, hay fever, sneezing, and coughing. 

Gets Rid Of Bacteria And Viruses

Unfortunately, dirty homes attract all sorts of viruses and bacteria, and it’s the places you use the most such as the bathroom, your living room, and your kitchen, which contain the most viruses and bacteria. Of course, these places are the ones which you will also regularly wipe surfaces, but it’s also important to deep clean every now and then so that all these viruses and bacteria are properly eliminated.

Improves Your Mood

The act of cleaning can be very therapeutic, and then the results of it are even more beneficial for your mind. Living in a clean home can make you feel happy and uplifted and basically put you in a good mood each day. Also, before you do a deep clean, you’ll have to clear a lot of clutter so that you can get to the hard to reach areas. Clearing clutter can help to clear your mind, and as you organize your home and look at what you have and what you want to keep or throw out, then it can help to organize your mind. Waking up in a clean and tidy home will make you feel more positive each day than if you were to wake up in a dirty, unorganized home where you can’t find any of your clothes and have to stumble across piles of things to get anywhere. 

It Will Make You Healthier

Being healthy isn’t just about eating right and exercising; your home could actually be what is making you sick. Some people always suffer from flu-like symptoms, such as watery or dry eyes, runny nose, and sore throat, and this may mean that they’re suffering from an allergy.  Deep cleaning could be the solution to this because it means getting into those hard to reach places where allergens often accumulate.

Wards Off Pests

Other things you need to be careful of in the home are dust mites, microscopic pests, rodents, and bugs. While taking your rubbish out regularly and sweeping and vacuuming will help you to avoid having a pest problem, but deep cleaning every so often will ensure that you’ve got rid of every last one.  

Reduce stress

Just as cleaning can help to improve your mood, it can also help to reduce stress as it helps to revitalize your space and can help you to relax. If you’re stressing over finding your car keys, then you’re wasting your energy, which you may need for other things that you might have to deal with during the day. Having a clean and tidy home can help you to reduce stress in the home so that you can deal with it everywhere else. 

Less maintenance and repairs

Deep cleaning and looking after your appliances means that you won’t have to spend money repairing or replacing them as you’ll be maintaining them as you go. When cleaning them, you’ll notice if there are any issues that need dealing with, and you can do so accordingly. This is especially important outside the home as something like deck power washing is an excellent way to lift stubborn dirt, grime, and debris off your home’s exterior surfaces and to prevent mold and moss buildup.

It Can Help You Work BetterIf, like many people, you are working from home more regularly now, then it’s even more important to have a clean work environment. When you’re trying to work in a place full of disorder and dirt, then this can make it harder to concentrate, whereas working in a clean and orderly environment will increase your productivity. While it’s good to clean as you go and to keep your work organized, it’s also beneficial to do a regular deep clean.

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Divorce Amid a Pandemic: How the Virus Strains Relationships

When Wuhan — the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic — lifted its 70-day quarantine in April, divorce rates have doubled compared to pre-lockdown figures. The number of people applying for divorce has soared so much that the local marriage administration was overwhelmed. People had to wait for three to four days before applying due to the sheer volume of applicants.

This trend was observed in major cities that locked down and forced couples to stay indoors. Across China, divorce filings spiked as things returned to normal. In the US, divorce rates soared by 34% from March to June 2020, compared to 2019 data. And in England, including London, experts forecast a divorce boom after the lockdown, based on the number of people looking for divorce advice online.

It’s no secret that the pandemic has created an enormous strain on relationships, and it has sent challenged couples seeking their divorce lawyers via Zoom. Forced to be together for most of the time, spouses nit-picked, perceived flaws are amplified, and deep-seated frustrations are unearthed. The virus has restructured not only healthcare systems but also families.

The Strain

It must be noted that many of the COVID-19 divorce cases were divorces waiting to happen. The pandemic didn’t drive a wedge between happy couples, but it easily drew couples who had existing issues apart. If a couple was hanging on by a thread, the pandemic drew them over the edge.

