Benefits of Chocolate - Yummy!
Chocolate is a delicious substance that was consumed as a “nectar of the gods” in Mayan ceremonies for its supposedly sacred properties. Centuries later, chocolate lovers continue to celebrate the treat for its tempting taste and its melt-in-your-mouth texture. Yet aside from its sensory appeal, dark chocolate is also becoming lauded for its health benefits. Here are the top 5 health benefits of dark chocolate.
Rich In Antioxidants
Protects Heart Health
The blood pressure-lowering effects of flavonols may also improve heart health. In addition to lowering blood pressure, dark chocolate has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and to increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Collectively, these effects may contribute to the decreased risk of heart disease that is seen in observational studies of individuals who consume dark chocolate.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of chocolate is that it simply makes us happy. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is known to release endorphins in our brains. Endorphins are the feel-good chemicals whose release can be found in other pleasurable activities, such as aerobic exercise and sex. Additionally, chocolate stimulates the release of serotonin, a mood-lifting neurotransmitter that is often found to be low in individuals with depression.
Stimulates Sexual Arousal
For those who experience a lack of libido or who simply want to enhance a romantic evening with their partner, dark chocolate may be a way to enhance the experience. Chocolate has been used since its Aztec origins as an aphrodisiac. The arousing properties of dark chocolate may occur because of the appeal of its silky-smooth texture. Aside from its aesthetic value, dark chocolate consumption can also trigger the release of oxytocin, which is the pair-bonding neurotransmitter that is associated with building intimate relationships.
These powerful health benefits of dark chocolate are a wonderful excuse to buy a bar. However, before stocking your shelves, it is important to understand that many of these positive health effects can be negated by overconsumption of chocolate or eating chocolate with a high sugar content. For best results, seek out dark chocolate with 70% or higher cacao content that contain minimal added ingredients.
Boost Your Immunity!
Health headlines are frequently flooded with findings on the latest miracle product to boost immunity. With the constant flux in information, which claims can we truly trust?
Rather than following the trends, follow a healthy lifestyle. Here are five natural ways to strengthen our immune system to stay healthy.
Meditation can be practiced through visualization, through repeating a mantra, or through mindfulness, among other techniques.
Activity is closely related to immunity. Physical activity functions as a natural cleansing process for the body by flushing out bacteria from the lungs and airways. However, increasing duration or intensity of exercise is not necessarily better for individuals who already have a regular workout routine because heavy, long-term exercise (e.g. marathon running and competitive athletics) may actually compromise immunity. For ideal immune functioning, exercise regularly at a moderate level or simply maintain an active lifestyle.
Get Outdoor & Smell the Roses
A sizeable number of key ingredients in drugs developed today are either isolated from plants or replicated from chemicals in plants. Thus, being outdoors brings us home to the millions of immune-boosting chemicals that we may attempt to replace in the form of pills.
Avoid False Claims
As it stands, there is limited regulation in marketing and producing “immune-boosting” herbs, supplements, or other pills. For the majority of supplements that are sold, there is weak or limited evidence behind the effectiveness of the properties that they promise. Rather than take these compounds in the form of a pill, it is often more beneficial to go with our gut and go to the source. Select a diet full of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and other compounds that build immunity without boasting bolded claims.
Rest Nightly & Sleep Well
Sleep is fundamental to our natural immunity. Inadequate sleep is associated with a long list of physical health problems associated with immunity. In particular, sleep deprivation suppresses immune function, making us more susceptible to colds, flus, and bacterial infections. Researchers recommend around 7 hours of sleep per night for best protection from disease.
For improved immunity, stick with natural, lifestyle ways to enhance overall health, such as stress reduction, physical activity, and sleep, rather than seeking out “immune boosters” in the form of pills.
