Having One Of Those Days? 30-Minute Solutions To Lift Your Spirits

Are you having one of those days? We all go through times when it seems like everything is a challenge or we’ve got too much on our plates. If you feel like you’re juggling responsibilities or you’ve woken up feeling low or stressed, here are some 30-minute solutions you can try to lift your spirits. Next time you’re having one of those days when nothing is going right, these simple techniques could help to turn your frown upside down.

Fresh air

If you’ve been cooped up inside all day, take half an hour at lunch or a break during the afternoon to get some vitamin D, stretch your legs and clear your mind. Take some deep breaths, have a walk and enjoy being out in the open. Your serotonin levels are affected by the amount of oxygen in the body, so inhaling clean, fresh air will do your mood a power of good. If you take a break in the sunshine or go for a brisk walk on a chilly day, this will also energize and refresh you, and you’ll be ready to take on whatever the rest of the day holds.

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Massage

Have you had a stressful day? Have you been feeling tense or fraught? Are you spinning plates at work or have you been dealing with tantrums at home or trying to get through a to-do list that seems like it has no end? Sometimes, when you’re busy, you need to take time out to rest your body and mind and release tension, and having a massage is a great way to do this. Massage is proven to boost the circulation, reduce muscle pain and make you feel relaxed. For half an hour, you can forget about whatever’s happened earlier in the day and just chill out. Close your eyes and enjoy a bit of pampering.

Exercise

Do you feel angry or frustrated or do you want nothing more than to collapse into bed and sleep for hours? Whatever your mood, fitting in 30 minutes of exercise a day can have incredible benefits for your physical and mental health. When you work out, your serotonin levels increase, and your body also releases happy hormones, known as endorphins. If you’re tired and you need to unwind and shut off, activities like Pilates and yoga are an excellent choice. If you need to burn off excess energy, try something more intensive like boxing, kickboxing, spinning or martial arts. Hitting balls on a tennis court or a golf course can also be cathartic if you’re looking for an alternative to going to the gym.

Talk

If you’ve got thoughts swimming around your mind or you feel like you’re ready to explode, call a friend or speak to your mum or your sister. Offloading helps to prevent you from bottling things up and enables you to deal with your emotions. Often, getting things off your chest can make you feel better in an instant.

If you’re having one of those days, don’t let it ruin your mood for the rest of the day or the week ahead. Try these simple 30-minute solutions to lift your spirits, reduce stress and get you back on track.

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DIY Ways to Diminish Your Depression

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While, if you’re struggling with depression, you should certainly make seeing your GP a priority because a combination of medication and therapy has shown to be the most effective treatment for depression, there are a number of things you can also do for yourself to help you recover faster.

Here are some simple  DIY ways to diminish your depression that you might want to try:

Take Some Time Off

Work can be stressful at the best of times, but when you’re depressed, it can be torture. So, if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask time off, it could make all the difference, especially if work is a contributing factor to your depression.

If you’re worried about the money side of things, remember you should be entitled to sick pay, and take a look at this statutory sick pay guide to put your mind at ease. Getting your depression under control should be your first consideration, and it may be harder to do that when you’re working.

Exercise

Believe me, I know it’s the last thing you feel like doing when you’re suffering from clinical depression and just getting out of bed in the morning is a cause for celebration sometimes. However, on your better days, when you’re able to get up and about, doing a little exercise, even if it’s only walking around the block, will do you the world of good. It’ll get your endorphins pumping, and if you exercise in nature, it will sooth your stress too.

A Little Ray of Light

If you get depressed in the winter months when the days are short and the nights are long, it could be that the lack of sunlight and the lack of vitamin D that it results in could be causing your depression. If that’s likely, investing in a light therapy box and sitting in front of it for 15-20 minutes each morning might help to diminish your depression.

Keep a Mood Diary

Keeping a mood diary is another one of those things, like exercise, that you scoff at when it’s suggested to you, but which really can make a big difference and ease your depression more quickly than medication and therapy alone.

To keep a mood diary, all you have to do is keep track of your positive moods, writing down as many positives as you can find. You might also want to write down negative thoughts and issues and then look at ways of reframing them so that they aren’t quite as troubling to you. If this sound like something that could be helpful to you, you might want to look into CBT. You can also find mood diary apps online and via your smartphone.

Acupuncture

There is some controversy surrounding acupuncture and whether it’s effective for treating anything, let alone depression, but there is one study from the University of Arizona that seems to suggest that acupuncture can lead to remission in depression symptoms 64 percent of the time, in women at least. This was a small study, but you have nothing to lose and if nothing else I can guarantee you’ll come out of your session feeling a lot more relaxed, which is great for depression in itself.

