The Changing Definition of “Dad”

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As our culture evolves, so do our roles as parents, teachers, partners, and members of society. In the midst of this gradual evolution, the role of the father has been changing and shifting significantly. As contemporary fathers fit into a new and ever-changing mold of societal expectations, they are beginning to enjoy much more involvement in rearing their children, and in helping to find child care solutions for their family.

A Shift in Traditions

Historically, fathers have been viewed as the breadwinners and the problem-solvers of the household. They can fix broken toys, change lightbulbs, build sandboxes, and even confront that bully down the block. They also ensure that their brood is well-supported and financially provided for.

The fathers of today are in a very different cultural environment than their fathers or grandfathers. They are having children much later in life. Traditional gender norms are less concrete than they once were, and often both parents often must be active in the workforce to make ends meet. This means that traditional responsibilities are shared, and fathers find themselves more involved in child-rearing, due to both desire and necessity.

More fathers today are changing diapers, cleaning up juice spills, reading bedtime stories, and taking their kids  to the playground. According to the Boston College Center for Work and Family, in 2011 more than two thirds of fathers believed that they were providing for their families financially, emotionally, and physically equally — and less than 5% of fathers felt their role was solely that of the financial provider. The 21st-century dad is hands-on with his kids, nurturing and guiding them just as much as mothers do.

A Shift in Child Care Perceptions

The tides are also turning when it comes to primary breadwinners, as we see women beginning to swiftly catch up with men. Many parents find that as they both work outside of the home, they need help raising their children, and are turning to full-time nannies and caregivers for help. Where often the task of finding a trusted nanny and making sure they have everything they need has fallen on the mother, many fathers now want to be very involved in finding the right caregiver for their family, and providing well for their caregivers. After all, finding child care is a huge decision as a parent — you are choosing the person who will essentially become a partner in raising your child.

These days, dads are playing a part in everything from interviewing potential nannies to laying down the guidelines and schedules for their home caregiver. With more fathers involved in caring for their kids at home, 21st-century dads are just as likely as moms to be the ones that show the new nanny the ropes, answer calls or texts if the kids get sick, and discuss the terms of employment with their caregivers. As the perceptions of fatherhood shift in our society, we find that more fathers want to be in the loop in all aspects of their child’s care.

The Makings of a True Partnership

The expectations set upon fathers are changing, and the expectation on fathers to be highly involved in the rearing of their children is increasing. In order for the definition of “dad” to be one of an equal partner in the act of child-care, fathers must be active participants from day one. This early bonding sets the stage for a positive relationship in later years, and helps the family build a strong and equal foundation for child-rearing.

Many outdated perceptions continue to plague the conversation about the father’s role in child-rearing and finding care for their children. General media portrayal of fathers are often outdated, and many employers make inaccurate assumptions about a father’s desire to take part in care-giving. Although the cultural perceptions are shifting, we still see unrealistic work/home expectations set for dads, and an inequality in the number of work-family programs targeted towards both genders.

With strong desire, motivation, and support, fathers can be involved (and knowledgeable) in everything from buying baby formula to finding the right nanny and nurturing the parent-caregiver relationship. Obstacles are a natural part of any significant shift in societal perceptions — but fathers shouldn’t let outdated expectations or views affect how they care for their families, because the 21st century dad is well on his way to being accepted as an equal partner in caring for his family beyond the role of the breadwinner.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via thumb9.shutterstock.com

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Cardio Workouts At Home

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Should you work out inside or outside? At the gym or at home? People debate over which is better for exercise, and usually say that exercising outdoors will help you lose weight faster, but the truth is, it doesn’t really matter where you work out. The key is to find a routine that works for you and stick with it – whether at the gym, outdoors or at home. However, exercising at home is the cheapest and most convenient way to get in shape. You don’t need to find a babysitter, you can’t use bad weather as an excuse, and you can wear your 80’s workout gear that you secretly still like without being stared at.

One common mistake people make when they exercise at home is to think that they can’t do cardio workouts at home without buying a treadmill or elliptical trainer. However, there are many other ways to get a good cardio workout indoors. Here are a few suggestions you can follow to burn calories at home:

1. Aerobics DVDs are Good Options for Cardio Workouts at Home

kickboxing

via Pinterest

Aerobics will give you a good cardio workout at home and keep your heart rate up. Look for videos that also give warm-up and cool-down exercises and at least 30 minutes of cardio. If you are just beginning to get in shape, be careful not to overdo it with these videos right away. It can be easy to become discouraged in the beginning, so start small and work your way up.

  • Walk Away The Pounds by Leslie Sansone is a good place to start. This DVD has gotten some great reviews from users and will build your endurance.
  • Jillian Michaels has a few DVDs out that are great for cardio workouts at home. You can also find some of her workouts on youtube, but it’s probably best to buy at least one DVD so you always have it.
  • Billy Blanks has a few kickboxing workouts that will definitely test your endurance! These workouts are more intense, so make sure you already have a couple of weeks under your belt before trying any of his DVDs.

