Couple Going for Walk

Healthy Ways To Start Your Day

Whilst our normal everyday routines, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, may be altered or out of the window completely, it is still important to try and start your day in as healthy a way as possible. Whether this be mentally, physically or emotionally, starting your day off right can be anything from what you choose to drink to whether you participate in exercising. At the moment, our lives are still very much up in the air and daily life in the face of a health crisis can be stressful, overwhelming and anxiety inducing. One way we can better face such a straining time is to ensure we are fully equipped with both the nutrients and mindset we need to tackle the day.

Due to different working habits or a change in daily schedules, many of us may be finding it hard to establish a new daily routine during the pandemic. Lack of routine can sometimes cause anxiety and low mood, therefore if you feel establishing a new routine could be beneficial for you then it is best to do so. Starting your day at the same time every day regardless of whether you are going into work that day or not, is a useful way to maintain a steady routine alongside a sense of control and stability. Filling your morning with various ‘healthy’ activities intended to care for mind and body could be monumental in changing the way you feel throughout the day. Activities such as meditation, yoga, a healthy breakfast, a cold shower, all can be good ways to look after yourself and start your day off in the best way possible for you.

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Many experts suggest that drinking a glass of water when you wake up is a very healthy way to start the day. After you have been sleeping all night your body needs to rehydrate and what better way to do that than a glass of cold water. Speaking to Huffington Post, Vicki Shanta Retelny, a registered dietician nutritionist, said: “You may not necessarily feel thirsty first thing in the morning, but drinking water can be a health habit that you prioritize to stay adequately hydrated throughout the day.” This does not mean that you cannot have another beverage of your choosing as well in the morning, Tea has a lot of health benefits and can be a great morning option. However, if you are a coffee person feel free partake in a cup, ensuring that you watch your caffeine intake throughout the rest of the day. It is probably better, however, to avoid sugary, processed drinks to start the day, energy drinks and the like, give you a sudden rush of energy but often cause a crash later in the day. Overall, however, these sugary are not very healthy for you.

Exercise can be really invigorating first thing in the morning whether you prefer to undertake some cardio with a run outside (which can also be a great way to wake up with some fresh air), choose to do muscle work, or take it slow and consistent with yoga. Whatever your exercise of choice is, starting your day off with a workout session can really set you up for success. Some sources suggest that it even helps to encourage focus, increases energy and happiness levels, reduces stress and encourages you to make healthier food choices throughout the day. If you are still working from home full time or part time exercise is even easier to slip into your daily routine.

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Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet begins with breakfast. Although many of us tend to skip breakfast, it really is the most important meal of the day – your body and brain needs specific nutrients to allow you to undertake the various and extensive list of daily functions. Feeding your body with healthy and balanced food sources can be one of the best ways to look after both your physical and mental health. Combine protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits or even vegetables to kickstart your day with a good balance of nutrients. If you struggle to eat breakfast in the morning, try to make it easier for yourself by opting for fortified and healthy cereals or perhaps a fruit bowl that you could slowly eat and pick at throughout the morning to overcome lack of appetite or perhaps nausea. Even eating something small such as whole-grain toast with peanut butter can be of great benefit. Various studies have shown that eating breakfast in the morning allows your brain and body to function better throughout the day, better equipping you to handle whatever comes your way.

Thrift Shop

Why It Is More Important Than Ever To Support Second Hand September

For the foreseeable future, the world will be continuously trying to adjust and adapt to a new way of living caused by the covid-19 pandemic. In order to get back to some semblance of normality, it is important to get back to some of the values that we hold dear and look to adopt safer and sustainable living.

Social media and the online space has been a beacon for many throughout covid-19 by bringing people together at a time when many might be lonely. It has also enabled businesses to survive through the first set of lockdown measures by helping them to publicize how they have pivoted their businesses, perhaps through new takeaway or delivery options, or discover new ways to grow their business.

However many charities and non-profit organizations are suffering due to the effects of the pandemic with fundraising events not taking place, families not being able to afford the regular and one-off monetary donations they previously could have, not being able to donate items or volunteering. It is important that alongside preparing the world of work and the economy for the new normal, it is crucial we take sustainable and ethical steps moving forward that support these organizations and the planet, such as buying clothes second hand.

This month is Second Hand September and in a world where we are socially distanced what will the second hand scene look like? What procedures will buyers and sellers put in place to encourage these sustainable ways of life?

