Guest blog: Small, Budget-Friendly Changes That Can Make a Big Difference in Your Health


— by Jennifer McGregor

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Photo by Pexels

Making your health a priority doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon, eat nothing but vegetables, or make other drastic changes to your lifestyle. In fact, drastic changes — regardless of how healthy — could do the opposite. For example, think about how many times you have jumped on the bandwagon of the latest fad diet. You probably lost some weight rather quickly, but it’s unlikely the weight stayed off. That’s because those diets require you to make immediate, unsustainable changes to the way you eat. In order to make healthy habits that stick, you have to make slow, gradual changes that add into your life as opposed to adding on

Are you among the many people looking to incorporate some healthy habits into your everyday activities? It’s not as hard as you might think! Here are suggestions for small changes that can add up to a big impact — but won’t add up to costs!

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment, instead of worrying about something in the past — that you cannot change — or fixating on the future — that you cannot predict. When you find yourself trapped in the past or the future, find a quiet spot to close your eyes and listen to your breath. When thoughts intrude on your solitude, acknowledge them, but don’t follow them. This will come in handy for those moments when you feel guilty for eating that extra cookie or frustrated when the scale isn’t falling fast enough. If you’re having trouble grasping the art of mindfulness, there are several free smartphone apps that can aid you in the process.

Smile Big 

Good oral hygiene can impact both your physical and mental health in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Visiting the dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings can help prevent diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis. But good oral health also plays a part in preventing illness in other parts of your body, too, like diabetes and heart disease. And, believe it or not, mental health is linked to oral health, too! If you are confident in your smile, you will smile and laugh more often. If you’ve been avoiding the dentist or need to find a new one, look to your dental coverage for direction and couple with an online search to find a dentist in your neighborhood. What’s more, by staying on top of cleaning and checkups, you’ll prevent serious — and costly — dental problems from developing down the road. 

Get on a Mat

Yoga is one of the most beneficial ways to boost mental and physical health. You can go to a class at a studio or at the gym, but you can also practice at home, too. You don’t need fancy clothes or gear — if you can breathe then you are already practicing yoga! Start simple with a 15-minute energizing routine in the morning or deep, relaxing stretches in the evening. Try to work your way up to a full 60-minute practice. Yoga is also a great healthy bonding activity to do with your kids — naturally bendy in mind and body— at home, in a class or at the park. If you’re unsure about poses, there are a lot of quality, free instructional videos online.

Of course, the one piece of equipment you might need to get started is pretty straightforward: a yoga mat. Fortunately, you can affordable yoga mats at a number of retailers, and using promo codes and coupons at stores such as Dicks Sports Goods can help you save money.

Cut Out One Food Vice

Healthy eating should be a journey. Start small and simple — and only make one change at a time. For example, you can stop putting sugar in your coffee or eat a salad before every meal. It helps to log your current food habits before you make changes so you know what you’re dealing with. For instance, you may think you only have one or two sodas a day, but after you log your food for a week you could see that the reality — at least on some days — is very different. Cutting out soda entirely at first may be too challenging, but cutting out soda at dinner could be an effective way to ease yourself into a soda-free life — and it can also help you add a few more dollars into your household budget at the same time! If you want to take on bigger diet changes, think about talking to your doctor about your plans. Since he or she knows your biggest health concerns, you’ll get good insight that you might miss on your own.

Make “Me” Time

Self-care is another angle for improving health and reducing stress. Self-care might seem selfish for someone with a busy schedule — school, work or kids will always have to come first. But carving out 15 to 30 minutes every day for yourself can do wonders for helping you manage stress and prevent burnout. If you’re always putting your own needs on the back burner, you’ll eventually have nothing to give. Self-care doesn’t have to be a big event (though it can be and that’s okay). Wake up 10 minutes earlier and enjoy a cup of coffee in silence. Take a bubble bath with music and a book at the end of the day. Walk in the sunshine and listen to your favorite podcast during your lunch break. Prioritize things that make you happy, so you are better able to spread happiness to others. Here’s the best part: Setting aside a little time for yourself doesn’t require you to spend any money whatsoever if you don’t want to!

