Recently, I was regularly suffering from debilitating nausea, vertigo, and fatigue. When I went to my doctor to address these issues, she told me to do two things: eat more throughout the day and drink more water. I was shocked. I expected a much more severe diagnosis and prescription. Instead, I found I was simply dehydrated. Fortunately, all I needed to do was adjust my daily eating and drinking habits to strengthen my body and reenergize my mind.

Hydration is incredibly vital to your overall health. The human body is comprised of approximately 60% water. Going without it can lead to headaches, dry mouth and skin, nausea, fatigue, muscle cramps, rapid breathing and heartbeat, irritability, and decreased brain function. However, keeping your body consistently quenched can be difficult when you have a busy life and hectic schedule.

Fortunately, there are options to help you increase your H2O intake throughout the day.

Keep Water On the Go

The one thing that has exponentially increased my water intake is my insulated water bottle. Not only is it portable and easy to carry with a convenient handle, but it keeps my water iced. All. Day. Long. I personally think water tastes better chilled. Normal water bottles heat up easily throughout the day when left in a bag or car. Chilled water is much more refreshing, and these bottles make it easy with up to a gallon in capacity. My favorite is the 40 oz. bottle. When I know I’ll be out for an extended period of time, I’ll even keep a water jug in my car and fill my bottle as needed. My ice stays intact for hours, so I can easily refill for continuous refreshing hydration all day. There are many brands, colors, and sizes now that can be found online or in your local wholesale store.

Drink Before You Eat

If you have trouble drinking water consistently, make it a habit to drink first thing in the morning and before every meal, work out, and bedtime. Increasing your water intake is a great way to promote healthy digestion and weight management. It also helps to naturally flush toxins from your body Drinking a glass of water before eating suppresses your appetite and increases your metabolism. Often hunger is confused with thirst, so before you reach for food, make it a habit to drink first. When you’re eating out, continue drinking water instead of dehydrating liquids like soda and tea. Plus, it’s free. You can also add water-rich foods to your diet, such as oranges, peaches, strawberries, grapefruit, melons, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, bell peppers, broths, skim milk, cottage cheese, and plain yogurt.

Try Tasty Water

With an abundance of delicious drink options available today, drinking water can get boring. However, you can add a little flavor to your life by trying flavored water. Although drinking plain water is the best option for your health, adding more water to your diet is better than nothing. Sparkling, flavored, and coconut water can be found in many local grocery stores. If you’re looking for a more natural option, infuse your water with fruit like berries, oranges, kiwi, melon, coconut, lime, and lemon. You can also experiment with mint, cucumber, basil, ginger, and even jalapenos. There are many recipes available online. The bottom line is, the more enjoyable you make your water, the easier it will be to stay hydrated.

Water is a simple and convenient resource that promotes full body and brain health. Increasing your water intake can improve a host of various physical conditions you may not have expected. Try some of these tips and watch your skin brighten, energy levels increase, and overall health improve. Your mind and body will thank you!

Miscarriage can be a traumatic and life changing event for a woman and her partner. It can happen with little to no warning, seemingly for no reason. The parents may feel shock, anger, guilt, or sadness after losing their child in the womb. Although the topic is rarely discussed publicly, miscarriages are quite common, occurring in approximately 10-15% of known pregnancies. Women report experiencing anxiety, insomnia, fear of getting pregnant again, as well as other physical and mental issues. Although miscarriages are often uncontrollable and unpreventable, women may feel like they are a failure, reminiscing over what could have been.

While you may want to offer support to a loved one during this time, good intentions can still cause deep wounds. The fear of doing more harm than help can be crippling. However, distancing yourself from your loved one can cause more pain, making them feel even more isolated, alone, and misunderstood. There is no formula or checklist for comforting a mother or father grieving their lost child, but some dos and don’ts can help you navigate the daunting waters of grief.

