Guest Blog: 4 Surprising Health Benefits of a Clean Home


by Brad Krause

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Photo by Pexels

Even though you may not enjoy the act of cleaning, most people still enjoy living in a clean home. In fact, research shows that living in a clean, organized space can heavily influence both our mental and physical health. For example, piles of laundry can make us feel claustrophobic. Cluttered desks and surfaces can make us feel stress and anxiety. Allergens and pollutants whirling around our indoor air can impair our lung and heart health both in the short-term and long-term.

Do you want to feel healthier in your home? It’s not always easy to establish new cleaning habits, but these four benefits might be surprising, and they can help make cleaning more simple and effective.

Better sleep

A clean and organized home can have a direct impact on the quality of your sleep. Mentally, our consciousness is often weighed down by unfinished business, which is hard to shake if you have piles of laundry or stacks of mail staring at you as you try to fall asleep. Physically, you sleep better because a clean home has fewer allergens such as dust mites, pollen and dander that often interrupt breathing at night — sometimes without us even knowing.  Clean your indoor air by changing your air filter every month if you have severe allergies, vacuuming daily if you have pets and purchasing an air purifier. This appliance can improve the air quality of your home by removing particles that make up dust, dander, dust mites, pollen and other bacteria in your air. If you have live with a smoker or have a wood-burning stove in your home, an air purifier is a must for reducing indoor secondhand and thirdhand smoke and other toxins, which can lead to respiratory problems. When searching for an air purifier, you can review this guide to make a budget-friendly choice for your home.

Calmer and more relaxed

When you are surrounded by clutter, you feel cluttered. When the clutter starts to pile up even higher, it can be harder to get motivated to make change. That’s when it’s time to find the Zen in cleaning. Change your perception so the act of cleaning elicits a soothing, serene state of mind. To avoid still feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to start small. Pick one room or even a corner in a room to clear and organize. Not only will cleaning help you feel calmer and more relaxed, but it also keeps you productive and gives you a warm feeling of accomplishment.

Believe it or not, cleaning makes you happy! Yes, the daily chores you tend to dread will actually, over time, elevate your mood, improve your outlook and give you more reasons to smile. First, cleaning gives you a sense of newness— a fresh start you can feel every day. Secondly, a clean home is one filled with fewer distractions, so you can focus on finishing that exciting bestseller, painting a landscape of your last vacation or training for that upcoming 5k race. In other words, when you take the time to clean, you actually free up more time for yourself.

Healthier lifestyle choices

When you live and breathe in a cleaner space, your healthy environment begins to trickle into other areas of your life. Research shows that people who live in cleaner homes tend to have healthier diets, exercise more, smoke less or not at all and maintain their hobbies. When you eliminate the allergens in your air, you are getting cleaner oxygen that you transform into physical energy to devote to exercise. When you spend more time doing activities you enjoy, you feel less stressed and are better able to adapt to change. When you look at it this way, it’s easy to see how the act of cleaning improves your health, as well as how living in a cleaner space opens you up to cleaner living.

Cleaning hardly tops anyone’s idea of a fun time. In fact, many see it as a necessary evil. But if you make strides to change your perspective and your habits, you will start to see and feel the benefits of a clean home.

 

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Guest Blog: Self-Care: A Priceless Gift For You


by Brad Krause

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Who doesn’t appreciate an hour—or two—to relax and let your mind wander, indulge in a good book or your favorite TV show or chill in a hammock guilt-free? Alas, with all of life’s demands, whether it’s your job, family and other responsibilities, we tend to cancel or put off those activities that give us time to recharge. But self-care is critical for maintaining good mental, physical and emotional health.

Why?

Self-care helps you to stay connected with yourself and remind you of your self-worth, produce positive feelings, boost self-confidence and self-esteem. When you take time to take care of yourself, you’re setting a good example for your family while reminding them that your needs are important, too.

Self-care staves off stress that stems from working too much; contrary to popular belief, workaholism is not a virtue. Workaholism leads to mistakes, decreased productivity and utter exhaustion. Overworking becomes a slippery slope that can invite serious health issues including anxiety and depression, insomnia and heart disease.

Self-care prevents burnout from too much work, too many demands on your time and too many areas in which it’s all too easy to spread yourself too thin. When you’ve pushed yourself beyond that proverbial breaking point, you’re simply going through the motions and, let’s face it—everything suffers. Plus, taking that step back and physically taking a break, can often lead to a breakthrough. In fact, science has proven that taking breaks—and ensuring that you’re getting consistently restful sleep—will enhance your performance.

Self-care habits like taking breaks from work—eating lunch with a colleague or taking a stroll during a break—improve energy levels and your mood. Mobile technology makes it all too easy for us to stay connected 24-7, so make a conscious effort to unplug and set boundaries between work and personal time.

