Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. A day in which most people spend shopping, with family, at barbecues and celebrating the beginning of summer, but often forgetting that today is a holiday commemorating the lives of Americans who died at war.

Many people are out visiting graveyards and memorials to remember those who died for a cause, who fought for their country, and who died as heroes. As a proud American, I extend my condolences to those who have lost loved ones in war, and I am proud of my fellow Americans who died for something they believed in and fought with bravery at their own will.

Just as these brave Americans chose to fight for their country, many people around Africa and the Middle East are bravely standing in the streets to peacefully demand freedom, democracy, and justice in their homelands.  These brave civilians are also fighting for their country, so the next generations can experience a life of opportunity and a life worth living.

At the same time, we’ve seen the devastating natural forces all around the world – from the tornadoes ripping through the southern US states, the earthquakes in South America, the tsunamis and earthquakes in Asia, the flooding all around the world – killing thousands of people.  This year has been a pretty intense year in terms of natural catastrophes and political upheavals.

On this Memorial Day, while my heart, respect and gratitude are with my fellow Americans, I also extend my thoughts and prayers to those who have died either for a cause or by a natural cause. May their souls rest in peace and may their lives always be remembered.

Retail Therapy

Research shows that one’s mood affects the way he or she will spend their money.  More specifically, when you are feeling unhappy, you are likely to spend more money on things that satisfy your shopping urges, hence the term “retail therapy.”  Well, my personal “research” proves that it works! 🙂

Sometimes, we just deserve it, so why not?! If a nice little shopping spree is what you need to relieve some of your stress this weekend, then by all means, go for it.  Now, it’s not going to be okay to break the bank and end up feeing worse because of the money that was spent, but it’s okay to buy something that will make you feel good – a pair of shoes, a blouse, an outfit…whatever it may be! 

All I know is that it’s summer time, and I’ve been itching for something new.  The best part is that it’s Memorial Day Weekend, which means – Sales! Enjoy!

You are what you Eat

We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” but we know it doesn’t mean we will become nuts if we eat nuts! It is simply a way to say “eat well” – if you eat healthy foods you feel healthier, if you eat unhealthy foods feel unhealthy.  So, making an effort to put healthy foods in our diets is essential to living a nutritious lifestyle and feeling well.

Eating foods that benefit your body will reward you in the near and far future. Not only does healthy food have long term benefits to our overall well-being, but it also provides natural “cures” for people suffering from specific ailments.  You can find a food that is rich in just about every vitamin and mineral you may be lacking. If your memory is failing you, eat some fish, if you feel sad, eat some dark chocolate, if you need a brain boost, eat some walnuts, if you are cramping, eat a banana! There is almost always a remedy in natural foods, so imagine how strong your body can be if you put these plentiful foods in your daily diet.

I understand that it’s easy to choose a meal based on what our eyes and taste buds may be shouting for, but have we ever thought about how our stomachs and bodies will react and respond to it? I think most people can agree that if they take fried foods out their diet, their stomach will reject them when reentered into the digestive system. The same idea goes for processed foods.  If you train your body to forget the unhealthy foods and digest and accept raw, natural, and wholesome meals, our stomachs will realize that processed foods and packaged snacks are foreign objects that do not benefit the body. And, I promise, eventually, your eyes and taste buds will be jumping for the beneficial foods.

Just a note, I do believe that a healthy diet is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and if you can completely take out all of the “bad for you” foods from your diet, then more power to you! But, I do not want to be a hypocrite, because I know more than anyone that I am a sucker to many processed snacks and junk food! But, I only let myself have them in small doses. I do not, by any means, make them a part of my daily diet.  Just make sure you’re “good” the majority of the time, and let yourself have a moment of weakness every now and then. 

“The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine.”  – Hippocrates

Take a Break!

I apologize for disappearing for an entire week of blogging, and I thank those of you dedicated readers who did come back looking for a stress relief tip for the day! I guess I just needed a break! Not that I actual need a break from writing or letting out all of my thoughts, but, sometimes, life just gets in the way!

So, it reminded me that it’s a good idea to just take a step back every now and then. We can’t do it all – no matter how hard we push ourselves. I think we would find a lot more energy to finish certain tasks (at home and at work) if we remind ourselves that it’s okay if we don’t finish everything on the to-do list and if we force some things to just wait.  Whether you are a mother who feels like a chauffeur, an involved community activist/philanthropist, working two jobs or working and studying, a dedicated friend, or employee or spouse, etc., I have no doubt you are stressed. While many have turned into superman/woman, they have also turned into stress-balls. 

