5 Hacks to Have a More Productive Day

Start the night before

Waking up early is a great way to pursue a productive day and the first step to achieving this is by getting a good night’s sleep. In order to wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the day, you should plan a bedtime that works for your schedule and the time at which you plan on waking up the next day. You should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night and if possible, also give yourself time to relax and unwind before bed. Sticking with a consistent night time routine will make this so much easier!

 

Don't hit the snooze button

As tempting as 5 more minutes of sleep sounds, this extra bit of “sleep” will not make you feel any more refreshed. By snoozing you are only wasting time, so skip the snooze button and get your day started! A simple trick in breaking the snooze habit is to place your alarm clock further from your bed. This way, once the alarm goes off in the morning you will have to get up to turn it off, thus preventing you from going back to bed. 

 

Create a To-Do list 

Sometimes needing to accomplish many tasks can be overwhelming — making a list can solve this issue. Organize your tasks by giving each one a level of priority. For instance, you can categorize your tasks into: most important, moderately important, and least important. This way, you will be able to know what tasks should be done first, and this allows you to get your most pressing work done earlier in the day. Creating a to-do list also allows you to physically see your plans for the day and no longer requires you to ponder about what you should do next. Therefore, this can lower stress levels and even keep your mind from being scattered. 

 

Set timers 

If you’re worried about not having enough time during the day for your chores and tasks, set a timer! Giving yourself a set amount of time for each task enables you to focus more on it because you know precisely how much time you will be working for. Furthermore, timing yourself lessens your chances of getting distracted because you will be motivated to finish your tasks within the time frame and move onto the next.

 

Take Breaks 

Running around and focusing on a bunch of tasks can be exhausting. Make sure that you are taking breaks in between tasks or after a certain time interval. Not only will this make your day more enjoyable, but it can also allow you to work more efficiently when doing your tasks. Picking your ideal breaks varies from person to person. Some prefer working for several hours then taking a long break, whereas others prefer working in shorter increments and taking short 10-15 minute breaks. Try out both methods and figure out which one works best with for you.

 

Credits: https://www.lifehack.org

6 Wellness Practices to Healthy and Happier Living

Cultivating good wellness practices is a beneficial aspect to add to your daily routine. These practices may reduce mental stress in your life and can lead you to live happier days. Here are some areas/practices to focus on.

 Proper Sleep

Sleep has so many benefits for our bodies. It allows for brain processes to be consolidated, our bodies to be repaired, etc. Poor sleep has shown to be linked to heightened anxiety and depression and a weaker immune system. Sleep problems have seen to be especially common, affecting more than 50% of individuals, with psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.

Especially during this difficult time where these issues are of the utmost importance, make sure you get proper sleep. This can be aided by lifestyle changes, drinking or smoking less, regular physical activity, creating good sleep hygiene or routines, practicing relaxation techniques, etc.

Gut Health

Researchers for Frontiers in Psychiatry have shown that the microbiomes in the gut affect different bodily functions which include regulating mental states and sleep. Stress, both emotional and physiological, on your body can affect these microorganisms in the gut which in turn can lead to a multitude of mental health disorders. Therefore, take care of your gut and stress levels to keep your mental health balanced and in check, be it by eating probiotics and prebiotic-rich foods, foods high in fiber or omega-3 fatty acids, collagen boosting foods, or other methods your doctor has prescribed. Lists of these food groups can be found online. Before making big changes to your diet, consult your doctor or health care provider.

Silence

Silence may not be something common in your household or maybe something you are used to. Whatever your living conditions are, finding some silence can be good for your overall wellbeing. It can help lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, decrease stress by lowering the blood cortisol levels and adrenaline in the body, promote good hormone regulation, etc. A study conducted in 2013 stated that silence for two hours could create new cells in the brain region linked to emotions, learning, and remembering. Silence has also been seen to help creativity, awareness, insomnia, and reflection. Some ways to engage in silence could be going for a walk in nature, remaining in bed for 5 additional minutes in the morning, and meditating.

