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.

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.

Happy Couple Enjoying Infrared Sauna for Mental Health

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!

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 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.

12 Healthy Holiday Tips to Prepare for Holiday Season

As November and December arrive, it means the holidays are upon us. This time brings around indulgent food, a whirlwind of events, and unfortunately seasonal colds. Learn how to continue your health journey, from eating healthy to preventing colds, even with the temptations of the holidays right around the corner with these healthy holiday tips.

 

Holiday Health Facts

 

Before jumping into tips on staying healthy during the holidays, take a look at these interesting holiday health facts:

  • The most weight gain people experience is the period from Thanksgiving through New Year
  • On average, holiday weight gain is slightly less than 2 pounds
  • Unlike holiday rumors may say, the suicide rate is the lowest in December
  • For those with heart disease or other risk factors, heart attacks around the holidays are more common
  • The average caloric intake for Christmas dinner is around 6000 calories
  • More than 20% of people set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get fit
  • Seasonal affective disorder is estimated to affect 10 million Americans

Healthy Holiday Tips for General Health

 

Prevent Sickness

Health is always a priority, and this year is highlighting its importance even further. During the holidays, it can be easy to catch a cold when the temperature drops and you are running around with holiday activities. Take extra precautions this year by taking vitamins and supplements, washing your hands, wearing a mask, and disinfecting items with a UV wand.

 

Detoxify Your Body

Detoxification before, during, and after the holidays can be a huge help to your overall health. All it takes is working up a bit of a sweat to start the detoxification process. Regular use of an infrared sauna helps promote detoxification of chemicals (and maybe some holiday treats) from the body to help you feel rejuvenated and relaxed during the holidays.

 

Be Active Daily

Getting your body moving every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, will help with staying healthy during the holidays. The winter months make it easy to want to curl up on the couch and do nothing, but that can quickly lead to unhealthy habits and can even contribute to seasonal affective disorder. Movement helps boost endorphins and your health!

 

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is often an overlooked part of your health, especially during the holidays. With holiday events, gift shopping, family obligations, and general life taking place, it is easy to miss some sleep. Sleep allows your body to rest and restore. If you are having trouble sleeping, try some sleep remedies such as sauna use, aromatherapy, or meditation to help.

Healthy Holiday Tips for Diet

 

Eat Healthy Ingredients as Often as Possible

Having a strict diet may be difficult to follow during the holidays, so try a different approach this year. Instead focus on eating healthy ingredients whenever possible. Delicious fall and winter produce makes it much easier to make delicious and nutritious meals that still have the holiday feel – and eating mostly healthy makes the indulgence feel less guilty!

 

Allow Yourself “Cheat” Days

Along the lines of eating healthy, diets are all about moderation, and it is important to allow yourself to indulge at times. The holidays bring treats and large meals with friends and family. Don’t let dieting get in the way of creating memories with loved ones. Simply be aware of your choices so you don’t overdo the indulgence and wind up feeling worse.

 

Offer to Host or Contribute to Meals

One of the easiest ways to have control over your diet during the holidays is by doing the cooking. This way, you know exactly what is going into your food and onto your plate. If cooking or hosting aren’t your style, still offer to bring something on the healthier side or ask the host to prepare some lighter dishes if it isn’t a hassle.

 

Drink Responsibly

Drinking is one of the worst things for your health during the holiday season. On top of the calories, alcohol can lead to a number of negative outcomes such as hangovers, sadness, and damaged organs. Just like with food, you don’t necessarily need to cut out drinking, but do drink responsibly. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

Healthy Holiday Tips for Mental Health

 

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

It is easy to get swept up in all the holiday activities and events that take place during this period, but you aren’t doing yourself or anyone else any favors by saying yes to too many things. Give yourself a break and only say yes to things that you truly have time for and will enjoy being a part of. Your loved ones will understand if you need to pace yourself.

