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.

10 Etsy Shops You Need This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to do some shopping and that means coming face to face with a thousand of conflicting ways to show your loved ones just what they mean to you. With any number of different retail giants pulling at your purse strings, finding a truly unique gift for the people you care about can be a real challenge. Go to any of the same old spots and you might be left with more of the same, wishing that you had stumbled across something one of a kind.

Luckily, however, there is another way. The world of Etsy is brimming with artisanal gifts, one of a kind pieces and handmade items. You can practically feel the love just by taking a glance at any page of any independent shop. When it comes to the website, however, there are a number of clear stars and perusing their unique offerings might just be the best way to show your loved ones how much they mean to you this holiday season. Are you prepped and ready? We’re about to do some serious shopping damage.

inSidegift

For the leather lover, you can’t do much better than inSidegift. Selling a bespoke range of leather goods, the Etsy store has nailed the world of unique, luxurious accessories. The man in your life will appreciate nothing more than the range of clean minimalist wallet designs, while soft leather passport holders make a great gift for any member of the family. If you like your leather goods buttery-smooth, then this is the shop for you.

Firebird

Winter is the perfect time in which to raid your beauty cabinet, take stock of your perfumes and load up on a whole new collection of new scents. If you’re on the hunt for a range of bespoke perfumed goods, then nothing will serve you better that Firebird. Stocked up with lip balms, soaps, body lotions and pure perfume oils, the store is the perfect place to peruse a scent or two and in the process, you might just end up picking yourself something, too!

ENDEsign

For the person in your life who has it all, you need ENDEsign. Selling a range of whimsical and unique ceramics, the Etsy shop is well stocked on one a kind cups and homeware. Lifestyle lovers should pay serious attention to the sets of porcelain head cups; in the gift scheme of things, they’re real head turners.

Shili Confetti

You can’t have the winter season without a few knitwear accessories and out all of the independent designers, Shili Confetti is one of the best out there. Presenting a series of brightly colored knits, pillows, throws and everything in between, the Etsy shop provides you with plenty of opportunity to stay warm this holiday season. Throw in a funky pattern or two and you might just be sold on the entire collection.

The Coffee Registry

If your holiday season is all about what you’re drinking, then you need to pay attention to The Coffee Registry. Selling a collection of bespoke filter coffee makers, the Etsy store is noted for its attention to detail and effortless design. There’s no better way to spend the holiday season then steeped in hot drinks and with The Coffee Registry you and your loved ones can do it in style.

Rue des Louves

If the French know about anything at all, then it’s chic style. Luckily, you can grab yourself a full Gallic look, all without having to hop across the pond. Rue des Louves is an Etsy shop with a difference; selling a collection of homeware, it specializes in French vintage, giving any room that finishing effortless style that everyone covets.

Mullein and Sparrow

Know someone that’s really into beauty? You need to take a look at Mullein and Sparrow. Manufacturing all of their products in Brooklyn, the Etsy shop specializes in all things hair, skin and body, selling some products that will change the way you approach beauty entirely. Finished in pretty vintage packaging, Mullein and Sparrow products will never disappoint.

Glory Boon

If you want to get a little more ethical with your seasonal shopping, however, you should turn your attention to Glory Boon. Selling a collection of makeup and beauty products, the Etsy store follows a natural, cruelty-free production process, ensuring that none of their cosmetics harmed any animals when being made. Apart from being all round lovely in their approach to manufacturing, Glory Boon also create some pretty covetable products, which are sure to delight any makeup nut in your life.

jungwha

It’s 2015, and if you’re not into minimalist jewelry, then you’ve seriously been missing out on a trick. Producing some of the prettiest and simplest pieces on Etsy, jungwha follow the “less is more” approach in their line of jewelry, pushing out some of the best everyday pieces around. While their pendant necklaces and sweet bracelets are all worth looking at, it’s their collections of rings where their message really shines through. Stamp your gift with your loved one’s initial and be in their good graces for years to come.

Yao Cheng

One of the most talented illustrators out there, Yao Cheng sure can design some bespoke homeware. Selling a number of individual prints, cushion covers and towels through her popular Etsy site, the designer is at the top of her game, renowned for her attention to botanical detail. Home lovers can’t get enough of the delicate watercolor prints, so snaffle yours up before it’s too late!

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.
Reasons To Be Thankful: How To Love Yourself Courtesy Of Your Favorite Women

Work, family, friends, health, travel: Being successful in your life means filling up every moment of your time with activities yet, with so many things drawing on your emotional resources, it can be hard to remember to pay it all back to yourself. When loving yourself is the last thing on your list of priorities, you know that it’s time to take a long, hard look in the mirror and readjust your perspective. Really struggling to be thankful for what you already have? Don’t sweat it; your favorite women are here to back you up.

Emma Stone

Flying the flag for strong women everywhere, Emma Stone has parted with some pretty killer advice over the last few years. Her most lasting statement? Stay true to who you are. Speaking about the importance of listening to your yourself, she said “don’t be afraid, even though people might say that what you’re doing isn’t cool or isn’t right. I promise you, you will not regret it if you stay true to who you are and what you love to do”. Listen to your heart, and drown out everything else.

Amy Poehler

As well as being one of the funniest women in any room, Amy Poehler also has a ton of essential advice to impart. In her bestselling book, Yes Please, she shared the importance of sticking up for yourself, no matter what: “Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do. Sometimes it works”. You’re not perfect, and you’re not always going to get things right but when you’re being wrongfully put down, you need to defend ourselves as you would someone that you love dearly. After all, you’re always going to be in your life; it pays to get along with yourself.