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Second Hand September was set up by Oxfam to encourage people to pledge to shop second hand only for 30 days or more. The campaign is designed to get people thinking about the impact of the garments we choose to wear such as how materials are sourced and how they reach us. For example, when we are looking to purchase a new top or pair of trousers would you consider where they have been made? More than likely, the clothes we are wearing have been produced overseas meaning the clothing industry has a lot to answer for regarding pollution and their carbon footprint. Oxfam says “throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people – it’s Unsustainable. Every week 13 million items of clothing ends up in the UK landfill. And did you know it would take 13 years for one person to drink the water needed to make one cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans? Choosing to shop second hand can help.”

The process of importing clothes and charging very low prices to consumers, meaning they often purchase in bulk, has helped create the culture of ‘fast fashion’ where prices are low throughout the chain. This is combined with new online outlets which are able to reduce prices, due to not having the expense of physical stores, further has enabled a throw away or one wear lifestyle for many. This is where education is essential as many consumers may not have realized the environmental impact of this fast fashion. Whilst the rise in online shopping might have been a prominent contributor to the problem, it could also hold the key to the solution.

To create a safe place to sell clothes online, as well as satisfying the draw that online shopping has over consumers, sites such as Depop have been created to make second hand shopping easy for modern life. A mix between social media and a second hand sales site, Depop was created in 2011 as a platform to not only buy and sell items, but also follow profiles that match your taste and style. It has had a great response reporting that the upcoming generation Z makes up most of its customer base which was particularly noted during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, providing access to the second hand market, the ability to upcycle and the opportunity to expand their own personal style.

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Sites such as have also gained popularity, welcoming itself as a second hand site on par with the setup of amazon. This incorporates the second hand selling market, with the efficiency of sale and delivery timescales. There are also sites which enable fashion to be shared across the world, such as, and

There are also specialist sites available such as, specializing in second hand wedding dresses. This is an extremely pricey garment that is a one time wear marketed for the biggest day of your lives but will this change for the upcoming generations? A vintage dress that has made others happy before yourself could be a big draw or perhaps a family heirloom that could then be passed down or customized could help to change this trend.

Also whilst some of the usual places we might once have visited for children’s clothing such as yard and boot sales might not seem so viable, looking online for children’s second hand clothes, perhaps on social media sites like Facebook Marketplace, which they very soon outgrow, could help to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry and help to increase the life of each garment.
It is clear that the online scope for the Second Hand World is huge. This is breaking through with new generations and will help to make sure our clothes go further, not only helping us live more ethically, but also having an impact on the planet, so take part this September.

Cooking Show

Best TV Cooking Shows To Watch In Lockdown 

During the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have explored new hobbies and interests while we pass the time in lockdown. Many individuals across the world have been teaching themselves to cook in their spare time, so here’s a list of some of the most popular programs being watched right now across the globe: 

Anthony Bourdain: This show is available on Amazon Prime Video and ran from 2002-2018. It’s no secret that Anthony Bourdain was one of the most respectable chef’s in the food entertainment industry. His show was widely popular every year it was on and explored the international cuisines from around the world that the average individual may not have ever heard of. In his Parts Unknown series he broke down the idea of a “celebrity chef” and just wanted to go to places that anyone else would love and enjoy. 

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Chef’s Table: This Netflix original show began in 2015 and is still currently producing seasons. The show profiles various chefs from around the world and offers a cinematic element that makes the cooking look sensual and engaging for the viewer. The chef’s on this show all have their own unique backstory with cooking which has been regarded as giving the viewer the sense that they too could become just as talented one day if they work hard. 

The Taco Chronicles: This show is also a Netflix original and is hosted by Carlos Perez Osorio. Osorio’s goal with this 2019 program was to show viewers the future of intellectual food shows. There are six episodes and within each one a different type of taco is intricately dissected so that viewers can really understand the combination of ingredients and why they work so well together, as well as gain a greater respect for the process of cooking/creation. 

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Madhur Jaffrey’s Flavours of India: This 1995 show is currently available on BBC iPlayer. The show was six-parts and explored the flavors and techniques of regional Indian cooking. Jaffrey gave off a calm and dignified persona on TV that showed viewers she really meant business when it came to her cuisine. The show itself has been highly regarded as one of a kind in terms of its focus on Indian cuisine.

