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Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Happy and smiling woman lying on grass

As humans, we need to recognize when we’re out of gas. We don’t have a battery bar on our foreheads telling our kids/bosses/significant others, “Hey, I’m at 7%! I need some time to recharge. I’m fading fast!” No, we have to be the ones who acknowledge when we’re running on empty and need to take a break. And when that time comes, you  need to make sure you know what to do. Here are some ways to relax, recharge, and refocus.

Be Honest

Although we don’t often think of it this way, being honest takes a lot of burden off your mind. Lying and deception can be hard work and come with a lot of guilt to bear. Allowing honest thoughts to flow in and out naturally can ease tension and provide mental clarity.

Know Your Limit

Taking on more than you can handle can lead to resentment. Use time management to help prevent you from overcommitting. Make sure you take time for happiness and love.

Exercise

When it comes to maintaining sanity, the importance of exercise cannot be overestimated.  Exercise can work off tons of negativity and also improves your appearance and the impressions you make on others. Remember, outer beauty comes from inner health.

Eat Well

When it comes to recharging and refueling, the right foods are crucial. Finding a healthy dietary plan will guide you to eating healthy and feel in energized. Try buying and cooking your own foods so that you know what’s going into your body and experiment with new recipes to keep it fun.

Take Time For Yourself

Being alone can give you a perfect opportunity to reflect, relax, and plan without distractions. Manage your time so that so some of it is set aside for yourself, even if it means refusing to do something for someone else once in a while.

Make A Spiritual Connection

Taking time to pray, meditate or develop a spiritual relationship is an investment in yourself. It can give you a better understanding of yourself and your purpose in life, helping you to live more peacefully and passionately without letting petty things disturb you.

Forgive

Learning to let go removes the weight of unnecessary anger, pain, and hatred. If you’re bearing resentment toward someone in your life, now is the time to forgive. It’s more about what you need than what the other party deserves.

Give Back

Giving back is a great way to remind yourself how fortunate you are. Volunteer at a senior home, shelter, food bank, or anywhere you think you can make a difference.

Change Things Up

Doing the same thing all the time can become rote and depressing. Do something you might not ordinarily do. You may find an unexpected passion for scuba diving or art galleries, or you may just learn something interesting about yourself or others.

Quit Toxic Relationships

If you’re in a relationship that’s not making you happy, end it. Focus instead on building new ones, or revisiting old ones. Know when to let go and when to hold on.

What do you do when you need to recharge your batteries? Let us know! We love to hear it.

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Important Health Checks for Every Age

Medical consultation with doctor

After a certain age, many people don’t like to be reminded about how old they’re getting. It’s bad enough that they have to endure birthdays, at least those are supposed to be fun. But it seems to add insult to injury when it’s the need for a new health check that serves as a reminder of your advancing years. Why, it seemed just yesterday that you were getting checked for STD’s and now you’re going in to have your stool sample examined. Unfortunately, unpleasant though they may be, health checks are vital and can lead to early detection and prevention of future complications. Read on to find out the important health checks for women of all ages.

Ages 12-18

As a girl approaches her teenage years, she begins to enter puberty and her body should begin to change accordingly. This includes the development of breasts and the beginning of menstruation. If she is not displaying these signs, there may be a need for medical investigation. A girl this age should also be getting regular vision and dental checks and the usual scheduled immunizations.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under the age of 35.  Because of this, girls are recommended to get vaccinated against HPV before becoming sexually active.

Ages 18-24

This is the age at which women tend to become sexually active, and that means they should get regular screenings for STI’s (sexually transmitted infections). These tests can usually be done using a self-taken vaginal swab and can be carried out at a health clinic or by your GP.

Ages 25-39

Breast awareness is very important and a woman needs to know how to check for abnormalities. Breast cancer affects one in eight women and is the most common cancer for women under 40. Be breast-aware and see a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

It is also important to get cervical smears done every three years until the age of forty-nine. Beyond this, every five years should suffice. If you are on contraceptives, have blood pressure and weight checked regularly.