How to start

Whether you’re trying to cultivate a new self-care routine or looking for other ways to increase your mental and physical mojo, check out this list of stress management hacks. Try them out and tweak as you need, because it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition:

Schedule time to exercise. Put it in your calendar like your kids’ activities and work meetings. If it’s already part of your daily routine, you’re more likely to follow through. Need help with accountability? Join the gym or a class with a friend or two. Too busy to hit the gym? Download  self-care apps, which will give you suggestions to get your move on—even if you only have five minutes to spare.

Eat well. It’s way too easy to hit the drive-through or grab a slice of leftover pizza. Instead, use your Crockpot or instant pot for easy meal cooking. Take a few hours on the weekend or a weeknight to plan and prep meals for a week or a month. If you find yourself reaching for comfort foods because they taste good (and they make you feel good), think about changing how you eat, too. Are you reaching for a box of cookies to reward yourself for a rough day, or consuming too many carbs at dinner because you skipped breakfast and lunch? Check out these suggestions on how to eat well.

Practice mindfulness to manage stress and help your body to relax. Think about it: What do we do, daily, to maintain our psychological health? During the day, take a minute to look at a picture or listen to a song that makes you happy and recharges your batteries. Take a stroll around the block, electronics-free, to feel the sunshine and connect with nature.

These resources from the Positive Psychology Program include worksheets and exercises to build mindfulness, including the self-compassion pause, self-inquiry meditation, five senses exercise, and mini-mindfulness exercises. Deep breathing techniques are another good way to reduce stress by turning off the chemicals your body releases when the fight or flight response activates.

Change your perspective

Value yourself—guilt-free. Prioritizing and taking care of yourself improves all aspects of your life. As you’re evaluating where and how to prioritize your self-care, also think about your social, financial, and workspace needs, too.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Guest blog: Reach Your Better Self: A Self-Improvement Guide for 2018


By Jennifer Scott

CaptureDon’t fall into the trap of thinking that the better version of yourself is unattainable, out of reach, or a fantasy. You can improve yourself and reach your potential. It is not impossible or far-fetched. Begin by caring for yourself and achieving balance in various aspects of your life.
According to Psychology Today, a concept known as self-love is important to living well. It affects the way you see the world and how you cope with the world’s challenges. The state of loving oneself involves engaging in actions that support physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Caring for oneself is vital when setting and achieving personal and professional goals.

Physical Health

Exercise
Find a kind of exercise or sport that appeals to your personality, lifestyle, and schedule. Look into a variety of options and stay open to new opportunities:
Gym membership. Join a traditional gym and commit to a certain schedule per week. This is a great way to begin if you haven’t exercised in some time because you can go at your own pace.

Try a new sport. Find out if your local recreation center has adult sports teams you can join. Joining a team sport can not only provide some fun social interaction in a new setting, but it helps people commit to schedule.

Try out a class. There are many schools and academies in your area that offer free classes to try out their programs. Sign up for a free dance class, martial arts lesson, or yoga session. Trying it out beforehand will give you a taste of what to expect.

LiveScience recommends starting off slow and gradually working your way up. Make sure to be honest about your current fitness level to avoid injury, and set goals for yourself to stay motivated.

Loving yourself also means staying away from behavior and substances that harm you. Exercise has recently emerged as a great companion to addiction recovery. The National Institute of Health cites that aerobic exercise can help people that abuse illicit drugs. Physical activity releases endorphins in the brain which produce a “high” feeling and help in restoring a balance in the brain. It aids in promoting feelings of positivity, improved mood, and better sleep.

Change Your Fuel

Diet is key. Many people often cite a lack of time as an impediment to eating better. However, establishing good eating habits and avoiding fast food doesn’t have to be that difficult. All it takes is a little organization and a nutritional plan:

  • Meal planning: Take one day a week for bulk cooking, and freeze portions that you can eat throughout the week. Make sure your meals are well balanced with protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  • Plan trips to the store: Do not shop while hungry. Plan your grocery trips, follow the list based on your meal plans, and do not buy junk food or sugary stuff.
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods: Inflammation is a generator of pain, infections, injuries, and bad moods. Eat a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids to ward off inflammation and stay away from refined carbohydrates like french fries.

Follow Your Passions

The source of many people’s unhappiness often stems from a sense of unfulfillment. People give up on their passions for a variety of reasons. Generally people who pursue their hobbies and passions are happier and more productive. So don’t be afraid to pursue the hobby that keeps you happy and engaged.