As with any type of exercise, it is recommended that you don’t do these videos every day. Try them 2 to 3 times per week, and use another workout on the in between days.

2. Go Back to Junior High

burpees

via Pinterest

Remember burpees, jumping jacks, and marching in place? These are all exercises elementary and junior high students were forced to do in gym class. They are great options for cardio at home, and will help your body burn fat. Try this cardio combo to start with:

  1. March 1 minute (to warm up)
  2. 10 Jumping jacks
  3. March 30 seconds
  4. 5 Burpees
  5. March 15 seconds
  6. Junp Rope 1 minute
  7. March 20 seconds
  8. 10 push-ups
  9. 20 Jumping Jacks
  10. March 15 seconds
  11. Jump Rope 2 minutes
  12. 7 Burpees
  13. March 2 minutes (cool down)
  14. Stretch your limbs!

Do this routine in between other cardio or strength training days, and don’t forget to stretch afterwards, or you will regret it the next morning.

3. Dance Your Way to Better Health

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via Pinterest

Dancing is a great way to get a cardio workout at home, and it’s the most fun way to get into better shape. Choose some upbeat music that inspires you to move, create a playlist so you won’t have to stop dancing in between songs, close the curtains and get dancing! Although dancing is fun, remember that you are also doing it to get a cardio workout, so make sure you get your heart rate up and break a sweat. If you are just beginning to exercise, start with 3 songs, and work your way up to an hour after you’ve built up more endurance.

4. Your Stairs are a Great Source of Cardio

stairs

via Pinterest

Many gyms have step classes and provide members with different sizes of “steps” to exercise with, but you can get a great step workout at home for free. For safety reasons, stay on the first 1 to 3 bottom stairs in your home, and always wear running shoes. Put on some cardio music and make sure you workout both legs equally as you step up and down those bottom steps. Once you work your way up, you can try taking 2 steps at a time during your step workout to make it a little harder. Just remember to be careful as you do this.

5. If You Have Equipment, Use it

Happy Caucasian woman on elliptical trainer at gym

via Pinterest

Many people own either a treadmill or an elliptical, but most of these are buried somewhere in the basement. If you do own one of these, it would be well worth your while to use it a few times per week if you want to workout at home. The best way to increase incentive to use a treadmill or elliptical at home is to make your exercise space more inviting. Put a TV in front of your machine and you can set goals according to the length of your favorite shows. The distraction of TV will help you to work out harder and longer than you normally would. Keep the room clean and clutter free as well so you will want to spend time in that area.

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Paleo Diet

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Paleo Diet

There are many diets out there that promise short term weight loss and enforce the idea of detoxing the body. However, dieting is not all about losing the pounds; It’s about creating an ongoing healthy eating habit that will benefit and prolong a better and healthier lifestyle.

Paleo diets are a good way to incorporate healthy, natural foods into daily life and promote steady and ongoing weight loss together with a regular exercise regime. Find out why taking up a Paleo diet will help you reap the benefits of weight loss and general overall health.

What is a Paleo diet?

A Paleo diet, also referred to as the Caveman Diet, is based on the types of ingredients that early humans would have consumed. It’s promoting the notion of eating a ‘clean’ diet that is free of toxic foods that harm our body. In this day and age, food consumption rates have hit a major high and most of these foods contain trans fats, sugar and added preservatives that contribute towards diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Paleo diets are based on well-sourced, healthy ingredients that avoid the unnecessary toxic foods that our bodies can’t process effectively or efficiently. Ingredients such as lean proteins that promote muscle strength, strong bones and a good immune system as well as satisfying the body for longer periods between meals are a big part of the Paleo diet.

Fruits and vegetables, that we know contain the nutrients, antioxidants and other health benefits that contribute to a healthy functioning body, make up a big portion of this type of diet. Healthy fats are also essential and are found in nuts, seeds, fish, lean meats, fruit such as avocados and healthy oils like olive and grapeseed oil. All these combine to form a healthy diet that promotes a happy and well-fueled body.

Print

What exactly are the health benefits of a Paleo diet?

I mentioned earlier that trans fats and sugar, in particular, contribute to diseases that are becoming the biggest killers today. There are so many health benefits from partaking in a Paleo diet and here is a brief run-down of just a few.

  • Reverses Diabetes: Studies have found that a long-term Paleo diet can actually reverse the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. Cutting out all processed foods that contain sugar may eliminate possible development of diabetes.
  • Lowers Chances of Cardiovascular Diseases: One of today’s biggest killers, cardiovascular disease sees big increases in heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and the symptoms that can stop people from being able to live their lives. Lowering our intake of processed foods containing trans fats lowers the risk of heart disease.
  • Promotes a Healthy Immune System: The best part of a Paleo diet is that it provides you with the most nutrient dense food options. Foods rich in vitamin A, D, C and zinc all go towards an efficient immune system, resulting in a lessened susceptibility to illness.

Is the Paleo diet effective for weight loss?

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In a word: yes. As part of an overall healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, a Paleo diet provides great results for weight loss. It promotes optimum health in terms of the strength of muscles and bones which in turn will provide the energy the body needs to lose weight effectively and in an extremely healthy way.

