Friday, September 22, 2023

What Exercise To Do When It Is Too Cold To Walk Outside.

 It is winter and it is cold outside.  It is too cold to do much outside or it is snowing so hard, you have a blizzard.  You want to work out but can't do it outside so what can you do to get that regularly scheduled exercise in. There are some alternatives that cost money and others that are totally free. Some require you drive a bit while others allow you to do something where you are.  

One of my favorite alternatives is to head to the mall early in the morning, before all the stores open.  I love walking around and around.  It's almost like doing speed walking window shopping. Many malls allow walkers in so they can get their exercise before the stores open.  

Another possibility is to use the building you work in or your multistory house.  Think about walking up and down the stairs several times for a great workout. Research shows that climbing helps strengthen and tone your legs so you become stronger and your legs look better.  Although you could do stair lunges, or stair crawls, just walking up and down the stairs is enough to get a good cardio workout.

Get up and walk around the house or building.  When I worked in an office in my 20's, I often walked to the bathroom across the building or on another floor so I could get a bit more exercise. At home, I'd take the stairs up to the second floor bathroom if I was downstairs, or go downstairs if I was upstairs.  I'd try to find the longest route I could.  I was even known for delivering work by taking the longest way around or even do a couple of laps before stopping at the office.  

Movement is important.  If you don't have time to walk, think about pacing across the room if you are in a conference, rather than sitting through them.  When you move around, you are doing so much good for your health and for the health of your brain.  Another thing is to look at doing a bit of yoga to help stretch muscles.  For instance, circle your head so you are giving your neck a great stretch, or roll your shoulders forward or backwards so the muscles don't cramp. You could also bend to the left with your right hand over your head and then reverse it.  When you spend all your time sitting, your muscles can get tired and need stretching.

You might consider getting a membership to a gym that is near work, near your house, or is on the routing home.  You also need to make sure the gym offers activities you want, at the level you want.  On Monday, I'll do into more details about what to look for in a gym.  For me, I have a university that is closer and they do allow towns people to buy memberships so you can pop in and swim or take classes, workout, or use their equipment.  There are also park and rec departments that offer so really nice activities for much less than a gym.  

If the weather gets too cold, know that there are alternatives available so you don't have to walk out in the super cold air.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Walking During The Winter

 It is mid September, heading into October.  For many of us, that signals that it is heading into fall and winter isn't too far behind.  Up here in Alaska, the temperatures start dropping the middle of August in many parts, and the snow isn't far behind.  I've seen multiple feet of snow fall by this time of the year.  Today, I'm looking at walking outside during the winter and on Friday, I'll address the issue of walking in areas where it is too cold to walk outside. We'll look at your alternatives.

So if the temperature isn't too bad, then you might want to continue walking outside because there are some benefits to exercising outside. Even though the temperature is a bit colder, you are still enjoying fresh air and sunshine when you are outside.  This can really help your mood and you are less likely to suffer from the winter blues.

In addition, when you are out in the sunlight you are getting Vitamin D.  Research indicates that when you spend 5 to 30 minutes outside each week, you will get all the Vitamin D your body needs. This is important because it is difficult to absorb Vitamin D from the sunlight that comes in through a window.

When you walk outside, your body is more effectively burning calories because your body is trying to stay warm so it uses more energy. Thus if you take a nice walk at a great pace, you use calories and you can end up losing weight more quickly.  Furthermore, there are studies that indicate you are activating your immune system when you walk outside in the winter.  Just think, a short 30 minute walk outside, can help you keep from getting winter colds. 

A nice winter walk can also give you a boost of energy without needing to take any caffeine.  In fact, research suggests that the energy boost you get will keep you going for three to four hours after the walk. There is also research to indicate that walking outside, can change the fat from white to a lovely brown.  A brown colored fat is said to be better for our metabolism and the white fat is not good for us.

In addition, when you are outside in the cold and snow, the scenery is so different from what you normally see the rest of the year.  You will see things, you've never noticed before and there is nothing prettier than fresh snow sparkling around you as you walk.  Furthermore, the air is much cleaner in the winter so everything smells so much fresher.  Also in winter, there are fewer allergy causing items in the air so you are less likely to have issues.

Finally, all the fresh air combined with the extra demand on calories can help us sleep so much better at night.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. On Friday, keep an eye open for ideas of how to walk when the temperature outside is too cold for you.  Have a great day. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Exercises You Can Do In The Office


Some days, we barely have enough time to exercise while other times you just want to get some exercise done because you need it. If you work in an office, you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk in a cubbyhole or in a small office.  Often times, you are expected to work without taking much of a break but there are things you can do to fit in a bit of exercise here and there, even in an office.

Many of these exercises can be done with little to no equipment.  The first few exercises require the use of a chair, one without wheels.  First is one for the triceps.  Sit with  a chair behind you, Put your palms on the chair, with fingers facing away from you, with your feet on the ground in front of you. Raise yourself up so your arms are straight up with your bottom is off the ground.  Then lower yourself till you are almost parallel to the ground before returning to the starting position.  Repeat this 10 times.

Next try a desk pushup.  You want to stand so your hands are on the front edge of the desk with your feet two to three feet away.  Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders with your arms straight. Lower yourself slowly till your chest is almost to the desk, then return to the starting position.  Repeat 10 times.

Then try some calf raises.  Stand by the desk or your chair, resting your hands on either the top of the chair or the desk.  Rise onto your toes, hold at the top of the rise for a couple of seconds, and then return to having flat feet.  Repeat 10 times.  

A nice exercise for your lower legs is to perform a squat.  Stand so your chair is right behind your feet.  Slowly sit down till you are almost in the chair before standing up. Repeat at least 10 times.  Follow this with a plank where you lean on either the chair or the desk so your feet are straight out behind you.  Your forearms are on the chair or desk with the fingers clasped together.  Hold this position for 10 seconds.  Then shift slightly to do a side plank by having only one forearm on the chair or desk and have your body straight.  Raise the other hand towards the ceiling and hold for 10 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.

These few exercises can be done during a short break so they won't take time out of your daily schedule and they will leave your feeling so much better.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Friday, September 15, 2023

What Is A Flexitarian Diet?


