9 Ways to Look After Yourself as a Caregiver

Check out my latest guest post on mydeal.com.au on things to buy as a new parent.

It can be one of the most fulfilling roles in the world, but there’s no doubt that being a caregiver can also be one of the most demanding and stressful experiences as well. If you’re caring for an elderly parent or a brand new parent, you can often feel worn-out, fearful and lonely, even if you know you are doing the best thing for your relative. However, it’s also important to make sure you are living a fulfilled life. These nine tips will help you keep a healthy balance between caring for someone you love and caring for yourself.

  1. Accept the reality of your situation

Maybe your partner is slowly submitting to dementia and you feel as though you’re losing the person you love, or perhaps you’re mourning the future you’d imagined for your child. Don’t feel guilty for grieving over these things. It may take time to accept the situation, but it’s important to come to terms with the reality so you can move on.

 

  1. Find out what you’re entitled to receive

It’s essential to find out what help you’re entitled to receive, so that you and your loved one have the best quality of life. Investigate what your insurance offers, learn benefits you may be entitled too, and discover the best ways to get specialist equipment or house adaptations carried out.

 

  1. Care for yourself first

This may seem like the ultimate in betrayal, but if your mental or physical health breaks down then your loved one may need to go into residential care. Living a fulfilled life yourself will improve your own mental health and help you be more positive when facing the difficulties involved in caring.

 

  1. Decide what you need in order to be fulfilled

As a caregiver, you’ll need to be practical and plan ahead to carve out some ‘me’ time. Make a list of things you’d like to do every day, every month, and perhaps a couple of bigger things (like a holiday) every year. Then think about exactly what must happen to allow you to achieve them. Be inventive and think outside the box—you never know what you can achieve until you try.

 

  1. Accept help

Whether you get assistance from kind friends and family or opt for more professional support such as that provided by a care worker or cleaner, try to muster as much help as possible. There’s no value in struggling to do everything yourself, and you may be surprised at the results. My parents resisted asking for help with getting my disabled father up and dressed each day, but once it became essential, these carers quickly became good friends too. Try a ‘double-caring’ session first if necessary, with you showing someone else how to do things.

 

  1. Make everyday life easier

Although it may seem tiring at first, working ahead and preparing things in advance can really make a difference to your overall tiredness levels. Use a weekly organizer for medication so you only count out tablets once. Cook meals in batches and freeze them in individual portions, or keep some ready-cooked meals on hand for days when cooking from scratch seems like just too much. Lay out breakfast items and tomorrow’s clothing the night before, so you’re not rushed in the morning.

 

  1. Give yourself daily treats

Even little things can make a huge difference to your outlook. A daily scented bath, time alone to get lost in a book, or a brisk ten minute walk can all be lifesavers when it comes to getting through the day, so plan a few treats that can fit into your daily routine.

 

  1. Get out regularly

It can be tempting to simple collapse on the couch when you have time to yourself. But getting out and about will not only reinvigorate you—it will also help you avoid the loss of confidence that comes from spending weeks and months at home. Try a weekly exercise class, a photography course or attending a worship session at your church or synagogue.

 

  1. Meet with other caregivers

Lastly, sharing your experience with others is a great release, and you can also get useful tips about how to manage your role from people who are in the same position. If meeting others in person is difficult, link up with other caregivers online to experience mutual support.

Boosting Your Confidence By Changing Your Lifestyle

There are many things that can knock your confidence. A bad breakup to problems at work can affect your self-esteem and leave you feeling less than your best. You might even have suffered from confidence issues throughout your life, holding you back from doing the things you want to do.

Now is as good a time as any to make a change. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can help you become stronger inside and out, encouraging a confidence boost that will reflect in all aspects of your life.

Are you ready to take the leap and overhaul your lifestyle? Here are just some of the things you can do to give yourself the confidence boost you deserve.

Eat better

Food affects your mood in many ways. If you tend to comfort eat in times of crisis, you’re probably not giving your body the proper nutrition it needs to function. When you eat well, your energy levels increase, you sleep better and your hair, skin and nails improve – all big confidence boosters. If you make one change to your diet, let it be this – eat a good breakfast every morning. Starting the day off right will have both mental and physical benefits, and you’ll find some great healthy breakfast recipes that even girls on the go can make in the mornings.

