Spring Exercise Tips & Outdoor Workouts to Enjoy this Season

Spring is officially here and the weather is here to prove it! What better way to celebrate than enjoying the great outdoors? Now that the weather is warming up for the spring, take advantage of the change in season. Read on to find workouts and activities to do outside to get fit in nature while enjoying the nature around you, along with tips on what to do before and after your spring outdoor workouts to keep you feeling healthy all season (and year) long!

 

Couple Doing Outdoor Workouts Together in Spring

 

Tips for Outdoor Workouts

 

Have a Warmup Session

Warming up for exercising outdoors is just the same as if you were about to do a gym workout. Warmup sessions help prepare your body for movement, which helps reduce your risk of injury or strain during your workout. Try some stretches and low-intensity exercises to get ready to work out in nature safely and effectively.

 

Dress Appropriately

The right clothes can make or break your outdoor workouts! With so many different outdoor activities, be sure to check which gear you might need to be safe during your excursion. Wear something that is breathable and comfortable for what you’re about to do, and double-check to see any additional items like harnesses, life vests, or helmets are needed.

 

Wear Sun Protection

Even if Earth Day takes place in the spring and not during the hotter months of summer, the sun can still definitely take its toll if you aren’t prepared. Always put on sunscreen when doing a workout in nature and consider wearing other sun-protective items like hats or light jackets to keep the sun damage at bay.

 

Stay Hydrated

Hydrating is one of the most important things of any workout, especially if you are exercising outdoors! Outdoor workouts typically mean exposure to the sun and less access to fresh water, so be sure to bring a water bottle to ensure you stay healthy and avoid serious dehydration.

 

Recover with an Infrared Sauna

Hitting the sauna after working out can make your outdoor fitness efforts even more worthwhile. Not only will your muscles heal quicker, but you’ll also feel more rejuvenated and extend the benefits of exercising well past your workout. Using a sauna enhances the muscle recovery process by increasing blood circulation and helps relieve muscle tension.

 

Couple Riding Bikes and Exercising Outdoors

 

9 Ways to Workout in Nature

 

Biking

Cycling has plenty of benefits for both the mind and body. To start, it’s a great lower body workout that works your quads, hamstrings, and calves. It’ll also help you get your cardio in, and therefore improve your cardiovascular health. 

Plus it’s non-weight-bearing, which makes it a good option for people dealing with joint pain or injury. Pedaling while maintaining balance and steering also improves your coordination. A bike ride is great for your mental health too! Cycling can relieve stress and boost mood, plus it’s a great opportunity to bond with your friends and family.

 

Hiking

Hiking can be a peaceful walk in the park or a heart-pounding workout. Hiking tones your lower body, and upper body if you use poles. It’s great cardio to keep your heart healthy and boosts bone density as a weight-bearing exercise. Feeling stuck? Hiking can improve creative thinking and problem-solving. As you make your way down the trail, you’ll hear nature sounds like birds and rushing water. These sounds are proven to have a calming effect. Hit the trails today, and see the health benefits of hiking for yourself!

 

Jogging

Jogging is often defined as running at a pace less than 6 miles per hour and, like running, it improves your cardiorespiratory health and boosts your mood. Aside from the physical health benefits of jogging, there are also many psychological benefits as well. Some of these include increased mental flexibility, confidence, stress relief, and the emotional boost of the runner’s high. Jogging is a cardiovascular exercise. Such activity sends more nourishing blood to the brain, which can help you think more clearly. It also releases your natural mood-elevating compounds.

 

Friends Kayaking in Spring to Workout in Nature

 

Kayaking

Lovers of kayaking often say the biggest draw is the peace and serenity of being on the water. Research shows that kayaking has benefits to our physical and mental health. Kayaking works your upper body, increasing muscle strength in the back, arms, shoulders, and chest. It also works your core strength and leg strength for kayakers. It is also low-impact, creating a smaller risk of injury or strain, and improves your heart rate and cardiovascular health. Paddling has mental benefits, too. Being out on the water has a calming effect on the brain, and can help lower stress and anxiety levels.

 

Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is an excellent workout while getting you some quality time exercising outdoors. Few activities provide such an extensive range, from upper body training to leg work and core strength building. At the same time, it’s also a fairly low-intensity and fun thing to do. SUP outdoor workouts can be as laid back or intensive as you want them to be. Paddle around calm waters and activate your core, or step it up by doing SUP yoga to help engage your muscles for a full-body workout.

 

Rock Climbing

Exercise is all about engaging your muscle – from your heart to your biceps and quads – and asking those muscles to perform work. And when it comes to activating and training a diverse range of muscles, few exercises rival climbing as climbing is a more complex movement than most exercises. No climbing surface or route is quite like another, so the work you ask your muscles to perform during a climb changes each time you exercise. Make sure you have the right safety gear in place and see nature in a way you haven’t seen from the ground!

 

Friends Playing Tennis in Spring for Outdoor Workouts

 

Sports

This is a broader option for exercising outdoors, which makes it an option for nearly anyone! From tennis to soccer, find a way to get active on the court or the field to really enjoy being outside. Playing a sport with someone is a great way to be social and bond while reaping the benefits of exercise and being outdoors. You certainly don’t have to be a pro to play a sport! Play with someone who is on the same level as you to have a friendly match. Who knows, maybe your one-time outdoor sports workout may grow into a new hobby!

 

Swimming

Swimming is another great low-impact exercise, which means it allows people recovering from injury to stay fit without straining their bodies. The water also provides resistance, which increases muscle strength and tone as you swim. Lastly, swimming stretches your muscles and increases flexibility. Swimming helps you relax and destress. Floating in the water dulls the sensory information that can overwhelm, creating feelings of calm. The rhythmic movements and breathing can also provide meditative benefits.

 

Yoga

Seeking some peace and stability, while enjoying the fresh air? Outdoor yoga could be for you! The combination mind-body workout of yoga pairs perfectly with the all-over health benefits of time spent outdoors. Feel your worries melt away as you breathe in the fresh air and focus on your wellness. Contact with nature has been found to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, help mitigate disease, and reduce stress levels. The combination of peaceful yoga with nature makes for a great mental and physical exercise this spring.

 

This spring, make a point to get outside and be active! There are plenty of outdoor workouts for every skill and activity level to “spring” into fitness for anyone. Use these tips and ideas to workout in nature and fully appreciate the change in season while keeping your body healthy and happy.

The Side Effects of Stress and 15 Stress Management Techniques

Unfortunately, stress is a common factor in our lives, from work to personal life. Stress is a natural and healthy response in some situations, but suffering through chronic stress can have lasting side effects on your health. Luckily, there are many stress management techniques available to help relieve stress and anxiety for a happier and healthier life. Read on to learn more about the impact of stress on our health and what you can do to help manage it.

 

What Causes Stress?

 

On a very basic level, stress is caused by experiences that your body perceives as challenging on a physical, mental, or emotional level. Stress is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone when changes or challenges (stressors) are experienced. Your body then produces physical and mental responses.

Stress isn’t always a negative response, as it can help you adapt to stressful experiences to help your body better manage the situation. Short-term, acute stress is perfectly natural and easily manageable. On the other hand, long-term, chronic stress can have a serious impact on your health. Prolonged periods of stress without the ability to relax or recover can have lasting effects on your mind and body. Poor stress management can also lead to the development of unhealthy coping habits such as excess drinking, eating disorders, and even drug use.

