Top 3 Benefits of Yoga Exercise for Women

Even though Yoga can be done by both men and women, it is still an exercise mostly done by women. A whopping 83% of yoga participants are female according to a prominent Yoga journal. Men just don’t get involved in Yoga for a number of reasons. Most women do Yoga for a number of reasons. It is the type of exercise that not only helps your physical health but your mental health as well. When both mind and body receive the proper attention and exercise, life is more stimulating. And oftentimes, physical exercise affects your mental state and vice versa.

One of the best forms of exercises that help both physical and mental stamina is Yoga. It has gained enormous popularity in recent decades. If you practice yoga on a daily basis, there are 3 great benefits associated with it. Yoga can possibly prevent certain diseases. You can engage in yoga at home, at a fitness center, or with a fitness trainer. And you can get a good strength conditioning, muscle toning, and aerobic workout in about 20-30 minutes. That’s a complete workout without using multiple equipment or doing different types of exercise. Also, Yoga is a safe workout for pregnant women who want to keep in shape throughout their pregnancy.

Physical Health

Women are becoming more prone to certain diseases such as diabetes, digestive disorders, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, headaches, insomnia, and obesity, Yoga is a natural way to prevent and cure these ailments as opposed to taking medication all your life. Not to mention, the money you will save. Yoga involves a great deal of back exercises to strengthen the back. It helps strengthens and flexes the spine. Yoga improves your blood circulation, strengthens your immune system, and maintains blood pressure and cholesterol.

Yoga Increases Stamina and Flexibility

Stretching is great and very important for women at different stages in their life. Whether you’re pregnant, in menopause, or an older woman, stretching is good for your muscles, joints and breathing. And stretching the wrong way, not enough, or even too much can cause injuries. Yoga allows women to stretch the proper way. Although it may be difficult to do at first, just keep on doing it and eventually you will notice your body becoming more flexible.

This allows your body to stretch and become more flexible, which in turn, helps your stamina, balance, coordination, and an increased ability to engage in other types of physical exercise. It strengthens your bones and muscles while stretching them at the same time, and this can be done without lifting weights. An increase in stamina and flexibility can prevent sustaining future injuries. For pregnant women, it can help strengthen your pelvic bone and make the childbirth process go smoother.

Mental Health

Mental issues such as stress and depression have increased among women, but yoga can help calm your nerves, lower your stress levels, and reduce your chances of depression. It improves your concentration and reduces stress. If you can’t sleep or suffer from insomnia, stressed over certain things, or even suffer from bouts of depression, yoga can help cure these conditions. First, exercise will get your mind off of your worries and problems. Yoga will help release tension and headaches by improving circulation throughout the brain and body. And Yoga provides mental clarity.

Even though yoga doesn’t look like you’re doing much – some would say it’s just a lot of stretching – but the fact is that it is a form of great physical exercise. It is just as effective as aerobics, muscle strengthening or weight lifting for the body. There are a number of pieces of equipment that can be used along with yoga to make it more effective too. Pilates is similar to Yoga and can be used along with different Yoga moves to enhance your workout, increase your stamina, coordination, and overall health.

Women live very busy lives these days working, raising children, and taking care of themselves, yoga is not only a good strengthening workout it also boosts energy levels and stimulates the mind. Although it may be difficult at first, especially if you aren’t use to stretching or are not very flexible, eventually you’ll get more comfortable with the movements and be able to incorporate yoga in your daily lifestyle.

 

 

5 Ways To Really Lose Weight For Bathing Suit Season

Spring is coming fast, which means bathing suit season is quick on its heels! Before getting started on setting your goal weight and starting that ‘great’ new diet, read these realistic ways to shed the pounds and keep them off for good. Healthy weight loss will make every bathing suit season fantastic!

0 to 60! Then, back to 0.

One of the biggest mistakes we make when deciding to drop the pounds is to go full throttle ‘health-nut’ overnight in an effort to embrace our new healthy lifestyle. Although it seems like the best plan to stop eating sweets, exercise 5 days a week, stop smoking, and start shoving nutritious foods down your throat the very second ‘being healthy’ starts—it is not. In fact, going full throttle overnight can send you crashing from the overwhelming changes being made across everything. Drastic changes are not good for your body or mind, no matter how healthy the intention. Additionally, it’s just too hard to feel deprived of everything you like all at one time. So, as you think about setting your goal weight, be realistic about the ways you will get there and the time it will take. Start with small and moderate changes you can stick with and enjoy having as part of your individual lifestyle.

