Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Healing Tree Natural Lip Balm Review



Every winter my skin gets super dry with my hands and lips suffering the worst.  Both my lips and hands sometimes end up cracking and bleeding.  With my hands it's no problem re-applying lotion every few hours (or when I wash them).  My lips are a different story.  Lip balm doesn't seem to do any good, having to apply so much more frequently.  So when the opportunity came along to try The Healing Tree Natural Lip Balm I jumped at the chance.  I received a tube for free in exchange for my honest review.


I noticed right away how smooth The Healing Tree Natural Lip Balm was to apply.  Other lip balms I've had to backtrack over the area to fully cover my lips but that wasn't the case with The Healing Tree!  One passs and you're good to go!  You can immediately see and feel the difference on my lips.

What do you look for in a lip balm?

The Healing Tree Natural Lip Balm is 100% natural, made with Carnauba Wax, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Virgin Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, Castor Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Sunflower Oil, and Olive Oil.  It's non-toxic as well as free of Parabens, Phenol, Mineral Oil, Petroleum Jelly, and Artificial Flavors/Colors. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Metabolic Renewal Phase 1


Since I reached my goal weight in 2015 I seem to have hit a brick wall on my journey. From the gallbladder attacks to increased menstrual issues my body is fighting me all the way. The scale keeps going up and I can't seem to find a way to turn things around.

Metabolic Renewal appeared in my email from a couple of people so I checked it out.  This program is designed to help women get their hormones in check through diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes, some components I hadn't heard about before.

I'd seen of some programs that focus on exercising LESS rather than MORE. Metabolic Renewal has 3 HIIT workouts per week (~2 min warmup, ~15 min workout, & ~5 min burnout).  The other days are filled with your choice of light activity (i.e. walking, yoga, Pilates, swimming, etc.), anything that doesn't get your heart rate up.  Metabolic Renewal a rest based training program where you do the exercise until you can't and rest until you can, picking back up wherever they are on the video workout.



The biggest challenge for me on this program is the nutritional piece.  According to the hormones quiz I'm estrogen dominant.  Following the Metabolic Renewal Meal Plan this means I'm to only have carbs at dinner.  This is a big change for me as I normally have carbs all day long!  Also, like the keto and paleo diets, there is no dairy (although butter is allowed as a healthy fat), because of the hormones that can be introduced from milk.  I do allow myself a little dairy with my salad dressing since I haven't found any without milk/cheese that I enjoy.


Along with the physical measurements, Metabolic Renewal has you monitoring your sleep, hunger, mood, energy, and cravings (SHMEC).  My period came the second week and on top of that there have been issues with Austin and at work.  So all of that compounded into a heightened emotional state, screwing up the improvements I'd made.

It's been a tough mental challenge for me to make these kinds of changes in both what I eat and my workouts.  It's forcing me to eat veggies with every meal so I may need to introduce more of them into my diet before burning out on the ones I'm currently eating.  I've started eating eggs (for many years I couldn't even stand their smell) loaded with veggies and spices. 

Includes some of the foods I eat
So what do my breakfasts look like without carbs?

  • Smoothie: protein powder (15-25g protein, less than 6g carbs, 2g dietary fiber), chia seeds, hemp seeds, low to moderate glycemic fruit, and a green veggie.
  • 3 eggs with veggies, spices, and bee pollen.
  • Some other protein with veggies (if chicken it's half a breast).
Benny doesn't like this program because of the number of containers that have to be loaded into the dishwasher packing 10 meals for work! LOL

Have you ever done a program like this before?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Never Before Shared Wisdom from Personal Growth and Business Leaders in New Bestseller



Best-Selling Publisher Viki Winterton is an author and publisher who has published hundreds of globally successful authors. As a joint venture with the authors she has published, Winterton has now released a dynamic journal that is full of advice and wisdom from over 180 authors and is an incredible wellspring for readers looking for daily support and encouragement to achieve business and personal success in today’s uncertain world.

Titled Are YOU The Missing Piece, the book challenges the reader to think and initiate a change not only in their personal life, but in their professional life also. Most recent in the series of #1 best-selling books published by Winterton’s publishing company Expert Insights Publishing, the journal is dubbed a must read for all young entrepreneurs.

"I was warned, ‘You’re not going to make money selling books. You’re going to make money by having a book and using it to close more deals.’ That has been my experience—an experience far exceeding my goals and my vision,” stated Winterton in an official statement for the press. She further added “When you do what you love, and you do it in the company of visionaries and household names, you become an instant expert in your field. You owe it to the world to get your story out in a book.”

The journal accumulates priceless advice and knowledge from people who broke the barriers and used their creativity in order to find immense success in their personal lives and professions. Taking the readers to a sacred and personal space, each of the experts in this book offers advice that is extremely intimate and exclusive. Throughout the years, these people have used their own hardships and experiences as a receptacle for inspiration and empowerment.

Are YOU The Missing Piece will urge the readers to find power and inspiration within themselves. Only by filling in the missing piece can one truly live a fulfilling life where no opportunity is missed. All advice in this cutting-edge journal will ultimately help the readers in facing personal/professional challenges with courage and resilience. 

