Categories
Growth

How Long Does It Take to Get over a Break Up?

Going through a break up isn’t easy. A process has to happen for you to move forward and fully heal wounds that may come from your relationship. 

The question you’ll ask is: “How long will it take to get over it?” 

The answer isn’t a straightforward one. But we want to explore the question in detail and give you some understanding of the path you have ahead.

How to Grieve After a Breakup

If you’ve just come out of a relationship, then you’re likely going through a range of emotions. A grieving process has started, and you now have to find a way to live life with your significant other no longer being a part of it.

Phycologists break grief down to seven stages. Each stage doesn’t necessarily follow the other, and you may find yourself jumping between them in no particular order.

The 7 Stages of Grief After a Breakup

Desperate for answers: This stage involves searching for why your relationship has come to an end.

Denial: During the stage of denial you will find yourself refusing to accept the relationship is truly over.

Bargaining: When bargaining, you’re looking for a way you could change with the hope it gives new reasons to re-enter the relationship.

Relapse: A relapse means anything from contacting your ex or searching for them on social media.

Anger: During stages of anger, you may become angry at your ex, the situation, and even yourself.

Initial Acceptance:  This stage offers some light relief. It’s a time where you accept the relationship has ended, and you need to move forward.

Redirected Hope: At this point, you start to have thoughts of a bright future. You are looking for new ways to take your life to the next stage with the idea of being happy.

Experts suggest that the average time it takes to get over a break up is half the time that the relationship lasted. 

So if you were together for two years, it should take one year to move on. But there’s no substantial evidence to support this claim, and it’s more likely designed to give people peace of mind.

You Need to Be Proactive

The reality is that getting over a break up isn’t a passive action. You have to be active and take essential steps that allow you to heal. 

Doing things like hiding/deleting images of your ex, blocking them on social media, and deleting their number helps build the foundations of your future without them. 

These steps may seem cold-hearted, but having a constant reminder of them in your life is only going to prolong the difficulty of trying to move on.

Accepting someone is no longer in your life is half the battle. There’s also another side of a breakup, that’s arguably more important. And that includes the journey of yourself. 

There’s a reason your relationship ended and whether you like it or not you, in some way, have contributed to it not continuing further.

So, while trying to get over a breakup, you need to be prepared to do some deep soul searching. 

You have to take extreme ownership of your actions, and look at what areas of your life and mentality you need to work through. You could say this is the hardest part of a breakup. It’s not easy to look in the mirror and identify your areas of improvement. 

Here are some points you should consider:

Who You Were: 

What version of yourself were you in the relationship? Did you bring the best version of yourself, or did you allow your more negative traits to drive the relationship?

Why Did You Start: 

You may not have entered a relationship because they were the right person for long term happiness. 

You may have unknowingly needed that relationship to identify your true worth in life. Understanding your motives can help with the next point…

How to Avoid: 

If your relationship was overall a negative one, then you don’t want to find yourself in the same position with someone else. Look at what you can do differently to avoid a similar pattern of toxic energy.

Become High Value: 

Were you a low-value partner who attracted someone of the same status? What can you do to become a high-value person in order to enter a more stable, successful relationship in the future? Some tips to become high value are: working on confidence, being active and healthy, improving your career, and being more assured and content in who you are.

Breakups Are an Exciting Time in Life

Do the stages of grief and self-improvement feel overwhelming? If they do, that’s normal because the process of a breakup is hard work. But the good news is, that although painful, a breakup can be one of the most exciting periods of your life.

You’ve heard the term “I lost myself in that relationship.” As we connect our bodies and minds with someone, we often lose our sense of direction and self. This is particularly harmful if both parties are on different paths. 

One of you may sacrifice for the other, and while sacrifice is part of a relationship, if not done in a balanced way, it can lead to anger and resentment

Embrace Your Breakup

Coming out of the environment allows you to rediscover yourself. This is one of the most powerful experiences a human can have. 

Reconnecting with your values, motivations, dreams, and direction will make you feel whole again. You can transmute the pain you feel from your breakup into positive, powerful energy that drives you.

We don’t want to push you away with a random number of how long it takes to get over a breakup. That’s dismissive to what you’re experiencing right now. We do understand the discomfort means you want it to be over as soon as possible.  But we want to promote a different mindset.

Do not fear all that comes with a breakup. Rather, embrace it and see the opportunities that come out of it. It’s your chance for self-growth and personal development. It’s a time to learn about yourself and deeper parts of your psyche.

Don’t look to run away, instead, face it head-on. A breakup is your time to regroup, check-in with yourself, and build a better experience for your future. That takes as long as it needs to and you should not fear it, but rather, enjoy it.

Categories
Growth

29 Positive Feeling Words to Express Positive Emotions

People who practice the law of attraction or those who are developing positive affirmations are prone to using these words in their work. However, you don’t need to be a yoga master or have any type of spiritual inclination to inject more positive words and emotions into your life. 

Us humans tend to focus a lot on the negative feelings and thoughts, so why not take a break from that and join us on a positivity adventure?

In this article, we’re going to go over 27 positive feeling words to express positive emotions and give you a more positive outlook on life.

Why Do We Need Positive Emotions?

Positive feeling words should be a part of your everyday life in order to help you feel fulfilled and happy. Perhaps more than this, are the physical health benefits that using these words have on you.

Studies have shown that happiness boosts the immune system. This means fewer cold and flu symptoms are likely to show and your body will be stronger when it comes to fighting infections and the like.

Moreover, cognitive decline can also be prevented or slowed by using affirmations and focusing on the good aspects of life!

The list of psychological benefits of positive feelings is almost endless but you can expect to develop stronger relationships because of the newfound feeling of connectedness, as well as gathering an increasing amount of resilience against difficulties. 

Your boss will be happy too as these words increase motivation and productivity so you will be flying through at the paperwork! Don’t panic — the quality and effectiveness of your work will be improved too, you won’t have the bark without the bite.

27 Positive Feeling Words

1. Interest

Humans, kind of like cats, are curious by nature and we tend to want to learn about the new places, activities and people we discover. Being interested in something naturally opens up our minds to enter into unknown territory and explore the world in a different way.

2. Hope

The feeling of hope allows us to realize that any problems we encounter along our journey are only temporary. It enables us to feel the belief that our future will be filled with happiness and beauty.

3. Kindness

This emotion consists of being friendly and approachable to all people, acting in a considerate manner and oozing warmth from your soul out into the world. Kindness leaves us feeling extra warm and gooey inside, regardless of whether we are the ones receiving the kind act, or giving it. 

4. Gratitude

When we experience gratitude, we are being thankful for something and appreciating it. We might feel this when we look at certain aspects of our lives like health, friends, family, partners, fortune, wealth, and many more other qualities that make our lives fantastic.

5. Confidence

Confidence stems from you believing in yourself. For example, if you have an exam to take and you go into it feeling confident, you will be carrying the belief that you will successfully complete the test and thus, you are experiencing confidence.

6. Enthusiasm

This goes hand-in-hand with our first positive feeling word ‘Interest’. When your excitement bubbles over because you are interested in something or looking forward to doing a certain activity or visiting a particular place, this means you’re enthusiastic. 