It seems like every time you turn around, there is some new diet fad raging through the population.  There is paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian, whole foods, and so many more.  Personally, I've been following a vegetarian diet because it works well for me.  Over the past year or so, I've been seeing the term flexitarian, so I thought it was time to investigate that particular term.  

By definition, flexitarian is a combination of the two terms - flexible and vegetarian.  It does allow you to enjoy animal products some of the time, so its not as strict as some of the other diets.

As far as diets go, it is considered among the healthiest diets, just behind the Mediterranean diet. because it is simple, straightforward, and healthy.  It isn't as fussy as some other diets.  This way of eating has you consuming a lot of beans, grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts but you are allowed to enjoy the occasional piece of meat.  This is great for those who cannot give up their meat entirely.

In addition, this is not a typical diet with a start and stop date.  It does not require you to weigh or measure every serving but it does place a larger emphasis on a plant based diet with less saturated fats and such.  There are some restrictions on the amount of meat you eat during the week and that mainly depends on how much meat you eat.  The recommended amount is between 9 and 28 ounces of meat per week.  So being a flexitarian has you cutting down on the amount of meat you eat per week.

This diet has three stages to help ease you into being a full time flexitarian.  The first step is to skip eating meat, twice a week.  Instead replace the meat with some sort of plant based dish like beans and rice, meatless pasta, or even pizza without any meat.  So instead of eating meat 7 nights a week, you'll only have it 5 nights.

The second stage has you cutting back on meat even further so you enjoy a full vegetarian diet for three to four days a week.  On the days you eat meat, you shouldn't have more than a total of 18 ounces.  To give you an idea of size, a playing card sized piece of chicken or steak is about 3 ounces.  The final stage requests you enjoy a full vegetarian diet for 5 of the days.  On the other 2 days, you shouldn't consume more than a total of 9 ounces.  So about 4.5 ounces each day.

As far as the meat you consume, it is recommended you eat organic, free-range, pasture raised, or grass fed beef, chicken, or turkey.  No matter what, look at the leaner parts so you are not eating that much fat.  If you like fish, look at eating fish that is caught in the wild rather than farmed.

Some of the benefits include decreased heart disease, weight loss, decreased risk of diabetes 2, and being healthier overall.  Be aware though that when you cut back on eating meat, you might find you are deficient in iron, B12, zinc, or calcium.  

Make sure you chose to eat foods that have undergone the least amount of processing, with no added sugar or extra salt, Otherwise enjoy fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, grains, plant based milks, etc so you get the best diet you can eat. It is important to replace meat with these items and not just stock up on frozen pizza, and canned pasta.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great time.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Ways To Become Mentally Fit

In todays world it is easy to eat properly, exercise regularly, but we sometimes forget to keep our selves mentally fit.  It is especially important as you age so you delay getting dementia or Alzheimer's and are able to age gracefully.  Today we'll look at ways you can become mentally fit and maintain that fitness.  

When we are mentally fit, we have more opportunity to respond to a specific situation, thus causing us less emotional or relational injury. An example might be when you are with a friend who says something to you in anger.  Normally, you want to immediately respond in kind but if you are mentally fit, you have the opportunity to pause and think about how you will respond so you may not have to mend fences later.

The advantages of being mental fit include being present so we are better able to retain information, listen better and enjoy life more, helps us respond rather than react because we have more control over automatic thoughts, improved cognitive functionality, have a more positive outlook so we are more optimistic, much more positive while developing positive habits, and finally, sleep better at night.

There are several ways we can become mentally fit.  This means we exercise our brains by practicing mindfulness through meditation or other process. Think about doing this about 10 to 15 minutes every single day.  Notice if any thoughts pass by and if you need to reframe them from negative to positive.  In addition, start a gratitude journal where you list things you are grateful for.  It might be as simple as listing 3 positive things that happened during the day.

Start exercising regularly since the mind and body are connected. Working out helps relax the mind while releasing tension and stress. Drink lots of water every single day and include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet as all of these help your brain. Use your mind to determine three things you did during the day such as moving from sitting to standing - knowing when you did it.  This is something we do automatically and it helps us become more aware of our thinking.

Practice savoring your first cup of coffee, the sun rise, eating a meal, or even crawling into bed after a long day.  This is a way to slow down and enjoy something you might otherwise rush through. You might also want to sit down, notice your breath so you are more aware of yourself.  Take your time, enjoy yourself.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Food Myths Debunked!


Food.  Glorious Food. Most of us have a bit of a love hate relationship with it in that we love the food but we don't want to eat too much.  I enjoy cooking but since there is only really me, its hard to make much of it at once.  I love trying new recipes but I still have the things my mom told me in the back of my mind.  Some of these things fall within the food myth category.

One of those myths I heard growing up is the one that there is nothing better than fresh produce for your health.  My mother mentioned it a lot as she commented that she couldn't afford all the fresh produce and had to use either canned or frozen since it lasted longer.  There is research out there that says that canned, frozen, or dried produce can be as good as fresh.  It is important to read labels to make sure there is no added sugar, salts, or oils that make an otherwise healthy item into something that isn't as healthy.

Along this vein is the idea that one should only use unrefined sugars such as honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar because they are healthier due to have additional vitamins and minerals. That isn't quite true because the amount of vitamins and minerals are extremely small and they are a sugar.  Sugar is sugar no matter what and too much is not good for us.

There is also a rumor out there that says one must cut out all fat because it is better for your heart and overall health.  The food industry has replaced fat with sugar and salt to help maintain the flavor lost when the fat was taken out. In fact, it is important to consume healthy fats so you have energy, are able to absorb certain nutrients, to support cell function while helping to produce certain hormones.  

Of course, my mother was great at following the rule about counting calories to lose or maintain weight but it isn't calories that is the only thing to look at.  It is much more important to eat healthy foods.  Look at quality over quantity.  I saw a infographic that showed a small plate.  Half of it was devoted to veggies and greens, one quarter to grains etc, and the last quarter to protein as the best way to eat.  