Look out for low energy and fatigue resulting from heavy periods. If this is the case, consider having blood tests done to check iron levels. The condition can be easily corrected with minor adjustments.

If you are considering having children, seek health care for preconception advice and regular check ups, especially if you have medical conditions that might impact fertility.

Ages 40-60

This is the time to have health screenings to make sure your blood sugars, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and bone health are in balance. After 50, the risk of breast cancer goes up and the need for mammograms every three years becomes vital.

Age 60 and Above

Yearly eye tests are essential at this age to check for cataracts, eye pressures,and degeneration. Gut health needs to be monitored, and regular screenings for bowel cancer should be done.

Bone density tends to decrease at this age, and women should be tested regularly for osteoporosis to ensure proper bone health.

What tests are you getting at your age? Let us know if regular testing helps you. We love to hear it!

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Maintaining Healthy and Balanced Skin

smiling woman with lavender

It has been said, after all, that life is about balance. The highs and the lows, the yins and the yangs, the gins and the tonics, the acids and the bases. The acids and the bases? Isn’t that something you learned about in chemistry? Ph (or potential of hydrogen) balance is the measure of the acidity and alkalinity of a fluid, and we have lots of fluids in our bodies that we need to keep balanced in order to keep looking and feeling our best. The fluid in our skin is no exception.

PH in the Skin

PH plays an important role in the acid mantle of the skin. The acid mantle functions as a barrier for the skin, keeping moisture in, and pollution and bacteria out. The acid mantle is strongest, and most balanced when the skin is slightly acidic, at a pH of about 5.5. New York dermatologist Howard Sobel says, “You need some acidity to inhibit bacterial growth on the skin, which is why skin that’s too alkaline may, for example, be susceptible to acne.”

In addition to acne inflammation, alkalinity may also be responsible for aging. According to a study published in the “British Journal of Dermatology,” women with an alkaline pH level developed more crow’s feet and fine lines over an eight-year period than women with more acidic levels. Sobel says, “Skin with a balanced pH appears healthier, is slightly moist, looks plumper, and has a healthy glow.” Alkaline skin, he says, “may be acne-prone, dry or excessively oily.”

Addressing Excessive Alkalinity

Products

Most experts agree that swapping soap for cleanser is one of the first steps in decreasing alkalinity. Sobel also notes that there are “several effective treatments that can help the skin be more acidic, such as glycol peels which have an exfoliating effect. “

Diet

Although many experts argue that the food you eat does not affect the alkalinity or acidity of the skin, others claim that there is a connection. Microbiologist Robert O. Young says that green vegetables can aid digestion, boost immunity and improve skin. He also cautions against meat, sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and sweet fruits, which he claims turn alkaline when metabolized.

Cleanses

Dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD, recommends alkalizing “cocktails” containing super foods mixed with fiber, along with a high fruit and vegetable intake. However, she does not rule out the occasional meat or dairy product. She says, “It’s human; you’re probably going to drink coffee and alcohol too, and that’s okay, you just have to balance it all out.”

Other Graf recommendations are her vegetable based cleanses. “Even if you have only one day when you’re doing nothing but drinking juice and lots of water, your pH will go up. If you take mineral supplements and eat salads every day, your pH will go up.” Saliva pH-testing strips are available in drug stores to check that your levels remain at a healthy 7 – 7.5, but the doctor says, “Your barometer should just be feeling and looking good.”

Let us know if keeping a  pH balance is helping your skin! What are you doing to keep your skin healthy and glowing? We love to hear it!

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Get More Sleep, Exercise and Sun

Woman enjoying the sunset at the beach

It is easy to feel less happy and more anxious as winter drags on. The dreary weather and dark days leave many people feeling depressed, but there are things that you can do to fight these feelings. There are three simple things that you can do right now that will boost your feelings of happiness and provide benefits to your overall health: get more sleep, more exercise and more sun. Keep reading to find out why these activities benefit your health and how you can increase your happiness with more sleep, exercise and sun.

