10 Things You Didn’t Know That Can Drastically Improve Your Mental Health

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Mental health is not a given in the hectic world we live in – especially these days, with COVID-19 in the mix. Job uncertainty, lack of human interaction, and pervading fear of the pandemic’s recurrence are only some of the many factors that can chip off chunks of our mental wellbeing. Still, there are quite a few things we can do to keep our psychological equilibrium in check and stay on the safe side of the mental health agenda. So, what are the things we can do to nurture our mind and drastically improve our mental health in times of global upheaval?

1. Focus on the Positives

When times are hard, it can be really difficult to find a silver lining in every single cloud – but it’s far from impossible. Invest active effort and try to take notice of the little things in your immediate environment during the day that you can be grateful for. Focusing on the good things that happen around you every day can help you restore faith in positives and preserve your mental equilibrium in the long run. So, what are the things that you can be grateful for today? Write them down and see just how lucky you actually are.

 

2. Break Some Sweat

Medical studies have shown that physical exercise can boost mood and help keep depression, anxiety and various psychological hitches at bay. Release of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin which occurs during training has an invigorating effect on our overall mental wellbeing. For a neat side-effect, regular exercise is also good for your physique and long-term health. The takeaway? Sign up for the gym today and do yourself a triple favor by a single routine tweak.

3. Pedal through Nature

Did you know that cycling through nature can elevate your mood and help you regain – or retain – mental fortitude? Gliding through trees and across rough terrain on sturdy mountain bikes is a great exercise for both the body and the mind. Spending time in nature allows your brain to de-stress and reboot, while hard pedaling labor and conquest of challenging trails trigger release of happiness hormones in the brain. For added fun, a biking session will also physically remove you from the gloom of your everyday setting.

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4. Omm Your Way to Bliss

Meditation and other New Age techniques have been around for a while, and for a good reason, too. According to some studies, not only does meditation alleviate anxiety and depression, but it also enhances processing of emotions which is essential to long-term mental wellbeing. If you’re a newbie, it may take you a while to get into the nirvana state of mind, but don’t give up. The outstanding effects which meditation has on your overall psychology are definitely worth the extra effort!

5. Open up to a Loved One

Sometimes, talking about everything we keep inside isn’t easy, but a heart-to-heart talk can go a long way in times of trouble and distress. Humans are social beings by nature and even though you may be a loner, you will still need some contact with others now and then – and especially at a time when everything you believed to be safe and stable starts to shake and collapse. A chat with a trustworthy person can ease mental load and restore a smile to your face and make you feel you are not completely alone.

6. Charity Goes a Long Way

In times when you might feel that you’re the most unfortunate of souls out there, remember that there are others who are in a much graver situation. If you can afford it, it might be helpful to muster the strength to do something for them. Charity and volunteer work are beneficial for both the givers and the ones on the receiving end. By volunteering in an animal shelter or soup kitchen or working with the homeless, you will do a lot of good for others and get a mood boost yourself – and maybe you’ll even find your purpose.

7. Adopt a Furry Friend

Loneliness can be a real bugger – all the more so in times when you feel less than. For a heart-warming and mind-soothing plot twist, why not get a pet? A human and a pet are a match made in heaven, especially in the times when either of them is hurting. These days, science is including pets in the mission to cure mental health – and the endeavor appears to be working like a charm. As a bonus, having a pet will also dial up your sense of purpose, so you may just give it a go – for your heart’s and mind’s sake.

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8. Count Your Zzzs

Proper rest is one of the essential elements in the wellbeing puzzle – but it’s also one of the first to go to shambles when the pillars of our world start to shake. Do your mental health a favor and shape up your bedtime routine by ditching screens from your sleeping area and setting up a bedtime schedule. Aim for 6-8 hours of solid sleep per night and try to stay away from heavy, fat- or sugar-laden foods before bedtime as rich dinners have a detrimental effect on sleep quality.