Improve your smile

Do you shy away from showing off your smile? It’s more common than you think but is a problem that can be fixed. Whether you’re concerned about the shape of your smile or you wish your teeth were whiter, you can either learn to love what you’ve got or do something about it. Visit your orthodontist to find out what your options are. Making improvements to your smile can make more of a difference than you realise, giving you the confidence to flash your pearly whites.

Get in shape

Exercise is important, there’s no getting around it. If you want to feel and look healthy, you’re going to have to start moving. Exercise helps you to feel in control, eases your stress and can help you condition your body, in addition to many mental health benefits. Why not start the day with a run or a long walk to get you outside and get your heart rate up to feel fitter and healthier and build your confidence up as you go along?

Sleep better

Believe it or not, sleep can help your self-esteem. When you’re well rested, you’ll feel more prepared to take on anything and stop feelings of irritability or confusion in their tracks. Sleeping more is one of the ways you can start getting serious about your health for a better outlook and to improve your overall health.

 

Building up your confidence takes time, but by focusing on your health and wellbeing – you can do it. Make some healthier lifestyle changes today and see the difference it can make to your self-esteem

How to Become the Kind of Person You like and Respect

There are many ways of measuring success in life, ranging from the thickness of your wallet, to the titles you have before or after your name, the recognition you get from others, how early you get to retire, or the amount of free time you have at the end of each working day.

But above all, perhaps the most important determinant of your success in life is simply how well you can look at yourself in the mirror and feel a sense of pride and satisfaction, rather than shame and uneasiness.

People will hire experts such as the Sydney Tree Company to deal with the natural scenery on their properties, but they will often neglect to ask themselves one very simple question: “am I the kind of person I would like and respect, if I met myself?”

If the honest answer to that is no, or if you’re not sure what the answer is, here are some tips for becoming the kind of person you can like and respect.

Always tell the truth

Many people go through life telling “white lies” and justifying it to themselves by saying it’s all for the greater good, or it’s to make people happy, or to avoid drama. Ultimately, though, very good arguments can be made that any form of lie is immensely detrimental.

When we tell our significant other that their outfit looks nice, when we think it looks terrible, we’re preventing them from making a positive change which would not only make us happier, but would potentially even affect the way other people would treat them, in a positive way.

When we say “it’s fine” when it really isn’t, we only trade an argument today for bottled up resentment and a much bigger argument later.

Always telling the truth — in a tactful way, mind you, not as a weapon — builds integrity and forces us to hold ourselves to a higher standard, too.

Stop doing things that you’d be ashamed of other people knowing about

Is there anything you do which you would be ashamed for other people to know about? If so, be sure that you’re damaging your self-respect consistently, on a subconscious basis.

While it’s normal to be horrified at the idea of strangers seeing you naked, for example, you are not ashamed by the fact that strangers know you get naked when you take a shower.

But you would probably be ashamed if strangers knew you stole, or betrayed, or wasted opportunities, or were a drunk.

Stop doing things you’d be ashamed of other people knowing about.

Work on improving things by small degrees, day by day

A big part of self-respect is the knowledge that we are capable of facing the world head-on and making the best of. Knowing that we can make positive changes in our lives and master our circumstances is an immensely uplifting thing.

Work on improving the conditions of your life by small degrees, day by day.
Perhaps the house is messy. Tidy it up. Then you’ll like yourself a little bit more. Make similar small, positive changes each day, and your self-respect will rise dramatically.

It’s Time To Start Taking Your Health More Seriously!

Let’s face it, taking care of our health is one of the first things that many of us are taught how to do from an early age. We all know that without taking proper care of ourselves, we could well end up in serious danger both mentally and physically. And yet, in spite of this, many people still insist on living their lives in such a way that they make their health and incredibly low priority compared to the rest of their life. People will often be more concerned about their appearance or the way that their home looks than their health. The reason behind this is often pretty simple. Taking care of your health often involves making sacrifices and tough decisions, which is something that a lot of people simply aren’t ready to do. It can also be pretty difficult to know where to start when it comes to taking better care of your health in the first place. In order to make that just a little bit easier, here are some ways that you can finally stop ignoring your health.

