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.

How To De-Stress During The Holidays

The holidays are a time to get together with family, be thankful for everything you have and celebrate. With so much seasonal goodwill and joy being pumped through every media outlet out there, though, it can feel like being happy is the only acceptable way in which to pass December and while the holiday season is certainly one to celebrate, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel a little blue. As you’re hit by party after party and feast after feast, you might feel like you’re struggling to balance your regular responsibilities, job, family life and social calendar alongside it all and if that’s the case, then you’re probably not alone.  

This time of year is one of the most joyous and celebratory but also, it can be one of the most stressful. When you’re thinking about everything and everyone apart from yourself, it can be easy to neglect your basic needs and end up wallowing in a whole lot of holiday stress. Take a breath. De-stressing this holiday season is one of the best ways that you can ensure you give all of your loved ones your all; sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish in order to really give back.

But what are the best ways in which to destress and come out of the holiday season shining? After doing these things, you might just be the most relaxed person in the world.

Let It All Out

While screaming at your nearest and dearest might be the very thing that you’re trying to avoid, venting your frustrations can actually be one of the healthiest ways in which you can destress. If you’re feeling the pressures from all sides, letting someone know about it might make you feel a whole lot better. While you don’t have to erupt in a volcanic-like rage, you can grab a cup of coffee with a close friend and have a non-seasonal “discussion”. Simply putting all of your holiday-related anguish on the table will make you feel much better and able to keep going through the season. Sometimes, you need to be a bit of a Scrooge in order to carry on the festivities.

Smell The Roses

Our favorite scents can often be the most calming and comforting and simply being surrounded by them can dramatically reduce our stress levels. Taking time out to light a candle, or make yourself a mug of seasonal glogg can be like getting a warm, fuzzy hug, without actually having to talk to anyone at all. Spritz a pashmina or squashy scarf with your signature scent and drape it around yourself when you feel your blood pressure rising. One whiff of your favorite perfume will set the world right again.

Take It Slowly

The holiday season is all about multitasking and balancing chores but when you’re trying to juggle 50 things at once and you’ve run out of limbs with which to do it, the whole thing can be a little overwhelming. Focusing on one task at a time is the best way to not only reduce stress levels but also, ensure that the job gets done right, the first time. The holiday season is not about being a worker bee; take your time, linger in the moment and enjoy the time while it lasts.

Focus On Yourself

While you’re busy looking after everyone else’s needs and cooking daily feasts, who’s caring for you? Taking a little “me” time during the festive season is essential should you want to get anything done; sometimes, being selfish benefits everyone. Try doing one thing for yourself everyday, no matter how small it might be. Buy yourself a festive coffee, or linger in the bath a little longer during the evening. Allowing yourself small indulgences will remind you just how delightful the holiday season can really be. If everyone else is indulging, why can’t you too?

Find The Light

As the nights creep in and the days peter out, it can be easy to get really depressed about the holiday season. The sheer lack of natural light is enough to make even the most positive person feel a little less than their best selves and as a result, it is easy to let the little things build up. Your body clock can be negatively affected by the sheer lack of natural light during the winter months, so finding an alternative source is a great way of keeping your head above the water. Luckily, there are many light therapy solutions out there to keep your brain flooded with a sort of natural light, and your mood buoyant.

The holiday season is a time to be thankful for everything that you have and to celebrate with loved ones. Rather than letting the little things take over, try focusing a little more on your own needs and spreading a little festive joy where you need it the most. After all, what are the holidays for?

7 Tips For Stress-free Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping time is here but the thought of traffic, crowds, and chaos is enough to keep us homebound. There are several ways you can make holiday shopping less stressful and more meaningful this season.