9. Mind Your Plate

Be honest now: are you eating your way to lasting mental wellbeing? Many people feel down and out without knowing exactly why, and they are all too quick to dismiss the significance of their diet for their psychological state. If you want to stay fit as a fiddle both physically and mentally, watching your diet is a must. To secure lasting mental health, drop fast food from the menu and set aside time each day to prepare your own meals. Bonus point: eating healthy, energy-boosting foods is both delicious and it costs less, too.

10. Take a Break

When everything begins to slide into a rut, a short break from the norm may be everything you need to stay on top of your mental shape. A weekend trip will infuse your life with vigor and excitement, and it will also allow you to take your mind off everyday stress and focus on other, more inspiring things in life. To max out on stimulation, you can choose an adrenaline holiday or day trip with thrill-packed activities such as bungee jumping or rafting. Now, that’s an outing you’ll never forget!

Preserving mental health in times when the world seems to be losing it is not always easy, but it is nonetheless crucial. As the old adage goes, the choices we make define our destiny, and it is up to you to call your shots wisely. Use the tips above to shape your daily routine with your long-term psychological wellbeing in mind. Sleep well, eat clean, exercise regularly, consider getting a pet, do some charity work, allow yourself a break from the norm when you feel like it, and your mind will always be in a good place. You’re welcome!

Top 6 Activities  to Prepare Your Body for the Fall Season

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The main problem with the new year’s resolutions is that they are impractical. So, why wait until January to make new fitness goals and take good care of yourself? In Australia, summer and fall are the best seasons for fitness, and if you lack motivation or don’t know where to start, here are some ways to build your own workout routine and get back in shape after lockdown.

Go for a walk

When going to the gym isn’t an option, walking is a great way to get back in shape. Not only will you manage to burn some calories, but you’ll also improve posture, strengthen your muscles, and shore up your joints and bones.

Walking for 30 minutes a day can be very beneficial for your mental health as well. This is a mindful exercise that allows you to enjoy some alone time, relieve stress and even try new things, such as walking to a new ice cream shop on the other side of the city. The best part is that you only need a good pair of running shoes to start today. So whether you want to go for a walk with your friends or go sightseeing when you need some time to unwind, this type of physical activity will definitely improve your mood.

Go on a hiking adventure

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Fall is the best season for hiking in Australia, and if you’ve been thinking about building a new fitness routine, this type of physical activity can help you get back in shape before hitting the gym. Because it is such a unique and rewarding experience, many fitness lovers prefer hiking over any other outdoor activity. Going for a hike helps you burn calories faster, breathe some fresh and cleaner air, and train all major muscle groups at once.

However, it would be best to start your training a few weeks before going on a hike. Try to walk for at least one hour a day to avoid muscle soreness and improve your chances of reaching your hiking goals. In addition, be sure to bring a camera because hiking in the fall is truly an amazing experience.

Hit the road

Cycling is an ideal exercise for busy bees. If you don’t have time for regular exercise and want to help our environment, try cycling to work. Fall is definitely one of the best seasons for hiking, especially because it gives you a chance to see your hometown through different lenses. On top of that, biking increases muscle strength and flexibility, improves joint mobility, and increases cardiovascular fitness. If you’re looking for a workout session that’s gentle on your body and mind, be sure to give biking a try.

Exercise with your friends and family

Many people don’t exercise because they lack motivation. If you’re one of those people, ask your friends and family to join you and organise soccer or volleyball matches that will help you get back in shape. Exercising in groups while having the best time of your life can help you nurture your relationship with exercise and take better care of your body and mind. In addition, playing a sport is a great way to burn calories and improve your strength and flexibility without feeling obligated to run the extra mile or stick to your exercise routine.

Get back to the gym

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When it’s raining outside, and the weather is too cold for exercise, consider getting back to the gym. A well-equipped gym in Sydney CBD will provide everything you need to get back in shape in no time. One of the main reasons why going to the gym can be very beneficial is that you always have support from trained instructors and other gym buddies. In addition, exercising in your favourite gym allows you to stay focused on certain muscle groups and develop a fitness routine that suits you the best.