The valuable nuggets of wisdom in this book come from a range of experts including:
“When you do something just to make money, it is almost always the wrong decision. There’s got to be something else driving you. It’s got to be fun. You’ve got to be giving back. You’ve got to be helping people. If you do that, then the money will follow.”  ~ Rick Frishman, Publisher, Best-Selling Author

“When you imagine your money as a real, flesh and blood person, worthy of your deepest admiration, you embark on an amazing love-at-first-sight affair of the heart.” ~ Morgana Rae, World’s Leading Relationship with Money Coach, Best-Selling Author.



Are YOU The Missing Piece? Journal is now available on Amazon.com.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

To Save Time Let's Just Assume CASSANDRA Is Always Right




I chuckled when I saw this coffee mug review opportunity and HAD to get it.  When I applied I wasn't sure if I was going to use my name or someone else's (as a joke) but ended up going with mine when I was approved.  I received this mug from 5amily for free in exchange for my honest review.

The mug arrived quickly so it had to have been in stock with CASSANDRA on it.  I probably would've had to wait a little longer to get one with CASSI instead.  I was concerned when I opened the box and there wasn't any bubble wrap or stuffing, just the cardboard frame.  Had this shipped by UPS/FedEx instead of USPS it probably would've been shattered!


If I didn't put my name on the mug my other choices were:

  • My cousin as a part of her wedding present in December
  • My coworker who thinks she's the boss (even when the boss is there)
Who in your life IS or THINKS they are always right and you'd be willing to gift such a mug to them?  Or would you get this for yourself?


Click below to purchase one of these mugs from 5amily

To Save Time Let's Just Assume [NAME] Is Always Right


Monday, September 4, 2017

Sassy September Slimdown: Nutrition


A key factor to ensuring you build lean muscle on the Sassy September Slimdown is creating a daily calorie surplus i.e. you start eating more than your body needs.

Ideally this surplus should be as small as possible; to ensure your health and body fat remains intact over the course of this program. The goal is NOT to get fat, but to simply supply the body with just enough energy to help it recover and grow from your weight training sessions.

By taking some time now to use the information and calculator below to determine your ideal starting point, you’re creating an effective yet sustainable process over the coming months to your goals.

Do not skip this step – it is the critical component to personalizing this fitness challenge for your exact needs and goals. 

Please read all the information on the below website and use the built-in calculator to determine the ideal starting point for you.

Calorie and macronutrient calculator -> http://flexible-diet.co.uk

It’s important to track your food intake for 1-3 days prior to changing anything. That’s so you can compare your existing calorie and macronutrient intake to your calculated one. 
If you are only a few hundred calories away from your recommended intake, then feel free to transition onto this when are ready to start.

If you find you are already under eating well below (500+ kcals) the calorie recommendations from this calculation, then I’d typically recommend increasing overall calories by 100kcals at time, and assessing every 7-14 days before further changes. For muscle gain, the ideal weight increase is 1-2 pounds per month.

This same process can be applied every 7-14 days, with small adjustments being made when required. 

Your protein intake will likely stay the same throughout these adjustments; so adjust your daily fat or carbohydrate intake.

When I talk about adjusting your macronutrient numbers, I’m talking about your daily totals. It’s these that will deliver the results. Of course you can consider the exact breakdown of these for each meal too. You might find you do better with more carbohydrates in the morning, or perhaps less fat in certain meals. This is all about listening to your body and developing a nutrition set up that suits you.

Meal Plan

Breakfast Ideas (Meal 1): Ideally 30-60 min after waking e.g. 7-8 am

 


Lunch Ideas (Meal 2): Ideally 3-4 hours after meal 1 e.g. 12-1 pm



Snack Ideas (Meal 3): Ideally between lunch and dinner e.g. 4 pm

Green apple, berries or grapefruit
¼ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
20 almonds, pecans, or walnuts 
Gluten-free rice cakes with 2 TBSP almond butter and cinnamon
Celery and hummus
Carrot sticks and hummus 
Hardboiled egg
Green Juice
Coconut milk kefir smoothie
Almond milk unsweetened with hemp protein powder and cinnamon and stevia 

Workout Nutrition (if applicable)

During: Workout drink with 500ml of water
Post: Ripe banana with serving of protein powder 

Dinner Ideas (Meal 4): Ideally 3-4 hours after meal 3 e.g. 7:30-8:30 pm or 60-120 minutes post workout


At the end of the day if you have any macros leftover you can enjoy them as you see fit.

Supplement Guide

Whey Protein Powder – Health, Strength, Mass builder, Fat loss 

Whey protein makes up to 20% of the protein in milk. Whey is the most effective protein for increasing muscle protein synthesis, the process in muscle cells that results in muscle growth. There are numerous reasons why whey is so effective, such as its high content of branched-‐ chain amino acids (BCAAs) and its ability to boost blood flows to muscles. Suggested Amount: As required but limit to 1-2 servings per day

What is your favorite protein powder?