 

Set Boundaries

The holidays are great, as you get to see friends and family that you probably don’t see regularly! However, that also means that there are a lot of new people to factor in. Set boundaries to make these new social interactions less stressful, whether that means being upfront about topics to avoid or being firm about what time you’re leaving an event.

 

Make Time for Yourself

Hopefully with this list of healthy holiday tips you are seeing the importance of putting time into your own health during the holidays. So often we get caught up in catering to others during this period, but be sure to make time for yourself as well. Set aside 30 minutes every day to do something for just you – have a spa day, read a book, or work on a hobby.

 

Balance Your Social Needs

Your mental health relies on many things, and social interaction is one of them. Balancing your social interactions during the holidays is important for balancing your emotions. Too much interaction can cause you to burn out, whereas too little interaction can contribute to seasonal affective disorder. Gauge what’s right for you and stick to it this holiday season.

 

This year, really put a focus on your health during the holiday season. Being successful in being healthy and having a good time requires moderation and setting boundaries for both yourself and for others. Use these healthy holiday tips to stay on track, but also don’t hold yourself back from making memories just to save a few calories!

Getting a Home Sauna: Where to Put a Sauna in the House

Getting a sauna for your home is an exciting addition to your home health regimen. But before you can use it, you need to figure out the best place for it to go! Indoors or outdoors, large or small, DIY or prebuilt – there are a lot of considerations to think of when it comes to preparing for your home sauna! These tips below will help you determine the best spot in your home to enjoy your new sauna.

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Why to Put a Sauna in the House

 

While many spas and gyms offer access to saunas, that access is unfortunately not always guaranteed. From saunas being too full with other users or spas and gyms simply being closed, there are a few things that might hold you back from using a public sauna. With a home sauna, however, you have total freedom in sweating whenever and however you want. Having a sauna in the house gives you the opportunity to have your very own health and wellness tool tailored to your needs.

Some home infrared sauna health benefits you can enjoy at any time include:

  • Weight Loss & Increased Metabolism
  • Temporary Muscle Pain Relief
  • Better Sleep
  • Detoxification
  • Decreased Appearance of Cellulite
  • Eased Joint Pain & Stiffness
  • Reduces Stress & Fatigue
  • Improved Skin Conditions

Along with the health benefits above, infrared sauna use has also been shown to help enhance workout performance, create an environment for mindfulness, and provide a sanctuary at home. Whether you’re considering a sauna in the house for on-demand spa days or for reaping the long-term benefits of daily use, a home sauna is sure to help you meet your health and wellness goals.

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Choosing the Right Home Sauna for You

 

Outdoor vs Indoor

 

Outdoor Sauna: Outdoor saunas of course require an outdoor space. Choosing an outdoor sauna is perfect for those with backyards – especially if a pool is nearby for a quick dip after a sauna session. Things to take into consideration with an outdoor sauna include space, proximity to a power source, privacy, and potentially a structure to help protect the sauna exterior from natural elements.

Indoor Sauna: Indoor infrared saunas are becoming increasingly popular as they provide luxury and health benefits right in the comfort of your own home. No matter where you live, you can likely make an indoor sauna fit in your space. From placing one in the corner of a small apartment to having an entire room dedicated to sauna use, choosing an indoor sauna allows for a range of options for everyone (and every space) to enjoy.

 

Large vs Small

 

Large Sauna: Large saunas are the epitome of luxury, but they do require extra space in your home. If you plan on having more than three users at a time or want extra space for activities like hot yoga, dedicate the extra space to have a home sauna of your dreams. Outdoor spaces typically lend themselves to more space for a large sauna, but you can also place one in your home if you have a large, open area.

Small Sauna: Small saunas are great for single-person use or areas tighter on space. The size of small saunas make them incredibly versatile, fitting in bedrooms, bathrooms, small yards, or anywhere else you desire. If you have a 4’ by 4’ space in your home, you can likely fit at least a one-person sauna. While smaller saunas don’t allow for group sessions or hot yoga, they still offer all the same health benefits as a large sauna.

