Sprucing Your Home Up For Summer

Summer is here and the weather is great! You can bask in the sun in the garden, entertain your friends with a BBQ and splash about in home pools. But many of us will find ourselves overwhelmed by a sense of claustrophobia when we step back into our homes in the evening. Who can blame us? We’ve spent hours experiencing the great outdoors, cool breezes and splashes of water. Then we find ourselves in a stuffy space feeling cramped and uncomfortable. This doesn’t need to be the case. It’s time to spruce up your home and make it hot weather friendly. You should come back indoors and feel content and comfortable.

Have a Clear Out

The first step? Having a clear out. Over the year we amount all sorts of bits and bobs that we don’t really need. Spaces begin to look cluttered and can feel overwhelming. Keep things minimal. Throw out anything that is broken or damaged. Then donate or sell anything that is unnecessary, has no sentimental value and serves no particular purpose. Nice clear surfaces and floors will make your rooms seem bigger and more spacious.

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Have Somewhere to Eat

BBQs are great but you don’t want them for every single meal of the day. Make sure that you have a designated space that’s always clear that you can sit at for a meal. Ensure that your dining room has a large table that everyone can sit at. It’s nice to step out of the sun with your friends or family to enjoy your lunch in the cool and shade. Make sure it’s always clear. You don’t want the hassle of having to move items around while your food is going cold.

Install Air Conditioning

Keep things cool and fresh by installing an air conditioning unit in your house. This may sound excessive, but think just how much you’ll appreciate being able to get to sleep comfortably in a cool room, rather than tossing and turning while you stick to your sheets. Air conditioning will make your home a heavenly retreat from the heat.

Keep Things Green

Having plants around automatically makes a space feel natural, calm and fresh. So get a few houseplants to brighten up your interior and add a touch of nature. They will cleanse the air in your rooms, making spaces feel more breathable and add a dash of color to liven the atmosphere. If you’re worried about the upkeep, not to worry. There are plenty of plant species that require minimal care. Consider succulents and cacti. These don’t need regular watering and will generally take care of themselves as long as they have a bit of natural light.

Open The Windows

We’re all guilty of leaving clutter on our windowsills. But try to avoid this. Leave the space clear, allowing light and air to circulate freely between your room and the outside of your home. Pull up the blinds or make sure that your curtains are pulled back. Things will look brighter and feel fresher in no time.

What To Do When You Need A Little Lift In Life

Unfortunately, none of us are immune to having a bad day now and again. But we can certainly make thing betters by employing some self-care techniques. Just like the ones below. Read on to find out more.

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First of all self-care activities don’t need to be grand gestures. They can be the smallest things. They just have to demonstrate to yourself that you are worth spending a little time and money on and make you feel better than when you started.

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In particular, painting your nails can be a small self-care activity that can make a big difference. This is because it feels good to improve your appearance, and a nice bit of nail art will always brighten your day. But also the act painting your own nails or going to a salon to get them done gives you some time to relax and focus on yourself. Which can be a very de-stressing experience.

Get some advice

Next, if you are feeling in need of a little lift why don’t you make it a priority to get some advice. You could call a friend and talk through the problems that you are facing. Or you could try on of the psychic phone numbers out there.

You could even speak to a trusted college or a member of your church. It doesn’t really matter who you consult, as long as they are understanding and they can offer you some support and advice.

Do your hair

Getting your hair done is an old school tried and tested method of giving yourself a bit of a lift when you’re feeling down. A new hairdo can lift your spirits as well as make you feel like a new person.

But what can you do if this would be the perfect self-care activity, but it’s just too expensive to go to your regular salon? Well, you could always try volunteering to be a hair model at a training salon.

This is why they offer haircuts at a vastly reduced rate because it is learners that will be doing it.

Of course, you have to be willing to go for some of the more on trend and far out styles. But there are experienced hairdressers on hand supervising the process, in case anything goes wrong. So you don’t need to worry about that side of the equation.

Treat yourself to a night out

It can also be a great idea to treat yourself to a good night out on the town. Maybe you feeling low is a good excuse to get the girls together and head out for some cocktails?

Or why not entice your other half into dinner and movie? As spending some quality time with loved ones and friend is often a sure fire route to feeling a little happier.  

Watch something funny

Lastly, if all else fails, then a great self-care activity is to watch something funny on the TV. This could be a new show, or an old favorite that you know is guaranteed to make you giggle every time.