Vitamin D - Health, Strength, Mass builder, Fat loss

Vitamin D is important for bone health as it enhances the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Yet research shows that vitamin D is critical for so much more than just bone health. Vitamin D has been shown to improve mood, aid immune function, fight off cancers, and keep fat off. Plus, it’s now known to be critical for muscle strength and growth, as well as increasing testosterone levels in males. Most multivitamins don’t contain enough vitamin D so it’s a good idea to take vitamin D supplement in addition to a multi. Suggested Amount: Take 1,000-3,000 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol – the more potent for of D) 

Creatine - Mass Builder, Strength, Energy Production, Health 

Made from the three aminos arginine, glycine and methionine, creatine is technically an amino acid supplement, not an individual amino Creatine boosts lean muscle mass gains by about 10 pounds and strength by about 10% in just a few weeks, even in highly training lifters. Creatine helps bolster levels of creatine phosphate, which in turn boosts adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the ultimate energy source for muscles. Suggested Amount: Depending on the form of creatine you use, take about 5g of creatine with your post workout protein shake. 

Nitrates (Beetroot Extract) – Health, Strength, Performance, Mass Builder 

Nitrates are a compound found in leafy green vegetables and beetroot.
Nitrates break down into nitrites, which circulate in the body and are turned
into nitric oxide (NO) as needed. Elevated NO levels during exercise provide a
variety of benefits. Nitrate supplementation has been shown to improve anaerobic and aerobic endurance, blood flow, and work output, resulting in increased muscle recovery between bouts of exercise. Nitrates improve the body’s ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from the food you eat. ATP is responsible for the energy transfer that powers your muscles. High levels of circulating nitrite help the mitochondria in cells produce ATP more efficiently. Suggested Amount: 500 mg of beetroot extract 60-120 minutes before
workout. 

ZMA

ZMA is a patented combination of zinc and magnesium aspartate plus vitamin B’s. It benefits are supported by strong clinical research. ZMA increases anabolic hormone levels, including testosterone and IGF-1, which may otherwise be suppressed in athletes and those who train intensely. ZMA also improves the quality of sleep. Better recovery due to enhanced sleep efficiency and increased anabolic hormone levels, as well as greater gains in muscle strength and power, are the ultimate benefits of ZMA supplementation. Suggested Amount: Take one dose of ZMA (ideally 30mg of zinc, 450mg of magnesium and 10.5mg of B6, on an empty stomach) 60 minutes before bedtime. 

Workout Nutrition 

Workout drink containing Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) and lactic acid buffers such as beta alanine. Carbohydrates are optional. Suggested Amount: 1 serving per 30-60 minute workout. 

Disclaimer

The information provided to participants of the Sassy September Slimdown is for informational purposes only.  I am not a personal trainer, nutritionist/dietitian, or mental health counselor.  The content of this challenge is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions regarding your medical condition.

Any exercise program can be strenuous and carries a risk of damage to property, personal injury, illness or death.  You participate in this challenge at your own risk.  Always obtain a physical examination from a doctor before starting any program and assume all risk if you fail to do so.  In consultation with your doctor, you acknowledge and agree that any suggestions for change in nutrition, including the use of any supplements, are entirely your responsibility.

Do not disregard your doctor’s advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in the information provided for the Sassy September Slimdown.  Reliance on any information provided by The Long and Winding Road to Wellness is solely at your own risk.  You acknowledge and agree that you are voluntarily participating in this challenge.  In consideration of me running this challenge you hereby here and forever release and discharge and hold harmless The Long and Winding Road to Wellness and its owner, contractors, successors, heirs, and assigns from any and all claims, demands, rights of action, present or future, out of or connected with any participation in the Sassy September Slimdown, including, without limitation, personal or real property damage, injury, illness or death.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sassy September Slimdown: Introduction




If you are looking to add lean strong muscle to your body, as well as boosting your strength, then Sassy September Slimdown is for you! This challenge is ideal for women who would like a dedicated strength and muscle building program that delivers real results. Within this challenge, you will find the key information and resources that you will need for sustainable and effective muscle building. Apply this and stay consistent to it and you will achieve great results.

Below you will find some further details on what to consider during the challenge.

Nutrition

The primary goal of the Sassy September Slimdown is to ensure you gain lean muscle mass every month. This means you do not need to gain excessive body fat with this process. 

To ensure your body only adds lean muscle, your diet will play an important factor throughout this challenge. You can do all the training in the world to add muscle to your body, but if you don’t support it via nutrition optimally, you will see poor results. 

An important aspect to get right is to understand how much you are eating on a consistent basis. Therefore, our primary goal for this challenge is to calculate how many calories you need to consume daily. We also know the importance of how your daily protein, carbohydrate and fat intake are too, so that must be calculated before starting. You will find more info on how to do this soon.  

The meal planner provided is to give you a basic structure and an ideal template to follow. Use the suggested meals from it to create great tasting food every day. You don’t need to eat every meal suggested on this plan; it’s simply a template for you to use to guide your daily decisions and choices. 

Make sure you create great tasting, varied and nutritious meals. Don’t just eat a plain chicken breast with some boring veg, spice it up and get creative with it all. You know you have got this right when you actually look forward to your meals and enjoy eating.

So, without starting out too complicated, I want you to focus on the following: 
  1. Calculate your recommended calorie and macronutrient intake
  2. Aim to be within 5% of your recommended macronutrient intake daily
  3. Use a food tracker such as www.MyFitnessPal.com to record and track 

Training

The Sassy September Slimdown has been created to optimize muscle building and strength. It is simple yet highly effective, and it’s recommended that you stick to it as closely as possible. A key component to it will be ensuring you are progressing on a weekly basis. Along with the addition of some advanced muscle building techniques, this creates the perfect muscle-building environment. 

