Spring has sprung! And with it comes the need to awaken from the daze of the cold and dark of winter and enjoy some time with friends. Here are a few fun ideas for your spring celebrations with family and friends:
- Bon Fire. Nothing is better on a cool spring night than a bonfire, some s’mores supplies, and good company.
- Garden Party. Got a green thumb? Show off your skills by having some friends for afternoon cocktails in your garden.
- Wine and Dine. If you don’t have the outdoor space to enjoy a spring night, try having company over for a bite and a bottle of wine at your apartment. Cheers to spring!
- March Madness Bash. March Madness is here, so why not have a basketball-themed celebration of chips, dip, and game-watching?
- Game Night. There is no better way to spark some friendly competition between friends than board game night.
Everyone knows what it feels like to get so bogged down in work, social events, and day-to-day activities that you can’t imagine fitting one more thing into your schedule. However, as important as it is to stay busy, it is essential for good health to maintain balance. Here’s four essentials worth finding time for in your day to maintain the best version of you:
- Getting sleep. An overwhelming lack of sleep can become dangerous for your health. Making sure you get a healthy amount of sleep every night will keep you feeling good and energized enough to take on whatever comes your way, so be sure to catch some shut eye.
- Exercise. It probably isn’t shocking to be reminded that working out is good for your health. However, the importance of exercise can often be overlooked. Getting your heart rate up is important for staying fit, increasing your brain function and keeping your heart muscle strong, and can even help reduce depression and anxiety.
- Social time. Be sure to carve out time for spending with friends and family. Making a concerted effort to socialize throughout the week can increase your happiness while also keeping relationships with those you care about healthy despite your hectic schedule.
- Alone time. Having time to decompress and do a mental self-check is hugely important, whether in the car in the morning on the way to work, or before you go to bed. Me-time is just as important as social time, so don’t forget to make time for you!
Try to incorporate these health musts into your day and let me know how it goes!
Dogs have a reputation as man’s best friend that is undeniably true. They lower our blood pressure with their cute looks, make us laugh with their funny behavior, and, most importantly, shower us with puppy love that brightens our day. As cute as they can be, raising a well-behaved puppy is no easy feat. As an animal lover myself, I have a few tips for fostering good behavior that will make your dog a better friend to you and anyone you encounter together.
- Exercise often. A dog without exercise is a dog with pent-up energy. Excess energy is a breeding ground for bad behavior, whether it be demolishing your couch, chewing your favorite loafers, or jumping on passersby. To help your dog let off some steam, try taking him or her on a walk before work in the morning and after you get home in the afternoon.
- Socialize with other dogs. If you have a little extra time on your hands, the dog park is another great place to let your puppy run out some energy while also imparting another vital skill: socialization. Isolated dogs can be difficult to deal with and, in some cases, dangerous. By bringing your dog to the dog park, he or she will become more comfortable around unknown canines while also letting out some steam.
- Socialize with humans. To ensure that your puppy grows up to be people-friendly, it is vital that you take them at a young age into public to encounter folks of all shapes and sizes. By spending some time around those they don’t know, your puppy is learning that not every stranger is a threat, while also becoming more comfortable with children and adults approaching them. Next time you go to the coffee shop, bring your furry friend along for the ride!
- Teach basic commands. Teaching basic commands like sit and stay is an important element of good puppy behavior. No dog is perfect, and occasionally your dog might attempt to eat something it shouldn’t or try jumping on someone in a fit of excitement. Having the ability to command your dog to sit or lay down is to be capable of redirecting them from bad behavior quickly.
I hope these tips are helpful to you in your dog training ventures. The most important thing to remember when training a dog is patience and not taking bad behavior personally. With good tricks for better behavior like these up your sleeve, you will end up with a better puppy and a happier you!