The Chef Show: This Netflix show has only been one for one year but has been one of the platforms most popular food programs to date. Jon Favreau and Roy Choi spend each episode hanging out in the borrowed kitchens of all their Hollywood friends. It takes on the format of a visual podcast but with TV video quality. The format is casual, as the two simply mix their ingredients and tell you about their process while they get side-tracked and reflect on the glory days like any other best friend duo. 

Ugly Delicious: This Netflix original is hosted by chef Danic Chang of the celebrated Momofuku restaurant group. In more recent episodes Chang has used the show as a means of discussing important culinary issues around the world. The show also takes on a relatable lens when Chang finds out he’s going to be a father and then teaches the viewer how to make their own baby food.

Girl Concentrating

How To Improve Your Concentration Despite The Distractions of a Pandemic

Whether your company has you working from home indefinitely, you are in an area of local lockdown, you are back to work on a part-time basis, or you are working full time amid the ongoing pandemic, many will find that their concentration levels are at an all-time low or a consistent struggle. When working from home, disrupting elements may be at play – whether deriving from the adaption of new routines within your workflow or general distractions from the home. If you are back in the office part time, moving from one workstation to the other can cause disruption or perhaps being back in the office with social distancing guidelines and the trepidation that comes with it can disrupt work flow. If you are not at work at all, finding your attention span wavering during this unprecedented time is pretty common. So why is our focus awry? How can we improve it?

Sarah Romotsky, director of healthcare partnerships at mindfulness company, Headspace, stated in Stylist: “As we try to tackle the ‘new normal’ during this unprecedented time, it can be hard to understand the many new feelings we might be facing. And with that, understanding where to focus our attention – or simply how.” From the start of the coronavirus, we have been bombarded with information, death tolls and ever-changing rules and regulations. We have had to adapt to new working environments, new socialization approaches and have mourned the loss of our normal or desired lives. We are in a consistent state of change and adaptation and it is pretty normal to feel emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted whilst we digest this brave new world. It is no wonder therefore, that we are finding it generally hard to focus on anything from menial tasks to our job at large.

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According to Wired, a person’s ability to focus has definitely been affected by the pandemic, ‘an ongoing UCL study found that anxiety and stress have fluctuated above normal averages. This could be having a severe effect on your concentration. “Some level of anxiety can mean you don’t sleep well,” says Marco Sandrini, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Roehampton. “Then there can also be financial worries, or the mind may wander and you’re not able to focus.”’ According to an article from the New Statesman earlier in the year, Dr Amy Arnsten, Professor of Neuroscience and a Professor of Psychology at Yale University, explained that the brains response to stress can inhibit the parts of your brain, i.e. in this case, the prefrontal cortex, that process higher functions such as critical thinking and the ability to focus. Currently, we are coming towards the latter part of a year almost fully concentrated with a global health crisis and the panic and stress that it imbues.

Speaking to Wired, Alan Redman, an organisational psychologist at Birkbeck, indicates that this stress is both an active distraction in addition to inhibiting our cognitive resources. He suggests to avoid multitasking and try to focus on one task at a time.

Try also to break tasks down into manageable and achievable chunks that you can undoubtedly handle. Sometimes, it may even be more productive to set your goals lower than normal or break down tasks to even smaller chunks than you usually would.

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Another very well-known method, is the Pomodoro technique where you chop up large tasks into timed intervals. Whereby, you work for 25 minutes, setting a timer for that duration, challenging yourself to avoid all distractions for that period and work consistently. After 25 minutes you may take a break for five minutes and often it is best to move away from your workspace for that time. After four “Pomodoros” extend your break to 15 -30 minutes, then reset and start again.

In light of the pandemic’s inherent stresses, improving our ability to focus may not simply depend on a series of concentration techniques. Instead, we may need to address our well-being at large, in response to the pandemic as a whole. Mindfulness techniques can be hugely beneficial to begin the process of improving concentration levels and minimizing distractions. Being mindful can be sourced via activities such as meditation and there are plenty of highly recommended apps in this area, such as Headspace and Calm. Yet this state of mindfulness may extend past the 20 or so minutes of meditation. Consider your mental health levels in light of the pandemic and adjust accordingly. Ensure that you are taking time to check in with yourself, giving yourself breaks when needed. Taking time to focus on your breathing and maybe even participating in calming activities such as yoga or whatever else works for you.