Losing the Wrong WAY

Okay, so while the scale seems to dominate our focus when ‘dieting’ or ‘getting healthy,’ the number lost is not reflective of the true weight loss you NEED to lose. Losing one pound a week is practical and healthy for the average person. When unhealthy dieting practices are taken on, the body doesn’t get all of the protein necessary to perform critical functions in the body and loses the ability to build and repair tissues. This results in the loss of precious muscle mass. In other words, eat the protein you need so your body doesn’t start eating itself to survive.

The Rollercoaster Effect

Even though we’ve all been told a million times rollercoaster dieting is bad for our weight loss goals, it’s rare the real reason behind the warning is discussed. Adaptive thermogenesis. Okay, so maybe it’s just easier to say rollercoaster dieting is bad. At any point, adaptive thermogenesis is the process causing what we cringingly have named the weight ‘plateau.’ When the human body constantly goes from one drastic measure to another (such as weight loss programs, fad diets, detox crazes) it eventually quits trying to respond. This triggers an autoregulation of the metabolism, which can have negative impacts for people suffering with multiple conditions and diseases.

When Dieting Makes You Want To Puke

First and foremost, if you are eating healthy foods during the day, there is no reason to go crazy with your weight loss efforts. Actually, there is little need for extreme calorie reduction. If you are on such a diet, it should only be under the guidance of a physician. If the approach you take to weight loss has your head spinning, you are doing it wrong. If the you way you are eating and ‘getting healthy’ makes you ill—dizzy, nauseous, tired, exhausted, headaches— then it’s unhealthy and will not actually result in long lasting weight loss.

Eat More to Lose More

The more fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean meats you are able to get into your belly throughout the day, the better! It will lead to bountiful positive consequences, including natural weight loss and feeling better mentally and physically. Hormones, blood sugar, metabolism, and numerous other body functions are improved with the nutrients found in real food. The habit of snacking on processed foods will minimize as your body becomes accustomed to properly functioning. The best part is you don’t feel deprived as you can still have your ‘favorite bad’ snacks—you just won’t want them as much because you are full and no longer craving the artificial sugars and carbs.

Weight Loss Wrap-Up

In conclusion, it’s important to remember as you prepare for bathing suit season that weight loss is never easy, not if it is healthy weight loss. Healthy, progressive weight loss is a much better method of achieving weight loss goals. Learning to love the way you eat every day is what will lead to long-lasting weight loss and an enjoyable lifestyle you can maintain. For those already physically active, weight loss may happen slower than desired. Don’t get discouraged! With a healthy and consistent daily routine of good foods and joyful activities, you will achieve sustainable results and look even more phenomenal than you do now!

 

5 Everyday Medications that are Harmful to a Fetus

There may be times when you are pregnant and are suffering from a cold or some type of illness. Although your main goal at the time may be to get healthy and over the sickness, the most important thing you have to remember is your baby’s health. Extreme caution has to be taken when women are pregnant. You just can’t take any kind of medicine without first consulting your doctor to see how it may affect your unborn child. The baby’s health is a priority even if you feel miserable.

The good news is that there are many different types of medicine women can take without harming their unborn. There are also natural supplements you can take as well without causing a negative reaction in your body and possibly doing serious harm to your baby. Many women when they become pregnant, especially if it’s their first pregnancy, may not be aware of the harms of certain medication, even regular over-the-counter (OTC) medication, may have on their unborn babies.

As most of us know most OTC medications have some kind of side effect, especially if your body is not used to it or some ingredient in the medicine causes your body to have an adverse reaction to it. The fact is that pregnant women start out with a chance of having a baby with a birth defect. So there will be certain medications that will be safe to take during your pregnancy without causing effects on your baby, while others will not be safe at all due to its harmful effects on your child.

Here are a few medications that are harmful to an unborn baby.

