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The Critical Differences Between Stress And Burnout

The Critical Differences Between Stress And Burnout

People will often use the terms stress and burnout interchangeably. After all, they both describe a similar phenomenon and, on the inside, feel quite similar to each other. 

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But it turns out that there are actually some quite substantial differences between the two. Burnout feels stressful at times, but it’s not the same as stress. In fact, in many cases, burnout is actually a process of “letting go” of the stress that you hold inside. 

 

In this post, we run through some signs of burnout and how they differ from conventional stress. Ultimately, when you feel stressed, you feel agitated to complete all of the tasks that you have to perform during the day. Critically, you feel like you can do everything that people are asking of you. In burnout, you feel like you just can’t get it all done and you basically give up. 

 

Feeling Alienated

 

When you feel stressed, it can help you to better focus on a task and bring it to completion before the deadline. But if you feel burned out, you often feel a sense of alienation from your environment. 

 

Many employees in high-pressure finance jobs wind up feeling this way. They get a sense that they are somehow separate from the organizations they work for and “not good enough.”

 

Irrational beliefs like this are a hallmark of burnout and something to look out for.

 

Feeling Overwhelmed

 

Work should be fun. You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. However, if people place too many demands on you and you don’t have the support that you need, then you can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. You could work every hour under the sun and never complete all the tasks assigned to you. 

 

People experiencing the overwhelming aspect of burnout have increased during the pandemic. Employers have been burdening people with more work than usual and giving them long and complicated to-do lists. Often, it is just too much to be getting on with in the space of a regular working day. 

 

Reduce Sleep

 

If you’re wondering when to consult a psychologist about work-related mental health issues, you’re not alone. Many people worry that they are experiencing simple stress, not burnout, and, therefore, there is no reason to seek professional help. 

 

Lack of sleep is a sure sign that you’re not just experiencing basic stress. If you’re regularly getting by with less than six hours of rest per night, it is a sure sign that work is taking over your unconscious mind and affecting you at a deep level. 

 

Feeling Cynical About Work

 

Most people go to work with a positive attitude. They want to serve their customers and push themselves. However, when you feel under pressure for a long time, you can begin to feel cynical about your colleagues and serving customers. Eventually, you get to the point where you have downright disdain for them. 

 

Cynicism is a sign that you’re starting to burn out. You simply don’t have the mental energy to keep serving people in the way that you have been. 

 

Exhaustion

 

Stress doesn’t cause exhaustion. In fact, it’s the opposite. Short bouts of stress put your body into a hyper-alert state, allowing you to counter the threats in your environment.

 

However, burnout is different. It takes a social, mental, and physical toll on your well-being to the point where you feel like you can’t cope anymore. 

 

For many people, the issue here isn’t the work itself but the lack of physical interaction with others. Working from home sounds like a great idea. But many people dislike it tremendously – almost at a fundamental level. The lack of real-life human connection and constant Zoom calls is draining them of energy. 

 

Too Little Joy In Life

 

Joy should come into your life daily if you are living in the right way. However, a lack of joy is a surefire sign of burnout.

 

During stress, people can usually find reasons to be happy and enjoy their lives. But with burnout, exhaustion increases and joy begins to drain away. When you feel burned out, it can be difficult to extract happiness from anything in your life. And, no matter what happens, you never feel elated. 

 

Anxiety

 

When tension and stress continue for a long-time without stopping, they can lead to anxiety. And when that happens, it can be challenging to enjoy your work at all. 

 

Anxiety and depression are hallmarks of burnout but they are quite different from stress. With stress, you don’t necessarily have a gnawing sense of dread in the pit of your stomach, but with anxiety, you do. 

 

How To Ensure Fitness Routines Will Promote A Healthier Mind

How To Ensure Fitness Routines Will Promote A Healthier Mind

We all appreciate the benefits of regular exercise for our bodies. Staying fit supports your body image, organ health, posture, and more. However, the rewards are not limited to physical wellness and can have a telling influence on your mental health too.

 

Given our increased understanding of mental health, this is a massive incentive to invest in a better fitness strategy. Here are 10 simple steps to ensure that fitness feeds the mind.

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1| Be Geared Towards Results

 

All exercises will release endorphins and dopamine. However, there’s no greater sense of satisfaction than hitting your goals. Working with experts like Conte Health & Fitness to set defined objectives and milestones is key. When workouts are tailored towards them, the momentum gained with each success will work wonders. Aside from boosting your confidence in relation to workouts, it should inspire you in other areas.