Sleep

One of the most important things that you can do for your health, physical and emotional, is to get enough sleep. Your body needs rest in order to function properly and if you deprive it of sleep, there are more serious consequences than being exhausted the next day. People who get too little sleep are more susceptible to health conditions like higher blood pressure, obesity and increased anxiety, but too much sleep has been linked to other cardiovascular conditions and even premature death. The magic number of hours that the average healthy adult needs per night is seven to nine hours according to the National Sleep Foundation.

To get truly restful sleep, experts recommend keeping your bedroom as electronics-free as possible. Leave the television and Blu-ray player in your living room and if you need background noise, invest in a white noise machine. If you have to have your phone on you, try turning it off at night or put it in a “do not disturb” mode before going to bed. Try to form a routine that will help you wind down at the end of the day, like turning the TV off an hour before bed and read a book or take the time to prepare a cup of tea, so that your body receives signals that it is time to calm down and prepare for rest.

Exercise

Experts recommend that you get 45 minutes of activity (or 30 if you are a beginner) and/or exercise daily to maintain optimal fitness. This number can seem daunting when your schedule is packed full of things you have to get done, but you don’t have to complete all of your exercise at one time. In fact, one study showed that women who exercised in short 10 minutes bursts a few times a day lost more weight and exercised more consistently than women who exercised for 20 to 40 minutes at a time.

Exercise provides so many health benefits, one of which is alleviating depression and anxiety. When it comes to sneaking exercise into your day, you are limited only by your imagination. Take your dog for a walk around the block, use some time from your lunch break to walk the stairs or do five to 10 minutes of jumping jacks several times a day.

Sun

You know that when it comes to signs of aging, it’s important to avoid overexposing yourself to the sun, but it is important to get some sunlight in your day. Your brain releases hormones in response to light and to darkness: serotonin is released due to light and melatonin is released when it is dark. Serotonin is a hormone in the brain that triggers happy thoughts and elevates your mood, and serotonin can create feelings of focus and calm. To see positive results from sunlight, experts recommend spending at least 5 to 15 minutes in the sun two to three times per week. Remember that while sun exposure does have positive benefits to your mood, it is important to get it in moderation and to always wear sunscreen prior to any UV exposure.

Don’t let the winter blues get you down, fight back! Aim to sleep for seven to nine hours every night – including weekends, because your body appreciates sticking to the routine – and make sure to spend some time in the sun and moving your body.

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Clean Eating Equals Clear Skin

Smiling young woman eating healthy salad while texting on the phone

Lately, there have been a lot of new improbable food combinations out there that mix the savory with the sweet.  Donut burgers, chocolate coated potato chips, pretzels and ice cream; sometimes it can seem hard to resist.  However, in nutritionist lingo, savory and sweet translates into grease and sugar, and that can be a nightmare for your skin.  If you want to clear up your skin, you need to start by cleaning up your diet. Here are some tips for doing both:

Diet and Your Skin

According to Dr. Jessica Wu, dermatologist and author of “Feed Your Face,” What you put in your mouth is just as important as what you apply to your skin. She explains, “Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin. If you crash diet or eat highly processed foods, your skin won’t be as strong and supple as it could be. For example, if you don’t eat enough protein, you are depriving your skin of the amino acids that go into making collagen and elastic tissue.”

Avoiding Sugar

Nutrition expert Alex Caspero recommends a low glycemic diet for acne prone skin and tells his clients to reduce sugar as much as possible. He says, “I replace refined sugary foods with nutrient dense foods, like fruit, vegetables and healthy sources of Omega-3.”What should you avoid specifically?  Protein bars, according to Dr. Wu.