Common Causes of Stress

Caring for a family member Increase in financial obligations
Chronic illness or injury Job situations
Death of a loved one Mental health
Divorce Moving to a new home
Fear and uncertainty Traumatic event
Getting married Unrealistic expectations
Health conditions World events

 

Symptoms of Stress

Aches and pains Jaw clenching
Anxiety or irritability Muscle tension
Chest pain Panic attacks
Depression Racing heart
Exhaustion or trouble sleeping Sadness
Headaches, dizziness, or shaking Stomach or digestive problems
High blood pressure Weak immune system

 

The Side Effects of Stress

Abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia) Heart attack
Asthma attacks Heart disease
Changes in sex drive Heartburn
Depression High blood pressure
Digestive issues Irritable bowel syndrome
Fertility problems Skin problems
Flare-ups arthritis Ulcers
Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) Weight gain or loss

Stress Management Techniques

 

Yoga

When feeling stressed, stretch it out. Yoga is the perfect way to wind down and relieve stress, as it has the potential to get both your body moving and your mind resting. If you are home, set up a quiet space to dedicate some time to focus on your poses, breathwork, and even meditation. You can release even more tension by doing hot yoga in a sauna. No space for a yoga mat? You can still destress with some simple sitting and standing yoga poses.

 

Sleep

Sleep seems to always be on lists for better health, and for good reason! A lack of sleep can seriously contribute to increased stress levels if you are feeling tired throughout the day. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can cause stress… and stress can cause lack of sleep. If you find your mind racing with stress before bedtime, it might be time for a new nightly routine. Dedicate some time to unwind before bed to help you sleep better and reduce stress the next day.

 

Sauna Use

Using an infrared sauna offers a wealth of health benefits, and one that everyone can benefit from is stress release. For starters, your sauna session can be your own personal escape to have 20 minutes all to yourself. On top of the mental break, infrared saunas can help ease muscle tension you may be feeling from stress and can help improve your sleep, which in turn helps reduce stress. You can also add sound therapychromotherapy, and aromatherapy to your sauna session to add extra touches of relaxation.

 

Meditation

Meditation brings short-term stress relief as well as lasting stress management benefits. There are many different forms of meditation to try – each one is unique and brings its own appeal. You might develop a mantra that you repeat in your mind as you take slow deep breaths. Or, you might take a few minutes to practice mindfulness, which involves being in the moment. Another option is guided imagery where you imagine yourself being in your “happy place”.

 

Leisure

Leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Yet, many people feel as though their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun. Building time for leisure into your schedule could actually be key to helping you feel your best. When you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient. Whether you find joy in caring for a garden or you like making quilts, hobbies and leisure are key to living your best life.

Digital Breaks

Looking at a screen all day and all night can lead your mind to constantly be running. The pressures of news stories, social media, work, and other obligations can be hard to escape when we are always engaging with them. Start dedicating some screen-free time to your day to decompress from a digital overload, and try to do it right before going to bed to help you wind down. It’ll be better for your mind and be a nice rest for your eyes.

 

Exercise

Physical activity is key to managing stress and improving mental health. And the best news is, there are many different kinds of activities that can reduce your stress. Join a gym, take a class, or exercise outside. Keep in mind that there are many different ways to get more physical activity in your day, too. Walking, yoga, strength training, kayaking, hiking, and spin class are just a few different examples of ways you can get stress relief through exercise.

 

Creative Outlets

Getting in touch with your creative side may have been easy for you during childhood, but if you’ve lost touch with your penchant for artwork, it’s not too late to pick it up again. If you aren’t into drawing or painting, consider coloring in a coloring book. Adult coloring books have risen in popularity and for good reason – coloring can be a great stress reliever. Try out different creative outlets to see what fits your style best. Who knows, maybe you’ll make a new hobby out of it!

 

Breathing Techniques

Just focusing on your breath or changing the way you breathe can make a big difference to your overall stress level. Breathing techniques can calm your body and your brain in just a few minutes. The best news is, they can discreetly be done anywhere. So whether you’re in a stressful meeting or you’re stuck in traffic, breathing exercises could be key to reducing your stress no matter which situation you’re in.

 

Aromatherapy

You’d be surprised just how many aromatherapy health benefits there are, especially when it comes to your mood. If you’re feeling stressed, try some essential oils to help put you in a better mindset. When you need a bit of calm and relaxation, enjoy the scent of classic lavender. Need to reinvigorate your mind? Peppermint and citrus essential oils can have you feeling refreshed.

How to Prevent Stress

 

Cut out Stressors

This one might seem obvious, but the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something stressful out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace. Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.

 

Time Management

If you’re trying to squeeze 20 hours worth of work into 16 hours, you’re going to feel stressed. Reducing your workload could be key to helping you get through the day feeling better. Honing your time management skills can allow you to minimize the stressors that you experience, and better manage the ones you can’t avoid. Be okay with saying no to things that will overload your day and create a to-do list to better organize your time.

 

Diet

Emotional eating and reaching for high-fat, high-sugar foods can provide a temporary sense of relief, but add to your long-term stress. Refined carbs, like cookies and potato chips, can cause a spike in blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, you might experience more stress and anxiety. Instead, consume a healthy diet that can help you combat stress over the long haul. Foods like eggs, avocado, and walnuts support mood regulation and energy balance.

 

Social Support

Having supportive people in your life is the key to stress management. Whether you need to vent or simply want a distraction, have a family member or friend that you feel comfortable confiding in for support. You may also need to expand your network. Join an organization, attend a support group, or get professional help if you find that approach better-suited for your needs to help reduce stress.

 

Time for Yourself

At the end of the day, one of the most efficient stress management techniques is making time for yourself. Stress stems from being overwhelmed, which typically stems from being stretched too thin with other obligations. When you put yourself first, you allow yourself to decompress and reconnect with what is important. Remember, the best way to be there for others is by showing up as your best self. Make time for yourself every day, whether it’s a full-blown spa day, a 20-minute sauna session, or a 10-minute yoga and meditation session before bed.

 

Finding the best stress relief strategies for you may take some experimenting. Some strategies may take practice, too. But it’s important to keep looking for the tools that will help you manage life’s inevitable ups and downs in a healthy way. Keeping stress at a manageable level is important for your overall wellbeing, so use these tips to help manage and prevent stressful moments in your life.

Reasons to Invest in Your Health This Year

You may have heard it before: Your health is an investment, not an expense. This statement couldn’t be truer, but it can be easy to brush off investing in your health due to the cost. After a year where health has been so emphasized, this is the perfect time to really put a focus on your health and put it at the top of your priority list.

Here’s something else you may have heard: Health is wealth. Your wellbeing is priceless, but being healthy can make you wealthy in a number of ways. That wealth can be found in money saved on medical bills, or more importantly, it can be found in the additional time you get with your loved ones.

Taking charge of your health will bring you a happier and longer life. Read on to see the benefits of making your health a priority and some tips on how to invest in your health, from eating fresh ingredients to using healthy technology.