The issues don’t surprise divorce lawyers. In Wuhan, divorce papers were drafted over arguments on housework and childcare. Elsewhere, it was a combination of financial, emotional, and physical problems that created the last straw. In the US, the pandemic has plunged the economy into recession and hurt about 33 million jobs, with 13.6 million driven to joblessness. Strained finances challenge already strained marriages.

People also deal with higher levels of stress due to fear, anxiety, and worry over their health and the health problems of the people they know. This external stress affects interactions. Then, they have extremely limited outlets for these stressors: pubs are closed, gyms are closed, spas and hair salons are closed.

People face higher levels of stress than they have ever had before, but there’s nowhere to go but the four corners of a home, stuck with a person who becomes more annoying by the day. Whereas before, couples can regulate their relationships—when they can be together, when they are apart—now they can’t, and they are forced to confront things that they have avoided for many years. You have a recipe for a divorce boom.

In some dire situations, a spouse experiences domestic violence in the hands of their partner. Cut off from family and friends, the victim is left in a more vulnerable situation. Once the lockdown is lifted, the victims, understandably, will find a way to finally detach themselves from their abusers.

Not Just the Pandemic

It’s not fair, however, to simply blame the pandemic for every divorce filed post-lockdown. As mentioned earlier, a huge chunk of these soon-to-be divorcees already had issues before the pandemic, but the issue had only worsened during the lockdown. The issues they faced were independent of a health crisis — common problems involve incompatibility, lack of commitment, infidelity, and constant bickering.

Age could also be a factor in these divorces. Business Insider cites a study from the Institute for Family Studies that advocates the Goldilocks Theory of Marriage, which pegs an “ideal age” for entering married life. According to their studies, tying the knot too early or too late can put a marriage at risk. Meanwhile, people who married in their late 20s or early 30s are more likely to have a successful marriage.

Those who were married under the age of twenty showed the highest likelihood of divorce, at around 38%. The 20-24 age range showed a 27% divorce rate, which is higher than the age brackets 25-29 (14%), 30-34 (10%), and 35 and up (17%).

The article argues: if you were married during your teenage years, there’s a higher chance that you’re facing a problem financially and emotionally, as you’re still trying to find your footing in life. The pandemic might have amplified the issues.

When the Marriage Isn’t Working Anymore

For people who believe that their marriage is at the end of the rope, there are steps to prepare yourself and mitigate the damage.

  • Research Options — There are different options when it comes to divorce, and these vary depending on the state. Some couples enter mediation, litigation, or the traditional attorney-to-attorney process.
  • Gather Financial Information — You need a clear picture of your assets and liabilities, including investment accounts, bank accounts, pensions, loans, and more. All houses, properties, and even high-profile vehicles should be accounted for.
  • Create a Budget — Divorce is a financially grueling process, so you have to compute how much money you need to cover essential and discretionary living expenses.

As if going through a divorce isn’t stressful enough, divorcing through a pandemic is one of the most challenging things a person can experience. But the right tools and preparation can cushion your well-being and see you through the end (of the relationship and the pandemic). More importantly, soon-to-be-divorcees can take comfort in the fact that they are not alone, and that, like a health crisis, the stress will die down sooner or later.

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5 Hobbies That Will Make You Feel Good

Life is full of stress for most people. We work all day long, and we try to fit in the time for a family and a social life. In all of that time, we have to find at least an hour a day to do something for ourselves. We’re told that self-care is important, well, a hobby is the best self-care there is!

Hobbies give you a place to be at a certain time. They give you fulfilment around everything else that you do in your life – something that’s for you! Whether you enjoy reading about the Nissan Sileighty or watching it race on TV, or you plan to take up skydiving in your spare time, you need a hobby that will interest you and ignite passion in your life. Below, we’ve put together five hobbies that will make a difference to the way that you feel about your time.

Man playing guitar on rough terrain

Image Source: Pexels

  1. Learn To Play An Instrument

Music soothes the soul, so why wouldn’t learning how to play an instrument enhance your cultural education? Playing music has so many benefits for the mind as much as your body, and it creates a huge sense of achievement when you learn how to play something new. You can watch YouTube and self-teach any instrument if you know what you are looking for, too! Dance party, anyone?