Join a Support Group

Again, please don’t throw anything at me! I understand the idea of spending an hour every week in a room with other depression sufferers spilling your guts sounds like a nightmare right here on earth to a lot of people, but going to a support group – check out this support group guide for more info-  is actually a really good way to get support from people who really do know what you’re going to. The social aspects of support groups are great for depression sufferers who often tend to isolate too.

Omega-3

Omega-3 oils, which are most commonly found in fish oils, but which veggies can get from flax and algae supplements, may be able to prevent mood swings and low moods. If you add them to your diet, it may give you the boost that you need to take on your depression with gusto, but you may have to wait a week or two before you start feeling the effects.

Meditation

There is a lot of promising research around meditation, specifically mindfulness, and its ability to help people suffering from depression. A technique called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has helped countless people to tackle their negative thought patterns, stop ruminating and reach somewhere approaching equilibrium AND it has been shown to be as successful as antidepressants in some studies at least.

Yoga

I didn’t include this with exercise because, although yoga is certainly a good way to keep fit, that doesn’t have to be the main focus of this ancient technique. In fact, yoga’s combination of long slow stretches and calming breathing techniques are perfect for relieving stress, getting more in tune with yourself, sleeping better at night and, yes, managing your depression more effectively, according to many people who have tried it.

Arts and Crafts

When you’re depressed, as you will probably know, you can be prone to rumination. You can spend hours and hours thinking about that stupid thing you did five years ago, or telling yourself that you’re worthless. It’s a symptom of the illness and something that can cause your efforts to get better fail.

One thing that is pretty effective at taking your mind off the constant barrage of negative thoughts your brain is subjecting to you is arts and crafts. Things that require a little focus, like crocheting and painting, which also give you something physical to do provide a great distraction which will give you the space you need to start getting well.

St. John’s Wort

If you’re the kind of person who only ever takes prescribed medication as a last resort, try St John’s Wort. It’s a natural supplement that is actually prescribed for depression in Germany, and which has been found to benefit sufferers of mild depression without any nasty side effects.

If you’re interested in taking St John’s Wort, you should always see your doctor first because, although it’s pretty safe, it can react with other medications.

Fighting your way out of depression is rarely easy, but if you see your doctor, take their advice and try out some of the DIY suggestions above, you may find that your depression starts to diminish faster than you thought it would, or could.

Amazing Benefits of Adding Lemon Water to Your Diet

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We all know the importance of drinking a substantial amount of water on a daily basis. But have you considered adding a few slices of lemon to the mix? Not only will this make it easier for you to consume your required eight glasses per day, but also there are many health benefits associated with drinking lemon water:

  • Help fight viral infections – Warm lemon water is one of the most successful methods for getting rid of viral infections and the subsequent sore throats that follow.
  • Helps to cut out the caffeine – Are you guilty of indulging in one too many cups of coffee while at work to get through the day? If so, you should consider replacing your morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water instead. A lot of people aren’t optimistic about this switch, until they try it. Not only will you feel refreshed, but you won’t experience the jittery nerves that are associated with caffeine, and you will avoid the pesky afternoon crash that happens way too often.
  • Energy boost – When lemon juice enters your digestive tract, it provides your body with energy, which is great for getting through the day ahead. Not only this, but it helps to reduce depression and anxiety too.
  • Reduces inflammation – The acidity in your body will decrease if you drink lemon water on a frequent basis. This is where disease states occur. In fact, one of the main causes of inflammation is uric acid in your joints, and this is something that lemon juice will remove.
  • Gives your immune system a boost – Lemons are full of Vitamin C, which are like jumper cables to your immune system. If you are feeling stressed, extra vitamin C can help to improve your mood.
  • Lose weight – Adding lemon water can help you to lose weight in a number of different ways. Of course, by drinking lemon juice it means you are drinking less fizzy drinks and other drinks that are bad for you. Not only this, but you are likely to experience less hunger cravings by adding lemon water to your diet. This is because lemon water contains pectin fibre.
  • Excellent potassium source – Lemons are also an amazing source of potassium, which is good for nerve and brain function, as well as heart health.
  • Keeps your skin blemish-free – Lemon water can reduce wrinkles and decrease blemishes thanks to the antioxidants that are present. Your skin’s radiance will be maintained because lemon water detoxifies the blood.
  • Freshens your breath – When giving up smoking, lemon water is a must. While an e cigarette starter kit is widely considered the best way to stop smoking, it can not eradicate the negative effects of smoking that have already taken hold, for example, a smoker’s breath. This is where lemon water comes into place, as it will help to freshen your breath.
  • Cleanses your system – Last but not least, lemon water will enhance your enzyme function, which stimulates your liver to help flush out the toxins in your body.