Aspirin

Although this is one of the most common OTC medications on the market, and is safe for most adults, it is absolutely dangerous for your unborn baby. It can cause severe blood flow in your baby, particularly during the last trimester of your pregnancy. Aspirin relaxes blood vessels so the blood will circulate easily. In other words, it thin the blood. This is not good for unborn babies. The use of aspirin can also result in you or your baby bleeding profusely during childbirth. Avoid Bayer or Excedrin. Tylenol is usually okay for pregnant women to take.

Antianxiety drug

Anxiety can definitely be a part of any woman’s pregnancy. Being apprehensive about your pregnancy and the future is a common theme for many women, however, stay away from the anxiety drugs like Diazepam. This drug can cause addiction-related symptoms in your baby, including depression, irritability, shaking, and exaggerated reflexes or movements. To help calm your nerves, try practicing breathing methods, take a stroll in the park, listen to some soothing music or talk to someone in your support system.

Kaopectate; Pepto Bismol

Upset stomach, heartburn, constipation, all of these things happen to most pregnant women at some point during their pregnancy. Never take Pepto Bismol or any product like it to soothe your stomach while pregnant. It contains an ingredient called Bismuth subsalicylate that causes a decrease in your baby’s blood flow, especially during the last trimester. This can cause cognitive impairments, defects and even death to the baby while in the womb. A possible alternative is Imodium but consult your physician.

Dimetapp Cold

If you’re pregnant during the winter months, your likelihood of catching a cold will increase. Although summer colds can not be ruled out. Pregnant women are more susceptible to colds and flus. It’s very important to avoid large crowds or people that are sick during your pregnancy. That may sound difficult but at least you won’t get sick. The reason being is that some cold medicines are off limits for pregnant women. The drug or ingredient in cold medicine you need to avoid is Bromphen-iramine. It can cause deformities and congenital abnormalities in the newborn. Two possible alternatives are Claritin and Zyrtec. But you should contact your doctor before taking any cold or allergy medicine. Many cold and allergy medicines will have small dosages of the same or similar drugs based on their strength.  If you are taking the alternatives, take them in very light doses and avoid the extra-strength products.

Caffeine

If you are a coffee drinker, this may be a rude awakening if you become pregnant. You will have to avoid your caffeine fix during your pregnancy. Caffeine can affect the growth of your baby in the womb. It can cause a stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight and miscarriage, and stimulate or increase the baby’s heart rate.  It also can decrease the blood flow to the placenta and the ability to absorb iron. Be careful with other foods and drinks such as tea, herbals, certain chocolate, and other OTC drugs like Anacin and Excedrin. hard to just take a small amount.Recommendations are to not exceed more than 200 milligrams and there are no alternatives.

 

The Healthy Ways To Make The Most Out Of Your Mornings

The early bird catches the worm but when you’re a night owl and all you want to do is sleep in the morning, what hope is there left for you? Switching up your routine might take a bit of getting used to but once you do, you can enjoy all sorts of spoils that you never even knew existed. These healthy habits will help to effectively boost your productivity, feelings of wellness and energy, all before you’ve even left the house. While it might be the dead of winter, you can still go about making a better change in your everyday routine, feeling all the better for it in the long run!

Drink A Glass Of Water

Fed up of that groggy feeling in the morning? You can change that with a glass of water. When you wake up, your body can veer into dehydration, making it harder for you to focus, feel alert and get going with your day. Drinking water has huge benefits to your overall health, helping to get your metabolism going into gear and hydrating every part of your body after a long night’s sleep. Try to drink a big glass of water down right after waking up every morning. You can even set a bottle by your bed so you know that you won’t forget.

Eat A Healthy Breakfast

There’s a good reason why we’re told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even if you think you don’t have the time to dedicate to a proper breakfast, there are still ways in which you can get something healthy into your body on the fly. Eating the right kinds of foods first thing in the morning has been found to improve your memory, lower your body mass index and boost your calcium and fiber intake throughout the day. Better yet, feeling full in the morning will make it easier to overlook any unhealthy snacks that might be making the rounds in the office. Try whipping yourself up a breakfast bowl or overnight granola the evening before. All you need to do is get out your bowl and eat up.