 

Stop hiding from your doctor

A lot of people really don’t like going to the doctor, and that’s kind of understandable. After all, doctor’s offices really aren’t the most pleasant, welcoming places in the world. Not only that but avoiding going to the doctor ties in with ignoring your symptoms. If you go to the doctor when you’re worried about something, there’s a chance that they could potentially confirm your worst fears. However, the truth is that no matter what kind of results or response you get from your doctor, it’s always better to get their opinion as soon as possible. Most of the time they’ll be able to set your mind at ease that it’s not something to be worried about, but if it is something serious, they will be able to offer you potential courses of action that you can take, rather than you just sitting around feeling worried. Some people don’t like seeing their doctor because they worry that they’re going to be wasting your time. Just remember that your doctor would rather you get checked out and it turned out to be nothing, that for you to just sit at home and worry. People also worry about things like medical bills but there are plenty of bulk billing doctors that can help you to save a decent amount of money. Besides, your health is a pretty worthwhile investment!

 

Be more active

Most of us live pretty sedentary lives for the most part. After all, most of us spend our entire workday sat behind a desk and then come home to slump onto the couch until it’s time to head off to bed. If you want to start improving your health, it’s time to get a little bit more active on a daily basis. This means that you need to think about ways that you can fit a little bit of exercise in here and there. A lot of people claim that they are unable to make the time to exercise, but that’s simply not true. Something as simple as walking to work if you can, or going for a stroll on your lunch break can make a huge amount of difference. You don’t need to suddenly become obsessed with going to the gym every single day, but if you’re never doing any exercise at all, that’s going to start to have an impact on your body and your overall health. Not only that but staying active can be incredibly positive for your mental health as well. You might think that spending all day relaxing and sitting around is a great way to treat yourself, but if you do it too often, then you’re just going to end up feeling far worse than you did before.


Stop ignoring your symptoms

One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make is that they ignore symptoms that come up far too often. It can often seem bizarre that someone would do this, but it’s a habit that’s deceptively easy to slip into. After all, no one likes to think that there’s a chance that they could be ill in some way, and so when small symptoms appear, it can often be incredibly tempting to ignore them altogether in the hope that they’re just going to go away. And, you know what, there’s a chance that they just might. However, is that really worth the risk that, if you ignore your symptoms, they could just get worse and worse until they start to cause you real problems? After all, knowing is always better than not knowing because at least then you have the option to do something about it before you reach the point when you can’t anymore.

 

Get your lifestyle in shape

The first thing that you can do in order to start prioritising your health in a more significant way is to make some serious changes to your lifestyle. The most obvious way to do this is to adjust your diet. If you’re not thinking about what you’re eating, then there’s a good chance that you’re filling your body with things that are going to cause you problems down the line. No one is saying that you suddenly have to go on some kind of crash diet. You just need to start thinking a little more carefully about the kinds of foods that you’re eating on a regular basis. The same goes for anything else that you’re putting into your body. There’s nothing wrong with going out and having a few drinks with friends now and then, but if you’re staying out drinking every single night, then you’re potentially doing some serious damage to your body. You probably don’t need anyone to tell you how dangerous smoking is and yet plenty of people insist on doing it anyway. If you want to take the best possible care of your health, breaking those kinds of bad habits is a great place to start.

 

Get the right treatment

Of course, there is always a chance that there is something wrong and if that’s the case, then you need to be sure that you’re making the right decisions. If you do find yourself getting ill in some way you need to be sure that you’re getting the right treatment. This will usually involve talking to a specialist. A lot of the time your doctor will recommend a certain treatment or specialist too you, but it may fall to you to find a specialist off your own back. A lot of the time people feel as though having to see a specialist means that there’s something seriously wrong with them, but the reality is that it’s often just because your GP doesn’t have the specific skills required to help you as effectively as possible.

 

Think about the future

One of the most common mistakes that a lot of people make is that they make the assumption that, because something they’re doing isn’t negatively impacting their health right now, that means that it’s not worth worrying about at all. However, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that that’s not the case. There are plenty of things in your life that can be dangerous or unhealthy, but that won’t actually start to cause any problems for a long time. This is especially true with certain aspects of your lifestyle like your diet, or something like drinking and smoking. You may well be able to go years without feeling any real impact from the things that you’re doing, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not having any impact at all. It’s easy to feel invincible when you’re young, but if you want to start thinking more seriously about your health, then you need to consider the kind of impact your decisions will have in the future. Being able to think about these things can often be a pretty serious challenge and it takes a lot of self-control to make choices that will only really pay off in the long run, but being able to do what’s best for your health, even if you won’t feel the results until years down the line, is one of the most important things that you can do.