Sometimes a break is just what we are looking for to give us time to think, time to relax and time to rejuvenate. In my opinion, it is probably one of the best ways to beat stress.  Our minds can recharge to be more creative and our bodies can recharge to be more energetic.  So to all of you out there, just take a break and allow yourself to relax, just once!

Boost your Immunity

It seems as though everyone around me is getting sick. Make sure you fight off anything you may see sneaking up on you, so you can enjoy your weekend! Today’s stress relief tip is to boost your immunity, so you don’t have to deal with the added stress of getting sick!  These are my favorite tips to stay healthy and well during “flu season,” “cold season,” “allergy season,” ok – all seasons!

Drink LOTS of tea – there are many different teas that help fight colds.  The trick is to add Lemon and Honey to them, because Lemon is high in Vitamin C (and my mom always tells me it’s good for stomach aches and cold and flu symptoms), and Honey is good for the immune system and for sore throats.  And, I have read that Ginger is considered a natural remedy for the cold/flu, among many other ailments. 

Also, I prefer to drink a lot of Echinacea Tea (I drink the Yogi Tea brand, but not with tea and honey).  Echinacea root is considered an herbal remedy for a weak immune system.  I feel that drinking lots of Echinacea tea helps prevent oncoming colds and strengthens the body and immune system when feeling weak.  If you don’t like the tea, many people opt for the Echinacea supplements. 

Vitamin C – I think we all know the benefits of vitamin C, and who doesn’t have a stash of Emergen-C or Airborne in their medicine cabinet? I think it’s important to boost your immune system with natural vitamin C, but you can always increase your intake by drinking lots of the supplement packets with water, or the actual vitamin C pills.

 Finally, get LOTS of sleep! I know we don’t always have time to sleep during the day, or we may not sleep enough during the night, but your body will not repair itself fully until you are at total rest.  Try to sleep as much as you can so your body can re-energize.

These are my immunity boosting “secrets,” so hopefully they will work for you, too!  Hopefully, you can fight it off before you have to take the actual medicines to make you feel better, or to sleep through the night.

Have a great weekend!

Listen to Bob

The one common thread I share with my 3 siblings is our love for Bob Marley (well, that and the common understanding of the growing pains we’ve been scarred by).  The four of us are very different in regards to social interests, music interests, even our views on spirituality…but we can all agree on Bob. If the 4 of us can appreciate him, I think most people can.  And my assumption is confirmed by the fact that today, 30 years after his death, he lives on – on people’s walls and t-shirts, radio stations, and remixed versions of his original songs. I think today, being the 30th anniversary of his death, is a good day to share some of Bob Marley’s philosophy.  He was a peace lover and a social activist, who spoke to the world as one race.  You can see his ideals in his lyrics, which can apply to so many lessons in life. I think everyone can appreciate at least one of his songs, and apply these lyrics to an aspect in your life:

Personal Growth – “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds, have no fear for atomic energy.”  (Redemption Song)

Human Rights – “…I know you don’t know what life is really worth, it’s not all that glitters is gold, half the story has never been told, so now you see the light, stand up for your rights, get up stand up, don’t give up the fight.” (Get Up, Stand Up)

Change – (whether political, social or individual) – “It takes a revolution to make a solution.” (Revolution)

One Mankind – “Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner, there ain’t no hiding place from the Father of Creation…One love, One heart, let’s get together and feel alright. I’m pleading to mankind…” (One Love)

Attitude towards life – “Rise up this morning, smiled with the risin’ sun, three little birds pitch by my doorstep, singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true, sayin..this is my message to you… ‘don’t worry bout a thing, cause every little thing gonna be all right.” (Three Little Birds)

I hope everyone is singing by now, because the lyrics are one thing, but they are even more powerful with the music. 

With so many articles written about Bob Marley, today, I learned that the national motto of Jamaica is “Out of many comes one.” Bob Marley truly lived by this motto, which may be one of the many reasons he is considered by Jamaicans to be a national hero.  But he is not only remembered by Jamaicans, he is also an international legend and a world-recognized musician.  Let’s relieve our stress by remembering Bob and listening to him, today. Whether you feel the need to be inspired by his words or relaxed by the beat, there is no doubt that Bob Marley’s music can be a stress reliever.