 

2| Focus On Fun

 

Exercise can be a great way to reduce your stress levels. Those benefits are greatly increased when you actually enjoy the workouts. They can become the thing you look forward to during a tough day of work. Whether it’s playing team sports or working on the gym actions you enjoy most doesn’t matter. When getting fit no longer feels like a chore you’ll be far more likely to keep up the good work too.

 

3| Add Social Aspects

 

Getting fit is a self-centered and personal task. However, surrounding yourself with the right people can enhance your relationship with exercise. As well as personal trainers, you should look to form new friendships and try working out with friends. Trading a midweek trip to the pub for a workout class, for example, will boost your mindset. Better still, it will make you feel less guilty about the weekend drinking sessions.

 

4| Include Bucket List Items

 

We all have a bucket list of things we’d like to achieve in our lives. Most of us include something fitness-related. Whether it’s running the London Marathon, completing a mini-triathlon, or winning the local netball league doesn’t matter. The aspirations will provide a huge source of motivation and can be the driving force behind your workouts. The emotional rewards of getting it right will stay with you forever.

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5| Use It To Build A Schedule

 

If regular exercise is going to play a truly positive role in all aspects of your life, it needs to be integrated into your schedule. Other commitments cannot be ignored. However, if you leave fitness as an afterthought, you will continue to neglect it and skip sessions. Make sure that your daily and weekly schedules have dedicated times for fitness and you won’t go wrong.

 

6| Focus On Your Comfort

 

While the idea of setting goals is a priority, you should not forget that the purpose of getting fit is to boost your quality of life. Therefore, you should always keep a close eye on personal comfort levels. Exercise can actively help you get a better quality of sleep. When supported by the right recovery tips to fight muscle fatigue, you will feel better in daily life. In turn, your mind will remain in a better place at all times. 

 

7| Make Nutrition Exciting

 

If you are planning to exercise more, it’s likely that nutrition will be on your list of priorities too. It’s important to eat healthily and enjoy balance. However, the great news about the increased activity is that your daily calorie limit will increase too. So, you’ll be able to enjoy a few extra traits. When you use online recipes like BBC Good Food, you can enjoy beautiful meals and tasty treats without any guilt.

 

8| Use Fitness To Help Others

 

Are you conscious of living an eco-friendly life? Or maybe you want to support communities that aren’t as fortunate as yours? You can use fitness to make this happen. One option is to raise money for charity when completing your bike ride or half marathon. Alternatively, cycling to work will reduce your carbon footprint compared to driving. The emotional rewards gained from supporting others are huge.

 

9| Take Time To Reflect On Progress

 

The ambition to keep improving is a wonderful thing. Nonetheless, if you always focus on the fact that you are not quite where you want to be, confidence may fall. So, taking time to reflect on your progress and how far you’ve come can be a pivotal step to gaining a better relationship with fitness. Just be sure to avoid resting on your laurels or thinking that the job is complete. Otherwise, sustainability won’t follow.

 

10| Celebrate With Treats

 

As mentioned, your improved fitness routines should be linked to achieving a better quality of life. With this in mind, it’s vital that you learn to actually let yourself enjoy the improved body and mindset. New clothes that show off your new and improved physique are a good option. Days out, homely products, healthy snacks, and a host of additional items can be used too. They will all highlight the fact that exercise makes your life better. Perfect. 

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How to Make a Statement with Your Glasses

How to Make a Statement with Your Glasses

So, you’ve had your eyes checked over and it turns out that you need glasses. Maybe you’ve had to wear them from childhood, or maybe this is a new thing for you. Either way, the temptation to skip over to contact lenses entirely is a tempting one. But before you give up on glasses entirely, try to look at them in a different light.

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Sometimes a different perspective is best. Rather than seeing glasses as something ugly that you’re forced to wear, see them as an opportunity. Life isn’t a fashion show, but what you wear does give you a chance to express yourself. A pair of glasses can be more than a vision correction device, it can also be an accessory.

So, to get the most out of your glasses, pick the frames with care. Glasses cost money, and they’re going to be front and center on your face. But don’t worry, you can get stylish frames here, and see the massive range of choices on offer, meaning that there will be something that suits your face and your style. Shop for them the same way that you’d shop for a quality pair of shoes or anything else you want to get a lot of use out of. 

One piece of advice to help you pick the right pair of glasses is to pay attention to your face shape and what you want out of your glasses. Different frames have different impacts. For example, rounded frames can soften your face, and dark, chunky frames draw attention to your eyes. So, spend a little time to decide what you’re after.