There is another myth that if you want to lose weight you avoid all carbs.  Many of these low carb diets restrict or eliminate all fruit and grains which are good for you. If people eliminate processed carbohydrates found in cookies, cakes, or soda, they are likely to lose weight.  It is not good when a diet eliminates one class of food.

One thing my doctor told me was that I couldn't eat anything white including potatoes.  I was not allowed to have any potatoes because they aren't good for my health.  According to John Hopkins, potatoes are good for you with Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and other nutrients but they should be eaten with the skins on because the skins have nutrients. They should be fixed by baking, air frying, boiling, and roasting.  Furthermore, they are available in the grocery store year round.

Another myth is that certain foods such as apple cider vinegar, grapefruit juice, or cayenne peppers will help your body burn calories.  There are no foods which will make your body burn more calories. What really happens is that diets recommending these foods eliminate others and that is what causes your body to lose weight.  When you add the missing foods back in, you are likely to gain the weight back.

These are just some of the food myths out there.  Remember, check to see if the food advice you get is actually good or a myth.  You want to take the best care of yourself and want to eat as healthy as possible.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Do You Need A Mental Health Day?

Have you ever taken a mental health day?  I haven't, mostly because I grew up in a household that didn't believe in such a thing.  I do know folks who have taken a mental health day and they've freely admitted to it.  In fact, since COVID, more people have recognized the need for such a day.  A mental health day is defined as taking a limited amount of time away from your responsibilities with the express goal of renewing yourself.  It is also important to take the day off before things reach a point of exploding.  If you wait till you are too stressed, the mental health day will not be as effective.
Furthermore, a mental health day does not have to take a full day.  It might just involve a few hours in the afternoon.  Taking a mental health day also recommended for children and teens to help them with stress. 

Unfortunately, people are suffering from burnout more right now and a mental health day is an important step to help people destress and cope with everything.  Burnout can effect your sleep, energy, focus, self-esteem, and being able to spend time with family and friends.  In addition, it is well known that working more hours at work can lead to anxiety, trouble sleeping and even depression.

There are some signs you can look for that will help you determine if you need a mental health day.  If you are suffering from these symptoms, think about taking some time to yourself so you can recouperate.

l. You are feeling much more run down and getting sick or having colds more often.

2. You feel tired all day long. It feels like you could take a nap at any point during the day.

3 You feel highly resentful or are easily irritated.

4. You react negatively to small changes or requests.

5. You have low self-confidence, low self esteem, or low self-efficacy.

6. You find it difficult to concentrate.  You feel really foggy.

7. You are easily distracted or feeling restless.

8. You have difficulty sleeping.

9. You are no longer interested in the activities you once loved.

10. You skimp on self care such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.

When you hit a point where you find it difficult to function each day, it is time to stop and think about taking a mental health day. Don't wait till you burnout, take some time off when you start noticing a few of these symptoms so you can help recharge yourself.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Ways To Improve Your Mindset.

We all have a certain mindset we meet the day with.  Mindset is defined as how your mental attitude is as you interpret and respond to various situations.  You might hear mindset referred to as mental attitude, outlook, or other such terms. 

Mindset matters because it helps the person make decisions and helps determine a point of view. .  If they have a positive mindset, they are more likely to prioritize mental health and self improvement.  It allows people to step outside their comfort zone. Those with a negative mindset feed into self-doubt with negative thoughts.  

 Although we each have a certain mindset, there are five things which make up the mindset.  They are self-efficacy, locus of control, belief about our capabilities, motivation, and level of resistance. 

In order to change your mindset, it is important to decide to change it as the first step.  Even if you have a negative mindset, it is possible to change the mindset to a positive one.  Understand, this change will take time and it varies from person to person.  There are five ways to change your mindset.

First, embrace change by making new friends, quitting your current job and moving to one you like better, or move to a new place.  This one may be logistically harder but if you embrace it, it will be easier.  

Second, set attainable goals. Break the goals into smaller pieces so that they are smaller steps.  Write these goals out and put the goals where you will regularly see them and are able to determine how much progress you are making towards the goals. As you  make a goal, you can cross it off.  

Third, surround yourself with people who are encouraging, rather than pessimists because their positivity is likely to rub off on you. This positivity is more likely to help you change your attitude.

Fourth, include daily exercise because exercise helps you think more clearly, improves your mood, and makes you feel more positive. Exercise often helps change your attitude and in turn your mindset changes.

Fifth, talk to a friend.  Making changes to your mindset can be difficult and if you have a friend to talk to, you can express your feelings.  If not a friend, share with a therapist, or think about writing your feelings in a journal if you are private and don't want to share with anyone.  This helps get rid of doubt and clears the way for improving your mindset.

These are five easy ways to help change and improve your mind set.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Color Depositing Shampoo.

 I just ran across something called color depositing shampoos at the store.  I'd never run into them before so I don't know if it is something new or if it has been around for a while but has only made it to my local store.  The biggest difference between regular hair dye and color depositing shampoo is that the regular dye goes inside the surface of the hair strand while the shampoo deposits color on the outside.  This means a color depositing shampoo is not as strong as a regular dye.

A color depositing shampoo is a shampoo with specific ingredients that either temporarily deposit color or eliminate unwanted undertones. It is important to read the labels on color depositing shampoos to see what they are designed for.  A purple shampoo is often used to eliminate brassiness, a green one is good to neutralize red, and more.

In addition, a color depositing shampoo can help keep your color brighter longer so you don't have to re-dye your hair as often.  The length that the color  from color depositing shampoo lasts, depends on several factors but it is important to read the directions so you know you are using the product correctly. Since it deposits color, it is important to use gloves so you don't stain your skin from applying it.

The frequency you use a color depositing shampoo depends on the shampoo. Some are made to be used every day while others can only be used once or twice a week. There are a few that are designed to only be used every couple of weeks and you would wash your hair with regular shampoo in between.  This information is found on the back.  

In general, you only need to have the product on your hair for between 3 to 10 minutes, depending on how much color you want.  If you need a bit of color, you might only leave it on for 3 minutes but if you need more, you'd leave it for 10 minutes. Furthermore, it is said to cover unbleached gray hair quite well.