I love dessert, but am always trying to think healthy. This is a dilemma that many foodies face when their sweet tooth demands to be satisfied. But what if you could include some vegetables into your next cake or cookie? Incorporating everyday fruits and vegetables into your favorite sweets and treats is actually a lot easier, and more delicious, than you may think.
For a healthier twist on traditional baked goods, try some of these (almost) guilt-free recipes:
Chocolate cake. Any chocolate fan understands the value of a decadent chocolate cake. But chocolate cake made with black beans? That’s thinking outside the box.
Brownies. If brownies are more your speed, try this delicious avocado brownie recipe.
Cookie dough. The only thing better than a cookie is cookie dough. For a cookie dough recipe that avoids the dangers of raw egg while adding a veggie flare, try making chickpea cookie dough.
Mint chocolate chip ice cream. Ice cream is delicious, but isn’t widely considered a healthy option. Mint chocolate chip ice cream made with spinach tastes good and leaves you feeling guilt-free.
I hope you enjoy these non-traditional and delicious sweets! I’d love to know which one ends up being you’re go-to recipe for a healthier dessert.
It seems like every time I turn on the news lately, someone is reporting on the particularly aggressive flu season in our midst. If you’re like me, you probably can’t afford to get sick as a dog and miss days of work. Here are some tips for staying flu-free:
Sanitize your environment. Whether you are on a plane or at your desk, be sure to clean off anything you will be touching with antibacterial wipes. Remember: your technological devices are breeding grounds for bacteria.
Sanitize your hands. Because it is difficult to avoid physical contact and touching germy surfaces at all times, be sure that you always have hand sanitizer at the ready.
Keep your distance. When working in an office environment, spending time with friends, or walking down the street, you are at risk of getting sick from someone around you. For this reason, keep hand shaking and drink sharing to a minimum.
Treat your body well. When you are sleep deprived, worn out, or generally unhealthy, you are at greater risk of catching something. Be sure that during this flu season you get exercise, eat well, and plenty of sleep to ward off illness.
Hope you all stay well in this sickly season!
Like most, I must admit that I am on my phone(s) too much. I’m one of those people that is the first on their cellphone when I step into an elevator or am waiting in line for lunch. My phone is chalked full of videos of my dog, texts from friends, and constantly buzzing emails and calendar events.
Hence my New Year’s Resolution: to cut the cord. I didn’t want to continue to fill my empty moments with more screen time, but it was going to be hard to stop when pulling out my phone had become a practically programmed response.
It was then that I discovered “going grayscale.”
Grayscale is a mode on most smartphones that turns everything on your screen black, white and gray. This may seem like a little thing, but altering your phone from being an interface full of vibrant colors to one duller than everything in your surroundings takes away a lot of the temptation to flip to an app in a free moment.
I decided to try it out, and it worked. No longer as drawn to photos, apps, and other mobile distractions in their new state, I found myself much more present in interactions with strangers and aware of little things I was missing in my surroundings like a cute dog walking by or a lucky penny on the street. My phone is still a necessary part of coordinating my work and private life, but now, it is no longer the go-to use of my free time.
So if you are thinking you might like to try some separation from your cell phone, try switching to grayscale. Making your phone look as boring as the time you waste on it is makes it much easier to pass up.
Between work, friends, and family, finding a minute alone can seem impossible. This is especially in big cities, where I find much of my time is walking through crowded sidewalks or packed into a subway with strangers.
Taking time for yourself, while difficult to arrange, is also incredibly important. Meditating, walking around a park, or just reading in my home grounds me and prepares me for the week ahead, no matter the task. Time spent clearing your head between endless meetings and luncheons isn’t a waste; it’s recharging so you can best face whatever comes next in your day with energy and focus you otherwise might not have had.
The biggest questions you should ask yourself when trying to carve out this time alone can be boiled down to three basics: When am I free? What form of relaxation do I have time for? What am I really needing right now?