Do…

  • Be well-informed. Research miscarriage. Understand your loved one may act out of character for a time and why. She may withdraw and isolate herself, especially from children and pregnant women, but she will likely return to herself in time.
  • Make sure your loved one sought medical attention. Her health and safety are vital.
  • Encourage your friend/family member to reach out. When they experience symptoms such as restlessness, panic, low energy, anxiety, nightmares, etc. they may need someone to turn to.
  • Ask your loved one what kind of support she needs. However, she may not know what will help, so be prepared to try different methods of support. And if she wants to be alone for a while, that’s okay too.
  • Say something. Determining what to say can feel like walking through an emotional minefield. However, saying nothing because you feel uncomfortable is far worse. Waiting until she “gets better” is also a grave mistake. Be genuine, reach out, and show you care in any way you can. Send a heartfelt card or text, make a phone call, or stop by in person. Telling her “I’m sorry” is a good place to start.
  • When you have that heart-to-heart conversation, listen. Talk about the baby if she wants to. If she uses the baby’s name, you should too. Ask questions if she seems open to it and give reassuring responses. Allow her to talk as little and as much as she needs. Remember silence can also be soothing.
  • Acknowledge her feelings. Whether she was really excited about the pregnancy or is unexpectedly grieved, encourage her that her feelings are normal and part of the grieving process. Tell her you understand how much this baby meant to her. She must be patient with herself and her emotions during this time. You can also acknowledge that what’s she going through is awful.
  • Alleviate any guilt she may feel or express. Encourage her that this was not her fault.
  • Share your own story if you’ve also had a miscarriage in the past. Then give her room to express her feelings about it. Although this moment is about supporting her in her grief, sharing an intimate and relatable experience can help her feel like she’s not alone.
  • Make sure she gets some rest. Grief is exhausting and she needs the energy.
  • Consider sending a care package. Include some items to help her relax, rejuvenate, or get her mind off of her experience. You may include items like snacks, tissues, cozy pajamas, entertainment, a card, or something else you know she’d enjoy.
  • Check in regularly. As the days, weeks, and months pass, support from others will wane. Your continued support will mean the world to her when others have forgotten.
  • Help with household tasks to alleviate her daily burdens. Bring her a meal, do laundry, wash dishes, or run an errand. Don’t take control of everything, though. Allow her to feel as capable as she is, providing some assistance to help make her day a bit easier.
  • Offer to return any pregnancy/baby items she doesn’t want to keep. If she’d like to hold on to them, let her know you can store the items until the family is ready.
  • Take her out to do something fun when she’s ready. Go to the movies, treat her to brunch, or walk on the beach. You know what your loved one enjoys. When she’s feeling up to it, go out and have some fun.

Don’t…

  • Assume that your loved one does not feel grief. Even if they were planning on having an abortion and miscarried beforehand, the pain of this loss can be unexpected.
  • Use clichés like “It wasn’t meant to be” or “This is just God’s plan.” These phrases are not comforting. In fact, they will make her feel more isolated and misunderstood.
  • Try to fix the situation or give unsolicited advice. The tragedy is unfixable. Your loved one just needs to find healing through the natural process of grief, which takes time.
  • Say “It was early” or “There’s still time to get pregnant again.” She may fear experiencing that trauma again. Whether or not she ever wants to have another child, this baby is unique. Trying to replace this lost child discounts its life and value to her.
  • Tell your loved one “It wasn’t a baby yet.” She is likely experiencing the natural symptoms of pregnancy. Her body may be acting as if she still has a baby inside of the womb. Regardless, she built a connection with that baby from the moment she discovered she was pregnant. Denying that can be incredibly painful and isolating.
  • Encourage her to look on the bright side. You may be tempted to say, “At least…” This is a mistake. The situation is undeniably bleak. It’s okay to acknowledge that and work through it. However, repressing her grief through attempts to cheer her up will only make her feel lonelier.
  • Rush the grieving process. It’s especially unwise to say anything like, “It’s time to move on.” Everyone experiences grief at different times, paces, and in various ways. Allowing grief to naturally take its course is the only way to promote your loved ones’ healing.
  • Be afraid to acknowledge you’re at a loss for words. Be honest and genuine. The situation is difficult. You both know that. It’s okay to be sad together for a little while.
  • Discourage any desire your loved one has to get professional help. That may be the coping mechanism she needs at this time.
  • Forget the father. Although he himself was not pregnant, he may have developed an emotional attachment that is now resulting in disappointment, anger, sadness, and deep psychological wounds.