April Fool's Day (April 1) Pranks
Essentially, April Fool’s Day is an annual day where pranks are played on people. Although the main goal is to ‘fool’ someone with what would be considered a credible hoax or harmless trick, there are times when the practice tends to go overboard. In today’s world of new technology, the ‘pranking’ part has become far easier to pull off for many media outlets that often create elaborate hoaxes in an effort to fool as many people as possible with a single prank.
The prank ideas we are going to explore here are going to be simple in nature, harmless and intended to be family-friendly. Remember, do not pull an April Fool’s prank on someone who will not be amused and do not play a trick of any kind that may cause hurt feelings.
Here is our list of favorite April Fool’s Day pranks:
The Classic Alarm Clock Trick
You have two choices here. If you are trying to just have a fun prank, set their alarm clock to go off an hour or more earlier than normal. Setting their alarm to go off later than normal may cause problems that could create friction between you. So, be careful.
The Not-So-Hard Boiled Egg Trick
This is also a fun reversible prank as well. If there is someone in your household who prefers hard-boiled eggs for a snack or a sandwich, switch the eggs they use for fresh ones. You may want to stand out of the way when they start rolling the eggs on the counter to crack them.
Fake Vomit/Dog Poop Trick
This is a real classic prank that has several variations and can cause several different reactions. Naturally, be careful who you choose to prank and be sure that if you pull this one on someone that they will see the humor in it and won’t be upset or that the sight of fake vomit doesn’t cause them to get sick, either.
You can play this one by simply placing the props in unusual places, like on the floor, on a countertop or wherever they will get noticed quickly but not too quickly. You’re goal is to have the element of surprise working in your favor here. If there are little kids in the family, they are sure to get a laugh out of the fake props regardless.
Things That Go Missing When You Are In The Shower
The Fogged Up Glasses Trick
Here’s another harmless fun April Fool’s prank that is sure to amuse most. If there is someone close to you who wears glasses, one way to add a bit of fun to the day is to smear a thin film of petroleum jelly across the front of the glass lens.
You can improvise with fingerprints if you don’t have the jelly. The idea here is to give the prank victim blurry vision the moment they put their glasses on. Be sure to time this one carefully. You don’t want to have them behind the wheel of a vehicle when they slip on their glasses nor do you want them to fall down a flight of stairs or bump into things. It’s a fun trick to play, but has to be carefully planned to work right.
Provided your prank victim isn’t running late for work or an appointment, you can get a few minutes of laughter out of this particular prank. Be sure to replace what you remove.
Shrinking Wardrobe Trick
If you can find shirts and more, go for it but in order for this prank to be effective, the ‘no-longer-fits-me’ clothing items have to be ones selected for that day for work or play. Have fun with this one.
Spiced Drink Trick
Everyone likes coffee and if your morning can’t get off to the right start without a steaming hot cup of Joe, then you’ll truly appreciate this tasty April Fool’s prank.
All you basically have to do is add some hot sauce or pepper spice to the brewing pot of coffee. Once ready, your intended victim will get a slightly warmer cup of coffee than they bargained for.
Naturally, be sure that whoever you do this to can handle the intensity of spicy hot coffee and that they don’t happen to have any allergies to hot peppers. You may be surprised to find that adding a bit of spice to a cup of coffee may become a new favorite morning kick start beverage to start the day.
Fake Lottery Win Trick
This is a fun prank that can be played on several people with each person ‘winning’ a different kind of prize that has to be claimed before 12 Noon or they forfeit their win. You may be able to get away with this one.
The Disconnected Internet Trick
If there is someone you know who can’t live part of a day without their online connections, this will be a fun prank to play. All you need to do is gain access to the power source of their modem and turn it off.
This works great if you are a visitor the night before and as you leave late in the evening before April Fool’s you slip into the pantry or office and switch off their internet. It’s a no-brainer for most of us, but how many of you would actually check to see if your modem is working before calling your internet provider due to an ‘outage’ of service? Not all of us will do that and this is what makes this particular prank so effective and easy to pull off.
