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Hair and Scalp Care

Hey y’all! So one of the things I’ve been blessed with my entire life is super thick hair. I mean, when I go to a hair stylist, I usually hear “there’s just sooo much of it” and then something along the lines of “I could do so much with this” which while I know is super flattering and great for me and my future kids, it also means I have to take care of a ton of hair. I personally love keeping my hair silky and frizz-free, no easy task in Florida, and I have to use several products to do so. So if you’ve found yourself lacking a bit in the hair and scalp care department, this post is for you!

  • Get rid of any dandruff with tea tree oil. That’s right, while those shampoos may help you out, they are full of harsh chemicals whereas tea tree oil is not. It’ll give a cool tingling feeling as it works, and get rid of any flakes you may have.
  • Use a hair mask once a week. This is important to help keep your hair healthy. Heat damage is real, and if you don’t protect and nourish your hair, you’ll have frizzy and heat-damaged ends. I use a leave-in conditioner usually on Sundays that stays in for 5 minutes and not only makes my hair smell amazing, but also makes it super silky smooth, perfect to start the week on a good note.
  • Use heat protectant. Use it before you straighten, curl, or blow-dry.
  • Get your hair cut regularly. This one is key too, you can’t have healthy looking hair if you don’t take care of it and lose those split ends that are weighing your hair down. I know it seems counter-intuitive to cut your hair, especially if you are trying to grow it out, but sometimes you just have to do it.
  • Be careful how much you color. I used to dye my hair blonde, and I managed to keep it pretty healthy by using protectants, argan oil, and deep conditioning treatments, but after several years, even with all of that, it starts to show, so be careful how much you color your hair, and make sure your hair stylist uses a conditioning product after each color treatment.
  • Get a scalp massager/brush. They cost maybe $10 at Amazon and can really help you to get rid of any product buildup and make sure you’re really scrubbing your scalp with each wash. Plus, they come in cute colors!

Do you have any tips I forgot to keep your hair growing strong, shiny, and healthy? Let me know in the comments!

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Have a Cup of Tea

Ahh tea, one of my absolute favorite drinks. It’s perfect for hot or cold weather, since you can drink it hot or iced, and there are so many flavors and styles, it’s impossible not to enjoy a good cup of tea. Not to mention, you can drink it however you like, with milk, sugar, lemon, nothing added at all, how you drink the tea is completely up to you. But you know what’s even better than all of that? The health benefits of drinking a good cup of tea.

I’ve been having a cup of tea each morning for months now, and even when I was a kid, my gram and I used to do tea parties each afternoon where we’d enjoy a cup of tea in her tea china. Needless to say, that holds amazing memories for me, and that’s definitely where my love of tea came from. However, if you don’t have something like that that made you a tea drinker, these health benefits may just convince you to have a cup of tea.

Health Benefits of Drinking Tea:

  • Soothes a sore throat. I think it’s safe to say we all want a nice hot cup of tea when we’re feeling sick and have a sore throat. It’s soothing, and there are certain types of tea that are better than others for helping it. Lemon tea is great for helping with that, as are the special Throat Coat teas that are made specifically with sore throats in mind.
  • Helps ease your stomach. A cup of ginger or peppermint tea can help if you are having some nausea or an upset stomach. It’s an all natural way to get feeling better in no time!
  • Helps ease anxiety. Peppermint and chamomile tea are great for helping when you are feeling anxious or stressed. If you’re struggling to sleep at night, chamomile is great as are special blends of night time tea that may include lavender or chamomile.
  • Gives antioxidants. Most teas, but especially green teas, are high in antioxidants which help your body to stay healthy. Having a cup of green tea each day can be extremely beneficial to your health.
  • Wakes you up. Green tea has an all-natural form of caffeine, so if you feel you can’t quite quit the coffee habit, this is a great alternative to help you still get that jolt. Black tea is also full of caffeine, so that’s a great option as well.
  • May help reduce heart issues and cancer. Tea has these things called flavonoids in it, which can be very beneficial for reducing heart issues and even potentially helping protect against cancer. Seems like a great reason to add a cup or two to your diet!
  • Lower cholesterol. Oolong tea has actually be found to help lower bad cholesterol in an animal study, so if that’s a health issue you’re currently working with, it certainly couldn’t hurt to add a cup or two each day to help with that.

The reality is, there are so many benefits to tea, some of which are just relaxation and enjoyment. One of my favorite things that I’ve done with some family friends is going to an afternoon tea and just spending time together over delicious little snacks and several pots of tea.

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Get Your Steps In!