Community and Family Support

A big part of being human is forging relationships and connections. These connections in turn can lead to positives and negatives in one's mental health. If you feel supported in these connections then a benefit is seen, the opposite happens when you do not gain a sense of support. Those who feel more connected to either their community, peers, and family show lower levels of anxiety and depression, they have higher self-esteem, a greater sense of empathy and are more trusting of others. This in turn can result in others feeling more supported by you. This connection can be hard to find or nurture during COVID. While it may be impossible to see or touch your community, family, etc. there are still ways to feel connected to them. Some ways to remain connected during this time are to call them, go for social distance walks/visits, and volunteer with different organizations. There are many different resources available, Certified Listeners being one of them. Take advantage of these resources and build those connections that can in turn help your mental health and wellness. In a review of approximately 150 studies, being connected, and having strong social relationships created a 50% increased likelihood of living longer.

Movement

With the increased heat comes an increased desire to go outside and get moving. Is this is what you currently feel, then take action on your wants. Movement and brain health is interconnected. With this being said, it has been proven that physical exercise is not more beneficial to the body but equally beneficial to the brain. Engaging in regular physical exercise can boost self-esteem, minimize anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve moods, and enhance cognitive ability. In a study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, it was demonstrated that going for 15-minute runs or 1-hour walks can reduce, by 26%, the risk of major depression.  With this in mind, take those outdoor walks, runs, or online exercise classes.

Adversity

Adversity in our lives can make us stronger. This may be in the way we handle different situations or the way we get through various tasks. These hardships can allow us to realize the good in our lives and make us happier afterward. It does the same for our mental wellbeing. While some adversity is good, too much can cause an individual to be overwhelmed. When this happens do not forget to ask for help. Be it from someone you are close to or a professional.

While these areas of focus are not an exhaustive list, they are a place to start. Take time to get your mental health in order and cultivate good practices. This way if there is ever a time where you feel overwhelmed you will have some tools to help you.

8 Tips to Help You Get Over a Breakup

Validate Your Feelings 

Breakups, no matter what the reasoning for them, can be tough as you’re basically letting go of someone that was a big part of your life. It’s essential to take time to feel, adjust and process the situation, because repressing your emotions can actually do more harm than good. It’s perfectly normal to get your feelings out in the open and it’s a crucial step in the healing process.

Talk it out with friends & family

After giving yourself space and time to adjust to the event, reach out to your  friends and/or family to discuss the situation and how you’re feeling. Even though they cannot necessarily do anything about the breakup, you’ll feel much better after having someone that’s able to be there and listen to you.

Keep a journal 

Along with verbal communication, writing down your thoughts and emotions can help you look back on your journey through the breakup and see your emotional progress. Through the first few post-breakup stages, tracking your daily emotions can also help release some of that build-up tension and repressed thoughts from the event

Make extra time for yourself

With the new free time on your hands, you have time to explore new hobbies, or even old ones that you may have forgotten about. Learn to spend more time with yourself and try to even treat yourself with something special! So go ahead and buy that new pair of shoes you’ve had your eyes on or sign up for that cooking class you’ve always wanted to try!

Plan outings 

Making plans with friends, family or coworkers can help keep your mind busy and off the breakup. Surrounding yourself with people that make you happy will truly allow you to gain a boost of self-esteem and make you feel amazing about yourself.

Take note

Whenever you are ready, take time to look back at your past relationship and learn from it. Express to yourself what you liked and what you didn’t like from that relationship—especially what drove to that breaking point. Now that you’ve better understood the characteristics that you seek vs don’t seek in a partner, keep this in mind when you are ready for your next relationship. 

Don't take it as a loss, take it as gain

As painful as it is, learn to change your mindset about the breakup! Understanding that the breakup pushes you to grow on a personal level, can thus allow you to find what truly makes you happy. Even if you may not feel it right now, a breakup can result in you becoming a better and stronger version of yourself, so don’t look at it as a complete loss. 