Be Careful To Not Become The April Fool Yourself
Although the pranks here that we have outlined are generally easy to execute, you always risk the possibility of one of them backfiring on you. This is a possibility in any kind of pranking activity and is why we stress that you have to be careful who you choose as your prank target.
Generally speaking, everyone expects something to happen early on April 1st, just be sure to keep it safe, fun and family-friendly so everyone can get a laugh to start off the new month with. It is never a good idea to use a prank that can become dangerous, may damage property or is illegal in nature.
The idea behind April Fool’s Day is to have fun, and to be safe when doing so.
Lose that Belly - Feel Healthy & Look Slimmer
Are those stomach rolls ruining your looks?
Believe it or not, belly fat isn't just an aesthetic problem. In fact, it's just as harmful as smoking. It puts you at risk for heart disease, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, and premature death. On top of that, it's the last to go.
Even skinny people can have big bellies. This type of fat surrounds their vital organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. Over time, it doubles death risk and disrupts endocrine function, causing damage to your brain, metabolism, and immune function.
The good news is that you can lose belly fat through lifestyle changes. Your diet and exercise habits have the biggest impact. First, let's see why stomach fat is so dangerous and how it affects your health.
The Hidden Dangers of Belly Fat
Belly fat isn't just unsightly but harmful too. Also known as visceral fat or active fat, it is stored deep within the abdominal region. Subcutaneous fat, by comparison, is found right beneath the skin's surface.
Studies have linked belly fat to colon and endometrial cancers, atherosclerosis, dementia, and hypertension. According to science, obese people are 35 percent more likely to develop dementia compared to their peers. Other studies have found that belly fat may cause a decline in language and memory.
Furthermore, this type of fat increases cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, and triglycerides. It also causes inflammation of the blood vessels, contributing to cardiovascular problems. In clinical trials, women with a waist circumference over 39 inches had rates of death double than normal. Similar findings applied to men with waists exceeding 47 inches.
As you see, the size of your waist can tell a lot about your health. Even though some belly fat is normal, too much of it could kill. A waist circumference of more than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women shouldn't be ignored.
How to Get Rid of Belly Fat for Good
The truth is that there's no quick fix to lose belly fat. Depending on your age, weight, and body shape, it can take months or even years to shrink your waistline. Crunches and sit-ups are pretty much useless. These exercises strengthen your core muscles but have little impact on fat deposits.
So what does it take to get rid of belly fat for good?
Here are a few strategies that actually work:
Manage Your Insulin Levels
When it comes to fat loss, the hormone insulin can be your best ally or your worst enemy. Stress, bad eating, lack of exercise, and certain diseases trigger insulin resistance, which in turn, contributes to belly fat. This relationship goes both ways. Visceral fat causes insulin resistance, and vice versa.
The best way to lose inches from your waist is to effectively manage insulin levels. As a rule of thumb, avoid high-sugar foods like candy, ice cream, bread, pasta, white rice, white potatoes, soda, grains, and most fruits. Fill up on foods with a low glycemic index, such as:
Certain foods have few or no carbs, so they lack a GI value. These are ideal for those with belly fat, insulin resistance, diabetes, and other related conditions. Make sure your diet includes plenty of meat, lean fish, low-fat dairy, eggs, unrefined vegetable oils, seafood, herbs, and spices.
Beware that cooking techniques can change the GI. For example, French fries boast a higher glycemic index than boiled or steamed potatoes. In general, the longer food is cooked, the faster its carbs are processed and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Train for Your Goals
Diet and physical activity are equally important. Regular exercise not only burns fat but also keeps your insulin levels within normal limits. On top of that, it triggers a positive hormonal response, offsetting the harm caused by visceral fat.
You may have heard that little exercise is better than none at all. However, when it comes to losing fat, some training methods are more effective than others. Contrary to popular belief, cardio isn't the key to leanness. In fact, it can do more harm than good, especially when struggling with belly fat. The explanation is simple.
