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Take Care of Your Skin This Winter

It’s finally getting cold here in Florida, and my skin is feeling it! I usually deal with chapped lips, but my hands are getting in on it too, and they are cracked and peeling with all this dry cold weather. Luckily, there are several ways to tackle this, and take care of your skin this winter, and it’s in perfect time for Wellness Wednesday!

  • Get a good hand lotion. I don’t mean a regular lotion, I mean one specifically made for dry, cracked skin. The other stuff will help temporarily, but you really need something to moisturize for a while and specifically for this type of skin. Jergens has an option that works, as does Aveeno, and Vaseline. I used the Vaseline one this evening when my hands were absolutely bright red and cracking, and it helped so much!
  • Stay hydrated. Part of dry skin is dehydration, so it’s important to keep up your water intake even in the winter. I know this can be difficult since we aren’t as likely to feel thirsty, but trust me, your skin will thank you.
  • Try sleeping with lotion gloves at night. I got a pack of keratin gloves for my hands in a subscription box and they are specifically made to help keep your hands in great shape all winter long.
  • Use a moisturizing hand sanitizer. We are in the midst of cold and flu season, which means I am washing my hands even more than normal and using hand sanitizer, both of which dry your hands out even more, which is why I was so excited when my friend sent me a lotion that was also a hand sanitizer. Now I can keep my hands germ free, and moisturized all season long.
  • Wear gloves while doing dishes. If you find that your hands are getting even more dried out after doing chores, wear gloves while you do them! Keeping your hands dry may give them more time to heal and not get as dried out.
  • Try a hydrocortisone cream if it gets really bad. If you’ve been ignoring it for a bit, a regular lotion may not work as well, but a hydrocortisone cream should get your hands back to normal.
  • Put an antibacterial cream on any open spots. If your hands have gotten to the point where they are cracked and bleeding, make sure you take care of those spots to avoid an infection. Keep them clean and use an anti-bacterial cream.

While we certainly can’t prevent dry skin, we can fight back against it. These tips help me out during the winter months, and hopefully they’ll provide you some relief as well!

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Try Essential Oils

Hey y’all, so with the holidays coming up, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and then BAM Christmas, I think it’s safe to say everyone’s feeling the stress a bit more. I know I sure am, and when I get stressed, I start looking for different ways to help me handle the stress. One way that is a great option for many people is essential oils. While I certainly don’t believe essential oils can cure everything, I do think that a pleasant scent while you are dealing with potentially unpleasant emotions or feelings can make a huge difference in stress levels.

Scientific evidence backing up the use of essential oils is slim, but I know for myself, whether it’s a placebo effect or not, breathing in certain scents helps me to calm down and relax for a bit. There are many people who will agree with this sentiment and have found using essential oils to be beneficial in several ways.

Certain scents help with certain things, so depending on what’s going on with you, you may need a different scent than one I would reach for during the holiday season. Here are the associated health claims with each one.

  • Peppermint is used to boost energy and aid in digestion (while peppermints themselves are great for eating, you don’t want to eat peppermint essential oils, just enjoy the Christmas-y scent they bring πŸ™‚ )
  • Lavender, Bergamot, and Sandalwood are all used to relieve stress and help with relaxation
  • Rose helps with anxiety
  • Chamomile is a mood booster and helps with relaxation (a cup of chamomile tea is one of my favorites after stressful evenings)
  • Ylang-Ylang helps with headaches and nausea
  • Tea Tree helps with fighting infections and immunity (tea tree oil on your scalp can also help relieve dandruff, just make sure to use a small amount)
  • Jasmine helps with depression
  • Lemon helps digestion, mood, headaches, and more. It’s also a great scent for kitchens, very fresh and clean.

If you want to find out more information about essential oils, check out this article https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-are-essential-oils#types It’s a great resource for those who are interested in trying these out.

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Recently, my household has been dealing with a shoulder injury. Nothing too serious thankfully, but enough so that a doctor visit was necessary, and so is an ice pack and rest. Inflammation can be a serious issue, especially if ignored for a while, but luckily, there are ways to help improve it. I started whipping up an anti-inflammatory smoothie to help with this issue and reduce inflammation naturally.