 

Prebuilt vs Build-Your-Own

 

Prebuilt Sauna: A prebuilt sauna is a great option for people who want a simple installation. You still get all the bells and whistles of an infrared sauna, but without the planning! These saunas come in many sizes and can be placed anywhere inside or outside where there is a stable, flat surface and room for ventilation. Prebuilt saunas only require light assembly and are ready to go once you have them connected to a power source.

Build-Your-Own Sauna: Building your own DIY sauna is always exciting, as you can customize it to be exactly what fits your needs. These saunas take a higher level of planning, as they require careful calculations and measurements so they can fit seamlessly into your home. Building your own sauna is great for creating an at-home spa experience that perfectly fits your home decor. DIY saunas are more popularly done indoors and in bathrooms or pool houses.

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Placement Considerations for a Home Sauna

 

Use the Right Flooring Materials

If building your own sauna, the most suitable floors are made of plastic, ceramic, exposed concrete, or stone. The floor should be sound and heat insulated. If, however, you decide to use a premade home sauna, the flooring is already designed with premium cedar or North American basswood that hold up to regular infrared sauna use. Premade saunas can be placed on nearly any surface as long as it is level and sturdy.

 

Try to Place Near a Shower or Pool

Traditionally, people jumped from the hot sauna to frozen waters. For you, jumping into a pool right after a home sauna session can replicate that refreshing feeling. If your layout allows for it, make the transition between sauna and pool an easy one and have them close. If you do not have a pool at home, a refreshing shower achieves the same effect! Install your sauna in a bathroom for quick and easy access to a shower that will help you feel fresh after.

 

Have Access to Adequate Power

For infrared sauna use, you will need access to a 240-volt connection. While plugging in a prebuilt home sauna should be simple, especially for indoor use, be sure to double check your connections and contact an electrician if any concerns or issues arise. When building a DIY sauna, involving a licensed electrician in the process will help ensure safety for prolonged use. Ensure the wiring for your sauna is clear of any water or any other hazardous conditions.

 

Be Wary of Moisture Levels

Make sure there is adequate drainage around the base of your home sauna so water cannot pool around the base of the sauna. It is also important to consider the humidity levels of the area of your choice, as an environment that is too damp may affect materials over time. Additionally, while our outdoor saunas are constructed with engineered wood on the exterior, too much exposure to natural elements over a prolonged period may impact the exterior of your sauna.

 

Having a sauna in the house is sure to make every day feel a little more luxurious and a lot healthier. Whether you’re looking to improve your health or simply create an at-home spa experience, take the above tips into consideration to ensure your home sauna is exactly what you need!

Staying Healthy with At-Home Activities for Adults

It is no secret that staying home for days, weeks, and even months can get pretty monotonous. But you can shift your mindset from being “stuck” inside by keeping yourself occupied. Since we can’t change the current situation, it’s better to focus on how we can work to make the best of it. Being at home actually allows you to focus your time and attention on things you may not have pursued otherwise, such as taking some time for yourself with a spa day or finally starting on a home project that has been on your to-do list. Read on to find some at-home activities for adults that will keep you stimulated, productive, healthy, and happy.

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Healthy At-Home Activities for Adults

 

Fun Things to Do at Home

As many have shifted into a work-from-home situation where home and business are always connected, it is now harder than ever to differentiate between when work ends and play begins. It is very important for your overall happiness to make some dedicated time to rest and enjoy life. Try out these at-home activities to keep your days lighthearted and fun:

 

Pick up a new creative project: Even if you aren’t the “crafty” type, crafting can be a great way to get your brain working in new ways. Painting, photography, graphic design, writing, playing music, and building are all great outlets for some of that pent-up creativity. At the end of it, you’ll maybe even find a new favorite hobby.

 

Plan video calls with loved ones: Staying in contact with loved ones is a great way to stay social when you are at home. Every week, schedule a call with someone new to check in and see how they are doing. Planning a large group call with friends or family can also give you a fun event to look forward to every week.

