Fun Ways to Improve Your Vocabulary

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Having a broad vocabulary can be useful for a lot of things. It can help you to read, watch and listen to a wider range of materials and have a better understanding of the content. It can give you the tools that you need to speak and write more eloquently and get your point across in more creative and profound ways. It can also just be a lot of fun to know more words and how to use them!

You probably pick up a new word every now and then, but if you want to actively improve your vocabulary, try these tips–

Play Word Games

Playing word games is a good way to learn new words and start expanding your vocabulary. Many word games rely on you knowing the definitions of words, being able to rearrange letters to make words, or perhaps being able to find hidden words. There are some fun word game apps that you might find you enjoy even more than scrolling through Instragam. You can even use tools like Wordscapes answers that helps you unscramble letters. The more you use something like this, the less that you will find you need to “cheat” as your vocabulary grows.

Read More

Reading is always a great activity if you want to improve your vocabulary, and the more broadly you read, the more diverse the vocabulary you encounter will be. You might like reading novels, but you should also read non-fiction, news articles, opinion pieces, essays or anything else that you find enjoyable. As well as reading physical books, listening to audio-books will help you know how to pronounce new words. The more you read, the more your vocabulary will grow, especially if you commit to a diverse range of materials. A little bit of reading every day can make a big difference in your vocabulary.

Watch and Listen, too

Along with reading, you can benefit from watching and listening to diverse materials as well. Whether you watch TV dramas and movies, consume documentaries, or listen to the radio, podcasts or even music, you can learn new words. Just like with books and reading materials, you can explore lots of different media and find things that you enjoy. You can find plenty to watch and listen to for free online, by searching for videos on YouTube, from TED talks to comedy or informative how-tos.

Expand Your Circle

Finally, surrounding yourself with people from diverse backgrounds — both in upbringing and physical location — is a way to ensure you aren’t constantly hearing from people who look and sound like you. This will not only improve and build your vocabulary, but your ideas and views of the world as well.

You can improve your vocabulary in lots of different ways. Keep exploring the world around you to learn new words all the time!

P.S. How to put NEW language skills into practice. 

Feeling Trapped? Fighting “Quarantine Stress” in 4 Simple Steps

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The last few months have not been the easiest for anybody, and have brought on many challenges we did not expect to face. As a result, I’m sure we’ve all felt down and anxious at least once while in quarantine. Some are coping with working from home, while others have to manage the many responsibilities that come with school and entertainment options temporarily closed. Many have had to face these self-isolating months completely alone – something that might have taken a toll on their mental and physical well-being. Call it the dreaded quarantine stress, if you will. Here are some ways I have found useful to cope — 

Mindful Exercise

Staying fit and healthy while confined within four walls can be a challenge for many. However, moving, staying active, and exercising can have incredible benefits on our mental well-being – benefits that you should not be ignored! Maybe HIIT training and running for miles aren’t your thing, but other practices – such as yoga and meditation – can help you understand yourself better and fight stress. 

All this, while also toning your muscles and tuning your mind! While doing your make up and putting on your corporate dress might not be part of your routine anymore, starting your day with a Power Yoga session can be just as beneficial to boost your self-confidence!

Take Up a New Challenge

Boredom – especially when combined with feelings of anxiety – can be extremely detrimental. Keeping your mind busy and giving yourself a goal to work toward can be an easy solution to implement. Several challenges can work, but the one you pick should fit your preferences. Whether this is minimalism, vegetarianism, or working toward a zero-waste lifestyle, a challenge can help you focus your mind and energy toward a positive goal. 

Turn Your Home into a Sanctuary

Of course, you might have started to feel a little trapped within your four walls. However, instead, start thinking of your home as a safe place where you can retreat in turbulent times. Start by turning your garden, patio, or terrace in to a space for enjoying the sunshine during the day and get all that Vitamin D you need during this time. 