Some of these tips may be well suited to your loved ones’ situation, and some may not. Just be patient, show them you’re there to support them, and be sensitive to their reactions and needs. The most important way you can support a friend or family member through their time of grief is just being there. Grief and support look very different for various people. Your loved one may need to talk about their feelings or they may not want to discuss it at all. They may want to spend time alone at home or go out to get their mind off of their emotions. Ultimately, it’s important to meet this person where they’re at and validate their grief, no matter what stage they’re in or how long it takes them to recover. Offering patience, time, and continued support are the biggest gifts you can give someone you care for.

It’s been a short while since the beginning of the new year. Major holidays have passed. Kids are back in school. You’re almost getting the hang of writing “2019” instead of “2018.” The year is progressing, but are your New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps you keep promising yourself you’ll get started on Monday. Maybe you didn’t even commit to any resolutions this year because you know you always forget or give up only a few weeks into the new year.

According to Business Insider, 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February. Even worse, only 8% of people actually accomplish their goals by the end of the year, according to Forbes. Whether your resolution is to spend less money, practice healthier habits, find love, or accomplish something specific, sticking with commitments can often be difficult and discouraging. But it doesn’t have to be.

The start of every new year is about reflection, reassessment, and reorganizing your priorities. It should be a joyful time to determine how to make your life even better.  One of the biggest reasons people give up on their resolutions is because they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Their task is altogether too daunting. The details were never sorted out. There wasn’t a step-by-step plan put in place to ensure the objective was fulfilled.

If you’re serious about accomplishing a goal, consider the SMART method for your blueprint to success.

S – Specific

What do you want to accomplish? Establish an area in which you can make positive changes. Then think of the simple W’s – who, what, where, when, and why. Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight this year,” you may want to commit to a more definitive goal such as losing 5 pounds every 3 months for the next year. After you’ve set a goal, determine what steps you’ll need to take in order to get there.

M – Measurable

How will you tangibly determine if you’ve met your goals? Whether it be in time spent,

pounds lost, or books read, establish a goal that has some sort of measurement. When you can see how much you’ve accomplished and how much further you still have to go, you’re much more likely to keep working at that goal. You can even break up your plan into several steps, celebrating with each stride.

A – Attainable

What usually keeps you from accomplishing your goals? Understand your time

constraints and assess what resources are available to you. Be realistic about your needs and what you’re actually able to do in order to achieve this goal. For example, if you’re eating steak one day and deciding to “go vegan” the next, you’ll likely give up. Instead, take reasonable steps towards making your dream a reality.

R – Relevant

What matters to you? If you hate to read, perhaps reading a book per month is not a

suitable goal for you. However, if you learn best through audio, perhaps listening to an audiobook or educational podcast will help you expand your knowledge in areas of interest. Your resolutions should be applicable to your goals, time constraints, lifestyle, skills, and available resources. Looking at both the big picture and smaller details are crucial to achieving whatever you set out to do.

T – Timely

How much time will this mission take to accomplish? How much time do you have

available to you? Deadlines motivate action. This concept goes hand-in-hand with measurability. Instead of saying, “I want to eat healthier this year,” commit to eating 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily or plan to meal prep every Sunday. Also, be realistic. If your expectations are too stringent, you’ll likely give up completely if you slip up along the way.
New Year’s can be an inspiring catalyst for implementing positive changes in your life. However, you don’t need to wait until January 1st or Monday morning to make your dreams a reality. Whether you want to learn a new skill, feel better inside and out, or experience life more fully, you can start at any time. In fact, you should start now. When you establish small milestones and plan the steps to get there, accomplishing your goal doesn’t seem so impossible. So be positive and keep trying! Life is what you make it.