Benefits of Investing in Health

 

An Overall Improvement in Life

Your health needs to become a priority right now in your life, don’t wait. Each and every choice you make has a distinct impact on your future, and the sooner you start investing, the sooner you can reap the rewards of living a healthy life. There are many daily healthy habits that you can start adapting to right now. These changes and investments aren’t just a fad, they’re the smart things to do to live a happier and longer life.

 

Prevention is Better Than Cure

If you invest in your health today, you are fighting and preventing future diseases. We are lucky to have advanced healthcare to treat a number of illnesses, but treatment can, unfortunately, be very costly – both monetarily and physically. Investing in your health now can help prevent these illnesses in the future. This means your future self doesn’t have to worry about incurring those costs, which will more than likely be more than the cost of simply investing in your health now.

 

More Time with Loved Ones

How can you be there for your spouse, children, and family if you are sick or gone? The answer is you can’t. So, let this be the goal that drives you to take action. Start daily healthy habits now to keep you around longer. Go to the dentist regularly, do self-breast exams, get up and hit the gym, and start a new healthy grocery list. “What you do today determines your tomorrow.”

Ways to Invest in Your Health

 

Install an Infrared Sauna

Investing in an infrared sauna for your home might be one of the best (and most luxurious) health investments you can make. Installing an infrared sauna gives you access to maximum health benefits right in your home. Detoxification, pain relief, stress reduction, and weight loss are just a few of the benefits you can gain from consistently using a sauna for 20 minutes a day. Depending on your needs, you can request a quote today to start investing in your health this year.

 

Join a Fitness Program

Fitness memberships can really run the gamut. You can shell out $10 each month for a basics-only workout or up to almost $200 for a luxurious program. Whether you join a gym or take part in an online training program, the average monthly fee tends to be closer to $50 or $60, which, as long as you use it, is worth it. Working out regularly is linked to a lower risk for high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other chronic diseases.

 

Buy Healthy Ingredients

Sure, there’re inexpensive fruits and veggies that are good for you (think: brown rice and bananas), but it does tend to cost a little more to eat healthy food – about $45 more a month on average. Not sure it’s worth it to fill your cart with whole grains, fresh produce, and high-quality proteins? It is. Just like regularly working out, eating a healthy diet rich in produce can decrease your risk for heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.

Have Health Insurance

Employer-sponsored plans, which more than half of Americans have, cost an average of about $138 a month. Individual plans, which are for people who buy insurance on their own, are costlier and average around $456. Health insurance isn’t cheap, but it’s still a smart health investment. People with health insurance are more likely to get preventive care, which can help catch health issues before they become major – and majorly expensive to treat.

 

Go to Your Annual Exams

With insurance, a typical doctor’s visit can cost somewhere between $25 and $250. Without health insurance, the average doctor appointment costs between $300-$600. These numbers can quickly rise if you need additional testing or prescriptions. By going to your annual exams for preventative care, you can keep an eye on your health regularly and monitor issues before they grow and start to cost the higher visit fees for those larger treatments and procedures.

 

See a Therapist

Does everyone need to do this? No. But if you have chronic stress or anxiety, talking to someone might be a good idea. It isn’t necessarily cheap, though. An hour with a therapist can sometimes cost $100 or more per hour, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. But it can help ease your mind, which in turn, can improve your overall health. Feeling stressed out all the time is linked to weight gain, menstrual cycle issues, and even heart attacks!

Take a Vacation

Taking a vacation might night be in the cards right now, but it’s definitely worth saving up for a trip once travel is on your itinerary. A trip might not seem like investing in your health at first glance, but it certainly can be! Sometimes a break from reality is what we need to realign ourselves. Whether you take a weekend road trip that costs you $150 or you splurge on a 2-week escape to go island hopping, vacationing can be great for your mental health.

 

Improve Your Sleep

Insufficient sleep has been linked to chronic conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Of course, sleep is free and doesn’t necessarily require a monetary investment. However, you can still invest your time to ensure you have an adequate amount of sleep. Or invest in natural sleep aids such as aromatherapy, an infrared sauna, and good-quality sheets to help you have a restful night.

 

Your Health is Priceless

 

The thing about being healthy is that it isn’t always the cheapest option, but it is always the best option. Choosing to cook a nutritious dinner for yourself will usually cost more than a drive-through meal. And in the short term, not going to doctor’s appointments may save you some money on your copays. But at the end of the day, investing your time and money into your health can end up saving you a lot in the future. Preventative care can help save you money on future treatments and improving your overall health will save you time to do the things you love with the people you love.

Are Cleanses Good for You? How to Safely Detox Your Body

These days, detox cleanses are all over the place. But are they effective or safe? Unfortunately, health gimmicks are prevalent with loose claims that may do more harm than good. Though fad detoxes and cleanses might not be what they claim to be, there are still a number of ways you can help support your body’s natural detoxification process so you can have long-term results in a safe and effective way. Learn more about healthy ways to detoxify your body that will leave a lasting impact on your wellbeing!

Woman Drinking Water the Hydrate in Hot Weather

What is Detoxification?

 

Detoxification is the body’s process of cleansing the blood. This is done by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin during a body detox. However, when these systems are compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and the body is adversely affected.

A body detox can help the body’s natural cleansing process by:

  • Resting the organs through fasting
  • Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body
  • Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin
  • Improving circulation of the blood
  • Refueling the body with healthy nutrients

 

The Benefits of Detoxing

 

Directly or indirectly, toxic residues find their way into our air, food, and water supplies. This interference with our natural biological balance results in disease or poor health. Because of this, detoxification is an important function to keep the body safe and healthy. When toxins are properly removed, there are many health benefits such as:

  • Improved immune system
  • Healthier internal organs
  • Weight loss and management
  • More energy
  • Improved mental clarity

Are Cleanses Good for You?

 

Fad detox diets and cleanses are said to eliminate toxins from your body, improve health, and promote weight loss. They often involve the use of laxatives, diuretics, vitamins, minerals, teas, and other foods thought to have detoxing properties. Unfortunately, the glitz and glam of these cleanses often don’t give the long-term results they promise.

Popular detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they aim to remove or the mechanism by which they supposedly eliminate them. Moreover, no evidence supports the use of these diets for toxin elimination or sustainable weight loss. Some of these cleanses may actually do more harm than good by depriving the body of important nutrients, creating gastrointestinal distress, or even doing long-term damage to metabolism. More often than not, these fad detox diets and cleanses end up being expensive gimmicks with short-term or nonexistent results.

Your body has a sophisticated way of eliminating toxins that involves the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs. Still, only when these organs are healthy, can they effectively eliminate unwanted substances. So, while detox diets and cleanses don’t do anything that your body can’t naturally do on its own, there are other ways you can optimize your body’s natural detoxification system.

Woman in Infrared Sauna for Overall Health

Best Ways to Detox at Home

 

Use an Infrared Sauna

One of the biggest infrared sauna health benefits is its ability to increase your blood circulation, target fat-stored toxins, and stimulate the sweat glands, all of which help remove built-up toxins in the body. Sweating in a sauna can help your body’s detoxifying process as it rids itself of accumulated toxins. The heat stress of infrared sauna use is an effective method of removing fat-stored toxins from the body.