Also to consider is your rest and recovery rate, as this is also critical to your results. You do have to train hard and heavy to add lean muscle mass, but you must also learn how to recover from this type of training too. When you can find the perfect balance between intense training and recovery, you will see the best progress. This means reducing or limiting any cardio or extra exercise as much as possible during this program. So be sure to train as hard as you can when required, and then get plenty of rest in-between. 

When it comes to the Sassy September Slimdown, quality over quantity is the motto. 

In this challenge you will also receive a training planner, which outlines an ideal template for the suggested workouts. Just like with the nutrition plan this doesn’t need to be set in stone for your success. It can and likely should be adjusted to suit your routine and schedule. 

Lifestyle

We have already put into place the most important factors for your success. So, for the mean time, I simply want you to focus on the above and make those consistent changes to your current routine. But aiming for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night and finding some time to unwind or relax daily will greatly improve your health and wellbeing too.

Participation

To participate in the Sassy September Slimdown you will need to be a member of the Brand New ME Community on Facebook.  Join today and get to know our little family ahead of the challenge.  Stick around afterwards and enjoy the support and community to help you continue on your journey to reach your health and fitness goals.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Water: The Hidden Diet Ingredient


Water is vital for our survival but it can also be critical in helping you lose weight.  When beginning a weight loss program, many people fail to incorporate enough water into their diet, causing them to lose the benefits that water can provide.  As a result, they don’t lose as much weight as they should.

It has been said that water is a natural way to counteract hunger pains.  When you drink water, you tend to feel full faster.  It also flushes out your system, allowing your body to rid itself of harmful toxins.  Water can also boost your energy level and improve your metabolism, allowing you to consume calories more quickly.

Research indicates that hunger and thirst may be inextricably linked.  That means that at times, you may think that you’re hungry, while actually you’re thirsty.  Drinking water during those periods can help you to feel satiated without expanding your waistline.    As a result, by consuming water, you may feel less of a need to eat.

You might be wondering, however, how much water is enough.  Generally speaking, you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces.  Check with your doctor to determine how much water is right for you.  You should also be sure to drink water when you are exercising in order to replace fluids that you lose through perspiration.


Of course, you may not enjoy the taste of water, particularly tap water.  As a result, you might consider drinking infused water, eating soup, or consuming fruits high in water content.   Water can combat high blood pressure and can decrease your cholesterol levels.  It can also be a remedy against water retention, kidney trouble, skin problems, and migraines.  It may even help to prevent cancer.

Water can also enhance your muscle tone, helping you to achieve a more clearly defined physique.  Therefore, it is particularly important that you drink a great deal of water if you enter into a strength training program.  You cannot expect your muscles to work properly if you do not hydrate them.

The temperature of your water can also make a significant difference.  It is believed that water that is cold is digested faster than water that is of a higher temperature.  In fact, water that is relatively cold in temperature can actually serve as a calorie-burner.


You may be surprised to learn that your body is comprised of nearly 70 percent water.  Therefore, water is crucial for the proper functioning of your metabolism.  Water can also help to regulate your body temperature, enabling your body to work more effectively.

Certain symptoms will emerge if you’re not consuming enough water.  For instance, you may find it difficult to concentrate.  You may also have a constant feeling of being tired.  You may be constipated or experience dry skin.  At times, you may also feel constipated and you may notice that you’re not passing as much urine as you should.

Of course, if you are not getting enough water in your diet, the remedy is simple—just turn on the tap and let it flow.  However, realistically, it can be difficult to get into the water habit.  Therefore, you might have to trick your body into drinking water.  How do you do this?  To begin with, you should consider drinking a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning.  This will ensure that you are getting your day off to a healthy start.  Have a drink in mid-morning and another right before lunch.  If you drink a cup with lunch, you will have already had half of your daily water requirements.  Have a drink in the mid-afternoon, another at dinner, one after dinner, and one right before bed.  In this way, you will likely be getting all the water your body needs.  Try this experiment for a few weeks, and you may be amazed at the difference you see in your health and appearance.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stressed Out? A Good Night’s Sleep Can Cure What Ails You


Your child brings home a report card filled with low marks.  Your dog just bit your neighbor, and the kitchen sink no longer works.  You feel you’re under major stress.  As a result, you find yourself tossing and turning at night, unable to get a good night’s sleep.  This is truly unfortunate, because sleep can re-charge a person’s batteries, enabling him or her to better tackle the stressors that come along the road.

Stress-induced insomnia can take a variety of forms.  For instance, you may have difficulty falling asleep in the first place.  Or you may wake up hours earlier than you should.  You may find yourself waking up several times during the night.  Or you may even find that you feel tired when you wake up in the morning because you didn’t get good quality sleep.

One important point to remember is that you are not alone.  Just about everyone suffers from lack of sleep at some point in life.  That said, dealing with insomnia can be exhausting.  You might feel run down during the day and have difficulty concentrating.  You may turn to coffee in order to keep awake during the daylight hours, which can lead to a feeling of restlessness.  You may even try taking a nap in the mid-morning or late afternoon, only to find that you have difficulty sleeping again at night.

