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Two Girls Working Out at Home

How Everyday Activities Can Help Maintain A Healthy And Active Lifestyle At Home

Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis is an expert in physical activity working at the University of Sydney, who recently spoke with the media about how living an active and healthy lifestyle is much easier than the average person would think.

Morning Routine

How To Upgrade The Way You Wake Up In The Morning 

A morning routine is imperative for the success of any individual. Now that a majority of us are getting used to the new normal of either working from home or running our lives more thoroughly out of our living rooms, it’s important that we give ourselves a solid routine in the morning to properly start our days and keep us motivated to take on this ever-changing scary world. 

Remember, everyone is different when it comes to things that get them motivated or wake them up in the morning, however, there are a multitude of general tips one can implement into their daily routines that they can accustom to their preferences. For example, waking up early in the morning is the best way to ensure that you won’t have to rush or feel stressed to get your day going. Waking up earlier and giving yourself that extra time in the morning will have you starting your day on an already calm and leisurely note. However, maybe you aren’t exactly a morning person and don’t know how to just implement “waking up early” casually into your life. 

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For this, experts would recommend you start slow, and that also starts with when you go to bed as well. Try going to bed even just a half hour earlier than you normally would, and see how much it makes a difference when you wake up. Beyond that, the best way to wake your body up in the morning is to get it moving immediately.

Studies suggest that starting your day with even 30-seconds of high-intensity exercise can give you the same energizing effect as a cup of coffee, and will help improve your cognitive function in the morning as well so you’re not left in that post-dream haze for hours. If getting out of bed and immediately doing 30-seconds of jumping jacks doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, try going the more relaxed route and do some quick yoga. 

Yoga stimulates the mind, body, and spirit, and is a great for waking up your body’s internal systems. Stretching, deep breathing, and focusing on balance and posture will center your brain to handle whatever daily tasks you’re about to endure as well. Another major part of this could be practicing meditation/reflecting on gratitude first thing in the morning. 

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Robert Emmons, is a psychologist who is also the author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, a book about the importance of implementing gracious thoughts throughout your day. Emmons recommends starting your day thinking about three to five things, big or small, that you’re grateful for, and if it’s hard for you to think of them first thing in the morning, read from a gratitude journal to remind yourself. 

“Simply keeping a gratitude journal — regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful — can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.”

Mornings are also perfect for planning your day, setting your weekly/monthly goals, and organizing. After you do your morning exercise, have some breakfast, and get yourself dressed, sit down with your planner and list out what things you’d like to accomplish either for the day or maybe week. 

Once you find aspects of your morning routine that help get you motivated, stick to it for at least two weeks. Those 14 days will help train your brain into thinking that these aspects of your routine are necessary to keep your mind, body, and spirit in a positive place throughout the day. During this two week “trial period” don’t be afraid to experiment with the order or your routine and if something isn’t working for you, don’t do it!

Self Care Today

Jackie Aina Is Putting Self-Care At The Forefront Of New Lifestyle Brand, Forvr Mood

After spending a decade as one of the internet’s biggest beauty gurus, Jackie Aina is ready to launch her own brand.

Girl with Clear Skin

Taking Care Of Your Skin During Quarantine

The Covid-19 pandemic has definitely caused a lot of stress for everyone. Between working from home, taking care of the family, staying healthy, active, and relaxed, there’s no way not to get overwhelmed. One of the parts of self-care that many individuals are forgetting about is taking care of our skin. In times of uncertainty and panic especially, our skin is more susceptible to inflammation, wrinkles, acne, and general damage. 

Studies have also shown that increased exposure to blue light emitted from laptops or cell phones can also dramatically alter our skin’s condition, especially if we’re not getting any sun exposure as well. So what can you do to ensure that your skin is staying just as healthy as you are during this pandemic?

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First, make sure you’re still sticking to a daily routine everyday and maintaining healthy eating/drinking habits. You should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water everyday, and eating a serving of fruits and vegetables as well. Remember, orange foods like carrots or oranges are great for the skin. 