Put Down Your Phone

If the first thing that you do in the morning is pick up your phone and browse aimlessly through your social media feeds, this one is for you. Giving yourself time to be present in the moment can help to cut down on feelings of stress, setting you up in the right mindframe for the day ahead. Unless you have something really pressing in the office, don’t check your emails until you get to work. You will make the most out of your morning and feel all the better for it.

Create A Little Time For Yourself

The step that you’re most likely to overlook in the morning, this is the one that’s going to make the biggest difference to your everyday routine. Setting aside 15 to 30 minutes for yourself every morning is a healthy way to indulge in something you like to do, destress or take the time to prepare for the day. While it might be tempting to use this time at another point in the day, making it your top priority in the morning means that you’re much less likely to overlook the step. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier and just relaxing into the morning. You don’t know how much better you will feel for it.

Establish A Skincare Routine

Taking care of your skin should be a health priority, particularly in the colder months. In order to give your complexion that everyday glow, it’s worth taking the time out to establish a skincare routine that is going to hydrate and nourish your skin. Your routine doesn’t have to take up a great deal of time but by creating a 4 or 5 step system, you can go into the day feeling and looking your best.

Move Your Body

While exercise might be the last thing on your mind in the morning, moving your body sufficiently can work wonders on your energy levels. Morning workouts are known to reduce your stress levels, up your endorphins and give your metabolism a push in the right direction. Depending on what you like to do to stay fit, you can either opt for a high intensity workout or ease into the day with a little yoga. Get your body moving and see how great you feel for the rest of the day.

Taking Action: Protect Yourself From Multiple Sclerosis

Our health is the most precious thing that we have in our lives and taking good care of it should come as a top priority. As we get older, our susceptibility to diseases and life altering illnesses increases and as it does so, the way that we take care of our health should adapt and change, too. Multiple sclerosis might not be something with which you’re familiar but incredibly, it can affect millions of people all over the globe every year. While the causes of the disease are generally unknown, many researchers believe that it could take hold of an individual who has genetic susceptibility to the illness, or is exposed to an environmental factor. The key is, however, to watch out for symptoms and take preventative care before signs start to run away with themselves.

What exactly is MS, though? A disease that takes root in the brain, multiple sclerosis causes the insulating cover of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to become damaged over a period of time. As the coating breaks down, the body and brain become less adept at handling the nervous system and as the disease develops, signals from one part of the body to another can become disrupted. Typically, sufferers can experience muscle weakness, impaired coordination, sensory numbness and in some extreme cases, blindness. Causing the body to degenerate over time, the disease is one that can grip a sufferer’s way of living, gradually making performing even everyday tasks a real challenge. What’s more, women have double the chance of developing multiple sclerosis at some point in their lives than men, with the number tripling in some areas in America.

Slowing the onset of MS if you’ve already developed it is something that you can do while you’re still in good health. Although researchers have not yet pinned down specific causes, it is believed that those who get a lower intake of vitamin D could be more at risk as those who are well exposed to sunlight. Similarly, the intake of certain microbes can increase your chances of developing multiple sclerosis in later life although in many cases, the catalysts of change have been contended over.

With so much conflicting information being circulated about the disease, knowing how to take adequate action against symptoms might seem like something of a struggle. In many cases, the disease cannot be properly treated until signs have already taken root and at this point in time, there is simply not enough information on the disease to enable the signs to be eradicated entirely if you’re suffering from MS.

As far as treatments go, however, it’s a much different story and now, you can effectively reduce symptoms of MS for longer periods of time in more lasting methods. Many medical projects have taken the disease as their starting point, offering a number of effective and life changing clinical trials to help improve the lifestyles of MS sufferers. Clinical trials like those of Gilenya offer support for people already suffering from recurring multiple sclerosis, working to reduce symptoms. Decreasing the number of flare ups, treating relapses and cutting down on the severity of signs, Gilenya  offers those afflicted with MS the chance to live more normal lives, going about the same kinds of activities as they did before.

There’s more to treatment projects like Gilenya, however, and by joining their trial sessions, you can effectively connect with others who might be going through the same thing as you. Reaching a wider community, you can enhance your own well being and positivity by understanding more about the condition that afflicts so many people around the world.