 

Move and Exercise

Sweating actually helps you detox by boosting circulation throughout the body, and exercise is a great way to make that happen. While there are several mechanisms behind the health benefits of exercise, reduced inflammation is a key point in terms of detoxification. By reducing inflammation, exercise can help your body’s systems – including its detoxification system – function properly and protect against disease.

 

Get Plenty of Sleep

Giving yourself a good night’s rest is one of the best ways to detox your body and reset. Quality sleep gives your body the time and space it needs to rid itself of toxins. Sleeping allows your brain to reorganize and recharge itself, as well as remove toxic waste byproducts that have accumulated throughout the day. With sleep deprivation, your body does not have time to perform those functions, allowing toxins to build up and affect several aspects of health.

Stay Hydrated

Hydrating will help your kidneys flush out toxins. Water transports these waste products, efficiently removing them through urination, breathing, or sweating. Feel free to add lemon to your H2O for a hit of electrolytes. The citrus signals the liver produce more enzymes, which keep digestion moving smoothly. Tired of plain water? Switch things up with tea. Green tea has been shown to protect against heart disease and cancer, while milk thistle may boost liver function.

 

Eat Whole Foods

Whole foods packed with nutrients are your best bet when it comes to keeping your insides clean. Fiber-rich fare like fruit, veggies, and beans, as well as nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean protein, and probiotics can aid gut and liver function so any unwanted buildup gets out of your system quickly. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help your body fight oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals and other toxins that increase your risk of disease.

 

Reduce Alcohol Intake

When you drink alcohol, your body works hard to process it quickly, meaning your body isn’t functioning at its peak performance. Drinking alcohol directly impacts the organs that naturally detoxify your body and can severely damage your liver function by causing fat buildup, inflammation, and scarring. When this happens, your liver cannot function adequately and perform its necessary tasks – including filtering waste and other toxins from your body.

 

If you are planning on doing a fad detox diet or cleanse, wait! The safest and best way to detox is by naturally helping your body’s detoxification process that is already in place. Try these detox tips to help your body feel better suited to fend off disease, healthier, more refreshed.

13 Ways to Upgrade Your Daily Routine for Better Health

Many people made New Year’s Resolutions for better health, and the most effective way to achieve those goals is by having a healthy daily routine. Your daily routine consists of all of your habits, and forming healthy habits is key to all good daily routines. These actions structure your day and make the difference between operating at peak efficiency and struggling to make it through a poorly-planned day. From infrared sauna use to stretching every morning, find ways to upgrade your daily routine below!

How to Make a Daily Routine for Yourself

 

The key to good daily routines is forming good habits and putting the effort into adopting healthy habits that you can easily incorporate into your routine. A habit is something that is done regularly or repeatedly, and creating regularly healthy habits is essential for your wellbeing. The structure of your daily routine and the habits you chose to follow can have a major effect on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Healthy habits that are done on a regular and consistent basis can be the difference between operating at peak efficiency or struggling to reach your health goals.

 

Example of a Healthy Daily Routine

 

Wake Up and Stretch

Stretching in the morning improves your energy levels, improves your circulation, relieves any tension or pain from sleeping the night before, encourages good lymphatic function, and prepares your body for the day ahead. If you have an infrared sauna, a quick hot yoga session will really invigorate your day.

 

Start your Day with a Glass of Lemon Water

Make your first sip of the day be refreshing lemon water. Simply add the juice of half a lemon to your glass and drink it to enjoy a refreshing start to the day. Lemon juice reduces your body’s acidity levels, which in turn protects you against inflammatory diseases such as fungal infections and osteoporosis.

 

Eat a Good Breakfast

Fuel yourself with a healthy mix of protein, slow-release carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Sensible options include yogurt with nuts and berries, a vegetable omelette, and low-sugar granola bars with a piece of fruit. If eating a full meal in the morning isn’t your thing, try packing in nutrients through healthy smoothies.

 

Stay Hydrated

Did you know that becoming even slightly dehydrated can lead to lowered mood and decreased concentration? Keep water or other low-sugar drinks on hand to sip throughout the day. If you need to, set an alarm every hour to drink water until it becomes a natural part of your healthy daily routine.

Have a Healthy Lunch

Even the busiest of us can grab a healthy lunch. You just need to think ahead! Avoid too much fat at lunch time, as it promotes afternoon lethargy, which isn’t going to help you get through a busy day. Opt for fresh and whole foods that will power you through the afternoon until it’s time for dinner.

 

Get Moving in the Afternoon

Most of us have a mid-afternoon “slump” somewhere between 2pm and 4pm, but you can keep yourself going through the day by choosing a healthy lunch and taking some moderate exercise in the afternoon. This doesn’t have to be strenuous. Just a 10-minute walk and a few stretches at your desk can work wonders.

 

Sit Down for Dinner

Life can get hectic, and it can be easy to grab a quick dinner at the end of the day. Make an effort to slow down in your healthy daily routine and actually sit to enjoy your meal. Whether it’s a homemade dinner or a to-go meal you ordered, sitting down for dinner allows your body to start to wind down from the day.

 

Pick Up Your Home

Whether you are aware or not, the physical space we live in has a large effect on how we behave. A messy home can all have a negative impact on our mental state and our health. This doesn’t have to be a deep clean, but picking up your home from your daily activities can cut down on frustration and give you a fresh start the next day.

 

Avoid Screens for the Last Hour Before Bed

Turn off your phone and computer at least an hour before bed to help calm your mind and prepare yourself for sleep. The blue light from phone, computer, and TV screens can keep your brain in a more active state, so find a pre-bed activity that cuts down on screen time to help you wind down and improve your sleep.

Take Time to Relax

Find a healthy activity that relaxes you every day. This could be reading, spending time with a pet, or meditating. For ultimate relaxation in your healthy daily routine, invest in an infrared sauna. With a plethora of health benefits packed into a 20-minute session, sauna use is one of the easiest and most effective ways to incorporate health into your daily life.

 

Journal About Your Day

Journaling has become a popular part of many peoples’ healthy daily routine, and for good reason. It helps you collect your thoughts at the end of every day, which is great for mental stimulation. It can also be helpful for planning out your next day so you can go to sleep ready to take on the next morning when you wake up.

 

Take Vitamin C Before Going to Sleep

Take half a teaspoon of buffered vitamin C powder in a glass of water before turning in for the night. This is a quick, effective means of reducing the acidity in your body. It will also ensure that you go to bed well-hydrated, which will help you wake up with a clear head and ready to take on the next day.

 

Go to Sleep at a Reasonable Hour

It sounds obvious, but if you want to feel your best then you must get enough sleep. Most experts recommend that we get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Some of us can get by on six hours of sleep, but be honest with yourself – if you feel better having had more sleep, bear it in mind when setting your alarm clock.

 

Setting a healthy daily routine can set you on the path toward a healthier and more efficient lifestyle. Incorporate as many of the above tips for good daily routines into your life as you can and start to form healthy habits that will have lasting benefits on your wellbeing. Good habits take some time to form, and bad habits can be difficult to break, but the end result is well worth it in your daily routine!