You’ll Need:

1 cup of coconut or almond milk

1 scoop of Tone It Up Vanilla and Greens protein

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon honey

Frozen fruit of your choice

3 teaspoons flaxseed

Preparation:

This is the simple part, throw it all together in a blender, and then enjoy! If you want to change up the thickness, add more fruit, if you prefer a thinner smoothie, use less fruit or add more milk.

It won’t cure inflammation, but with those superfoods in there, it can certainly help your muscles to heal and start feeling better!

Journaling

Hey y’all so for this Wellness Wednesday, let’s talk about journaling. I am actually new to journaling. I kept a diary for a bit when I was a tween (I mean, what girl didn’t), but I never really got into that, and so when journaling really started becoming popular, I was iffy about it. Well, I am here to tell you that I am ready to give it a shot!

You may be wondering, what made me change my mind about journaling. First, as a psychology major, I try to keep up with things related to mental health, so that means anything new as far as ways to help improve your mental health, ways to relax, ways to rewire your brain in a positive way, I want to hear about it and learn about it. Journaling is no different, especially since there are many journals that guide you through the process and only take a few minutes out of each day. Studies are showing that journaling has a positive impact on reducing stress, helping you to let go of anxieties, and even rewiring your brain to think in a more positive manner. I mean, with all of that going for it, I figure, a little more positivity can never hurt!

I went ahead and bought two very different journals to get started. The first is a two minute morning journal. It’s designed to help you “win every day” and one of the ways it does that is by having you write down something you’re letting go of today. You also write what you’re grateful for, every single morning when you get up. They say, the more specific the better, and here’s where the sign behind that comes into play. When we focus on things we are lacking in our lives, we become a little more down about things, especially when bad stuff happens, and we forget all the great things we have. By putting those thoughts in your head first thing in the morning, you’re making your brain think about positive things and keeping it at the forefront of your mind right at the start of your day, which will help you have a more positive and upbeat attitude about things in the future, even if your day takes a turn for the bad. The second journal is a bit different in that it has several journeys for you to go on, thus providing journaling in different areas for your life for a long time. There’s a spiritual, achievement, humanitarian, mending fences, self-discovery, and more. I figured, that is definitely something worth exploring, even if you’re pretty certain you know who you are and what you believe or what you want out of life, taking a deeper look could help clarify some things for you.

journaling

So give journaling a try, if it’s not for you, no harm done, but if you find it helps you out in any way, even if it’s just giving you some time to sit down and unwind, then it was definitely worth it.

Skincare Must Do’s

Hey y’all so one thing I’ve really been focusing on lately is my skincare. It’s soo necessary, especially as we age, and there are so many things that can help. So for this Wellness Wednesday, it’s all about our skin.

Fun fact, did you know the skin is the largest organ on the body? Since that’s the case, it’s more important than ever to take care of your skin.

Here are some skincare must do’s:

  1. Drink water. This is the biggest thing you can do, your skin will be glowing and you’ll feel great!
  2. Apply a face mask once a week. As someone with sensitive skin, this can be a bit difficult sometimes, and it took some trial and error, but I finally found some that worked well for me and relax my skin without causing irritation. It’s also great for self-care.
  3. Remove your makeup each night. I’m not going to lie, I slack at this one way too often. But there are studies saying it can age you, not to mention give you acne and other skin issues, so make sure to set aside some time to remove it every single night.
  4. Use a toner. Even if you don’t have oily skin or an acne issue, use a toner. It’ll help even out your skin tone and keep your skin from getting oily or acne-filled.
  5. Moisturize. Again, sometimes with oilier skin you may think you don’t need any more moisture, but moisturizing is good for your skin, especially as we get into colder weather (everywhere but Florida anyway).
  6. Exfoliate weekly. Even if you wash your face every day, build up can still happen, so make sure you exfoliate each week. It’ll help clean out the buildup and gunk that can gather.
  7. Get a good cleanser. There’s no question that you need a quality cleanser for your skin. I’ve tried several kinds, my favorite is one by SheaMoisture and they have several options.
  8. Use a jade roller. This is good if you deal with puffiness under your eyes or wake up with some puffy skin one morning. The best part, you can put it in the fridge and it’ll really cool your face down.
  9. Stop touching your face! Again, this is one thing I’m horrible about, but I’m trying to work on it every day. Touching your face multiple times can cause wrinkles, acne, and more.
  10. Eat for your skin. You are what you eat, so make sure you are eating healthy foods and nourishing your body and your skin. Cucumbers are not just good for over your eyes πŸ™‚