A particular scientific study was carried out over the course of two years and compared the effects of a Paleo diet to a standard low-fat diet on obese menopausal women. The results found that the group on the Paleo diet lost 6.5kg after 6 months while the low-fat diet resulted in a 2.6kg weight loss. After a year, the Paleo dieters lost a total of 8.7kg and the low-fat diets lost 4.4kg altogether – almost half the amount. Of course, these results don’t have to be limited to obese menopausal women; they can be applied to many different people across the board.

Here is why the Paleo diet is beneficial for long-term weight loss:

More efficient workouts

A Paleo diet supplies energy-efficient nutrients and is heavily based on lean meats. This means more lean muscle development which is essential for successful workouts and therefore allows you to burn off fat a lot more effectively. Not only are you lowering your intake of bad fats with the diet, you are promoting the capacity of your body to obtain maximum results when you exercise.

Stabilised blood sugar

Since you are cutting out large amounts of refined sugars, your blood sugar levels won’t experience the onslaught of spikes and crashes that contribute to fatigue and moodiness. A more stabilised blood sugar level will promote healthier eating through less snacking and allow you to carry out exercise routines with needed energy.

Balanced energy throughout the day

The high-protein element of the Paleo diet gets your body feeling full on a more regular basis. This obviously lessens the need to eat snacks which can lead to weight gain.

Reduced bloat

Being on a Paleo diet means the avoidance of wheat and gluten. There is some evidence that says gluten is problematic for the digestive system and for weight gain with gluten sometimes being the cause of larger midsections and bellies. These can also result in the feeling of bloating and give the unnecessary appearance of being bigger than we are.

Less saturated and trans fat

As you are consuming less foods that contain trans and saturated fats that lead to weight gain, you will inevitably end up losing excess weight when you switch to a Paleo diet.

Are there any cautions to consider when adopting a Paleo diet?

There has been a lot of negative talk and misinformation about the transitioning process to a Paleo diet but you can suffer initial symptoms when changing the foods you eat. Your body can go through a detox phase where the toxins stored in your body will get released and to be replaced by nutrients.

Temporary digestive problems – you may experience stomach upsets such as diarrhea and constipation or bloating and gas to begin with. This is simply because your body is adapting to the introduction of a high amount of vegetables. This is totally normal and will likely only last a few days. Try to cook vegetables to begin with as it helps break down the fibers and is easier on your digestive system.

Feeling weak and dizzy – the sudden reduction in carbohydrates may cause you to feel weak and a bit dizzy. Try to counteract this by eating a bit more food throughout the day as this will help keep your energy levels up while your body is adapting to the change.

Rashes – although quite uncommon some people do complain of developing rashes because they are suddenly adding a lot of one product to their diet. Be aware and monitor any prolonged rashes that turn up as it could indicate an intolerance or allergy to something you haven’t really had high amounts of in the past.

Overall, while the symptoms mentioned can be normal, always discuss such matters with your doctor to be certain and consider discussing your intentions with them if you are planning to start a Paleo diet.

You have to take into account that no diet is a ‘size fits all’. In other words this won’t always work or agree with everyone so trial it first to see if it’ll be a good fit for you. This article also outlines in further detail some of the potential pros and cons of the Paleo diet.

Good Paleo Recipes For Beginners

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If you’ve decided to give the Paleo diet a go and are not quite sure where to start, then here are 10 simple and delicious recipes that will ease you into it.

1. Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Chicken Bake

2. Honey and Garlic Salmon

3. Easy Lemon Chicken with Butternut Squash

4. Creamy Spinach and Sweet Potato Noodles with Cashew Sauce

5. Frittata with Spinach and Tomatoes

6. Paleo Burrito Bowls

7. Sweet Potato Sausage Breakfast Hash with Kale

8. Paleo Banana Bread

9. Chocolate Pistachio Mousse

10. Almond Pancakes

If you think the Paleo diet is something you will benefit from then it may be worth looking into. Of course, not all diets work for everyone but why not give it a try and see how it works for you?

Featured photo credit: stock.tookapic.com via pexels.com

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5 Ways Traveling Can Inspire A Massive Life Change

Posted from http://addicted2success.com/life/5-ways-traveling-can-inspire-a-massive-life-change/

Traveling is beneficial in a vast variety of ways. Some people find traveling relaxing and some people travel for the inspiration. As long as you feel fulfillment in traveling, there is no right or wrong reason to travel. 

Traveling is one of those things that everybody wants to do but most people don’t. They allow even the smallest situation to stop them from going on a life changing trip. Despite certain circumstances, sometimes you just have to make the decision to go to that place you’ve always wanted to visit. There is a good chance it can change your life. Below, I have listed a few ways that traveling can inspire a massive life change.

1. It can show you that you aren’t living where you want

A lot of people will talk negatively about the place that they live. Whether, it is the city, their home, or the environment they are in. Too many people talk down about the place they live but they don’t do anything about it. Traveling to new cities, states, or even countries can inspire you to change your location.