Every woman knows her menstrual cycle is a natural process that enables her to create life and maintain a healthy reproductive system. However, the side effects of this cycle can be inconvenient and downright painful. Be that as it may, you don’t have to suffer through the pain without some relief. Here are 3 simple and natural ways to mitigate the uncomfortable symptoms of your menstrual cycle.

1. Apply Heat

Warming up the contracting muscles in your uterus is crucial to relieving the pain in your abdomen. For quick relief, run a warm bath. You can also add essential oils like lavender or peppermint, as well as Epsom salts for even more relaxation and pain alleviation. For an all-day remedy, try a heating pad. You may have a compress lying around the house that you can freeze or heat, but I find electric heating pads to be the best solution for constant relief. Instead of reheating your compress every few minutes, putting strain on your body over and over again, just plug in the heating pad and flip the switch for a consistent flow of warmth.

2. Get Active

Trust me, I get it. The last thing us women want to do when we’re in pain is engage in physical activity. But light exercise and stretching can actually release endorphins and loosen your contracting muscles. Reduce your pain with a brief walk, swim, or some gentle stretching. Various stretches and yoga-like poses can be found online. Try some different positions to find what brings you the most relief. Not only can this reduce your pain, but it may also restore peace and calming. Consistently exercising throughout the month can also lessen the pain you experience during your menstrual cycle. Invest in your long-term health by exercising for 30 minutes a few times a week and experience further relief. If you’re struggling to get some sleep due to the pain, try propping yourself up with pillows. Finally, various pressure points may relieve tension, which can also be found online.

3. Try Natural Pain Remedies

If you’re looking for an alternative to synthetic pain medications, try essential oils like lavender or peppermint. Stay hydrated with water and water-rich fruits and vegetables to reduce bloating and discomfort. Peppermint and herbal teas may also be soothing to the body. However, avoiding caffeine, processed foods, alcohol, and soda can be effective ways to decrease bloating, cramping, and discomfort. Maintaining a well-balanced diet all month long can also reduce uncomfortable symptoms throughout your menstrual cycle. Eat regularly throughout the day, whether you snack or enjoy a full meal, to avoid increased irritability. Exchanging saturated fats for healthier, unsaturated fats can also nourish the body. Healthier fats can be found in foods like olive oil, fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Fatty foods to avoid are animal products, especially dairy, which can increase bloating and discomfort. If you do consume dairy, though, opting for a low-fat or fat-free product is a good option. Fish oil or vitamin B1 supplements may also be a good way to increase your healthy fat intake. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor to determine what methods are best suited to you, especially if you have preexisting conditions or take medication.

Extra tip: If you don’t have one already, get a free period tracking app on your phone. This will help you predict when your next cycle will start, allowing you to take preventative measures, such as making or canceling certain plans in advance, packing emergency supplies, and stopping the pain before it starts.

The holidays can be the most joyful and the most stressful time of year. With all of the office parties, family get-togethers, community activities, and delicious treats available to enjoy this holiday season, it’s important to keep you and your family healthy. Take care this season with some of these tips.

Avoid Illness

With many people contracting illnesses this time of year, remember to wash your hands often. When you’re on the go, carry hand sanitizer or wipes with you. Check the weather before leaving the house and bundle up in easy to discard layers. You can also keep some extra clothes handy in your bag or car for easy access. Another great way to stay healthy during the hectic holiday season is through sleep. Rejuvenate your mind and body with an adequate amount of rest. Staying physically active throughout the week and staying hydrated with plenty of water will also promote your health during the business of the season. Also, be aware of your children’s health. Illness passes all too easily through families once a child is sick. Keep their immune systems strong with vitamins and healthy foods, and stay vigilant in order to catch any signs of illness quickly.

