Author: Shushan

5 Budget-Friendly Hobbies That are Fun for Anyone

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Looking for some fun new hobbies to add to your skill set but also looking to stay within a tight budget? Hobbies are important for relieving stress, but they shouldn’t cause you to stress about money. Here are five ways you can pick up new skills without putting a dent in your savings.

1) Discover a New Sport

Exercise can give you more energy and help you feel happier. So, why not spend some time learning how to play a new sport? Whether you prefer to play alone or as a team, there is a sport that is right for you. You can pick up tennis, golf, or swimming as an active hobby, and you can even save money on new sports equipment. Look for ways to keep costs down by using online promo codes, coupons, and cashback offers.

2) Pick Up a New Instrument

Music adds so much spice to our everyday lives, and you can take your love of music one step further by learning to play an instrument. Use promo codes to save on your instrument and sheet music purchases at retailers like Amazon. Once you have what you need, you can learn at home with online tutorials, go to group classes or look for discounted lessons and coupons through sites like Groupon. Want an even less expensive way to make music? Work on your singing game for an instrument-free way to immerse yourself in music.

3) Relax with Arts and Crafts

Another creative way to reduce stress and keep your hobby costs down is to get into arts and crafts. You can make art out of anything, from painting watercolors to creating sculptures out of literal garbage. You can also get the art supplies you need, such as brushes, paper, and paint, without maxing out your budget. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to pay full price at craft stores like Michaels with all the online promo codes and coupons available. Many of these stores offer low-cost classes to help you improve your skills, but you can also learn valuable tips online.

4) Grow a Container Garden

If you’ve been itching to get your green thumb dirty, but have been concerned about costs that container gardens may be your best option. Retailers like Home Depot have sales and deals online and they also have plenty of container options to fit any home size. You can also use items around your home — such as colanders, buckets, and even pots — to grow your own little garden of flowers, plants, or edibles. Still, make sure you look for promo codes or discount offers to help you save on soil, seeds, and other gardening supplies. While you’re online, try looking for easy gardening tips to get your green dreams started.

5) Get Creative with Makeup

You’re probably wondering how makeup can be a hobby? However, if you’ve been paying attention to social media, you know that influencers have turned makeup application into a multi-faceted, expressive skill. You can pick up tips to enhance your everyday look or get really creative with some special effects makeup. Best of all, there are plenty of drug-store and bargain-beauty brands to help you keep your cosmetic game on point. You can also easily find in-store and in-app coupon codes for stores like Sephora, where you can pick up makeup at any price point. Many stores also offer free classes or you can just look up tutorials online to help kill some stress putting together some fierce makeup looks.

Convert your Hobby into a Business

Many hobbyists are looking to put their business savvy into converting a part-time hobby into full-time revenue. If your personal and professional goals align, you could have the ultimate career: doing what you love. The starting point is often researching your market and defining your audience. Once that pencils out, it’s time to review the legal requirements for starting a business in your state.

There are a dozen potential business structures, but one that is very popular with the hobbyist-turned-entrepreneur community is the LLC. Attractive for its tax benefits, security, and ease of set up, there are still a number of steps required to establish a bonafide business. Luckily a formation service can assist with the process and is substantially less expensive than hiring an attorney.

There are tons of ways to save on the supplies you need to pick up new skills, and you can pick up lessons online or with friends. Don’t let your budget hold you back from learning a hobby!

Photo Credit: Pexels

Author: Jennifer Scott

Categories: Uncategorized

10 Skills To Help You Cope with Life

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Life can get tough, and sometimes it feels as though the burdens you bear will crush you beneath their weight. But they don’t have to. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, your personal leisure activities can help you cope with everything life throws your way with the added benefits of learning a new skill and socializing with friends old and new. There are many ways to learn new skills whether through instructional videos, apps, or in-person classes. Keep reading for 10 hobbies to prioritize when you’re in a personal pickle.

Of course, adopting a hobby isn’t a substitution for getting help from a mental health professional if you’re truly struggling. If you think you may be experiencing an emotional wellness issue, contact Shushan Khachatryan, a Psychotherapist who treats depression, anxiety, trauma, OCD, and relationship issues.