Get back out there

There’s no rush in getting back out there and dating again. However, you’ll know when the time is right when you’re no longer caught up on your last relationship—meaning that you’re no longer checking up on what your past partner is up to and you’re no longer reminiscing about memories together. Once you’ve hit the stage of feeling indifferent towards them —which is different from loathe— and you’re truly happy being single, you’ll know that it is time to move forward.

 

 

 

Tips to stay calm and happy during COVID-19

Take the first step

Social isolation has found many of us with little to no motivation and in a state of doing “nothing”. However there are many things we can do during these tough times to keep us feeling productive and keep our moods elevated. Many of us have always wanted to try something new ,whether it's learning a new skill or forming a new habit. Thus, finding the willpower to start something will get you out of that low-energy state and will push you forward to try new things. 

Stay social 

While we are in lockdown for the safety of ourselves and others, this does not mean that we have to cut off social ties and reduce social interactions. It’s especially important during these times to have a great support system and to be there for one another. Therefore, there are still many ways to stay in touch with friends, family, and loved ones such as through messaging, emailing, sending letters or postcards and video chatting. You can even get creative with these virtual sessions! If you loved to talk with coworkers and friends during lunch breaks, you can set up “lunch break” video chats with them to talk about your day. You can even do fun online game or movie nights to keep up those fun weekend traditions. 

Get moving 

Physical activity is essential to improving your health and providing long-term health benefits. The great thing about exercise is that it comes in many different forms and you can choose the ones that work for you. Any form of activity, whether it being going for a walk or run, doing yoga, weightlifting, or playing sports, regulates your mood and increases your self-esteem. Furthermore, it can help regulate your sleeping patterns and allow for that very important mind-body connection to be made, which is crucial for mental agility and sharpness. 

Fuel your body 

Good nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle to ensure physical and mental health as well as reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Therefore, make sure that you are consuming a healthy diet filled with a sustainable mix of  macronutrients —proteins, fats, and carbohydrates—and smaller amounts of micronutrients—vitamins and minerals. 

Sleep well

Sleep is as important as exercise and nutrition, as it allows the body to heal and repair. A great way to ensure you’re getting enough sleep each night is to try sticking to a routine schedule (even on weekends). Tuning your circadian rhythm will aid your body function at its best because it will ensure better hormone regulation throughout the day, fewer mood swings, better alertness, and better hunger cue regulation. 

Keep a journal 

Getting a journal and writing down your thoughts, emotions, and daily events is a good way to look back on personal growth. It serves as a useful tool in finding ways to improve yourself on your thoughts and productivity.You’d be surprised at even the smallest changes in your daily attitudes and behaviours!

Make time for yourself 

With a busy schedule, taking time out for yourself and the things you love is crucial for hindering burn-out. Whether it’s unwinding with a book or a tv show, painting, baking, playing an instrument or simply just doing a skin care routine, being there for yourself is just as important as being there for others. 

Think positive

Putting your mind in a state of positive thoughts and emotions can help build the habit of blocking out negative thoughts of self-doubt. A positive attitude can help with stress management and mental health, because having that positive outlook on life will help you see the good outcomes over the bad which will allow you to gain motivation and awaken happiness. 

Make small goals each week

While long term goals are great, making small goals will give a sense of satisfaction and reward that will motivate you to reach the long term ones. For instance, if you’re trying to get your body moving more, setting a starter goal of taking 10,000 steps 4 times a week and then increasing this goal a few weeks later to 5 weeks can increase your sense of completion and make you motivated to become more physically active over time. 

Keep a gratitude journal 

Making lists every now and then about things you’re grateful for can help you become more optimistic by focusing on the positivity in your life. Gratitude journaling can also help you lower stress and further enable you to take better care of yourself due to reinforcing those feelings of content.