Real Cigs Vs E-Cigs: Making The Swap

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Are you trying to quit? It isn’t as easy as it sounds, is it? In your quest to give up cigarettes for real, you will have come across e-cigarettes. And, the hope is that they will make the transition easier. However, swapping from a real cig to an e-cig is not an easy process if you are uninformed. Sadly, most people are when it comes to electronic liquids and this puts the whole process in jeopardy. The great news is that you can learn more about them if you are willing to listen. So, are you ready to go on a potentially life changing journey? Good, then buckle up!

Don’t Be Self-Conscious

Even though e-cigarettes are relatively new, lots of people believe they need to look or act a certain way. As such, it is tempting to ask other people what works for them and copy their process. This method is without a doubt the most harmful part of making the switch because what works for one person won’t work for another. What you must do is figure out your preferences and stick to them regardless. Hopefully, this will tie you down and prevent you from jumping back to cigarettes.

Go Shorter

The normal e-cig is a long and bulky number, and that can be problematic for smokers. The fact that it doesn’t resemble a typical cigarette takes away from the experience and ensures they don’t commit to the transition. If you belong to this group, the simple fix is to find a shorter and sleeker version. That way, the thing in your hand will feel natural and help satiate your cravings. But, when you take it back, the smoke won’t fill your lungs with harmful chemicals. There are even e-cigs shaped like normal cigarettes if you want to take it one step further.

Invest In A Quality Product

From an Aspire to a SMOK vape kit, there are lots of versions on the market. Although it appears like a good thing, it can be confusing for the uninitiated who don’t have a clue where to start. To cut through the smoke, so to speak, there is a general rule you should follow: buy quality. Why? It’s because the best products deliver a more balanced ratio of nicotine and last longer. As such, the effects are far greater than opting for a budget version. Even the cost will plateau in the long-term as a good product stands the test of time.

Switch Up Flavours

There is always a flavour that you like more than the rest. But, it is important to remember that you might be using your electronic cigarette for a while. Therefore, one flavour can get boring and cause you to fall out of love with your e-cig. What you should do is try different flavours throughout the course quitting. Hopefully, this tactic will be enough to keep the novelty alive so that you don’t start smoking again.

No one said quitting is easy, but it is a lot easier when you know how to use an electronic cigarette.

Style Over Substance? Never!

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When it comes to a home, it is tempting to make it as stylish as possible. No one wants a house over a home, so filling it with designer products makes it more welcoming. However, although the design is important, style should never come before substance. At the end of the day, a home is a place to kick back and relax after a hard day at work. As such, it needs to be as comfortable as it is beautiful. Luckily, every homeowner can get the balance just right by following the advice underneath.

Here’s how to create a stylish home full of substance.

Use More Fabric

The current culture involves ridding houses of any piece of fabric and replacing it with a shiny alternative. Although leather sofas and hardwood floors do look the part, they are nowhere near as cosy as fabrics. The material itself is soft and welcoming, and it is warm to the touch. Plus, the look also adds a sense of warmth to the room so that it never appears cold and bare. With a fabric couch or carpet on the floors, there is no reason to worry about either substance or style. You can have both with a couple of savvy purchases.

Coat With Fresh Paint

One of the reasons houses begin to look old is because of the paint job. In the beginning, the paint has a certain gloss and shine that makes it very appealing. However, like all things, it ages and loses its appeal as it becomes tired and dilapidated. The good news is that a fresh coat of paint will instantly revive the style as soon as it touches the walls. In fact, you can use it on any surface in the house. Even better is the fact that the colour takes care of the substance issue. Now that it is summer, light hues not only invoke happiness, but they reflect heat and lower the temperature of the room.

Invest In Quality Furniture

Every room in the house will have furniture or fittings, from the bathroom to the kitchen. The problem with this is the expense because fixtures are not cheap. As a result, homeowners shy away from the best quality pieces to help keep their bank balance happy. That is a mistake if you care about getting the balance between style and comfort just right. Why? It’s because designer furniture kills the two birds with one stone. Of course, it pops due to the fact that it is a designer piece, yet it is also practical as it uses quality materials. Anyway, buying the best items is usually a great way to save money in the long-term.

Consider The Format

Comfort doesn’t only revolve around sinking into an armchair and relaxing. It is also about how easy it is to navigate the room. Let’s face it, squeezing through tight spaces is a nightmare. As such, it is very uncomfortable, especially if you have to do it on a daily basis. The trick is to restructure the rooms in the house so that there is a design pattern as well a clear pathway.

For obvious reasons, some things are hard to move, but the furniture that isn’t bolted down is a prime candidate.