Leverage Technology

Before you get started on a new hobby, think about how you’re going to learn. While there are many classes you can take in person, you can also learn through online tutorials and apps, which are especially useful if you can’t afford or don’t have the time to attend a class. You can use your smartphone to access the apps and tutorials of the hobby you choose, but you may need to upgrade your data plan to handle your usage and avoid being charged for overage. Check with your cell service provider to find a plan that suits what you need. 

10 Hobbies/Skills to Learn

1. Dancing. Few things push our physical boundaries more than the art of dance. It’s a great cardiovascular exercise that can help you get up close and personal with your partner.

2. Playing music. Learning a musical instrument has a long list of benefits that deserves a post of its own. You can learn music online or at any number of local music schools throughout the country. Musicradar interviewed a number of musicians after World Guitar Day 2017 and found that, among other things, playing music enhances creativity and can help strengthen your support network. There are also apps available for learning all kinds of instruments.

3. Drawing. Contrary to popular belief, people are not always born artists. Drawing is a skill that can be learned and there are multiple mediums to experiment with.

4. Language. Hej, halò, bonjour, and hello. Learning a new language can open up a whole new world and may even enhance your employment opportunities. And since you have to have someone to talk to, it makes the perfect pastime to do with family. Pushing foreign words into your head increases neuroplasticity, meaning it makes your brain cells grow back when they die off. Language-learning apps include Memrise and Duolingo.

5. Martial arts. Self-defense is a vital skill that everyone should learn. Martial arts in particular is in excellent activity for kids and adults alike as it helps develop teamwork skills and increases self-esteem.

6. Traveling. Inc. says it best, “Travel is a great way to liberate you from the daily routine of your life.” Learn how to travel on a budget by scouring the internet and your local library for information on out-of-the-way places.

7. Sewing. Sewing is a creative outlet that can save you money in the long run. Not only will you learn how to mend your own trousers, but also it will change the way you look at your current wardrobe.

8. Public speaking. Speaking to a crowd of people can be intimidating but learning how to speak in public can help you be more comfortable around others and will even open up opportunities for you to make a difference in your community and career.

9. Cooking. Maybe you grew up with a personal chef. Maybe you got burned as a child and haven’t ventured into the kitchen since. Whatever the reason you haven’t mastered the mixer, there’s never a bad time to learn how to cook. This valuable life skill can be learned in your spare time. Heather Barnett of SheKnows put together this recent list of online cooking classes so now you have no excuses.

10. Pottery. Manual dexterity and a new coffee mug are only two of the benefits you’ll gain from taking a pottery class. This ancient art form is good for the mind and can help you clear your head of negative thoughts.

Your Old Hobby is a New Career

Since we’re on the topic of starting new skills, it’s time to talk about taking old skills and turning them into new careers. Not many people realize that their lives don’t have to go on hold to start a new career or go back to school. Online universities like WGU make it easy to earn a degree at your own convenience while keeping your current job and work-life balance. So, if you wanted to earn a degree in IT, for example, it wouldn’t be hard to earn a degree at home.

Don’t be afraid to pick yourself up off the pavement, grab a group of friends, and schedule a class or activity that suits your interests. You might just find your soon-to-be newfound skill is exactly what was missing from your life.

Author: Jennifer Scott

Categories: Uncategorized

How to Look and Feel Amazing When Money Is Tight

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As a whole, our priorities have shifted since mid-March. Unfortunately, this is due in part to widespread job losses, which make it exponentially more challenging to invest money and energy into things like self-care. But now is perhaps the most important time in your life to care for yourself, and you don’t have to let a damaged budget get in your way.

Eat Well

There is no disputing that the food you put into your body has a significant effect on your mind as well. Make a point to eat foods that can help stave off stress and depression, which can prevent you from falling back into unhealthy habits. This includes things like turkey breast, sweet potatoes, carrots, and avocados. You might also want to add Apple cider vinegar to your daily diet. According to a Sweet Pea Chef blog, apple cider vinegar has many benefits, perhaps the most appealing of which is that it reduces belly fat and lowers your cholesterol. It’s also one of the most affordable items on your store shelf.