Making excuses for not paying attention to your health is one of the most tempting things to do. A lot of the time people claim that they will deal with it another time or whenever they get round to it. But the truth is that your health is just too important to set aside like that. You have to make sure that you make an effort to look after your health now and to commit to taking care of yourself. Otherwise, there will be consequences. Dealing with those consequences is always going to be harder and more unpleasant than taking steps to prevent them in the first place. There are probably a lot of other things that you’d rather spend your time thinking about, but being able to take care of your health means that it’s much easier to set any concerns or worries aside for a while. Your health might not be the most exciting part of your life, but it simply too important for you to ignore.

 

Leaving On A Jet Plane? The Essential Checklist

There’s no doubt that travelling around the world, living and working in different countries, is an incredibly enriching experience – one that will broaden your horizons, bring you new friendships, and make you more memories than you can imagine. But if you have scheduled in a significant time abroad, then it’s not quite as simple as setting up a Skype account and jumping on a plane. There are a few practical matters than you absolutely must take care of. Here are the steps you need to make to ensure that your travel plans are a success:

 

Have a Clear out

Moving overseas for a while means pressing pause on your old life. You may be moving out of your home, so you need to think through a plan for your possessions that it isn’t practical to take with you. If you are planning an especially long move, you can look at shipping services to have items sent to you, but be aware that this can cost thousands. The other option is to find a kind relative that has space to store some of your stuff, or renting space in a storage facility. The more stuff you have, the more expensive and awkward this can get, so use the opportunity to have a major clearout and get rid of any rubbish or unwanted items. Look into what you can sell to make money and fund your travels, and for the rest find a reliable clearance company such as https://www.dirtcheaprubbishremoval.com.au/Fast-Sutherland-Shire-Waste-Removal.php to take away your unwanted items.

 

Make An Itinerary

Although you may be seeking freedom and spontaneity, it is a good idea to plan an initial itinerary to inform your travel plans. This will also enable you to select the correct travel and medical insurance, save up for flights and look into working overseas and visa requirements for your destination. Do some research online into your stopping points – it’s good to know about local customs and culture to avoid any complications, and other travellers may have useful advice about the order or seasons to visit other countries in. Making your plans should be a joyful time. Online guidebooks like Lonely Planet can give really useful pointers and make sure that you don’t miss out on any must-see sights.

 

Prep Your Budget

Think carefully and realistically about what money you will need to support yourself. Even if you’re planning to work once you get to your destination, you will still need a good cushion of savings to use as a deposit on accommodation, ensure that you have the basic necessities and to act as a safety net if you don’t find work straight away. Investigate living costs in the country you’re going to, as they will vary drastically. Also look into the going rate for the work you’ll aim to get, from seasonal fruit picking to teaching English as a foreign language.
Once your essential documents are sorted, you have a realistic travel budget and you know where you’re heading, you have the basics covered. Use these foundations to sort official documentation, any travel vaccinations and the relevant insurances. Good luck with your travels.

De-Clutter Your Home, De-Clutter Your Mind

A cluttered home creates a cluttered mind. If you seem to have things everywhere and you can’t get your house in order, it is a clear indication that you need to get rid of the clutter. Not only will this make your home look better, but it will help you to have a clearer mind in the process too. You will be able to relax, as you will no longer be leaving in the middle of chaos. With that being said, read on to discover how to de-clutter your home and de-clutter your mind in the process.

Be brutal – You need to be brutal. If you have not worse something in the past year, the chances are you are not going to wear it in the coming year. Don’t hold onto things on the off chance that you may need them someday.

Give to charity – If you have items that you no longer want or need, give them to charity. You know what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are bound to be people that need the things you don’t, and it can make you feel good about yourself by helping someone else out.

Make sure you remove all items correctly – Another important step is to make sure you remove all items correctly. Got an old or broken kitchen appliance? Contact a professional company to remove this for you. Have you got electrical gadgets you no longer need or maybe a computer you don’t use? Go to your local electronics store and they should be able to dispose of this for you. Chucking such items in the bin only contributes to landfills and the massive pollution problem we are experiencing around the world.