 

Schedule a movie night: Binge watching shows is surely one of everyone’s most popular at-home activities during these times, but what about having a dedicated movie night? Make this night special with movie snacks, a cozy setting, and a movie you’ve been wanting to see. You can even host a watch party with distant friends!

 

Break out the board games: Board games are definitely having a revival right now. As more time is spent at home, more time is available for putting in the time to learn and play new board games. Play with members of your household, or put on a game night with your bubble to really test your skills (and your relationships).

 

Have a picnic: Whether it’s in your backyard or on your living room floor, doing a themed meal like a picnic can make dining a little more exciting. Make and pack up all your favorite picnic foods in a basket, lay a blanket on the ground, and have a picnic right at home. If you have a bubble to enjoy it with, make it potluck-style!

 

Treat yourself to a spa day: This time is a bit stressful for everyone, and the tension builds up in the body. Get rid of this discomfort by treating yourself to an at-home spa day! Destress in an infrared sauna, soak in a bubble bath, put on a face mask, and dedicate a good hour to yourself to unwind and take a break.

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Healthy Things to Do at Home

Getting stuck in a rut happens quickly when you aren’t being healthy at home. Home life can certainly be a bit slower-paced than actively going out and doing things, but don’t let that be an excuse to push your health to the side. Instead, try these healthy at-home activities to keep your body and mind in shape while spending time in the house:

 

Invest in your health: Being healthy doesn’t have to require money, but it can definitely be worth it to invest in bigger-ticket items that can take your health to the next level. From infrared saunas to exercise machines, find equipment that inspires you to continue to stay healthy at home.

 

Try a new recipe: More time at home means less time eating out, so it’s the perfect time to get more acquainted with your kitchen! Look up recipes to add into your mealtime and learn a new trick or two. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about the ingredients you are using and to try new things.

 

Experiment with new workouts: Keep your days interesting by switching up your fitness routine. Not only will this keep you from getting bored with working out, it also ensures that you are targeting different areas of your body for more well-rounded fitness.

 

Make a meal plan: Planning out your meals ahead of time can help you save time and eat a healthier diet. By preparing your meals ahead of time, you only need to dedicate one day to cooking. Planning meals for your week also makes you more aware of the ingredients you are using and the portions you are eating.

 

Explore outlets for mental health: A large part of your health is your mental health, especially during this time. Find ways to express yourself and address your emotional wellbeing by finding outlets such as meditation, speaking with friends, or trying therapy.

 

Take some time outside: While this isn’t technically a healthy “at-home” activity since you’ll be outside, it is still an important thing to consider when spending more time at home. Getting some fresh air, movement, and sun can help break up all the time spent inside and help you feel more invigorated and healthy.

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Productive Things to Do at Home

While not as fun as some of the other at-home activities, being productive and getting work done is one of the best things to do when spending more time at home. These ideas require some extra work, but the end results will leave you feeling accomplished, efficient, and at peace knowing your life is on the right track.

 

Organize an area of your home: With all this time at home, you’re sure to have become more aware of where things are and how they’re organized. Set aside some time to focus on an area of your home to organize and rearrange. If organizing isn’t your favorite activity, try to only do one area in a day to avoid burnout.

 

Gather items for donation: Not only is this activity a great way to organize your items and clean out things you no longer need, it is also a great way to give back to those who may be in need. Spend some time going through your kitchen, closet, or storage and make a donation pile to bring to a local donation center.

 

Do a deep clean of one room: Similar to organizing a room, this at-home activity will help boost the enjoyment of being in your space for extended periods of time. Choose one room at a time to do a deep clean – dust, sweep, vacuum, scrub whatever you need to do to keep your home feeling refreshed and enjoyable.

 

Plan your budget: Taking a look at your budget isn’t the most fun at-home activities for adults, but it is a necessary one. We have seen the importance of being aware of your finances and planning for the future. Go through your recent transactions, forecast your future spending, and make sure your budget is on the right track.