While old age, depression, and substance abuse can all lead to insomnia, it might be said that the number one cause is stress.   If your insomnia persists for a week, you should contact your doctor.  He or she may prescribe medication to enable you to get to sleep more quickly.   But you should be aware that there are other techniques you can use to deal with stress-related insomnia.

To begin with, try to determine the root cause of your stress.  This might be your job, your home life, or even some of your recreational activities.  Next, determine whether you are overscheduled.  By eliminating some of your commitments, you might be able to seriously reduce your stress level.  Then, do some problem-solving.  How can you make a stressful situation better?  It could involve engaging in positive thinking, changing your attitude about the situation, or coming up with solutions to resolve the situation.


There are also some concrete steps you can take to improve your sleep.  For instance, make sure that your bedroom is conducive to sleep.  This means finding the most comfortable bedding available, decorating your room with soft, subtle colors, and eliminating clutter or other signs of work in progress.

In addition,  condition yourself to associate your bed with sleep.  This means resisting the temptation to do work in bed, or study for your classes while lying down.  You should even try to avoid watching TV programs in bed.  The idea here is to eliminate stimulants from your sleeping area which could prevent you from falling asleep.   If you like to read in bed, make sure that you read only fun, fiction books, not significant non-fiction that could keep you up at night.

One other helpful tip is to set up a regular routine prior to going to bed.  It may involve taking a bath or shower to relax you or drinking some milk right before settling down to sleep.  Also, try to get up at the same time every morning so that you are following an established schedule.  In addition, make sure that you do not engage in drinking beverages with caffeine or alcoholic drinks after dinner.


Insomnia is one of the most dangerous side-effects of stress.  It can rob you of your energy, strength, and endurance.  It can make the simplest tasks difficult to handle during the course of the day.  And it can even lead to major depression.  If you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep at night, take immediate action.  Don’t wait for your body to feel the stress of night after night of sleeplessness.  The more proactive you are, the greater the likelihood that you’ll be able to combat insomnia, as well as the stress that goes with it.   Refreshed and renewed, you’ll be able to take on the challenges that come your way, once you’ve gotten enough sleep.

Friday, August 11, 2017

How To Relieve Stress By Meditation


The word meditation simply is defined as to be in a continuous contemplative thought or to simply just think about doing something. 

We all have different types of stress in our lives. You may be stressed out over a job, a relationship, children, or even finances. Taking the time to meditate in your own relaxing way will help with the stress you are feeling. I have learned that worrying about what is stressing you will not help solve the situation that is upsetting you.

You may think that taking time out of your already busy life to meditate is ridiculous. But it is not ridiculous! It can absolutely help calm your nerves which will help you relax enough to sit down and calmly work out the situation that is upsetting you. You may find that you can relax and meditate by sitting and relaxing in a hot bubble bath. If you are worried about not having enough time to sit and relax in a hot tub maybe you can just go outside for a breath of fresh air and take time to just collect your thoughts. After everything has calmed down you can then take the time to take a hot relaxing bath.


You know how easy it can be to lose your temper with kids.  So things don't get out of control you can do breathing exercises to help you meditate. Let the kids go outside for a few minutes or maybe let them watch a movie or whatever they like to do (within reason) for a few minutes so that you can get your thoughts together and meditate. Breathe in and out slowly and take time to think about what options you have to control the situation that has upset you. With having to deal with our children, our jobs, our relationships, and our finances it's a wonder we all can even go on every day.

Find a way of meditation that will work for you and you will see that, even if it's for only a few minutes, it will be a few minutes you don't have to worry about things. Check online or in your local library to find ways to relax. There will be many books on relaxation by meditation. When you are in a place like the library you can actually just relax in that environment where it is quiet. Get a couple of books and find the one that will help you the most.

Take notes on the other books you have read in your journal. Maybe check out a couple of books that talk about different ways of meditating and write down the chapters that interest you the most. Even if you start out by just learning how to have peace of mind that is a very big accomplishment. After you have found peace of mind you can then start working on the daily things in your life that has left you feeling empty inside. Remember you can have the life you have dreamed of if you just take the time to learn ways to help you with relaxation techniques. You can find fulfillment in your life and defiantly make a difference in your life and the lives of others who feel the pressures of everyday life.


Whether you find meditation and relaxation techniques through books, CDs, downloads, or even exercises, you will find that when your life is free of everyday stress you can then start to find solutions to the many different problems in your life in a calm peaceful way. You can go online and find self-help downloads about meditation. Do you want to just settle on a life that can make you miserable day after day? You may feel so empty inside that you feel as if you have no purpose in life.

You must remember you are using the thoughts in your mind to meditate so you want to take the time to clear out all the negative feelings you have in your mind in order to concentrate on how to improve your life and make a goal for yourself. Meditation can help. When you take the time to relax and really stop and think about things that are going on in your life you can also find that you are relaxed enough by meditating to find solutions to many different things you question in your life.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cooking Up Stress Relief


Perhaps it shows through your fidgeting, your nail-biting, or your sleepless nights.  You feel as if you are under a great deal of stress, and you are searching for relief.  While there are many stress reduction strategies you could use, perhaps one of the best is one of the easiest:  cooking.

Cooking is an art as well as a science.  It takes a great deal of patience and persistence to become an excellent cook, and some of your experiments will inevitably end up in the wastebasket or down the garbage disposal.  Yet, there is something incredibly relaxing about sautéing onions, grilling chicken, or barbecuing pork.   You can become mesmerized by the scent of your culinary sensations.  The process of stirring, chopping, or slicing can be highly therapeutic.  You can feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a good meal which can further reduce your stress level.