 

Get Your Greens

Hey y’all so by now we’ve all heard it enough since we were kids to eat our greens. In fact, it’s just as important now to eat your greens as it was then. No, you’re probably not still growing into a big strong kid, but your body still needs that fuel and for this Wellness Wednesday, it’s all about getting your greens!

A colorful plate is a healthy plate is what health experts are saying, and while it’s tempting to look at a bowl of M&Ms or Skittles that’s not quite what they mean when they talk about a colorful plate. Instead, think about veggies!M&M's Chocolates in Bowl

I personally have always been pretty good about eating my vegetables, even since I was a kid. I always like broccoli, green beans, peas, even lima beans. But thankfully, my palate has expanded since then to now include other greens like kale, spinach, and asparagus. However, I understand that not everyone loves these things, which is why there are some easy ways to sneak it into foods, so you won’t even taste it. These tips are great for if you have kiddos too or simply struggle to make those healthy meals each night!

Get your greens tips:

  • Blend them in a smoothie. Adding fresh or frozen kale or spinach to a smoothie automatically bumps the healthy up a level, and with it blended with other fruit and delicious protein powder, you won’t even taste it! I even found a protein powder that has greens and the protein, I ordered some this weekend and once it arrives, I’ll start making my smoothies that way. If you’re interested, it’s Tone It Up Greens and Vanilla Protein Powder. Their protein is plant-based, and tastes fantastic.Clear Glass Bottle Filled With Broccoli Shake
  • Add them to pasta dishes. I know when I was a kid, I was a bit of a picky eater, but you know what would guarantee I’d eat it? Put it in pasta. I’d eat anything if there was pasta over or under it, and sadly, that hasn’t changed. But it’s a great way to get some spinach or even zucchini in your diet, without really noticing the taste.unnamed (2)
  • Speaking of zucchini, did you know there are zucchini brownies and muffins out there to make? They taste great, and I can assure you, you won’t even taste it. One of my favorites is pumpkin zucchini muffins, which you can find the recipe here.Β 
  • Eat them with rice for a delicious power bowl. These can be prepped ahead of time, and are so easy to make. Just start with a bed of brown rice, then add your favorite veggies, heavy on the greens, and voila, you have a delicious and healthy lunch that didn’t take too long to prepare.
  • Add them to casseroles. With the blend of different flavors, you won’t even realize you’re eating a whole bunch of veggies, because it tastes so good! There’s a plethora of healthy casserole dishes out there, all you have to do is a quick web search to pull up some recipes.
  • Make a veggie soup. Simple, delicious, and perfect for the cooler weather, soups can be a wonderful option for dinner with sandwiches or bread or salad, and you can get plenty of greens in there.

 

Get an Air Purifier

Whether you are a pet owner or you suffer from seasonal allergies, getting an air purifier can be a great option for you to upgrade the air in your home. As a pet owner, I of course have air purifiers in my home specifically designed for pet dander, and as a seasonal allergy sufferer as well, let me tell you, these things are amazing.

I personally use Levoit air purifiers in my bedrooms, and they work fantastic! If one of your concerns is the noise, cast that care away, they have night modes, as well as run nearly silently. I keep mine running on 2 out of 3 levels, and I don’t even hear it. They are also very small, so they can sit on the floor or on a dresser without taking up too much space, which is nice if you have smaller rooms.

air purifier for bedroom

The only thing I will warn any pet parents on is getting an air purifier that has an ionizer. Unfortunately, ionizers release ozone into the air as a byproduct, which can actually be harmful to small creatures, especially within the house. So opt for one that doesn’t have that option, and you will be well on your way to combatting some of you allergy meds and just having cleaner air throughout your home.

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!

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.
    cup of tea pic.jpeg
  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.

pexels-photo-248797

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.

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