Little Acts of Self-Love

A big part of caring for yourself is to spoil yourself when you achieve a goal or are successful in a particular area of your life. Treat yourself to a massage, visit a spa, or update your wardrobe. Small little acts of kindness toward yourself keep you motivated by providing positive reinforcement that keeps you disciplined and focused.
The best version of you is waiting to be be unleashed. Write down your goals and commit to them on paper. As you cross things off your list, you’ll find yourself feeling empowered and confident to take anything on. This year, reach your better self through a little self-care, discipline, and consistency.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Guest blog: Hobbies for Health and Happiness


Hobbies: for Health and Happiness

By Jennifer Scott

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Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

 Being well means more than eating the right foods and working out three times a week. Whole health comes, in part, from simply taking the time to do the things we love. Participating in hobbies offers numerous mental, physical, and social benefits that can’t be accomplished doing the things you’re obligated to. Huff Post contributor Alan Kohll reports that leisure activities can even boost your job performance and keep your heart in tip-top shape.

Hobbies boost labor and school performance

While painting a picture isn’t quite the same as relaxing on the beach for a week, engaging in a hobby has a similar effect on the brain. Taking the time to relax doing something you love helps your body – and mind – reboot. Trying something new has the additional benefit of challenging your brain, which forces you to learn something new. And as with vacationing, taking a mini break by participating in organized fun may boost your performance at work and at school. A 2016 study published in the Public Library of Science found that students regularly involved in after-school hobbies (art, team sports, individual sports) were more than twice as likely to demonstrate above-average academic achievement. Inc. reports the effects are similar in adults. Employees involved in creative pursuits tend to perform up to 30% better in the workplace than their do-nothing-but-rest coworkers.

Hobbies improve mental health

Dr. Mark D. Parisi, a psychologist based out of Chicago, is an advocate of hobbies in the treatment of mental health disorders. Dr. Parisi notes that hobbies provide a host of benefits where it comes to mental health. These include stress reduction, mood improvement, an opportunity to forge new friendships through positive social interactions, and better long- and short-term memory. Hobbies are additionally associated with feeling happy, which can have a profound effect on those suffering from depression.

Best hobbies for overall health

There is really no bad hobby. But, there are a few that offer more positive benefits than others.

  • Dancing combines both physical activity and mental stimulation. People who dance must learn to coordinate their movements to music and/or their partner’s actions.
  • You don’t have to have a culinary degree in order to enjoy time spent in the kitchen. From learning how to make the perfect poached egg to composing a nutritionally-balanced weekly meal plan, cooking and baking are activities that engage the mind while producing tangible results from your efforts.
  • Not only does garden soil contain microbes that have a significant effect on your mood, but growing your own garden can boost your self-esteem by allowing you the opportunity to nurture something from nothing.
  • There is something satisfying about planning a trip and watching your expectations come to life at each destination. Immersion in new cultures will help you shift your perspective and possibly discover something new about yourself.
  • Playing music. While learning a new instrument as an adult may seem like a daunting task, there is evidence to prove that it’s an undertaking worth the effort. Live Science recently reported that something as simple as plucking out a few chords can reduce the signs of depression and anxiety while decreasing heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

Safety first

Regardless of which hobby you choose, don’t get so involved that you put yourself at risk. Your safety and that of those around you should be your number one priority. For instance, if you are cooking, make sure to have a functional fire alarm; when gardening, take care using electric or gas-powered tools. And, as with any new exercise routine, ease into dancing, running, jogging, and other physical activities or you’ll risk muscle strain or more significant injuries. Remember, the point of a hobby is to reduce stress – not add to it by watching hospital bills mount up.

The Psychological State of an Egg


hbfchicken-farmmichael-george-4I am fascinated with the idea behind cage free eggs. Just to explain a little further, it’s not the egg that is supposed to be cage free because obviously it is caged within its own shell, but we’re talking about the chicken that was roaming freely in the farm or whatever amount of space that does not constitute a cage. The importance of this process is for the chicken to be in a healthy state of mind when it lays an egg which in turn will be in a healthy state of mind.

They say you are what you eat, so you want to make sure that the egg you’re about to devour or subject to boiling or frying, perhaps scramble altogether, or maybe mix it with  other ingredients that would change and erase any traces of its existence,  is a healthy egg with no psychological issues.

— Raghid Khalil 

 

Guest Blog: Tips For Building A Healthier, Happier Life After A Major Move


By Jennifer Scott

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Big changes in life can bring on stress and anxiety, even if the changes are for the best. Major life transitions like moving may related to a new job, relocating to be close to family, or ending a stressful or toxic relationship. Even if there are some negative components to the big changes ahead, this can be a great opportunity to embrace new, positive habits and take steps to ensure that your home is a healthy, happy, and stress-free one.