If you only have 20 minutes before your next meeting, maybe the best thing is to plug in some ear buds and do a guided meditation on a park bench. There are plenty of great meditation apps to choose from, like Headspace. Maybe you have three hours, and therefore have time to throw on workout clothes and head to the gym for some much-needed cardio. Or maybe what you are really craving is down time, in which case a nap may be the perfect move. Even if you just have a few minutes before your next event, try sitting somewhere comfortable and closing your eyes, enjoying a few deep breaths.
No matter how you spend it or how long you have to enjoy it, I guarantee that making some me-time in your day is worth the effort.
You can admit it: reading doesn’t always seem like the easiest thing to do at night. Maybe your time-wasting weakness involves playing the latest farm simulation game on your phone. Maybe you have a TV show you like to binge watch or you’re a movie buff. Whatever it is, I find I often push my books to the side.
In case some extra motivation could help, however, I recently discovered this Real Simple article on the benefits of reading – from an actual book, not a Kindle or e-book – which are even greater than I knew.
It can boost your brain power. Similar to the way going for a jog exercises your cardiovascular system, reading can improve memory function and may help slow the aging process, keeping minds sharper longer, according to research published in Neurology.
Reading can make you more empathetic. According to a study in Science, a good book has been proven to make it easier for people to relate to others. And, what’s more, the effect is more significant on those who read literary fiction as opposed to those who read nonfiction. “Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies,” researchers David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano wrote.
Lastly, reading a book before bed can help you sleep. Bedtime rituals tell your body that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic. Reading a real book helps you relax more than zoning out in front of a screen before bed. Screens like e-readers and tablets have been proven to actually keep you awake longer and even hurt your sleep.
If you need an enlightening and inspiring book, I always recommend Simon Sinek’s Start With Why to friends. Let me know what books you recommend or are currently reading!
Happy New Year to you and yours! I hope everyone enjoyed watching their local clock strike midnight next with people they love. And, maybe most importantly, I hope you all managed to stay warm!
If, like me, you use this period to reflect on the year behind and strategize for the year ahead, you might be interested in this list of 21 good New Year’s resolutions. I pulled out a few of my favorites:
- Learn a party trick. Or, if you prefer, a joke. Here’s a freebie: “What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear!
- Go to the theatre. Fret not, if Hamilton tickets are out of the question. Check out a community playhouse!
- Walk to work. Even if this means just parking farther away from the door or getting off the bus one stop earlier, a light walk in the morning can help clear your head and prepare you for the day.
- Read a book. I highly recommend the book by Simon Sinek, “Start With Why.” You may have seen his TED Talk on the subject, which I also suggest watching.
- Plant some bulbs. Just set it and forget it! Burying a few bulbs will give you a delightful, colorful surprise once the weather warms back up.
Staying hydrated is a basic but essential part of a healthy, functioning body. When we’re hungry, the body is usually not shy about reminding us to eat (sometimes with loud, grumbling noises that flare up during the quietest moment of a meeting). But the body is much more subtle when it comes to letting us know we’re short on fluids.
Dehydration can cause fatigue and affect cognitive abilities, which can lead to serious problems. In order to prevent this, look out for these signs that you should reach for a water bottle:
You feel dizzy when you stand up too fast. Blood pressure drops when you’re dehydrated, which can leave you feeling dizzy and give you a rush of lightheadedness when you get up too quickly.
Your lips and hands are cracking. Dehydration often makes its way to your skin, which can result in cracks forming on your lips and knuckles. This can be itchy and painful.
You have headaches. While a headache can signify a hundred different things, one of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration. When the brain is dehydrated it can actually shrink, just like a sponge due to lost fluid.
Your limbs are cramping. Dehydration is responsible for cramps, because it alters your body’s balance of electrolytes, which are responsible for keeping your muscles functional.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the right amount of water per day is 11.5 cups for women and 15.5 cups for men. Of course, this fluctuates with body type and health levels, but in general it’s a good baseline to shoot for.