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Posts tagged ‘summer’

5 Ways to Take a Mental Vacation

5 Ways to Take a Mental Vacation

 

Now that summer has officially started, you are probably thinking about, or even planning, a summer vacation. If you don’t have the time to take a real vacation, you might find yourself getting more stressed and sad that you can’t take one.   However, the longer days of summer sunlight and the warmer weather mean that you can still take time to relax and unwind without going on a “real” vacation. Here are some ways to clear your mind by taking a “mental” vacation without having to wander too far from home.

Go for a walk or a hike. As I have written here many times, one of the ways I clear my mind is by walking. Walking is not only good for me physically, but I find that it reduces the stress and any sadness I might be feeling. It gets your endorphins going, and by being out in nature you get to focus on the beauty around you. Without even realizing it, you have refocused and gotten your mind off of the things bothering you. This is especially true if you walk in a new or different place, it feels like you have actually gotten away.

Have a music marathon. When I was away at college, our library had soundproof rooms that you could reserve and LP’s and cassettes you could check out. Whenever I was feeling stressed out, or studying for mid-terms or finals, I would go there, pick whatever music matched my mood, or the mood I was hoping to get in and I would spend hours just listening to music. I could listen completely undisturbed and just focus on the music. While my life is much too busy now to do this, incorporating music into my life whenever I can provides me with mini mental breaks. While in the car I listen to my iPod or satellite radio, whenever I am in the house I put music on instead of TV. Singing along is an added stress reducer. And, whenever possible, I just go in a room by myself or even sit or lie outside under a shady tree and listen to music.

Host a comedy movie festival. That old saying, “laughter is the best medicine” really is true. There’s nothing like a great, big belly laugh to make you feel better and forget all of your troubles. Get your friends together and plan a night of it. Have them choose some of their favorites and make sure that everybody turns off or puts away their cell phones and tablets and just focuses on the movie.

Plan a game night or day. Getting in touch with your inner child will clear out all of the negative thoughts and get rid of the stress you are feeling. Try to schedule monthly game nights or game days and play some of your favorite board games, card games or word games. If you want to plan something a little more ambitious, arrange a play “date” with your friends and family and go miniature golfing, bowling, or to a local amusement park.

Unplug with nature. Take the time to connect with nature and unplug. Sit in your garden or go to a garden, go star gazing on a warm summer evening. If you live near the beach or a lake, go and listen and watch the waves as they hit the shore. Just observe the sights and sounds of summer and you will feel like you had a vacation.

By Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

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Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler
Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author
 

5 Fruits and Veggies for Fresh Summer Skin

5 Fruits and Veggies for Fresh Summer Skin

With the summer sun shining you might be tempted to tanning in order to give your skin a glow. However, it’s no secret that sun exposure increases your risk for skin cancer. That’s why we want to recommend a safer way to give your complexion a healthy glow this season.

We know that water flushes toxins from the skin cells to give that glowing complexion we all yearn for. In addition to water, there are many fruits and vegetables you can eat to achieve that look, too.

We spoke with Dr. Brooke Jackson, a board certified dermatologist and founder of The Skin Wellness Center of Chicago, who says fresh fruits and vegetables found at farmers markets not only taste delicious, but are ideal for improving your skin’s condition and overall appearance.

Making these five fruits and vegetables part of your daily routine can improve your complexion, but also be a simple way to control your diet, meet daily requirements for fruits and vegetables, and keep a beauty regimen budget under control.

Berries: Blueberries, black currants, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries help the body produce collagen, responsible for giving skin that supple and smooth look. “Berries, especially blueberries, are loaded with antioxidant compounds that are very effective in neutralizing damaging free radicals,” said Jackson. “Free radicals are generated in the skin by excessive UV exposure and lead to skin cell damage, premature skin aging.”

Try this: Raw Blueberry Cream Pie

Carrots: It’s no secret that carrots improve vision, but less known is that carrots can prevent dry skin. They contain beta-carotene, which the body uses to produce vitamin A, which moisturizes the skin. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant removes free radicals, such as those produced by too much sun exposure, which can lead to premature aging. Vitamin C also aids in skin collagen formation, which declines as we get older.

Try this: Curried Baby Carrots

Sweet Potatoes: A favorite at Thanksgiving dinners, sweet potatoes should be enjoyed throughout the year. Sweet potatoes provide vitamin E, which the body uses to regenerate and maximize the effectiveness of vitamin C, very effective antioxidants for skin protection.

Mangoes: Per the National Mango Board, this tropical fruit contains more than 20 varieties of vitamins and minerals. Mangoes have a fruit acid enzyme profile and contain Beta-C and vitamin A derivatives that activate cell regeneration.

Try this: Mango Banana Soup with Cardamom

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are one of the only food sources for vitamin D, contain antioxidants, and have anti-inflammatory properties. All of this helps the skin remain strong and youthful, as inflammation plays a role in aging and may increase risk for some skin cancers.

Try this: Spring Greens-Stuffed Mushrooms

By Maris Callahan for DietsInReview.com

(Leesa recommends buying local and organic food whenever possible! )

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