HIIT, which stands for high intensity interval training, has emerged as the best way to burn fat. It’s particularly effective against visceral fat and has none of the adverse effects of traditional cardio. A single session will skyrocket your metabolism for up to 48 to 72 hours.
Last, get more rest and avoid stress at all costs. Stress and belly fat are strongly connected. Whenever you're angry, nervous, or anxious, your cortisol levels go up. Prolonged or chronic stress keeps your body in the fight-or-flight mode for weeks or even months, leading to obesity, heart disease, and insulin resistance.
Squeeze more "me" time into your daily routine. Get at least eight hours of sleep per night and allow your body to recover after exercise. Make health a priority and stop over-committing yourself.
These lifestyle changes can go a long way toward better health. You’ll not only get leaner but also feel better, think clearer, and have greater energy. A few months from now on, belly fat will be just a bad memory.
Guide to Keto Diet
Many of you have probably heard a friend mention the Keto Diet. It is a new diet that has been spreading quickly. But it is funny that while the name hasn’t made its way out, the exact details that make this diet effective haven’t. In this guide we are going to help you understand the Keto Diet and with that, introduce you to how you can engage in the diet.
What Is The Keto Diet?
When the body intakes a low amount of carbs and only a moderate amount of proteins, your body is triggered to start producing ketones from your intake. The reason you are only eating moderate proteins is due to the fact that protein itself can be made into blood glucose, the fuel for your body that you are trying to replace.
Ketones don’t just power the body, they power the brain.
The idea behind this is that instead of burning insulin or other energy sources, you are burning fat. Essentially, the ketones force your body to burn fat 24/7. The fat that is burning? That is your weight burning off. But you get more than that. You get the added benefit of increased energy and reduced hunger. Reduced hunger means you also add less fat to your body along with less bad things, such as snacks.
Studies have shown that over 90% of people who are on ketogenic diets can reduce the amount or completely stop taking diabetes related medication. It is important to keep in mind that it depends on many factors, including how long you have had diabetes for.
While fasting gets you into a ketosis state where you are burning fat around the clock, it is very hard to fast. And in order to fast for a continued period of time, you are losing out on other needed nutrients. The Keto Diet achieves the same effect but in a healthier way. A way that is easily sustainable.
It is important to note that you might burn fat by just going through the Keto Diet. But you will not burn the maximum amount. To burn the most fat possible, you should mix your Keto Diet with exercise. A proper exercise regimen should be developed and this is often a place that a fitness coach can help you.
However, mixing in regular activity such as runs, time at the gym, swimming, or other calorie/fat burning activities will help greatly.
When To Avoid The Keto Diet
In general, the Keto Diet is safe for most people. You aren’t required to take any medications or reduce good intake on your body. Those who should avoid the Keto Diet are those with diabetes (type I), high blood pressure, or those who are breastfeeding. If the Keto Diet still sounds like something you want to do, speak with a doctor before undertaking the diet.
Added to those, anyone with a very serious medical condition might want to speak with their doctor about the Keto Diet. It is important to note that we aren’t medical professionals and any time you feel unsure about a diet, we suggest speaking with a doctor and/or nutritionist.
How Do You Eat On A Keto Diet?
When on the Keto Diet you generally want to keep the number of digestible carbs that you take in to a low. That means eating low carb options. For the best results possible you want to have under 20 grams of carbs per day. In order for the state of Ketosis to be reached though, you must be under 50 grams per day. So there is some wiggle room.
Here is a list of food that you can eat for Keto Diet:
As you will have noticed, most of the food on this list are those that are healthy for you anyways. The importance is that you eat the right amount of them and the right foods that are healthy for you.
What you are looking for is reduced carb foods. It is okay if those foods contain fats, especially healthy fats, but by eliminating carbs, you are eliminating most of the food that aren’t healthy for you anyways.
What Can You Drink?
Some diet soft drinks are acceptable, and a glass of coconut water is okay if you calculate the 9 carbs that it will add to your daily carb intake.