Another way to transform glasses from an irritating necessity to a statement is a simple, yet effective one. Get more than one pair. Think about it, you don’t just have one pair of shoes that you wear everywhere, but you have different ones which go with different outfits or work better with different events. 

Now, you don’t need to have quite as many pairs of glasses as shoes, but a bit of variety is nice. Some people go with a pair of ordinary glasses and a pair of prescription sunglasses, but many are choosing to add another pair of ordinary glasses to the mix. This second pair works great as a spare set in case something tragic happens to your normal glasses, but you can also wear them depending on your mood for the day.

Also, while you shouldn’t discount glasses entirely, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t also keep some contact lenses on hand. Now, some people struggle to wear contacts, but if you can, you have yet another option. Glasses are obviously far easier to put on and take off, but some people prefer to wear contacts when working out, or during formal events. 

Glasses used to have a bad reputation, yes. But while it wasn’t necessarily the case fifteen or so years ago, glasses are cool now. They’re so cool that some places have started selling non-prescription glasses, so everyone else can get in on the look. So, why not embrace them?

Practical Tips to Boost Your Positivity 

Practical Tips to Boost Your Positivity 

Practical Tips to Boost Your Positivity 

Your perception about life determines your attitude towards yourself and others, making it imperative to practice positivity. Besides, it reduces your depression and distress levels and increases your coping skills for more challenging times. What’s more, it lowers your cardiovascular disease risks and improves your physical well-being. Despite its many benefits, only 14% of Americans have a positive outlook on their lives. However, you can build your optimism with the following tips. 

 

Embrace positive affirmations 

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Positive affirmations help you challenge and overcome negative thoughts and self-sabotage, leading to a more positive mentality. Besides, researchers have revealed that reminding yourself about your best qualities before an important meeting can increase your confidence and calm your nerves. Therefore, you may want to affirm yourself to enhance your positive outlook. Therefore, you may set aside three to five minutes to speak positively about yourself and maintain consistency until you see significant results. You can leverage a mirror and speak to yourself to increase its efficiency. 

 

Practice gratitude

Although you may not have all that you wished for, other things make your life worthwhile. Therefore, it’s prudent to practice gratitude for the beautiful things you have. Not only does it boost your immune system and mental health, but it also enhances your positivity level and healthy relationships. Fortunately, you can create a gratitude journal or map to record the beautiful things you experience daily. You can also admire nature’s beauty and find the good things in everything that happens to you. These steps will boost your happiness levels and improve your outlook on life. 

 

Don’t neglect your physical health

It might be challenging to maintain a positive outlook when your health is compromised, making it necessary to prioritize your health. Moreover, healthy living reduces your risks of developing diseases while improving your mental health and mood. What’s more, it builds your confidence and, ultimately, your optimism about life. Fortunately, you can adopt certain lifestyle practices to enhance your overall well-being. For instance, you can eat a balanced diet while eliminating junk food and other unhealthy meal options. It’s also prudent to get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep and stay hydrated throughout the day. You may also leverage exercises like the butt lift workout or pilates to keep your body in excellent form. 

 

Don’t shy away from criticisms 

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Most people may avoid criticisms to avoid hurtful feelings. What’s worse, some may refuse to try something new due to the opinions of others. However, you may want to handle criticisms healthily to live a positive life. For instance, you shouldn’t reply to the criticism immediately when angry; instead, you should process what you’ve heard while taking deep breaths. It’s also best to address them from an objective perspective to determine their usefulness and let it go if they were made from spite. Sometimes, people lash out when they’re angry, so it’s best not to take everything personally. Moreover, you can build your self-esteem so that people’s words would not bring you down. 

 

Positivity is achievable once you know the proper steps to take. Hopefully, you’ll adopt these tips for a more optimistic outlook on life. 

 

How To Live Happier (And Healthier) This Summer

How To Live Happier (And Healthier) This Summer

There is a reason that summer is the best season. Not only is the weather a little nicer, but the long days and bright skies seem to put a smile on just about everyone’s face. It’s also a time of great change – which means that many of us feel inspired to make changes in our own lives during this period – whether they relate to healthy eating or working out. 

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With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to live happier (and healthier) this summer! 

 

  • Find a way to introduce exercise into your daily routine – whether you tackle a core workout in your living room or an outdoor exercise session with a friend. If you find it hard to get excited about working out – then change up your routine a little. Sign up for a new class or try something completely new – as this is the easiest way to find a fitness activity you’ll love. 