What is Sound Therapy? The Healing Properties of Sound

Sound can be a healing experience for many reasons, from soothing music to therapeutic vibrations. There are many benefits of sound therapy, including reduced stress, pain relief, and improved memory. Learn more about the healing properties of sound and how you can incorporate sound therapy into your health and wellness routine.

What is Sound Therapy?

 

Sound healing therapy uses aspects of music to improve physical and emotional health and well-being. How it works depends on the method being used. Most music therapy sessions are experienced one-on-one with a specially trained practitioner. Sound therapy may involve listening to music, singing along to music, moving to the beat of the music, meditating to sound or guided meditation, playing an instrument, or feeling the vibrations of the sound.

A session may involve sitting or lying down while listening to music or sounds from a speaker or instruments, or having vibrations applied using a special tool, such as a tuning fork. Depending on the method, you may be encouraged to participate by singing, moving, or even using a musical instrument, or you may need to remain still and quiet to let the sounds take effect. Along with voice, different instruments used in music therapy include singing bowls, tuning forks, pan flutes, harps, drums, and any other instrument that has high vibrations.

 

Sound Therapy Benefits

 

Throughout history, music has been used to boost morale in military troops, help people work faster and more productively, and even ward off evil spirits by chanting. More recently, research has linked music to a number of health benefits, from boosting immune function and lowering stress levels to improving the health of premature babies. Depending on which sound therapy technique you choose, sound therapy benefits may include:

Bone pain relief Lowered cholesterol
Decreased anxiety Muscle pain relief
Decreased depression PTSD relief
Decreased mood swings Reduced blood pressure
Improved emotional balance Reduced PMS symptoms
Improved memory Reduced risk of heart disease
Improved physiological health Reduced risk of stroke
Improved psychological health Released tension
Improved sleep Stress reduction

Types of Sound Therapy

 

Brainwave Entrainment

Also known as binaural beats or functional music, this method stimulates the brain into a specific state using pulsing sound to encourage your brain waves to align to the frequency of the beat. It’s supposed to help induce enhanced focus, entranced state, relaxation, and sleep. Though more research is needed, there’s some evidence that audible brainwave entrainment reduces anxiety, pain, and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, as well as improves behavioral problems in children. This is a very popular biohacking technique for inducing a meditative, relaxed state.

 

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is a form of sound healing in which you meditate to voiced instruction, either in a session or class, or using a video or app. Meditation can involve sounds such as chanting or repeating mantras or prayers, listening to a peaceful description of a setting or scenario, breathwork guidance. Research has found that guided meditation offers a number of health benefits including reduced stress, improved memory, pain reduction, and lowered cholesterol. There are plenty of apps, videos, and playlists available for any length of meditation – whether it’s only 5 minutes or 2 hours.

 

Neurologic Music Therapy

Music therapy can reduce stress and promote relaxation. It’s been shown to be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety levels before surgery. A study published in 2017 found that a 30-minute music therapy session combined with traditional care after spinal surgery reduced pain. Music therapy is administered by a credentialed provider who assesses the individual’s needs. Treatment involves creating, listening, singing, or moving to music. It’s used for physical rehab, pain management, and brain injuries.

 

Tuning Fork Therapy

Tuning fork therapy uses calibrated metal tuning forks to apply specific vibrations to different parts of the body. This can help release tension and energy, and promote emotional balance. It supposedly works similarly to acupuncture, using sound frequencies for point stimulation instead of needles. There is research suggesting that tuning fork therapy may help relieve muscle and bone pain, and some say other benefits include better digestion, reduced inflammation, balanced nervous system, and improved sleep.

 

Vibrational Resonance Therapy

Vibrational resonance therapy (VRT), also known as acoustic resonance therapy (ART), promotes relaxation and healing through the use of sound and vibration. Listening and feeling the music simultaneously allows the body to naturally relax into the harmonic flow, thus allowing the body to reset and return to its natural state of being. With musical harmonic resonance, the body will relax stressed muscles and joints and activate neural-pathways in the brain to help create mental focus and stable heart rate. When the body and mind are able to relax into a state of peaceful listening, it is able to stimulate endorphins that promote balance in the body’, which in turn boosts the immune system.

Using Sound Therapy in a Sauna

 

Including sound therapy in your home sauna sessions enhances the rejuvenating properties of infrared therapy. Think of it as a light touch massage for your body and mind during your sauna session.

You can easily combine the benefits of sound therapy with the benefits of an infrared sauna. In Clearlight saunas, vibration resonance therapy modules can be attached to the bottom of the sauna bench and use an amplified audio signal to resonate sound waves to the surface of the sauna. Additionally, you can incorporate other forms of sound therapy in your sauna by playing audio. Make a playlist of calming music to play during your session, or tap into the many benefits of guided meditation through the speakers of your sauna.

No matter which sound therapy techniques you choose to try, you will be amazed by just how much sound can improve your health and wellbeing. Whether you simply dance to your favorite song or you tune in to the vibrations of the sound around you, sound has proven throughout history to be a powerful health tool.

Natural Winter Cold Remedies & Prevention Tips

Unfortunately, the cold weather also means cold season. Staying healthy is extremely important, and getting a cold can put a damper on your day-to-day life. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do at home to naturally reduce common cold symptoms and precautions you can take for future cold prevention. Learn more about the common cold and follow these prevention tips and remedies to help make cold season less daunting.

Winter Cold Symptoms & Causes

The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection that is transmitted through virus-infected airborne droplets or contaminated surfaces. Though the common cold can be caught at any point in the year, winter colds are most prevalent due to drier air conditions, more time indoors closer to people, and cooler temperatures that may allow viruses to replicate faster. If you are feeling under the weather this season, watch for common cold symptoms such as:

Runny nose Congestion
Stuffy nose Slight body aches
Sore throat Mild headache
Cough Sneezing

Natural Cold Remedies

 

Use an Infrared Sauna

Far infrared heat has been shown in studies to relieve nasal stuffiness, runny nose, and sneezing. Spending time in an infrared sauna can reduce cold symptoms and can also help detoxify your body to reduce the number of toxins present.

 

Take Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays an important role in your body and has many health benefits – one of the biggest being an immune system boost. Getting enough vitamin C can relieve illnesses, and can help naturally reduce the length of a cold.

 

Steam in a Shower

The steam in a hot shower helps moisturize your nasal passages and aid in decongestion, especially when paired with aromatherapy. A warm shower before bed also helps promote better sleep, which helps speed up recovery.

 

Rub on Menthol

Some mentholated rub under your nose can help open air passages to combat congestion, reduce coughing, and improve sleep. Menthol also has mild numbing ingredients that may help relieve the pain of an irritated nose.

 

Mix in Honey

Honey has a variety of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Drinking honey and lemon in tea can ease sore throats, and honey before bed can help improve sleep. Research suggests that honey is an effective cough suppressant, as well.

Make Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is comforting, but research suggests that chicken soup with vegetables, prepared from scratch or warmed from a can, can enhance the movement of white blood cells in your body that help protect your body from infection.

 

Gargle Salt Water

Gargling with salt water may help prevent upper respiratory infections. It may also decrease the severity of cold symptoms. For example, it may ease sore throat pain and nasal congestion.

 

Drink Echinacea

Echinacea’s active ingredients include flavonoids, chemicals that have many therapeutic effects on the body such as boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation. Drinking echinacea tea can help reduce cold symptoms.