As far as other alcohols go, you can have any zero carb alcohol such as whiskey, brandy, tequila, dry martini, or vodka. Mixed drinks become complicated as they often involve adding carbs to the alcohol. For example, a small margarita is 8 grams of carbs or a cosmo is 13. Gin and tonic? 16.
What Foods Are You Going To Avoid?
We have already mentioned what you want to avoid in context of nutritional ingredients: carbohydrates. But what foods have bad levels of carbohydrates? Let’s take a look.
What it comes down to is avoiding processed foods, sugary foods, and foods with gluten in them.
Do I Need To Start Counting Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrate counting is very beneficial in the beginning. It helps you get an idea of what you can take in and what you can’t while you get a feel for the diet. The reason this helps is it shows you that you can’t have any “bad” foods.
Once you get on the diet though and start using the list of approved foods, you will find that there isn’t a need to track your intake. The foods you will pick off the list for the most part are free of carbs. What you might want to track is the amount of alcohol or other drinks that you take in.
Modifications To The Diet
You can make modifications to the diet and there are some specialized Keto Diets that already exist. These diets have specific targets. Such as creating a diet cycle, targeting carbs for workouts, and increased protein diets. Most of these haven’t been studied though.
The only two diets that are well studied are the standard diet that we talk about in this article, and a high protein ketogenic diet.
The High Protein Keto Diet
Just to provide context on the high protein Keto diet since it also shows results is that you are balancing in more protein. You want to aim for a specific balance of proteins, fats, and carbs. Fats should make up about 60% of your intake, protein about 35%, and finally, carbs only about 5%.
A Keto Diet is a very simple diet to undertake in order to start losing weight. The amount of weight that will come off is great, as long as you combine your diet with proper exercise. It doesn’t even take much work to stay on the diet, as once you get in the grove, you don’t need to count your caloric intake. Those looking to lose weight, increase energy, improve memory, reverse diabetes type II, or just improve their body should consider the diet.
Single And Alone on Valentines?
It’s the one day of the year despised by single people around the world. It’s not as if you aren’t trying to meet someone special. It just seems as if when February rolls around you are either single again or still single. That’s okay. The world is not exactly built just for couples as much as Cupid and all the other marketing crap tells you come Valentine’s Day. But how can you cope when you happen to be forever alone?
Well, in case you thought the only logical solution involves heavy sedation or massive amounts of various medications, think again. Save those prescriptions for something far more serious than this because we are here with some answers for you. Here are a few tips to keep you from bursting into the greeting card store with guns blazing.
Turn It Into A Profitable Part-Time Gig
Think back to all the things you would have spent money on for that special someone in your life on February 14. Aside from the candy and dinner, there are a few ways you can actually capitalize on what couples are faced with on this very day.
You could buy a whole bunch of cut flowers and sell them individually at a decent price that gives you a slight profit with each sale. You could hire yourself out as a babysitter, a designated driver or even house sitter for couples heading away for a special Valentine’s celebration somewhere. There are many ways to turn the obligation others feel to spend on February 14 into some extra cash in your jeans.
Throw Your Own Party
Plus, all of your single friends will be able to become closer and you may end up making some cool new connections for when you plan to throw Un-Anniversary Parties or whatever.
Spoil Yourself For A Change
The best part of spoiling yourself on February 14 is that not only will it help to make you happy, you can spend without feeling guilty about it. It’s not as if you are breaking up with someone the day before and you are avoiding the mess associated with pre-Valentine’s break ups.
Nope. This one is for you and only you. Enjoy it to the fullest.
Take Yourself Out For A Date For A Change
Hey, it’s not quite as wacky as it sounds.
Think about it for a moment. Not only does a solo date cut the cost in half on Valentine’s Day but it gives you a whole lot more freedom. For example, you get to go exactly where you want to go for dinner. That could be a sports bar or a dark, dingy out of the way place you wouldn’t take a date anyway.