 

  • Do not set aside any health concerns in the hope that they will go away. Instead, start taking better care of your health by attending regular checkups with your doctor. If you don’t have the time in your schedule to make an appointment, consider signing up with an online GP to receive the care and attention you deserve. 

 

  • Understand that everybody is a bikini body – and that no matter what size you are, you look beautiful. Letting go of negative body image and understanding that the pictures we see on social media are not accurate depictions of real-life can significantly boost your confidence. 

 

  • Begin treating mental health issues with the same care and grace you would use to deal with a physical injury such as a broken bone. For example, while you would not continue to walk on a broken leg – you shouldn’t suffer in silence if dealing with mental health struggles. Instead, you should speak out – whether you have a conversation with a trusted friend or family member or reach out to a licensed professional. 

 

  • Start each day off on the right foot with some positive affirmations. For example, you should stand in front of the mirror each morning and recite five positive phrases about yourself – whether you complement your smile or your ability to do your job. In addition, getting into the mindset of being kinder to yourself is a great way to boost your confidence naturally over time. 

 

  • Strive to curate a manageable work-life balance, where you dedicate a fair amount of time to your career progression and your social life. While you may be keen to get that raise at work – understand that some things are more important. 

 

  • Spend more time doing things you love – and don’t be afraid to turn down plans if you don’t feel like going out. Too often feel as though we have to say yes every time we are offered something – and this is not the case. You have the right to decide exactly how to spend your time – and there’s nothing wrong with wanting a little time alone. 
8 Practical Tips On How To Stop Unwanted Hair Loss

8 Practical Tips On How To Stop Unwanted Hair Loss

Hope Zvara Blog 8 Practical Tips On How To Stop Unwanted Hair Loss

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Hair loss affects close to one-third of the world’s population. Many factors trigger hair loss, from hormonal changes to certain medical conditions. Take, for example, baldness, which is very common in men, although some women experience it. It can be a gradual hair loss process but sudden for others, leaving them with patches of baldness on their head. 

Note that hair loss is a natural process. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about a few follicles falling off. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to stop unwanted hair loss.

Consider Using Prescription Medications

There are certain clinically approved medications like finasteride and minoxidil that help with hair loss. Finasteride works by inhibiting dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone from causing follicle shrinkage, leading to hair fall out. 

Also, it promotes improved hair growth and regrowth. You should start seeing some noticeable hair growth results within three to six weeks of using this medicine.

Apart from finasteride, minoxidil increases blood flow and the fast uptake of nutrients to the hair follicles, thus encouraging hair regrowth.

Increase Your Nutrients Intake

It could be that your sudden hair loss associates with nutritional deficiencies. If that is the case, your hair loss treatments could be as simple as eating foods rich in iron, copper, zinc, and protein might work wonders for you. 

Also, vitamin D deficiency could be another reason for your hair loss. In fact, you should consider using multivitamin supplements. However, you need to talk to a physician if you have any other health issues before using supplements.

Many supplements link to hair growth, such as biotin, rich in vitamin H or B7, and Ginseng that contains phytochemicals that promote hair growth. Having a doctor’s prescription on the type of supplement to take helps avoid any allergic reaction.

Better Hair Care

If you’re experiencing hair loss, anti-DHT shampoos are your best option because they help combat it. Hair shampoos with 1-2% ketoconazole ingredient block conversion of testosterone to DHT thus, preventing hair loss. 

Also, it would help if you avoided hairstyles that cause a strain on your hair. Importantly, let your hair air dry to eliminate any irritation to the scalp. Please, don’t use heat stylers that lead to damage or breakage of the hair shaft regularly.

Remember, chemical treatments such as hair color or perms cause damages to your hair and scalp. If you must color your hair, choose products that don’t contain peroxide, ammonia, or para-phenylenediamine (PPD).

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Make Use of Laser Comb

Similar to finasteride treatment, laser combs are currently the only FDA-approved way of stopping hair loss. A study that included a couple of men who had patterns of hair fallout showed increased hair growth after several weeks of applying a laser comb across the scalp at least three times a week.

The study didn’t explain how the laser treatment works, but it recommended that using the lasers at lower power has a healing outcome on hair follicles. 

You can combine the laser comb with a scalp massage. Massaging your scalp daily for four minutes stimulates blood flow to the head hence increasing hair growth.