After all, laughing releases dopamine, which is something that you can really help to lift your mood.

Lift Your Spirits Without Resorting To Drugs

 

Depression in a major issue in the West. According to research done by academics in the US, women are more unhappy now than they have been in history, despite all the social progress that has been made since the 1960s. What’s driving it isn’t entirely clear, although many commentators think it has to do with the pressures of work, intense competition and the need to perform in every aspect of life.

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For regular women, the question is what to do about it. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do without having to resort to drugs (although you should contact your doctor if you are suffering from serious bouts of depression as well as continue taking any medication as prescribed). Here are some simple ways you can lift your spirits the natural way.

Cuddle Your Favourite Furry Friend

Research has shown that people who own dogs are happier and live longer. And is that any surprise? Dogs are always in good spirits and never judge you, no matter how bad you look or feel. Dogs always want to play and, unless they are ill, have infectious amounts of energy – just what you need when you’re feeling depressed.

What’s more, simply stroking your furry friend helps to release positive endorphins, making you feel good, no matter how bad things might seem.

Get Some Uplifting Conversation In Your Life

One of the reasons many women are so unhappy is because they are so lonely. If you’ve lost loved ones, it can be hard to move on with your life and do the things you enjoy. Do anything you can. Talk to a friend, try out one of those psychic phone numbers you see posted on the internet, even sitting down with somebody you don’t know in a coffee shop can work wonders. Be brave and seek out conversations. You’re negativity won’t go anywhere if it is left to fester by itself.

Volunteer For Something

Ever wondered why so many people volunteer? Usually, it’s because giving feels good. If you’re not used to giving, give it a try. You’ll be surprised just how significant your help can be and how it can impact people who are in need. There are loads of ways to volunteer, from walking dogs to helping set up a school in the heart of Africa. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you make friends along the way and throw your all into whatever projects you get involved with.

Take A Walk In The Sun

Besides the pressures of life, another reason so many people wind up feeling down is because they don’t spend enough time in the sun. It turns out that the human body absolutely needs the sun, not just for the vitamin D, but to feel alive and healthy. Our body clocks depend on it, and so being shut indoors all day can throw them out of whack, leading to poor sleep and generally feeling miserable.

Do you have any ideas for how to lift your spirits naturally?

Easy Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

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A good night’s sleep is just as important to your health as exercise and a good diet. Research has shown that a bad night of snoozing has an immediate effect on your hormones, brain function and ability to exercise. Bad sleeping habits are also related to weight gain and an increased risk of disease.

In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise more, be healthier, and crack that morning routine so that your days can be productive. Do you struggle to seep easy? Here are my top tips for feeling refreshed and ready, every single day.

Set a sleep schedule

If there is one thing you should do to help you sleep, it’s this. Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends, and you will see an increase in the quality of your sleep. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady and on track, meaning that you will rest better. Exposure to light at the same time each day is also good for you, so stay in sync by opening the blinds or having your morning cup of coffee in the garden as soon as you wake up.

Make your bedroom an oasis

You want your bedroom to be somewhere that you associate with relaxation and sleep. So buy yourself some beautiful sheet sets to snuggle under, decorate with neutral and calming colors and keep the bedroom free from mess. If you work from home, try to keep emails out of the bedroom – by answering messages in bed or working from your bedroom desk, your body will associate this room with stress, and will only end in you not being able to rest properly at night.

Cut caffeine after 2pm

Caffeine is a stimulant which stays in your system for around eight hours, which means that if your bedtime is around 10pm, you will need to stay away from tea, coffee or cola after 2pm. If you have a flat white or an espresso after your dinner, it will either prevent you from entering a deep sleep or prevent you from falling asleep altogether.

Exercise, but not within four hours of sleep

Exercise, especially cardio, helps to deepen and improve the quality of your sleep. However, half an hour of intense aerobic exercise can elevate your body temperature for about four hours, preventing you from decent sleep. When your body does begin to cool down, it will send signals to your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, which will make you drowsy.

Kick out your furry friends

Cats tend to be active in the early hours, and dogs have a tendency to snore, scratch or sniff as they sleep, which will likely keep you awake! More than half of people who sleep with their pets say that they often disturb their slumber throughout the night. On the other hand, if your pet is a good sleeper, there’s nothing wrong with snuggling with your buddy at night!