Sticking to a routine is much less stressful than waking up everyday blind to what you’re going to need to get done by the end of the day. Stress is one of the leading causes of acne, inflammation, and any other kind of negative skin condition. It’s important to implement things into your everyday schedule that keep you relaxed and separated from all things work, family, and coronavirus. 

As previously mentioned, drinking water and hydration in general is extremely important in terms of skin care. However, when you drink water, it actually hydrates your skin last, and takes care of the rest of your body’s organs first, so you have to make sure your skin is getting all of the hydration it needs. One of the best ways to do this is with a simple sheet mask. 

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Many face masks are great for relaxing and improving skin conditions like pimples or scarring, however, in terms of hydration, sheet masks really are the best bet. Doing a sheet mask every three to four days will keep your skin glowing and hydrated, while also giving you an excuse to disengage from the world for 30 minutes. 

Even though we’re spending an excessive amount of time indoors, it’s imperative that you continue your daily skin care routines and are putting on an SPF every morning. So many individuals think that just because a SPF’s main purpose is to protect our skin from sun damage that we don’t have to put it on now that we’re all stuck inside. This couldn’t be more false. 

SPF in general helps improve skin conditions like hyper-pigmentation, inflammation, acne, acne scarring, etc. Beyond that, SPF’s have amazing anti-aging properties, and if you’re younger, using an SPF daily will help prevent premature aging. 

Along those same lines, your skin does actually need sun exposure. The sun provides extremely beneficial vitamins for our skin, assuming that you’re wearing sunscreen/SPF. So make sure you’re getting outside at least once a day for 30 minutes if the weather permits it. Your skin will not only thank you, but your mental health as well.

Mindfulness Lotus Position

Is Mindfulness An Established Part Of Our Lifestyle?

As we approach the end of the first month of 2020, it’s normal to reflect upon how many of our new year’s resolutions have survived or slowly faded out. How many of our goals were essentially revolved around becoming happier and healthier? Can an overall objective of mindfulness help to fulfill them all?

In the last few years we have seen the area of mindfulness move away from a scorned and outlandish notion, to a legitimate health practice. As mental health slowly shakes its taboo and the desire for a more fulfilled and present lifestyle takes center stage, many turn to mindfulness. Practices such as meditation are used as a reprieve from the fast-paced pressures of day-to-day life in modern society. More and more people are openly admitting that they meditate and seeking out a different approach to life.

The roots of many mindfulness practices can be credited back to Buddhism, and many meditation teachers refer to these teachings in their practices. Some, like Andy Puddicome, co-founder of the meditation app Headspace, having come directly from practicing Buddhism for a decade.

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Mindfulness itself has evolved and moved into the modern realm, making itself available and easily accessed by the average person. Rather than approaching monasteries for teachings of a calmer mind; articles, videos, books, and apps are available at your fingertips. Many argue that the growing trend of mindfulness practices are a result of the chaotic and overwhelming digital society that we live in. It is a little ironic therefore that a popular solution is the growing use of digital mindfulness apps. Learning mindful meditation from the comfort and privacy of your own home is an inexpensive and easy solution. Especially in the case of these apps, as a focus on ten-minute sessions or less are designed to easily slot into your lifestyle.

Last year the mindfulness market was estimated to be worth $1.2 billion (according to marketresearch.com) and it’s still growing; it’s estimated to be worth over $2 billion by 2022. There are over 1000 meditation apps available with Headspace, Calm and Buddify among the market leaders. From sleep exercises to breathing techniques, to mindfulness guides and meditation practices, it has never been easier to practice mindfulness.

The trend isn’t just in these apps, it is not uncommon to see more and more people turn to these practices as alternate health solutions. Doctors themselves are beginning to recommend mindful practices as part of a healthy lifestyle. Mindfulness retreats, classes, studios and training in the workplace are all becoming the norm. In January 2019, Vox reported that mindful activities such as Yoga and Meditation had tripled in the US between 2012-2017 and has since not shown signs of slowing down. You don’t have to go far to find a Yoga class or meditation workshop. Carving out sections of your busy schedule to slow down and focus on this sort of self-care is said to have tremendous benefits.

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Anecdotal evidence may indicate that many of your friends, colleagues and acquaintances are embracing these techniques and showing signs of happier and healthier lifestyles. Can we argue that mindfulness is now an established part of society and not just a trend? Have you considered it yet?