Go for a run

Running on a treadmill isn’t as exciting as running outside and feeling the fresh breeze on your face. A 30-minute running session will help you burn around 500 calories, build and improve your stamina and motivate you to overcome your challenges. This type of outdoor exercise will strengthen your whole musculoskeletal system and help you maintain a healthy weight. So, lace up your sneakers, create a new playlist for running around the block, and you’ll notice improvements after the first session.

Conclusion

We understand that it’s often difficult to put yourself out there and get back in shape after feeling drowsy all summer. But, regular physical activity is important for your mental and physical health, which is why it’s recommended to give these ideas a try. Whether you want to go to the gym, try cycling or start a game of soccer, be sure to stay hydrated and change your diet because that’s one of the best ways to stay healthy during the fall season.

Written by Liam Smith Twitter

Yoga At Home: 7 Ways To Make A Calming Space

If you have spent years doing yoga, we are sure you would want a studio of your own. Perhaps, a quiet room that is spacious where you can meditate in peace.

This is also where you take in the smell of scented candles and enjoy the tranquility.

Here’s the thing: When you combine meditation with yoga, you can have a clear and healthy mind.

But you do not have to drive to a yoga studio to experience it. More so if you have a calming space at home.

If you want to achieve the same, we have listed down seven space design tips to help you make a calming space at home.

Paint with the right color

When it comes to colors, you must choose the right color hue to foster a calm atmosphere.

For instance, blue is deemed a calming color, but only if exposed to a lot of natural light. However, this color can come off as cold and even uninviting if it’s under artificial light.

So, if you lack natural light in your space, you might opt for a green theme instead. Green is usually associated with growth, renewal, and prosperity.

Similarly, muted tones and warm whites are also excellent choices since they’re not demanding a lot of attention.

Find the right space

Decide where you want to do your yoga routine at home. You need to choose your space carefully.

You can write down the ideas you want for your space, paying attention to the minor details. This allows for any distractions during your yoga practice.

If you plan to do your practice indoors, choose a spot where there is at least one window lighting in it. Pick a space that isn’t too dark or busy. As much as you can, make your room bright and breathable.

Have the right equipment

To help create a relaxing yoga space in your home, you need to start with the basics. Make sure that you have proper equipment before starting your practice.

Fortunately, a great thing about yoga is that you won’t be needing that much. What you need is a quiet spot, minimum equipment, as well as the right frame of mind.

Here are some things you will when doing yoga:

  • A high-quality yoga mat
  • Strap
  • Set of blocks
  • Meditation pillow
  • Bolster
  • Yoga towel

Keep it clean and organized

It’s tough to focus on your practice if you’re in a relatively cluttered and messy environment. You may only have an empty corner in your small bedroom to do your practice, but make sure that it’s both clutter and distraction-free.

By keeping everything clean and organized, you’ll have enough space to do your practice comfortably.

Decorate your space

Determine whether it is the place where you want to spend some quiet time. Make it space that will inspire you to be on your mat, not just endlessly scrolling through your feeds online.

You can place several things to make your space more calming and inviting- plants, crystals, incense, or attractive tapestry. You can also opt for a minimalist theme.

Set the mood with lighting

Lighting plays a significant effect on one’s mood. Also, pay attention to the lighting. Opt for natural light as this helps in releasing serotonin and vitamin D production in your body.

Ideally, choose a space where there are many windows, and if you can do your yoga practice during mornings when a room is illuminated by natural light.

Meanwhile, if you practice during the evenings, you should go for some artificial lighting. An excellent example would be the light glow of candles or a lamp that emits soft lighting that will set your practice mood.

Use mood-enhancing scents

There’s a strong correlation between emotions and smell. So, try to introduce aromas that evoke positive feelings and relaxation.

Pick whatever makes you feel good. It can be aromatherapy candles, burning incense, or making your fresheners from herbs, flowers, and spices.