  1. Study A Language

Learning a language in the pursuit of travelling the world and actually using it can help you in so many ways. You get to widen your knowledge while widening your perception of the world around you. You can meet new people and know how to communicate, and you can even download language learning apps on your phone to learn on the go.

  1. Put Your Fitness First

Often in men, skincare, health and fitness are a big deal. What is lacking in physical health almost always translates to something lacking in mental health, too. It’s so important that you know where to turn when you need a break from all of the pent-up stress, and pouring energy into running or other physical activity will flood the brain with happy hormones. Stress-busting can begin in the gym for you!

  1. Start Cooking

The percentage of male celebrity chefs to females is higher for a good reason, and it has nothing to do with skills in the kitchen. Men and women can cook as well as each other, but that doesn’t mean that men can’t be the best! Get your creativity out onto the table – literally. Learn to cook. Hit some cookery classes and baking classes and get out of the house. Once you pay for a course like that, you can spend time really enjoying yourself and pushing all of your pain into food. It’s worth it, with delicious consequences.

  1. Go Back To School

It doesn’t matter if you are in the peak of your life, there is always room for learning. You can go back to school and get another degree or learn a new skill, and add to your bow!

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A To-Don’t List For Feeling Better About Yourself

We all have our bad days. Some more than others. While this is a normal thing and we inevitably go through some tough times that make us question our self-worth, we should not let the negativity take over our lives.

If we want to change the way we feel about ourselves and, ultimately, our situation, we need to not only do the right things but also stop doing the bad ones. Even if you keep doing the right things but you continue to live with the bad ones, you will just end up in a vicious cycle. It’s time to get rid of some of our negative reactions to life and its challenges.

10 Things to Stop Doing to Change the Way You Feel about Yourself for the Better

1. Don’t compare yourself with others.

So your colleagues’ quick-sale houses are moving faster than the ones on your listing. Your high school friends are doing extremely well in life while you’re still struggling to hold down a job. It might seem so easy to feel sorry for yourself and be envious of what they have.

Don’t. Stop comparing yourself to others. Your life and progress are your own journey. You go at your own pace. It is your race to finish, not theirs.

2. Don’t say “yes” if something doesn’t sit well with you.

One of the things that sometimes rob folks of joy is people-pleasing. This includes saying “yes” just to feel included and valued. But at what expense? It can lead to a life of compromise and instability. Put a stop to it. If you don’t agree with something, you can always say “no” and agree to disagree. Give it a try. It can be very liberating.

3. Don’t feel guilty about taking a break.

You’re not a machine that can keep going for hours on end. Even machines are put to rest regularly to delay wear-and-tear. As a human being, your energy reserves will run out — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. You need to recognize when to stop and take a breather. It’s fine to take care of yourself, too.

4. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Mistakes are natural for human beings. No one is perfect. We’re all flawed in our own unique way. If things don’t work out for you because of something you did (or did not do) or something you are (or are not), it’s okay. Pick up the pieces, learn the lesson, and move on as a better person.

5. Don’t convince yourself that you’re okay when you’re really not.

In some cases, we are our own worst enemy… well, at least our pride is. Pride makes us put on phony facades and keeps us from acknowledging our realities for fear of either pity or rejection.

It’s really okay to not be okay sometimes. You just need to embrace this fact and learn how to deal with it. The sooner you learn to accept things the way they are, the sooner you can get on the road to recovery.

6. Don’t let anything or anyone prevent you from making time to care for yourself.

Self-care is an important aspect of functioning well holistically and socially. They say that you can’t give what you don’t have. If you keep showing up for people but fail to do the same thing for yourself, how do you expect to give them your best? Take time to attend to your needs, too.

7. Don’t be afraid to speak up and be heard.

Most of the time, we don’t like speaking our minds because we feel like what we have to say doesn’t matter in the grander scheme of things. But know that your thoughts, opinions, and voice matters to those close to you. You’re seeing one side of the spectrum that could be their blind side. What you have to say can potentially be a life-changer.