Feed Your Immune System

The best way to manage illness is to prevent it! Make sure you’re taking your daily dose of Vitamin C to ward off any viruses. Another way to protect your body from illness is through eating right. Maintain a healthy and balanced diet for more energy and strength. Although there are many delicious treats to enjoy during the holidays, practicing moderation and indulging wisely will allow you to still enjoy the holiday delicacies and maintain your physical health. If you’re looking to save money and calories, consider packing a lunch and/or snacks in advance when you plan to be out for long periods of time. Also, be wary of undercooked foods. Food preparation safety is key when cooking for yourself and others during the holiday season.

Keep Your Mind Sharp

Keep your mind healthy in the midst of the busy holidays by actively managing stress. There’s bound to be a lot going on this time of year – gifts to purchase and wrap, events to host, parties to attend, food to cook… Although stressful moments are bound to happen, choose to take them with a grain of salt and keep a positive outlook. (Vitamin D is a great way to boost your mood naturally!) This is supposed to be a joyful time of year, so do your best to accomplish your tasks, manage your time wisely, make an organized to do list, and delegate when possible. Ultimately, remember you’re only one person. As long as everyone is enjoying this time of year, the details aren’t too important.

Limit the Social Media Consumption

With the proliferation of digital media, it seems everyone’s life is picture-perfect while your days are messy, overwhelming, hectic, and challenging. Although social media platforms were meant to connect us with one another, they can make us feel lonelier than ever. Remember this season that everyone on social media is just like you. They are all putting the best versions of themselves on display, as do you on your own social media profiles. If you’re still feeling discouraged, consider closing your laptop or exiting your mobile app and just live in the moment. They’ll be there when you return.

Travel Safely

Many people are on the road running errands, attending events, and traveling to visit loved ones. When driving, be aware of any road hazards, especially adverse weather conditions. When in doubt, slow down. You may be in a rush to reach your destination, but it’ll take you a lot longer to get there when you’re stopped by a traffic ticket or an accident. Instead, prepare ahead of time by tracking road conditions on a mobile app and leave a little earlier than you normally would. If you decide to indulge in an alcoholic drink or two, designate a driver in advance or call for a ride. It’s not worth ruining the holidays for yourself or anyone else on the road.

Be Wary of Household Hazards

Cooking, baking, and warming up by the fireplace are lovely ways to enjoy the holiday season. However, they also pose possible risks. Turn off appliances when you’re done using them and don’t fall asleep with the fireplace on. Another safety tip is to be careful while decorating. Many holiday injuries occur due to accidents around the house. Use a reliable ladder, get someone to help you, take your time, and thoroughly clean up after any shattered glass bulbs or other broken items.

Get in the Holiday Spirit

Finally, take a few moments to remember what the holiday season is really about. Sometimes family traditions consume our schedules to the point of forgetting why we’re doing them in the first place. In the midst of the rush, the errands, and the obligations, remember that this is a time to be grateful for what you have, to give generously, and to spend time with the people you love. Cook dinner and bake desserts together as a family. Take it easy. Enjoy a Christmas movie and hot cocoa by the fire. Walk around a local neighborhood to look at the lights. There’s so much to enjoy about the season, so don’t let that opportunity pass you by.

It was summer. I had plenty of free time and wanted to spend it with someone I cared about. I’d been single for a year. He was a handsome gentleman with similar interests and values. We had engaging conversations and many moments of laughter. I felt special and cared for.

But I cried myself to sleep most nights. I didn’t tell my friends about all of the moments I felt stupid, unworthy, selfish, beat down, and unlovable. I didn’t want them to know how much money I had lent him or the fact that I was expected to pay for both of us during nearly all of our dates.

But he was down on his luck. He was a hard worker. He just needed that big break, right?

Somehow we always seemed to be in the midst of a fight, and I was always the one begging for forgiveness even when I felt like I did nothing wrong. He called me stupid. I knew he thought I was intelligent. I just did a dumb thing that angered him. I mean, I didn’t know it would trigger that response, but I vowed to be better next time. Except I was never better next time. Little things seemed to set him off so easily and frequently. One moment he was happy as a clam, and the next we were on the brink of breaking up. It was always my fault, though. I should have known better. At least, that’s what I told myself.