7. Admiration

If you have ever ‘looked up to someone’ due to their talent in something or a specific personality trait that they possess, then you have been admiring them. Regardless of whether you admire from afar or so close that they know it, all of this is admiration. 

8. Euphoria

Euphoria is an overwhelming explosion of intense joy. It’s a magical and feeling and one we all just want to experience more often!

9. Pride

After you have achieved something great, the feeling of utmost importance is a sense of pride. It is uplifted further when others recognize the amazing thing have you done, which positively impacts on your self-esteem and overall confidence.

10. Contentment

You could feel this when you are with a certain person or group of people, at a particular time or when visiting a calming destination. It is the sense of peace when your mind is at rest and comfortable in its surroundings. Put simply, you are just blissful. 

11. Satisfaction

Maybe you once had an assignment that you have been putting off but eventually struggled through, finished it and handed it on time. Do you remember the feeling once it was all done and dusted? That is satisfaction at its finest. 

12. Amusement

All the funny aspects of the world — jokes, situations, contexts, quips, sketches, people — everything that makes you belly laugh (you know, when it feels like you have done 300 sit-ups); this is sheer amusement. 

13. Awe

Many things can result in us feeling awed, especially in the natural world. Looking at something so astoundingly amazing, thought-provoking and wonderous that you can do nothing but stare — that is awe. 

14. Joy

Children experience joy at the smallest things, as you probably know. But, as we get older it can be harder to find those purely delightful, happy and satisfying moments — once we are experiencing joy, however, it is amazing.

15. Cheerfulness

Cheerfulness encompasses happiness and optimism. It comes to fruition when we set our minds to a state of positivity and we are feeling like things are going in exactly the right way.

16. Free

The state of being free is one where you are feeling as if nothing is holding you back anymore. Maybe you have earned enough money to leave the nest or you have everything you need to live the life you want. Whatever it is, this is a mindset that should be treasured. 

17. Relief

In a situation where you expected the worse, but instead, something great came out of it, the feeling of pure happiness washing over you is referred to as relief. 

18. Prosperous

When you feel abundant in something, i.e. your state of mind reflects your feeling of having a lot of something good, you will feel prosperous. It is as if your personal needs have finally been met in a positive way.

19. Optimism

Optimism is a truly wonderful state to be in. When you are optimistic, you feel as if everything will work out well and you are feeling good about the future and its prospects.

20. Happiness

Happiness is a generalized feeling of pleasure and enjoyment. Sometimes you may feel happy for a specific reason but, for the most part, this emotion is an all-round term when things are going well for you. 

21. Eagerness

This is a toned-down version of enthusiasm. You may feel ready to take on a task or start a new job and will go into it with excitement. 

22. Surprise

No one likes negative surprises, so of course, we will only talk about the positive type here! It could come about because of a birthday party you weren’t aware of, a gift you didn’t expect to receive or countless other situations. 

23. Affectionate

You will most likely feel affectionate towards the people you have a strong emotional attachment to — yes, pets are included!

24. Elevation

Think back to the times you have witnessed someone being generous or kind and the aspiration you had to act in the same way. The uplifting feeling is exactly what elevation is. 

25. Inspiration

Inspiration can be linked fairly closely with awe. If you have watched the sunrise, experienced the wonders of animals in their natural habitats or saw someone who is excellent at their craft, that pure uplifted feeling is what inspiration refers to.

26. Blissful

If you have experienced a really strong sense of satisfaction and peace, then at this time, you were feeling blissful — it is a great state of mind to be in. 

27. Altruism

When you do something nice, kind or just plain good for another person, you will be feeling altruistic. It can also come into play when you have an unexplainable, large want to give generously to people without desiring anything in return.

28. Compassion

If you have ever felt a huge sense of sympathy, empathy, worry and concern for someone who is suffering, whether you know them personally or not, then you have experienced compassion. Unsurprisingly, it links pretty closely to kindness and generosity as a way of showing this feeling to others. 

29. Love

Love. The most intense positive emotion of them all. In reality, it includes pretty much all of the other feelings listed here like affection, joy, gratitude and happiness. You will never be able to compare much to love as it is so incredibly powerful and strong — it is what makes life worth it.

Put These Positive Feeling Words to Use

There are hundreds and hundreds of positive feeling words out there that can help you to unlock the true potential of your life. Remember that not everything in this world is negative, despite what the news and social media likes to say. As long as you search for the silver linings of even the darkest of clouds, you will live a fulfilling, happy life.

Categories
Health & Wellness

4 Activities to Improve Brain Health

A lot of times our brain can go on autopilot. As creatures of habit, we tend to complete the same routine on a daily basis–get up, get dressed, go to work. Then, by the time we get home, we’re usually tired we tend to zone out in front of the TV.

It’s important to keep your mind active because a well-stimulated brain not only improves your mood, but it also keeps you healthy and can reduce your risk for cognitive disorders.

Just like you keep your body healthy and active, you have to do the same for your brain. This doesn’t mean you have to do something drastic like learn a foreign language, but you should focus on a few small things you can practice regularly.

Improving your brain health doesn’t have to be complicated, there are a few easy things you can work into your daily routine to keep your brain sharp.

brain health activities

1. Exercise

Physical activity is important for a healthy lifestyle and exercise not only helps you physically, but it also improves your brain health at the same time. When you exercise regularly, it not only reduces your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but it also can slow aging by 10 years.

Exercise is good for the brain because it increases blood flow, which is important because it provides oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Fitness also releases feel-good endorphins and can help create new brain cells, slowing down cognitive decline.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Here are some specific workouts you can do to fuel your brain.

Walk or Run

Walking or taking a daily run is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into your day, that won’t take up a lot of time and doesn’t need any equipment.

Just by taking a daily walk you can improve your brain health because when you walk it increases your heart rate and causes you to breathe deeper, which improves oxygen flow to the brain. 

Aerobics

Studies show that aerobic exercise can improve a person’s cognitive function and can also boost cardiovascular health.

Aerobics is a type of workout that will increase your heart rate, but not immediately give you shortness of breath so you can perform the activity for a longer period of time. Some great aerobic exercises include cycling or swimming.

Weight Training

Strength training can help both your body and your brain, and research suggests that it can also enhance a person’s executive function and memory. Combining weight training activities with some aerobic exercises can round out your fitness routine and help you stay healthy.

2. Eat Healthy

According to Medical News Today, the brain uses 20% of the body’s calories, so not only do you need to fuel your body, but you also need to fuel your brain. Certain nutrients in different foods can increase brain power by improving cognition and memory.

Eating healthy is an easy way to improve brain health by incorporating nutrient-filled foods into your daily meals. There are a few main food groups that are a great part of a brain-boosting diet.

Berries

According to Science Daily, studies show that eating blueberries, strawberries, and other types of fruit can help prevent age-related memory loss. This is because berries contain high levels of antioxidants that protect cells from damage and they also prevent inflammation and they improve mental cognition.

Nuts

When it comes to brain health, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts have been shown to be preventive against memory loss.

Nuts support a healthy nervous system and can protect against cognitive decline and walnuts specifically also have a high concentration of DHA, which improves cognitive performance.

Vegetables

Specifically, leafy green vegetables like spinach are nutrient dense and research suggests plant-based foods may help prevent cognitive decline.