I think by now we all know how important exercise is. However, did you know the reasoning behind getting in your 10,000 steps a day? Of course, most of us have heard of this goal, but we may not know the reasoning behind it. Luckily, I pulled that information, so you now know why you need to get your steps in!

As with most forms of exercise, getting your steps in is not just to torture you, there are real health benefits to it. So check them out and start walking!

  • Increased flexibility. That’s right, just walking can help with that, though I definitely suggest adding something else on too to help keep those muscles loose.
  • Burn fat. It’s a form of working out, so of course, by getting those 10,000 steps you are burning calories and fat.
  • Promote good digestion. This one may be a bit surprising, it’s actually not something I had known about previously.
  • Relieves stress. Especially now that we are getting into cooler weather, there’s nothing like a nice walk outside in the brisk fall air to help you get out of your head and let go of some of that stress.
  • Increases energy. All forms of exercise give you more energy after to tackle what’s left of your day, so make sure you hit those step goals!
  • Improves posture. This one is important for soo many reasons, the top one being, you don’t want to see a chiropractor once a week for the rest of your life! So stop slouching and get walking!

There have also been a few studies showing women especially are less likely to suffer from medical issues if they get their 10,000 steps a day. So ladies, and gents, please make time for this, and use a tool to help you know if you got your steps. If you have an Apple watch or Fitbit, check those stats! If not, pedometers and other fitness trackers are cheap, and easy to use πŸ™‚

Get Enough Sleep

For this wellness tip, it’s all about catching those Z’s! We all know how important sleep is for our bodies, but yet, we never seem to get enough sleep. Did you know that an adult is supposed to get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep a night? I know people who get 5 and think that they can survive on coffee. We’ve all had to pull some late-nights, and as long as it isn’t a common occurrence, it’s not the worst, but if you consistently don’t get enough sleep, try some of these tips.

  1. Take melatonin. If you struggle to fall asleep, try taking a melatonin pill. It’s all-natural and will hopefully help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  2. Try a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are great for anxiety, but they also will help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  3. Drink a cup of tea before bed. Sleepytime tea is one of my go-to’s when I’m struggling to fall asleep, and the soothing blend usually puts me to sleep before I even finish my drink.
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  4. Try stretching before bed. Stretching your muscles is a form of relaxation, and can help you to get sleepy enough to fall asleep.
  5. Stay away from blue lights. You need to put yourself on blue light restriction a few hours before bed, so that means no laptop, no phone, and no tv. And definitely no Candy Crush.
  6. Cool down your house. Did you know that you actually sleep better in cooler temperatures? I personally like to set my thermostat down a few degrees and turn a fan on, that way I can snuggle up under my comforter. Try it and see if it helps you.
  7. Read while in bed. Set time aside to read for 30 minutes and see if that helps your eyes to get tired. Just make sure you’re not reading on an iPad, that will work against you with the blue light. A real book is best for right before bed.
  8. Go to bed at a decent time. This is the most important one, don’t go to bed at midnight if you have to be up at 5 am! I’m one of the only 26 year olds who can happily be in bed before 10 pm, but guess what, I love my sleep, and I’m not ashamed of that fact. I also don’t need coffee to live πŸ˜‰ so just plan out enough hours to help you get enough sleep each night.

I hope these tips help, and I hope you find that with your new extra hours of sleep that you are finding yourself in a better mood, needing less caffeine, and overall living a healthier life!

 

Create a Relaxation Area

For this week’s Wellness tip, we’re going to look into what relaxes us. So I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, the ocean has always been a place that I feel peaceful. I can sit in the sand, hear the ocean waves, feel the salty breeze, and can think through whatever is going on in my life, and I just feel better. I think it’s mainly the sound, there’s something soothing about the sound of waves crashing on the shore. That’s what works for me anyway. Other people have other things that relax them. For some, it’s hearing crickets each evening as they chirp away. For others, it’s hearing nothing at all, just focusing on silence and their breathing.

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Now, how many of you can honestly say that you get to go to your relaxation area each day? Not many, I know that even though I’m near the beach, I don’t get out to it every day, there’s just not enough time for me to do so. Luckily, there’s a way to bring our relaxation to us in our homes, and no, you won’t need a lot of money or even a lot of space necessarily. Creating a relaxation area is something you can do if you only have a small corner of a room to work with or the whole room.