Avoid Hot Showers

Hot water tends to strip your hair of essential oils meant to protect it from damage due to dryness and inflammation. Hot water might not link directly to hair loss, but scalp inflammation caused by too much heat leads to miniaturization of the hair follicles and hair thinning.

Alternatively, warm or cold water helps close up your cuticles and pores in the scalp, therefore, sealing in the hair moisture to increase hair growth.

Stay Hydrated, Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Naturally, the biggest percentage of your body contains water. That goes without saying that the hair shaft, too, requires water for increased hair growth. Taking a minimum of four glasses of water every day keeps the hair follicles hydrated enough for healthy hair growth.

Sadly, your hair loss might be due to excessive alcohol consumption. Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake gives your hair a chance to grow. Like alcohol intake, smoking reduces blood flow to the scalp, leading to decreased hair growth and an increased risk of baldness.

Go for a Transplant

In case you’ve tried all of the above hair loss prevention and treatments, and nothing seems to work yet, a hair transplant might be your best bet. The specialist acquires hair follicles from a donor then grafts them onto your scalp. The hair follicles donated should come from head regions like the back and sides since those areas are DHT-resistant.

There are other new ways of carrying out hair transplants, like using hair stem cells that accelerate hair growth. What makes this method more appealing is the fact that it allows for repeated transplantations if necessary.

De-stress

Once your hair grows back, you should understand how to keep it looking healthy. Stress is a significant contributor to decreased hair growth. De-stressing yourself plays a part in ensuring increased hair growth. 

You can fight stress through meditative exercises like yoga and meditation, which help with hormonal balance and stress elimination. They’re also a form of self-care, suitable for your general wellbeing.

You can also engage in active activities like physical exercises every day. These exercises can include walking, swimming, or bike riding for 30 minutes a day.

Conclusion

Hair loss is inevitable at a certain point in your life, especially from pattern baldness. Above are several options to choose from if you’re looking to avoid hair loss or regrow your hair. The effectiveness of each method varies from one person to another. Some see positive results with just a few adjustments like switching to a better diet and so on.

Others might need to go an extra mile, like the use of hair treatment medications. However, no matter the option you choose, always ensure that you practice better hair care to avoid future hair loss. 

Additionally, check with a trichologist if you’re planning on trying any hair growth method or supplementation. It’s advisable to visit a dermatologist or trichologist if you have a severe hair fall as well. You might be having a more serious health issue other than hair loss. Don’t ignore any unusual hair loss because you need proper guidance on achieving healthy hair goals.

Mompreneurs It’s Time To Create The Life You Love

Mompreneurs It’s Time To Create The Life You Love

As a mom, I get it – how hard it can be to grow a successful business without sacrificing yourself and your commitments to the people most important to you (including yourself!). The truth is: No one can replace you as a mom. And you have needs too.

  • You need support
  • You need to be effective
  • You need to work smarter not harder
  • Your boundaries need to be solid

Freedom isn’t just about working from home for you.

True freedom is living the life you love. Period.

I remember when I was trying to do it all. I felt alone and at 22 and with a baby on the way and a new business, I felt overwhelmed. I grew up being shown not to let others help you so I constantly felt I had to do it on my own and figure it out on my own. And because I was still struggling trying to step into recovery the idea of being a mom was both exciting and overwhelming and I felt the same way about owning my own business.

I knew I didn’t want to work for someone else, but I had no business coaching, no schooling and just a few people I observed growing up some good with business and money, and others not so much. The idea of a summit was nonexistent, and just a few more tips and strategies could have saved me I am certain on many occasions..

That’s why I was so excited when my friend and colleague Asti Atkinson (a successful serial entrepreneur and mom) told me she was hosting her bi-annual interview series all around this topic! She’s incredibly invested in helping moms be wildly successful in their professional pursuits while still taking time for mindset, self-care, and being completely present for their families.

The Summit is Called: Vibrant and Healthy Mompreneurs:

Keys to Power Up Your Life and Business so You Can Be More Present with Your Family, Release Mom Guilt, and Get Your Energy Back!

I have a complimentary ticket for you to attend. You can register using this link >> www.MyMomMakesMoney.com/hopezvara. Just so you know, you will be able to watch from anywhere!