It may also be important to establish a healthy routine within the upheaval of the current situation. Take charge of the things that you can control and prioritize your own well-being. Eat healthy, exercise, and take mindful breaks for yourself. Be understanding of your own frustration and lack of concentration, knowing that this stress and lack of focus is understandable at this time.

College Girl on Campus

What Will You Need To Consider When Going To College or University in a Pandemic?

As summer draws to close, it is the time for many students to return to campus for the next academic year and for the new intake to say goodbye to their family and move to College or University for the first time. Yet this exciting experience is likely to be very different to what students may have expected when they first applied and for those returning, they will need to quickly adapt to a new, covid secure student lifestyle. Much of student life includes socializing with lots of new people, going to large lectures, joining sports and societies and going to bars and restaurants but this set to be very different with distancing measures in place. So how is student life set to be changed by the pandemic and what things are going to be important to bring?

Laptop and technology
To ensure campuses remain safe for students and staff, many lectures and seminars will be taking place online for at least the upcoming fall semester, if not for the whole year. At Harvard for example, only 40% of the undergraduate class have been invited to live on campus for the fall semester and regardless of where you are based, all classes are being taught online. At Cambridge University in the UK, lectures and large-group teachings are all being moved online for the 2020-21 academic year.

Whilst many students will have already become accustomed to this as a vast amount of their teaching from March onwards of this year has already been online, learning at university is still a different experience and no doubt many will feel disappointed by this, whilst being understanding of the circumstances. It has also called into question the value for money students are getting as many universities and colleges have not reduced the fees despite less physical contact time with academics and fellow students, as reported the BBC.

This therefore makes having a good quality computer even more important for your time at university so you are able to access online lectures, resources, use video platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams and submit assignments. It would also be useful to have a pair of good quality headphones for listening to online class and a microphone if your class involves speaking.

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Similarly, many universities are opting to host some of their welcome events online too and so technology will be vital to accessing these. For example, the University of Birmingham Guild of Students are hosting their very first virtual welcome fair as a replacement for the annual fair which attracts thousands of students over the course of a number of days.

Whilst this cannot completely replace the physical events, universities, colleges and student unions are working very hard to emulate the sense of community virtually and welcome students with fun activities.

Lots of hand sanitizer, masks and wipes
Of course it remains of critical importance that we all continue to wash our hands, wear face coverings where necessary and keep as much distance as possible from others. Whilst these may not have been things you initially thought you would need to bring in excess with you to college or university, an abundance of hand sanitizer and wash, face coverings and anti-bacterial wipes will be incredibly useful.

Some universities are opting to provide their staff and students with safety packs. At Newcastle University in the UK “around 35,000 people will be issued with a digital thermometer, a reusable and washable face covering and a refillable hand sanitizer bottle, together with instructions on how to use them. The personal hand sanitizers included in the packs can be refilled, free of charge, from the many wall mounted hand sanitizer dispenser units across campus.”.

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Before attending their specific college or university, students should check what the policy is going to be on masks. As reported by the Washington Post, at Purdue University masks will be required, however at the University of Arizona mask wearing is encouraged but cannot be made a requirement, as said by University president Robert C. Robbins.

Despite this being different from the norm, the normal practice of showing school spirit is possible in a whole new way with masks available in the colors of many universities or colleges or including the school logo or sports team, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Of course it is important to remember to still bring along many of the essentials that make the university or college experience as enjoyable as possible and lessen any feelings of homesickness such as photos of family and friends, a speaker to play music within living areas, kitchen utensils, stationary and a door stop to encourage roommates to come chat with you. Board games can also provide a way to have fun with housemates, as reported in The Guardian.

It is important that all students who move to university or college this semester are able to enjoy the experience as much as possible whilst being safe and protecting the wellbeing of themselves and those around them.

Father & Daughter Cooking

Fun And Creative Things To Do During Lockdown

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact our planet many of us have taken to the internet to jump on new lifestyle trends that we can implement into our own quarantine lives. Many of these trends are birthed on social media apps and are fleeting, while others make a lasting impact that will continue on into the future. 

For example, living room music festivals took over when the world initially went into lockdown. People were disappointed as they watched all their favorite singers, Broadway plays, museums, and other cultural venues shut down one-by-one as the pandemic worsened, so they brought them all to their own homes. 