Here are some tips to create a relaxation area in your home:

  • Determine your space. So if you have a spare bedroom that you’re not using for anything, you can use it to create your meditation room or your relaxation space. If you don’t, don’t worry, just find space in a corner of a room or in one specific area of your home.
  • Download some apps. If noises are something that really help to relax you, download some free apps on your phone that will play different sounds. You can easily find a crackling fire or the sound of waves on the shore. With that background, if you close your eyes, you’ll transport yourself to your happy place in no time.
  • Decorate as needed. What colors help to soothe you? Do you find blue relaxing or maybe a mint green to help calm you down after a rough day? Even if you can’t paint an entire room, find a painting or paint a strip of a wall. Add some flowers or something that reminds you of that area. Put a comfy chair for you to sit and relax in the room. Make it nice and clear of all distractions and clutter, so you can focus on your relaxation.
  • Add an essential oil diffuser or candle. Whether you live with essential oils or not, there are plenty of studies showing that certain smells do help with relaxation. If the beach is your thing, there are plenty of ocean breeze candles out there, my favorites are from Bath and Body Works. If you prefer more woods or are going for a meditation room, try sandalwood or lavender scents.
  • Get an eye mask if needed. If you struggle to keep your eyes closed, and are drawn to your phone, put it in another room and get an eye mask for your area. This will help you to keep your eyes closed, and allow yourself to relax for a bit, no matter what time of day.

Whether you have a budget of $500 for this project and can go all out renovating a room or you can only spend $20, there’s a way to make this work for everyone, and then you’ll have a little piece of your personal relaxation all at your fingertips. Now more than ever, with how hectic and go go go our lives are, it’s important to find time to relax and unwind each day. The easiest way to do that is to create a relaxation area in your home.

Ways to Swap Out Unhealthy Foods for Healthy Foods

Hey y’all, so I think it’s been drilled into us enough that healthy eating is super important. The more junk food you eat, the “junkier” you feel, whereas healthier foods will give you energy and nutrients, and help keep you from getting sick. However, we all know, junk food tastes really good sometimes. We are in football season, which means football parties and football food, not to mention we have Halloween and Christmas and Thanksgiving coming up in a few months. All of these things generally mean there are some unhealthy food options in there. Luckily, there are ways to swap out unhealthy foods for healthy foods, and it won’t even be that painful!

Moderation is always what I use when it comes to healthy eating. I’m not big on dieting or diet foods, and I think the instant you cut something out of your diet completely, the more you crave it, or at least, that’s how it has always worked for me. So, rather than do that, it’s better to find a nice healthy balance. With these tips, you can hopefully do just that while enjoying everything the upcoming seasons have to offer.

  • Try non-dairy milk options instead. If you’re noticing that you are having some stomach issues after drinking milk or you just want to try to get away from dairy in general, try almond, coconut, or oat milk. I’ve had all of the above, and since I can no longer have dairy in my diet really, I’ve found that all of the above make great substitutions and in my opinion, taste better than real milk anyway.
  • Lessen the sugar in recipes. I know it may seem like it’ll be a huge deal to start changing recipes, but this is something I did last year for Christmas cookies, and they tasted the exact same, and were healthier with less sugar. Talk about a win-win!
  • Try a lean white meat instead of as much red meat. Again, this is moderation, so don’t cut it completely from your diet, but definitely try swapping it out here and there. White meat is notoriously better for you than red meat, so see how you like it. An easy way to do this is to use ground turkey instead of ground beef in recipes. This is another thing that I think tastes better, so I try to swap it out as often as I can.
  • Get your veggies in your smoothie. I used to be someone who had a strawberry banana smoothie with chocolate in it. Tastes delicious, but I definitely lost the health factor. Now, each morning I have a tropical smoothie with protein powder and some greens like spinach and/or kale. It still tastes delicious as the protein powder gives it an extra sweetness, and I can feel good each time I make one knowing I’m fueling my body rather than putting extra junk in it.
  • Try different fruits for desserts. Let me explain. So instead of a banana split with ice cream, try a banana split with yogurt. Top it with fruit and nuts and even coconut flakes. It’s much healthier, and will still get that sweet tooth satisfied. If you’re craving a different dessert, try cut up bananas with honey and some cinnamon. Again, you’ll satisfy the sweet tooth without having too much added sugar.
  • If you aren’t a huge fan of vegetables, find ways to sneak them in. One way is to have pasta filled with vegetables or even spiralized veggies instead of pasta. For example, I tried a butternut squash stuffed shell recipe this year, and it was delicious. I’ve made it several times, and absolutely love it. If you’re more daring, cook up spiralized zucchini and squash and put some tomato sauce on it. You may not even notice that you’re eating veggies instead of pasta. I can attest, it tastes delicious.
  • Eat baked chips instead of regular. This way, you’ll still get your chips, but they’re a smidge healthier when they’re baked.