 

Start a home project: Starting a home project may be daunting and seemingly time-consuming, but when you’re spending more time at home, it’s much easier to fit it into your daily life. Cross something off of your home improvement list and get started on a project that you can chip away at.

 

Learn a new language: Unfortunately, travel isn’t as easy to do right now, but you can still get a taste of other cultures by learning a new language! There are many languages and programs to choose from to help get you started, and hopefully you can use your new skills soon out in the world.

 

Being in your house doesn’t mean you’re stuck, it simply means you now have more opportunities to try these at-home activities for adults. Stay happy, healthy, productive!

50 Ways to Improve Yourself During Self Improvement Month

September is Self Improvement Month, which gives us a perfect reason to take a look at our lives to see how we can improve. Finding ways to improve yourself can be an uncomfortable, but necessary, task. It forces us to analyze what is and isn’t working on a very personal level, which results in change that can greatly improve quality of life. From getting healthy to organizing your home, check out these ideas to help improve yourself this month and beyond.

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The Benefits of Self Improvement

 

Increase Self-Awareness

The first benefit of self-improvement is that it requires you to become more self-aware and get to know yourself better. It makes you question yourself and face reality for what it is, however harsh it might be. Self-awareness is an ongoing journey. So, in order to be on the path of self-improvement, it is important to never lose touch with yourself.

 

Cultivate Self-Love

Self improvement cultivates self-love and compassion. By seeing yourself grow with every passing day, you build on your confidence and self-esteem. Self-improvement is about focusing on what matters to you and overcoming any mental hurdles that might be stopping you from reaching your highest potential.

 

Enhance Strengths

Self-improvement allows you to identify your personal strengths and play on them. From relationships to careers – knowing your strengths is important for every sphere of your life. It gives you a better understanding of what you are seeking and where you are likely to thrive and excel. It helps you set life goals and make them happen.

 

Overcome Weaknesses

While identifying strengths is an important aspect of self-improvement, so is identifying your weaknesses. The goal of improving yourself should be to look beyond those weaknesses that are stopping you from achieving greatness. Accept your weaknesses, identify where they stem from, and be determined to overcome them.

 

Step out of Your Comfort Zone

Choosing to work on improving yourself requires you to step out of your comfort zone. It lets you face your fears, try new things, and challenge yourself. There will be times when you will discover a new side of your personality, but there will also be times when you will fail. Don’t let those failures bog you down, as life begins outside your comfort zone.

 

Increase Motivation

Self-improvement and motivation go hand in hand. When you see yourself developing as a human being, you are filled with optimism and the drive to push yourself to do better. It is a continuous cycle that needs you to maintain your motivation levels and be committed to continuous growth.

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Improve Physical Health

Improving yourself is often spoken of in terms of focusing on your actions and mindset, but it can also apply to your physical health. Being physically healthy impacts your mental state and can help you approach life in a new way. Be active for 30 minutes every day, get plenty of sleep, eat well, and invest in items like an infrared sauna that will provide many health benefits.

 

Understand Mental Health

One of the biggest benefits of self-improvement is the positive impact it has on mental health. When you work on yourself, you get to know yourself better which lets you handle your thoughts and emotions more effectively. You begin to understand why you are experiencing certain emotions and learn how to tackle them with time.

 

Heal Relationships

When you work on improving yourself, you automatically improve your relations with those around you. The key to combat conflicts and build meaningful relationships starts with looking inward and developing yourself first. Moreover, when you strive to have a positive self-image, you are bound to nurture healthy relationships.

 

Improve Decision Making

Good decision making skills come from a place of clarity, self-awareness, and confidence which is a direct result of self-improvement. When you know what you want to achieve out of a situation and set your goals accordingly, you are able to make better, informed decisions.

 

Find a Sense of Purpose

Self-improvement and personal development give your life purpose and meaning. They help improve mental and physical well-being by keeping you on the right track. With a sense of purpose, you learn to accept all the challenges that come along the way because you have your eyes set on what really matters – the ‘bigger picture’.