Indoors, add plants and swap the heavy curtains for a lighter version. These two simple additions can help you let in enough natural light and fresh air to create a much happier environment. Some companies, such as Kaya Hemp Company, create ethically-produced products that can help you craft a comfortable and healthy sanctuary all for yourself.

Build Relationships (Virtually!)

If you have had to face the quarantine alone, you might have struggled to find enough support from others. However, technology is on our side. Don’t skip a call with your loved ones or a catch up over the phone with your friends. Even just a quick chat can lift your mood and help you see things differently. Moreover, many people now have more free time to fill so you can deepen the relationships you treasure and rebuild the ones that you haven’t had time to cultivate before the restrictions.

I hope you found this useful, and maybe even a little reassuring? Have you created ways of combating quarantine stress? Share your tips in the comments! xoxo

P.S. Follow Kaya Hemp Company on Instagram HERE.

4 Ways to “Clock-Out” When You Work From Home

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Working takes a lot out of you, and a job can be very demanding some days. You must take the time to rest and recover so that you can return to your duties the next day full of energy and motivation. But it can be difficult to transition from a work mindset to a recovery mindset when working from home. 

Below are four of my favorite ways to “clock-out” after a long day of work and signal to my mind and body that work is over and rest has begun. Setting aside this leisure time right after I wrap up for the day is crucial for me to enter the rest of my evening in a state of calm. Then, I can return to my desk the next morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 

1. Pull out the Coloring Books

One way to relax after a long day of work is to grab your favorite coloring books and put your feet up. Invest in a variety of books from https://www.pennydellpuzzles.com/coloring/ so you can mix it up and choose different designs to work on. You’ll be creating a masterpiece while allowing yourself to rest and relax. Coloring is an activity that’s fun and beneficial for kids and adults alike. It’ll take your mind off all the stress and strain from your workday almost instantly.

2. Take A Warm Bath

You may also want to put taking a warm bath on your list of ways to “clock-out” after a long day of work. It’s your chance to unplug from technology and relax your muscles and brain from thinking. Put some bubbles in your bathtub and grab your favorite book that you can get lost in for a while. You might also want to put on some soothing background music and meditate while you’re soaking in the tub. You’ll feel like a new person when you get out of your bath and you’ll feel in a calm frame of mind. It’s an excellent way to relieve any stress you’re feeling in your body as well.

3. Watch A Movie

Another idea for how you can “clock-out” after work is to watch a movie. Pick one based on what you’re in the mood for and will keep your attention. It can be entertaining to watch a favorite movie of yours or to pick a new one that you haven’t seen before. Make a delicious snack or dinner and curl up on the couch in your comfortable clothes and a warm blanket to help you relax. You may even end up dozing off or falling asleep if you’re that tired and worn out. Nothing wrong with a nap!

4. Go On A Walk

You may not think of exercise as relaxing, but it is if you choose the right activity. Going on a walk is an excellent way to burn a few calories, reduce your stress, and calm a racing mind. Call up a friend so you two can catch up about what’s been going on in each of your lives. It’ll be relaxing to spend some time in nature and have someone who cares about you on the other end of the phone. You’ll feel so much better after getting in some steps and being able to get anything that’s bothering you off your chest to your friend.  

But I want to hear from you! What are some ways you “clock-out” when working from home? Are there any aspects of working from home you’re struggling with?

P.S. Need one more “clock-out” idea? How about an at-home workout. 

Why It’s Never Too Early To Start Christmas Shopping

A lot of people can’t even start to think about Christmas until after Halloween has passed, whereas others start their Christmas shopping for the following year in the after-Christmas sales. My vote is for somewhere in between. It’s nice to get ahead of things, and when it comes to gifts, buying them earlier can allow for more planning — both in thoughtfulness and budget.

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

When you like to put thought into buying gifts, leaving your shopping until the last minute should be the last thing that you want to do, yet, many of us still find ourselves shopping for Christmas presents as late as Christmas Eve. Although it’s nice to feel prepared with lists, not having a list can enable you to buy things that make you think of certain people as you see them or when you find them for a good price. 