 

Cook with Garlic

Garlic contains the compound allicin, which is believed to have antimicrobial properties that help reduce cold symptoms naturally. If you don’t like the taste of garlic, you can take a garlic supplement to still enjoy all the health benefits.

 

Boil Some Ginger

The health benefits of ginger root have been touted for centuries, and studies today show that it is indeed antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. A few slices of raw ginger root in boiling water may help soothe a cough or sore throat.

Cold Prevention Tips

 

Avoid Crowds

Unfortunately, large crowds allow for more germs to be present and can help them spread more easily. If you are doing anything social, keep the group smaller so you have a better idea of other peoples’ health.

 

Be Active

Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells that help the immune system fight disease.

 

Eat a Healthy Diet

Your meals should have the right balance of nutrients you and your baby needs. This also means choosing healthier drinks like water, having frequent small snacks, and bringing your sugar intake down a notch, to name a few.

 

Get Adequate Sleep and Rest

Getting plenty of rest, relaxation and sleep (around 8 hours) is critical to your health. Your body is going through a lot, and a tired body means a weakened immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness.

 

Reduce Stress

As noted above, a rested body helps your immune system work better. A healthy immune system can help shorten your sick period. Reducing stress will make it easier for your body to function properly and fight illness if need be.

Stay Hydrated

Along with eating well and exercising comes staying hydrated. Fluids are essential to a well-functioning, healthy body because they wash out your system, so drink water as often as possible.

 

Take Supplements and Vitamins

Vitamins and supplements can be very useful tools in helping your body build a strong immune system to avoid sickness. Think of them as bricks on the wall of defenses your body is building up to fend off the viruses you might encounter daily.

 

Wash Your Hands

Germs can enter your body to infect you when touched. However, you can avoid germs by adopting consistent hand washing. Wash your hands when out in public, after touching contaminated surfaces, and before touching your face.

 

Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask can play a big role in keeping you safe from infection and illness, especially in highly-trafficked places such as schools, hospitals, restaurants, shops, and transportation.

 

Talk with Your Doctor

Above all, always be careful to talk with your doctor before making any major health decisions. If you feel yourself starting to come down with something, check to make sure any remedies you try are safe and healthy for you.

 

This cold season, try these natural cold remedies and prevention tips to keep your health in top shape. As mentioned above, consult your doctor if you feel your symptoms are concerning or if you believe you may have come down with something more severe. Health is a top priority, and these winter cold tips are great ways to ensure that!

New Year, New You: Healthy New Year’s Resolutions Challenge

In 2021, start off the year with a challenge. Rumor has it that it takes 3 weeks to make or break a habit. While experts question the validity of that statement and we wish it were that easy, we definitely think 3 weeks is a great amount of time to get a start on new habits. That’s why we put together this 3-week Healthy New Year Challenge to get you started on the right foot going into 2021.

Follow this New Year’s resolution challenge to keep you on track so you can truly stick to your resolutions and actually reach your health goals in the new year – whether that means eating healthier, exercising more, being more mindful, or making more time for yourself..

New Year Challenge: Week 1

 

Day 1: Dedicate an Hour Completely to Yourself

Life can get busy, and 2020 sure was hectic. It’s easy to get caught up in things that don’t allow you to have you-time. Block off one entire hour to yourself (or more!) to focus on you. Mark it on your calendar, put up a “do not disturb” sign, and enjoy some time dedicated to things that give you a mental break like reading, using a sauna, or watching a show.

 

Day 2: Cut Down on Social Media

Looking at a screen all day can lead to overstimulation, especially around the holidays, which can lead to mental exhaustion. Whether for an hour or for the whole day, unplug for some time to focus on non-digital activities that benefit your new year health. Spend time with family, pamper yourself with a home spa day, work on a hobby, or just relax.

 

Day 3: Get in 10,000 Steps

Walking 10,000 steps a day has been a highly-recommended activity to help maintain physical health. Immediately jumping to 10k a day can be difficult, so instead dedicate just one day to reaching your goal and pay attention to what lifestyle changes you can make to make it a long-term habit.

 

Day 4: Do a 16-Hour Fast

The 16:8 fast is a great way to do a mini gut reset and dip your toes into the world of intermittent fasting. During this, you will do a 16-hour window of fasting and an 8-hour window of eating. People typically choose to eat lunch and dinner then fast through the night and breakfast the next day to maintain a somewhat normal routine.

 

Day 5: Practice Breathwork

Sure, breathing is an activity we do without even trying, but putting focus into your breathwork can be great for your mental health – something greatly needed after the whirlwind of 2020. Learn some new breathing exercises that help you slow down, destress, and find some mental clarity throughout your day-to-day life.

 

Day 6: Cook a New Recipe at Home

Spice up your daily menu by researching healthy recipes to whip up in the kitchen. Look for healthy recipes that include nutritious ingredients such as vegetables and fruits. Summer is a great time for produce, so your recipes will be nutritious and delicious.

 

Day 7: Rest and Journal

At the start of this 3-week new year challenge, take some time to sit down and write down the things that you are grateful for. Visualization of your accomplishments, blessings, and experiences helps highlight the positive things in the last year. Writing the items down can be a therapeutic exercise for your emotional and mental health.

New Year Challenge: Week 2

 

Day 1: Go to Bed 1 Hour Earlier than Normal

Sleep is another important basic need for your health, but it is easy to let life (and the holidays) get in the way and eat into your sleep time. Not only does sleep allow your body to rest and recover, it can help prevent illness as well. Today, budget an extra hour to go to sleep early and allow your body to fully rest.

 

Day 2: Connect with a Loved One

If 2020 was anything, it was definitely a lesson on connecting with people. It can be easy to lose touch with loved ones, but it is just as easy to reach out and say hello. Make a friend or family member smile by sending a quick note – and set aside some time in case that quick note turns into a long conversation!

 

Day 3: Try a New Exercise

If you’re doing the same workout every time, you are sure to get bored of the same moves every time. That, and your body isn’t getting as well-rounded of a workout. Look up new workout routines to help mix it up and keep things interesting. Pro tip: Using a sauna after a workout makes it even better.

 

Day 4: Do an 18-Hour Fast

Pick it up a little from Week 1 and add two hours to your intermittent fasting! An 18:6 fast is 18 hours fasting with a 6-hour window to consume your daily calories. This timing is very popular and is a sustainable way to fast on a regular basis. Though just 2 hours longer, this longer fast helps you burn more fat and better stabilize blood sugar levels.

 

Day 5: Meditate for 30 Minutes

We’ve mentioned breathing exercises, and meditation falls right into the same vein of new year health. Meditation helps you center your mind and find ways to shift your mentality into a calmer, more accepting state. Meditation can be a few minutes or a few hours depending on how deeply you want to go.

 

Day 6: Plan a Weekly Menu

Knowing what you are going to eat throughout the week is a great way to stay on track with health, time management, and budget goals. Think about what your week ahead looks like and plan how often you will cook at home and when you will eat out. Try to plan at least 3 at-home meals this week to start cutting down on expensive and unhealthy eating out.