Tackle one room at a time – De-cluttering can seem overwhelming when you have so much to tackle. Make it easier for yourself by splitting it up into different tasks. Give yourself one room to tackle per day, instead of giving yourself the mammoth task of tackling the entire home in one go.

Follow the one in, one out room – Now that you have created an environment that is free of clutter, you need to maintain it. To do this, you need to follow the one in, one out rule. This means that whenever you purchase something new for your home you need to get rid of something that is already in there to accommodate it.

As you can see, there are a number of different steps you can take to get rid of the clutter in your home and the chaos in your mind as a consequence. Follow the steps that have been presented above and you will be shocked by the difference that this makes.

 

Food for Diabetics: 5 Kinds You Can Choose to Help You Improve Health

Diabetes is not something you can take lightly. It is the kind of diseases where your body isn’t capable of controlling the sugar level in your blood. If you do have such disease, you know that there are foods you need to eat and foods you need to avoid. However, food for diabetics actually varies greatly with its kind often being the whole foods that are not processed. Such food will help you meet your nutritional needs while lowering the risk of diabetes complications.

Option #1: Beans

Beans is your first option here as the food for diabetics. What do you think would make this food good for diabetes? Well, you might have known that diabetics shouldn’t eat white rice. Thus, they are in dilemma to look for good source of nutritional intake for their body. For that reason, you will need food for diabetic people, like beans. You can commonly find this food everywhere around you. Furthermore, beans are already known to be high in fiber and a good source of protein after all.

Protein is a good substance to help you grow and keep strong, while fiber will be of help for bowel contents to pass through the body easily. Based on some researches, it is proven that daily intake of beans can give you better blood sugar control and lower blood pressure. As food for diabetics, beans are practically the cheapest source of protein. So, there is no more reason for you to ignore this food. It is not like you have to eat beans as your only meal plan though. Just be sure to add it in your meal.

Option #2: Avocados

Besides food like beans, you have fruit choice to choose as well. Basically, avocados are known to be rich of monounsaturated fat content. This fat itself is known to be good for the health of your heart. If you get such intake in your body, simply put, you can improve cholesterol levels. Thus, you will be able to decrease the risk of heart diseases eventually. This is a great benefit from such tasty fruit, you know. However, how do avocados have something to do with food for diabetics, anyway?

Of course, I am not including them here if they are not useful to deal with diabetes. Well, you see, as there are researches about avocados being good for the heart, there are also researches showing that they are good for diabetes as well. Although it is not like you can heal diabetes with avocados, the researches prove that good fats like what’s inside this fruit have the capability to lower the risk of diabetes. So, it is worthy food for diabetics to try. Consider this for your own sake.

Option #3: Fish

When it comes to diabetes, you will get big no for meats. However, it is not like you can’t get to eat similar things when you are having diabetes. Need to be known, fish is also one of food for diabetics. So, instead of choosing chicken meat, cow meat, etc., it is better to satisfy your wish of eating meaty food with fish. Fish for diabetics is great. You get various options to choose as well. This way, you can change the kind of fish in your meal plan. Of course, they taste different to each other.

The kinds of fish you can eat are salmon, mackerel, sardines,lake trout, and also albacore tuna. Why do you think these fishes are the food for diabetics? It is because fish is basically low of unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Not to mention, it is very well known to be rich in omega 3-fatty acids. Omega 3 is good to lower the risk of abnormal heartbeats, Alzheimer, and dementia. It can even lower blood pressure as well. It will definitely help you fight against diabetes too.

Option #4: Spinach

People with diabetes should very well eat vegetables too. Basically, green leafy vegetables are recommended because it has been proven by some researches that they can reduce the chance of developing diabetes. That is why vegetables come to be the mainly recommended food for diabetics alongside with fruits. Actually, spinach is the most recommended of all green leafy vegetables. Anyone knows that spinach is good for body. It is even recommended in the cartoon, Popeye.

Actually, there are many important contents it has that will benefit our body. As food for diabetics, this one is good to choose because it is rich of vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, it is known to be super low in calories and carbohydrate. What’s more? It is high in beta-carotene which helps to protect cells from free radicals which are often the cause of chronic illnesses as well as aging. Simply put, it has what is needed to protect you from diabetes. Spinach is tasty vegetable to eat often too.