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With concerts specifically, there have been a multitude of artists that have put on virtual live performances via their Instagram stories and other social media platforms. Others have gotten creative and found full recordings of their favorite artists past concert performances and thrown their own mini-festival in their home. Festival playlists on streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music also make it easy for you and your quarantine buddies to jam out at any time. 

In the same regard people have been clearing out their yards and taking advantage of whatever outdoor spaces they have to host small, socially distanced, gatherings with their closest friends. Anyone who has a front, side, or backyard has likely already taken advantage of it within the past six months, however, there’s still some summer left, so spruce up the space by ordering some cheap twinkly lights online, setting out some candles, pillows, and blankets for when it gets cooler in the evening, and set up a separate food and beverage area that promotes everyone getting their own dish and cup. 

Digital happy hours have also become an amazing trend for those of us who have friends who are either immunocompromised, or live far so they can’t attend an outdoor social distance kickback. Platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts make it easy to connect with as many people as you want, so many are opting to continue their weekly “going out” traditions with their friends, in a much more intimate and digitized way. 

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If you live in an area with public parks or other spaces that can promote distancing yourself from others, have a picnic with a couple of friends. Everyone can bring their own blanket to sit on to ensure that they’re remaining six feet apart, as well as their own food. If you want to get more creative, have everyone attending be responsible for one aspect of the meal and have them package it in separate bags so that when you arrive, you can simply exchange the bags and have a full meal right in front of you. 

Many have also taken this time to work on some new life skills/hobbies such as cooking, home renovation, knitting, exercising, and more. Take an afternoon and write out a list of life goals and things you want to accomplish, then go down the list and find the smaller goals and create subcategories of things to do to help you reach that goal. For example, if you want to learn how to make an entire five-course meal, start by looking up how to make simple and easy appetizers and work your way through the meal. Give yourself time to perfect your new craft, after all, we have a lot of that to kill. 

Finally, to circle back living room festivals, many have also opted to take advantage of the internet’s thousands of virtual tours and events that some of the worlds biggest cultural institutions have set up to entertain everyone in quarantine. For example, Google Arts and Culture has set up an online resource that lists thousands of virtual tours, concerts, upcoming events, etc. that anyone can “attend” from the comfort of their own homes.

Washing Hands

Hand Care in The Year of Handwashing

Regular hand washing is one of the most effective means to shield against coronavirus. Despite some localized lockdowns many countries have already begun the process of rebooting their economies and reopening businesses. Although interactions outside of the home are still limited, and social distancing protocols are still vital, many of us are regaining a small semblance of normal life. Whether this is returning to work, seeing friends, or other activities. This may mean that once again, hand washing is of vital importance and our need to do so may have increased from lockdown. As some countries approach winter, our hands may inevitably become chapped anyway but with the added abrasion of constant hand washing, our skin can become irritated and sore. Here are some tips and tricks to help keep your hands as pain-free as possible.

It is advised that you wash your hands for 20 seconds, with soap, fully scrubbing all sections of your hands. The coronavirus is passed predominantly through respiratory droplets, exhaled when coughing, sneezing or talking et cetera. These droplets can infect another person by being breathed in through the nose or mouth, or entering the body through the eyes. These droplets may also land on surfaces and can be then transferred to a person’s hands via touch. Whilst the coronavirus particles cannot be absorbed through the skin, infection occurs when a person then touches their face, i.e. the eyes, nose or mouth.

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This is why handwashing is of utmost importance, as it acts as a barrier between these stages of infection. Soap particles effectively attack the outer shell of the coronavirus cells, dissolving them and causing them to ‘spill their guts’ making them ineffective. The water then washes away the cells. Hand sanitizers are not as effective as washing your hands, but when out and about and unable to access hand washing facilities, they are an effective compromise. Hand sanitizers should have a 70% concentration of alcohol and the ethanol within the solution attacks bacteria and viruses, killing them. However, it does not work on all germs but has proven to be effective against the coronavirus. Like continued hand washing, the sanitation of your hands can also be abrasive but necessary. It is still very important that you carry on washing your hands but you can alleviate pain and reduce irritation.

