Seasonal Sadness: Creative Little Ways to Lift Your Spirits Big Time

Seasonal Sadness: Creative Little Ways to Lift Your Spirits Big Time

Seasonal Sadness: Creative Little Ways to Lift Your Spirits Big Time

Generally speaking, feelings of depression and sadness are increased during winter months. This ‘winter depression’ is commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s estimated a huge 1 in 3 people suffer from SAD every year accompanied with a variety of different symptoms. Some symptoms of this condition can be relatively minor such as feeling sluggish and tired. More severe symptoms like depression and sleeping problems can occur if spirits aren’t lifted.

Luckily, rectifying SAD can be achieved without a visit to the doctor and taking pills. There’s a huge amount of creative home-care methods to counteract SAD, lift spirits and improve overall mood. If you routinely suffer from SAD symptoms every time winter and darkness hits, here are some simple techniques you can start using right now to eliminate seasonal sadness for good!

Take vitamin D supplements

We get the vast majority of our vitamin D supply from the sun. But, during winter months, the sun is often extremely lacking. The sky is filled with grey darkness as opposed to the shining sun we all know and love. Depression is actually correlated with low levels of vitamin D in the body. What better way to counteract this than taking vitamin D supplements?

Available in most health stores, vitamin D supplements come in both solid pill and chewy form. So, if you’re not good with swallowing whole pills, you have the option of a gummy vitamin instead. It’s recommended to take at least 3000 international units of vitamin D a day to get a positive effect. Eating foods rich in vitamin D (fish, eggs, yogurt etc.) is a great way to kick-start this process too.

Try out a new hobby

One of the most common symptoms of SAD is feeling tired with no energy. So, even though the thought of taking up a new hobby might seem like too much effort, it’s important to push through this barrier and try something new.

Hobbies don’t have to need much physical input, and an activity such as coloring is a great place to start. Relaxing and therapeutic, you can color from the comfort of your own home without any kind of strenuous movement involved. The Coloring Book for Me & Mandala app offers an array of intricate designs to color that have been specifically crafted to relieve stress – perfect for beating those winter blues!

Surround yourself with positive people

One of the worst things you can do for SAD is to feed its negativity by hanging out with equally negative people. If you’re feeling particularly low and miserable, arrange to meet up with friends you know are naturally positive and happy to perk you up and improve your mood.

Whilst experiencing dips in mood during winter months is extremely common, this doesn’t mean you have to put up with it! If you’re consistently feeling depressed and lethargic during this time, make the simple life changes mentioned above and you’re almost guaranteed to see positive results.

Are you affected by SAD? How do you cheer yourself up?



Could Metaphysical Elements Help Harmonize Your Life?

Could Metaphysical Elements Help Harmonize Your Life?

On holiday recently, I’ve been doing all sorts of reading. One thing I’ve been reading up about crystals and gemstones and healing stones. I’m wondering more and more if metaphysical elements help harmonize your life and surroundings. I’m not quite a convert yet, but I did find it interesting.

Could Metaphysical Elements Help Harmonize Your Life?

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy which is answerable for existence. It includes everything which exists, plus the nature of existence itself. It states whether the world is real, or just an illusion. It is a fundamental view of the world around us. Metaphysical elements like crystals, semi-precious gemstones and healing stones originate from one integrated source that is Earth. Gemstones and crystals have a history of use in  ornamentation. They have been attributed metaphysical and spiritual properties. They come from exotic locales and are even related to  psychic science.

Geometrical form, subtle vibration and colour affect the energy field of various gemstones. Each stone is composed of tiny crystals that are in constant motion that release an energy signature or frequency. The colour of a gemstone plays a role in the stone’s healing energy. The light and colour can motivate or calm, purify or heal. There has always existed a magical and symbiotic relation between human beings and gems.