 

Gain More Clarity

Mental clarity is a tough state to attain. However, when you make self-improvement the primary goal of your life, you begin to start becoming more authentic and removing the clutter from your life. Gaining clarity allows you to stay focused and not engage in anything that takes you away from your goal.

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Self-Improvement Ideas

  • Keep a to-do list.
  • Stay organized.
  • Do your most important task first every day.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Pursue a hobby that you love – just for fun.
  • Have a motivational vision board.
  • Start a morning routine to do every day.
  • Journal regularly.
  • Have a go-to activity to get you out of a rut.
  • Create a mission statement for your life.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Start meditating.
  • Practice self awareness.
  • Focus on increasing the skills you’re good at.
  • Be comfortable asking for help.
  • Give praise to people you spend time with.
  • Take constructive feedback positively.
  • Save for retirement.
  • Spend money on experiences (not things).
  • Spend less than you make.
  • Stop negative thoughts.
  • Be your own best friend.
  • Drink enough water every day.
  • Get enough good sleep.
  • Learn ways to manage stress.
  • Have a weekly exercise routine.
  • Keep track of routine doctor appointments.
  • Create a meal plan.
  • Master the art of conflict resolution.
  • Stop procrastinating.
  • Improve your body language.
  • Invest in your health.
  • Read something new every day.
  • Check in on loved ones.
  • Create a bucket list.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Acknowledge your flaws.
  • Leverage helpful resources.
  • Avoid negative people.
  • Get a mentor or coach.
  • Reduce the time spent on social media.
  • Stick to a 30-day challenge.
  • Let go of the past.
  • Show kindness to people around you.
  • Take a break.
  • Seek personal development opportunities.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Volunteer your time.
  • Actively participate in your community.

How to Improve Yourself Everyday

 

Personal development lasts far beyond Self Improvement Month, and meaningful changes can take place with just a few daily changes to your regular lifestyle. The key to achieving growth is sticking to it and continually making a conscious effort to improve yourself every day.

Sauna Bathing for Peaceful Minds and Healthy Hearts

By Dr. James DiNicolantonio www.drjamesdinic.com

 

Most people use saunas for relaxation, stress reduction, pain relief, and socializing. 1 The most commonly reported benefits with sauna use include improvements in pain, mental issues, and sleep 1 – something all of us could benefit from right now. However, emerging evidence suggests that sauna is not only beneficial for our mental health but also our heart health.

In fact, regular sauna bathing is associated with reductions in hypertension, fatal cardiovascular events, sudden cardiac death, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and all-cause mortality. 2, 3 Sauna bathing 2-3 times per week, versus 1 time per week or less, is also associated with a 33% reduction in the risk of venous thromboembolism. 4 Epidemiological studies find greater reductions in cardiovascular risk with frequent and regular sauna sessions of at least 20 minutes in duration. 2 ,3 , 5

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For most saunas, in order to elevate heart rate above 100 beats per minute the session needs to be longer than 10-15 minutes. The real magic with sauna bathing likely occurs somewhere around the 25 to 30-minute mark (when the heart rate reaches around 120 beats per minute or higher). 5

Two clinical trials in patients with at least 1 cardiovascular risk factor found that 30 minutes in the sauna improves systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 6, 7 One of them noting improvements in arterial stiffness.6  In heart failure patients, sauna sessions also significantly reduce blood pressure 8 and also increase cardiac and stroke indexes, reduce systemic vascular resistance and increase ejection fraction. 9 These benefits may have to do with improvements in oxidative stress and increases in the production of nitric oxide leading to better vascular relaxation and blood flow. 10

Two weeks of far infrared sauna sessions significantly improves systolic and diastolic blood pressure, flow-mediated dilation, fasting glucose, body weight, and body fat. 11 Far infrared sauna therapy also improves ventricular arrhythmias, heart rate variability and brain natriuretic peptide in patients with chronic heart failure 12 and vascular health in patients with at least one coronary risk factor. 13