Your skin is effectively a natural barrier and taking care of it is very important to both your well-being and physical health. In an article for The Independent, Dr Susan Mayou, a consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, said: ‘repetitive hand-washing can damage the integrity of the skin as a barrier, stripping away natural oils and causing hands to become dry, sore and irritated, if you have damaged the skin it becomes less effective as a barrier against infection so moisturizing is essential – but definitely don’t stop the hand-washing!” If you suffer from skin conditions such as eczema or your hands are suffering from extreme dry skin it is important to consult your doctor or pharmacist for specialized treatment.

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Skin that is irritated by handwashing can become sore, inflamed, cracked and extremely dry. After you have washed your hands, dry them with a clean towel but leave them slightly damp. If you prefer you can also leave your hands to air dry. Whilst they are still slightly damp apply cream or ointment, massaging the moisturizer everywhere including your fingertips and nails. When choosing a cream, avoid brands that contain dyes and fragrances. Dermatologists recommend creams that contain mineral oil or petrolatum and come in a tube rather than a bottle. Hand creams rather than lotions are recommended to help reduce skin irritation and moisturize. Brands such as E 45, Aveeno, Neutrogena, CeraVe and Cetraben are popular options. If you are using hand sanitizer, apply moisturizer after the sanitizer has dried. You can also deeply moisturize your hands overnight, by applying a thick cream and wearing breathable cotton gloves to lock in moisture and help your hands recover. Some brands also offer an overnight hand mask.

Some dermatologists also recommend using a non-irritating soap, sensitive soap or moisturizing hand wash in place of traditional soap as it can be hydrating and less harsh for the skin. Antimicrobial emollient hand wash both kills microorganisms and protects your hands. Added ingredients such as aloe vera and shea butter can be soothing alongside other natural ingredients such as olive oil, coconut oil et cetera. Soaps with a lot of fragrance can be irritating so try to avoid them, there are also plenty of soaps that are marketed towards sensitive skin so should be less abrasive. It may also help to wear gloves when you are washing up, cleaning or interacting with chemicals or water in any way. This will just add another protective barrier for your skin and prevent chemical irritants reaching them.

Overall, it is of vital importance that you do not stop washing your hands regularly but instead integrate moisturizing into your routine to help alleviate irritation and recover chapped hands.

Woman Reading Book on Couch

Books To Motivate And Inspire You During Quarantine 

2020 has definitely been one of the most difficult and unpredictable years for all of us. Now that we’re all used to being home and are continuing to wait out the rest of this pandemic until some sort of vaccine is released, many are continuing to figure out ways of occupying their time. Many have taken up reading more now that they actually have the time to do so. Here’s a list of leadership/motivational novels that are regarded as being extremely effective in helping readers remain more positive during these uncertain times:

Friday Forward By Robert Glazer: Bestselling author Robert Glazer wrote this book for industry and company leaders who need the motivation to keep not only their team, but themselves, going during difficult times. The book is a curated collection of over 50 stories that Glazer has experienced or witnessed himself. These stories are meant to inspire readers and help them get through specific situations that can arise in any company culture. 

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Daring Greatly By Brene Brown: This novel focuses on the art of vulnerability in the workplace. Throughout 2020, we’ve all had to make occupational adjustments, and have discovered newfound skills and techniques for getting through our day-to-day responsibilities. Brown wanted to take all of those new techniques, and share them with readers so they can learn from others and improve their own personal work habits. 

Girl Decoded By Rana el-Kaliouby: el-Kaliouby is a technology entrepreneur by day, and in this memoir she shares her transformative experience of going from shy, soft-spoken child growing up in Egypt, to one of the world’s biggest authorities on human interaction with artificial intelligence. Her book is meant to present a positive future for human beings and technology, and show that you can start from anywhere and make it as big in the world as you want. 

The Garden By Jon Gordon: Gordon is a bestselling author, and in his most recent book he drew inspiration from his experiences working with top CEOs, athletes, and organizations throughout the world, and shared those experiences so that readers can see how normal all of these major figureheads actually are. The purpose of this novel is much like Girl Decoded in the sense that it’s meant to leave the reader with an overall feeling of inspiration and positivity in terms of their future. 

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Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe The World By William McRaven: This novel outlines lessons that were in a speech given by Admiral William McRaven. In this specific speech, McRaven shared the 10 principles he learned during his Navy Seal training that helped him overcome various challenges not just in his career, but in his own personal life. The speech itself went viral and gained over 10 million views shortly after being posted online. 