As stated earlier, color depositing shampoo is great to use between the times you have your hair dyed.  It helps keep the shade vibrant and while keeping your hair glossy.  In addition to using gloves to protect your hands, make sure you rinse the shower immediately after using to keep the pigments from staining the shower.  

So if you want your color to last longer, or cover grey, consider using color depositing shampoo.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Reasons For Guided Meditation.


Last time, I discussed guided meditation.  I looked at what it was and general reasons for doing it but today, we'll look at specific reasons.  These reasons are backed by science so guided meditation is not a passing fad.

First of all, several studies indicate that guided meditation helps reduce assorted symptoms of anxiety. In fact, it has been found that those who regularly meditate are more calm.  There is one study showing those people who participated in guided meditation tended to experience more reduced symptoms of anxiety than those who only took a stress management course.

Second, guided meditation helps people mange stress so much better.  When you are stressed, the hormone cortisol increases, causing issues such as a weakened immune system, cause arthritis to flare up and more.  The right guided meditation experience can lower blood pressure, and reduce the resting heart rate.

It can also improve relationships because one is more willing to accept a partner's quirks without getting upset.   This leads to increased satisfaction within the relationship.  This is great because we need to interact with people.  We need the social aspect of humanity.  Furthermore, guided meditation can help us process our emotions.  This is great because we often don't know how to process certain emotions, so this side effect can help us so we don't get too stressed.

In addition, most people participating in guided meditation, experience fewer negative thoughts, and are less likely to eat due to emotional stress.  One side effect of emotional eating is an increasing waistline but it can also cause raised blood pressure, fatigue, and low self esteem.

Furthermore, participating in guided meditation tend to sleep better. There is less chance of your mind being active, thus keeping you up all night.  It also boosts creativity so you have more ideas and feel more inspired in all you do.  It also boosts your attention span so you can focus on work for longer periods of time.  In addition, it helps improve your memory so you remember things better.  

Guided meditation is also extremely easy to start.  So if you aren't doing it, think about starting it.  It's not hard.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Guided Meditation.

 Yes, I know we are all busy.  This year, they took away my planning period and left me with little to no time to plan, correct papers or figure out how to teach a couple of new programs.  Talk about stress.  One suggested activity that can help with stress and falls under the category of self care is meditation.  If you are just starting out, guided meditation is a great way to go.

Guided meditation is considered part of the mindfulness movement and is one of the easiest things to access.  In guided meditation, there is a voice that guides us through our meditation. Often people find it difficult to focus because the mind tends to wander, exploring things that pop into our minds.  The guiding voice keeps our minds from darting place to place.

Guided meditation helps our minds be calm instead of darting place to place.  In general, our minds are quite busy, thinking about what needs to be done, thinking of things from the past, friends, relatives, situations, and these sessions help train our minds to stay in the moment, in the present.  

Guided meditation might include having you visualize certain things to help anchor you and your mind, so you become comfortable with the process.  Once a person becomes used to meditation, the process might move from visualization to more in the moment, feeling.  A guided meditation is lead by someone who periodically gives directions. This voice might be provided by the leader of a live class, a pre-recorded session found on an app, a youtube video, a CD, or even via a show.  

Meditation is a good way to help relieve stress and using guided meditation can help ease you into the process so it is less stressful taking up a new self-care activity.  In addition, meditation can help a person relax or become relaxed enough to easily fall asleep.  

On Wednesday, we'll look at why you should include guided meditation in your life.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Friday, August 25, 2023

Self-Care Activities

If you are busy like I am, it is sometimes difficult to remember to take time for yourself.  I find it hard so today, I'm taking time to look at some things that anyone can do but do not take the whole day. Some of these items take a couple of minutes while others take a bit longer.  Since Covid, I've tried to take some time for myself and I even put myself first sometimes. 

Remember that self care is the intentional act of taking care of one's self physically, mentally, and emotionally.  This is especially important when you are having a bad day. 

Most people think of going to a spa or doing your nails as a way of providing self care but it can be so many other things.  It might be going out for a walk, checking out the flowers, or listening to the birds sing.  It might be organizing the closet so the mess doesn't bother you as much.  

You might like to brew a cup of tea or coffee, sit down on the back porch, or in the garden, and journal or write down your feelings, thoughts, or anxieties.  Put on the movie you've wanted to watch and just relax to it.  Grab some popcorn to make it more of an experience.  

Call a friend to talk, head out for a lunch, or even a visit to the park.  Being with a friend can help lift our spirits and make us feel less lonely or alone. If you don't feel like being chatty, meditate, do some yoga, or order a cup of something in a coffee shop and sit to the side where you are near others, feel like you are in a group, but you are still a bit apart.

Do a bit of exercise by going for a nice brisk walk, lift weights while you are watching television.  Research shows that lifting weights at least twice a week are less likely to suffer from a stroke or heart attack.  In addition, lifting weights help with bone density and balance.  You don't need weights that are more than 5 pounds if you are just using them for curls and lunges in front of the television.

Cut back on evening activities so that you are not on the goal and have time to relax and enjoy yourself.  There is no need to have something scheduled every evening and weekend.  Instead, give yourself time to relax at night and save the hanging with friends till the weekend when you can meet for an unhurried lunch.  

These are just a few suggestions.  I'll revisit this topic later with more suggestions of what to do.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Why Journal?


Journaling is the new way of keeping a diary but instead of writing about your love life, or the boy you like best, or your secret thoughts, the journal is a way of expressing yourself.  I sort of journal in that I keep track of daily things I want to do.  I use it as a way of making sure I meet my goals on exercise, eating, etc.

There are seven reasons why journaling is good for you.  First it allows you to achieve goals since you have to write down when you work on your goals.  One of my goals is to exercise at least 30 minutes per day for five out of seven days.  I write down each day if I did or didn't do it so I can easily check to make sure I've met my weekly goal. It is a way of holding yourself accountable.