8. Don’t break your promises.

Feeling good is sometimes based on the things you’ve accomplished. Making good on your word brings you opportunities to achieve and accomplish something significant to another person. It makes you more thoughtful about your decisions and actions which leads to greater self-confidence.

9. Don’t get insulted easily.

Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can make or break you. A lot of people have never recovered from a bad thing that was directed at them. In most cases, these insults have led to lifetime trauma.

You need to learn how to filter what people say about you. Stop taking every word hurled at you so seriously. Consider the source first. Sometimes, it has to do more with their issues and not you. Understand that hurt people hurt people. So instead of reacting to every negative word they say about you, choose to respond better and rise above it all.

10. Don’t stop living life.

Nobody promised that life is easy. You will face challenges that will require mountain-moving faith. But no matter how big those mountains are, just keep going. Don’t stop living for these circumstances are temporary.

Sometimes you don’t need to move the mountain at all. You just need to keep driving uphill until you overcome it. Once you’re past it, you’ll only see a small mountain in your rearview mirror. Don’t get easily overwhelmed.

As Dory from Little Nemo said, “Just keep swimming.”

We hope that you find these things helpful when you’re down. Life is too short and too beautiful to not fully enjoy. It’s time to get up and face life with a different attitude.

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Important Life Lessons You Will Learn in Your 20s

Your 20s is such a wonderful time of your life. You have graduated from university and you have a real job that pays. You are an adult now.

In your 20s, there will be plenty of experiences that you will go through for the first time. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will learn a lot of life lessons that you will carry onto your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.

If you are about to turn what is going to be one of the best decades of your life, here are some things you should expect.

You Learn to Become Independent

For many, your 20s is going to be the time that you can say you have become truly independent. You officially will move out of your parents’ house and into an apartment of your own. You are expected to pay your own rent and utility bills using the income you earn from working.

Every experience – from looking for a furnished condo for rent to fixing a broken tap – will teach you how to be independent. You only have yourself to rely on. In every aspect of your life, you get to make the decisions.

You Will Make a Lot of Mistakes

A word of warning: you will make a lot of mistakes. That is part of growing up.

No one is born knowing how to do everything. You do not magically gain the knowledge of how to install a light bulb or paint a wall when you turn a certain age.

Nowadays, you can look up tutorials online to guide you. However, expect to still make a lot of mistakes.

Everyone fails at some point. Even the most successful people were either rejected or made a mistake in their life. Stephen King’s first novel,Carrie,was famously rejected 30 times by publishers before it was finally published by Doubleday. Steve Jobs was once fired by the company he co-founded.

You will make a lot of big and small mistakes. The secret is to suck it up and turn it into an opportunity to learn.

Enjoy Being Single

In your 20s, you do not have a lot of responsibilities just yet. You only have yourself to look after.

So, when you are single, do not mope around. Sure, it is nice to have someone take care of you, but no relationship is perfect. There will always be fights no matter how kind and understanding your partner is.

Besides, when you are single, you do not have to ask permission to do anything. You can travel the world, stay up all night with friends, etc. This period of your life will eventually end, so make the most out of it.

Chase Your Dream

When you are young, you feel like you have all the time in the world. However, that is not exactly true. Many factors in life may interfere, preventing you from doing some things that you want to do.

While you have the time, do it. Stary paving the path that will lead you toward your dreams. You will have to make a number of sacrifices in order to reach your goals, but you do not have a lot to lose.

Spend your 20s experimenting, making mistakes, and learning. When you get to the next decade, you will have an arsenal of experience that will ready you for the new challenges that you will face.

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Why Can’t You Meditate Successfully?

When it comes to learning about mindfulness, about curbing your stress, and about managing your mental health in general, meditation is one of the most widely recommended practices around. The benefits that it has shown for countless people is a clear sign of its effectiveness, but how come it’s not working with you? Here, we’re going to look at a few tips you can use to better meditate when you want to reach that inner zen.