If you do this throughout the year, or at least from June/July onward, you will be more than prepared come December. It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping!

So, let’s have a look at some of the ways it can benefit you: 

It’s Less Stressful

There will be no more scrabbling around last minute and much more time to relax if you shop all year round. You will be able to fully enjoy the magic of the holiday. And, that one person you can never figure out? Well, you’ll have plenty of time to sort it out and get it ticked off your list. You will also no longer have the stress of worrying if something will arrive on time, and you will have plenty of time to exchange if it’s not quite right or damaged. 

No More Increased Prices

Have you ever noticed that near Christmastime prices can shoot up? Or are much higher than the sale prices you spotted earlier in the year? That’s because you are paying for the convenience of shopping right before Christmas. You should most definitely take advantage of sales like Black Friday and any early Christmas sales, but don’t forget about sales that happen before Thanksgiving even rolls around and throughout the year. If you see something that someone would love, get it at a reduced price rather than buying later at full. 

Finding Unique Gifts 

You know those gifts that you can’t wait to give because you know it’s going to surprise the recipient? Well, shopping earlier means you have more time to plan and get it just right. If you shop earlier, you have more time to research and do the searching that is often needed for a unique present like personalized first christmas ornaments. If you’re not working from a list, then you have more freedom and may find something unexpected. Just because it’s not near Christmas, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it ready. When it’s most definitely the thought that counts, finding the perfect gifts no matter what time of the year, can’t be missed. 

These are three very good reasons why you should shop at any time of the year for Christmas, and it’s never too early to get started. When do you normally start your Christmas shopping? Do you shop all year round and take advantage of the benefits above or are you a last-minute shopper? 

SUMMER TBR

Hi guys! Today’s post is going to be my SUMMER TBR! (TBR = to be read, aka a list of books I want to read soon.) I thought it would be fun to start posting seasonal TBR lists as a way to get excited about all the books I want to read over the coming months. And with the sun shining outside my window and a massive longing to ditch work and head to a beach somewhere, it’s safe to say summer is upon us!

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the TBR…

I’m going to start with my fiction picks and then jump into the nonfiction. This is a 60/40 split which I feel is pretty spot-on with where my reading preferences currently lie. I also incorporated lots of different genres so there would be a little something of everything I personally enjoy reading!

FICTION PICKS

Contemporary Fiction – 
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Nothing says summer like a story set on a deserted island.

Science Fiction –
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

This is an older title that I’d love to get to this year.

Dark/Hard-Hitting Contemporary Fiction –
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Ordered this one from Books and Crannies!

Horror – 
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

I love reading Horror in the summer — it’s a throwback to my youth when V.C. Andrews and the I Know What You Did Last Summer books reigned supreme.

Young Adult Romance – 
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

A little fluff in the summer never hurt anybody.

Historical Fiction –
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

I loved this author’s book Alice I Have Been so when I spotted another of her titles at a thrift store I had to pick it up.

NONFICTION PICKS

Memoir –
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

I love reading memoir no matter the season and this one has been getting so much buzz.

Political Nonfiction –
Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

This book was recently recommended to me and looks extremely powerful.

Mountaineering Nonfiction –
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

Honestly my favorite nonfiction genre…so I had to include something from this category!

Historical Nonfiction –
A Magnificent Obsession by Helen Rappaport

…and rounding out my list with a dose of the British monarchy. Perfection!

Over to you! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And I’d love for you to share some of the books you plan on reading this summer in the comments below! 

P.S. Check out some of the books I own. 

Reading Books Picked by a Librarian! (4 mini book reviews)

While my local library is reopening it’s doors tomorrow, during it’s closure they kicked off a service that I was all too game to try. Grab bags! That’s right, you could roll up to the parking lot for drive-by pickup and be handed a librarian-curated assortment of books. While there were several selections I simply returned with out reading, these are the four I decided to tackle. (Truth be told, I’ve been buying books a LOT more regularly in quarantine so I was not hurting for things to read when I got my grab bag. Had I been practicing any sort of book buying restraint I probably would have read ALL my librarians picks!) Let’s see how that librarian did, shall we?!