It can make you realize you don’t like where you live and that you want to live somewhere else. If you have this feeling or if you talk down about where you live, I suggest you travel and see new places.

 

St.-Augustine 

2. It can produce the idea for a breakthrough in your business

Very often you will hear that, while traveling, a business owner thought of a new product or a ground breaking idea that changed their business dramatically. You even hear that while traveling, people think of ideas and open their own business.

Traveling has a unique way of helping you clear your mind which in turn helps you think more clearly for new ideas. A great example of this is Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. While traveling in Italy, he noticed there were a high number of coffee bars.

Seeing all of these coffee bars and the community around them, spurred the idea of Starbucks opening up a coffee bar inside of the store. After implementing that idea, Starbucks is now a billion dollar company. If you are at a point in your business where you feel like you are stuck, try taking a trip to a place that you’ve been wanting to go and see if that helps reignite your creative thinking.

 

3. It can show you that your job isn’t exactly how you imagined it

Traveling to new places has the possibility of showing you that there are more fulfilling jobs out there than just sitting behind a desk. It can show you that there are jobs out there for you that can be fun and exciting. Doing work that you love is a very important aspect to life and has many benefits.

Popular tourism destinations can offer some of the most exciting jobs. Anything from being a tour guide to being a dive instructor on The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Don’t be afraid to look at other employment options when traveling.

 

4. It can inspire you to pursue your passion

Pursuing your passion is something that most people don’t do. It takes courage to pursue your passion and you find happiness in doing something that you want to do. Traveling the world puts things into perspective and can help you gain clarity on what your passion actually is. Being in a breathtaking place has a very interesting way of making you think differently.

It helps bring out all of the creativity inside of you and can help you make the decision to follow your dreams. If you are feeling like you are just going through the motions in your life, take a trip and see how traveling can bring clarity to your life and help you figure out what you should be doing.

 

picture quotes for travel 

5. It provides you with a new perspective on life

One of the most mind-blowing things about traveling to places you’ve never been before, is the new perspective it gives you on life. It shows you how privileged you are if you come from a country that has a wide variety of resources every couple of blocks.

It can make you appreciate life that much more and it will give you a new outlook on life. Traveling to new places humbles you in many ways and will improve your attitude towards life in general. If you have a negative outlook on life, try traveling to a new place and see how it can dramatically change your perspective on your own life.

“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” – Peter Hoeg

If you feel like your life is dull and boring and that you need a change in your life, simply start traveling and soon enough you will figure out what part of your life needs the change. Traveling has changed many things in my life and I know it can change many things in your life too.

What change are you looking for in your life? How will traveling help you find that change?

The 10 greatest gifts I have received in 50 something years

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Time goes by in the blink of an eye. That is the one thing I know for certain. It seems like only yesterday that I was a teenager, then an adult, and now here I am, in my fifties. I have had so many incredible experiences to date; some brilliant, exciting, overwhelming, even joyous and uplifting. Then there’s been some experiences that have been challenging, devastating, and really confronting.

However, as I look back over the years, every single experience has gifted me in some way. Often, it can be challenging to find the gift in a difficult situation, but I can assure you, there is always a gift. It is always your responsibility to find the positive, beautiful, and inspiring present that is waiting to be unwrapped.

As we mature, we are often asked the following questions:

Would you go back and change anything?

Is there anything in your past that you would do differently?

Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing. Every piece of my past has enriched my life in some way. Every person who has come into my life has taught me something valuable.There have been no wrong choices – just lessons and gifts.

These are my 10 greatest gifts to date.

1. Manners

Times have changed, there is no denying that, but has society managed to keep up, in regards to manners? My parents instilled in us the importance of good manners, courtesy, respect for others, and most importantly, treating others as you wish to be treated. This gift from my parents has been one of my greatest gifts to date. YES, it is the gift that just keeps giving.

In business, showcasing proper business etiquette says a lot about you as a leader. As a person, and in regards to everyday life, good manners show your true essence and character. Manners can help you strengthen relationships, as well as change your life and the lives of so many around you.

2. Childlike energy

As kids, we were encouraged to have fun, play outside, and enjoy life. I never had a care in the world as a child. It was easy to create, imagine, and quite literally experience real freedom. My father (who is almost 90 years of age) to this day has still retained his love of fun, play, and sense of childlike energy. I have watched him with his great grandchildren, and I am sure that they think he is the same age as they are.

Having real fun can improve relationships. It can inspire us to be more creative and it can really help to reduce stress levels. Most of us are so burdened with commitments that we rarely stop and have fun. Somewhere in between being a kid and then being an adult, we forget how to play.

Don’t lose your childlike energy. Get outside, play more, and have fun. Laugh, dance, sing, be silly. Not only will it benefit your wellness, it will also keep you feeling young.

3. Family

There is an old saying, “You don’t get to pick your family”; but maybe (just maybe) we do.

Do we choose our parents before we are born to master certain life lessons? Patience, commitment, connection, tolerance, pure love – these are all life lessons my family has gifted to me. Family is always there, whether you need them or not. I treasure the gift of my family most of all.