Secondly, you can check and see how much progress you are making and it allows you to go back to measure yourself against earlier entries.  For some, journaling is a way to monitor weight loss, improved health, or other such goal so that you know you are making progress.  Your progress is visible.  Last year, I needed to lose a few pounds and through my journaling I was able to tell that I was losing a pound or so a week so I felt encouraged.

Next, journaling helps you with your self confidence.  You can read back and see what struggles you've faced and how you over came them.  You have a way to show yourself, you are doing well, and it builds confidence in yourself.

Another advantage is that your writing improves.  If you journal everyday, that means you are practicing your writing skills.  To become better at writing, you have to practice and making daily entries really helps your writing.  As your ability to express your ideas and thoughts in written form improves, your ability to communicate improves.

Furthermore, journaling about your feelings and your struggles can help you release stress and feel better overall.  It helps release any negative feelings while helping you think about the problem in a different way and it may lead to coming up with a solution.  If you go to therapy, you have a record of your feelings you can share with your therapist.

Journaling also provides an avenue for brainstorming and writing down ideas.  Journals are a great place to write down thoughts, ideas, and things that you might want to happen in your life.  Use the journal to sketch or doodle just to relax and see where your mind takes you.

Finally, writing down your thoughts can help reduce negative energy and improve your working memory because when you write something down, your brain is more likely to remember it. This is one reason why they recommend good note taking in school.  

So here you have seven reasons to journal.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day. 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Ways To De-stress.


Again, I apologize for nothing this past weekend.  I finally got home to an apartment whose kitchen sink had backed up and wouldn't drain.  I spent much of the weekend trying to get it up and running myself but I'll have to have someone come in since I am not in a position to take the whole thing apart.  In addition, I finally got internet up and running.  So now on to today's topic about de-stressing.

Unfortunately, stress seems to be a part of everyday life.  It follows you around your day, sometimes increasing until you get home at night.  Too much stress can cause health issues so one wants to either eliminate or reduce stress. The following suggestions should take about 10 minutes so its possible to de-stress in a short time.

First, think about being active such as a quick walk or dance.  I have been known to take a bathroom break, take the long way to the bathroom so I could get up and move.  I made it a rule to try to move at least once an hour outside of my 15 minute legal break.  Depending on where you are, you might be able to fit in a quick walk at lunch time around the building, or close the door to your office and enjoy some music while moving to it.  

Another way is to close your eyes and either stretch, meditate, or take deep breaths.  There are a few apps you can get for your phone that have guided breathing. exercises.  I have one that allows me to choose the length of it and I've found it is quite a nice way to get rid of stress.  When you stretch, you can do a series of stretches from your head to your toes that will help relieve stress.  In fact, if you search for stretching exercises to do at work, you'll get quite a few ranging from one minute to 13 minutes.  

Take time to check in on yourself.  Ask yourself how you are doing?  Sometimes we get so busy, we forget to check on ourselves.  Find a joke page or watch a short video clip that makes you laugh since laughter is wonderful for reducing stress.  Put on some inspiring music to listen too when you get too stressed out.  You can also look for inspirational quotes to put on the wall.

One of the latest trends towards de-stressing is to color.  You might want to color quotations, adult coloring books, or even color in mandala's.  Just the act of coloring can be very relaxing.  You don't even have to haul the physical items with you as there are coloring apps you can download on your phone that will allow you to color.  You might need a pencil or stylo but I've found if I blow the picture up large enough, I can use my finger.

Don't forget the social aspect of life.  When you connect with others, it helps relieve stress.  Reach out to a family member or friend if you get to feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Or ask them to walk with you after work around the neighborhood and just talk, enjoy the scenery, and have fun.  

Consider making time for cultural, religious, or spiritual activities.  I love participating in cultural activities like dancing, or going out to gather fresh greens.  Most towns have some sort of cultural activities along with at least one church.  If that isn't your thing, think about volunteering with a group you like.  It might be helping out with the boys and girls club, being a big brother or sister, become a master gardener.  

Chose a few of these items and integrate into your life on a regular basis so you don't experience the effects of stress.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  

Friday, August 18, 2023

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Skin Cycling

 Most of us have a routine we use on our skin, day after day. We might wash our face once a day, or twice a day, use only a moisturizer, or use a ton of serums etc. the other day, I ran into something called skin cycling.  The term skin cycling refers to using a cyclical methodology to your skin care routine. It is about how you apply products to your face, in what order, when, and it even includes rest time.

Skin cycling looks at using products that complement each other rather than just piling one after another on top of each other. It has you apply certain products with rest time for some so your skin has a chance to recover from the effects of those products. This prevents irritation and inflammation.

To start skin cycling, you need an exfoliant, a retinol product, and a moisturizer preferably scent free. The cycle takes four nights to run through.  On the first night you clean your face normally, pat your face dry, then exfoliate it. You remove the dead skin cells, preparing the skin for other products. The exfoliation, causes the skin to absorb other products better. Finally, finish with your moisturizer. In addition, use a chemical exfoliant because it is more gentle than a physical exfoliant on your skin.

On night two, focus on using your retinoids. These vitamin A derivatives help reduce any fine lines and wrinkles. As before, cleanse your face and pat it dry before applying moisturizer to the more sensitive areas such as under the eyes, and the corner of your nose. Next, apply the the retinoid product. Be aware that you might suffer a bit of irritation when you first start using retinoid products so that is why it is recommended one apply moisturizer to the more sensitive areas. If your skin still feels dry, apply a layer of moisturizer over your face.

Night three and four are rest nights where you do not apply exfoliants or retinoid products to give your skin a chance to rest and recover. On these two nights you want to focus on moisturizing and hydrating your skin. You also want to avoid any products that might irritate your skin so your skin has the chance to recover and improve. Cleanse your face as normal, apply a hydrating serum and finish with a moisturizer.

This cycle is a general rule of thumb. If you have sensitive skin, you might do a three or four day rest period. On the other hand, if your skin is tougher, you might get by with a one day rest before beginning the cycle again. Do not be afraid to play around to see which cycle works best for you. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Plyometric Exercises.


If you are working at having a good overall exercise routine, you know it needs to be composed of a variety of exercises. Some types of exercises can be used as part of another workout. For instance, light weights can be used with body weight exercises to increase cardio. Some of the things we discuss today, you will recognize as being built into other workouts.