Ways to Make Cooking Quicker and Easier than Convenience Food

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You’ve just spent 8 hours at work and another 30 minutes driving home, the last thing you want to think about is what to cook for dinner, but you’re hungry and so is your family. You have to do something. You don’t want to make microwave meals again, but takeout is expensive, so you do, again. It doesn’t have to be like this! There are lots of things you can do to make cooking a healthy meal quicker and easier than convenience food.

Make a Meal Plan

Write down every meal you would like to eat for the next seven days and the ingredients you’ll need to make them. Pick up all the vital ingredients when you’re next at the store, print a recipe off the internet and you’ll be prepared to actually make meals for a change.

Invest in a Good Set of Knives

Peeling, chopping and slicing takes a lot of time when you’re working with poorly made blunt knives.Invest in a good set of chef quality knives from Cut It Fine and you’ll see an immediate difference in your chopping abilities and the amount of time it takes. You’ll be able to chop veggies and meat in less time than it takes to cook a microwave meal and you’ll never have to resort to quick fixes again.

Cook in Bulk

If you really can’t spare 20-30 minutes to cook up something nutritious through the week, why not do a spot of batch cooking at the weekend? In just two or three hours you could cook enough soups, stews and sides to feed the whole family for the week and all you’ll have to do is heat it up.

Use a Slow Cooker

If the main reason you don’t cook much is that you’re too tired after a full day of work, invest in a slow cooker and it will transform your life. You can out the meat and veggies of your choice in the slow cooker before you head off to work and when you get home, you’ll have a nutritious hot meal waiting for you. You can’t get easier than that.

Make Oven Meals

If you hate slaving over a hot stove, don’t! Seek out recipes which can be put into one pot in the oven and left alone until their ready. There are lots of these recipes on the Good Housekeeping website, so take a look and see if there’s anything you fancy.

Use Your Leftovers

Okay, so leftovers aren’t always very appetising, but if you’re looking to make a quick and healthy meal, they’re a boon. After all, most of the work has already been done, all that remains is to heat them up and add a few extras to make your meal a bit different to last night’s and you’re good to go.

Now you know creating homemade meals doesn’t have to be a hassle, start experimenting more in the kitchen, chances are you will get to enjoy your time there and if you don’t at least you’ll have eaten well.

 

Keeping Your Skin Fresh: Ways To Feel Good This Winter

Through the winter, it’s particularly difficult to keep your skin in good condition. The cold air and wind can strip it of its natural oils, which makes it more easily damaged. That means that you might have to make a few changes to your skincare routine to keep feeling and looking good…

Keep Hydrated

During the winter it’s easy to forget to drink water. We tend to go for hot drinks instead when it’s cold outside but the sad truth is that a Starbucks coffee won’t be nearly as helpful as good old water at keeping your skin in top condition. The skin is an organ and it’s made up primarily of water – which means that if you’re dehydrated, your skin can start to look dull and lifeless. Make sure that you carry a reusable water bottle with you during the day and that you put drinking water into your daily routine.

Cover Up

We all know that you have to cover up to stay warm in winter and to protect your skin from the winter in the summer, but we never think about protecting our skin in the winter as much. Make sure that you wear a warm scarf and if you’re out in the cold wind, pull it up over the bottom half of your face to stop yourself from getting raw red chapped skin. The same applies with hats – not least because you can lose a lot of body heat through the top of your head so it’s important to wear a hat to stay warm and cosy.

Invest In Skincare

During the winter it’s important to keep on top of your skincare routine. If you have oily skin you might not think that you need to keep moisturising, but oily skin can still be dehydrated. If your current skincare regime isn’t working for you and your skin feels sore and dry, try out a new company like Bioderma skincare – look online to find out which brands might work for you. Ensure that you moisturise carefully before you go to bed, and put on eye cream to save the delicate skin around your eyes from getting too many wrinkles. Use an oil based cleanser to remove your makeup every evening before you go to bed or when you get home from work – even if you have oily skin, this should be effective at rehydrating your skin.

Change Your Makeup Routine

 

Check to see if the colour of your foundation is still working for you – many of us need to go a couple of shades paler in the winter when there’s less sun, although you still need to wear sunscreen with a high SPF under your makeup. It’s harder to stay dewy and fresh faced this time of year, so make sure that you use a blusher that makes you glow, and try strobing to highlight different parts of your face like your brow bone, your cheekbone, and the bow of your lips. Make sure that you keep chapstick in your pocket so your lips are always smooth and unchapped.