She considers them glorified candy bars warning that, “The sugar will quickly get into your bloodstream, making your insulin levels spike, which can aggravate acne, wrinkles, and rashes.”  The fix?  Dr. Wu suggests a handful of almonds and a piece of whole fruit eaten after a workout, saying, “You’ll be eating better for your skin and you’ll feel more satisfied.”

Dairy

So what’s the deal with dairy?  Although the link between dairy and acne has not been definitively proven, Caspero doesn’t recommend dairy, saying, “Just like sugar, I see great results when I remove dairy from the diet,” and adds that, “If people must have milk or yogurt, I recommend non-dairy alternatives, or goat’s milk.”

Healthy Skin Diet

So now that you know what you shouldn’t eat, let’s talk about what you should. Celebrity esthetician Joanna Vargas says that, “The best skin diet is one that involves eating vegetables of different colors for every meal and a green juice every day.” Her top pick? Avocados. Vargas advises throwing these green berries into your smoothie as a source of phytonutrients and healthy fats.Dr. Wu says that when it comes to picking vegetables, red, yellow, and green are the most skin friendly.

According to Wu, “Tomatoes are good for helping reduce sun damage,” adding that, “they’re high in the antioxidant lycopene, (which) is more easily absorbed when the tomatoes have been cooked.” She also advises clients to use the color of vegetables as an indicator of antioxidant levels. “In general,” she explains, “the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it has,” and similarly, when it comes to green and yellow veggies, “The darker and brighter the color, the more the nutrients.”

Spices

As for Caspero, he cites omega-3 rich foods, like sardines, flaxseed, and chia seeds, and foods with vitamins A, C, and E for luminous skin, however, he adds some revealing information.  “Most of us think of fruits and vegetables as antioxidant sources, but, surprisingly, herbs and spices pack the most punch.  Turmeric, a spice often found in Indian cuisine, is one of the best.”
So, what are you doing to clean up your diet and clear up your skin?  Let us know.  We love to hear from you.

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Your Diet Can Help You Look Younger

Healthy and fit woman holding a colourful smoothie outdoors

If you’re looking for protection from free radicals, here are some foods that can help you fight the signs of aging in a healthy manner.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil can be counted among the healthiest fats in existence.  It combats aging by lowering blood pressure, preventing metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk of heart disease, and may even be effective in fighting cancer.

Olive oil can also help your skin look younger.  73% of olive oil is made up of mono saturated fat which increases skin firmness and elasticity, and studies suggest that its anti-inflammatory properties can protect against sun damage.

Green Tea

The high levels of antioxidants in green tea make it effective in protecting against free radicals. Green tea is high in polyphenols, antioxidants that can prevent insulin resistance, diabetes, inflammation and heart disease. They may also boost collagen levels in your skin, reducing, and even reversing, signs of aging.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish contain long-chain omega -3 fats that help fight inflammation, heart disease and ulcerate colitis, among others. According to studies, they can also protect against sun damage and inflammation.

Salmon may be especially beneficial to youthful skin, because it contains a carotenoid antioxidant called astaxanthin, which gives it its pink cold.  Individuals in a study on sun-damaged skin showed significant improvements on skin elasticity and hydration after having been given a combination of astaxanthin and collagen for a 12-week period.

Dark Chocolate

This sinful treat has an antioxidant profile second to none. Research suggests dark chocolate can increase sensitivity to insulin, reduce blood pressure, and boost arterial elasticity and function.  The power behind chocolate comes from flavanols, which protect skin against sun damage, with the amount of flavanols being highest in dark chocolate. One study revealed that people who ate dark chocolate with high amounts of flavanol were able to double their time in the sun before burning, as opposed to people who ate lower flavanol chocolate. High flavanol cocoa also proved to yield better blood flow in individuals and lead to improvements in skin hydration, thickness, and smoothness. Choose the dark chocolate with a 70% cocoa solid content for best results.