The supposed meaning, healing properties and spiritual significance

The metaphysical and spiritual value of these gemstones depends on dyed stones and their existence. Gemstones and crystals are an essential part of human life, signifying wealth and power. Their metaphysical meaning, healing properties, and spiritual significance are:

  • Some gemstones are excellent for both physical and spiritual healing, and can be used for any chakras.  Actinolite is utilized for maintaining the energies of the heart, and produces soothing energies and awareness.
  • Agate is regarded as a protective stone. It attracts strength and provides protection from stress, draining of energy and bad dreams.
  • Amethyst soothes the emotions, motivates clarity of thought, and helps in getting wisdom. It brings serenity and clarity. It has been considered as an aid to soberness and is helpful in giving up alcohol, and other dependencies.
  • The healing properties of black stone is associated with its darkness or blackness.
  • Azurite helps clean the mind in meditation. It awakens intuitions, insights and psychic ability.
  • Apache tears  remove hurdles and hindrances that hold you back. It makes you strong enough to forgive someone and assists in the grieving process.
  • Amazonite helps to balance energy and maintains harmony in relationships.
  • Calcite is a great energy amplifier and an excellent gemstone for cleansing and clearing.
  • Citrine helps to turn negativity into positivity. You feel joy and optimism after using it.
  • Diamond is regarded as the stone of inspiration and perfection.

You can find out more about the gemstones and their healing and spiritual properties through various online and offline sources. Here is a Youtube video describing the same.

Do you believe in the healing and energizing properties of stones and crystals?


Image of healing stones via Shutterstock

Your Cholesterol Matters

Your Cholesterol Matters

Your Cholesterol Matters

What Your Numbers Mean and How You Can Improve Them
by: Richard Furman MD, FACS

Your Cholesterol Matters
Book Description

85 percent of people over the age of 50 have significant artery blockage without any symptoms.

Two-thirds of the time, the initial symptom is a full-blown heart attack.

Doctors routinely tell patients to watch their diet, get regular exercise, and lose weight. They also increasingly prescribe “cholesterol lowering” drugs that patients will take every day for the rest of their lives. The pill makes us feel like we’re doing something, so we slack off in our goals for a healthier lifestyle. To make matters worse, the pill solves only a portion of the problem, giving us a false sense of security.

Dr. Richard Furman wants you to know that you don’t have to pin your health hopes on expensive medications that only address a small part of the cholesterol puzzle (and often have negative health-impacting side effects). In this practical guide to better health, he offers specific strategies to

· lower your levels of “lethal” LDL cholesterol
· raise your levels of “hero” HDL cholesterol
· develop new habits that make healthy living easy and natural
· adjust your lifestyle in order to stay off of expensive medications
· and more

Your aging process depends on the health of your arteries.

About the author

Richard Furman

Richard Furman, MD, FACS, spent over thirty years as a vascular surgeon. The author of Prescription for Life, Furman is past president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, past president of the North Carolina Surgical Society, and a two-term governor of the American College of Surgeons. He is cofounder of World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse, and is a member of the board of Samaritan’s Purse. He lives in North Carolina.

You can listen to a podcast sharing Dr Furman’s postion

Summary of podcast

Dr. Furman explains that our total cholesterol is made up of LDL, bad cholesterol, and HDL, good cholesterol. If we’re not doing something about the high levels of LDL in our blood, this will negatively impact our arteries and our overall quality of life. This is because LDL acts as tiny splinters that get into the walls of arteries. On the other hand, HDL acts as a small police car that travels through arteries and plucks out and disposes of the LDL. Ideally, one would have a total cholesterol below 200, with LDL being below 100 and HDL being above 50.

If you’re trying to reach ideal cholesterol numbers, you should first try to reduce LDL through eating healthy. Medical literature has shown that there are bad fats that cause damage to arteries through LDL found in red meats, dairy, and fried foods. Studies show that if you cut out bad fats, but substitute sugar for those bad fats, that also hurts your arteries. Instead, you must substitute bad fats with good fats, such as fish, nuts, and olive oil.

In addition to reducing LDL, you can also increase HDL levels. This is achieved through losing weight if you are overweight and exercising regularly. These activities, when combined with eating an appropriate diet, will help to bring your cholesterol numbers into the ideal range.

The more you know about managing your cholesterol, the easier it is to adopt the lifestyle that will add years and quality to your life.

My review

When a book written by a professional speaks in layman’s terms, I love it. This was a very easy book to read and one that I’m glad I picked up at the beginning of the year. It helps me keep my (sometimes) very unevenly balanced priorities in place.

The action steps at the end of chapters (example below) were simple and easy to follow.

Action Steps
1. Recruit an accountability partner or organize a support group to help you develop a plan. Determine how often
you will communicate about your progress. Develop your goals together.
2. Buy two or three types of fat-free salad dressing to replace your current dressings at home.
3. Eat nothing fried for the next week.

I know that there are different schools of thought with regard to what fats are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and I’ll soon share another book that somewhat contradicts this one. However, like I said, I got a lot of out this book.