The four books I chose to read were —
The Lido by Libby Page – a feel-good contemporary fiction set in London
Solo by Kwame Alexander – a young adult contemporary written in verse
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – an alternate history young adult fantasy
The Death of Mrs. Westaway – a mystery thriller with a creepy setting

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Synopsis: On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mini review: 

I love books (especially mystery-thrillers) where the setting almost becomes a character itself and Ware definitely creates that here. To meet her new “family” and work out the details of the inheritance Hal finds herself lodging at Trepassen, an aging English manor that holds many secrets. Much of the plot unfolds within it’s gothic, creepy walls.

Read if you like the movie: Knives Out, or any movie with a closed circle mystery

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Synopsis: The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo. Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mini review:

If you think The Hunger Games meets The Man in the High Castle sounds like something that’d be up your street, this book is for you. It certainly was for ME. I’m excited to see what happens in book 2 of this duology.

Read if you liked the movie: The Hunger Games, or any fantasy/sci-fi film featuring a dark game

Solo by Kwame Alexander

Synopsis: Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming—like many—that Blade will become just like his father. In reality, the only thing Blade has in common with Rutherford is the music that lives inside them. But not even the songs that flow through Blade’s soul are enough when he’s faced with two unimaginable realities: the threat of losing Chapel forever, and the revelation of a long-held family secret, one that leaves him questioning everything he thought was true. All that remains is a letter and a ticket to Ghana—both of which could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mini review:

This was a really fun and quick read! Because it is written in verse the pages fly by. Our main character Blade is the son of super famous rockstar Rutherford Morrison. Blade is 17 going on 18 and grappling with first love, family dynamics, confusion about what to do with his life — all under the watchful eye of the paparazzi. Then, he receives some news that has him embarking on a journey that will forever change his life.

Read if you liked the movie: Lion, or any movie with an important familial quest

The Lido by Libby Page

Synopsis: Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat. As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history—with the help of a charming photographer—she pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure.

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Mini review:

A really cute, feel-good book. The moral of the story is basically like “finding community and being around people to socialize and exercise is awesome for mental health” and now is just a weird time to be faced with that. My rating probably has more to do with being bummed about pools being closed this summer and less to do with the quality of the read.

Read if you liked the movie: A Man Called Ove, or any feel-good found family film

***

Overall, I’d say my librarian knocked it out of the park with these selections! While The Lido and The Death of Mrs. Westaway were books on my radar, I don’t think I would have picked them up myself without a little nudging. Wolf by Wolf I’d never even heard of and it earned a 5-star rating! It’s seriously such a well done dark games YA and I will shove it into the hands of anyone who enjoys that genre. And Solo was another I was happy to learn about and won’t soon forget. Nothing new here but it bears repeating — I LOVE LIBRARIES!

My next bookish post hitting the blog soon will be my SUMMER TBR. See you then! 

P.S. More library love. 

Mindfulness: Not just for monks and yogis!

We’re all wondering if quarantine will ever end, but until it does, we have some prime time to get to know ourselves.

When someone says mindfulness, what do you think of? Do you think of monks in a temple wearing robes in silence, or people sitting in full lotus position meditating for hours on end? It would be understandable if you did. 

However, mindfulness isn’t just for ancient religious practice, it’s also a secular therapeutic method designed to settle our thoughts and reduce everyday stress and anxiety so that we can better focus. Regardless of what you’re into, jogging, debating, or being a lifestyle blogger; mindfulness can help support you and improve your potential. Think of it this way – driving a car is much easier once you’ve had a few lessons. Before that it’s almost impossible. 

But on the road of life, the vehicle you’re driving is not a car – it’s yourself, and mindfulness is the way you learn how to skillfully read the signs of the road and perform tricky maneuvers. So how does it work? Your mindfulness practice can begin as you read this blog post. You’re reading the words and you’re thinking about what they mean. So you’re doing two things. Bringing awareness to these two things is mindfulness. You are aware of what you’re doing. 

