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How To Be You At Your Best

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What does it mean to live your best life? The answer will be different depending on who you are and what stage you are currently in. Regardless of how you envision an ideal existence, there are a few common steps you can take to get there. Eating right, exercising, being positive, and learning to love without inhibitions are universal ways to care for yourself so that you can create the best version of you there is. Here’s some helpful tips and advice to get you started, brought to you by psychotherapist Shushan Khachatryan.

Eat right all the time.

As the Wildly Healthy Coaching blog points out, eating better does not mean changing your lifestyle all at once. Instead, a healthy diet, like achieving your goals, starts with small steps. You might, for example, plant a garden in 2021 instead of buying all of your produce at the grocery store. If this isn’t an option, plan to get your fruits and vegetables from local farmers, which typically follow organic farming practices — meaning your food has fewer chemicals. Start each day with breakfast, and don’t shy away from energy-boosting snacks, which will keep you physically and mentally ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.

Don’t neglect your oral health.

At the end of a long day, you may be tempted to crash into bed without brushing or flossing your teeth. Don’t let that happen! Not only is tooth decay and gum disease linked to problems such as heart disease, they can also cause you to experience mental health issues such as depression. So, make sure you develop an oral health routine that you can stick to. If crooked or misaligned teeth are making it difficult to keep your teeth clean, there are at-home options available that can correct this problem in as little as three months. Byte, for example, offers clear plastic teeth aligners that straighten crooked teeth without the need for multiple trips to your dentist’s office. But don’t let that scare you; your progress is monitored remotely by a team of qualified professionals, ensuring you still get top-notch treatment. However, it’s important to note that extreme cases may require oral surgery.

Find fun in your fitness routine.

Many people sadly look at working out as a chore rather than a fun and often family-oriented activity. Let go of this notion, and open your mind to looking at fitness as playtime instead. The best way to enjoy physical activity is to go outside. Hike, swim, bike, or work in the garden. The more time you spend outdoors (even digging in the dirt), the more vitamin D, sunshine, and exercise you’ll get.

Can’t always get outside? Start a fitness routine using your phone, TV, or other smart device. If it’s time to upgrade, your wireless provider might have a special offer, so check online so you’re not stressing over money when you’re trying to enjoy a fitness routine. This will allow you to download apps and stream videos seamlessly, which can cut out some of the frustration of getting acclimated to a new routine. You can also use your phone to cast YouTube workout videos straight to your television.

Prioritize positivity.

Life is not always peaches and cream. But life is what you make it. Look for ways to add a dose of positivity to each day. Start by evaluating the space in which you live. If your home or apartment feels cramped and unclean, open the windows and purge all the things you no longer need. Redfin asserts that booting out bad energy can also relieve tension, which is especially important if the members of your family are already arguing and overly critical for no apparent reason.

Positivity does not only come from your environment but from within, as well. If you want to truly live your very best life, you have to work on yourself. Thrive Global recommends paying attention to your body language, letting yourself go blank for a moment, and finding a creative outlet for negative thoughts.

Love without fear.

For most adults, our mental and physical health doesn’t feel fully complete unless we are comfortable loving the people around us without restrictions. This could be a lover, a best friend, or a child. Unfortunately, many of us are afraid to let our guard down, despite strong personal bonds. But love is a basic human need and a physical and emotional drive. Learn to love yourself and others without fear or inhibitions, and you just may find that each day is that much brighter.

Being happy, healthy, and whole is largely influenced by how you treat yourself. Fuel your body like the temple it is, enjoy your exercise routine, and be positive and loving to yourself and those around you. Other healthy habits will fall into place, and you will soon be living your very best life. The best part is that it won’t be forced, but a natural progression that starts with a positive attitude and ends and a better you.

Author: Jennifer Scott

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4 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Stressful Situations During the Pandemic

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Self-isolating has many positive impacts on reducing the spread of COVID-19, but it also has several negative impacts on our mental and physical health. This is especially true for larger households. Are the stress and tension rising at home? With school happening in the dining room and conference calls in the living room, the lines between work and home are more blurred than ever. Here are a few ways to alleviate some common household stressors during the pandemic.

Make remote work more comfortable.

Parents and kids are both struggling with the new world of virtual learning. It can be frustrating when technology won’t work properly, especially when you need it to. You can keep the entire household calmer by proactively addressing common tech troubles ahead of time. For example, set computers to manually update and turn them all off at night. That can result in fewer random computer restarts, like in the middle of math class or your big presentation. 

Also, consider increasing your internet speeds to accommodate all users who will be on simultaneously, whether they’re working, doing schoolwork, or playing video games. You can combat lag and boost your internet speed by upgrading to 5G internet if it’s available in your location. 

Start meditating together.

Getting everyone in the family to do daily meditation can alter stress and tension in a variety of ways. Research shows that meditation reduces stress by lowering blood pressure, but it also relaxes your muscles — easing back, neck, and shoulder pain in the process. 

There are many benefits to meditation. For example, meditation can help your family empathize more with each other. We also suggest creating morning and evening routines that focus on meditation to improve energy levels.

Stay active and eat healthy.

It can be tough to stay motivated when you’re in self-isolation. But if COVID-19 is turning you into a couch potato, it’s likely doing the same for your kids. That can lead to unhealthy habits, sedentary lifestyles, and poor coping mechanisms.

Keep your family active by going on walks and doing online exercise classes together. There are plenty of free videos on YouTube you can follow or you can sign up for live virtual classes with a local gym — which also allows your local fitness professionals to stay afloat as a bonus. And be sure to eat healthy meals! Meal delivery services drop off gourmet vegetarian and vegan meals right at your door.

Practice an attitude of gratitude.

When you are proactively grateful, you stand a better chance of feeling less stress even in typically stressful situations. Gather your family around the dinner table and turn it into a conversation about gratitude, discussing the many ways we feel thankful for a valuable experience or lesson learned.

When your family practices gratitude, you help them build up a defense against depression, see new opportunities, feel optimistic, show more empathy, and boost feelings of self-worth. These are all ways to move through painful or tense situations of isolation and into feelings of support, unity, and camaraderie. 

Self-isolating with family can be a stressful time. In many ways, we’re going to look back on COVID-19 and see that, while in some ways we’ve been separated, we’ve also had more time together. Help your family reframe stressful situations into learning opportunities with positive outcomes. 

If you need someone to talk to or options for managing your own mental health, Shushan Khachatryan offers professional therapy to help you cope with life’s challenges. Call (818) 926-3030 to request an appointment. 

Author: Cheryl Conklin from Wellness Central

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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

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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

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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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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!

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