I got a copy of the book for review from the publisher via NetGalley

7 Simple Everyday Habits for a Healthier Life

7 Simple Everyday Habits for a Healthier Life

It seems harder to find time to be work on our health nowadays. What with the busy lifestyle we all lead. We need to keep up with the times or else we’ll be left out. Sometimes we so busy crossing things off that infernal bucket list, that we forget to take care of ourselves. That’s why it’s wise to follow simple everyday habits for a healthier life.

You don’t have to get a gym membership or hire a nutritionist to help you be at your best shape. You only need to make small changes in your habits and be aware of what’s good for you and what’s not.

Simple Everyday Habits for a Healthier Life

#1 Rest

Sometimes it’s impossible to get the ideal 8-hour sleep our bodies need to recharge. Have you heard of how Leonardo da Vinci managed his sleeping hours?

Da Vinci slept for 15 minutes in every four hours. As a result, da Vinci generally limited how much he slept to just one and half hours a day. Da Vinci is said to have used this method for many years of his life, without ever feeling tired. (Source: Bustle)

We may not be Da Vinci but we can still set a fixed time to get rest. Maybe get a 15-minute power nap after an hour or so of working. And get to bed early anytime we can.

#2 Move around

A short walk every day, using the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or deliberately getting up and moving around at any chance you can makes a lot of difference. Get on the treadmill while catching up on your favourite show. Touch your toes a few times to stretch your body, walk your dog a few minutes a day. The options are endless to get your body working. Get your heart pumping, your blood circulating and your mind working by moving around.

#3 Meditate

Before you touch your phone in the morning, meditate. Pray, reflect or just “be”. Allow your spirit to be still before taking the plunge so to speak. Before you get in the day, let your mind be focused and remember what matters most. Think about your goals—both short term and long term, and imagine yourself achieving it. Listen to a relaxing or motivating music. It all starts in the mind so better take care of your mind first thing first.

#4 Disconnect

Another quite impossible, but simple everyday habit for a healthier life you need to develop is to disconnect. Turn off your phone before going to bed. Get at least one day in a week when you can turn off your laptop and TV and go out. Or stay at home and read a book. Social media detox works wonders in your health. Disconnect for a healthier life.

#5 Clean up

You can’t be healthy if you’re surrounded by a mess. Pick after yourself so you will not have a hard time cleaning up. Throw your trash properly. Sanitize. Change your bedding regularly. Wear clean clothes. The pile of laundry you see lying around creating a mess has to be washed. If you feel too lazy to do so, you can always try services. Visit to see how simple it is.

7 Simple Everyday Habits for a Healthier Life

The same goes for the dishes, cooking, and the garden. It will keep nagging you till you do it, so why not just finish it off already? Simple habits that will have a huge impact on  your health.

#6 Visit your doctor

Make an appointment to see a physician at least once or twice a year. Have a thorough physical exam to find out what your body needs. Also visit your dentist. Oral health is an essential yet often overlooked part of physical health.

#7 Eat healthy

Food of course is an integral part of our health. You can exercise or meditate and rest all you want but if you don’t nourish your body with healthy food, you will still be sickly. You don’t need to pay for an expensive planned meal to be delivered at your doorstep. Just remember the important food groups and get your dose of nutrition in every meal. Stay away from the junk and munch on fruits and vegetables instead. Eat in moderation and eat right.

As the old adage goes, “Health is wealth.” You can’t enjoy life if your health suffers. You don’t need to invest a huge amount of money to be healthy. You don’t even need a major change in your lifestyle. Small steps and simple everyday habits for a healthier life is all you need.


Image of clean laundry via Shutterstock


5 Ways Weather Can Affect Your Mood

5 Ways Weather Can Affect Your Mood

The weather can play a major part in your day, including helping improve or worsen your mood. If you recognize the factors, however, you can prepare yourself to enjoy the good and deal with the bad. Here are 5 ways weather can affect your mood.

5 Ways Weather Can Affect Your Mood

Winter Blues

Whether it is the lack of daylight, or the generally overcast climate, winter tends to make a lot of people feel down. This is caused by the increased production of melatonin, which is a hormone that makes you feel tired. October through April are the months that one is most likely to experience these effects. If you are feeling blue during the winter months, consider checking your local radar weather app for a sunnier day and getting a bit more sunlight when it is available or simply put your house lights on a timer to trick your body into thinking it is waking up with the sunrise.