First of all, plyometric exercise refers to a series of explosive movements relying on body weight designed to enhance physical capacity. In other words, plyometrics increases muscle strength so you run faster, jump higher, and are better able to change direction faster.

All plyometric movements are composed of three parts. The first part or the eccentric phase is when a person prepares. If a person is going to jump, they squat down in preparation and in the process, the muscles stretch. The second part, is the amortization phase when the body transitions to the explosive upward movement. The final part is the concentric phase when the body reaches the top of the move.

Plyometric moves include skipping, jumping rope, bounding, hopping, lunges, broad jumps, skating jumps, and so many more. So in general, plyometrics are considered high impact and high intensity so they can be very hard on your joints. For this reason, it is recommended that a person only do plyometrics one to two times a week.  

There are three rules associated with plyometrics. First, do not do them every day because it can take 48 to 72 hours for your body to recover from the stress it undergoes during each workout.  Second, the number of repetitions should be limited since research found that those who do a moderate number of reps during the week experience more improvement than those who performed a high number of reps.  Finally, one needs to include enough recovery time between sets so you get maximum results. The suggested rest time is 3 to 5 times longer than the length of the set itself or 30 to 60 seconds. 

Although plyometrics exercise is most often associated with professional athletes, including some in your exercise routine can benefit most people. However, if you have health issues, bad joints, bad back, or any questions, it is best to consult with a health provider before starting. 

If you want to use Plyometric exercises, there are two ways to do it. One way is to have a session composed exclusively Plyometric exercises. Such a workout would be shorter since it focuses on explosive repetitive movements. The other choice is to sprinkle Plyometric exercises throughout a longer workout or perform 5 minutes of these movements at the very end.

I have several routines that use Plyometric moves sprinkled throughout which works best for me. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Conditioner Bars For Hair.

 Sorry, I am running a bit late today. I am in Australia and the room I am in has only one spot where I can use the internet reliably. I just found it. Last time, I looked at using shampoo bars to wash your hair and today, I am looking at conditioner bars because many of us rely on conditioner to help keep our hair hydrated.

Over the past few years both shampoo and conditioner in bar form have increased in popularity. Conditioner bars are generally more concentrated than what comes in a bottle because the conditioner is in solid form rather than filled with water. Consequently, the conditioning ingredients such as shea butter and various oils are solid at room temperature. For those who are environmentally aware, the bars create less waste.

In addition, conditioning bars are often made from higher quality ingredients, more natural ingredients, or ingredients that are less harsh than those found in the liquid form. As mentioned earlier, they create less waste because they are sold in paper containers. Since, they are in solid form, the bars are not going to spill in your suitcase during travel and they can be packed in your carry on since they are in solid form.Thay are also a good value for your money since they last longer than the liquid version. 

One bad side is that sometimes getting enough conditioner on your hair can be quite difficult to use. Another issue is finding the right type that will work with your hair. It is important to find one that is right for your hair, otherwise it could leave your hair tangled or feeling wrong, or you might not be able to comb it properly. Furthermore, it is sometimes difficult to find a conditioner that provides enough moisture for very dry hair or damaged hair.

Take time to read the ingredients. Look for shea butter, argon oil, or Coconut oil since all three are good for your hair. Try avoiding any bars that contain parabens, silicates, or sulfates.  Once you have your bar, always make sure it is fully dry between uses so you can properly store it away. Do not be afraid to try different brands and types of conditioners 

It can be applied by either rubbing it directly onto your hair or rubbing it into your hands first before applying it onto your hands. Then let set as normal before rinsing it off. I carry a set of shampoo and conditioner bars with me for those times when the hotel might not offer shampoo and conditioners in a variety I can use or if I get stuck somewhere and need to clean my hair. Yes I even carry a set of towels with me - again, just in case. 

If you have used these before, let me know what you think, I would love to hear. Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Bar Shampoos

 Since I’ve begun traveling so much more, I have been looking for ways to reduce the items I take with me. I am actually almost to the point I can travel with a backpack and small carryon. It has taken a while but I am getting there. I have a trip planned in October for a week, I will try to go without a check through. 

I have a choice on how I do my hair. I can rely on the bottles the hotel provides for free, buy some when I get to my destination, or I can buy a bar of shampoo and a bar of conditioner. Honestly, I’ve gone with choices one and three because I hate to use a little and then leave it. The best thing about the bar forms is that they are TSA friendly and do not spill.

So today, we will look at packing shampoo and conditioner in bar form. From personal experience, not all versions are the same as I bought a conditioner that didn’t seem to work right. A bar of shampoo is simply shampoo without all the extra liquid. If you get the right one, it leaves your hair really nice. Most bar shampoos do not strip your hair of its natural oils like detergent based shampoos are noted for. 

In addition, bar shampoo is known for restoring your hair back to its nice, beautiful, shiny condition because they do not contain all the normal additives. For some people, the bar shampoo does such a nice job that they do not need conditioner. On the other hand, the shampoo can have a waxy feel that can build up on the hair. One recommendation is to rinse with apple cider vinegar to cut back on the buildup. Another problem with bar shampoo is when you rub it on your hair, it can cause the hair to tangle especially if your hair is curly or wavy.

When shopping for bar shampoo, there are three categories of shampoos. First is the cold-pressed shampoo bars often made by home crafters and artisan people. These are usually made with 

Natural oils that are good for your hair and free of sodium lauryl sulfate which is an ingredient that can cause a buildup. Next is the glycerin based shampoos which tend to be more gentle and pH balanced. These may not lather as well as other types. Finally is the solid surfactant bars. These bars are the ones that lather best, have a nicely balanced pH but can be more clarifying than others. 

The bottom line is to try out different bar shampoos to see which ones work best. I agree with trying out different ones otherwise you might not find the right one. A sales person said if you buy one you don’t like, use it as body soap. One person suggested that the large bars be cut into smaller pieces so they are easier to use. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear. Have a good day.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Best Way To Apply Makeup To Oily Skin

 I remember as a teenager, I was blessed with somewhat normal skin. What I mean by somewhat normal skin is that I got some acne but for the most part, I had fairly clear skin. It wasn’t particularly oily, not like a couple of cousins. It seemed like their makeup always looked wrong until they learned to apply it properly. From that point on, their makeup began to look flawless.

