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.