Beach Perfect Weather

Just as bad weather can ruin your mood, great weather can make your day. It can be beach weather, or just the perfect temperature for you to go outdoors. You will not want to take days like these for granted. You should get at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight per day (without sunscreen). Vitamin D is an important because it helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Your weather app can give you a heads up a few days in advance so that you can make plans to enjoy the weather.

Ruined Plans

 An indirect result of abrupt weather changes, ruined plans, can quickly destroy your day. Nobody enjoys looking forward to something only for it to be cancelled. Disappointment doesn’t make anybody feel good! A quick look at your weather radar before you set out will let you know that an abrupt change is headed toward you and can help you prepare.


 Bad weather is bound to make traffic, and your mood, worse. While both traffic and the weather are a part of life, finding a good radio station, with a quick look at your weather radar, will warn you of any incoming bad weather and traffic in your location, and along your route. This will help you better prepare for delays.

Something Special

Occasionally, the weather can help give to an amazing moment. It can be a romantic kiss in the rain after a date, or snow on Christmas morning. While the surprise is part of the magic, having a heads up can help you make the moment more special for you and your loved ones.

The weather can have a variety of effects on your mood. Ultimately, however, your mood is your decision. So no matter what the seasons bring, you can still enjoy your day by bringing your own sunshine.


Image credit : Smiling girl with umbrella via Shutterstock

Money Saving Tips For Vegetarian Newbies

Money Saving Tips For Vegetarian Newbies

In an era of increased awareness about obesity and heart disease, more  people are scrambling to transform themselves in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

As it may come as no surprise, many are hopping on the vegetarian bandwagon as means of trimming down and cutting out poor eating habits. For starters, the benefits of a vegetarian diet include:

  • Longer life expectancy (an additional 9.5 years for men and 6.1 years for women)
  • Lower body weight and decreased risk of heart disease
  • Common cosmetic benefits include clearer skin: likewise, many vegetarians report high energy levels and less sluggishness when adopting a plant-based diet

The elephant in the room for those looking to adopt a vegetarian diet remains: buying “healthy” food is so expensive, isn’t it?

Not necessarily.

Money Saving Tips For Vegetarian Newbies

Savvy shoppers who understand what they’re looking for can maintain a vegetarian diet on the cheap, despite popular belief. Keep the following tips in your back pocket whether you’re considering vegetarianism or are trying to clean up your diet without breaking the bank.

Money Saving Tips For Vegetarian Newbies

Start Shopping Online

Some staples of a vegetarian diet are best purchased online on the cheap including any combination of the following:

  • Dried fruits such as pineapple, dates or raisins, which represent nutritious, high-energy snack options
  • Rice, beans and pasta which can be cooked in bulk and represent the central ingredient of many vegetarian dishes
  • Protein powders, including plant-based or soy protein, to ensure that you’re meeting your protein needs while eliminating meat from your diet

Saving with online shopping may seem like a no-brainer: however, you can take your savings a step further by taking advantage of deals and coupons. For example, BigBasket coupons provide flat-rate discounts on your entire grocery orders online: deals are out there if you’re willing to look for them.

Don’t Be Sucked in by Marketing

Many big box brands advertise “organic” or “vegetarian” products in order to suck naive buyers in: however, don’t give in to the hype. Such items are often overpriced and are little more than marketing snake oil. Unless a food is certified organic, the term itself doesn’t mean much of anything to a vegetarian.

Likewise, you can simply stick to fresh or limited-ingredient options if you’re worried about additives and chemicals in your diet.

Cook Yourself

Pre-packaged vegetarian meals may be tempting, but they’re often costly and may contain unnecessary preservatives. Instead, you should learn to cook for yourself, and perhaps cook in bulk, as means of ensuring the food you eat is clean and prepared properly. Start with simple rice and pasta dishes and move up from there: you need little more than some sauces and seasonings to get started.

Forget the Specialty Stores

While it may be tempting to shop at stores  that keep purely organic products, such stores are pricey and many of their items can actually be found at big box stores. Likewise, you can find many specialty items online for a fraction of the price.

Saving on groceries as a vegetarian doesn’t have to be complicated. By focusing on deals and understanding how to avoid the buzz around specialty stores and products, you can enjoy a clean diet on a tight budget.


Image of fresh vegetables via Shutterstock