Elevate Your Hygiene Routine

More than likely, you can’t get to the salon or spa just yet. But that does not mean that you can’t treat yourself to a spa experience at home. Check out self-care product sellers, such as Bath & Body Works and Sephora, for little indulgences that can help you keep your skin in top shape throughout the pandemic. Smoothing body scrubs are a great addition to your hygiene arsenal, and, with a little research, you might even find Sephora promo codes and coupons that can help you justify your purchase that much more.

Ramp Up Your Comfort

If you’ve been spending more time at home and want to stay comfortable without living in your pajamas and robe, it’s time to make a point to get dressed every day. Putting on clothes and preparing for your day can go a long way toward helping you feel better emotionally and can even put some bounce in your step. So take the time to plan an outfit the night before, even if it’s jeans and your favorite T-shirt. For extra motivation, you could use savvy spending to buy a few items like some comfortable pants, a cozy dress or a new bra. There’s truth in the saying that when you look good, you feel good.

Save Your Sanity with Fitness

Exercise is not just something you do for your physical health. Working out, whether walking (while socially distanced, of course), running, or lifting weights provides a direct outlet for your brain to produce endorphins. These feel-good chemicals can help you better appreciate what you do have — health, family, etc. — instead of fixating on what you’ve lost. But exercise equipment can get pricey, so it’s a good idea to get familiar with multi-purpose equipment that will help you stretch the money you can spend. An exercise ball, for example, costs around $20 for a high-quality one and can help you work your abs as well as perform balance exercises.

Take an Hour for Yourself Every Day

Chances are, you have more time now than ever. Evaluate whether or not you’re using it in your best interest. If you find that you’re spending all your time taking care of everyone else, which is a likely scenario, think of ways you can break free from your responsibilities for an hour every day. You might, for example, launch a Zoom meeting with your best friends or paint your nails. Similarly, there are plenty of binge-worthy TV shows available for free or through your current streaming services that can give you a mental break from reality. Don’t have an hour? Even 15 minutes calling your best friend or writing in a journal may be the internal respite you need to feel refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the day may bring.

Right now, self-care should be a top priority. And no matter what this looks like to you, whether you want to stay fit, change your diet, or pamper yourself a bit, it matters that you do it. Remember, you cannot run on an empty tank, and you have to fuel your mind and body to look and feel your best each and every day. And you don’t have to go broke to do it.


Image via Pexels

Thanks to author Cheryl Conklin at Wellness Central for the content.


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3 Things to Know About Change & COVID-19

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You likely have your hands full right now, as you’re dealing with both minor and major changes to your lifestyle and routine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But you can use this time to improve your life, cope with recent changes, and maybe even thrive.

Stress Can Make It Harder to Make Smart Decisions  

As Harvard Business Review explains, stress and decision-making don’t mix well together. Reactions in your brain can make it harder to make decisions objectively.  So if you have any major life decisions that you can put off until the COVID-19 crisis begins to settle down, you may want to do so. This can include changing jobs, changing homes, or changing social connections.

Now when it comes to smaller decisions, like coloring your own hair or picking up a new hobby, making mistakes isn’t really that big of a deal, and in fact, learning from smaller mistakes can help you avoid major missteps in the future.

Of course, there are a few common pandemic changes that can help you alleviate feelings of stress. One such transition is to adopt a pet. Pets can provide a whole host of health and wellness benefits, including reducing feelings of anxiety and tension. Plus you can pick up any pet supplies you need, including a comfy cat bed, by researching and buying products online. Choosing the right supplies will also make this transition easier for you and your new pet. Just keep in mind that pets are a long-term commitment, and your new buddy will likely be around long after the pandemic ebbs.

But Sometimes Major Life Changes Simple Can’t Wait

Holding off on major transitions is a luxury that some people may not have right now, so it’s also helpful to understand how to make those changes with the least amount of risk. For example, buying a home can already be a challenging process, but doing so in the middle of a pandemic can be even more complicated.

If you must move in the next month or two, protect yourself from unintentional risks by asking for 3D walkthroughs, video conferences and virtual signings rather than dealing with these tasks face-to-face. Knowing how to safely manage a move amid restrictions and health hazards can also prove crucial if you need to relocate soon.

With so many business and employment shifts, you may also find yourself in need of a sudden career transition—it might even be triggering your housing transition. Rather than feeling stressed by the need or desire to find a new vocation, try to focus on the benefits that extra time at home can provide for this shift. You should have more time to work on new skills and projects that will help with your new career.