Anna Kendrick

Sometimes, it’s the simplest and most obvious advice that can help you to see things in a more positive light. Comparing yourself to the eerily perfect bodies of the models and celebrities you see in magazines can be one of the most detrimental things that you can do to your sense of self-worth. If you’re feeling down about the way you look, there is one piece of advice that you really need, courtesy of Anna Kendrick. “Girl, don’t worry. Everything is photoshopped”.

Taylor Swift

Not in a relationship? Who cares! The single most important relationship that you will have in your life is the one that you have with yourself. Begrudging those who share their experiences with a partner is something that you might have done in at least once before but in fact, life is about so much more than romantic attachment . Need a little more convincing? In the words of Taylor Swift: “Life can be beautiful and spontaneous and surprising and romantic and magical, without you having some love affair happening”. Love life, love yourself; anything else is a bonus.

Jenny Slate

Life isn’t all plain sailing, though, and from time to time, you will go through moments which will really test your strength. In times of crisis, it is important that you give yourself the space and time to work through your emotions, and let yourself feel whatever is happening to you. When comedian Jenny Slate was let go from Saturday Night Live, she said “when I was fired, I ordered 50 million pizzas and invited all of my friends over. It’s important to let yourself go through all of the emotions”. Feeling pain is not a sign of weakness and if something has rocked you, let yourself feel it fully. If it’s taking over your life, though, it could be time to readjust your world view: “if you start seeing yourself as a victim, rather than as all of the other amazing things you could be, it’s time to snap out of it”. Listen to your emotions, grieve your loss and pick yourself back up again. You can always bounce back.

At this time of year, it’s easy to let family commitments and seasonal pressures to overwhelm your life and make you forget to take a little time out to focus on keeping yourself in check. Remembering to be kind to yourself, to take things slowly and to listen to your heart might be the key to really following the path that you want in life. Only you can truly affect how you feel and what you do; it’s time to start listening to yourself (and maybe these women, too).

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!

 

The Benefits of Planning Meals

We are all naturally good at planning. Whether it’s planning our work week, scheduling to pick up the kids from school, or getting together with friends for mid-week dinner parties, we all have to plan.  

Although It could feel great to keep up our productivity level and rush to get onto the next task, sometimes we forget to think about what and where our next meal will be. By not planning our meals, we can easily slip into a pattern of indulging in unhealthy foods. Fortunately, with these easy tips, you can turn a hectic week into something stress-free while improving your own personal health and the health of your family.

Saving time: There are numerous advantages to planning your meals. By taking one day out of the week to prepare meals for the week with appropriate portions, you can better manage your time. The rushes you were previously in to fit in time to eat will reduce and will help you have a stress-free day.

Eliminating last minute stress: Believe it or not, you waste a lot of time each day contemplating what to make for dinner, and it’s stressful. You go back and forth between recipies trying to figure out if you have the right ingredients or if it would take too long to cook. If you have a meal plan, you can take care of things in advance and all that is left at the end of a long day is just getting it on the table.

Helping you avoid unhealthy choices: Instead of picking up last minute unhealthy foods for dinner, you can plan to include healthy choices such as complex carbohydrates: whole grains, fresh or frozen veggies, fresh fruit or frozen berries, whole wheat bread, low fat or fat free dairy, lean meats, olive oil, salads with balsamic vinegar, etc.

Short grocery trips: Meal planning helps you stay organized when shopping for groceries. Write a list and pick up all the ingredients you need for the week or month during a single trip to your local market.

 

3 Easy Ways to Balance Your Diet

When we think of healthy foods to eat, we immediately think about fruits and vegetables as the foundation of a healthy diet. We can’t rely on only produce to give us all our essential nutrients and protein. There are many other factors towards our diet that we need to keep in mind such as lean protein and whole grains.

Learn how you can balance out your diet in 3 easy steps:

Step 1. Foods are categorized in 5 main food groups based on their nutrient content. It’s necessary to your balanced health to eat from these five groups every day.

  1. vegetables and legumes/beans
  2. fruit
  3. grain
  4. dairy and alternatives
  5. meats and alternatives

Step 2. Eat in moderation. This could be difficult and a huge test on your self control but it is extremely beneficial. You can easily decrease overeating habits by limiting the amount of food on your plate and opting for more veggies and grains instead of loading on extra unhealthy calories. (Tip: If you need additional motivation and/or guidance, writing a meal plan at the beginning of each week could be your savior. Planning your portions and which types of foods you will eat can significantly reduce the need to overeat and mindless munch.)

Step 3. Limit your liquid calories. Drinking alcohol and other liquids that have sugar and calories such as: beer, mixed drinks, wine, sodas, sweetened tea or juice could throw off your balanced diet.  

  1. Juices that say they’re 100 % fruit juice still contain a high amount of sugar in them. If you’re going to drink juice, think about only consuming it occasionally and in moderation (for to six ounces).
  2. Eliminate sodas. If you’re drinking them for the caffeine try to stick with coffee and tea with slim milk and little to no sweetener.
  3. Limit the amount of alcoholic bevarages you have each week. The relatively high calorie count in alcohol can easily lead to weight gain and can produce nutritional deficiencies if consumed excessively. women should drink no more than 14 drinks per week, no more than three drinks in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week.
  4. A glass of wine or the occasional glass of sweetened tea is OK. Again, it’s important to enjoy these items when consumed in moderation.