Option #5: Tea

Let’s end the last option here with beverage type as food for diabetics then. Well, it is beverage and not food, indeed. However, tea is widely suggested as the recommended food to deal with diabetes. Tea is basically known to contain catechins which are antioxidant-rich flavonoids. Mainly, this content helps people to lower the risk of heart disease by dilating blood vessels. However, it is not the only thing tea can do for your health. It is actually can benefit us in various ways. Did you know?

Tea also has the capability to improve cholesterol levels, reduce stress, and even reduce the risk of cancers. Well, of course, it is capable of helping you dealing with diabetes. Either green tea or black tea, you can make habit of drinking it daily. It only has half of caffeine found in coffee, so you don’t have to worry about it. As long as it is not bottled ones, you can really benefit tea as food for diabetics. Drinking tea while they are still hot is good. Remember to not make and drink it with ice.

Description: Food for diabetics varies greatly. Mainly, you will be recommended with fruits, like avocados and vegetables, like spinach. However, there are still others, like beans, fish, and tea.

4 Tips On Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself

Everyone is on a mission to become a better person, whether it be their health, their relationship, or even how they handle their money. Changing who you are and your lifestyle can be challenging, especially if you’ve gotten yourself into routines and bad habits over the years. Sometimes, you may feel like you want to make some changes in your life, but can’t quite pinpoint what you want to change. Take a look at these 4 tips on how to become the best version of yourself.

Focus on your career

One of the best things that you could do for yourself is to focus on your career. This is because the higher you get within your career, the more money you’re likely to be paid. People who have climbed the ladder in the career they are in are often happier and although they’ve got more responsibilities, are more likely to stay in that field of work. Take a look at these ideas on how you can improve your career:

  • If you can’t see yourself working in the same line of work for the rest of your working life, now is the time to make the change. It’s understandable that you might not be able to give up your job to go back to college, but you’re now able to do courses online within the field of work you’re interested in. This means that you will be able to learn new skills for the career you want while you’re still earning enough money to support you and your family.
  • Alternatively, you could seek out a position within a firm that will help you take the right steps towards the career you’re after. So, if you fancy becoming a head chef of a busy restaurant, getting yourself a job within a kitchen would be the perfect place to start. Often, employers will be able to offer you courses while you work so that you can work your way up in the field.
  • If you’re happy with the career you’re in, but would like to move on up the ladder, then make it known to your boss. Once they know that you’re interested in more roles and responsibilities, they will be able to consider you if and when a position comes up.
  • Make sure that within your current job that you’re showing your boss that you’re worthy of a higher position. Finishing your work in a timely manner and taking on extra to help others out would be a good place to start. Try and show that nothing is ever too much and you’ll definitely be considered for a promotion!

Become more active

It’s easy to become stuck in a rut. You begin to notice changes in your body and your mind about the way you feel. If you’re working in an office job, it’s understandable that you might not be very active in your day to day life. Did you know that not only does exercise help you stay trim and toned, but it helps keep you happy too? When you exercise, your body releases a chemical called endorphins into your brain, which in turn makes you feel happy. Being more active will help you lose any extra pounds you’ve gained and also make you a happier person in general. Take a look at how you can make some changes:

  • Use your break times at work to do a circle of your building. It will help increase your exercise levels and also take you away from any stresses in the office for a short while.
  • Invest in luxury home gym equipment so that when you’re at home, you’re more tempted to workout rather than slobbing out in front of the TV.
  • Remember that anything that gets your heart rate up is classed as exercise. Why not spruce up your cleaning regime so that you’re getting a mini work out while cleaning your home?
  • If you take public transport, get off a stop or two early and walk the remainder of your journey. It might mean that you have to leave slightly earlier, but if you’re getting some all important exercise it’s definitely worth it!

Cut out junk food

It’s easy to come home from work, bung some junk food in the oven and devour it in front of the TV. After a long day at work, it seems like the most ideal thing to do. However, junk food not only makes you pile on the weight if you eat too much of it, it can also change your mental health state. We spoke earlier about how exercise releases a chemical into your brain? So does junk food. However, this chemical causes the opposite effect and can leave you feeling down in the dumps. Try and cut out junk food so that not only can you keep your waistline where you want it, but you can also feel happier in yourself! You will also find that once you’ve cut it out and the cravings have gone, that your body will naturally fancy healthier food!