I hope these tips help, and that you find something here that helps you to have some healthier options in the future. Let me know if you have any tips you’d like to share!

Get Those Gains

Hey y’all, this post is for those of you readers who want to work on some gains. Well, some of these tips come straight from a coworker and friend of mine who is absolutely crushing it in the health and fitness department, and I figured I’d share some of the tips that she gave to me.

Now, I’m not really focused on becoming a bodybuilder, but I do want to build up some muscle and get my arms especially a lot more toned than they are. I was chatting with my friend about this one day, and since she’s built up her body so much in the past few years and is super dedicated and focused on healthy eating and personal training, I figured I’d ask her for some tips and tricks, anything to really help me in this fitness goal, since I don’t have a lot of information on it.

Well guys, here are her suggestions on how to get those gains, at least a few pounds of muscle, and to really tone up and build.

  1. Do cardio for 30 minutes a day. You really don’t need much more than that, she’s not the only one saying this, there are many studies showing that if you do more than that, you’re not really doing much more for your body. So aim for 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes of moderate cardio each week. This is also good for cardiac health, which is key to survival πŸ˜‰
  2. Do various exercises every other day, taking a rest day in-between. So for example, if you do arms one day, do a whole bunch of different exercises to work all of the muscles, not just the main ones. Same thing for legs, but if you do this, you’ll want to do around 3 sets, and 10-15 reps of each, so you’ll definitely need to take that rest day in between your workouts.
  3. Build it up slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your muscles be. So take it slowly, and build up the weights slowly. If you’re like me and are working with dumbbells, rather than building up the weights, you’ll want to build up the sets. Just take your time, don’t move too fast because an injury will put you further behind.
  4. Use protein powder to help. Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, and an easy way to do this is with protein powder. Every morning I make a protein smoothie for after my workout, for several reasons. One, it helps keep me full throughout the day, and two, it helps my muscles repair themselves after each workout, which is very important.
  5. Listen to your body. This may be the most important one, if your body hurts or something doesn’t feel right, listen to your body. Take an extra day off, make sure that you’re not pushing yourself too much to where you’ll suffer an injury. I know from experience that pushing yourself too hard, only results in you falling further behind on your goals, so take it from me, if your body is saying no, listen to it.
  6. Eat well. This is also key to building up those muscles, eat healthy fruits, veggies, and lean meats, and don’t be afraid to have several meals in a day. As long as you’re eating healthy things, don’t feel guilty about snacking. Snacks are important when you’re trying to build up your gains, so make sure you have good snacks like an apple in peanut butter or hummus and pita chips. Even trail mix is a great option with the nuts and dried fruit.

I hope these tips help, and if you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

Witch Hazel for Astringent

Hey y’all have you ever taken a good look at what’s in some of your skin care? I hadn’t until a few years ago, and I was absolutely blown away by the amount of chemicals, including just “fragrance” which was in everything, including my face toner! Did you fragrance, in that form, not a natural fragrance like we may think of, has actually been linked to cancers? Yeah, definitely not something you want on your skin, even if it does help keep your face clean and clear. Luckily, I found something all natural, that does the same thing. Witch Hazel!

 

That’s right, I was able to cut out that chemical filled astringent out of my beauty routine with a simple replacement, that’s actually cheaper too. Talk about a win-win. I get to save money and stop putting chemicals on my face that are then absorbed through my skin. I can’t say how these companies are getting away with this, but I do know that you have to be very careful about what products you use. I would have never thought that something I use to help with acne would be chock-full of chemicals, including a bunch that are on the list of known carcinogens. I feel bad, I’ve been using these products since I was a teenager, so knowing that I just didn’t even check what I was putting on my face isn’t the best feeling. But such is life, and now I’m sharing what I found with you all.

 

You can get Witch Hazel at any store, just a generic brand works fine, I really don’t think there is a difference. And it’s not just me that says to use this stuff, Zendaya has mentioned it in interviews for how she keeps her skin clear too!

Protect Your Skin

It’s summertime and we all know that means working out in the summer sun, laying on the beach or at the pool working on our tans or just getting more sun than usual, even on your lunch break. With that being said, it’s super important that you protect your skin during all seasons, but this one especially.