Vegetables like kale and broccoli are also rich in magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels–increasing blood flow to the brain. Foods like these are full of nutrients and antioxidants that strengthen the brain.

3. Manage Stress

An important way to improve your brain health is by managing your daily stress by regularly practicing stress-relieving activities. Stress can interfere with cognition, attention, and memory–making you more frantic and forgetful.

Stress not only affects you mentally, but it can also have many physical effects that negatively impact your brain and can cause health problems like heart disease and other cognitive diseases. Keeping your stress in check not only helps your brain, but it will improve your overall health.

Meditate

Practicing meditation allows you to clear your mind of the daily clutter that consumes it. Regular meditation sessions can increase your concentration and attention, while also relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. A study from UCLA also found that long-term meditation can preserve brains as they age.

Sleep

When you sleep, it gives your body and mind a chance to recharge. As you sleep, your brain cleans toxins that build up while you’re awake so that you can wake up with a clear mind. Getting a good night’s rest is vital to brain health and an adult should be getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night.

Find a Hobby

Picking up a hobby can be great for your brain. You can either learn something new or enhance a skill you already know. Working on a hobby will give your brain something to focus on while learning a new set of skills, it can be challenging or even relaxing.

4. Playing brain games

A great and fun way to improve your mental functions is by playing a variety of brain games. Training your brain can help increase memory, response time, and also improve logic skills. Brain games are not only helpful for your brain, but they can also be fun.

Playing brain games will increase your mental strength by stimulating your brain with new problems to solve that require a tactful response.

Puzzles

Completing a puzzle can increase the connections between brain cells and help increase short-term memory. Puzzles work both the logical left side of the brain and also the right creative side resulting in a full brain workout.

Crosswords

Working on a crossword can improve mental cognition and also work on your spelling skills. Crosswords are a classic brain game that can be done online or on paper, and if you’re feeling brave using a pen.

Sudoku

This game is a number placement game that relies on memory and can be played either on paper or online. Sudoku is great stimulation for the brain and can also be a relaxing activity to help unwind.

Get Serious About Your Brain Health

Your brain is powerful. But just like any other muscle in your body, if you don’t stimulate it, it’ll deteriorate. Use these four activities to improve your brain health and stay mentally sharp at any age!

Categories
Growth

4 Healthy Ways to End a Friendship (The Right Way)

We as humans are inherently social by nature, often regressing in solitude and thriving in company. Most of us find comfort in the relationships that we build around us, but what do you do when things go south and a friendship no longer makes sense?

Sometimes, once cherished relationships can become, well… less so. The first thing to note is that this is perfectly okay and not all friendships have to be life long. Growing apart from somebody is an unavoidable part of life.

More often than not, friendships that are no longer working, or cease to make sense, usually ‘fizzle’ out naturally. If you find yourself in a position in which the feeling is not mutual, it can be both a difficult and awkward situation to resolve.

If your friendship has run its course, but you’re just not sure how to cut ties, here’s how to end a friendship the right way.

Reasons to End a Friendship 

Putting an end to a friendship is an incredibly big decision, usually becoming ever more significant the longer the friendship has been shared. It’s crucial to always fully reflect and establish the true reasons why you want to end a friendship and to never make a rash decision off the back of a one-off argument or singular situation.  

Grabbing a pen and paper to jot down some reasons, why it’s time to end the friendship can be a helpful process, bringing some much-needed closure to your situation.   

Here are some common reasons to end a friendship:

Your lives have moved in separate directions

This is a common scenario with growth in your life. For instance, when you graduate from high school and head off to college or when you change jobs.

Having a directional change in your life can mean once valued friendships are no longer viable. You may develop new interests and form new friendship groups that don’t coincide with old ones. 

You may be moving away

Long-distance friendships are most definitely possible, and there are plenty of people who maintain close friendships with people on the other side of the world.

But if you feel that your friendship is built around the things that you do, rather than the conversations that you have, maintaining the friendship can become ‘forced’ and unnatural. 

Seeing a new side to your friend

Newly formed friendships can move very quickly in this day an age. With social media and the ease of communication, you may feel like you know your friend really well when actually you know them relatively little.

Over time, certain negative character traits can present themselves that you didn’t know existed. This is a common reason why some seemingly great friendships often only last short period of time. 

Your friendship had become toxic

A toxic friendship is one that adds more negativity to your life than positivity. A toxic friendship can impact your entire being, and even affect other people around you, such as your work colleagues, family and other friends. Toxic friends may encourage you to make decisions that benefit them, over yourself.  

Your “friend” is deceitful

Some people actively search out friendships strictly for their own benefit. A deceitful friend can be someone that lies to you to gain your trust, pretends to be your friend or someone that lies to others to make themselves look or feel better. A deceitful friend is also a toxic friend.  

If a friend of yours is regularly bringing you down, lying to you, using you or just generally not being a ‘good’ friend, maybe its time you take the right steps to put an end to it

How to end a friendship

There are ultimately 2 ways to end a friendship:

  1. Healthy ways: In which feelings of both sides are taken into careful consideration and done in a way of genuine sincerity. Ending a friendship healthily is always rooted in honesty.
  2. Unhealthy ways: Where the friendship is ended without justification, genuine explanation and in a way in which the feelings of the other person aren’t taken into account.  

While sometimes it can be necessary to end a friendship abruptly in an ‘unhealthy’ way, it’s usually better and often easier to do so using a “healthy” method.  

Healthy Ways to End a Friendship

1. Have a talk and express your feelings

Sometimes the best way to end a friendship is by simply communicating! They are your friend after all, so there’s no need to be frightened of a one to one chat.  

Set a time and place that works for both of you, unload and get everything off both of your chests. Directing the conversation onto this difficult topic is often the hardest part, but once things get going there will be a massive feeling of relief. 

Talking things over can help you to fully explain yourself as to the reasons why you want the friendship to end. It is also important to be a good listener when having ‘the talk’. Maybe the feelings are mutual, perhaps there has been a misunderstanding, taking the time to talk things through is the only way to find out.  

You might find that having a conversation about ending your friendship is easier if you write down a brief list of the things that you want to say. No need to write a 15-page in-depth recap, evaluation and conclusion about your friendship, but a few notes can help to keep the conversation going, even if you hit a patch of silence, or can’t remember what you originally set out to say.  

Whilst this method may seem overly simple and straight forward, I believe it to be the most effective, sincere and honest.  

2. Let things take their natural course

Without realizing, you may actually be the one who is holding onto a friendship that is coming to an end. It can be difficult to let a friendship slowly diminish over time, although, clutching onto something that is no longer there can be unhealthy for both sides, unnecessarily prolonging an inevitable outcome.  

To let things take their course try taking a ‘back seat’ in the friendship. See if your friend stops reaching out to you to make plans, stops messaging you unless you contact them first, or stays more distant from you unless you make a concerted effort to do the opposite. 

Reducing contact gradually can sometimes be the easiest and least intrusive way to end a friendship. By doing so there is also the opportunity to reflect and potentially reinstate the friendship with more ease than if things are ended in a more abrupt manner.  

3. The professional approach

It is common to become friends with the people that you work with, but if it starts to affect your career and have a negative influence on your performance, perhaps it would be better the friendship stays strictly professional.  