I was emotionally crippled. Why was I so scared to lose him when I always felt so miserable inside?

Because he made me feel like I was the problem.

But I wasn’t the problem. He was.

As much as I hate to admit it, I was emotionally abused by a person I believed cared for me. And maybe part of him did, but another part of him was too selfish to realize that his behavior was destructive, not only to me and our relationship but to himself. I wanted to save him from the chemical imbalances and bad habits that afflicted him, but I was only lying to myself and I got hurt in the process.

Enabling bad behavior under the guise of compassion is not helpful to anyone. If you’re like me, you’re a fixer. You enjoy helping those around you because you care about them. But sometimes that mindset attracts broken people who are subconsciously set on imparting their misery onto you. A man cannot save you, and you cannot save a man.

If you’re feeling manipulated, coerced, demeaned, constantly blamed, resented for being successful, and/or physically harmed, you may be in an abusive relationship.

Emotional abusers may…
• Attempt to control various aspects of your life or silence you
• Isolate you from friends and family members
• Accuse you of being unfaithful
• Withhold affection or communication as a punishment
• Display unstable or erratic behavior, such as mood swings and losing control to rage
• Intimidate you or people around you
• Assert physical control or force
• Threaten to hurt you, themselves, or others
• Threaten to leave you
• Frequently demean you, especially with name calling
• Take no responsibility for their own actions and never apologize
• Divert blame towards you, other people, or external factors for their circumstances/behavior
• Make you feel like you’re crazy, problematic, unintelligent, and/or actively seeking conflict

Although anyone can make a mistake and display one of these negative behaviors or traits from time to time, abuse is different because it is frequent. You know you’re in the midst of an abusive relationship when you read the points above and get a sinking feeling in your stomach as a little voice in your head says, “That’s me. That’s what I’m going through. That’s what he does.” Even if you attempt to make excuses or refuse to admit it, you’ll know deep inside that it’s true.

Before, I didn’t believe emotional abuse was a real thing. I didn’t think women would actually allow themselves to be so mistreated by a man. I would never put myself in such a situation, let alone want to stay. I thought myself stronger than that. But I was wrong. As women, we have tremendous compassion, patience, and tolerance for the people we care about. We often put their needs and interests ahead of our own.

But you shouldn’t gift your love, attention, and trust to someone who hasn’t earned them.

You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are strong. You are intelligent. You are capable. You possess unique qualities that the right man will cherish. A man who truly loves you will come alongside you as a partner in life. He will lift you up, support you, and encourage you.

Maybe you don’t feel that way right now. Maybe you feel like you’ll never find someone better. Maybe you’re thinking, “If only this changed… If only I were better… If only he got the help he needs…”

Please listen to me when I say you deserve so much better.

You don’t deserve to feel beaten down, broken, and lesser. You don’t deserve to feel like you’re the problem when you know in your heart and mind that you’ve done the best you can. You don’t deserve to feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells just to keep the person you care for appeased. Maybe that person will change in the future, but they need to find the self-awareness, desire, and willingness to do so on their own.

I urge you to leave any relationship you suspect to be emotionally abusive. Talk to your friends and family members. They truly love you and have your best interest at heart. Find a counselor, pastor, mentor, or other life advisor to help you see the red flags you’ve been ignoring. It’s important that you seek help in getting out of an abusive relationship safely, especially if you feel threatened in any way.

I wish I had recognized the warning signs sooner. From all accounts, that man is still the same person he was when I left a few months ago. I now understand that things wouldn’t have changed if I had stayed. He refused to recognize his abusive and self-destructive tendencies. And I will always hold the emotional scars from it. But please allow me to use my story to help you if you are experiencing anything similar to what I did. Ultimately, when you take time to heal and value yourself as you deserve, the right people will come into your life. They certainly have for me.