Vegetables

Veggies contain antioxidants that can help lower the risk of cataracts, cancer, and heart disease. Vegetables rich in carotenoids, like beta carotene, can also protect against free radicals and radiation from the sun. The best beta-carotene sources are pumpkins, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C is another common component of vegetables important for the production of collagen. Results of one study showed that people given a dose of 180 mgs of vitamin C per day for 4 weeks showed a 37% increase in skin’s antioxidant activity. Veggies with the most vitamin C include bell peppers, leafy greens, tomatoes and broccoli.

What do you eat to keep you young? We’d love to know your secrets!

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Drink Wine, Feel Better

Woman drinking red wine

By now, many of us have heard rumors about the ways in which drinking wine can improve health. Well, wine drinkers, rest assured, these are no longer rumors. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends drinking one to two four ounce glasses a day to take advantage of the health benefits wine has to offer. Here is how you can benefit by drinking wine daily.

Longevity

Wine drinkers may live longer than those who drink beer or other spirits. A Finnish study, which was published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007, researched 2,468 men over a 29 year period. It was proven that the wine drinkers had a 34 percent lower mortality rate than those who chose other alcoholic beverages.

Antioxidants

Free radicals cause the oxidation process in our bodies which leads to cell damage. Antioxidants combat these free radicals preventing or stopping the cell damage process. Wine is full of antioxidants and can be compared to cinnamon, blueberries and pomegranate juice in this respect.

Red wine also reduces the risk of certain diseases including:

  • Heart Attack: A 16-year study from Harvard School of Public Healthy showed moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30% less likely to have a heart attack than non-drinkers. The study was documented in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.
  • Heart Disease: The tannins in red wine contain polyphenols called procyanidins which protect against heart disease. This was proven in a study at Queen Mary University in London. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France are more plentiful in procyanidins than other wines.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: According to the American Diabetes Association, drinking red wine can lower blood sugar for 24 hours. A study done at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center showed that moderate drinkers have 30% less risk that nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Cataracts: The Reykjavik Eye Study was a five year population study that included 1,379 people and looked into the effects of alcohol consumption on cataract development. The studies proved that moderate drinkers have 50% of the risk of cataracts as compared to that of nondrinkers or heavy drinkers.
  • Colon Cancer: The risk of colon cancer is also reduced for those who drink wine in moderation. A Stony Brook University study of 2,291 people proved that the risk of colon cancer was reduced by 45% in those who drank a bit of wine every day (especially red).

Fermented foods can benefit your digestive system, and fermented drinks can as well! They contain beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics, all of which are essential to digestive health.

Wine has many mental benefits as well. It encourages you to sit down and relax and take in your surroundings while heightening and enhancing the taste sensation. For those who are wine enthusiasts, a trip to wine country can teach you about the process of making wine including the farm to table experience and sustainability. For years, wine has been a symbol of revelry, creativity and celebration.

Are you a wine drinker? Do you find wine to benefit your health, and, if so, how?

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Reduced Sugar Intake and Skin Health

Young woman eating cotton candy outdoors

A lot of us expect to suffer from acne during adolescence. But often times, breakouts reappear as we get older. While hormones fluctuate throughout our lives, diet is also a big component in our complexion and sugar is targeted as a major culprit. But is sugar really to blame for our skin problems? Does it affect everybody’s skin? Find out what limiting your sugar intake can do for your skin.

So why exactly is sugar bad for our skin? Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer explains that it breaks down collagen, the substance that makes your skin look plump, youthful and lifted. He also goes on to say that “Sugar can weaken the immune system, and a suppressed immune system is bad at fighting off bacteria.” Bacteria will clog your pores, resulting in a breakout.

Sugar also sets off insulin production which triggers protein utilization malfunctions. Sugar acts as a kind of signal scramble, affecting the production of the proteins and amino acids that build up collagen and elasticity. “Sugars bind to the amino acid chains and they gunk up the work,” explains Lancer.