This can be done by verbally expressing your feelings of the situation, or by not taking part in conversations that are private or personal. Over a short period of time, the friendship will quickly revert to one of a professional nature.  

If you are having trouble with somebody being over-friendly, to a point that it is affecting your work, and a clear conversation hasn’t worked. It may be best to speak to your manager or to request that your HR department intervene.  

4. Take a pause from the friendship

Good friendships don’t come around often, so if you’re having troubles and feel like the friendship is heading towards the end, one of the best things to do is to take a break.  

No matter how close your friendship is, spending a lot of time with one person can become overwhelming. Much like a romantic relationship, a friendship can greatly benefit from taking a little time away from one and other.

By doing so, you can develop a newfound appreciation for your friendship, give you a chance to unwind and calm down if your friend has upset you over time and it can give you an opportunity to see whether or not the friendship should continue. 

Whilst taking a break isn’t exactly an actual way to end a friendship, it might, however, help to facilitate the process. I believe it is far easier to end a friendship after a break, than by doing it seemingly out of the blue. It also softens the blow if the feelings are not mutual.

Unhealthy Ways to End a Friendship 

Who am I to say that one way to end a friendship is better than another? The fact of the matter is, everyone’s situation is individual and specific.

If a friend is being nasty, obnoxious, or aggressive towards you, why not end the friendship there and then with a simple unkind hand gesture?

In some instances, the most appropriate action needed to end a friendship can be seen as ‘unhealthy’ though nevertheless, very much necessary.  

Avoiding situations in which you have to end a friendship in an unhealthy manner is often the best thing to do. examples of unhealthy ways to end a friendship are:

  • By text or email
  • Abruptly cutting off all contact, without warning (aka “ghosting” them)
  • Ending the friendship in an argument or in a “nasty way”
  • By getting others to end the friendship or your behalf
  • By changing yourself as a person in an attempt to make your friend want to end the friendship themselves.

How Will You End Your Friendship?

Ending a friendship is usually a troublesome and complicated decision, there is no way of avoiding that fact. It would, however, be far worse to hold onto a friendship that is no longer working, or to allow a friendship to continue to a point of being toxic and detrimental to your livelihood.

Some friendships are short, others are long, but it is important to remember that not all friendships have to last a lifetime. It is completely normal for friendships to take their natural course.  

If in doubt, always express your feeling and never stay in the dark. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your friend straight away about ending your friendship, try discussing it with another trusted friend or close family member.

Categories
Health & Wellness

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 32%, or 1 in 3 Americans experiences high blood pressure (BP), a condition called hypertension. Then, only half of hypertensive Americans have their high blood pressure under control.

Take a few minutes to learn about blood pressure so that you can get yours checked out and understand what to do if it’s high. High blood pressure can severely damage your heart over time, so it’s important to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.

These natural ways to lower your blood pressure can be helpful for those who want to stay away from medication, or to those whose medication isn’t lowering blood pressure on its own. A healthier lifestyle will lead to lower blood pressure, so many of these suggestions are great ways to improve your health in multiple ways.

These tips to lower your blood pressure naturally are ways that you can be proactive in improving your heart health.

About Blood Pressure and Hypertension

Let’s learn a little more about blood pressure before we begin. According to the American Heart Association, there are five levels used to report blood pressure:

There are two numbers associated with blood pressure. The first number represents systolic blood pressure, which means the amount of pressure exerted on your arteries when your heart beats. A healthy systolic reading is lower than 120.

The second blood pressure number represents diastolic blood pressure, the pressure within arteries between heartbeats, when the heart is resting. Normal diastolic blood pressure is 80 or below.

Fewer than half of the people who have hypertension have it under control. It can stretch and damage your arteries. It can also cause heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss, etc. According to the Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure is more of a risk as you get older.

These natural ways to lower your blood pressure are a great start to lowering your high blood pressure in addition to any other actions your doctor wishes you to take. Becoming healthier is a key part of lowering blood pressure. This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

1. Regular Exercise

We hate to hear it, but one of the best natural prescriptions for high blood pressure is good old exercise. If your blood pressure is elevated or you are hypertensive, you might have already been advised by your doctor to start taking evening walks or beginning another form of exercise.

Keeping your heart in shape by exercising more often helps it pump blood more easily, which lessens the amount of pressure exerted on the arteries.

Becoming more active has been found to lower peoples’ systolic blood pressure (the top number) by four to nine mm of Hg. This equivalent to the effects of some blood pressure medications. There is no doubt that the simplest solution to high blood pressure is plain exercise.

2. Reduce or Eliminate the Use of Chemicals Such as Nicotine, Caffeine, and Alcohol

Another obvious way to improve your health and therefore lower blood pressure is to eliminate chemicals from your body.

When we ingest too much of these chemicals, our blood pressure can suffer. Start making healthier choices when it comes to your vices.

For example, drink a cup of tea instead of coffee, ask your doctor for help in quitting smoking and practice more self-control when drinking alcohol. Your blood pressure will thank you.

3. Watch Your Diet

Diets high in fat, carbohydrates and sodium can raise blood pressure and damage arteries. Though changing your diet can be difficult, it’s worth it to lower your blood pressure.

Focus on eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables to lower your blood pressure. Avoid fat and cholesterol, and your blood pressure reading could be reduced by 11 mg Hg, according to the Mayo Clinic.

4. Take CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been found to reduce the high-blood pressure response to stress. In a randomized study, scientists administered CBD to those at a resting blood pressure and found that it lowered systolic levels, even though it increased subjects’ heartrates.

CBD derived from hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC to be legal in the U.S. it’s legal for consumption because it doesn’t get you high. Using the CBD component from hemp plants is a great way to lower your blood pressure naturally.

5. Use Natural Herbal Remedies

About 75-80% of people in the world rely mainly on herbs to solve their health problems because of the lowered risk of side effects and better acceptance by the body.

Garlic has been found to decrease BP in those who have a raised systolic blood pressure reading, but not in those with normal systolic blood pressure. Celery seeds reduce blood pressure significantly. Lavender has lowered BP and heart rates in tests on anesthetized rats.

Herbs are natural ways to achieve desired health effects. Make sure to speak with your doctor about any herbs you’d like to add to your diet for medical reasons.

6. Deep Breathing and Meditation

Your heart beats faster in response to stressful situations. Find ways to eliminate some of the stressful things in your life or find better ways of dealing with them.

Deep breathing is one of the central ways to decrease stress levels and therefore decrease your blood pressure. By taking some time (preferably 10-15 minutes per day) to focus on your breathing, you can greatly reduce your stress levels and in turn lower your blood pressure.

One exercise advises you to inhale for four seconds to take a deep breath, and then exhale for four seconds to finish the breath. Repeating this activity can regulate your blood pressure if it’s high.

Meditation can be added to deep breathing, as a way to relax naturally through visualization or an empty mind. Guided breathing or meditation practices can be a great way to take a break and relax, lowering your blood pressure.

There are Alternatives to Blood Pressure Medication

No doubt, there are more natural ways to lower your blood pressure out there. By now, you should realize that your heart health depends on healthy blood pressure, and we’ve given you a few ways to work toward healthy blood pressure along with your medical plan.