Another way to practice is to bring awareness to your breath. You are slowly breathing in and out. The very fact of that is amazing, but your awareness of it? That’s mindfulness. 

Here are a few more ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life…

Walk in nature 

Take some time to visit  nature near where you live. Try out some mindful walking, that is, bring awareness to each step you take. Find a rhythm that suits you, then turn your awareness to other things. What sounds can you hear that you might have missed if you were lost in thought?  Impressions you encounter in a mindful state are more likely to resonate with you and others. 

Apply it to a craft 

If you already do a craft like knitting, model making, or paper folding then you probably use mindfulness all the time without realizing it. It’s that controlled awareness you bring to your subject. If you don’t do a craft then taking one up can be a great mindfulness practice. Not to mention, you can always feel satisfied with achieving an end product – something you have made yourself. But now you know that the process to achieving that final product is just as rewarding.

Use it in conversations 

Mindfulness is very effective in conversations with people, because mindfulness doesn’t only mean being mindful of yourself. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next, why not reflect on what has been said already – then respond. Bringing awareness to your conversations is a wonderful way to improve your interactions, and relationships, in a fun, creative way. 

When do YOU practice mindfulness? Do you find it difficult or rewarding?

P.S. Hobbies to try if you’re a creative soul.

10 Things To Do When You’re Stuck At Home: Summer Edition!

Last month, I presented you with 10 Things To Do When You’re Stuck At Home.

Today, I thought I’d share 10 more in case you, like me, plan on keeping it a bit more close to home this summer than you normally do. These are some activities for a SUMMER STAYCATION, if you will! Ready? Let’s go —

Make a playlist and have an outdoor dance party.

Half the fun of this activity is sitting down to curate a list of songs you KNOW will get you moving and grooving. The other half is actually heading outside, blasting your tunes as loud as you believe your neighbors will tolerate, and getting your groove on. Get the whole household involved! And if you’re a household of one, that’s ok too. (Note: This activity was totally inspired by this video. So feel free to just jam to this if you want to make your dance party more of a workout!)

Get creative with outdoor soakin’ and splashin’ options.

Public pools might be out of the picture for you this summer. If that’s the case, and you don’t live near any other bodies of water, you might have to get creative! Check out some inflatable pool options on Amazon, go the galvanized stock tank route, or just set up a sprinkler or two.

Pay up for a print subscription.

It’s so easy to stay glued to your devices when you’re home all the time. Why not spring for a print subscription of a newspaper or magazine to encourage yourself to read the news OFFLINE for a change? One of my favorite budget activities from summer’s past was when my friend Katie and I were living together, we would take a copy of the USA Today outside to our backyard to sit in the sun, leaf through the pages, and do the crossword puzzle.

Grab your camera (or smart phone) and have a photo shoot.

Scrolling through pictures of myself over the years, most of them were taken at some sort of an event. A wedding, meeting up with friends for a weekend, a party. With so many events cancelled over the last few months, it’s like there’s a weird gap in these tangible memory-keepers. So corral a housemate or friend and take turns acting as photographer as the other models.

Decorate your outdoor space.

Nothing will encourage you to spend as much time outside as possible as a beautiful outdoor space. Start by picking what space you want to spruce up and then create a mood board. (Here’s one I did for our balcony when we lived in Miami.) Then start sourcing materials and get to creating a wonderful space!

Continue supporting your favorite creators.

I don’t know about you but there have definitely been some choice creators (ie. authors, youtubers, instagrammers, etc) who have gotten me through the last few months. If they’ll continue seeing you through summer, consider finding some additional ways to support them! Share their content with others, buy their merch, post reviews for their books on Amazon…etc, etc. If you’ve been consuming a lot of their free content, do they have any paid options you would also enjoy?

Create a piece of artwork to hang on your walls.