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I was hand-picked to speak at this virtual event, and my message is something I’ve put time, energy, and heart into! Of course, I hope you’ll attend to support me, and I think this Virtual Summit has something special for you too. AND THERE IS STILL TIME TO SIGN UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is for any woman:

  • Who wants keys to improve her mindset – which lays the foundation for success, fulfillment and happiness
  • Who wants to take better care of her body, increase her energy and focus and experience true vitality
  • Who wants to be successful in business, raising her children, and enjoy a loving relationship.
  • Who may feel overwhelmed with the work/family balancing act that seems to be part of daily life
  • Who wants to link arms with other visionary Mompreneurs who are actively working to create a better reality
  • Who just wants to learn real life strategies that will help her uplevel her business and create a lifestyle she and her family truly love. 

In this summit, more than TWENTY-ONE experienced professional trainers and coaches are coming together to share secrets they use in their own lives and with their clients to help create success in mindset, health & wellness, relationships, and business. Together, we want to help you with the “HOW” behind growing a great business WHILE experiencing happiness and fulfillment in the other areas of your life that are so important. 

I have a complimentary ticket for you to attend. You can register using this link >> www.MyMomMakesMoney.com/hopezvara. Just so you know, you will be able to watch from your home, office, or on the go.

This is a great opportunity for women in my community! This is something I wish I had when I was a young mom and business owner, which is why I am so glad Asti is hosting this and that I get to share it with you!

You can register for the My Mom Makes Money Summit here >> www.MyMomMakesMoney.com/hopezvara.

What You Need For Great Outdoor Workouts

What You Need For Great Outdoor Workouts

The sun is bright and high, and it’s going to make you want to workout outdoors. Whether you find a cozy spot in your garden, nice secluded space in the park, or perhaps in some secret rural area, outdoor workouts are great fun. You’re not short of fresh air, there are no restrictions to your movement, and you may have more exciting things to look at as you raise a sweat. However, during this weather, you should be careful. Outdoor workouts are great if you know what to do during the workout when things get tough.

 

Workout near shade

 

Always workout where there is shade. Our body can only sweat so much. It cannot bring down our body temperature as quickly as it can be raised. Working out in the sun is refreshing, but when your body is working hard and being hit by direct sunlight, it can cause early heat exhaustion. So always workout where there is shade. Heat exhaustion can come on suddenly, and it can cause you to collapse. So if you ever feel faint, you should never be more than 5 steps away from shade, such as from a tree, patio pergola, etc.

 

Sun protection

 

Of course, as you are out in the sun, you need to wear sunscreen. If you have irritable skin, choose products for sensitive skin, such as a calming toner. This toner will gently cool your skin and visibly reduce pore size. Doing this helps your skin to absorb better and retain hydrating products such as sunscreens. If you plan on wearing workout clothes that are a little more revealing, then make sure you get those areas too. Ask someone to apply sunscreen to your back, neck, and shoulders if you can’t reach them.

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Not just water

 

When you sweat, your body loses valuable salts. These salts help to absorb water in your skin, but they also carry electrolytes with them. So it’s a good idea to have a bottle of water with you for hydration and an energy drink for refueling your body with salts and electrolytes. Not many people will want to do this because carrying two bottles is a little annoying. However, a simple workout bag can take the hassle off your hands. 

 

The right clothing

 

You may think it’s fine to take your normal workout clothes to your outdoor workout session. This is not a problem if you have the right clothing, to begin with. Materials that can absorb and evaporate sweat will keep your body cool and prevent your legs and arms from sticking. Synthetics such as nylon, polyester, and acrylic are better than natural materials like cotton and linen for this job. They stretch, absorb, and don’t shrink when you throw them in the wash.

 

If you plan to work out outdoors during this warm weather, remember always to be close to shade, refuel your system with electrolytes, and protect your skin from sun damage. Not to mention, invest in better workout clothes.

 

Getting Back Into a Fitness Regime

Getting Back Into a Fitness Regime

Getting Back Into a Fitness Regime

The coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic has impacted many areas of many of our lives. From having to work from home to homeschooling kids, not being able to see friends and family and not being able to engage with the social activities you usually would. When it comes down to it, we’ve all had to experience changes. One area that is impacting many in a way that’s particularly detrimental to overall health? Gyms, fitness classes, and sports clubs closing. For many months, a lot of us found ourselves only being able to walk, jog, run, or (if you have a bike) cycle in the local area. But as vaccines are being rolled out and life appears to be returning to normal, many gyms, fitness classes, sports clubs, and other fitness facilities are opening back up. So what should you do to ease yourself back into your fitness regime? Here are some tips that should help you along the way!