Plus, you get to eat and drink whatever you want. It also means you can skip the movie, the chocolates, the flowers, the cards and the worry as to whether or not you’ll be at your peak performance level should the evening end up wrapping up at your place. Oh, and breakfast will just be for you and there’s no sharing.
Hit The Singles Bar
Or maybe you’ll just enjoy the vibe being around a lot more people who can relate to the whole being single on Valentine’s Day trip. Smile and drink a few for us.
Love The One You’re With
So you don’t have a significant other on Valentine’s Day. It no biggie, really. You can still feel some love and share some good times just by spending the day with family.
After all, they are connected to you regardless of what you end up doing with your life and where you end up living. Family is also a great support network and a comforting place to be when you don’t feel you want to be all alone on a day such as February 14. You could end up giving members of your family the things you would have otherwise spent money on for one person. Your mother, grandmother, aunt or sister will love the flowers and chocolate, you can count on that.
You Can Just Do Things For Others
Valentine’s Day is going to be a long, lonely day for seniors who have lost loved ones and are living in assisted living facilities. If you are artistic, maybe make and distribute homemade cards to the residents or provide some musical entertainment for them. Everyone loves to be spoiled and this could be your new thing.
Then There’s The Practical Part
We’ve touched on it slightly. When you happen to be forever alone on Valentine’s Day there is an instant bonus that comes your way but you may not think about it immediately. You will save some money.
Even if you choose to stay home and watch a movie marathon with a giant bag of potato chips, you saved yourself the cost of all the other trappings that would have made up the day for you. For some, it could have been a very expensive ‘holiday’ with presents and gifts that could have melted the bumpy numbers off of your credit card. By being single on February 14 you actually dodge that bullet and the reminder the following month of what it cost.
Have We Made Our Point Yet?
Being forever alone on Valentine’s Day is far from a sad situation. It is not a life sentence nor is it a penalty for some bad judgment call you made earlier in your life. If anything, it should be a tool you can use to flip your life situation around and do some fun things to make you happy.
Besides, the last thing you want is to be remembered as the person who sucked all the life out of the room when you were (fill in the blank) and moaning about the way your love life has turned against you. The best way to avoid sabotaging the next Valentine’s Day you find yourself single is to be creative and find ways to get your mind off of that and on to other fun things to do.
All it takes is an idea and some effort on your part. Hopefully we have been able to provide you with some kind of inspiration to keep you from going postal at the mere sight of couples sitting too close and sharing a special moment together. Remember, there are other forever alone people out there struggling with coming to grips with the reality that surfaces on February 14.
Do yourself a favor and find something constructive to do to turn the annual celebration of love into something where you can look at yourself and be happy with who you are and where you are in your life. In other words, turn the day into a celebration of like and do it up in style.
Dying to go somewhere warm?
Cold winter months got you feeling gloomy? Today we have a list of the best tropical travel destinations to soak up the sun, explore, marvel at astonishing views and relax during winter!
Check them out!
Trinidad e Tobago
The capital of Trinidad, Port of Spain, is buzzing with markets and shops, and about 30 minutes down the North Coast Road is the world-famous Maracas Bay. This northern bay protects a fine white beach with lush palm trees and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It is here that you can taste Trinidad’s local dishes.
Tobago is well-known for its breathtaking beaches. Here tourists can go bird-watching or ocean diving in absolute tranquility. A popular destination point is Nylon Pool, an oceanic pool with a coral bottom and clear water, located off Pigeon Point and only reachable by boat. Nylon Pool is near the Buccoo Reef, an area rich in coral reef, declared a protected area since 1962 by Princess Margareth of England.
The largest island of the Netherlands Antilles, known for its hilly landscapes, is an island called Curacao. This island is located right off the Venezuelan coast, between Aruba and Bonaire, and, on a clear day, can be seen with the naked eye. Its vegetation is rather poor, given the little rainy weather; there are many cacti that reach up to 6 meters in height and trees, called Divi-Divi. The waters of this island are rich in fish and the coral reef is spectacular. Particularly renowned is the south-east coast, where coral reef rises from the seabed.