I got diagnosed with a form of skin cancer a couple of years ago, and had to have part of my skin near my fingernail removed. I can happily say they got it all, but I can not so happily say that my cuticle didn’t grow back quite right in that area, and I have to see my dermatologist every 6 months for a checkup at this point in perpetuity. Now, I have actually been pretty good about applying sunscreen before I go out to lay at the pool or at a day at the beach. But I wasn’t always, and I remember going out to the beach in high school and bragging that I didn’t burn, I just tanned and that I didn’t need sunscreen. Stupid, foolish high school me. Obviously, I’ve learned my lesson since then, and am working much harder at protecting my skin, but I see so many people still being really nonchalant about their skin health. Guys, I love the sun, but I also know it is super dangerous, so if protecting your skin isn’t your priority, hopefully these tips will help. Take it from me, having surgery to remove skin cancer, not fun.

  • Cover your skin if you can when the rays are severe. That’s right, in this summer sun, a baseball cap or floppy hat is your hairline and face’s best friend. You know what else is great? Those UV repellent clothing options are great too. So are lightweight long sleeves, they’ll help keep your skin safe.

Floppy Hat

  • Apply and reapply sunscreen. It’s not enough for you to apply it once and then be done with it for the rest of the day. You have to reapply, especially if you are sweating, which it’s summer, that usually comes with the season. This goes for your regular sunscreen as well as the sunscreen you put on your face each morning ladies. Reapply! You’ll thank me later.
  • Avoid the worst times of day. In the middle of the day is when the rays are the absolute worst, so if you can, avoid going outside at that time. I used to schedule my beach days in the mornings, and then we’d be done around lunch time, which was perfect to get a smoothie or a sub and get some much-needed air conditioning.
  • Wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy. Did you know you can still get burned even in cloudy weather? The clouds don’t always block the sun’s harmful rays 100%, so make sure you apply that sunscreen even when it seems like you may not need it.
  • Wear sunglasses. These will help protect the skin around your eyes, not to mention let you see in the sun. Wear them, love them, just don’t forget to clean them.
  • Bring shade with you. There are these chairs that have little shades that pop up and if you like to frequent outdoor games or summer concerts, these are perfect for them, especially if you don’t have a covered seat! They’ll give you shade wherever you are, and are attached to the chair. I have a few of these myself, and they are fantastic.

Hopefully these tips will help you protect your skin and stay safe during this summer. The final piece of advice is to see a dermatologist. I promise, the visits are mostly painless, and it’s better to find something sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more likely it could turn into melanoma, and if it gets that far, you’ll have more than just some weird colored skin or a little section of it scraped off. Take care of yourself and your skin, and stay protected from the sun.

No Gym Gym

If you’ve made some resolutions and health goals, but unfortunately can’t find it in the budget for a gym membership, I have news for you. You don’t need one! You can achieve your health goals without having to pay for an expensive membership or the expensive equipment that some use to build their own home gyms. Check out my suggestions for a no gym gym, that uses things you already have or can get pretty cheaply.

  • Run outside. Fresh air is free, and with sunrise being earlier and sunset being later, there is no time like the present to get outside before or after work and taking a brisk walk or run. You can even alternate between the two. Just make sure you keep your heart rate elevated for 30 minutes each day to truly get the cardiac benefits.
  • Use chairs to help with stretching. As someone who did ballet, I had to practice even when I wasn’t in the dance studio taking my lessons. However, I never had a ballet bar installed in my house, which meant I had to get very creative. Even though I no longer do recitals or take lessons, though I may go back to it, I still remember some of the stretches and practices, and have found that using the back of a couch is a pretty close second to a ballet bar. A hard backed chair works as well, just make sure it is firm enough to support your ankle and not too high to where you are uncomfortable while stretching.
  • Utilize your swimming pool. This may be surprising to some, but your pool can be used for more than lust-worthy Instagram pictures. You can swim laps, as well as do different core workouts! And if you have a pool or a community pool, you can get a workout in for free.
  • Try free classes in the area. If you think you’d like to take a class in the future and have the money for it, try some out on a trial basis to find the right fit for you. You don’t want to get locked into a membership if you find out that you really hate yoga and can’t stand hearing the word “namaste.”
  • Get a cheap pair of dumbbells for your arms. That’s how I get my arm workouts in each day, I don’t have any fancy equipment, just two 5 pound dumbbells that help me keep my arms toned. I may not be able to up the weight, but I can change the different sets and reps and exercises that I do to get all the muscles worked out.
  • Use an exercise band. These are also really inexpensive, but can help a lot with stretching and even resistance training.

There are so many ways to have a no gym gym, and most of it is completely free. You just may have to think a little bit outside of the box, but it’ll definitely be worth it.

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