At this point in time, multiple sclerosis is something with which sufferers have to live but despite that fact, there are still a number of effective and lasting cures on the medical market. Doing the best thing for your body should take first priority; by staying in better health, you will be able to follow the same kind of lifestyle as you always have done. Prolonging your well being can help you to enjoy a brighter, fuller future and by keeping an eye on symptoms and signs, you can slow down MS in its early stages. Your health is your most precious attribute; it’s time to start putting it in priority position.

How To Eat Healthily On A Budget

For many of us, staying healthy and spending a lot of money go hand in hand. Thanks to the rise of conscientious eating trends and plant based diets, we are coming under increasing pressure to take care of the things we put into our bodies, despite the effect they might have on our wallets. And while eating right is one of the most important things we can do, it doesn’t have to come at a great cost. Although faddy diets and superfoods can take a chunk out of our pay packets, there are a great deal more alternative foods which cost a fraction of the price. If you want to look good without the extra stress, you just need to shop a little more smartly; healthy food can really be for everyone.

Make A Calculated List

As much as each of us aim to stick to our grocery list, more often than not, we come out with a bag or two more than we initially intended. Getting tempted by offers and treats inside a supermarket can all but destroy your willpower and over a period of time, it’s easy for the numbers to add up. Thanks to online shopping, it is now incredibly easy to browse your food shop on the internet before you leave, meaning that you will have the opportunity to work out roughly how much you will spend. Try adding up the total and bringing only sufficient cash for what you really need. Without the ability to splurge on sweet treats, they won’t find their way into your shopping basket.

 

Choose Alternative Products

It is essential to stick to a balanced diet in order to eat healthily but in some cases, you can look to cheaper alternatives within certain food groups. If you want to cut down on the dollars, you can try substituting meat products with alternative sources of protein like lentils or chickpeas. Buying dried ingredients like this in bulk is also a great way of cutting costs and ensuring that you have plenty to eat into the future. While you can still eat meat whenever you like, looking to other foods from time to time will really help you to keep a hold of your purse strings.

Use Your Freezer

When you’re on a budget, your freezer can be your best friends. Not only can you prepare bulk meals in advance and contain them within individually sized boxes but also, you can stock up on frozen healthy foods that will last a long time. Nutritionally speaking, frozen fruits and vegetables contain almost exactly the same amount of nutrients as fresh produce and what’s more, they won’t go off before you can finish them. Alternatively, you can also look to the reduced food aisles and freeze products that are going to go out of date soon. That way, you can cut down on costs and ensure that you have plenty of meals in stock.

Experiment With Your Leftovers

Once cooked and never eaten, many perfectly good ingredients find their way to the garbage can for no reason whatsoever. The next time you make too much food, try repurposing the ingredients the next day to make them go further. Ensuring that you have a good selection of storage boxes is key if you want to keep things for the future; storing ingredients in loosely covered bowls means that they might go off more quickly. If you’re bored of the same old stir fry recipe, try looking to salads, stews and soups to reuse cooked foods; there are plenty of options right at your fingertips.

Know What Is In Season

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re going to eat as well as possible for the least amount of money is knowing what foods are in season, when. Looking to local sellers in favor of bigger supermarkets when buying seasonal foods can also help to cut costs; with larger supplies of certain foods to get rid of, smaller sellers are more likely to sell them at reduced prices. You can also try browsing your local supermarket’s website before you shop to take a look at any sales or markdowns on seasonal goods. The fresher the produce, the better it is for your health!

If you shop smartly, then eating healthily can be a real breeze. Tackling your shopping list as an important task will ensure that you come out only holding exactly what you intended, with no nasty surprises. The sooner that you change your shopping habits, the more healthy and happy that you can become!

Save Your Skin: 10 Makeup Mistakes To Avoid

Who can honestly put up their hand and say that they’ve never made a makeup faux pas? Perfecting your look takes a great deal more time and effort than many of us are willing to admit and it only makes sense that, over the years, we all step out of the lines, so to speak. Thankfully, however, there are some people out there who have been consistently getting it right and have thought to share their secrets with the rest of us. The chances of us getting something wrong are relatively high but with these tips, we can massively reduce the amount of times we misjudge our makeup. Now there’s something worth getting excited about.