If you plan to take up cooking as a serious hobby, it is best if you begin by purchasing a good cookbook.  There are even cookbooks that promise you stress-free entertaining.  Selecting the cookbook can be a relaxing experience in and of itself.  Usually, cookbooks are loaded with interesting, eye-catching pictures.  You can also pour over delicious healthy recipes, imagining how to prepare them in your kitchen.

Next, you might want to invest in some sensible cooking supplies.  This will help to alleviate your stress when the time to cook arrives.  Make sure that you have aprons, a grater, a good set of knives, a colander, an array of sauce pans and skillets, and a collection of interesting plates to set your creations on.  The better prepared you are, the less stress you will experience in the kitchen.



Then, it’s time to head to the grocery store.  It’s best if you have prepared a list in advance based upon the recipes you hope to make.  This will save you time, stress, and possibly money at the supermarket.  Make sure that you schedule enough time to go through the grocery store—you don’t want to be rushed.  In addition to the items needed for your recipes, it’s a good idea to pick up some staples.  For instance, you should always have flour, sugar, milk, eggs, and a collection of spices on hand.

In order to minimize your stress level, it’s best if you can start by preparing meals for yourself or for close family members.  After you become proficient, you might want to graduate to dinner parties, but don’t expect to produce a seven-course meal during your first few attempts at gourmet cooking.  Select menu items that appeal to you; chances are they will appeal to your family as well.

Another possible stress-reducer is a cooking class.  Such classes are often offered at local community centers, YWCA/YMCAs, or community colleges.  Don’t take the course for credit—take it for fun.  The idea is to have a relaxing time by the stove.  You’ll enjoy camaraderie with other students and you might even socialize with them after class.  Taking a course can expand your horizons, helping you to become a well-rounded person.    

It is true that cooking can be stressful.  After all, if you have five children to feed, you’re low on food, and you have a baby who’s crying, meal time can be stress time.  However, if you permit yourself plenty of time to cook, you choose recipes that you enjoy, and you look at it as a hobby rather than drudgery, cooking can be quite relaxing and can actually help lower your blood pressure.


One thing you’ll want to watch when cooking is portion control.  If you make too much pasta, you might be tempted to overeat, causing health problems on down the road.  Also, it can be important to cook meals that are heart-healthy and that are not loaded with sugar and calories.  Otherwise, you could face the stress of battling a weight problem.  However, if you make sure that you cook plenty of vegetable dishes, you limit the number of desserts you prepare, and you keep close track of your carbohydrate intake, cooking can be a pleasant, stress-reducing experience.  The more practiced you become at gourmet cooking, the more you will look forward to it, and the less stressed you will feel.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nature: A Great Stress-Reliever


We live in an age when stress seems to be around every corner, at every office.  The demands of modern life require us to be constantly “plugged in” through the internet, cell phones, and gaming devices.  You might feel as if your senses are constantly being bombarded, both at work and at home.  As a result, stress might have led you to the breaking point.

But there is a great universal stress reliever—one that is close to everyone.  Nature offers bountiful opportunities for relieving stress.  It might seem old-fashioned to “commune with nature,” but it can be incredibly cathartic, decreasing your stress level immeasurably.


First, you must be willing to take the time to drink in nature and all its beauty.  Often, we feel overwhelmed by commitments—so overwhelmed, in fact, that we become guilty if we take time out for ourselves.  However, if we are to successfully combat stress, we absolutely must reserve time for stress-relief, and nature can be one of the best stress relievers available.

Each season offers its own unique brand of stress relief.  In the autumn, we can be soothed by the multi-colored leaves on the trees, the crunch of leaves under our feet, and lovely October skies.  By experiencing the beauty of nature, we can become more relaxed and better able to take on life’s challenges.

In the winter, we can take brisk walks through the snow, watching the flakes delicately float down to earth.  We can be energized by the brisk winds and frigid temperatures.  We can also gain a certain amount of confidence in battling the elements, helping to relieve our stress level.

In spring, we can enjoy the true riches of nature.  We can experience the scent of flowers just beginning to bloom…the loveliness of plants that have survived winter’s scourge…and listen to the birds chirping in the trees.  Gazing at trees just beginning to bud can be incredibly soothing after a stressful day on the job.

Meanwhile, in the summer, we can experience nature at its most vibrant.  We can enjoy the scent of the grass after the lawn has just been mowed…and watch the trees gently waving in the summer breeze.  We can revel in the sun’s rays, or enjoy the refreshment of a summer shower.  Just a few minutes in the outdoors can reduce our stress level dramatically.

There are also a number of nature-related activities we can engage in in order to relax.  For instance, hiking offers a tremendous opportunity to see the splendor of nature up close and personal.  Skiing allows us to enjoy winter’s beauty, while a game of Frisbee can be a tremendous lift on a summer afternoon.  Because nature offers such a feast for the senses, enjoying the outdoors can bring a sense of calm and tranquility to our lives that few other things can.