How to be Happy

Yesterday, I drove past a church sign that read “How to be Happy.” That will probably draw a big crowd to Sunday’s service, and I’m sure those people are looking for their happiness through God. Happiness can mean something different for each person, so there is not a secret to finding happiness, but I do find it interesting how everyone seems to be looking for happiness these days. I’m sure we all have unhappy moments and sad days, but why do so many people want to learn how to be happy and want to find something that will quench this unending thirst for happiness?

There are a million reasons people might feel they are unhappy – many compare what they have to others, many are looking for a partner to fill their void, many think the “perfect” job or a certain body type will complete them – but I think my eyes were finally opened to my own problem, which might trump all those other reasons.  Many of us dwell on the past or fear the future (or, like me, do both!), instead of living day by day. Sometimes we can’t take each moment for what it’s worth because we are afraid of what might happen next, or we cannot forget something that has happened to us in the past.  These fears will hinder many quests for happiness, but most importantly, they prevent us from accepting what we have been given each day, and finding happiness in the present moment.  I can’t tell anyone how to be happy, but I believe our first step towards the search should start by taking each day for what it’s worth. We can’t change the past and we can’t predict the future, but we can face each day and see what it brings us. 

This is another post I will definitely visit often as a reminder to myself.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there! I have no idea what it is like to be a mother, and I know I will not know the true feelings until I become a mother myself. However, last night at our mother’s day dinner, someone asked my mom if she felt that mother’s day was any different than a birthday.  She said mother’s day is much different because she enjoys celebrating being a mother more, as it is truly rewarding. Regardless of your relationship with your mother, there is no doubt she went through a lot to raise you the best she could, so I hope you had the chance to tell her thank you, yesterday. I know relationships with mothers can be sensitive ones, but they are also very special. To all of you mothers out there, I hope you had a wonderful one, and I hope each year just gets better! If you are not a mother, like me, I hope you were able to remember your mother or celebrate with her. Mom, if you’re reading this, I love you and thank you! 🙂

Antioxidizing the Fish Tank

This morning I took out some blueberries to eat with my breakfast and the inside cover said “Start a healthy relationship with your body. Enjoy our blueberries! #1 Antioxidant.” I think it’s about time I start bringing nutrition into my blogs, because living in an unhealthy body is the easiest way to increase your stress levels and add unnecessary weight (as in pounds and burden!) to your life. So, since my blueberry box gave me such a great message this morning, I’m going to try to put more antioxidants into my diet.

In researching the benefits of antioxidants, I found an article that compares the human body to a fish tank. Basically, antioxidants enter our body and prevent the formation of harmful “gunk”, just like the bottom feeder fish cleans up the waste in the tank to prevent harm to the other fish. It sounds gross, but at the same time, sounds like a nice cleanse, right? The “gunk” in our bodies forms by the creation of free radicals, which are unstable molecules in the body that, in excess, can be extremely detrimental to our health. They can cause our cells to be weak, effecting our organs, tissues and skin. Antioxidants prevent the creation of these free radicals, by slowing down and preventing the oxidation of molecules.

I am a big believer in adding important vitamins and nutrients to your diet through food, rather than supplements.  Increase your antioxidant intake by adding healthy foods to your diet. This article that helped me research the benefits of antioxidants, also provides a list of foods that are good for your body.  You can see it at the following link: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-antioxidants/   

Have a great weekend!

Music Therapy

This morning I woke up like most mornings – wishing it was Friday and not ready to face all the work on my desk. But, when I turned on my car, one of my favorite songs was playing on the radio – so it put the biggest smile on my face.  All of a sudden, I was in the best mood.  Not that the music got me excited about work, but it did start my morning off with some good and positive energy.

The power of music amazes me.  It has a way of changing your state of mind, which makes music a very effective stress reliever.  It’s as if the lyrics and/or the tune just put you in a different state of mind.  Many people go to music for stress relief, but there is even research on “music therapy” as having many health benefits and easing pain, tension, and sleeplessness.  Who would have thought that just listening to music could be so beneficial?! 

I am not big on the latest bands and artists, but I can appreciate a good song when I hear one, and I can definitely dance to a good beat when one is playing! And, I’m sure we are all guilty of playing a song on repeat a million times, because we just can’t get enough of it.  Next time you feel a bit of stress, put on a good playlist or play a song on repeat…whatever it takes to ease your mind and put you in a better mood.  “If music is the medicine of the soul, let it play on.” (Unknown Playwright)

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