Lining Your Foundation Line

Finding the perfect shade of foundation for your skin is a struggle for most people and even if you think you have got it right, you run the risk of leaving a thick foundation line between your jawline and neck. To avoid such a stark contrast, you can try dusting the outsides of your face with bronzer to hide any foundation lines. Not only will this hide any surplus makeup but also, will slim the look of your face; double bonus!

Piling on the Powder

Let’s face it; no one likes a greasy face. After piling on dewy product after dewy product, you might feel that your face is a little more slick than you would like and when that happens, you wouldn’t be wrong for reaching for the powder. However, getting the balance between just enough and too much product can be a tricky task to tackle and more often than not, we can veer on the side of overuse. While applying powder, try targeting the areas that are prone to becoming greasy, rather than covering all areas of your skin. Mattefying the T zone and across the cheeks after foundation is normally a safe bet; apply too much elsewhere and you risk flattening out your complexion entirely.

Going Heavy on the Concealer

While we all know the dangers of applying too much eyeliner, we rarely think about the product that goes underneath our eyes. In fact, going in too heavy with under eye concealer can have just as bad an effect as heavy eyeshadow, giving us a panda-eyed look in reverse. All makeup applied in the eye area should be done so sparingly; skin in this area is fragile and susceptible to dryness and overloading it with makeup will only show up any imperfections. Try dabbing a small amount of concealer around your eyes with your ring finger and building as you go. That way, you can work upwards rather than having to try and level out your makeup elsewhere on your face.

Forgoing Mascara

In terms of your makeup wardrobe, few items are as important as mascara. As well as defining the eye without need for a liner, mascara can open up and widen even the most tired of eyes, giving you a more youthful look. Skipping the mascara stage of your routine leaves you with an unfinished, tired look that even the most effective of eyeliners cannot remedy. On the other hand, make sure you don’t over apply your mascara; thick layers of makeup can give your eyelashes a dried out and spidery appearance which will weigh down your eyes.

Overusing Makeup

While we might contest to the opposite, using makeup for too long is something that we’re all guilty. Like most things in life, makeup comes with a best before date and using it past its best point can lead to nasty breakouts and even skin infections. Across the board, every makeup product differs and depending on its type, it will have a different shelf life. Generally, however, you should follow these guidelines when using your makeup:

Powders – 2 years

Cream-based products – 12-18 months

Concealer – 12-18 months

Mascara – 3 months

Oil-free foundation – 1 month

Liquid or gel eyeliner – 3 months

Pencil eyeliner – 2 years

It might seem like a more difficult rule to follow but doing so will improve the quality of your skin and enable you to switch up your look more often than you would have before. Makeup is all about experimentation, and by following use-by deadlines, you will have much more of an opportunity to play around!

6 Apps to Help Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

2016 is only a few weeks away. As with every New Year, we tend to get carried away with ambitious resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, learn a new hobby, eat healthy, save money, and get organized.

Here are 6 apps to help keep those life-changing declarations throughout the year.

  1. Lose Weight.

By far, the most widely made resolution is to lose weight. If you’re looking for solid workouts that you can do from home, try Workout Trainer. This free app offers users thousands of free workouts complete with audio and video instructions. If you seek an app to help you stick to your fitness goals, try the Pact app. Pact allows you to wager money on whether you hit the gym or finish a workout. It verifies that you’ve met your goals by verifying that you’re going to the gym through your check-ins. If you reach or exceed your goal, you earn cash. If you don’t you have to pay. Having cash at stake is a great way to keep you invested in following through on your NYE vow.

  1. Quit Smoking.

An unfortunate battle that many of us face is the desire to quit smoking. Fortunately, there are apps available to help. One of those apps is called Smoke Free. The app tracks and notifies the user how long they have been smoke free, how much money has been saved, how many cigarettes have been avoided, and how health is improving. Visualizing success helps keep its users on track and encourages their new smoke-free lifestyle.

  1. Learn a New Hobby.

There’s an app for nearly every hobby. Whether your hobby is golf, bird watching or photography, there’s an app to help you get the most out of your off-duty time. Whatever hobby you choose, use a goal app to incorporate your new hobby into your life successfully. Apps like GoalsOnTrack, allow you to set goals with clear action plans.

