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: 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.

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]

Guest Blog: How to balance Work and Life? Being A Workaholic


shutterstock_234650602The modern day is a stressful, complicated place. We are wearing so many proverbial “hats” and are constantly pulled in tons of different directions. We want to focus on our career, but we also want to be good parents. We want to take time to experience life, but we also want to make money and prepare ourselves for retirement. All of these things add up to a lot of stress and a lot of seemingly contradictory wants and needs.

One of the hardest things about modern life is learning how to achieve that elusive work-life balance. Being a workaholic may seem like a fairly innocuous trait, but it can sap you and ultimately leave you wishing you had taken more control over your life when you had the chance. What follows are just a few ways that you can work towards obtaining that elusive balance so many of us are looking for.

 

Leave Your Work At Work

This is really hard for people to do. For some, they literally take work home with them. They spend their evenings filling out paperwork or catching up on correspondence. For others, even when they leave the office, they are still thinking about whatever it is that they were working on. What this ultimately means is that  you never stop working. As difficult as it is, you have to be able to leave the “work you” at the office and not bring it home with you.

 

Take Time for You

This is probably the most crucial element of obtaining a work-life balance. You have to be able to cultivate elements of your personality and interest beyond work. You have to find ways to de-stress and to leave work, well, at work. For those of us who have spent our entire adult lives so career focused, changing that aspect of ourselves is not easy, but it is worth it. Too many people regret, at the end of their life, that they did not work harder to cultivate themselves.

Do not just let your vacation time pile up unused, you are given it for a reason. Vacation is the reward you give yourself for being a “good adult” and keeping up with your responsibilities. Hobbies are a great way to keep your mind and body active when you aren’t at work. Nobody wants to be “hollow” or “one-sided,” but this is exactly what a workaholic is.

Whether it is a physical activity, you join a club, you start meditating, you paint, travel, whatever – these activities will not only help reduce your stress, they give your life meaning beyond going to work each and every day. These are things that you can do with your friends and family, or as a means to meet new people, bringing greater intimacy and companionship into your life as well.

 

Delegate

This is something that many of us could do a lot more of. One of the stressful things about modern life is that we have simply added more to our to-do list. Mothers who work are still just that, mothers, which means their job doesn’t end when they leave work at the end of the day. This is why it is important to delegate tasks when you can. Giving the children a list of weekly chores not only instills in them an understanding of work ethic and productive activity, it also means that you do not have to do those things.

Split the chores up between the whole family and suddenly everyone has more time, without sacrificing the cleanliness of the home or at the expense of necessary errands. In the end, delegating is good for the whole family. It teaches children responsibility and allows a little bit of extra time for the parents.

Modern life isn’t going to slow down to wait for any of us to catch up, no matter how much we wish it would. We are tasked with trying to live two, three, or more different lives in one lifetime. We are mothers, fathers, managers, scientists, artists, fixers, etc. This can make the modern day world incredibly stressful for people and often, they get a singular focus and become obsessed or insanely focused on just that one aspect of their lives.

For many people, that is work. Work becomes all-encompassing and it consumes us. It does this at the expense of our families, our friends, our hobbies, and the rest of our personality. Finding a good work-life balance is difficult, but it is certainly not impossible. Simple things like leaving your work at work, delegating chores, making time for hobbies or other non-work activities, can make a huge difference in the quality of your life. You will find that you have more time for experience, for companionship, and you feel all-around less stressed out all the time.

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/women/features/balance-life

http://www.salary.com/14-steps-to-achieving-work-life-balance/


Author Bio

Kelly Everson is an American author and having MA in English literature. After spending time as a writer in some of Health Industries best websites, she now works as an independent researcher and contributor for health news related website like Consumer Health Digest. In her spare time, she does research work regarding Beauty and Women Health, Fitness and lifestyle blogs, which acts as a fuel to her passion of writing. When she is not researching or writing, you can find Kelly staying active, whether it be practicing yoga or taking swimming classes. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Refreshing Mint Lemonade Recipe


In summer days and winter dryness nothing quenches the thirst and replenishes your system but a nice big glass of Mint Lemonade.

Rather than purchasing a sugar loaded lemonade drink I opted to try to recreate a healthier version of it at home. My recipe is very simple and easy to make. It is not only delicious to your taste buds but mint lemonade is full of nutrition as well. Mint aids digestion, reduces halitosis, helps in female sterility and its oil is full of good antiseptics for the face and even the nipples of breastfeeding moms. Its smell alone is a treat for the senses. Lemon juice also aids indigestion, is a useful treatment for kidney stones and helps break fever among many other benefits.

Here is my recipe below. Try it out and Enjoy ☺

Ingredients:

Juice of 2 lemons

10 Liquid Stevia Drops

Ice and Water

Directions:

In a blender, put all the ingredients. Blend, pour into a cup and enjoy. It’s that simple.  

lemonmint

Here is also a longer list of benefits associated with Mint and lemon Juice.

Mint

  • Aids in digestion
  • Remedy for nausea and headache
  • Mint aroma also effective in clearing up congestion and aids respiratory issues and coughs
  • Mint oil aids in decreasing nipple cracks and pain for breastfeeding moms
  • Mint essential oil helps relax the muscles and ease a fatigued body
  • Mint juice is a natural skin cleanser
  • Mint aids in weight loss because it stimulates digestive enzymes to uses up more fat which in turn makes you slimmer
  • Eating a few mint leaves is a natural mouth freshner

Lemon

  • Lemon juice helps in digestion and constipation
  • Lemon juice can treat a cold, flu or fever
  • Lemon juice can rid you of dental pain
  • Lemon juice applied on the head can rid you from dandruff and hair loss
  • Lemon juice is also a natural cleanser
  • Lemon juice applied on old burn scars will reduce their appearance
  • Lemon juice can stop internal bleeding
  • Lemon juice, warm water and honey is a simple recipe for weigh reduction
  • Lemon juice helps flush out bacteria from the body and aids in relieving arthritis and foot aches
  • Lemon juice eases pain of sunburn and bee stings

 

Rasha Nasser Khalil

Resources

Health Benefits of Mint (https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html)

Health Benefits of Lemon (https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-lemon.html)