You know that ICONIC post on @BritneySpears where Britney’s painting in her yard with her two kids and they all have little canvases on little easels? THAT COULD BE YOU! Or, you know, you could save arts & crafts as a rainy day activity to do indoors. You do you. I’m just saying…creating visual art of any kind is going to be a fun endeavor for your summer.

Watch Saturday morning cartoons with your favorite childhood breakfast.

This could even become a weekly occurrence! And it doesn’t have to happen on Saturday mornings either. If you want to watch cartoons every Thursday at 4:30 pm with a bowl of nostalgia and milk, be my guest. Maybe you even change into your pj’s. Maybe you squeeze some oranges into juice or bring all your blankets out to the couch and make a fort. Maybe you swap out cartoons for middle grade fiction or prefer childhood lunch foods to breakfast. It’s your life!

Do a book swap with a friend.

Are you a bookworm with a ton of books on your shelves? Do you have a friend in the same boat? Spend some time on the phone with them getting a sense of their favorite reads, how many books you want to swap with each other, and then head to your shelves for books you’d like to pass along to them that you think would be in their wheelhouse. Drop your selections off on their porch with a note on why you made your picks!

Pick an actor and binge your way through their filmography.

Some fun ones to try —
Lupita Nyong’o
Reese Witherspoon
Jim Carrey
Julianne Moore
Dev Patel
Anne Hathaway
Gael Garcia Bernal
Denzel Washington

Have you done any of these things yet? What other ideas would you add for folks who are planning on keeping it a bit closer to home than usual this summer? xoxo

Need a Pick-Me-Up? Gift Ideas to Treat Yourself

*This post may contain affiliate links.

We all get down sometimes, and one of the things that I find helps is to buy yourself a little pick-me-up. Everyone loves to receive gifts, who cares if the gift is from yourself!? At least you know what you like, and it’s going to be exactly what you wanted! In this post, I’m going to be looking at some of the awesome gifts that you can buy for yourself if you’re feeling down. So, if you want to know more, keep reading down below.

Something For Your Skin

The first thing that I am going to suggest is something for your skin. Whether this is some face wipes, toner or moisturizer, it doesn’t matter. Just think about something that you don’t have right now that would be a nice treat for your skin, and head to the store to buy it. Or, if you can only purchase them online, get on the internet and put it in your cart straight away. It’s always nice to feel your face all soft and smooth or to look at yourself in the mirror and notice a change in how your skin looks.

Make sure that you read the ingredients and reviews before you make a purchase. This is just to ensure that you aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients and that people can vouch for the fact that it works the way it says it does. While all skin-types are unique, customer reviews of skincare products can still be your best friend.

Jewelry Always Works

Or, if you want something a little different, gift yourself some jewelry. This always works when it comes to cheering yourself up. Look at earrings, necklaces, bracelets, maybe even an opal belly ring! More ideas can be found over at Urban Body Jewelry if this is something that interests you. It’s always a great feeling to see something shiny and new on your body, even if nobody else can see it!

Choose something that you think is awesome, and it will cheer you up massively when it comes. You might even find that when you put it on for the first time, it gives you a confidence boost, and this will help you with the blues that you have been experiencing. 

Makeup!

Finally, makeup is always a great way to make yourself feel better if you’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps. Those beautiful colors have a way of bringing a smile to your face, as it gives you the opportunity to try out something new! Enjoying your time creating new looks in the mirror is as fun as it gets for someone who loves makeup. With makeup, it’s more than just the product, it’s creative expression! 

I hope that you have found this post helpful, and now have a few ideas about awesome gifts that you can buy yourself if you’re in need of a pick-me-up. Feel better soon! xoxo

Improve Your Sleep And Increase Your Energy

Are you getting enough sleep? According to research, one in three of us isn’t, and this is affecting our productivity and health — both mental and physical. 

Sleep is vital for our bodies. You see, during the day, our brains take on a lot of information, and when we sleep, our minds go to work storing this information. Our bodies are also busy growing muscle, repairing tissue, and regenerating cells. We basically go through a whole system refresh overnight.