Extra Support Can Make Coping With Change Easier

Dealing with a global pandemic, business closures and other COVID-19 effects in conjunction with major lifestyle changes can be a lot for anyone to take on alone. So if you are currently experiencing these sorts of overwhelming transitions, reaching out for help can provide the advice and relief needed to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

If you are looking for emotional support, you can seek help from psychotherapist Shushan Khachatryan, who can help you deal with complex feelings and issues brought about by the pandemic. Psychotherapy can provide the support necessary to process feelings of loneliness, panic, or any other mental health concerns, and can provide insights for managing various emotions.

The coronavirus pandemic means millions of people scrambling to keep up with constant change. Not to mention those same people are also trying to deal with ever-changing emotions. Make sure you have everything you need to handle and adapt to this unprecedented time.

Author: Jennifer Scott

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Top 3 Reasons to Exercise When You’re Blue

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Exercise is known to have numerous health benefits. In the past, physicians, nutritionists, and other health experts focused their research on the effect that exercise has on weight loss, boosting endurance, and beating high cholesterol levels. Recently, there has been an emphasis on mental health.

Scientists have not discovered which specific exercises are best, but we do know that exercise helps you fight the blues in the following ways:

  • When you exercise, you increase your energy levels
  • People who exercise get a better night’s sleep which in turn improves mood
  • Exercise is one of the best distractions to help break the cycle of depressive thoughts
  • Exercise settings like gyms and sport clubs help eliminate loneliness

The Science behind Exercise and Mood Elevation

A study conducted by Psychology Today found that when a person exercises for at least 30 minutes, mood improve significantly. A group of people who had been exhibiting signs of mild depression improved when they started exercising at least three times a week. Here are three reasons why exercising when you feel blue will improve your mood:

  • You Release Feel-Good Hormones

When you exercise, your body releases several feel-good hormones. The most common are serotonin and endorphins. Serotonin is known for regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. Endorphins, on the other hand, are known to be relievers of pain and stress in the body.

Exercise breaks down the brain chemicals known to worsen conditions like depression. When you exercise, you reduce the effect that stress has on your brain. Exercising also helps curb the desire to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.  People who exercise regularly actually report that they feel a kind of high when they exercise. Exercise also conditions your brain in such a way that when you meet a certain goal, you feel a sense of accomplishment and this feeling is what keeps people hooked on exercise.

  • You Interact with Others

There are countless exercise options for anyone who wants to boost their moods. Some of the popular options include jogging, yoga, pilates, cycling, step aerobics, kickboxing, and weightlifting. All these activities can be done in group settings. Leaving your house and getting outdoors is better for your mood than sitting inside by yourself on the couch. Many people make new friends from their exercise classes. The more you interact with other people, the more able you will be to release negative thought patterns and beliefs. Some exercises such as Zumba, cycling, and step aerobics also involve music, which is also known to be very therapeutic.

  • You Get a Sense of Accomplishment

Exercise also gives you a sense of accomplishment. When you exercise, you gain strength and endurance and can potentially loss weight. Being at a healthy body weight can improve your body image, which boosts self-esteem and reduces negative thought patterns.

Setting Up a Schedule

If you are exercising purely as a way to lift your mood, experts recommend that you exercise outside. You can try activities such as hiking, mountain climbing, jogging, swimming, snorkeling, or anything else done outdoors. If you are looking for an easy way to get over the blues and start smiling again, consider signing up for an exercise class at the local gym. Yoga is also known to have help release stress and reduce anxiety. Choose the exercise type that works best for you and see how your outlook brightens.

About the author:  

Erika Long loves corgis, curry and comedy. Always searching for the next great snuggle, flavor or laugh, she inspires people to live their best life now. When not writing, Erika can be found at her local brewery dominating Harry Potter trivia night.



Happy Mother’s Day!

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Few roles in society are as essential, yet underappreciated as a mother. Being a mother is a non-stop, overworked and exhaustive life, though it can also be one of the most rewarding. Whether they are your wife, your daughter, a friend or your own mother, they contribute immensely to society and the future of humanity in so many ways. So, this Mother’s Day it is a great opportunity to wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day!