If you’re curious about your blood pressure now, stop at one a blood pressure kiosk inside Kroger or Wal-Mart and check your own blood pressure. If you’re like me, you might find out that you have elevated blood pressure (more than one time) from stress and anxiety.

If you receive elevated readings in a self-service kiosk, make an appointment with your doctor. You should seek medical advice if you think you might be experiencing high blood pressure.

Whether you take a medication for blood pressure and you’re looking for added ways to lower your blood pressure, or you have healthy blood pressure and want to know how to keep it that way, you should now have a better idea of ways to improve your health.

Categories
Growth

7 Ways to Stop Self Loathing & Self-Hatred

“You suck.”

“You can’t do anything right.”

“You’re not good enough.”

Hearing negative comments like these never feels good, but what happens when they’re coming from yourself, the critic you can’t get away from?

Everyone self loathes at some point in life, to some degree. For some, it’s rare and infrequent, and for others, it’s so constant that it gets in the way of reaching goals, socializing, building and maintaining relationships, and pretty much every other aspect of life.

Even the more rare and infrequent self-loathing can ruin entire days or weeks, so whether it’s a sometimes or an all the time thing, how do you stop self-loathing?

Signs of Self-Loathing

If you’re here, you probably either know or think that you have self-loathing tendencies. If you found this page accidentally, you might be thinking “I’m amazing, what’s all this about “everyone self-loathes sometimes”?”

While you probably are amazing, sometimes the signs of self-loathing aren’t as obvious as you’d think. Sure there are the obvious things like literally hating yourself and always being hard on yourself, but these less obvious signs can point to self-loathing too:

  • Being a people pleaser
  • Constantly apologizing for every little thing (maybe over and over again)
  • Setting expectations too low
  • Motivating yourself with tough love
  • Using harsh self-talk
  • Focusing most on what goes wrong and on the negative
  • Turning feelings into facts (i.e., “I feel like a failure” turns into “I am a failure”)
  • Making all or nothing statements (i.e., If I mess up this project, I’ll lose my job and never move up in my career)

If any of these signs sound familiar, it’s okay, you’re not alone and here’s how you can turn self-loathing into self-compassion: 

1. Target Your Triggers

There are many causes of self-loathing. Self-loathing can be caused by the traumatic experience of someone in your life consistently putting you down, especially a parent when you were a child. It can also be caused by social comparison, big life changes, setbacks, and sometimes just the way some brains are wired.

Figuring out the root of your self-loathing is one of the ultimate ways to overcome it, and one method that helps is journaling. 

Journaling allows you to identify problems, fears, and concerns and helps determine what triggers these issues. Plus, journaling has other benefits, like reducing anxiety and depression.

Every night before bed, reflect on your day, and think about the times when you started self-loathing. What time was it? What were you doing? Who were you with? Once you have a better understanding of what your triggers are, you can pick the best coping methods.

2. Talk to Yourself How You Talk to People You Love

We tend to treat our friends, lovers, and family members with a lot more compassion than we treat ourselves with. But that’s not the only option.

Next time you start being hard on yourself, stop, take a deep breath, and respond to yourself how you would respond to someone you love.

If a friend, lover, or family member came to you and told you they just lost their job and feel like a total failure, you most likely wouldn’t respond with “Yeah, you’re a total failure.”

Instead, you’d give them some compassionate (and real advice) about how it’s not the end of the world, how there’s a better job out there for them, and that you believe they’ll be a great success.

Practice this same compassion with yourself, and you’ll start feeling better.

3. Practice Gratitude

There are so many benefits associated with practicing gratitude, and one of them is that it can increase self-esteem.

Even if it might not feel like it at the moment, you have so much to be grateful for. Focusing on those positive things instead of what you hate about yourself is an easy switch that can make a big difference.

This month, I’m planning to journal about two things (or more) I’m grateful for every day, and I extend this challenge to you.

But let’s put a twist on it, one of these things has to be about you. These can be big-picture items like being grateful for how well you learn new things or more trivial ones like how awesome your hair looks today.

More reading: 6 Ways to Express Gratitude Every Day

4. Sit Out on the Comparison Game

Social media, when used well, can have many benefits. But when you start making comparisons, it can lead to so many adverse effects, like depression and reduced self-esteem.

This survey shows that 60% of social media users found that it impacted their self-esteem negatively. Sound familiar?

It’s so easy to log onto social media platforms, like Instagram, and scroll through hundreds of picture-perfect moments, and start to think about how much less you like your own life.

But the thing is, social media is a highlight reel, not reality.

And even with the rare moments when something you feel envious about is real, you still shouldn’t compare yourself to it.

You always hear about how you shouldn’t compare yourself to others because everyone has different circumstances, privileges, and is at various points on their path.

That’s all true, but the other day I read a quote that reminded me how useless comparison can be – even if someone’s situation isn’t that different from yours.

It’s a bit silly, but a lot true. I have no idea who said it, but it goes like this “Popcorn kernels are prepared in the same pot, under the same heat, in the same oil, but they don’t pop at the same time.”

Okay, I know you probably don’t make popcorn on the stove, but you get the point.

5. Give to Others

Self-loathing is often a result of not finding enough value in yourself, and giving to others is a great way to feel more valuable. Research backs this up, showing that giving to others reduces stress and negative feelings, boosts self-esteem, and more.

So when you’re feeling negatively about yourself, do something for someone else.

Volunteer, donate to a charity, help your parents or friends with something, let the stranger in line with a couple of items go ahead of you.

The simplest acts of kindness can make us feel so much better about ourselves and put some love out into the world too.

6. Talk to Someone Else

With practice, talking to yourself more compassionately will become a habit. But if you find it challenging at first, or if you need some extra love, speak to someone else about what’s causing your self-loathing.

To be honest, I was not feeling so great about myself this morning. I called my boyfriend and started listing a bunch of negative things about myself and how I was feeling.

He reminded me that I was one of the greatest, smartest, and most capable people he’s ever known and that all the things I was feeling down about could be solved.

I’ll admit, at the very moment, this didn’t make me feel any better. But a little later, all the negativity I was feeling turned into gratitude for having someone in my life who would say such nice things about me.

I also felt motivated to live up to his thoughts about me, which helped push me out of self-loathing and into taking action.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend or family member, there are other options too. For instance, Talkspace is a cool text therapy service that lets you talk to licensed therapists over video chats or text messaging.

>> You can use coupon code 1004U to save a little $$ on your first month!

7. Change the Things You Can

Zen masters from all over the world have been telling us for ages that peace and happiness come from within. While I think that holds a lot of truth, I also believe that we can be a product of our environments.

If you find yourself self-loathing because you are in a place that doesn’t align with you, or are surrounded by negative people, or are in a job that doesn’t give you what you need, then it’s time to make a change.

I know this is one of the hardest things to do, but often the best things in life are the most challenging and scariest.

Make a list of the things in your life that you aren’t happy about, identify what you can change, and make small moves toward those changes every single day.

Maybe you can’t move, or avoid certain people, or switch your job right away, but you can start.

If you don’t love where you live, start saving up and researching places you can move to. In the meantime, try to find a space near where you live that you enjoy, whether it’s a park or a coffee shop and spend more time there. You can also try redecorating your home and turning it into your favorite place.