So what are the benefits of mindfulness practices? Said to profit both mental and physical well-being, practicing to keep a calmer mind can alleviate mental states of anxiety, depression and stress. More surprisingly perhaps, researchers have begun to find that it can also help to relieve physical conditions such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS, and even treat heart disease. Even without mental and physical health problems, mindfulness and meditation is a way of re-wiring the brain to become, among other benefits, a happier, calmer, kinder and more patient person.

Despite the booming economic market of mindfulness practices, especially meditation, mindfulness doesn’t need to be an expensive practice, but it does take practice. One of the main aspects of mindfulness and meditation is the notion of being present. Many techniques aim to help refine this ability, from mindfully eating to walking to meditating, all of which requires a focus on the body. Whether that is concentrating on a small morsel of food and recognizing taste, texture, and bodily reaction as you take your time to chew; or sitting down and meditating, in which you attempt to clear your mind, focus on the breath and the feeling of your body and allow wandering thoughts to come and go without judgement.

The practice of mindfulness has been hugely beneficial to many people and its shrinking taboo and growing availability has made the area easier to access. Consider seeing if your year could be improved by a clearer, calmer and happier mind.

Business People Working Together

The Key To Excelling At Work? Self-Compassion

Our relationships with ourselves are complex and vast. It’s the longest relationship we’ll ever endure here on Earth, so it’s important to make sure it’s a healthy one. In a modern world of social media standards, reduced attention spans, and systemic pressures to be successful, it can be tough to be nice to ourselves, especially at work. However, the way we treat ourselves can have intense effects on the way we run our everyday lives, and how well we perform our jobs/daily tasks.  

Modern workplaces can be extremely discouraging in terms of self-love, especially in a corporate office environment. When working with so many individuals of all different ranks and roles within a particular company, it’s easy to compare yourself to how efficiently and well you’re working versus your counterparts. Any slight shortcoming can feel like a major failure when those around you are exceeding, especially if it’s a new job. 

Regardless of how long you’ve been working in a particular field, mistakes will always happen. It should go without saying that we’re all human and deserve to cut ourselves some slack, however, so many of us overlook this crucial part of living a happy and fulfilled life. Don’t ever compare yourself to those who have been working in your field for longer than you have. They have more experience with the ins and outs of not only the job itself, but the particular company you’re working at. Every place of business has a particular way of running things, so when you mess up on a logistical issue specific to that company’s environment, give yourself a break. 

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“The practice of being self-compassionate [is] treating yourself with the same type of kind, caring support and understanding that you would show to anyone you cared about,” said Psychologist and researcher Dr. Kristin Neff.

In fact, showing yourself some compassion is what leads to fewer mistakes occurring while in the workplace. When you’re so focused on not messing something up, you’re more likely to actually mess it up because you’re fixated on a possibility, and not the reality of the task at hand. So simplify it; when given a task, lay out the process in front of you, visually. Write out some steps or bullet points if that’s what will help, and if there’s lack of clarity within those steps, ask a trusted co-worker or mentor for guidance. 

You should never be afraid to ask for help with anything. Healthy means of communication is a necessity for any type of relationship, especially at work. You should be able to trust those around you to help when you ask, and they should expect the same of you. Be preemptive as well, for example, if you’re nervous that something you’re writing in an email isn’t specific enough, ask a supervisor or co-worker before you hit send, instead of being too nervous to ask for help. No one wants to see you fail, we often get so caught up in our own thoughts that we forget humans are compassionate and want to help us, so instead we remain quiet, which can lead to even more mistakes.

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Having the confidence to ask for clarification on something should be your main goal. One of the biggest issues that we all face when it comes to self-confidence in the workplace is assuming that everyone wants the worst for you and won’t want to help. No matter what level you’re at or how long you’ve been working in a particular office, someone else there has been in the exact same position as you, and will have no problem clarifying something they also found confusing when they were in your position. If you’re in a hostile work environment that doesn’t feel like a safe space to ask questions, talk to someone in human resources as to why that is. Everyone deserves the right to succeed and feel safe enough to ask a question. 