Try to stay away from smells that allow you to feel negative emotions like pungent chemicals, musty laundry, or stinking garbage.

Doing the seven design tips listed above can help find a space where you can achieve peace and harmony. As a result, you will feel stronger, healthier, and more balanced.

About the Author:

Jacky Xu is the Chief Operating Officer at Maid Sailors Cleaning Service Chicago. Maid Sailors takes pride in providing unparalleled cleaning services at affordable prices and will help transform your house into a home.

Simple & Effective Ways You Can Get Involved & Benefit Your Community

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It feels good to be a part of a close-knit community. When you can wave at your neighbors, you know the name of the man at the grocery store, or you see the same person and dog walking on your block every morning, being a part of something like that is comforting.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way communities function over the last year. With guidelines about social distancing and staying at home, many communities have struggled to stay afloat, and there are things that need continued attention and support.

Now that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the virus, you might want to consider stepping out into your community and looking for different ways to get involved. Not only are there mental health benefits to volunteering, but you’ll benefit your community at the same time.

So, what can you do to get involved?

Find Volunteer Opportunities

One of the easiest ways to get involved in your community is to volunteer. There are countless organizations across the country that are always looking for helpers. Even if you only want to do something on a short-term basis, consider looking for local events that might need people to help out with setting up.

If you want to do something that requires more of a commitment, reach out to local organizations. For example, your area pet shelter might need someone to walk dogs or clean cages. A nursing home in your community might benefit from someone who can come read to seniors or spend time with them. You might have to do a little digging, but there are always opportunities to help.

On the other hand, if you can’t seem to find any ways to get involved, create some! Consider hosting a food drive or clothing drive in your community. Or, put together a fundraiser for a local church, kids’ sports team, or any other organization or group that is struggling to get funding. Your idea could cause a chain reaction, getting others to give back or do more for the community, too! Or, your event might become an annual way to bring the community together for a good cause. 

Use Your Skills to Find a Fulfilling Career

Giving back doesn’t just mean volunteering or donating. If you have work skills that you think could be used for the greater good, do your research! There may be some nonprofit organizations in your area that would greatly benefit from what you have to offer.

Some of the important soft skills required to work with a nonprofit include:

  • The ability to collaborate with different groups of people
  • Self-motivation
  • A passion for mission-style work
  • Creativity

If you already have hard skills in a certain profession, many of them can be easily transferable to a nonprofit. That includes skills in marketing, sales, and even accounting. Nonprofit groups are always looking for people who can work with a strict budget, communicate effectively, and pay close attention to detail.

While some national nonprofit agencies can offer handsome salaries, those on the local level may not get you a six-figure income. But, weighing out other rewards and the way you’ll feel knowing you’re doing something good can outweigh any kind of pay cut. So, if you’ve got the skills and you’re willing to step up to the plate, look for organizations that are making a difference and consider where you might fit in.

Think About Those Who Need Your Help

Needless to say, there are countless ways to volunteer your time and skills in your own backyard. But, that can be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never gotten involved before. If you’re not sure where to start, think about your passions. What means the most to you, and who could use the most help in your community? Some groups that are always looking for help include:

  • Pets
  • Seniors
  • Homeless individuals
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Orphaned children

If you want to dig a little deeper, consider trying something like working with your local juvenile justice center to mentor kids who have been in trouble with the law, especially when considering the current problems within this system. Some opportunities to give back can be heavier than others. But, if you feel one pulling at you, don’t ignore it.

It can be a good idea to get your whole family involved in your community engagement. It’s a fantastic way to teach your children how to give back and how to care for others. Those are skills they can carry with them throughout their lives to create a kinder, more compassionate future. 

Giving back to your community in any way you can is important. If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s the impact of togetherness and socializing. So, decide what’s important to you, and don’t be afraid to jump into community involvement right away. You’ll be glad you did.