Fighting Anxiety

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The truth is that so much of what happens to us in our lives is beyond our control…So, how do we fight anxiety?

  • Accept that you cannot control everything. “I will not stress about things that I cannot change.” This is a good quote to memorize and use it when you are feeling your anxiety is rising.
    • One of the top reasons that people feel stressed is a lack of control.There is endless things that can cause stress however you are not in control of that. For example,
      • Stresses caused by nature such as sickness, death, aging, the weather, and everything else that can occur in the natural world.You, as a person, cannot change nature. This is why you need to let it go.
      • Time is another cause of stress for people with anxiety. Things that have or have not happened in the past; things that may or may not happen in the future; and not having enough time left to do what needs to be done. People, being social creatures, tend to worry about what we have or haven’t done, which leads to becoming preoccupied with something already done and in the past, or something that we want in the future. When it comes to fighting with time, it is always best to let it go.
      • Trying to control other people, how they think, act, or feel can not only be detrimental to your anxiety and mental health, it can also be a strain on every relationship in your life. And it is a fight that everyone will always lose. When it comes to other people and their beliefs or feelings, it is always best to let it go.

So, how do you get away from the constant stress that not being in complete control can leave you in? It’s an easy thing to say, but a difficult thing to do: You have to let your worries go. You have to focus on what you can change (you) and what you can’t change (everything else). Try these simple tips and see if it helps. You can always schedule a session with a therapist and go over your options and see if she/he can further help you.

Mindfulness – Grounding exercises: noticing your environment, bodily sensations, and breath

Progressive Muscle Relaxation – Creating a Tension and Release effect with all the muscles in the body

Opposite Actions – By listening to calming music, taking a walk, talking, enjoying sunshine

Safe Place Mental Imagery – Visualizing a place where you can go in your mind to feel safe. This is a form of meditation.

Calming Affirmations – To help recognize that the moment of panic will pass. Self talk is big with anxiety. Mentally talking to yourself and keeping yourself calm.

Exercise – A valuable way to exhaust excess adrenaline built up in the body


Tips to minimize Holiday Blues

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For some, the holidays represent a time of love, family and celebration. For others the holiday season may spark an overwhelming feeling of stress and depression. There are many factors that contribute to holiday depression: Self esteem, financial issues, unemployment, memories of deceased loved ones, relationship status, loneliness and much more. So, how do we minimize holiday blues?

If you find yourself feeling overly fatigued, frustrated, lonely, sad, or wanting to be isolated, there’s a good possibility you are suffering from holiday blues. This is a period of depression and will usually go away after the holiday or winter season, but should still be taken very seriously! If your feelings become too overwhelming, talk to a therapist to figure out your options.

Try these tips to help you feel better:

  • Accept your feelings. The very first thing you want to do is accept and acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. Similarly, if you are having financial issues and you are not happy about it, accept how you are feeling at the moment and realize that it is temporary.
  • Be open to change. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or the same like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Be open to the possibility that not every holiday season will go according to how you imagined and wanted. You may have a limited budget and you may need to spend accordingly.
  • Stick to a routine and get enough sleep. Holiday parties, and other events may make it difficult, but it is extremely important for your mental health to stick to your normal routine of eating and sleeping well.

Try these suggestions:

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving, a widely celebrated day dedicated to acknowledging the goodness in our lives.

We stop to reflect on things and people we are thankful for. Being thankful is strongly linked with both mental and physical health. Thankfullnes can help relieve stress, depression and addictions, among other conditions. Various studies link counting one’s blessings to health. The simple act of expressing gratitude on a consistent basis has been shown to positively impact key areas in a person’s life. These areas include: relationships and connectedness, emotional well-being, and better physical and psychological health. Better psychological health means that people are more likely to engage in health-promoting activities and to seek medical help when it needed. Of course, it’s possible that mentally healthier people feel that they have more to be grateful for, which may explain some of their extra thankfulness.

Those who are struggling with mental health issues may find it difficult to find positivity in their lives.

The reality of Thanksgiving for some Americans is filled with family tension, arguments, sorrow and loss. Others face the stress of hosting, or the dread of being asked questions about their lives that they are not ready to answer. In a recent online poll conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Read More