The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz: This novel is subtitled “a practical guide to personal freedom,” and it’s meant to do exactly that. In this book Ruiz attempts to discuss the many common “mental roadblocks” that all humans experience that prevent us from living in the moment and being happy. The novel gives advice on how to properly self-reflect on your actions without punishing ourselves for past mistakes or wrongdoings. 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance By Angela Duckworth: Angela Duckworth is a psychologist who wrote this novel as a means of telling her readers that if they want to be successful, they need to embrace their individual grit. This “grit” is made up of a “unique blend of passion and persistence,” and when used right, it can lead us to amazing things in our lives and career.

Rum Drinks

Is Rum Set To Become The New Gin?

Global rum sales have reportedly flat-lined in recent years, but those inside the industry are seeing growth in higher end variations of the traditional drink. And like gin, which experienced a huge boom in sales in recent years, could rum follow suit and become the next big drink?

As someone fast approaching, cough cough, 40, I’ve seen my fair share of drink fads come and go. From the early introduction of the first alcopop ‘Hooch’, followed by the likes of Martini Metz, Bacardi Breezer and Reef, there was a time when these drinks dominated the market as seasoned drinkers welcomed something new and a little bit different. So it’s been interesting to see how my own drinking tastes have evolved over the years, and how I’ve grown to adopt gin as my drink of choice in almost all social situations that call for a glass of something stronger than a coke on ice.

I think I have perhaps followed the herd in that flavored gins are my go to drinks, and I love pink gin. I’ve even started to see some of my ‘traditionally’ male friends switch their beloved beers or vodka mixers for a tipple of the old gin too, such is its widespread appeal. According to Beverage Daily, the UK experienced record sales of gin in 2019 and continues to dominate the market in 2020. Unsurprisingly, it has also been one of the best selling spirits during lockdown too.

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But all good things must come to an end and eventually, even the most dedicated of gin fans may start to seek out a new challenge for their taste buds. This was indeed the case for both whiskey and vodka, which both fell out of favor as interest waned and drinkers started to look further afield. With many suggesting that gin could also follow this pattern, some experts believe rum could be perfectly primed to take the lead in the coming years.

For those who are not too familiar with this particular tipple, rum is a liquor made by fermenting and then distilling sugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice. It is then aged, usually in oak barrels, for anything from three to ten years. Rum can be enjoyed straight, with a mixer or in a cocktail, and there are typically several overarching varieties, those being white, dark or spiced rum. There can also be a significant difference in the strength of the rum depending on its variant, ranging from around 20% up to around 75% ABV.

Despite the clear potential for rum to take on the market leading favorite, gin, it has so far failed to capture interest in quite the same way. Some industry experts believe that this is because the focus has been on lower cost producers, and with this comes a lower quality product. Many drinkers may have only tasted cheaper varieties of rum, and so have not had the opportunity to sample what this particular liquor really has to offer.

Those inside the industry would argue that there has been strong and promising growth in the rum sector, but that this is taking place at the higher end of the market, where prices are higher and volumes are lower. The net effect of this is that the growth tends to be absorbed into the overall figures, and effectively becomes hidden from sight. Dawn Davies from The Whiskey Exchange (TWE) said, “value is growing faster than volume, which I find really encouraging.“This suggests that there is a premiumisation, which leads to long-term growth.”

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It would also appear that interesting flavors and taste combinations are capturing the interest of the market, with UK supermarket Sainsbury’s reporting that pink gin and spiced rum were the two big winners in the spirits category during lockdown. Some gin purists would argue that spiced rum isn’t quite the same as traditional rum, perhaps in the same way that others view pink gin and a devious variant to the original tipple. But regardless of what those on the inside think, what ultimately matters is supply and demand; the more variants that on-trade and off-trade outlets stock, the more options consumers have and the more experimental they will be. But these outlets are not going to stock items without confidence that they will sell, so it’s very much a chicken and egg situation.

In an attempt to try and challenge some of the stereotypes associated with rum and to drive demand from the bottom up, the industry is getting behind a widespread rebrand, helping to shed some of the illusions which cloud the drink and could prevent new markets from exploring it. One major assumption is that rum is a ‘summer’ drink, something which you’d typically consume on holiday, perhaps given its associations with the Caribbean. Some of the traditional mixes for rum include coke or pineapple juice, and adverts for well known brands such as Malibu helped to cement this holiday-like persona. That said, there are many traditional winter drinks which include rum, such as winter punches and the traditional hot rum toddy. By educating consumers on how to best consume rum throughout the year, it is hoped that they will start to experiment and explore the potential of a drink that has been hidden away for so many years.