Cas Abou is a beach layered with fine white sand and a calm, clean sea. Grote Knip is considered the most beautiful beach on the entire island, with a large white sandy shore, surrounded by cliffs.
Waya, with vast white beaches, is perfect for diving, Ghost Hill, an imposing rock with many caves inside, a destination for unmissable excursions if you are in Fiji, and Likuliku Bay, also called the sunset beach, where at sunset the crystals of sand change colors. If you are interested in wild nature, you can choose Turtle Island or the Mamanuca Islands.
Moving away, we arrive in Polynesia, the land where Tahiti stands out for its nature and its beautiful women. The largest island in French Polynesia has been represented in a thousand different ways by Paul Gauguin, who lived here in the last part of his life. Even Tahiti is a volcanic island like Fiji, but its beaches are, on the contrary, mostly black and it is not completely flat.
Its main peaks, Orohena and Aroai, easily exceed 2000 meters, allowing excursions in the mountains and giving enchanting landscapes, although many claims that the most beautiful islands are Moorea and Bora Bora. Although not being considered as the most beautiful island, Tahiti still has many beaches that deserve to be visited, both for snorkeling and relaxing in the sun, like that of Point Venus, part of the Bay of Matavai or Mahana Park, where you can snorkel and admire the coral reef.
Hopefully this has given you an idea of where to vacation the next time you find yourself stuck in winter gloom. There are numerous tropical islands that offer plenty of tourist attractions and activities, whether you’re the adventurous type looking
Stay Happy & Positive During Winter
The winter season is often not all holiday cheer, especially for the estimated 10-20% of adults who suffer from symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Those who suffer from debilitating cases of SAD may benefit from speaking with a psychologist, but for those of us with mild symptoms, self-care can help.
To ward off a case of the winter blues, try these tips to stay happy during the gloomy winter season.
Or for those of us who aren’t afraid to brave the cold, try winter sports, like skiing, ice skating, and yes, even running in the snow.
Even if you choose not to participate in winter sports, seeing some amount of sunlight is essential for our body’s production of vitamin D. This vitamin is essential in protecting the health of our bones. Moreover, light is closely linked to mood, and lack of light is thought to be one of the triggers of SAD. For those who live in an area of the world that doesn’t see much daylight during the winter, it may help to invest in a light box, which mimics natural outdoor light to aid in improving mood.
Eat Hearty, Healthy Foods
To prevent sugar crashes, eat hearty, healthy foods to sustain us. Warm bowls, such as fruit- and nut-filled steel cut oats or butternut squash and quinoa bowls with roasted vegetables, can keep us full enough to prevent overconsumption of holiday treats. When we are craving a seasonal treat, hot chocolate can be a healthy indulgence that may boost our mood when made sugar-free with pure cocoa powder or melted dark chocolate (70% cacao content or higher).
Even when it’s impossible to leave the home, technology can aid in social activity by allowing us to FaceTime friends and family around the world.
The quiet of the post-holiday winter months may be an ideal time to invest in a creative hobby. Whether it’s painting, writing, playing an instrument, knitting winter sweaters, or baking healthy treats, being creative can boost our moods. Depending on the hobby, our creativity may even be an outlet to make gifts for others, and the practice of being generous can also boost our happiness.
Along with each holiday season comes opportunities to volunteer in our communities that don’t have to stop after Christmas ends. Volunteering can quickly boost our moods in addition to making us feel more socially engaged.
Research shows that among 2,705 adults who volunteered, 79% reported reductions in stress levels and 93% reported improvements in mood. Food pantries, schools, senior centers, and public libraries are all examples of community locations that may readily take volunteers.
Blogging about health, diet, fitness, and just good information to live a healthy & happy lifestyle.