The Golden Years: Simple Healthcare Tips That You’ll Need Throughout Your Retirement

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As you approach retirement, the thought of spending more time with loved ones and relaxing with your favorite hobbies is exciting. However, you’ll only be able to enjoy those golden years if your health remains in great condition.

 It’s only natural for the human body to change over time. But as long as you’re prepared to pay attention to those new health requirements, there’s nothing to stop this being the greatest time of your life. So, what are you waiting for? There’s no time to waste.

 #1. Think Movements

 The most common change to take place as you grow older revolves around movement. It’s likely that aches and pains will start to creep in while your body simply won’t be able to do some of the things it used to. Accepting those new limits is vital.

 It’s still important to remain active. Yoga for senior citizens can be a particularly great option while swimming and cycling offer low-impact workouts. Meanwhile, you may need to complete various exercises to reduce the damage caused by arthritis and similar problems.   

 Arguably the most crucial factor is to remain comfortable in the home. This may require some adaption via stairlifts and easily accessed bath tubs. Alternatively, you could look at downsizing to ground floor property. Either way, this will go a long way to retaining your independence.

 #2. Fuel Your Body Well

 Good nutrition is something we should all appreciate throughout our lives. Having said that, the need to give your body the right things is even greater as you get older. Cooking multiple meals at once and freezing them will save you plenty of time and money. Meanwhile, it’s worth looking into couponing and any schemes aimed at senior citizens.

 Giving your body the right things isn’t just about food, though. Aged care medication allows quick, easy, and affordable access to important medicines. Whether it’s controlling your diabetes or other ailments doesn’t matter. Ensuring that your body gains everything needed for great health and comfort will pay dividends in the long run.

 Finally, it’s imperative that you give yourself the best chance to get a great night’s sleep. Sleep patterns can influence various elements of your health, and will make the whole world feel brighter too. Besides, waking up an hour later is one of the best things about not working.

 #3. Appreciate Mental Health

 Protecting your physical health is one thing, but it’s equally imperative that you consider the mental health aspects too. Being away from the daily interactions of the workplace can cause issues, as can losing friends and family over the years. Ignoring it simply isn’t an option.

Knowing how to care for your mental health will have a telling impact on your ongoing happiness. But as well as taking individual precautions, you must also learn to accept help from others. A problem shared is a problem halved, and you mustn’t feel as though you’re fighting it alone.

A healthy mind combined with a healthy body will establish the foundations of a happy retirement. What more could anyone ask for?

The 5 Coolest Cave Destinations In The World

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Caves are some of the world’s most beautiful and impressive natural wonders. These underground worlds can develop via a variety of ways, but are quite often the result of millions of years of erosion and rock formation through rain. Here are some of the most intriguing caves from across the world that ought to be on every travelling troglodyte’s bucket list.

Skocjan cave, Slovenia

The largest cave in Europe, this hidden treasure has no shortage of stalagmites and stalactites offering several huge chambers. It’s also thought to have one of the biggest underground canyons in the world, which you can take a bridge across on a guided tour. This cave was inhabited during prehistoric times, and so you can walk in the footsteps of cavemen. Skocjan can be easily reached via car – the nearest train station is Divaca railway station and there are villages and campsites in the area for accommodation.

Waitomo Glowworms Cave, New Zealand

This cave is special for the creatures that inhabit it. Thousands of tiny glowworms live on the rocks illuminating the cave like a night sky full of stars. Visitors can take a boat trip through the cave and take in the spectacular sight. Waitomo is about three hours from Auckland.

La Jolla Caves, USA

California’s La Jolla Caves are only accessible by water and attract many visitors each year. You can visit them via kayak as part of a tour dependent on the tides. The water around the caves is inhabited by sea lions – you may even spot a leopard shark too. La Jolla is just north of San Diego past Mission Bay and Pacific Beach.  Those visiting from afar should check San Diego visitor information for oversea visitors. You can travel there via road.

Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave, Austria

Eisriesenwelt means ‘land of the giants’. The cave measures a whopping 42 kilometres and contains all manner of dramatic ice formations such as the Ice Organ and Hymir’s Castle. It was formed by erosion from the Salzach river. Over time thawing snow and has continuously frozen in the cave creating the ice formations within. The Ice caves can be located 40 kilometres south of Salzburg. They are only open between May and October.

Krubera Cave, Georgia

Krubera Cave is also known as the ‘cave of crows’ due to the amount of crows nestling at its entrance, giving it a menacing presence. It’s the deepest cave in the world, stretching down more than 2 kilometres. Climbers have described it as an ‘inverted Mount Everest’. Unlike many of the caves on this list, Krubera is still in the stages of being explored and limited largely to professionals, although there are other caves in Abkhazia that are open to tourists.