Be selfless

If you’re serious about becoming a better version of yourself, then performing acts of selflessness is the perfect route to go down. While sometimes it might feel like life isn’t on your side, try to remember that somewhere in the world, someone has got it much worse than you have. Being selfless will help someone in need and also give you an extreme feeling of empowerment, so check out these ideas on being selfless:

  • Spend your free time helping a homeless person. This could be in the form of buying them something to eat, or even providing them with more blankets to keep warm.
  • Help out at a women’s refuge. Women flee from domestic abuse and refuges help them regain their independence and keep them safe from whoever is harming them. These women are scared and feel alone, so the friendship and help you could offer will make the world of difference!
  • Volunteer at a care home to read stories or do some activities with the residents. It will make their day and yours too!

As you can see, there are so many different ways of becoming a better person and the best version of yourself, and most aren’t challenging either! Which one are you going to pick first?

Improving the Air Quality in Your Home

From the moment we’re born, our lungs expand and we spend every second of the rest of our lives breathing. So it’s not all too surprising that we start to take breathing for granted. It’s something that we do automatically and without a second thought. We don’t even have to be conscious to carry it out! When we are resting, we take in around twelve to twenty breaths a minute, which mounts up to an astounding seventeen thousand to thirty thousand breaths a day. While we are exercising, this increases, and you can find yourself taking in up to fifty thousand breaths a day. So, when we’re taking in so much air, perhaps we should start giving a little thought to the quality of what we’re breathing in. After all, if its circulating in our systems, we should seriously pay it attention in a similar way to how we focus on the quality of other substances that we put into our system, such as food and drink. So, let’s take a moment to take a look at how air quality can affect our quality of life and what we can do in order to improve it!

 

How Air Quality Affects Us

The air we breathe in has an impact on our physical health and well being. Now, most studies concerning air quality tend to focus on how burnt fossil fuels and other pollutants affect the environment and the Earth’s atmosphere. While this is extremely important (after all, if we destroy the planet that we live on, we cannot be sure what will happen to us), we should also focus on the more immediate effects of air pollution on our individual well being. Numerous studies conducted by scientists and medical professionals have found that as well as negatively affecting the atmosphere, air pollution takes its toll on our bodies. In fact, taking in low quality air can increase your chances of developing asthma and other respiratory conditions. This is why individuals in cities are more likely to suffer from these health issues, as there is more pollution present.

 

Improving Air Quality

Now, we can take measures to encourage local authorities and governmental bodies to put stricter measures into place when it comes to monitoring emissions. However, while campaigning and protesting may be effective, it can take a long time to see action put into play and positive results. In the meantime, there are various measures that you can take to improve the air quality within your own home at least. Here are just a few for you to consider.

 

Odour Control

Air should be odour free, so if you find that there is an odd, lingering odour, you should try to find its source. It’s likely that there will be something unclean at the root of the problem. This needs to be disposed of, so that it no longer continues to emit harmful particles into its surroundings. You can also make use of odour neutralising products like those offered by eComist. These can enhance your environment and atmosphere significantly.

 

Investing in Houseplants

Now, plants are a lovely addition to any property on a purely aesthetic level. They can brighten up your home’s exterior and be placed in decorative pots or interior hanging baskets. But they come hand in hand with a whole host of other benefits too – one being that they cleanse the air! Plants are essential nature’s very own life support system, taking in particulates from their surroundings and photosynthesising carbon dioxide into oxygen. In fact, they are so effective at what they do that NASA have even conducted various studies with plants and how they affect air quality in their International Space Station. Some plants that are particularly good at cleansing the air around them are spider plants, Dracaena, Weeping Figs, Peace Lilies, Boston Ferns and Bamboo Plants. Avoid plants that bloom, as they put pollen into the atmosphere, which can result in reactions and allergies. If you do choose to invest in some houseplants, make sure to whatever you choose is suitable for all of your home’s inhabitants. Not all foliage is suitable for those of us with pets, as various plants that can be found on the market are toxic or hazardous if consumed by cats, dogs, or other common household pets. Steer clear of species such as Sago Palms, Tulips, Lilies and Azaleas. For a more extensive list of poisonous plants, refer to specialist guides.