Some people, like myself, have found a relaxing nature-related hobby in gardening.  Planting flowers or vegetables, trimming bushes, and weeding can help to relax both the mind and the body.  Others have found that yard work can help to reduce stress.  Such activities as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or shoveling snow can help to remove us from sources of stress, giving us a much-needed break.

You may be so inspired by nature that you write poetry about the things you see and hear.  Such writing can be tremendously cathartic, especially when undertaken outdoors.  Lying in a chaise lounge under a tree, composing sonnets about flowers, can get your creative juices flowing—and lower your stress level in the process.

You might be surprised how therapeutic nature can be.  It can re-awaken your senses, allowing you to see things you might have missed before.  It can demonstrate to you the beauty of creation and give you a renewed vitality for life.  It can provide you with a welcome sanctuary from the world of blaring stereos and non-stop TV chatter.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a nature lover, brief periods outdoors can give you a new sense of purpose.  With such a positive outlook, your ability to handle stress will be enhanced.  In essence, spending a few moments outdoors is like taking a mini-vacation from the rigors of your daily life.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

If You’re Feeling Stressed, Volunteer


At times, it can seem as if you’re on a constant treadmill at work.  There are deadlines to meet, people to consult, relationships to cultivate.  You may feel as if you’re under consistent stress, but you don’t know how to manage it effectively.  You could always quit your job, but your next position might be just as stressful.

Stress can take a tremendous toll on both body and spirit.  It can leave you feeling fatigued, making it hard for you to concentrate.  You may be more susceptible to illness as a result of your stress, resulting in increased absenteeism from work.  You may be more prone to getting into accidents, and you may feel as if you’re on edge much of the time.

There are a number of strategies you can employ to deal with stress.  But perhaps one of the most rewarding is to engage in volunteer work.  There is something so comforting about donating your time to helping someone else.  The mere act can elevate your spirits, helping you to better cope with the stressors in your life.  You are giving a tremendous gift—the gift of your time and talent.  And you find your reward in the smiles on the faces of the people (or animals) you’ve assisted.



If you’re considering volunteering, you don’t want the search for volunteer opportunities to be stressful.  Therefore, you’ll want to make the process as simple as possible.  A good resource can be your local newspaper.  Often, the Sunday paper lists organizations that are looking for volunteers.  The newspaper usually provides complete contact information, so you won’t have to hunt around for a phone number.

Deciding which organization to volunteer for can be a challenge.  There are so many causes worthy of our attention.  For instance, there are groups that assist people in times of disaster…groups that lobby for research to find cures for debilitating diseases…homeless shelters…soup kitchens…and pet shelters.  You might also consider volunteering at a school, where teaching assistants and mentors are always appreciated.

In order to decide where to put your talents to use, you might ask yourself some questions such as:

  • How much time can you realistically devote to volunteer work?
  • Are you limited to doing your volunteering in the evenings or on weekends?
  • How much of your own money can you spend in connection with your volunteer work?
  • What causes are the most important to you?
The answers to these questions could help you to choose the volunteer opportunity that’s right for you.

Next, you’ll want to tour the volunteer facility.  You want to get a sense of whether you will enjoy the work.  If you find that the other volunteers are difficult to work with, it could simply produce more stress in your life.  Usually, an initial tour will help to give you a good idea of what it would be like to actually volunteer at the facility.  Also, be sure to find out if the organization offers training to its volunteers.  This could be quite important, especially if you have only a nodding acquaintance with the work of the organization.

Volunteering does require commitment, and you might be wondering if that commitment will add additional stress to your life.  Actually, the opposite will probably be true.  If you find yourself being energized by your volunteer work, you’ll be able to put your problems in better perspective.  Knowing the difficulties that other people face can make your troubles seem quite negligible in comparison.  However, you will want to make sure that you don’t overcommit.  Devote only a limited amount of time to your volunteer work, and resist the urge to do more.  Otherwise, you could find yourself exhausted by the end of the week and unable to perform well on your job.


Volunteering can be one of the great joys in life.  It is a privilege to serve other people, to make a difference in another person’s life.  Through your volunteer work, you’ll be able to meet people you might otherwise not have the opportunity to encounter.  You can forge friendships which can last a lifetime.  You’ll be contributing greatly to your neighborhood and your society, and your little corner of the world should be brighter because of it.

For what organizations or causes have you been a volunteer?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Exercise: The Ultimate Stress-Reliever



Perhaps it’s the result of having a new job, a new partner, or a new baby. You are overwhelmed with a feeling of excitement. Yet, you feel inadequate as well. As a result, you are under a tremendous amount of stress. At times, you might feel as if there’s no relief in sight—as if you’re on a treadmill which shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

However, the secret to effectively dealing with the stress may be to get your body onto an actual treadmill. Exercise can be the key to stress relief. It’s an obvious antidote to fatigue. It can make you feel more energetic, improving your strength and resiliency. It has been shown that individuals who are more physically fit often experience fewer health troubles. In addition, exercisers are less likely to suffer from psychological problems such as depression, binge eating, or insomnia.

Without exercise, you are increasing the likelihood that you will be afflicted with colds, flu, or other medical problems. Aerobic exercise in particular can improve your cardiovascular system and decrease your anxiety level. Some studies have shown that, during aerobic exercise, a chemical is produced in the brain which helps to heal the body from stress-related conditions. You should exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes at a time in order to improve not only your health but your mental outlook.