4. Soul family

If you are really blessed, at some point in your life, the universe will gift you with finding your soul family. This year, I met my soul family. From one chance meeting that led to a gathering of like-minded souls, I realized that I had finally found my soul family.

Your soul family is the spiritual equivalent to your birth family here on Earth. When you meet your soul family and feel surrounded by kindred spirits, you will really notice that your heart and your soul can heal and regenerate.

5. Peace

I began meditating over 10 years ago. Meditation changed my life. It gifted me with real inner peace. It has provided me with the most priceless sense of well-being, as well as a clearness and clarity that has quite literally opened up a whole new world.

6. Setbacks and challenges

I don’t think anyone travels through life without experiencing setbacks and hard times. You can let your challenges knock you down or you can choose to let them be your greatest opportunity for growth. Life doesn’t always get easier, but we can always get stronger and more resilient. In turn, this gifts us with strength. Real strength is in your soul.

7. Self-belief

It is our birth right to have a healthy amount of self-worth and self-belief. It is the foundation for success. Believe that you can, and you are half way there. Self-belief has gifted me with opportunities and priceless experiences. It has allowed me to connect with the most amazing people worldwide.

In a society where we tend to put older people out to pasture and overlook their experience and wisdom, self-belief has gifted me with the determination to live a full life. If I let society take away my ability to share my life experiences to date, quite simply because of the number on my birth certificate, I would only be living half a life.

8. Loss

The passing of some of my precious family members and also my dearest friends has gifted me with the following:

Life is short, live it.

Your life can change in a heartbeat. Love it.

The people you love might be taken away from you, but their memory stays locked In your heart forever.

9. Love

There is no greater gift than love. Whether that love comes from heart-to-heart connections with partners, children, friends, or pets, love is the greatest gift of all

10. A new day

Every new day is a gift. It’s a gift denied to so many. A new day is a new beginning and another chance to change your life for the better.

Conclusion

In my fifty something years, I have come to believe there is a gift in everything.

Life is the greatest and most precious gift of all.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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7 Common Habits That Badly Hurt Your Immune System

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Your Immune System

Immune system is your body’s “fight club” which defends you from unforeseen and present health complications, if any. In simple terms, this numero uno defense mechanism is programmed by nature to protect you from falling sick. However, “old wires don’t last long,” as they say, so does your immune system. The biggest factor? AGE. Having said that, few of us commit some lifestyle mistakes which speed up the process of immune system weakening as we age.

If you don’t want to age your immune system faster or stay bed-ridden and eventually die with some lifetime or chronic disease, you would want to discard these 7 bad habits.

Specific medications

If you’re a frequent consumer of chronic pain relievers, your doctor would have considered the effects on your immune system and counterbalanced with other medications or shortened the term. However, if this is not the case, you’re certainly weakening your defense mechanism compared to one who takes pain relievers occasionally. Pain medications like steroids and NSAIDs can damage your intestinal lining and cause leaky gut syndrome, which is characterized by increased intestinal permeability. As a result, infections and undigested particles of food can make their way through the intestinal wall and into your body, which then stresses the immune system and decreases its ability to function properly.

Antacids

Antacid is used generally to neutralize stomach acidity. People normally pop in an antacid when they suffer from gastritis or acidity or a burning sensation in stomach. But antacids primarily pose danger to your gut and its lining where most of the immune cells reside. They disturb your stomach’s pH level, leading to risk of infection due to improper sterilization of food. Moreover, they cause vitamin deficiencies, making your immune system starve for essential nutrients to stay healthy.

Antibiotics

If you’re a frequent sufferer of urinary tract infection or any other chronic infection, taking antibiotics could be unavoidable for you. But you can always ask your doctor for alternative medications and probiotics to ensure you don’t fall short of good bacteria which may get killed by antibiotics along with bad bacteria.

Detoxes

The more popular they are getting these days, the more people are suffering from nutritional imbalance, which is certainly bad for immune system health. Juice cleanses did catch the limelight of detoxes, however, they are friendly to your defense mechanism if kept in moderation. Restrictive diets, comparatively, deplete certain nutrients or overdose them, reason why you should have a complete diet that provides different nutrients to your body.

Too much alcohol

You don’t need an explanation for this. Binge drinking puts a brake on the production of white and red blood cells in your bone marrow, which enfeebles your immune system as a result. Keep it to two drinks while going without drinking for a few days together.

In loneliness

Researchers have studied loneliness to be a factor for change in the immune system. 20% Americans are chronically lonely according to a study by University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), which is quite serious as it increases the risk of disease. Loneliness is a psychological issue which may not necessarily result from absence of people. Community events, therapy and as simple as regular communication can help control loneliness, and boost your immune system.

Frequent trips

If you travel to different destinations quite frequently, your immune system is always taking guard to fight off new germs and bacteria which are not otherwise found in your routine environment. This is very tiring for your immune system, as well as deranged eating and sleeping habits and different pollutants. Try to be on your normal routine as much possible and beware of any water or food cautions when traveling.