 

Trying Out Salt Lamps

Heated salt lamps are skyrocketing in popularity amongst those who want to purify the air in their properties. Now, these lamps genuinely look like salt. They consist of a large lump of salt, usually on a wooden base, with the centre hollowed out. In the hollow, there will be a bulb which can light the lamp up from the inside out. Not only do they look great and natural (they fit particularly well into minimalist home design), but they genuinely work too! The heat of the lamp combined with the elemental properties of the salt results in water from the surrounding air being pulled in and absorbed. Bear in mind that water can harbour bacteria, pollutants, and allergens.

 

Have Air Conditioning Installed

While most people associate air conditioning with a unit that simply cools the air, you should consider the name more carefully. It’s called air conditioning for a reason. It conditions the air, reducing moisture in the air and consequently humidity too. The less moisture there is in your home, the less likely your property will be to develop damp, mould and other substances that can negatively affect your respiratory system.

As you can see, air quality is extremely important when it comes to our overall health and wellbeing. So it’s time for us to start prioritising it. Though you may not be able to control the air quality outside of your own home, implementing the steps above into your general lifestyle should allow you to be able to foster a healthy atmosphere within your own property at least!

What Are Your Food Cravings Telling You?

It’s 4pm and you’ve been thinking about fried potato, cheese and chocolate for hours. But it’s more than just a want; it’s a need. Why is it that sometimes our cravings take on a real mean streak? What makes them so potent and what could your body be trying to tell you? Here’s 5 common food cravings and what they mean for your overall health.

1) Chocolate

It’s not just PMS that gets your chocolate cravings peaking. It could be an emotional response to stress and/or depression. All chocolate contains magnesium and theobromine which are known to reduce stress. But dark chocolate comes with an extra mood boost as it increases dopamine and serotonin production. Low serotonin levels have frequently been linked to anxiety and depression symptoms. For a natural dose, try an hour or two in the sunshine as direct exposure to light is known to help increase serotonin. Add some cushions and throw rugs to your backyard lounge to give it an extra inviting feel during Winter.

 

2) Sweet Treats

It sounds crazy but with a healthy diet and lifestyle it’s entirely possible to go a whole day without sweets. Frequent, intense cravings for sugary foods may actually signal something serious. In some cases, this is a sign of diabetes so a visit to your doctor to have your health checked is a good start. Another possibility is a lack of sleep. One study found sleeping 4 hours per night increases your appetite for sweet treats and may cause obesity. It makes sense; if you’ve been burning the candle at both ends your body is seeking a sugar hit to find a way through the day.

So how can you fit in more sleep and banish these cravings? First, by making it top priority. Redesign your bedroom so that it’s a place you want to be, not one that draws you away from streaming TV. Another option is finding space for power naps in your day. Fitting in extra sleep is a proven way to keep your body functioning at its best. A cushioned sofa is all you need to squeeze in an extra 20 minutes of snooze here or there.

 

3) Fried Foods & Cheese

Some days you’re a beacon of health and others you can’t keep those fingers away from potato chips. What gives? This could be your body’s way of compensating for a lack of fat in your diet. But fat is the enemy, we hear you cry! The truth is not all fat is bad for you. A healthy dose of good fats in your diet from things like avocado, salmon and olive oil is essential for your body to function. Simply train your brain to recognise these fat cravings and reach for a healthy dose instead.

 

4) Salty Foods

Craving salty foods is most common when you’ve been sweating. An intense workout leaves you dehydrated and your electrolytes out of whack. What you really need is a glass of water but your brain takes it a step further. Salty foods make you thirsty so your body craves them in order to get your taste buds wanting a drink. Take a leaf out of the athlete’s book and finish an intense workout with a sports drink to rebalance those hydration and electrolyte levels. Be careful not to overindulge though as they’re also high in sugar.

 

5) Ice Chips

A craving for ice chips sounds made up but many people, women especially, are reaching for a glass of crushed ice and not understanding why. If you enjoy crunching ice blocks then you may have an iron deficiency/anemia. The theory is chewing on the cold stuff temporarily increases blood flow to the brain, which is exactly what your iron deficiency is preventing. Other symptoms include fatigue, dizziness and headaches. The only way to be sure is with a blood test so keep track of how often these cravings hit and if it’s frequent head straight for the doctor.

Giving in to cravings is only human but not all cravings are what they seem. It’s not an exact science; food cravings can be misleading. Often, they’re a sign of dehydration and a tall glass of water will nip it in the bud. If they continue for a long time or prove hard to beat then a health checkup with your doctor is the next best step.