Another effect of the sugar is that it creates testosterone with makes pores larger and skin oilier. It will also harden blood vessels and dehydrate skin making skin look less perky and bouncy. In turn, your skin becomes sallow and you get unwanted dark circles. Dr. Shereene Idriss, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology follow up, adding, “You get mild swelling and breakouts.”

Even though processed sugars are targeted as the enemy, you should beware of natural sugars that are consumed. Lancer warns that you should pay attention to where food falls on the glycemic index. Foods that rank low on the glycemic index manage insulin production which will slow down glycation, or in layman’s terms, your body will burn energy instead of storing it as fat. Watermelon and cantaloupe are high on the index, while white kiwi, blueberries and blackberries are lower.

You should also be aware of wine. Idriss warns, “Drinking too much wine can affect you too. Alcohol dehydrates and causes capillaries to dilate so dark circles will show under the eyes more prominently.” You also should be careful when eating honey. Lancer rules that a quarter teaspoon daily should be the maximum.

Health and beauty writer Lauren Blum was suffering from adult acne. She noticed breakouts appearing whenever she ate sugary snacks. She suspected that reducing her sugar intake might be a solution for her. She went to see Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, respected dermatologist for his opinion. Thornfeldt told Blum that sugar can activate inflammation. It also binds to the collagen to make skin stiff. He advised against any processed sugar which could lead to long-term damage due to chronic inflammation. He suggested that Blum reduce her sugar intake by two-thirds. After a week, Blum found her skin looking renewed, with lesser breakouts. There was less overall redness and her skin looked brighter.

So, what’s your sugar story? Have you tried to reduce your sugar intake and, if so, how did it affect your skin?

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Invisible Health Threats

Young woman touching skin in front of bathroom mirror

What are Germs?

Germs consist of various microbes, biohazards and pathogens. “Microbe is another name for microorganisms. Biohazards are infectious agents or dangerous biological materials that present a risk or potential risk to human health. Pathogens are germs that can cause disease,” explains McFadden. The three most common types of germs are bacteria, fungi and viruses, and these germs are found everywhere. “We find germs in water, air, food, blood/body fluids on nonliving environmental surfaces, humans and animals,” McFadden says. Many of these microbes pose no threat to your health, but there are germs (pathogens) that can lead to serious illnesses like HIV, Salmonella and E. Coli.

How do Germs Cause Disease?

For germs to cause you harm, they must find a way to enter into your body, and unfortunately, this is an easy task for germs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that handwashing is one of the most effective ways you can keep germs from entering into your body. As germs accumulate on your hands, you increase the risk of infecting yourself by touching areas like your nose, mouth and eyes.

How to Fight Germs

There are four major things you must do in order to prevent invisible pathogens from entering into your body and making you ill:

  • Eliminate or Reduce Infectious Agents – Handwashing is one of the things you must do to reduce your contact with germs, but there are other ways to do so. Germs cover surfaces in your home, car and office, so you want to be sure that you are thoroughly cleaning these areas. There are different levels of clean: “Cleaning is the removal of unwanted soil or contaminants. Sanitizing is the removal of microbes from an object to meet a minimum sanitation requirement. Sanitizing reduces the microbial population by killing 99.9% of the targeted pathogens. Disinfecting is the total elimination of most pathogenic organisms from inanimate objects. Disinfecting provides a higher level of germ killing than cleaning or sanitizing,” advises McFadden

  • Keep Your Immune System Healthy – Germs that enter into an already weakened immune system have a higher chance of causing serious illness than those that enter a healthy, functioning immune system. Keep your immune system healthy by following a nutritious diet, getting plenty of sleep and keeping an active lifestyle.

  • Inhibit Germ Growth – While you can’t ever fully rid your surroundings of all germs, you can help inhibit germ growth. Common areas that are full of germs include kitchen sinks, toilet seats and doorknobs or handles. Proper cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting of these surfaces regularly helps to prevent germs from multiplying and growing.