If you’re sick every other week, it may well be an indication of weakened immune system, and any of the above seven reasons be the culprit. However, besides discontinuing them, you should seek appropriate treatment from your physician.

Featured photo credit: NIAID via flickr.com

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DIY: Create Your Own Toiletries

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dazzling-diy-kitchen-storage-clear-glass-jars-storage-composite-kitchen-sink-cream-granite-countertop-diy-kitchen-storage-ideas-furniture-astonishing-design-of-diy-kitchen-sto

Americans are looking for ways to get all-natural products that can do cure your ailments, protect your teeth, give you lifelong beauty or make you healthier. Are you one of them? Do you like to tackle do-it-yourself projects? Do you have DIY ideas and run with them? Than, you’ll want to know how to create these personal care products yourself.

DIY Toothpaste

Here is the recipe. You need ¼ cup Redmond clay, ⅓ cup boiling water, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 3 teaspoons xylitol, 2 teaspoons peppermint extract and and ¼ teaspoon salt.

What do you do?

Mix clay and salt in a bowl. Then add boiling water. Mix well with mixer. Add remaining ingredients and mix all well. Store in airtight container. Eliminate store-bought toothpaste. You can use a jar and a butter knife or spoon for putting on your toothbrush.

Clay can remove toxins, according to scientific studies. It also has medicinal properties. Clay won’t harm you if swallowed. It also is used when people have upset stomachs or a way to absorb radiation. Store-bought toothpastes have harmful ingredients, according to some groups. Homemade toothpaste can reduce waste or toxins in the environment.

DIY Deodorant

Get these ingredients: baking soda and water.

What do you do?

Put baking soda into a small plastic container.  Add a small amount of water. Just enough to make a smooth paste. Apply a small (emphasis on “small”) amount to underarm area. That’s all.  And if it dries out, add a bit more water. Even if it gets really thin it will still work as the deodorizing properties of the baking soda are still there. It really works.

You want to avoid aluminum, which is found in store-bought antiperspirants. Some studies have linked aluminum to Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists think aluminum enters into the brain through either the lymph nodes. Other ingredients might cause cancer, according to American Cancer Society.

DIY Hand Sanitizer

You need 4 oz Aloe Vera Gel, 1/2 Tablespoon Witch Hazel, 1 Vitamin E Capsule and a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil.

What do you do?

In a large bowl, whisk together the witch hazel and aloe vera gel. Poke a hole in the vitamin E capsule and squeeze the contents into the mixture. Whisk in. Add five to 10 drops of lavender oil. Pour into a 4 oz squeeze bottle to use. You should use a dark bottle if possible to ensure stability of the lavender oil.

This is easy to make and leaves your hands softer and germ-free. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t make your skin softer. In fact, they can dry your skin. Witch Hazel extract is an all-natural product that is known for its astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties. The gel from the aloe vera plant is naturally moisturizing. Don’t use the blue or green type. Lavender oil also has antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also smells nice. The addition of the vitamin E should help keep the product stable.

DIY Body Wash

Ingredients include 1 Tbsp shea butter, 1/4 cup aloe vera gel, 3/4 tsp guar gum or 1 tsp xanthan gum, 3/4 cup soap base (I used Dr. Bronner’s Castille, unscented), approx 25 drops of orange, lemon and lime essential oils.

What do you do?

Melt shea butter over low heat. Add aloe vera gel and warm together with the shea butter. Add gum and stir well with a whisk. Add the soap base. Mix well.  After blending, your wash will be quite foamy but it will settle in a few hours.  After the mixture has cooled, add essential oils. Pour into container of choice.  A funnel comes in handy here.

You can reuse containers and reduce waste, save money, and reduce the number of harmful chemicals in your system and the environment.

Featured photo credit: DIY via google.com

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Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Professional Calligrapher

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blogaboutphoto

Calligraphy is a visual art, but one which is dedicated solely to the creation of text. It is in high demand in niches such as wedding stationery; font and logo design; and even for the creation of inscriptions and historical documents. In fact, as we move towards a world where ever increasing amounts of text appear online, the handwritten word seems to be more highly celebrated than ever before.

The History of Calligraphy

The word calligraphy is formed from two Greek words, ‘kalli’and ‘graphy’ which, in turn, mean beautiful and writing. Calligraphy has been widely used in both Western and Eastern traditions and with such a rich heritage it is unsurprising that this art form is still so sought after today.

The Tools of the Trade

The tools of calligraphy have evolved through the centuries. Originally stiffened paint brushes, wooden pens or even large feathers were used. While contemporary calligraphers still sometimes choose to work with the traditional tools, they also have a wide range of specialised pens and markers available to them.

Calligraphy as a Career

Many professional calligraphers initially start out on a part-time basis. The easiest way to begin your career is to set up as a freelancer for hire. You can then advertise your availability and work on a project by project basis for companies and private individuals who need your particular skill-set. Check out this guide on how to become a professional calligrapher.