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Get some help in doing it

If you feel like you’re not going it right, then that shouldn’t be too much of a source of frustration. It takes time to learn how to do it properly. However, if you feel like you’re really have trouble grasping what you’re even supposed to do, then there are plenty of guided meditation apps like calm.com that can you learn the most effective techniques along the way. However, your method of meditation does not have to look like anyone else’s. These apps can also serve to create soundscapes that aid your meditation once you’re starting to get the hang of it, as well. 

Ease your body, too

Calming your mind with meditation can serve to also calm your body and ease some stress. But sometimes your body might be feeling to tense to even start to get into position. Even if hands-on stress relief techniques like massage therapy isn’t available, products like those available at caduceusscience.com can help you manage your stress in advance of the attempt so that you might be able to better slip into a meditative state. Taking the time to exercise, cool down, and shower, before you meditate, can be effective, as well.

Set the scene

The kind of environment you meditate in will play a big role in how easily you can get into it. Distractions are going to get in the way of any attempts you make. For that reason, it’s a good idea to try and do it somewhere isolated or, if you’re in a safe place, to wear noise-canceling earphones that at least make it easy to block out the outside world. Then, aromatherapy candles like those from neomorganics.com, or incense or reed diffusers, can help you create a more relaxing atmosphere with the right scents, making it easier to slip into the right state.

Don’t give up

One tip that is crucial is that even if it doesn’t feel like you’re able to reach any kind of meditative state within, say, the first ten minutes, that doesn’t mean you should give up. If you’ve set aside half an hour, you should meditate for half an hour. At some point, you start to lose track of the frustration and instead focus on the moment, which makes it easier to finally find your feet.

Hopefully, the tips above help you meditate a little more successfully. You don’t have to experience it exactly the same way that others do, but you do have to stick at it if you want to see the positive effects.

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Easing Stress, Anxiety and Sadness While on Lockdown

The COVID-19 outbreak has taken a huge toll on all of us. Take a look at this post in which we reflected on the death toll and economic impact as well as providing our post-partisan take on the government’s handling of the pandemic. These are uncertain times for all of us. And when uncertainty arises, anxiety is often quick to follow. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown have, quite understandably, precipitated spikes in anxiety and depression throughout the world. Still, as you grapple with the “new normal” it’s important to remember that you are not powerless. You can take control of your mental health and improve your psychological wellbeing by being proactive. 

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Here’s how…

Take control of your finances

Your household budget is a balance sheet of income and expenditure. You’ve likely taken a drop in income. But that doesn’t mean that you’re powerless to counteract it by addressing your expenditure. The best place to start is the kitchen. Get used to eating more wholefoods (especially fruits and veggies). Buy fresh when you can. Buy tinned, dried or frozen when you can’t. As you get used to batch cooking and meal planning you’ll be amazed by how much less you spend on food.

Don’t forget about your bills, either. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you need to pay over the odds for your utilities, home or auto insurance. Start running some price comparisons now or investigate local providers and you might just be amazed by what you can save. What’s more, if you’re no longer using your car, you don’t necessarily have to go to the expense of insuring it

Make time for yourself

You’re likely sharing your home with the whole family. As a result, it’s likely feeling a whole lot smaller. It can feel as though everyone is getting under your feet, and inevitably cabin fever may set in. This is why it’s so vital that you (and everyone else in the household) make time for yourself. Remember that you still can, and should go outside to get some fresh air. Take a walk, sit in the park and read a book for an hour. Play some video games or watch a movie by yourself if it helps you unwind but be wary of spending all day in front of a screen. 

Make time for yourself and you’ll return to your family happier and better adjusted with more perspective on your problems. 

Eat more plants, and less of everything else

Fruits, veggies, grains and pulses are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals to keep your body in tip top shape and your immune system ready for battle. However, studies suggest that a vegetarian diet also helps to boost your mood and reduce stress. Not to mention saving you money. So load up on plant based foods and steer clear of anything processed where possible.

Exercise in whatever way works best for you

Finally, exercise can be a tremendous boon when trying to stay positive and alleviate stress. Exercise floods the brain with endorphins- the body’s feel good chemicals. Furthermore, the idea of wowing people with the new, leaner and healthier you once the lockdown is lifted can be a powerful motivator. 

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