Healthy habits don’t have to be major changes in order to be life-changing. You want to make your effort stick so that these changes turn into habits, which simply turn into the way you live. Find joy in making healthy, budget-minded decisions by thinking about the short-term and long-term benefits, both for you and your family.


About the author:

Jennifer McGregor co-created Public Health Library to write about health and wellness topics. She is a pre-med student who aims to make it easier for people to find high-quality health info in one place.

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Easiest Way to Remember the Planets in the Solar System (18+)


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A Father teaching his son about the planets in the solar system.

Father: What other way do I call you?
Son: son?

Father: Correct, now when you show someone your ass, what is the act called?
Son: to Moon

Father: Excellent. Ok still within your ass area, what is another word for your butthole?
Son: your anus?

Father: I’m impressed son 😊, one more question that has to do with your ass, when you get sick and you have to measure your temperature rectally, what do you use?
Son: thermometer?

Father: Right, now tell me what’s in it?
Son: mercury?

Father: Good job, what is on the other side of your ass?
Son: penis?
Father: Good, now substitute the p with a v
Son: venis?

Father: You are on a roll kiddo. What crappy car does your mom drive?
Son: Saturn?

Father: Nice, what is the name of Mickey Mouse’s dog?
Son: Pluto.

Father: So proud of you son, what is your favorite chocolate?
Son: Mars
Father: Good choice, now if you take the caramel out of that Mars Chocolate bar what does it become?
Son: Milky way?
Father: Yup, and that is the name of the galaxy that contains our solar system
Son: galaxy? Isn’t that a chocolate?

Father: Exactly, that’s what makes learning about it so sweet.
now answer this: you Rob Paul to pay who exactly?
Son: Peter.
Father: Good, now stay with me. What is Peter’s religion?
Son: Christian
Father: Right, that means he was not a – – ???
Son: Muslim?
Father: True, but try another one.
Son: Jew?
Father: Now put them together, he was not a – -?
Son: Jew Peter?

Father: You are gifted son, I think you are ready for a job at Nasa.
Son: isn’t there one more planet though?

Father: You are absolutely right, and there is no reasonable explanation to that one, I guess it fell through the cracks, they call it Neptune. Just memorize it.

P.S: I am assuming you all know we live on earth 🙂 

Raghid K. Khalil 

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.

 

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

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 

 

New and Improved


tablets-309742_640I went to the pharmacy the other day to buy the usual brand of medicine for my cold and flu.

As I was checking out the isle, I noticed this medicine, which is what I was looking for, it’s as if it’s pulling all attention towards it. There was a perfect square around it of empty spots, in other words there were no other drugs adjacent to it from all directions; and there it was levitating almost, and there was this big sign pointing at it “New and Improved”.

Wowsers, I was so excited about it. I grabbed the box and took it to the pharmacist to inquire about the new improvements as there was that one line on there that mentioned the only active ingredient, followed by a two by two table for directions based on age: 1 tablet if under 12 and 2 tablets if over the age of 12.

Everything seemed exactly the same as the original one, but when I asked the pharmacist he graciously explained: “oh, the pharmaceutical company added a tiny booklet in the box because they didn’t have enough space to include the additional 30 warnings on the existing label. It is a state of the art with double glossed paper. They wanted to add some gruesome images but instead at the bottom of the booklet they put a link to the warning’s website, where your eyes can feast on all sorts of images. But hey, if you come back next month they will be reissuing the Cadillac of this medicine. It will come with a thumb drive that has a screen saver that will display all the warnings in close to 50 slides. Not only that but you would also be able to register the drug online after you purchase it and they would send you a DVD with complete simulation of all the warnings, walking you through the steps from A-Z. It will feel so realistic that you would cry at the end of each section.”

So there you have it, the new and improved indeed.

 — Raghid Khalil