If there are negative people in your life that you can’t avoid, like family, then try to at least break up your time with them or talk to them about their behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable.

If your job makes you feel like you’re stuck, look for more. Take that course that will help you land a better job. Put some more time into your side hustle. Dedicate just 30 minutes a day to applying for other jobs.

You Are Good Enough: The Key to Stop Self Loathing

A big trigger of self-loathing is a perfectionist mindset. This might mean needing to always perform perfectly at work, or it can be wanting to be the perfect person who never gets angry or stressed out or critical.

But that’s just not human nature.

Sometimes good enough is all you need, and you are always good enough.

Categories
Health & Wellness

Stop Self Diagnosing: 5 Reasons to See a Doctor Instead

These days, it seems like everyone’s a doctor. From nutritional advice to various diagnostic testing services online to natural remedies for everything, it’s easy to find a treatment to almost every problem online.

Sites like WebMD and HealthLine can allow you to quickly look up your symptoms to determine the most likely trigger. Self-diagnosing can be helpful in a pinch (when you need a quick way to bandage a small cut or advice on how to subside a headache), but it may be doing you more harm than good.

Here are five reasons why you might want to seek the advice of a medical professional, rather than self-diagnosing.

1. Online Credibility Can be Questionable

Sure, nerdygUrl684 on that well-established health forum has great advice on coping with depression, but you have no idea who she is. Is she really a licensed therapist? Did she really suffer from depression? And even if so, how can you be sure the natural treatment plan that worked for her will help you?

The truth is, you can’t. Every individual is different and if you’re suffering from a mental illness, working out a treatment plan with a therapist is your best course of action. They can unbiasedly assess your progress and work on goals that best fit your health goals.

The same goes for physical symptoms. Just because a so-called doctor online recommended dietary changes to improve your gut issues, doesn’t mean you should skip the doctor. You might need immediate treatment to help improve your problems, along with making nutritional changes.

2. Home Remedies Can Be Dangerous

Natural remedies are great. Many people want to avoid taking antibiotics, since they can hurt your immune system and cause other problems. And if you can avoid antibiotics and get better, that’s awesome! But don’t forget that antibiotics save lives every day and are a valid form of treatment.

This is particularly important when dealing with women’s health issues. There are many natural remedies online for yeast and other vaginal infections that can be downright scary or even painful to try out. And many of these remedies can make your problems worse or lead to new issues.

Natural remedies are great, but try working with a naturopath or physician who is open to alternative medicine, instead.

3. You Can’t Be Objective About Yourself

Many times psychological illnesses have physical components that people misdiagnose on their own. Those stomach ulcers are physical, without a doubt, but they may be linked to severe anxiety.

Your acne might be helped with topical creams from stores or your kitchen cupboard, but your might be overlooking a problem on the inside that a doctor would catch.

You can’t be objective about your own health or state of mind, no matter how logical you are. Not visiting a doctor can be severely detrimental to your health and can lead to even worse problems down the line.

4. You Can Make Yourself Sick

We’ve all hopped on WebMD and typed in our symptoms, fearing for the worse. It’s hard to find a string of symptoms that doesn’t indicate that you might have cancer or another serious disease.

Even when the odds are likely that you don’t, worrying about the threat of disease can lead you to thinking every mental or physical ailment is a sign of the worst.

That headache? Obviously a brain tumor. Your nervousness about a big interview? Crippling anxiety. That pain in your chest? You’re having a heart attack.

Constantly searching for answers to strange symptoms can lead us to believe we’re always sick or developing worse problems. Googling your symptoms can turn you into a hypochondriac and make you paranoid about every sneeze, cough, or hiccup.

5. WebMD is a Database, Not a Doctor

It’s great having access to medical information whenever you want it, but remember, WebMD and similar sites are databases with stored information. Just look at some of the symptoms of the diseases you’re looking up: headache, nausea, dizziness… they’re common symptoms for so many diseases, both mental and physical!

Talking to your doctor and allowing them to run tests, if needed, is the only way to be sure about your diagnosis and this certainty will allow you peace of mind.

Stop making yourself sick by self-diagnosing and make an appointment with your family doctor, instead.

Categories
Growth

8 Ways to Deal With Regret & Move On

“Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.” are the words famously sung by Frank Sinatra.

Unfortunately, I don’t think most people can confidently say the same.

And research shows that most people regret not making choices that would lead to becoming their ideal self. 

Not to mention the smaller regrets of day to day life choices. That’s a whole lot of regret.

So if you have a regret (or a few) that are weighing you down, you are not alone.

Luckily there are some ways to turn regrets that you can’t bear into ones you might call “too few to mention.”

Here’s how to deal with regret:

1. Look for the Positive (Really Look)

There’s usually a silver lining to most situations, even if it’s really really thin. So whatever your regrets are, look for it.

I went to college for four years to receive a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, but I’m not using it at the moment. This is something I regret a lot, especially recently. I dedicated four years of my life to it, took out loans, and now my work is unrelated.

But – those four years of my life helped shape who I am and involved amazing experiences. I learned about a subject I’m passionate about and a field I can hopefully work in in the future. And having a degree in general still helps with getting other jobs.

Focusing on the positives of any regret can help make it less overwhelming.

2. Turn Regrets Into Lessons

So you messed up, there are two choices you can make. 

You either give up and dwell in regret, or you learn from your mistake and grow.

Regrets become a lot easier to deal with when you learn from them, and no matter what your regret is, you can learn something from it.

Regret can help you better understand who you are, identify your morals and values, and learn how you want to act moving forward.

Some of the most successful people in the world have failed the most, and if they had dwelled in regret instead of moving on, we wouldn’t have some of the world’s most famous books, art, and technology.

3. Write Down Your Regrets

When we are faced with regrets, it’s normal to wonder why we didn’t act differently or why we didn’t act at all.

Writing down our regrets, asking why, and writing down the reasoning can help ensure that you don’t make the same regretful choice again.

If you snapped at your partner or roommate or family member right when you got home from work, maybe it was because you’re stressed after work and need a few minutes to unwind before talking to others.

Or if you didn’t put in the effort to get your dream job or dream apartment, maybe it’s because you don’t feel like you deserve it, and it’s time to reassess your self-worth.

4. Start Building Self-Compassion

Like I said before, there are usually two ways that regret pans out.

It can turn into the weight that sinks you, or it can be used to spark the fire of motivation that leads to self-improvement.

Researchers from Berkely found that the difference between these two outcomes is self-compassion.

Self-compassion increases our ability to embrace regret, learn from it, ensure we don’t repeat the action that caused the regret, and instead improve our lives.

To practice more self-compassion in your life, start by treating yourself the same way you would treat a loved one. You can also:

  • Write yourself a letter about your regret, from a compassionate perspective.
  • Challenge critical and negative self talk with a positive counterstatement.
  • Listen to guided self-compassion meditations (try playing meditation music in the background of these).
  • Remind yourself of all your positive attributes (and don’t be modest).

5. Don’t Let Regret Hold You Back From Doing More

If you think about the regrets in your life, you probably think about things you’ve done. These regrets can lead to developing a fear of doing other things, to avoid more regret.