Feeling stressed? Regain some peace of mind with these simple tips.
Life is filled with various stressors. Women in particular often take on many responsibilities in their families, careers, and communities. These demands can lead to feeling stressed? Regain some peace of mind with these simple tips.

is filled with various stressors. Women in particular often take on many responsibilities in their families, careers, and communities. These demands can lead to elevated breathing and heart rate, chronic stress, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, harming our physical and emotional wellbeing in both the short and long term.

Addressing stress immediately is essential to stopping it. The sooner you identify the source, the easier it is to recover. A healthy mind is key to a healthy body. So take a breath, and consider implementing one of these tips into your weekly routine.

1. It’s okay to say “I’m not fine.”
Women tend to find emotional relief in sharing their feelings and experiences with others. Social support is essential to a woman’s sense of validation and peace. Next time a trusted friend or beloved family member asks how you’re doing, it’s okay to be honest. Whether you need advice, a good cry, or just an opportunity to talk it out, getting those negative feelings off of your chest can bring tremendous relief.

2. It’s okay to say, “no.”
It can be difficult to reject someone’s plea for help, especially when the request comes from a friend, family member, or coworker. But you can only stretch yourself so thin. Remember, it’s the quality of what you do that matters, not the quantity. Realistically evaluate your time constraints and pending tasks before accepting a new responsibility. It’s in everyone’s best interest, including your own, to only take on what you can handle.

3. It’s okay to take some time for yourself.
Everyone needs a break, whether it’s 20 minutes, a few hours, or a day off. If you’re strapped for time, consider taking a brisk walk, making sure you’re hydrated with a refreshing glass of water, or watching a funny video to relieve some frustration. If you have a bit more time available, take a warm bath with Epsom salts and relaxing music to rid yourself of tension. Escape with a massage or a movie. Whether you choose to exercise, journal, get a spa treatment, plan a night out, or enjoy a hobby – find what you enjoy and do it. Taking a break is a proven way to refresh your mind and body for increased productivity.

4. It’s okay to invest in rest.
Feeling groggy can really weigh you down during the most crucial and busiest times of your day. Take a 20-minute power nap for a quick pick-me-up. Or turn in early and start the next day sooner than normal. Your mind and body need sleep in order to be sharper, quicker, and more efficient. Scientifically speaking, your brain needs sleep to clear out toxins. So invest in your health and wellbeing by getting those 7-9 hours of sleep at night and taking a nap when you feel too sleepy to continue with your day.

5. It’s okay to take some time to plan ahead.
Prioritize and organize your life for a clearer mind and more productive day. The first way to implement this is by getting a daily planner. Write down all of your obligations ahead of time to better establish how much time you have and what more you can take on. Keep “to do” and grocery lists in your phone so you can quickly document ideas before you forget them. Other ways to improve your daily efficiency include choosing your clothes in the evening for the next day, prepping your meals for the week, and packing your bags and vehicle the night before work, meetings, classes, events, etc.

6. It’s okay to unplug.
Digital media is undeniably pervasive in all of our lives. There seems to be a screen everywhere we turn. Although they can be hard to avoid, consider personally unplugging for an hour or even a day. Turn off the news, take a social media sabbatical, or plug your phone in for a charge and walk away. Use this time to read a book, visit a friend, run an errand, or enjoy the fresh air outside and soak in some vitamin D. Your devices will be there when you return.

7. It’s okay to practice a bit of self-discipline.
When feeling pressured, it’s crucial to avoid unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms, especially when it comes to what you put in your body. Increasing your intake of water, fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods can improve your energy levels and productivity. Take 30 minutes to exercise a few times a week and enjoy the rush of endorphins to power your next activity. When faced with that one task you’ve been dreading, tackle it head on and get it over with so you no longer have to worry about it. And even when it doesn’t come naturally, choose an attitude of gratitude. When you change your outlook with a few simple, positive thoughts, you’ll notice a remarkable change in your joy and motivation.