That’s why having a healthy sleep routine is essential. Particularly in children who are learning a lot during the day and need more sleep than adults to retain all the information and refresh the energy and cells used by their bodies. It’s suggested that adults should get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night and that young children should sleep between 9 and 11 to support growth and learning. 

Regardless of your age, a consistent sleep routine means sticking to bedtimes and prioritizing your sleep health. If you miss a few nights of good sleep, it’s not as simple as having a long lie-in to catch up. The quality of our sleep changes depending on the hour of the day. 

Sleep also affects your immune system. If you regularly miss a quality night’s rest, you will find you are more susceptible to colds and flu. So skipping a few hours to stay up late and binge-watch your favorite series, could be making you sick! 

Tracking Sleep Quantity and Quality

There are lots of ways we can improve our sleep, but the first way is to have a regular and consistent routine. This helps our body to understand when it is rest time and when it is time to work. Getting into bed at 10 pm and waking up at 6 or 7 am is a steady routine which helps our body get the right type of sleep. Our sleep cycle is built into our bodies. It is affected by light, lifestyle and internal conditions, including our brain waves and our genetics. There are two states to the way we sleep. Rapid eye movement and non rapid eye-movement. During the night, our body will change between these states multiple times. Roughly every 90 minutes. Over the evening these cycles change, so the earlier you go to bed, the more time you will have in the REM periods and the lighter the NREM will be. To get the best night’s sleep, your body needs to run through these cycles up to five times a night. You also need to wake up when your rest is the lightest; this will help you feel more rested and productive throughout the day.

Your biology will affect how much sleep you need and how many cycles your body needs to go through. So it’s essential to make a diary of how you feel in the morning and use that information to work out the best time for your body to wake up. If your alarm goes off when you are in the REM stage of a cycle, then you might feel sluggish and unrested when you rise. 

What’s Affecting Your Sleep?

There are lots of things that can affect how we sleep. One factor that’s been getting a lot of press lately is electro-stress, which is emitted by the wireless electronic devices in our homes. The belief here is that while many homes have smart devices in the bedroom, this could be causing us to have poor quality sleep. Expert opinions on this vary. While some encourage cleanses such as Orgone energy to help reduce electro-stress, others recommend turning devices to airplane mode before bedtime. No matter where you fall, limiting screen time in the bedroom, especially around bedtime, is always a good idea. 

Why? Because light is an essential factor too. Our bodies are set to start winding down as the sun sets, then they spring back into life as the sun rises. Our evenings should reflect this cycle, so instead of staying up late and being stimulated by a bunch of screens, try taking an hour before you go to bed to be calm and relaxed. This could involve reading a book or taking a bath, supporting your body as it slowly prepares to have a quality rest. 

Increasing your daily exercise will also help you to slip into a deeper and more productive sleep, so it is vital to get outside and do something active. This doesn’t mean you need head to the gym every day; taking a simple walk is enough to keep our body’s sleep system happy. You should also be mindful of taking exercise too late at night as this can be counterintuitive to a good night’s sleep. In the evening, your body releases melatonin to help you prepare for the rest ahead, whereas exercise releases endorphins which give you more energy and awaken your senses. Try to take your exercise before 5 pm.

What we eat can affect our sleep too, so be mindful of eating fatty, sugary foods too late in the evening. Research suggests we should eat our last meal before 6 pm – although this isn’t always possible in the world we live in. If you do need to eat later, then try to make your dinner light and easy to digest so your body can work on other processes when you are asleep. Hydration is essential too. You should avoid alcohol, which acts as a stimulant. While we might feel sleepy after a glass of wine, the quality of our sleep is poor. This means you don’t have enough time to regenerate, process information from the day or feel refreshed. 

Our bodies need rest so that we can perform our best throughout the day, so take time to work on your sleep routine and see if you can feel the difference in the day. Our mental and physical health is so important, and we should do everything we can to give our bodies the best chance of regeneration.

So, put your feet up, relax and get to bed! 

P.S. Must haves for sleeping in the heat.