But what about the things you haven’t done?

Research shows that the regrets that hurt us the most and linger the longest, are not the things we do, but the things we don’t. Especially when those things we don’t do, keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves.

So if the fear of regret is keeping you from doing the things that matter, remind yourself that while taking action involves risk, it’s just as risky to do nothing.

6. Make Amends

If your regret involves someone else that you’ve hurt, stop wallowing in regret, and apologize sincerely.

It’s never too late to apologize, and even if your apology isn’t accepted, over time, the sentiment will mean something to the other person.

It takes a lot to apologize, sometimes it involves a huge effort in putting the ego aside, but if you’ve done something you’re sincerely sorry about, you’ll feel so much better once you express it.

Apologize in person, write a letter, send a text, or give a little gift. And most importantly, strive not to hurt them again.

But once you’ve apologized, move on, rectify the situation, and stop beating yourself up over it.

7. Try to Live in the Present

No matter how few or many mistakes you make, the past is still the past.

And while it’s important to acknowledge your regrets, and accept them so that they can be used as lessons, there’s no point in dwelling on them.

Regrets are a part of the past; they can’t be changed. So once you’ve given them a constructive amount of attention, bring yourself back to the present. Research shows that being present increases self-resilience and effective coping.

Being present is a big component of mindfulness, and many believe it’s the only way to live a happy life. But if you’re always anxious about the future or stuck in your past regrets, being present can seem like the hardest thing to do. So start small.

Here are a few ways to practice being present:

  • Meditate – Even if only for a few minutes.
  • Immerse Yourself in Nature – It’s easier to be calm and present in nature, so get out there.
  • Practice Breathwork – Inhale and exhale through the nose, and repeat until your mind is calm.
  • Detach From Your Thoughts – Practice acknowledging thoughts, but not hanging on to them. Your thoughts and your regrets don’t define you.
  • Take a Break – Turn on some music and dance like no one’s watching, go for a walk, make a cup of tea, and focus on only your break, even if just for a few minutes.
  • Repeat a Mantra – Research shows that repeating a mantra reduces self-judgment and other negative self-beliefs. Your mantra can be as simple as “everything is going to be okay.” When you feel overwhelmed by negativity, repeat this mantra to yourself or out loud until your mind becomes calmer.

8. Forgive Yourself

Chances are, you haven’t done anything unforgivable, so forgive yourself. As long as you learn from your past actions and strive to be better, there’s no reason not to forgive yourself.

Research shows that forgiveness, stress, and mental health are deeply interconnected. So by forgiving yourself, you can also reduce stress and improve your mental health.

Regrets Don’t Have to Be Bad

Regret never feels good, but it also doesn’t have to be an awful feeling. It’s all about how you deal with regret and what you take from it.

So take a good hard look at your regrets, accept them, and use them as fuel to become the best version of yourself.

Categories
Health & Wellness

How to Practice Yoga at Home

These days, Yoga is a popular practice in North America, and for good reason: the ancient Eastern practice can bring many physical and mental benefits to its practitioners. Some of its most touted benefits include increased flexibility, weight loss, and an improved sense of well-being. 

There are now over 6000 yoga studios across the U.S. which offer guided classes to seasoned yogis and beginners alike.

But yoga memberships are expensive and not everyone feels comfortable practicing yoga in a studio environment (especially if you’re just starting out). 

Over the years, I’ve come to prefer practicing yoga in the comfort of my home, so that I can flow how I want, at my own pace. (Plus, there’s no one around to witness my face plants whenever I topple over in bakasana pose!)

Even better, a yoga practice from home is cost-effective and easy to start! If you’re brand new to yoga, here are seven steps to start practicing yoga at home:

1. Attend a Live Yoga Class First

Although not strictly necessary, I would highly recommend attending a few live yoga classes first if you are a total beginner. The reason is that it can be really difficult to know if you’re doing the poses correctly without a teacher there to explain how to get into the poses and how to modify them where necessary.

Even the most basic poses, like Downward facing dog, are surprisingly easy to goof up without guidance. 

I can’t tell you how many moments I had in a yoga class when I was (somewhat smugly) thinking I was doing a pose correctly, but then my teacher would gently adjust me this way or that, and suddenly I’d have a lightbulb moment like, “Ahh, that’s what I should be doing!”)

Most yoga studios do offer a few free or discounted classes for new students. It’s worth the investment to go a few times just to have a foundation on which to build your home practice. 

how to practice yoga at home

2. Pick Your Spot 

One of my favorite things about Yoga is you don’t need much space to get ‘er done. If you can roll out your mat and spread your arms out without touching anything, you’re good to go. 

However, there are still a few factors to consider.

If you have any pets, assume with certainty that they will get in the way. My cat loves to walk through my arms and stick her butt in my face during downward-facing dog. I make sure she is in another room while I’m practicing so that I’m not worried about stepping or tripping over her. 

I’ve heard that dogs are even worse for this. (Even though you can apparently incorporate them into your practice with one of the newer yoga trends, “Doga”.)

And if you have family or housemates around, I don’t recommend using the living room unless you know for sure no one else will be using it. Trying to flow through sun salutations while your sister is watching the Kardashians is a decidedly un-Zen experience. 

You could even try moving your practice outside as some yogis find that nature and sunlight help their practice. 

3. Buy a Quality Yoga Mat (and Optional Accessories)

Another great thing about yoga is that you don’t need much equipment at all to get started, just comfortable clothes and a mat. 

However, yoga mat shopping is not the time to be frugal. Cheap mats will cause you to slide around (possibly hurting yourself), or they may bunch up and tear. 

Take it from me; a poor quality mat is really distracting and discouraging so it’s worth investing in a good one. (B Ma​​t is hands down my favorite!)

How to Choose the Best Yoga Mat

Learn how to choose the right yoga mat for you, and see our favorites!

Other than that, you don’t need much else. Of course, there is a ton of Yoga gear you can spend money on if you want to; everything from bolsters to blocks and straps. But most of these things are easily substituted with household items, like books instead of blocks, or a belt instead of a strap. 

Other nice-to-have accessories for a home yoga practice are a mirror and a portable speaker. The mirror helps if you have one available as it can help you see if you’re doing the poses correctly, and the speaker is for yoga music that gets you in the right headspace for your session.

4. Set an Intention for Your Yoga Journey

What do you want to get out of your yoga practice? More flexibility? Greater strength? A way to tame nervous energy? Just want to figure out how to stand on your head?

There are any number of reasons to practice so setting an intention before you start can help you put a game plan in place and build a consistent routine.

Then once you’ve chosen a goal, decide how often you will practice and schedule it into the calendar. 

Because if you don’t schedule it, you aren’t going to do it. Trust me on this.

5. Choose a Yoga Style

When I first started looking into yoga, I was surprised and a little overwhelmed to learn that there are a plethora of yoga styles to choose from, some wildly different than others. But since you have already set goals and an intention for your practice, it should be relatively easy to narrow down which yoga styles you’d like to try. 

Hatha yoga is probably the most common in the U.S. and typically a more basic style of yoga that’s great for beginners. 

Ashtanga or Vinyasa will be more your speed if you’re looking for weight loss, while Restorative yoga a more passive form that’s great for relaxation and mental well-being. 