  1. Make a list, no need to check it twice. Make a list of people in your life you would like to express gratitude to this holiday season. Although it can be difficult to narrow down, try to keep the list modest to those people who truly mean something to you. Now for the hard part. Stick to that list and don’t stray away. It will feel uncomfortable when you receive an unexpected gift from an acquaintance. Naturally, you want to reciprocate but a last minute present hunt for the individual is not only exasperating, it’s disingenuous. If you would truly like to exchange the good gesture, offer to take them out to lunch or for coffee at their favorite local cafe. Sometimes, an authentic conversation is the best gift of all.
  1. Love at first site. Online shopping is your saving grace this season. While the concept of online shopping is nothing new, there are millions of sites and online vendors to choose from. Opt for online retailers with optimized holiday shopping sites to make the experience a pain-free process. Sites like UncommonGoods offer an array of gifts for everyone on your shopping list. The website allows you to shop by recipient, price, interest, or collection to find a thoughtful gift that matches the unique personality of your loved one. Another site that offers whimsical gifts at a wide range of price points is Pink Olive. From home goods to accessories, you’ll find something for the chic people in your life. Procrastinators beware: Double-check those delivery dates. If you wait last minute to order, your Christmas treasures will become an after New Year’s present.
  1. Concierge Shopping. If you are completely overwhelmed by holiday shopping, you can try a personal concierge service. These services are designed to fight the crowds on your behalf, saving you time and headaches. To find assistance near you, Google “concierge service” or “personal shopper” and your city. If you have room to splurge, try a personalized event service like TRULY Experiences. TRULY creates bespoke experiences for their clients from extraordinary dinning dates to luxurious spa days.
  1. Pinterest Please. Avoid the madness of the mall altogether and make the perfect gift. With sites like Pinterest, a world of DIY ideas awaits you. Design one-of-a-kind accessories or paint an original piece of art. Nervous about your crafting skills? Sites like Amazon offer complete kits with everything you need for your project along with directions. Newspapers, magazines, brown shipping paper, and even scraps of old wrapping paper can be utilized for an unconventional and creative way to wrap your crafty gifts.
  1. That’s a Wrap. One of the biggest nightmares of the holidays is the challenge of wrapping all those items. When you make your purchase, ask the cashier if they offer gift-wrapping. Stores that offer complimentary gift-wrapping don’t typically advertise it, so it’s worth investigating. Research charity gift-wrapping drives in your area. Local schools and non-profits will usually host these drives around town wrapping all your gifts in exchange for a charitable donation. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a festive gift bag and tissue paper.
  1. You Time. The person you neglect the most during the holidays is yourself. Between the shopping, the crowds, and the parties, make time for yourself these holidays. Schedule a massage or incorporate hot yoga into your day. Create a relaxing environment in your home with spiced scented candles and light your rooms with Christmas lights. The ambiance will make you feel warm and calm, just the way you should feel around this time of year.
  1. It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of the season. Don’t lose sight of what the spirit of the holidays is all about. Invite friends and family to cozy up around the television and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Released in 1946, the film focuses on the life of George Bailey (James Stewart) who was given the opportunity to see how life would look like without him. George discovered what an amazing life he truly had and found a new appreciation for his loved ones just in time for Christmas. The heart-warming movie will lift your spirits and put you in a wonderful mood.
How to Maintain Your Youth and Beauty

As we age we can find it difficult to maintain our inner young and spirited self along with our ideal “perfect body”. Not to mention, we see and hear all the pressure of botox, facelifts, and cosmetic surgeries every time we look in a magazine or turn on the television. Fear not, There are ways we can go around the costly and harmful botched cosmetic procedures and get results the good ol’ natural way. A lot of these practices come from within, we just need to make them a routine which will in turn make the outcome more rewarding in the long run. So, here’s a list of 5 alternatives to maintaing your young and beautiful self.

Keep your skin hydrated: Apply moisturizing lotions every day or better yet a couple times a day! It’s best to apply after taking a warm shower when your pores are open and will absorb every drop. In no time you can get your skin back to feeling nourished and balanced. (note: When purchasing a new moisturizer, find one to go well with your skin type.)

Always use sunscreen in the sun: Using sunscreen is vital to protect your lovely skin. It helps to prevent facial brown spots, skin discolorations, and not to mention SKIN CANCER. Yikes!using sunscreen can also slow down the process of aging skin. Do not forget put it on before you go out into the sun or bring it with you as a reminder.

Exercise: That’s an obvious one! Exercise allows you to sweat out all the toxins in your body leaving you with a healthier and brighter complexion. Doing even just a short workout in the morning or when you have extra free time can significantly increase your energy levels. Those factors alone could make you look and feel young again.

Vitamin and mineral intake: Keep your skin happy by indulging in as many Vitamin A,B, and C rich foods. A balanced daily diet are some of the key ingredients to maintaining a beautiful and youthful body who will thank you every day you choose to practice good eating habits.

De-stress: Stress is apart of life, we all face stress one way or another whether it’s emotional or physical. Unfortunately, dealing with a lot of stress can cause us to feel older and age more quickly. Learning how to combat your stress levels and find relaxing techniques or helpful tools such as taking deep breaths or stretching can be a huge help. Fight those everyday stress urges ladies, our youth and beauty is counting on it!