The first step is to clean your face in the morning before starting to apply makeup. When you clean your face, you are prepping your face so the makeup has a better chance of staying in. In fact, some people recommend that you clean your face using micellar water as it lifts dirt, oil, and residues off the skin without rinsing. If you decide to use micellar water, simply pour some on a cotton pad and slide it across your skin.

Next, hydrate your skin with a moisturizer specifically formulated for oily skin. In addition, make sure it has hyaluronic acid and vitamin c since both ingredients provide long lasting hydration without the extra oil or shine. It is important to do this prep before you begin applying your makeup.

The first step in applying makeup is to begin with primer. When you apply primer before using anything else, you stand less chance of having your makeup melting down by lunch. A good primer will smooth and blur any skin imperfections while helping your makeup last all day as soon as you finish applying your moisturizer, apply the primer either all over your face or on only the oily parts. The primer has a matte finish so your face will not shine.  Furthermore, don’t forget to apply the primer to eye lids and lips for the proper look.

For a foundation, look for one with a matte finish rather than one that makes you look radiant because the radiant look can make your skin appear oily due to the shine. Instead, look at using a matte finish powder foundation. A powder foundation offers the same type of coverage as a liquid foundation, retains its matte finish, while providing a sponge to apply it. Using a sponge means you touch your face less often so it won’t get as oily.  If you do not like a matte finish, look for a long wearing foundation which will help keep your foundation on.

Once you have all your makeup on from foundation, to eyes, to lipstick, use a setting spray over your whole face to ensure your makeup will remain in place the whole day. The last step is to add a few blotting sheets to your purse. This way, you can remove any oils that have built up over the day.

Now in between times, treat yourself to a clay mask to help draw out any imperfections, oil and dirt as a way of reducing shine.  Do this about once a week to help your skin. Follow these steps to make your makeup last longer while looking awesome. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Which Colors Are Trending?


Fall is approaching faster than we realize. It is time to look at fall colors trending this fall, for clothing shopping. One reason to know trending colors is simply to determine if the colors fit into you color range. My mother was only into wearing blue, even if she didn’t look good in the shade. I guess someone told her she looked awesome in blue and stuck with blue no matter what.

On to the colors that are predicted to be trending this fall. Let’s begin with the beautiful earthy tone - Clay. Clay works well with a wide range of skin tones, eye colors, and hair shades. In addition, clay can act as a neutral backdrop or act as a pop of color. Another nice shade is a chalky cream or bone. This one feeds into the luxury trend. This color will function as a tonal dressing and is expected to appear a lot.

When thinking of adding a pop of color, look no further than viva magenta. This shade will be even more impactful after the success of the Barbie movie. This shade can be utilized in a monochromatic look or as an accent. Another color to look at is a gorgeous red dahlia. This bold red can be paired with a buttery yellow, used as a sophisticated accent or worn under a coat or jacket, providing that flash of color.

If you aren’t into such bright colors, think about going with a deeper, richer, burgundy. It can be worn as the primary shade in suits or pant suits, or used as an access color when worn with bone. In addition, chocolate brown is back. Chocolate brown is easily paired with so many other colors. Think about pairing this up with a nice shade of yellow which is another trending color. More specifically one that is punchy and acidic. 

The last two colors are the every elegant gray and an icy blue. The medium to dark gray is better worn in a coal, jacket, pants, or outer coat giving it more of the look of a “uniform” . On the other hand, The icy glacial blue is better for flows gowns, blouses, and lingerie.

These colors were observed as the more prevalent ones at the fall and winter designer shows. When you buy your clothing, invest in complementary colors so you can mix and match for a larger choice of outfits. Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Avoiding Jet Lag

 I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to New Zealand. When I get there, it will be Thursday sometime and I will have almost skipped a day by crossing the International dateline. I have noticed that if the change is only an hour or two, things aren’t bad but if you go toEurope or the South Pacific, it is more noticeable.

Jet lag or jet lag disorder is defines as a temporary sleep disorder people experience when they travel across several time zones. Most people have an internal clock that tells them when to sleep and when to be awake. So jet lag occurs because your body is synchronized to your original time zone when you are in a different time zone. Jet lag can cause you to feel t unwell, experience daytime fatigue, stomach problems, or just feel unwell. The nice thing is that jet lag is temporary. In general, one feels these symptoms more as you travel further east. The general rule of thumb is that it takes day to recover for every time zone crossed.

Today, we will look at ways to make jet lag less noticeable so you are not trying to catch up on sleep the first few days.  If you are traveling for business, arrive a few days early, otherwise plan to take the first day or two off so your body has a chance to recover. In addition, make sure you are fully rested before you begin your trip. When you are sleep deprived, you are more likely to experience the jet lag more. 

If you have the ability, begin changing your personal sleep schedule to closer match the one in your final location. If you fly east, start going to bed one hour later each night to help you better adjust. If you are flying east, go to bed one hour earlier each night in preparation for your trip. 

When you get to your destination, expose yourself to light because your body relies on light to help your internal clock. If you have flown east, expose yourself to the morning light so your body knows it is in a different time zone. If you have flown west, expose yourself to the evening light to help you adjust. The exception to this rule is when your trip takes you across 8 or more time zones.

In this case, wear sunglasses and avoid early morning light if you’ve flown east. Instead, expose yourself to the late afternoon light, otherwise your body might mistake the early morning light for dusk. If you travel west, avoid late afternoon sunlight because your body might perceive it as dawn.

Make sure you stay hydrated before, during, and after the trip help keep the symptoms from becoming as bad. In addition, set your watch to the new time before you leave. When you land try not to go to bed until the clock says it’s time no matter how tired you are. Finally, try to sleep if it is night at your destination. This can be done using an eye mask, ear plugs or head phones. If it is day where you are going, resist the urge to sleep.