But those styles are just the tip of the iceberg! Read up on a few different styles and find the one that seems to best support your yoga goals.

6. Find a Virtual Yoga Teacher

While you could practice yoga on your own without any guidance, I would really recommend finding virtual yoga classes to guide your practice. Virtual yoga classes are my favorite because they keep your practice fresh, structured, and challenging. 

However, there are a ton of yoga apps and online platforms out there, and sifting through them can be a bit overwhelming. My top recommendation is MyYogaWorks which has hundreds of classes and dozens of teachers to choose from, for every style and experience level.

MyYogaWorks: The Netflix of Yoga

Check out our review of MyYogaWorks below!

MyYogaWorks also has “Yoga Journeys” with pre-planned classes and you can also make your own class “playlists” and schedule them into whatever digital calendar you like to use.

7. Practice Safely

The most important thing to remember when embarking on a home yoga practice is that yoga shouldn’t hurt. Yes, yoga should be challenging, but do not force yourself into poses that are painful or you could end up with pulled muscles or worse! 

I once pulled a muscle in my neck doing a supported shoulder stand and it took months to recover.  

Start with easier, shorter classes and work your way up as you build more strength, flexibility, and stamina. You will be shocked at how much bendier and stronger you are after just a couple weeks of 10-15 minute classes!

If you are looking to do more advanced poses I would really recommend going to a yoga class or maybe one-on-one yoga teaching in-home. Always put safety first so that you don’t end up being transported to the hospital looking like a mangled pretzel. 

Start Practicing Yoga at Home

When practiced safely and intentionally, a home yoga practice can be a great way to improve your overall health and well-being. 

My favorite thing about a home yoga practice is that it truly becomes your practice. If I want to spend ten minutes in my favorite restorative pose, or work on my arm balances during my lunch break, it’s just a matter of unfurling my mat.  

It’s such a great feeling when you know that a dose of physical and mental energy is just a yoga mat away!

Categories
Growth

The Ultimate Self-Care Checklist: 50+ Ideas for 2020

When I think of self-care, the first thing I envision is a dimly lit bubble bath. And while that is a form of self-care for some, it’s definitely not a complete picture of what it actually is, or why it’s important.

Because self-care is about more than just relaxing and taking “me” time. It’s about taking care of all aspects of yourself as the multi-faceted human being that you are.

So how exactly do you practice self-care? Not to worry, we’ve put together an ultimate self-care checklist with over 50 ideas for improving your mental and physical wellbeing.

Why Bother with Self-Care?

Lately, I’ve seen several articles balking at the concept of self-care, declaring that it’s not the answer to all your problems. And you know what?

They’re right.

Self-care is not a panacea for all that ails you. And it’s not a replacement for medical help if you are suffering from depression and anxiety. (See your doctor if you are.)

But while self-care is not a cure-all, it’s not something you can neglect either. Failing to take time to look after yourself affects your stress levels, energy, confidence, productivity, and mood. In short, it impacts your quality of life and your ability to bring your best self to the table each day.

It isn’t just critical to your overall well-being, but to those around you, too – especially where close friends and family are concerned.

But what are some actually effective ways to practice self-care aside from bath bombs and candles?

Here is the ultimate self-care checklist to ensure you are addressing all areas of your wellness.

Physical Self Care Checklist

Our bodies need a lot of maintenance! It’s easy to push aside your physical needs when things get hectic, so take some time out now and see if you need to address any of these areas of your health:

Exercise

Exercise is non-negotiable, it just has too many benefits! Get your heart pumping to release endorphins, strengthen your muscles, and increase your longevity.

You don’t have to be a gym rat and there are almost limitless activities to choose from that will do the trick. For example:

  • Going for a daily walk during your lunch break
  • Taking up a dance or group fitness class
  • Rolling out your yoga mat every morning and doing a few sun salutations
  • Registering for a 5k walk or run for charity
  • Exercising at home with a fitness app

Pick something that you enjoy and get your body moving!

Diet

Fuel your body with foods that will support your health. If your dietary habits are hot mess, start with simple, positive changes like:

  • Making one healthy food swap each week. For example, apple slices for a snack instead of chips
  • Trying a new recipe featuring a fruit or vegetable
  • Getting one serving of veggies in with your breakfast
  • Using a calorie tracker to stay within your daily calorie budget
  • Taking a vitamin D supplement in the fall and winter

Sleep

Most of us need at least 6-8 hours of sleep. Make sure you are getting enough sleep by creating a nightly routine. Get the best sleep by adopting a few new habits like:

Sensory

Perhaps the most fun way to practice self-care is to pamper yourself a bit! Doing things that feel good boosts endorphins and can improve your outlook on life. A few ideas you can try are:

  • Treating yourself to a spa day (you can even make your own home-spa!)
  • Getting your hair done
  • Slowly eating your favorite dessert (hello mindful eating!)
  • Putting on your most comfortable pjs and curling up on the couch with some hot chocolate

Health

  • Going to routine doctor appointments and screenings
  • Getting yourself to a dentist if you haven’t been in the past six months
  • Investing in an ergonomic work-station
  • Seeing a naturopath to address nagging or chronic issues

Mental Self Care Checklist

Mental health is easily neglected because it’s not a tangible thing like our bodies are. Yet, it’s just as critical as your physical health. Make time to check in with each of these aspects of your cognitive state:

Emotional

Emotions can feel like a nuisance sometimes but they are an integral part of being human. Try to bottle them up or shove them away for too long and you’re setting yourself for a trip to meltdown city. Manage your emotions in a healthy way by:

Intellectual

Keep your brain stimulated and sharp by challenging it intellectually with these ideas:

  • Learning a new skill
  • Taking up a new hobby that challenges you, like learning a new musical instrument
  • Picking up a newspaper and doing all the crosswords and Sudoku puzzles
  • Downloading Duolingo and learning a new language
  • Downloading an app that teaches you a new word every day
  • Watching an educational documentary
  • Listening to a podcast

Social

When life gets busy, your relationships might fall to the wayside a bit. But we are social creatures and are meant to interact with other people. You can nurture yourself by nurturing your relationships in simple but meaningful ways. For example:

  • Having lunch or coffee with a friend
  • Hosting a small social gathering at your home (or a large one if you prefer!)
  • Using a platform like com to find a group that interests you and meet some new people
  • Calling an old friend you haven’t spoken to in forever
  • Performing a small, random act of kindness to a stranger

Life Experiences

Experiencing the world can broaden your mind and create some of your most cherished memories. Your life experiences are what helps you keep growing as a person!

You can try:

  • Traveling somewhere you’ve never been before (even if it’s just a new park or nearby town)
  • Volunteering at a charity
  • Going to see a live concert
  • Attending the ballet or a musical
  • Becoming someone’s mentor, or finding a mentor
  • Taking a road trip

What’s on Your Self Care Checklist?

Not every one of these ideas may work as acts of self-care for you personally, and that is totally okay. The takeaway is that you need to take time out of your day to look after yourself on multiple levels.

The options for self-care are limitless, and they don’t need to be complicated, either! All you need to do is carve out time for yourself each day, and treat that time as a sacred priority. 

If it helps you become a healthier, happier, more well-rounded person, then its something you should make time for!