With the rise in popularity of the handmade arena, and the blossoming of websites such as Etsy and Folksy, you can also create products which feature calligraphy and offer them for sale. Bespoke items, such as wedding invitations and family tree wall prints, can sell particularly well and at a premium price point due to the craftsmanship involved.

Learning Calligraphy

Calligraphy is open to anyone who wants to learn to master the skill. The joy of the art form for most people is that it is so accessible to learn and can be pursued in any small pockets of time you have available, for little cost.

Calligraphy Qualifications

There are no set qualifications or degrees available in the field although if you wanted to pursue it at a higher education level you could do so as part of a visual arts degree. As this article also highlights many people who gain an interest in calligraphy do so after learning about ancient alphabets during their study of history.

Finding a Calligraphy Class

Calligraphy can be learnt from books; online classes; or from any of the many workshops or classes which are held up and down the country. It is also an art form where you can be continually learning something new and this can expand your opportunities if you choose calligraphy as a career.

Payment & Your Portfolio

The salaries of calligraphers will vary widely depending on the projects you get hired for and how in-demand your skills are. That’s why continually expanding your knowledge and experience can be a big boon. Also it is a wise idea to build a wide ranging portfolio over time so you can demonstrate your ability easily to new clients. Nothing speaks louder for a calligrapher than the pen they have already put to paper.

Working as a professional calligrapher is a very flexible occupation and can be done on a full-time basis or fitted around other commitments, such as paid employment; care for dependents or even education. It is also a skill which once acquired can be used throughout your career.

With so few barriers to entry; little initial financial outlay needed to take up the skill; and ultimately so much to gain from reaching a professional level there is very little to stop you. The biggest factor in becoming a professional calligrapher will be your love of the art form; your desire to master it; and the hours of practice you are willing to put in.

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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How To Have The Mindset Of A Champion

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Champion

There are stark differences that distinguish champions from others.  Some may specifically attribute talents, physical capabilities, and intellectual competencies to those who are champions. I argue it is their mindset that sets them apart from others, not their physical and intellectual talents.

Anyone can develop the mindset of a champion through practice and action. You can even start today!

I have compiled the top 7 characteristics and principles of champions that will pave your way towards a champions mindset.

1.  Champions have a strong belief in themselves or in a higher power

Some champions attribute their success to their strong belief in themselves. They whole-heartedly believe they are the best at what they do. They also believe they are going to achieve what they set out to accomplish. On the other hand, some champions believe their higher power is guiding and carrying them to success. It is their higher power that has provided them with the necessary talents to be a champion.

Without this strong belief, either in themselves or in a higher power, the champions mind cannot exist.

2.  Champions are eager students

Champions never stop learning. No matter the profession, champions strive to digest as much information as possible. They essentially have a beginners mind. They look for opportunities and information available to them that will better serve their purpose in achieving success. Champion athletes and entrepreneurs know they have the ability to continue to cultivate and craft their abilities through knowledge and practice. They have a strong passion for continuing their education, which in turn affords them a mindset that seeks continuous growth.

A champion will strive to be the best at what they do, regardless of natural ability, they know by continuously learning about their craft, they will better serve themselves and their goals. Champions do not have self-limiting beliefs. Instead, a champion believes challenges and continuous learning opportunities are essential for their future.

3.  Champions are mentally tough and resilient

The mindset of a champion is flexible and strong. Champions harbor the ability to cope with setbacks and obstacles, but they also have the strong will to succeed and overcome any failures that come their way. It is their strong belief in themselves or a higher power that keeps them mentally adept and resilient. Champions realize the greatness they seek will not come easy and they know they will face obstacles and set-backs.

Champions know they cannot be positive all the time, but they are committed to be absolutely engaged in life. When the going gets tough a champion will take charge and full responsibility for improving their skills and motivation.

Champions are aware they are their own worst enemy.

4.  Champions have mastered their minds

Champions have cultivated a practice of mindfulness. This means they have been able to tap into the ability to live purposefully in the present moment. They continuously bring their attention to what is happening around them, rather than being fixated on failure or successes of the past and future. This mastery requires keen focus and the ability to push aside any emotional baggage that will hinder them from achieving their goals.

A champion does not allow limiting beliefs or destructive self-talk to discourage them from their path of greatness. They have mastered their mind in a fashion that only allows for emotions and thoughts that serve them to achieve their goals. Champions are mindfully aware of the noise between their ears and know when they have mastered their minds nothing can get in their way.

“Who is in control of your mind? You are.” – Aubrey Marcus

5.  Champions do not give up – they are committed to success

“Fall down seven times and stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

Champions do not give up. Their strong belief in themselves or a higher power motivates them to continuously push through adversities and failures. They have cultivated a mindset of commitment to their success and are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to achieve their goals.

We all know that pro-boxers are some of the hardest working athletes in the world. You know why? Rather than asking, “How long should I be training for every day?” They ask, “How long can I train every day?” You see the difference?

This mindset which is rooted and committed to success is so strong it cannot be influenced by anyone or anything.