Flexibility and activity can make transitions less stressful

No matter how hard you work at anticipating issues related to a major life transition, hiccups are bound to pop up. Forbes notes that it is important to remain as flexible
as possible heading into big changes and allow yourself some grace when things feel difficult. Planning ahead and anticipating issues can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth transition, but it can become quite stressful if you do not allow for some changes
in plans along the way.

One great way to reduce stress and adjust to big transitions is to make an effort to incorporate regular exercise throughout the process. Colorado State University’s College of Health & Human Services details that exercise is essential in reducing issues related to depression, addiction, and stress. Adjusting to a new home can be taxing, but the need for physical activity can be a great excuse to get out and explore your new area. You’ll make new connections, discover new places nearby, and reap the benefits of exercise all at the same time.

Embrace strategies for clearing your mind to reduce stress

Creating a happy and stress-free home may sound like an impossible task when you are in the midst of major life transitions. However, taking a few minutes a day for yourself where you focus on positive actions can lead to lasting healthy, positive habits. For example, meditation can be a valuable outlet for relieving stress and developing coping mechanisms for leading a happier life.

Reader’s Digest indicates that the majority of people who try meditation see a reduction in their stress levels and many also see improvements in their relationships and overall wellbeing. Getting up a few minutes earlier in the morning to start the day off with some simple meditation techniques can set a peaceful tone for the day and many people find it helpful to create a special spot or nook in their home specifically for this self care time.

Focus on clearing out clutter to create a healthy environment

Apartment Therapy shares some simple suggestions that can pack a significant punch in creating healthy habits to make your home a positive place. Rather than rush around amid chaos before rushing out the door, take a few minutes to put everything in its place, make the bed, and so on. The minimal effort this takes on a regular basis will bring about calm and reduce your stress.

Mother Earth Living reinforces the idea that reducing clutter can help to make a home a stress-free and happy one. If you are facing a big move, as overwhelming as it may be, take the time at your old place to pare down and clear out what you don’t truly need. As you embrace your new home, remember that oftentimes less is more and keeping things open and clutter-free in your new space has a big impact on reducing stress.

There is no doubt that major life transitions like moving can escalate issues related to addiction, stress and depression. At the same time, a change like this provides the perfect opportunity to ditch bad habits and embrace new ones. Look for opportunities to clear out unwanted clutter and issues of anxiety when you move by keeping things clean and making time for self care activities like exercise and meditation. Build up the positives associated with your big change and embrace the fresh start ahead that can set you up for a happier, healthier life.

[Image via Pixabay]

My Transformation (Body, Weight and All)… Let Me Help You


So it has officially been a year since I gave birth to my second son.

I have returned to the gym as soon as my six week postpartum was cleared. Yet, due to personal procrastination and the use of breastfeeding as alibi, I did not couple my workouts with good nutrition. I was a vacuum cleaner bound to have a spotless surrounding and a full belly 🙂

As soon as the end of 2015 came close I took it upon myself to set a healthy eating goal for 2016 and stick to it.

In the meantime life also presented me with an online free coach who added me to a group of women on Facebook who cheer each other on and keep themselves and each other accountable through their journey of weight loss and clean eating.

January 1, 2016 arrived and so I woke up in the morning determined to make my first day of the year a success. I juiced one lemon and had it with warm water.

I continued with my usual workout routine at the gym but this time I coupled it with the 21 day fix eating plan. This meant I ate 5 meals a day, using the containers provided to help me with portion control.

I also removed all diary from my diet as it always upsets me. I added Shakeology smoothies that were oh so delicious… I used to have a daily chocolate shakeology smoothie with half a frozen banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter and lots of ice and water… It was divine … It was the greatest part of my day and was so delicious and filling… I was full ALLL day long. I had so much energy.

Then something happened…

12695028_528203447359265_3430771436899252623_oMy scale started to register fewer pounds. I started to feel lighter. My clothes fit better. Could it be?

Could it be that what people used to say was true… :”Abs are made in the kitchen…” “You need to eat clean and couple your workouts with healthy eating or else you will never see results…”

Now I am a month and a half in my new clean lifestyle. I do not feel deprived. I do have my cheat meals here and there. I always start my day with warm lemon water. I still see the pounds melting. I am already down 13 pounds (6kg).

I am so convinced with the BeachBody programs that I signed up as a coach. I get to help others now. I get to help people cheer each other into getting to their goal… and also make money…

We all know the formula to loosing weight but we never get to do it because we need incentives. We need accountability. We need support. Here I am to support you in your journey to a better you.

Who wants to join?

Please contact me …. Let me help you … Let us do this 🙂

Learn more about the challenges: http://beachbodycoach.com/RASHANK

Facebook: Healthy Living N Loving 

Rasha Nasser Khalil