Woman-Doing-Aerobic-Exercise-for-Heart-Health

Combining aerobic exercise with frequent sauna bathing may confer the greatest heart health benefits. Indeed, 15 minutes of aerobic exercise followed by 15 minutes in the sauna improves mean arterial pressure, arterial stiffness and pulse pressure, benefits that were retained even after a 30-minute recovery period. 14 Sauna bathing also lowers heart rate. Indeed, one study noted a 9 beat per minute reduction in resting heart rate after a 30 minute sauna session. 5 And another study found similar benefits with a 25-minute sauna session finding reductions in blood pressure and heart rate. 15

During a sauna session there is an acute increase in heart rate and blood pressure but afterwards there is a reduction. 15 An effect similar to what occurs with moderate exercise. Additionally, after sauna bathing there is a significant increase in parasympathetic activity but a reduction in sympathetic activity leading to an increase in heart rate variability.  5 Considering that hypertension, fatal arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, and acute myocardial infarction are associated with reductions in heart rate variability 5 an improvement in this parameter with sauna therapy may lead to significant cardiovascular benefits.

In summary, sauna bathing is safe for most individuals and appears to lower blood pressure, improve artery health, heart rate variability, and resting heart rate. Sauna therapy also increases nitric oxide dilating blood vessels and reducing oxidative stress. All of these effects are likely why regular sauna use is associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease.

 

References

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2      Laukkanen JA, Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK. Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence. Mayo Clin Proc 2018;93:1111-21.

3      Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, et al. Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events. JAMA internal medicine 2015;175:542-8.

4      Kunutsor SK, Makikallio TH, Khan H, et al. Sauna bathing reduces the risk of venous thromboembolism: a prospective cohort study. Eur J Epidemiol 2019;34:983-6.

5      Laukkanen T, Lipponen J, Kunutsor SK, et al. Recovery from sauna bathing favorably modulates cardiac autonomic nervous system. Complement Ther Med 2019;45:190-7.

6      Lee E, Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK, et al. Sauna exposure leads to improved arterial compliance: Findings from a non-randomised experimental study. European journal of preventive cardiology 2018;25:130-8.

7      Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK, Zaccardi F, et al. Acute effects of sauna bathing on cardiovascular function. J Hum Hypertens 2018;32:129-38.

8      Tei C, Horikiri Y, Park JC, et al. [Effects of hot water bath or sauna on patients with congestive heart failure: acute hemodynamic improvement by thermal vasodilation]. J Cardiol 1994;24:175-83.

9      Tei C, Horikiri Y, Park JC, et al. Acute hemodynamic improvement by thermal vasodilation in congestive heart failure. Circulation 1995;91:2582-90.

10    Gryka D, Pilch WB, Czerwinska-Ledwig OM, et al. The influence of Finnish sauna treatments on the concentrations of nitric oxide, 3-nitrotyrosine and selected markers of oxidative status in training and non-training men. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2020;33:173-85.

11    Biro S, Masuda A, Kihara T, et al. Clinical implications of thermal therapy in lifestyle-related diseases. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2003;228:1245-9.

12    Kihara T, Biro S, Ikeda Y, et al. Effects of repeated sauna treatment on ventricular arrhythmias in patients with chronic heart failure. Circ J 2004;68:1146-51.

13    Imamura M, Biro S, Kihara T, et al. Repeated thermal therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors. J Am Coll Cardiol 2001;38:1083-8.

14    Lee E, Willeit P, Laukkanen T, et al. Acute effects of exercise and sauna as a single intervention on arterial compliance. European journal of preventive cardiology 2019:2047487319855454.

15    Ketelhut S, Ketelhut RG. The blood pressure and heart rate during sauna bath correspond to cardiac responses during submaximal dynamic exercise. Complement Ther Med 2019;44:218-22.