  1. Eat Healthy.

Losing weight is not always the ultimate goal for living a healthy lifestyle. After all the pumpkin pies, gingerbread cookies, and cider, your body would benefit from a junk food break. One of the best apps for a eating healthy is called Substitutions. Whether you’re in your kitchen or roaming the aisle of you favorite supermarket, this app suggests alternatives for foods you wish to avoid. Another great tool to replace your meals with healthier options is Locavore. This app allows you to find local, in-season food at farmers markets, farm stands, and groceries in your area.

  1. Save Money.

Saving money is an ideal goal for many of us who have a tight budget after the holidays. We can even be afraid to check our bank accounts for fear of seeing the little amount that awaits us. Level Money is a streamlined app that automatically updates you on how much spendable cash you have for the day. Another great app is Unsplurge, that helps users focus on saving by providing visuals on long-term savings goals. This might include a trip to Paris or the camera you’ve always wanted. For some of us, visions and dreams is all the motivation we need to save.

  1. Get Organized.

The New Year symbolizes a new beginning and opportunity to get our life together. Organizational apps are perfect tools to help this effort. 30/30 is a task manager that uniquely allows users to divide their days into increments of 30-minute blocks of work. These periods can be adjusted accordingly but it encourages its users to stay on task and finish projects efficiently without feeling overwhelmed. If a cluttered and fragmented calendar system is the root of your problem, try UpTo. This app syncs together your existing calendars to one, concise platform.

How To Eat Your Way Through The Holidays, The Healthy Way

If the holidays are about one thing and one thing only, then surely it’s food. As soon as December leaps into action, we are inundated with invites for festive drinks, winter feasts and after-work snacks. Eating has become such a huge part of the winter season that it’s very easy to enter into the new year a whole lot bigger than you ended the previous one.

When it comes to festive food, it seems that we’re either all in or all out and very rarely do we manage to find a healthy middle ground. While one year we might binge eat our way through Christmas and the holidays, another year we might restrict ourself entirely, forbidding ourselves for indulging in fear of not being able to stop. There is another way, however. Enjoying food during the holiday season is one of the greatest ways in which to truly appreciate everything the winter has to offer and even if we eat a little more than normal, there’s no reason why we should beat ourselves up about it. The holidays are all about relaxing and celebrating life. The trick is knowing how to go about it without losing control.

Start Cooking Yourself

The more that you’re able to cook yourself, the healthier that your relationship with food will become. While you don’t have to become a gourmet chef over the month of December, understanding the types of foods that you like to eat can really make you relax about how much you’re eating, and what you’re cooking. View your meals as a celebration and a way to relax; food should make you feel better about yourself, not worse. The more active a role you have in the cooking process, the more consistent your eating habits will become. It shouldn’t be about all or nothing.

Make A Christmas Menu

When it comes to the festive season, we all have our own preferences when it comes down to the menu. If you’re in charge of the festive cooking this year, it’s your opportunity to load up your plate with your favorite kind of dishes and while you might want to whip up an indulgent feast, it can also be worth investigating a few healthier options, too. Having control over what you are eating over the Christmas season is a much better way to not let your eating habits spiral out of control and if you can feature a healthy dish or two, it’s all the better. The difference between how you feel after a healthy and a stodgy meal can be incredible and might just change your perspective on Christmas eating altogether.

Don’t Restrict Yourself

While indulging in a food free-for-all is not exactly advisable over the Christmas period, neither is making a list of foods that you’re not allowed to eat. As soon as you restrict yourself from certain types of meals, your cravings for these dishes is going to skyrocket and if you do cave in and eat them, you could just feel worse about yourself in the long run. Faddy and restrictive diets will leave you feeling grumpy, isolated and seriously unfestive. Be freer with your eating; you might be surprised at how much self control you actually have!

Plan Your Shopping List

In the same way that planning a Christmas menu is a great way to keep your eating habits within the realms of normality over the holiday season, so too is writing about a shopping list and sticking to it. At this time of the year, supermarkets are awash with tempting treats and holiday offers and even if you enter them with one thing in mind, it’s easy to come away with arms full of naughty treats. Planning out your cooking and meals beforehand is a simple way to make sure your shopping habits remain under check and you don’t buy all of those indulgent extras that you will probably regret in January. There’s nothing more satisfying than checking off a list.