Have fun on your next trip and follow these guidelines to help you avoid experiencing jet lag as much as possible. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear. Have a great day.

Monday, July 31, 2023

How To Maintain Your Balance As You Age.

Let's face it.  We all age and as we age our balance and flexibility can change.  It is important to maintain your ability to balance since having a good balance can help prevent falls.  The thing about balance is that your body is constantly gathering information from your eyes, muscles, joints, and tendons, and the inner ear.  

The eyes help your orient yourself in space while the muscles, joints, and tendons help the body sense its own movement, location, and actions.  The inner ear provides information about the location of the head, spatial orientation, and motion.  

The brain takes the information from all three locations and uses it to stand, move, stay balanced and perform tasks. Furthermore, the other two parts of balance is strength and flexibility because they help the body stay upright and properly balanced. It has been found that most people begin experiencing a decline in their ability to balance by the age of 50.  That being said, your body also begins losing muscle strength in your 30's and this can lead to issues with balance as you age.

Therefore, one should incorporate exercises and movements to help improve your balance as you age. Balance training helps your improve your equilibrium while improving your ability to recover from situations that make your balance unstable.  There are several activities one can easily do at home to help improve or at least maintain balance.  Begin by standing on one foot for 10 seconds and then do the other foot.  Always do several rotations and as you become more stable, extend the time you balance on each foot.

Another possibility is to stand with both feet about hip width apart.  Then slowly turn your head from side to side, then up and down for a total of about 30 seconds.  Be sure to keep your body still as you do this exercise. If needed, hold on to something to help your balance.  As you become better at this, begin repeating the exercise multiple times.

Think about practicing your sitting and standing.  Sit in a chair with your knees bent.  Then, slowly raise your body off the chair into a standing position without swinging your torso or using your hands to help get you started.  Repeat this exercise at least 10 times.  In addition to helping with your balance, this is excellent for strengthening your legs.  

Of course you could always march in place.  Begin this by standing so your feet are about hip width apart. Lift one knee so the thigh is parallel to the floor while keeping your posture straight and your core tight.  Let the leg drop slowly to the ground, and then bring your other knee up so the thigh is parallel to the ground then bring down.  Repeat the whole exercise for 20 times.  If you need to hold onto something, do so and as you improve your balance, you can quit holding on.

One of my favorite exercises is to stand on one foot, Lift the other leg slowly in front of you as high as in comfortable, the bring it down.  Then lift your leg to the side slowly, bring it down and finally extend your leg behind you as high as you can before returning it to the ground.  Repeat this on the other side.  Do as many of these as you can and over time you will improve your balance.

Another exercise is to face the wall at one side of the room.  Move one foot out to the side, and bring the other foot to join it.  Repeat this across the room and when you get to the end, repeat the other direction until you return to where you begin.  If you need to hold on to something, please do so and as you improve, you will be able to do it without the support.

Finally, walk across the room using the heel to toe step.  In other words, place one foot down, then take the other foot and place it so the heel meets the toe of the other foot, The next step requires you to take the foot that is behind and move it in front so it's heel touches the toe of the previous foot.  Continue for 30 seconds.

Practice these everyday or every other day and you'll help preserve your balance as you age.  Remember, you are never too young to begin doing this or too old to start.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Stress Relief # 2

 Imagine just floating on the lake, the waves gently rocking you back and forth. The birds saying hello as you enjoy the solitude.  

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Stress Relief # 1

 Imagine walking along this road by yourself.  You stop to listen to nature, you breath the fresh air, and you just enjoy.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Want To Live Longer? Do These 8 Things


Remember Queen?  They had a song about wanting to live for ever.  I think everyone wants to live as long as they can.  I have a goal.  I call it a goal rather than a dream because you have to work for a goal but not always the dream.  I want to dance on a table in a cafe in Paris at the stroke of midnight when I'm 95.  To that, I have to make sure I stay healthy and the eight things I'm talking about today, will help me accomplish this.

Many of these things you've heard recommended before separately but together they can extend your life while helping you live a better life.  One of the first things is to exercise regularly. The exercise doesn't have to be at the gym.  It could be walking outside for blocks, running, jogging, or swimming but it should be something you enjoy.  Exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your cardiovascular system, while reducing the risk of chronic disease.

Always, eat a balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats.  Healthy fats are fats such as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils like olive or canola oil, nuts, seeds, or fish.  Cut back on processed foods, sugary foods, and alcohol.  A well balanced diet can help cut down the risk of certain illnesses.  Speaking of alcohol, it is best not to drink much as consuming too much alcohol can lead to certain diseases.  In addition, do not smoke as smoking increases your chance of getting certain diseases such as emphysema.

Furthermore, it is important to maintain a healthy weight because if you carry more weight than is healthy, your chances of having heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases increases.  This one is much harder as you age.  I noticed I gained weight over several years and I thought it was normal but about 8 months ago, I changed my exercise program, switched out the sugary desserts for fresh fruit and I dropped enough weight, I ended up where I needed to be.  So it is possible but you have to find the factors that work for you.

A big factor is to reduce stress because high levels of stress can cause health issues.  Stress is a big issue for many of us.  One can reduce the extra stress by practicing stress reducing techniques Such as meditation, deep breathing techniques, yoga, walking in nature, or participating in hobbies you like.  I added an app to my iPad that helps me with breathing and visualization as a way of helping me reduce my stress.

One of the big steps, is to visit your health care provider on a regular basis rather than waiting until you notice something wrong.  When you visit your health care provider regularly, they are often able to make an early diagnosis of a series disease so that treatment can begin earlier.  Early treatment of diseases can help you live longer because things are treated early and prevents other medical issues.  

Sleep is extremely important.  One should aim for between 7 and 9 hours each night.  I know it can be hard to sleep sometimes so on Monday, I'll look at things one can do to help sleep better each and every night.  A good nights sleep is necessary for rejuvenation both physically and mentally.  

Finally, maintain social connects with others because humans need to have social interactions and need contact with family, friends, and community. These connections encourage improved mental and physical health.  So try to do all eight things to improve your chances of living longer.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.