Accept the fact that you don’t know everything and won’t have all the answers. It sounds simple, but if you go into a meeting confident that you know your stuff, but not everything, you’ll be more ready to speak up for yourself when you become confused. The people you work with will see when you’re genuinely trying to understand, which should make that line of communication a lot stronger. 

The reality is, when we’re kinder to ourselves and exude self-compassion, our work feels the effect and we’re more likely to excel. Remember that everyone is just trying to do their best, and regardless of how much any of us try, our best will never be perfection, and it shouldn’t be, so don’t expect it to. 

Yoga

Do You Know The Biggest Health Trends of 2019?

Health and fitness continued to grow across America during 2019 but did you participate in the biggest trends of the year?

The annual Fitness Trends report from ClassPass has been released and it has taken a look at the many different trends in the last year as well as a sneak peak at what they believe will be the top trends to look out for in 2020.

Founded six years ago, ClassPass started increasing their bookings around three years ago and is a firm favorite for fitness lovers, meaning they were able to decipher what was hot and what was not thanks to over 100 million workouts carried out by their members in their 30,000 studios.

It seems that there is a trend that the bigger the city the bigger the person. Not only has strength training been the number one exercise carried out in Miami, New York, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco, but it has also seen an increase in participants in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Although the Workout of the Day (WOD) trend — which incorporates “Strength Training,” or CrossFit — has seen a reduction in numbers over the last few years, the actual number of gyms dedicated to the exercise regime has maintained a steady balance, with between 12 and 20 dedicated gyms in each of the mentioned cities.

However, there has also been a massive increase in interval-based strength training. Slightly similar to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), interval-based strength training focuses on lower to moderate intensities while HIIT focuses on extremely intense working periods, more commonly known as bursts.

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While both interval-based strength training and HIIT are positive routines for helping you stay fit, it is important that you always work with a professional to ensure that each move is performed correctly, therefore reducing the risk of injury.

Another trend that has seen a massive increase, not just in the United States but across the world, is travel fitness.

With the focus in recent times on maintaining a healthy mental attitude, the wellness and travel industries have become closer. While in years past people would head off on their holidays to escape everything, nowadays there are more people looking for the local gym so they can continue with their workout routines.

It’s not just holidaymakers that are working out in other cities. According to a survey, 18% of professionals are utilizing gyms in cities that are not their base towns, an increase of 4% in the last twelve months. With the word “bleisure” now existing it is expected for these numbers to increase next year showing that a workout is becoming the new way to wind down after a busy day.

Yoga is also increasing with the popular activity becoming the most booked wellness class on ClassPass this year. Although New York had the most bookings throughout America, the rest of the country was close behind. With our lives becoming more stressful each year — especially with the effects computer and smartphone screens are having on our brains — a session of yoga appears to be calming us all down again.

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Another trend that has hit our shores this year is working out with a friend. The survey found that 80% of people who were hitting the gym were going along with a friend. While this is partially due to the many different exercise classes that are offered now, doing your own individual workout with a friend is the latest craze that seems to have stuck. Maybe if you are looking to join a gym as your new year’s resolution you should “buddy up” to help you maintain your aim of not only getting in shape but keeping fit too.

If you are a fan of Pilates you have probably tried out Megaformer Pilates. The class became the quickest trend of the year, showing a 37% increase compared to last year. However, many have laid the reason firmly at Meghan Markle’s feet. When asked about her fitness regime she commented that the Megaformer machine had changed her body “in just two classes.” While trends among celebrities usually create a short-lived fad, this one seems to have stayed.

Perfect in a class setting, the Megaformers machine was invented by Lagree Fitness owner Sebastien Lagree. Bigger than the Pilates Reformer, the Megaformer emphasizes strength and balance while also focusing on quads, glutes, and abs. While on first glance the Megaformer appears to be quite difficult to master, it is relatively easy once a professional has demonstrated how to utilize the machine to your best ability.

It is also worth noting that more organizations are offering wellness and fitness packages which is helping them retain the best talent for their business, with 58% of professionals surveyed admitting these packages are more likely to sway their decision.

Which just shows that exercise is clearly the way forward to a healthy life, both physically and mentally.