 

Day 7: Rest and Journal

Halfway through the challenge, use your journaling day to think about the future. If you’re wondering how to keep New Year’s resolutions, this is one very helpful way! Writing down your goals and taking time to consider what really matters to you helps you visualize what needs to be done and also helps with setting more realistic expectations for yourself.

New Year Challenge: Week 3

 

Day 1: Cross an Item Off Your To-Do List

Having too many things on your plate can lead to frustration and stress. Instead of worrying about your whole list, use this day to knock out a big-ticket item on your list that you have been putting off. Once the task is complete, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and relief that it is finally done. Taking your list task-by-task makes the list more manageable.

 

Day 2: Plan a Group Zoom Call

Seeing friends in person hasn’t been the easiest thing this year, but we are lucky to have the technology to connect in different ways. Organize a group video call with friends to bring back a sense of being social. You’d be surprised just how uplifting it is to simply laugh with friends over Zoom.

 

Day 3: Be Active Outside

A daily dose of fresh air is great for you physically, but it is also a great activity for mental health. Being stuck inside all day can lead to negative feelings, especially if you don’t have much natural light. Brighten up your day and invigorate your mind by getting outside for at least 30 minutes.

 

Day 4: Do a 24-Hour Fast

The final week of your new year challenge includes a full 24-hour fast! On top of the additional fat burn and blood sugar management that comes from extra hours of fasting, this is also a great test of will power. If going from morning to night without food doesn’t appeal to you, try starting and ending at lunch time so you can still get a meal in during the day.

 

Day 5: Add Yoga to Your Workout

Yoga is a great way to challenge your body in new ways. Spend 30 minutes stretching, activating your core, and tapping into new movements you might have thought weren’t possible! Step it up by doing hot yoga in a sauna for added health benefits. Not only is yoga great for the body, it’s also a perfect time to try meditation for your mind.

 

Day 6: Meal Prep for the Week

Now that you have been cooking more at home and have the weekly menu planning down from last week, take it a step further and cook all your meals for the upcoming week. Preparing your meals for the week not only helps you cut down on time cooking throughout the week, it also allows you to keep an eye on every ingredient you are consuming.

 

Day 7: Rest and Journal

At the end of your 3-week new year challenge, this is the perfect opportunity to reflect back on how you feel, what worked for you, and what long-term changes to make in your life to continue with your healthy New Year’s resolutions. Documenting your accomplishments is a great thing to look back on if you ever feel as if you are losing motivation.

 

Knowing how to keep New Year’s resolutions is always a common concern as a new year rolls around. Use this 3-week challenge to start off 2021 on a great, and healthy, path. Whether you find health in the kitchen, gym, sauna, or journal, any step you take is a step in the right direction for this next chapter!

How to Keep Your Body Warm Naturally in the Winter

The colder months are here, and you may be looking for an escape from the cold. Since travel to a warm place isn’t on the table this year, try these other methods to warm up – all with an emphasis on health! From eating nutritious meals and drinking cozy drinks to working up a sweat in a sauna or while exercising, this list will help teach you how to keep your body warm naturally this winter season.

9 Natural Ways to Stay Warm in Winter

 

Use an Infrared Sauna

It is no secret that saunas are a quick and easy way to warm up your body. You can take this practice a step further by using an infrared sauna as infrared heat penetrates deeply into the body and helps increase blood flow. Using an infrared sauna is a great way to naturally warm yourself in the winter with the temperature inside being adjustable and averaging a comfortable 100°F to 130°F. Not only does this heat application feel nice when the weather is chilly outside, it also offers a host of health benefits that can help keep you feeling warm and healthy all season (and year) long.

 

Take a Ginger Bath

A bath on its own is already warming, but adding ginger to the water can step up its warming properties. Similarly to adding ginger to your diet, a ginger bath can help your body increase circulation to help your body warm up and even break a sweat. Do a test on a small patch of your skin before adding the root to your bath to test for sensitivity. Once you’re in the clear, add ½ cup of freshly grated ginger or 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger to your bath and soak for 20-30 minutes. Since this bath will definitely make you sweat, have water nearby and be ready to bundle up after.

 

Monitor Your Iron Intake

If you feel cold more often than average, especially in your hands and feet, it might not just be the winter weather playing a part. An iron deficiency might also be in play. A lack of iron causes anemia and inhibits oxygen from properly being delivered to your body. Eating iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, seeds, nuts, leafy greens, and dried fruit can help boost your iron intake. There are also iron supplements easily available to help boost your levels. Before taking supplements or starting a diet, talk to your doctor if you believe iron deficiency is an issue.

Layer Appropriately

Having some strategic layers can help hold your body heat close to your body and keep you warm. The main goal is to reduce the amount of your skin that is exposed to the elements. Keep your tighter elements closer to your body, then layer on looser pieces to create a warm environment. Socks for gifts really aren’t that bad of an idea during the winter! It also helps to have layers that are easy to remove if you are transitioning between the cold outdoors and indoors. Don’t forget that layering your blankets on the couch or bed can also help you stay warm in the winter at home.

 

Get Your Body Moving

This one is pretty simple, and has a lot of benefits outside of just heating you up! Being active is one of the best ways to keep the body warm naturally in any season. When you exercise, your body burns calories, which are units of energy. This stored energy is converted to heat, which is why your body heats up. Your blood flow gets going, thus increasing circulation and making you break a sweat. Even on the coldest days, taking a brisk walk or doing some jumping jacks will make you stay warm in winter very quickly.

 

Eat Warming Foods

Eating is one of the most enjoyable methods when learning how to keep the body warm naturally. There is a reason why stews and spices are so popular in the winter months, and it’s because their ingredients help keep you warm and full a while. Spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cumin are warming and help promote thermogenesis, which helps boost metabolism and keep you warm. Caffeine is also a great tool for boosting metabolism. As mentioned earlier, iron-rich foods can also help prevent anemia. Lastly, whole grains and other complex carbs require more energy, or heat, to digest.

Drink Something Hot

A warm drink might not warm you from head to toe for a long time, but it is certainly comforting and gets the job done to some degree. The hot drink triggers receptors in the mouth that can cause you to sweat and feel a wave of heat . Another perk to a warm drink is the hand and face warming properties when you are holding your mug near your face. Just like the ginger bath mentioned above, you can also add in some warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to give that extra kick – some typical spices already used during the winter.

 

Breathe Through It

Sometimes, all it takes to stay warm is doing a bit of mental work. Reframing your mindset can help distract you from feeling cold. Breathing into your hands and visualizing warmth is a simple-but-effective technique. If you want to try something new, Taoist tradition teaches how to keep the body warm naturally through a technique called “vase breathing”. This technique involves holding your breath and contracting abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to create a pot-like vase shape and imagining you are breathing in warm energy. There are even studies showing that it helps!

 

Avoid Alcohol

Having a glass of wine or a hot toddy definitely helps you feel warmer, but that doesn’t mean it is actually helping your body warm up. The warmth you feel from alcohol is caused by causing your blood vessels to dilate under your skin. This brings the blood to your skin’s surface, as you’ve probably noticed before with the flush you get when drinking. The flush actually prevents your body from truly getting warm and lowers your core body temperature – which heightens your risk of hypothermia. Drinking for that warm feeling isn’t necessarily bad, but be aware of what is real vs. perceived warmth.