6.  Champions have a strong relationship with their bodies

Regardless of occupation or profession, a champion has a strong relationship with their body. Champions know their body inside and out and respect and understand the needs of their body. They are aware of what their body needs in order to grow as an individual towards being a champion. They are aware of their nutritional and physical needs and the need to continuously improve their bodies.

They are mindfully aware if their body is out of tune, they will not be able to operate at a high standard which is required to achieve their success.

7.   Champions have a powerful team supporting them

Behind every champion there is a team. Whether it is friends, family, coaches, or mentors, there is someone helping the person become a champion.

No matter the profession, champions enlist the help from others that can provide them with greater insight and experience to assist them along their journey to success. The champions team are people who can offer an outsiders perspective, experience in the given industry, and connections to propel them forward along their path to greatness. A champion chooses to surround themselves with people who believe and support their goal by continuously motivating them and providing positive feedback.

To be great you must surround yourself with great people.

Conclusion

So there you have it, the seven characteristics of champions. You can start working on your champion mindset right now. See if you have covered all of these aspects on your journey towards successes.

Remember, these characteristic do not apply only to athletes, they apply to everyday life, your career, family, and personal development towards a champion’s life.

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Tips on Building and Maintaining a Great Relationship with Readers

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Building relationships with your readers on your blogThis is a guest contribution from Dan Goss.

When it comes to blogging, nothing is more important than your readership – if you’re publishing the best content in the world with no-one to read it, you quickly get into a Zen-style conundrum. If a tree falls in the forest and no-one is there to hear it, does its content reach the target audience?

Building an honest, beneficial relationship with your readers is therefore one of the most important things you can do as a writer, and something that other blog writers often completely fail to do. Despite how uncommon it is, it’s not as hard as they’d lead you to believe.

First, you need to understand your audience.

What do they need? What do they want from your blog? A good starting point is to say “my blog is for X kind of person who wants to do Y kind of thing”.

For example, your blog could be for entrepreneurs who want to expand their customer base. From there, you know you can work towards supplying them with what they want.

If you don’t know enough about your readership to make those assumptions, change that as soon as possible! While programs like Google Analytics and Clicky can provide some insight into your readers, you’ll get the best results by far from qualitative methods like surveys and polls. If you already have a few email list subscribers, now’s the time to send them a survey or post up a poll. Your readers are the whole reason your blog exists, so get to know them!

Related Reading: ProBlogger Podcast: Two Questions to Ask to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog

Second, publish targeted, high-quality content.

A relationship with your readers begins with you – and with your blog providing quality content. Simply put, you could be the most personable and charismatic writer imaginable, and it wouldn’t do you any good if your content was poor. However, combining that charisma with high-quality, targeted content? That’s the winning formula.

Make sure to take care over your headlines, since they’re the first thing the customer will see, and are valuable for SEO purposes – a good headline can really make or break your post.

The headline is a promise that the content must then fulfil, and that is best done using a variety of content types to engage viewers and expand your audience beyond your core readers. Different content forms, if used correctly, can reach people far outside your normal catchment area, as some people who dislike reading blogs may happily listen to podcasts, and vice versa. This content should ideally be released as quickly as your audience can consume it – and as your popularity grows, so will the demand for your work.

Building relationships with your blog readers

Encourage discussion in the comments – and respond to them.

Asking your readers to contribute and share their thoughts in the comments can be a great way to build a relationship with them, as it turns your blog into more of a conversation, a forum where people are free to share their ideas and experiences and feel included. When someone comments on your post, make sure to thank them and respond to their questions or thoughts. Interact and engage them, and you suddenly the blog is a dialogue, and you are building a relationship with the readers through one-to-one interaction. If you need to stimulate your readers to comment, a simple call for participation or comments at the end of the post should do the job!

When talking to your readers in the comments, make sure to stay positive, be as helpful as you can with any question or issue they have – and accept any criticism as gracefully as possible. Internet comments are notorious for their harsh and sometimes unjustified criticism, and writers need to develop a thick skin to deal with it. If you get confrontational or defensive, it can only end badly for you – it makes you look bad, stifles honest discussion, and prevents good relationship building between you and your readership.

Build interactions and relationships on other channels

Your blog comments are not the only avenue of conversation with your readers – you can also discuss and interact with them through an email mailing list, on twitter, via a Facebook Page or Instagram account, or on forums like Reddit. Finding the communities that your audience haunts can be a great way to build up a level of familiarity and respect, and is an excellent way not only to maintain a good relationship with your readers, but to find other blogs similar to yours as well.

Many of your readers will have blogs of their own, and where it is useful to your audience, it will be worth mentioning or linking to those blogs. Once you’ve found blogs that fit your niche, working with those authors to build your blogs together and connect across the board can often mean reaching an entirely new reader-base and will allow you the chance to build a relationship with some of your most active readers. Don’t be afraid to jump in and become part of the community – at the end of the day, that’s how really great relationships are made!

Dan Goss is the editor and chief content writer for Customer Service Guru, a UK-based site working on improving customer relations, customer experience and business practices the world over. When he isn’t writing, he can be found at your nearest coffee machine.

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