 

Giving Your Body the Right Fuel

 

When we think of exercise, we tend to automatically think of the actual activity. But before we get to that, it’s important to make sure that you’re fuelling your body properly for whatever exercise you’re planning on carrying out. Generally speaking, this means making sure that you have the right fuel through food, as well as ensuring that you are hydrated. Take a look at your diet and ensure that you’re consuming the right amount of calories for the amount of exercise you’re carrying out. Ensure you’re getting your five a day. Make sure that you’re getting sufficient protein. You may even want to try some cheap pre-workouts to give you a pre-workout energy boost.

 

Deciding What You Want to Do

 

Some of us can’t wait for the gym to reopen. This provides us with a climate-controlled, dry space where we can access all sorts of machines and equipment that will help us along our fitness journey. But it’s important to remember that gyms aren’t your only option. Perhaps the lockdown has given you time to consider some things you’d like to do and try out when they open back up. Some good ideas include:

 

 

The list, of course, goes on. But this should highlight that not all exercise has to be conventional and that there are many options out there for you to take into consideration and even try out yourself!

 

Stick With it

 

After a year and a half of being relatively sedentary, getting back to fitness can feel draining and hard. You may have aches when you first get back to it. But make sure to power on! In the end, your efforts will be more than worth it.

 

Of course, getting back into a regime will be different for everyone, as different things work for different people. But hopefully, some of the above advice should help you on your way and encourage you to reach your recommended one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week!

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Mental Health Awareness Month: Take A Breath

Mental Health Awareness Month: Take A Breath

Take a breath….

Breathing is one of those things we all do, yet we rarely think about it; when a system like the respiratory works without us having to think about it or make it happen, it’s called “involuntary.” The respiratory system has the unique ability to work all on its own without our help, unlike the muscular system, which works voluntarily.

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s a perfect time to tune in and tap into how powerful our breath actually is.

When we breathe, we get this precious gift called life. We can survive 21 days without food, seven days without water but can only go one to three minutes without oxygen. And at the 60-second mark, brain cells are already dying. Yet after 20 years of teaching yoga to others, there is one thing I have come to find, many do not like to breathe. I would often notice few would appreciate the art of breathing practices (pranayama) in yoga. You could see people start to fidget, become distracted, and even get annoyed at the idea that they weren’t “doing anything” during their yoga class. Yet without the ability to breathe, nothing on the yoga mat would even be possible. 

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Breathing is a tool. Those that learn to harness the device and tap into its vast abilities to improve, help and even heal the body get to reap the benefits of increased vitality, health, and happiness. But time and time again, I have observed others choose pills, alcohol, and even violence to manage what we all call stress or our emotions rather than tap into this tool we are all born with and have access to us at any given time. 

Stress can alter just about any system in the body if we allow it to. 

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Stress can:

  • Raise our blood pressure
  • Increase our heart rate
  • Increase our body temperature
  • Leave us in physical pain
  • Can decrease our immune system
  • Give us stomach discomfort
  • Make it difficult to sleep
  • Can affect your libido 
  • Tense your muscles 
  • Cause weight gain 
  • Burden your nervous system
  • Leave shallow breathing

When is the last time you felt the effects of any of the above and thought you should practice deep breathing? 

When my oldest son was small, and he’d get stressed out, the first thing I would have him do is deep breathing. Three deep breaths, I’d say, and we’d do them together. He’s now nearly a teenager, and I have observed him repeatedly defaulting to deep breathing when he is stressed, angry, frustrated, or can’t sleep. He automatically uses this incredible tool we all walk around with every day but rarely tap use voluntarily. 

The average American breathes with less than 18% of their lung capacity. That’s what I like to call clavicle breathing. It’s no wonder we are a stressed-out, upset, unhealthy out of touch society. I say these are the very things I have felt before yoga and learning how to tap into my breathing. And the same things I think when I’m not in my body, using my breathing, and feeling grounded in my skin. 

How do we breathe?

The average person takes about ten breaths per minute; that’s an average of 22,000-24,000 breaths per day. That’s a lot of breathing. And when we breathe, we inhale necessary oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and toxins that our body wants to remove. When we breathe, our lungs expand and take in air, and our diaphragm lowers and expands as well, taking in oxygen to then be distributed out to the millions of cells throughout our body that need that fresh oxygen to live. 

Dr. James Hoyt, a pulmonologist, says, “Our respiratory muscles don’t have the luxury of being out of shape.” Yet how many people can say with certainty that they use them, work them, build them like their bicep regularly? There is a saying, “use it or lose it,” and it fits here with our breathing. 