  • Prevent Germ Transmission – Even if you are most diligent at handwashing, you may come into close contact with others who aren’t or who are already ill with a germ-caused disease. Limit your contact with sick people, and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer around with you. It might seem rude to sanitize immediately after shaking someone’s hand, but doing so can help you prevent germ transmission.

Germs really are everywhere and you will never be able to rid your life of these microorganisms. Fortunately, with proper care and caution, you can reduce the number of germs that you expose yourself to. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you at all times and use proper cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting methods to keep your life as germ-free as possible.

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Mood Boosting Ideas

Woman enjoying a cup of tea

If the winter weather has you feeling down and you feel like these dreary days will never end, then you could probably use a mood boost. There are so many ways that you can create a happier day for yourself, relieve stress and alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression, that it was hard for us to choose just 10. Keep reading to find out what our favorite mood-boosting ideas and activities are and how you can use them to lift yourself up.

Write

Writing can help bring clarity to your current situation, so if you are feeling confused about your feelings, keeping a journal can help you sort the situation out. Another way you can write daily to boost your mood is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down two to three things that happened that day that you enjoyed or were particularly grateful for.

Grab a Drink

No, don’t head to the bar in the name of a mood lift. Instead, head to your kitchen to make a cup of tea. Green tea contains chemicals that fight depression and anxiety, as well as a healthy dose of antioxidants. You could also drink some hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice, because the scent of lemons can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep, particularly where your mood is concerned. Without enough sleep, you experience feelings of fatigue and exhaustion in addition to irritability and anxiety. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the average healthy adult gets between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, even on the weekends.

Color

You may have noticed that during the past year adult coloring books have become increasingly available and popular. Sitting down with a coloring book and some gel pens or colored pencils can help you to calm down and relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.

Snack Well

Sometimes when your emotions are high, you crave for junk food and when you give in, you end up feeling even worse than you did before. The next time you crave for those potato chips, grab a handful of walnuts instead. Sure, they may not taste anything like potato chips, but they keep you full and feeling satisfied. Additionally, walnuts help boost your mood naturally by affecting the neurotransmitter, serotonin.

Shop

It may seem odd to include shopping on a list of positive ways to boost your mood, but if you spend wisely, shopping really can lift your mood. Researchers surveyed shoppers at a mall and found that those that bought experiences – a great meal, concert tickets or tickets to the movies – were far more satisfied than shoppers who spent their money purchasing items like shoes and clothes.

Head Outside

We already discussed that sunlight helps to keep your mood high all day, but sunlight isn’t the only benefit to going outdoors. Breathing in fresh air is refreshing for your body and provides most people with an instant lift, and being around nature and greenery can significantly improve your mood as well as increase productivity and mental clarity.

Clean Up

Clutter can make you feel way worse about yourself and your current situation, because it reminds you that you aren’t taking care of things you should be and this can make you feel like a failure. Simply reorganizing papers on your desk of folding clothes rather than throwing them on the floor can go a long way in helping you feel like you’re taking control, which boosts your mood.

Open the Blinds

When you first wake up in the morning, open your curtains and start your day off with some sunlight. “Brightening up your bedroom when you wake up helps you feel happier all day,” says Michael Terman, Ph. D. and the director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center.

Hang Out With Your Furry Friends

A study conducted by the University of Missouri – Columbia noted that people who spent just 15 minutes a day petting a dog experienced the release of the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. In addition to increasing these “happy” hormones, petting a dog was also linked with a reduction in the stress hormone, cortisol. Studies using kittens found the same result, so it doesn’t seem to matter if you are a dog or a cat person.

Keeping a smile on your face can help bust you out of a bad mood, and sometimes looking at a situation differently is all you need to get through it. Practice these 10 mood-boosting ideas any time you need a little bit more happiness and peace in your life.