If you find it difficult to become motivated to exercise, there are a number of steps you can take. To begin with, you can join a gym. Knowing that you’ll have to pay monthly fees may make it more likely that you will actually end up exercising. You might also consider enlisting the aid of a personal trainer. A trainer can provide powerful motivation, pushing you to complete exercises you never thought possible. Another idea is to join an exercise class. There, you’ll meet other people who are in a similar position. The camaraderie that develops between exercisers can help to reduce your stress level.

In general, exercise should make you feel less anxious. Your muscles become less tense and you will be less shaky after a round of exercise. It has also been shown that exercise leads to an hour and a half to two hours of relaxation response. This has also been referred to as the endorphin response. As a result, your mood will improve, enabling you to deal more effectively with stress.


Exercise can also improve your self-image. You’ll experience greater self-worth, which will, in turn, reduce your stress level. A confident person is an individual who knows how to handle stress without becoming flustered. As a result of exercise, you may also end up eating better. Your improved menu may also prove to be a stress reliever. For instance, if you give up caffeinated drinks, you might become less jittery.

In addition to your sessions in the gym, you should be looking for additional opportunities to be active. This could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to work instead of driving, or playing touch football in the backyard with your children. The point is to get moving—and keep moving—at every available opportunity.

Exercise quickens the blood flow to your mind, offering the brain additional sugars and oxygen which can be important if you are concentrating. Exercise can also clear out waste products from the brain which can result in unclear thinking. You will also feel a greater sense of well-being as a result of exercise.

As has been shown here, exercise is beneficial for both the body and the mind. As a result, it can relax you when other techniques fail. By engaging in exercise, you free up your mind, enabling you to concentrate better and work more efficiently. Chances are you will not only feel better, you will look better as well. With your brain under control, you should experience less stress. Granted, exercise takes time and requires discipline, but it is well worth the exertion. The good feelings you get from a powerful workout can actually last for days. You may find that you actually look forward to working out because of the tremendous benefits it brings with it.

What is your favorite exercise to overcome stress?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Balancing Cortisol for Weight Loss and Health



Some have called it the “master” of all hormones. Others curse it for its ability to wreak havoc on our body’s fragile endocrine balance. In spite of the mixed opinions one thing is certain: cortisol is a powerful hormone necessary for life. But if its level is not optimal in your body, your health could suffer.

What is Cortisol?


The hormone cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands and is primarily responsible for regulating blood sugar, helping to metabolize fats, protein and carbohydrates and assisting in managing our stress response. We all have times of stress in our lives, and cortisol helps us to function during these times.

When the stress goes up, cortisol kicks in and delivers help. We get a quick burst of energy, our memory sharpens, our immunity increases, and our sensitivity to pain decreases. These are all important and natural functions of cortisol and ensure that we are able to weather the curve balls that life throws at us.

However, if the stress doesn’t let up, neither does the cortisol. Unfortunately, what is healthy in small bursts becomes dangerous over the long term. If you have persistent stress in your life, then you have cortisol levels that are out of balance: your body makes so much cortisol that it detrimentally affects your health. This leads to adrenal fatigue.

When you have prolonged, high levels of cortisol in your bloodstream

  • you will crave foods that are high in carbs (like cake and cookies), 
  • you will gain weight in your abdominal area (which increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes), and 
  • you will have trouble sleeping

Cortisol and the Circadian Rhythm


Our bodies produce different chemicals during the day and night that control our sleep, energy and mood. The natural rhythm of this cycle is known as the Circadian Rhythm, and cortisol is a key player.

Under normal circumstances, your body produces cortisol in amounts largely determined by the clock. Levels tend to be higher in morning—triggered by the emerging daylight--giving you a boost of energy to jumpstart your day.

As the day wears on, cortisol levels should drop, helping to prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Likewise, Melatonin (another hormone that affects your energy and sleep habits) levels should be lower in the morning but as the daylight fades, they should increase, helping you to begin relaxing and preparing for sleep.

However, if you are under constant stress or if your adrenal glands are not functioning properly, your cortisol level may not drop off during the day. Instead, it may actually rise and stay at a dangerously high level. By the time bedtime rolls around, you will not feel sleepy. You will feel “tired but wired,” and be unable to relax and fall asleep.


Reset Your Circadian Clock


If you suspect that your natural, circadian rhythm is disrupted, don’t despair. There are several things you can do to reset your clock so you can start sleeping better at night and waking up more refreshed in the morning.

Try the following tips:
  • Reduce stress. Easier said than done, I know. But many times our stress levels are correlated to our response to stressful situations. Learning how to cope with stress more effectively may be all it takes to balance your cortisol.
  • Be consistent. Going to bed and getting at the same time each day will help to regulate your circadian rhythm. Practice this habit to slowly coax your body into a schedule.
  • Use light wisely. Since your circadian rhythm is partially controlled by light, darken your room well when you go to bed, and flood it with light when it is time to get up. Try using a full spectrum light in the mornings.
  • Avoid naps. If your circadian clock is off, you may find that you get very sleepy in the afternoon. However, taking a nap may make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Try to resist naps.
  • Eat most of your calories early. If you can eat the bulk of your daily calories earlier in the day as opposed to later in the day, you may find that you can recalibrate your circadian rhythms more easily.