Health Issues To Watch Out For

Our health is valuable to us, and so we should try to look after it as best we can. Part of that is be educated about things that are good for us and the things that are not. It is also important to be aware of anything that is risky to our health. To help you build your knowledge on health, read on for a basic guide.

Bacteria

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Bacteria are microscopic organisms that are present just about everywhere. In fact, we have bacteria all over us, and inside us as well. Bacteria sometimes get a bad reputation, but in fact, there are lots of positive jobs that they do for us. For example, in our intestine, there are good bacteria that help us to process and digest our food efficiently.

However, there are some harmful bacteria as well as helpful one such as e.coli and chlamydia. If you have e.coli you will probably know about it very quickly. But it isn’t always easy to tell if you have a bacterial infection, like chlamydia. So you can get a test and find out that way. Then if you test positive, order treatment online.

To protect against bacterial infection you can do several things. The first is to use an antibacterial hand wash or gel, which will kill them on contact. The second is to always make sure that you teach the kids to wash their hands after going to the toilet. This is where a lot of bacteria can be picked up. Thirdly, ensure that you always eat in restaurants that have a high hygiene rating. As they will be aware of the risk of bacterial contamination and will have put processes in place to stop this and protect their customers.

Viruses

Viruses are even smaller than bacteria, but unlike bacteria, they do need a living host to be transmitted. That means they cannot survive for any significant amount of time outside of the body.  Whereas bacteria can. Bacteria can cause even multiple and thrive outside of the body, and that is one to the things that make some bacteria so dangerous.

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Once viruses get into your system, they take over a cell and make it replicate themselves rather than what the cell was originally being used for. Some particularly nasty viruses include Flu and HIV.

Happily, the spread of the virus can be stopped with good hygiene. Hand washing, coughing and sneezing into a tissue can help stop the transmission of viruses from person to person.

For some viruses creating a barrier hat stop bodily fluids passing from one person to another can also help to stop transmission.

Smoking

Most people are now aware that smoking is a massive health risk. Smoking tobacco can affect the lungs and heart. It can lead to COPD which is where the sufferer has trouble breathing and getting enough oxygen.

Smoking is also linked to a higher rate of lung cancer. Cancers are an illness that results from a malfunction within our cells. They are caused when the body’s repair system is triggered and goes wrong. So anything that causes the body’s repair system to trigger often increases the chances that something will go wrong. This is why some people also believe that taking antioxidants is good for you. As they clear up the free radicals in your system and stop them damaging the cells.

The best course of action for any smoker is to give up. In fact, they can decrease the risk of smoking-related diseases to similar of that of a person that has never smoked, over a certain amount of time.

Of course giving up smoking isn’t as easy as all that. That is because nicotine the main ingredient tobacco is addictive. It fools your brain into thinking that it needs it, to survive. When in fact, we can function perfectly well without out. It is just uncomfortable while going through the withdrawal process.

There are products available to help with this, though. You can try e-cigarettes which delivers a dose of nicotine in water vapor. What this does is bypasses all the harmful chemicals that are added to a cigarette. Which is what is mainly responsible for disease.

Or you can give nicotine replacement products a go. Available in lozenges, inhalers or patches, these deliver a steady supply of nicotine, so it makes it a lot easy to break the habit of smoking. Of course, you will need at least some willpower this way too.

Sedentary lifestyle

When watching out for your and your loved one’s health, it’s important to keep an eye on how much activity they are getting. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to all sort of problems like weight gain, depression, and stress on muscles and bones.

Try to build activities into daily life at home that encourage everyone to get up off the sofa and move around. Cycling is a great aerobic activity as it running or walking. Or why not attend a fitness or martial arts class as a family group?

If you would rather exercise separately, then the gym is a positive option. Or there is swimming or why not try an exercise video, so you can workout at home.

Mental health

Mental health can be a tough one to watch out for because no one really now what is going on inside another person’s head. Our individual experience is so subjective that it can be difficult to define what we are feeling, let alone what the feeling of someone close to us are.

Even so, there are some signs that you can look out for if you are concerned about someone you love’s mental state. Sleep is a good indicator. Sleeping more or less than usual can signify a change in mental health. The same goes for the amount they are eating.

A classic sign of poor mental health is when a person withdraws from their friends and family. A depressed person may also stop doing things that they enjoyed up to that point. It is always worth having a conservation with the person that you are concerned about. Ask them if they need some support or help with the issue that they are going through.