Although stress is a normal part of life, you don’t have to accept it. A positive state of mind can lead to a more productive, happy, and fulfilling life. With a few simple lifestyle choices and adjustments, you can considerably reduce the effects of stress in your life.
evated breathing and heart rate, chronic stress, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, harming our physical and emotional wellbeing in both the short and long term.

In our blogs we speak of healthy strong women taking control of their lives.  Living a life that allows intoxicants, superficial values, un-enlightened entertainment and unhealthy relationships is not living from a position of strength but of dependency and irresponsibility.  The article linked says as much about contraception.

Too often living dependent on things outside of our personal dominion is taking a big risk.  When we drink too much alcohol or take drugs we might think we are funnier, smarter or whatever the case may be.  Yet the reality is we have surrendered our self-control to intoxicants.  It is an escape from reality.

Using contraception is an escape from healthy living – it introduces chemicals and hormones into our bodies that have serious side-effects.  It is also an escape from responsibility.  Taking contraception gives us false comfort that one can have sex with zero consequences. That is always incorrect no matter if the contraception works or fails.  Sex is a big deal.

This article show both a medical and sociological effect of birth control that simply shows that yes sex is not a recreation.  “The data already indicate that even with contraceptives that act less like temporary sterilization (which is how LARCs act) we get a “sex and marriage market” in which sex becomes the price of a relationship and marriage is off the horizon even when there is an unexpected pregnancy. Women (especially poor women) become immiserated in particular. They have more unintended pregnancies, more abortions, and become single mothers or post-aborted mothers far more often.”

Read about long acting contraceptives in this fact sheet

Living a healthy life is hard work. It requires taking time to educate yourself, overcome the easy way out on lifestyle and diet, good relationship choices – or if you are even ready to have a relationship, and much more.

Marijuana has grown popular in today’s generation in spite of warnings and the many unknowns.  Just in the past few days researches found that marijuana causes your brain to age faster, that there is a link to schizophrenia and a host of other maladies.  In other words, it seems that smoking it is a big deal.

This article gives you the tips you need to be healthy especially if you might be pregnant or are sexually active.

Some takeaways: “Accidental pregnancies happen, and if someone is using drugs in the weeks before they know they’re pregnant, that could cause problems for a fetus in its most critical stages..”  and “Breast-feeding moms should avoid marijuana use, because THC, along with some other potentially psychoactive compounds in pot, gets into breast milk”.

 

Slow down. Think for Yourself. Turn the media onslaught off!  Guaranteed if you open a major website like MSN you will find a story about the royal family – every day and with nothing to say, just blah blah.  Guaranteed if you go to a pop culture or lifestyle website or TV show like ET you will find endless stories of celebrities, mostly bad relationships and an array of basically useless information. Here is a random example of a “who cares” story that bombards us endlessly.

Slow down and turn the crap off.  Websites, Movies, Reality TV and really all sorts of media outlets, websites and magazines exert a big influence on our lives – if we let them.  It is kind of weird actually – it almost seems they want us to believe a certain way or even we must…! It is a bit scary.

Take control of your life and you’ll successfully avoid bad situations or bad friends.

Yet, we are what we eat! That goes for media consumption too. So, when it comes to the most important things in life, are we creating down time to reflect and even pray about what is really, truly good for the long term. For example, relationships are a big part of pop culture news. Who is with who. Who cheated on who etc. Should we really get involved and flood our senses with this stuff? It is really sort of misleading and depressing. We have a higher calling.

Be strong and think for yourself.

Never be that consumer who consumes whatever is put in front of you. Group think and being “up to speed” on things is not important for the big picture. What is important is finding values and truths for a long-term and successful life and good relationships.

Besides who needs the mass media endlessly telling me what I should like?! I know what is best for me and it isn’t pointless stories, the next best trinket etc. Everyone eventually must find something more, deeper.  This exercise of searching for meaning and truth and lasting values is the best way to avoid bad situations. So stop, turn off media, think, avoid bad situations and find happiness.