Covid-19 Is Inspiring People To Reinvent Themselves: Here’s How to Start

Covid-19 Is Inspiring People To Reinvent Themselves: Here’s How to Start

There’s nothing quite like spending a year in physical and social isolation to foster introspective thoughts. On top of that, the dramatic shift to remote work, virtual school, and long-distance relationships has challenged the way that most people go about their daily lives.

With so much change in the air and deep internal processing taking place everywhere, it should come as no surprise that many people are using the ongoing situation as a source of inspiration to reinvent themselves. If you find yourself amongst the ranks of those itching for a new beginning, here are a few suggestions for ways to get the journey started.

Slow Down …On Purpose

It’s difficult to slow down on your own. There are even fewer times when life actually slows down for you. Rather than kicking and screaming against the inevitable, use the pandemic as a chance to accept where you currently are: at a standstill.

Being in the moment is extremely hard, but it can yield some powerful benefits. For instance, it gives you a chance to focus on what’s going on around you. It also helps you disconnect from obsessing over future anxieties and ambitions.

Being in the moment can feel uncomfortable and even a little scary. However, getting out of your comfort zone in this manner is a great way to gain some perspective and begin the process of reorienting yourself for the future.

Re-evaluate Your Goals and Priorities

Once you’ve slowed down and focused on the present, you can begin the process of unpacking who you are, what you need, and how you can go into the future with a positive and productive mindset.

This starts with re-evaluating the current state of your goals and priorities. Ask yourself basic questions, such as:

  • Have you lost sight of larger long-term goals? It’s easy to let long-term goals slip in the day-to-day bustle. Did you ever start saving for a downpayment on a dream house? Do you need to go back to school to get an MBA degree so you can finally start your own business?
  • Do you need to spend more time with your family? It’s easy to get distracted by work. Do you need to schedule family time or establish some new family-focused hobbies to do together?
  • What do you want to get out of life? Sometimes who you want to be and what you actually do look very different. Have your desires and your activities drifted apart lately?
  • Do you need a new infusion into your personal style? Sometimes something as simple as a style change is all you need to get a fresh start. Do you need a wardrobe refresher or even a new pair of glasses?

Ask yourself the tough questions. Challenge the status quo. Resist the urge to take the easy way out. This is how you can begin to peel back the layers and remember what it is that drives you underneath the surface.

Consider Your Responsibilities

While desires and goals are a good start, it’s also important to consider your current responsibilities. This doesn’t mean you have to feel trapped by them, though. Instead, review any and every personal duty that you currently have and prioritize them.

For instance, taking care of your children’s safety and basic needs is a high priority. So is making an income. However, working in a specific field or industry may not be as important. Perhaps a shift in your career is in order.

The pandemic offers a perfect time to sort through and prioritize your responsibilities. It also offers the perfect opportunity to weed out minor duties and commitments, even if it’s something as simple as changing up your social hobbies during a time when events are canceled and you won’t feel peer pressure for doing so.

Assess Your Skills

Skills are another area that should be considered as you go about looking for a fresh start.

For example, if you’ve lost your job or found yourself working remotely when you didn’t want to, it’s a perfect opportunity to review your skills and consider if you’re working in a profession that utilizes your strengths.

Even if it isn’t career-related, there are many other ways that you can re-evaluate your approach to life. For example, spending time at home may have pushed you to tackle some home improvement projects that may be better left to professionals. If that garage door still isn’t working or the molding that you installed is out of whack, take that as a sign that you should focus on other areas in your life where utilizing your skills lead to better results.

Share with Others

Finally, remember to seek out others as you go about planning how to reinvent yourself. The lack of social interactions can make this difficult, but try to do so via video chat, phone, or text if you can.

Seeking guidance and wisdom from those who are older and more experienced than you is always smart. Running your plans by a peer that you respect is also a good way to process and get feedback.

Reinventing Yourself for the Future

There has never been a better time to plan for the future and reinvent yourself. So take advantage of the situation. Consider who you are and where you are right now. Then look for ways that you can tailor your current lifestyle to help it better line up with whoever it is that you truly want to be.