 A recent study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.

And, also nearly every system in the body is connected to our respiratory system or breathing. 

  • Our metabolism increases when we practice deep breathing.
  • Our autonomic nervous system regulates when we deep breathe.
  • Our digestion can settle and improve when deep breathing.
  • Our muscles relax and get total oxygen, helping them not to cramp.
  • Our lymphatic systems become stimulated, hand and hand, with our immune system, both stimulated when we breathe.
  • Our body is fully oxygenated when we deep breathe.

And one of our deep breathing’s most impressive features is that it stimulates our vegas nerve. 

What is the vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve is the longest of the cranial nerves, extending from the brainstem to the abdomen through multiple organs, including the heart, esophagus, and lungs. It controls the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which contains your relaxation response. Most people never breathe deep enough to stimulate this impressive nerve. We need the vagus nerve to be alive and working because the vagus nerve controls your mood, heart rate, digestion, and immune response. Stimulating your vagus nerve can help to regulate many functions in your body.

Vagus nerve stimulation has been linked to treating epilepsy, improving digestive conditions, reducing inflammation, and managing anxiety disorders. The journal Frontiers in Neuroscience reported in 2018 that the poor function of the vagus nerve could lead to mood and anxiety disorders. But most importantly, when you stimulate the vagus nerve, you can reduce anxiety, stress, and mood disorders. All of this can happen when you learn to breathe more deeply and more often. 

WAKE UP, PEOPLE! BREATHING IS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where does your breathing fall?

Clavicle Breathers: Those that breathe only into the upper chest, throat, and shoulders. These breathers often have lifted shoulders and a tense neck. 

Chest Breathers: Those that breathe into the center of the chest. 

Abdominal Breathers: Those that breathe deep into the belly and feel their lungs and abdomen expand freely. 

We have forgotten our unique ability to help and heal ourselves. When you were a baby, no one had to tell you how to breathe, yet there you were, breathing so deeply that your entire torso was expanding and contracting every breath you took. I have listened and watched my children as infants, and now adolescents get upset and even cry only to default to their breathing to calm them down. It’s in you; you have done it; you have just forgotten how to do it. 

Deep Abdominal Breathing Technique:

  1. Sitting tall or lying down comfortably, place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart/chest. 
  2. Exhale completely through your mouth and hear your breath move out of your body. 
  3. Inhale through your nose and move your breath deeply into your lower hand (belly) and feel it expand. Continue to move your breath up to notice your upper hand (chest) rise. 
  4. Exhale slowly move the air out, feeling your belly collapse and your chest lower (in any order). 
  5. Soften your jaw and relax your body, focus on fully emptying your belly when you exhale and fully expanding when you inhale. 
  6. Work yourself up towards a count of four counts on the inhale and eight on the exhale. 
  7. Repeat this for two to five minutes. 
  8. Anytime your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathing. 
  9. Allow yourself to hear your breath each time you inhale and exhale. 

How to do deep abdominal breathing

Continue this practice daily in the morning to wake up, when you are feeling stressed, waiting in traffic (minus the hands-on your body), or before you go to sleep to help you relax. 

You have tools to help you breathe, relax, fall asleep. The real question is, are you using them? 

Deep Abdominal Breathing Benefits:

 Various deep abdominal breathing forms have been linked to cardiovascular benefits, including increased blood flow and improved blood pressure. Deep breathing is also a helpful tool for relaxation and sleep. Taking deep breaths can also help you manage stress and improve cognitive function like brain fog and lack of focus and concentration.

If every tool you are reaching for is outside of yourself, let me ask you, have you tried the tools you were born with? The tools you were given and are the very tools that make this life possible? The tool I am talking about is your breathing. 

Try This:

For one week, practice deep abdominal breathing at least one time a day. Work to practice it at the same time each day. Set the alarm on your phone or in your calendar and make it a priority. All too often, we say something doesn’t work or help, and we have never really tried it, let alone given it the attention required to see results. 

After seven days, come back and let us know how you did. What changed, what you noticed or found. 

Now take a deep breath and start living! 

Resources:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_focusing_on_the_breath_does_to_your_brain

https://www.uchealth.org/today/understanding-breathing-and-the-importance-of-taking-a-deep-breath/

https://www.healthline.com/health/facts-about-stress#25.-Past-experiences-can-cause-stress-later-in-life

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.n

https://www.consumerreports.org/mental-health/ways-to-manage-stress/ih.gov/29593576/

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