Try To Relax

Let’s face it, we all eat a little more than we should over the Christmas period. There’s no reason to panic if you enter the new year a little more full than you would like to be and worrying about it is will not achieve anything at all. The more stressed that you feel, the harder it might be to get back on track with your eating habits when the new year rolls around, so allow yourself a little breathing room.

The holiday season is all about kicking back and relaxing and allowing yourself a little bit extra on your plate is nothing to beat yourself up about. While you can take control of what you eat, you should ultimately do whatever feels right to you this holiday. Eat, drink and be merry!

How To Sleep More Soundly, The Natural Way

The difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad night’s sleep can make or break your day. Whether you suffer from late night stress, insomnia, restlessness or a combination of the three, bad sleep can really have a detrimental effect on your general attitude to life. If you fall into the category of a “bad sleeper”, then you could find yourself suffering from irritability, an inability to concentrate throughout the day, mood swings or anxiety. Sleeping soundly, then, is incredibly important.

While, the next time that you struggle to fall asleep, you might find yourself reaching for your medicine cabinet, taking a leaf out of mother nature’s book might just serve you better in the long run. Arguably gentler and with more effective results, natural sleep remedies can do just as good a job as their pharmaceutical cousins, and won’t leave you feeling awful the next morning. Sometimes, the key to a good night’s sleep is taking your time and winding down gently. And when things get really hard? Mother nature is always on your side.

Passion Flower

While it’s not something that many people will have in their (natural) medicine cabinet, Passion Flower can actually have hugely positive effects on your sleeping patterns. Taking the extract in tablet form at the same time each day can dramatically reduce feelings of anxiety and in turn, help you to fall asleep more readily at the end of the night. While you might not see immediate effects, keep taking them regularly; natural sleep aids take a few days to take effect but when they do, they can work incredibly well.

Regular Exercise

While not a natural “cure” per se, exercise is actually one of the most effective, non-medicinal ways to combat sleep problems. There is a huge difference between feeling physically and mentally tired and often, the latter kind can leave us feeling wired and unable to switch off at the end of the day. Tiring out your body during the day is a great way of falling into a deeper, more refreshing sleep during the night and getting there could be just as easy as taking brisk walk before eating, or going on an early morning run to set your body in motion for a better night’s sleep later on. Physically tiring your body is also a great way of getting your brain to switch off and stop focusing on all of those internal anxieties. When night-time comes around, you might fall asleep before your head hits the pillow.

Fish Oil

If you’re looking for a way in which to curb your midday caffeine fix, then fish oil could be the very thing. Fatty acids found in the natural supplement have been proven to help to reduce a stress hormone that commonly causes feelings of anxiety. If you feel more stressed than usual, you might find falling asleep an extra challenge, as your hormones will be out of balance. Regularly taking a fish oil can help to restore this balance and in turn, will prevent you from feeling tired throughout the day.

Mindful Meditation

Deep breathing techniques can be one of the best ways in which to shut off from the world around you and re-energize after a stressful day. Focusing on things which you can directly affect is a great way to channel your thoughts and reduce any feelings of stress or anxiety that you might have carried forward from your day’s work. Lying in a quiet room and breathing deeply can quickly help to relax your nervous system and enter into a state of rest. If you’re new to mindful meditations, you can try using a spoken guide which will talk you through the breathing techniques. Take 10 minutes for yourself; you might be surprised at just how effective it really can be.

Magnesium

Perhaps the answer to all of your stress-related problems, Magnesium is a supplement worth taking seriously. Used to help to restore cells and soothe muscles when you sleep, Magnesium is a very common cure for people with high levels of stress searching for a natural way in which to relax. While you can take Magnesium supplements, you can just as easily find the mineral in foods. Eating nuts, dark leafy greens and even seaweed regularly can dramatically increase your Magnesium stores and help you to lead a much more relaxed way of life.

Worrying about getting a sleep need not keep you up during the night; simply take time for yourself, listen to your body and, when things get really tough, take a tip from mother nature.