Healthy Life

How To Cope With Pandemic Fatigue

Whether your local area is currently in lockdown, or lockdown has lifted and you are trying to return to a semi-normal life, it can be exhausting. The coronavirus pandemic has been an extremely stressful experience, causing job losses, social isolation and general uncertainty among much more. These stressors are extremely taxing and the term ‘pandemic fatigue’ has begun to circulate as a definition for this common sentiment of tiredness, whether emotionally, physically or mentally. On the other hand, moving out of lockdown into work and social situations can become quite overwhelming. You may be struggling to adjust to your new routine, feeling the effects of social burnout, or are simply grappling with the uncertainty and trepidation that comes with trying to navigate a normal life during a pandemic. If you are feeling burned out or exhausted, here are some ways that may help you to cope.

Almost all elements of the pandemic have been anxiety-inducing and thus exhausting. Many different segments of our pandemic lives have been commonly referred to as tiring, for example; zoom fatigue, emotional exhaustion and pandemic fatigue to name a few. Stress and change can take a physical toll on our bodies, leading to exhaustion. Therefore, it is no wonder that we may be feeling low on energy. Protocols to safeguard against the spread of the virus such as lockdowns and social distancing measures, has caused significant changes to our daily routines. Many of us may be overworking at home to stay afloat, others may be grappling with home-schooling and childcare, some may be struggling with boredom or sleep disruption and the tiredness that comes with it. Our energy levels during lockdown will have changed and whilst seeking longed for social interactions post-lockdown is fantastic and returning to the workplace may be desired, these tasks can quickly become tiring. The routines of work, socialization and relaxation that we had before the pandemic may seem exhausting to us now – which is normal.

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Speaking to Red Online, Lyndall Farley, a wellbeing coach and sabbatical specialist said: ‘without routine, stress increases and we’re at a heightened risk of burnout… We’ve all been through a huge amount of change recently,’ she says, ‘as human beings, we’re not built to be under stress for long periods of time or to deal constant change.’ Explaining that many of us will only have just adjusted to our new slower pace of life, before having to contemplate returning to ‘normal,’ now that social restrictions are being lifted.’

Establishing a new routine may help both with uncertainty and fatigue, even if your daily life is still not quite back to normal. Fit your routine around what is normal now, if you are back at work on a part-time basis still try to get up at regular times every day and fill your free days with other activities.

You may have adopted new activities or patterns in lock down that you found to be fulfilling and beneficial. You do not necessarily need to go back to pre-pandemic life, instead you can assimilate some of your newfound joys into your new routine. If you found taking walks outside, gentle exercise, or a new project was beneficial to you make sure that you integrate those into your new life.

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Understanding that exhaustion is a normal reaction to the current situation is the first step to being kinder to yourself. Try to keep an eye on your well-being, whether that is your physical, emotional or mental state. You may be feeling stressed from going back to work or re-entering normal life, this is pretty normal, so make sure you take time out of your week to relax. If you are feeling particularly stressed or fatigued, well-being activities such as yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises, and meditation can be helpful tools in managing and maintaining positive well-being levels. Also take the time to reach out to a trusted person to talk about your stresses. Overall, not be hard on yourself if you are feeling exhausted by your new routines, instead make room to recharge.

Exercise and a healthy diet
You may have fallen into the habit of taking more walks during lockdown, this is a good habit to keep. The fresh air and sunshine can be revitalising and gentle exercising can actually provide you with more energy in the long term. If walking is not for you, try to fit other forms of exercise into your day. Try to maintain a level of healthy eating as this will give you more energy throughout the day. Rather than snacking consistently on sugary and junk foods, provide your body with nutrition it needs by substituting in healthier options. If you are finding it hard to sleep, establishing a routine can be very helpful in maintaining consistent and rejuvenating sleep patterns. Go to bed and get up in the morning at the same time every day, avoid taking naps, wind down before bed and limit over use of blue light emitting technology. You may also find that cutting down on caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks may help to eliminate fatigue over time.