 

This season, try these natural ways to stay warm in winter so you can stay healthy and comfortable as the cold settles in. Keeping warm also helps your body stay strong to get through the winter. Put on your scarves, grab a warm mug of tea, and eat a bowl of stew, and stay warm!

How to Deal with Burnout: Recovery, Tips, and More

During this day and age, for many of us the lines between work, play, and personal time have started to blur. With everything merging into one, burnout happens to the best of us. Working from home, disrupted routines, and the overall business of the world can lead to stress, uncertainty, and fatigue. Luckily, putting a focus on your mental health can help you learn new habits that will improve your wellbeing in the future. Learn about burnout and find ways to avoid it, or how to recover from it, below.

What is Burnout?

 

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. It can affect anyone and is namely caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Burnout can be caused by personal or professional stress and is often exasperated when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. General symptoms of burnout include:

  • Lower resistance to illness
  • Pessimistic outlook on work or life
  • Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavior changes
  • Demotivation and detachment from your work
  • Depleted energy levels
  • Detachment in personal relationships
  • Lower productivity

 

The 5 Stages of Burnout

 

Burnout can affect anyone, at any time in their lives. However, burnout is most common in people between the ages of 25 and 44. As with any illness, symptoms of burnout change from person to person, however these five stages are commonly observed:

 

Stage 1: Honeymoon Phase

When we undertake a new task, we often start by experiencing high satisfaction, commitment, energy, and creativity. In this first phase of burnout, you may begin to experience predicted stresses of life, so it’s important to start implementing positive coping strategies, such as taking practical steps in your job or prioritising your mental health. The theory is that if we create good coping strategies at this stage, we can continue in the honeymoon phase indefinitely. Common symptoms include:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Readily accepting responsibility
  • Sustained energy levels
  • Unbridled optimism
  • Commitment to the job at hand
  • Compulsion to prove oneself
  • Free-flowing creativity
  • High productivity levels

 

Stage 2: Awakening

The second stage of burnout begins with an awareness of some days being more difficult than others. You may find your optimism waning, as well as notice common stress symptoms affecting you physically, mentally, or emotionally. Common symptoms include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Inability to focus
  • Irritability
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Reduced sleep quality
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Lower productivity
  • Unusual heart rhythms
  • Anxiety
  • Avoidance of decision making
  • Change in appetite or diet
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • General neglect of personal needs
  • Grinding your teeth at night
  • Headaches

Stage 3: Chronic Stress

The third stage of burnout is chronic stress. This is a marked change in your stress levels, going from motivation, to experiencing stress on an incredibly frequent basis. You may also experience more intense symptoms than those of stage two. Common symptoms include:

  • Lack of hobbies
  • Missed work deadlines and/or targets
  • Persistent tiredness
  • Physical illness
  • Procrastination at work and at home
  • Repeated lateness for work
  • Resentfulness
  • Withdrawal from relationships
  • Uptake of escapist activities
  • Anger or aggressive behavior
  • Apathy
  • Denial of problems at work or at home
  • Feeling threatened or panicked
  • Feeling pressured or out of control
  • Increased alcohol/drug consumption
  • Increased caffeine consumption

 

Stage 4: Burnout

Entering stage four of burnout is where symptoms become critical. When burnout is talked about more generally, this is the stage that is often referred to. Continuing as normal is often not possible, and it’s key that you seek intervention. Common symptoms include:

  • Having an escapist mentality
  • Feeling empty inside
  • Obsession over problems
  • Pessimistic outlook on work and life
  • Self-doubt
  • Social isolation
  • Chronic headaches and stomach problems
  • Complete neglect of personal needs
  • Desire to “drop out” of society
  • Desire to move away from obligations

 

Stage 5: Habitual Burnout

The final stage of burnout is habitual burnout. This means that the symptoms of burnout are so embedded in your life that you are likely to experience a significant physical or emotional problem, as opposed to occasionally experiencing stress or burnout. Common symptoms include:

  • Chronic sadness
  • Depression
  • Chronic mental fatigue
  • Chronic physical fatigue

How to Deal with Burnout

 

Burnout Recovery Tips

 

Accept Help when Needed: One of the big symptoms of burnout is social withdrawal. When recovering, make an effort to open the door to help when needed. Whether it’s through coworkers, friends, or counselling, using your resources and accepting help when needed can help relieve stress and improve your situation.

 

List Things that Overwhelm You: It can be easy to get lost in worrying about the things in life that are overwhelming. Instead of letting these thoughts take control, make a list of the things that are on your mind. This will help you visualize what is happening and better focus on what you can do to find solutions.

 

Set Boundaries: Burnout is easy to achieve when you’ve spread yourself too thin. Set boundaries for yourself, especially during a time of burnout recovery, so you can give yourself the adequate space to feel better while putting better habits into place to avoid burnout in the future. It is okay to say no, especially when it comes to your health.

 

Focus on Your Capabilities: Don’t let the symptoms of burnout make you feel like you aren’t capable of achieving things. Focusing on your capabilities highlights your strengths. If you are recovering from burnout, try to only take on tasks that you know you can achieve and feel confident in to boost your confidence and motivation.

 

Understand Your Weaknesses: Your weaknesses are an important factor in burnout recovery. Instead of beating yourself up over them, take time to remember that weaknesses are not failures and are instead a chance to continue growing. Don’t commit yourself to tasks that make you feel frustrated or underprepared – both feelings can further burnout.

5 Ways to Avoid Burnout

 

Meditate: Burnout is felt heavily in the mind, and meditation might be just what you need to help quiet it. By learning how to meditate, you can learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings before they become negative. Pair meditation with breathing exercises or time in an infrared sauna for a full mental reset to really avoid burnout in the future.

 

Exercise: Getting active in any way is a proven way to help reduce stress and avoid burnout. If you find yourself getting in a rut or feeling overwhelmed, simply get your body moving and your blood pumping. Not only does this help your overall health, it also is a great mood booster and distraction from whatever might be on your mind.

 

Make Time for Yourself: As mentioned earlier, burnout often happens when you spread yourself too thin. Dedicating your time to work, relationships, and other external factors can become draining. Block out time for yourself every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. We highly recommend a home spa day to create an escape and truly pamper yourself.

 

Allow Yourself to Unplug: Constantly being plugged in can take a real toll on your mental health. Whether it’s work emails always on your phone or the need to check social media, looking at a screen doesn’t allow you to take a break from continually being engaged with a screen. Give yourself time often to unplug and give your eyes and mind a break.

 

Establish a Support System: Having people on your side can definitely make a lasting impact on avoiding burnout. Your support system will help lift you up when needed and staying social can be a distraction from the other things in life that might be overwhelming. As overplayed as it may be, we’re all in this together. Strong relationships truly help.

 

Burnout is a very real experience many are having today. Try to take the steps to avoid burnout and make it a large priority of yours to put a focus on your mental and emotional health. Make time for yourself, praise yourself for your wins, and form a support system that can help you through the tougher times.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it is totally understandable – it can happen to the best of us. However, if it ever extends past the one-off stressful days and develops into a desire to withdraw from life, reach out to a professional to determine how to get you on the road to burnout recovery.