Guess what day it is?

World Gratitude Day!

This gives us an opportunity to express our gratitude for the things that matter the most to us. So here goes:

  • I am grateful for life.
  • I am grateful loving family and friends.
  • I am grateful for all the opportunities that life is offering me
  • I am grateful for peace and joy.
  • I am grateful for good health and strength to face each new day.

Now it is your turn. Comment below tell us what you are grateful for.

Have a great day!

GIVE THANKS! SIMPLE THINGS ARE YOUR BLESSINGS!

Gratitude

Very often, we instinctively focus on the negative that life has to offer. We focus on the burdens rather blessings, allowing the mind to contemplate on mere negativity. For example, being unemployed, the loss of a loved one, a heart-break or fact that the plans for life have been delayed. Ever thought that this might just be the time to be grateful even when everything is out of control and haphazard.

I have had my fair share of life’s lessons, and I have come to realize that when I focus on the negative things, it just creates a ditch that l spiral down so quickly; filled with negativity. Would you believe if I tell you that you can control that by using your most powerful tool? Which is…? Continue reading! We tend to attract what we put out if we show hate, hate comes our way, if we put out sadness, sadness comes our way, if we put out rejection that is the return we attract. We will always attract exactly what we give.

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha

Your mind is a powerful tool, what you think is exactly what you will become, therefore, it is only wise to think of things that would impact your life in a positive direction. It is important to remember that what we think is what we attract, hence we need to guard our every thought and ensure that they are pure and uplifting.

We now must consciously put ourselves in a more positive zone, have a positive mindset and attract positive things into our life. A one seemingly simple but powerful way to start the day with a positive mindset is to be grateful.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie.

Gratitude gives us a sense of where we came from, it helps us to understand and access the progress that we have made and gives us a clear vision of the future without lamenting on the past. Think about it, if you were to take the time to say thank you for life today considering that you had a near-death experience yesterday, there is no way if you are truly grateful to be alive today, there would be no room for lamentation on what could have happened. There are many people who are not given that opportunity to see another day. Life is so fragile, one moment we are breathing and literally another moment we are no longer among the living. Therefore, each day we start by expressing heartfelt gratitude for what we have and pray for the things we desire. 

This is such a real song, speaks to what is happening in our world today. Enjoy!

Dealing with Stress!

Stress is one of the most dreaded inevitable experience that as humans we will continue to experience as long as we live. The hardest part is trying to find ways to handle the stress in the given situation and keeping it minimal as possible until the issue is resolved or at least becomes manageable. We are uniquely created to respond to a short burst of physical stress by raising our heart rate, diverting blood to the muscles and increase anxiety and alertness, however, it is not prepared to deal with the same for an extended period. Prolong periods of stress can be debilitating to one’s health and cause symptoms of illnesses that you do not have. So, to tell someone not to stress about varying issues in their life is like telling someone not the breath because stress will occur at some point in our life. 

Stress is an important social determinant of health and therefore, must always be taken into consideration because it might just be the main reason for someone’s ailment. Continued periods of anxiety, insecurity, social isolation, burnout or overwork, and the uncontrolled home situation can be harmful. It increases the risk of depression and other mental health issues, diabetes, hypertension, increase cholesterol level and make you susceptible to infections. Further, this could lead to heart attack and stroke if it is not managed appropriately. With this being said, it is paramount to have some control over the stress that is introduced into your life and might I suggest a few ways to handle stress.

Taking Control

  • Have a vent buddy.

Having someone to share your issues with can help to lessen the burden and the overwhelming feeling that is accompanied by stress. The moral and emotional support that they offer aid in relieving some of the stress we might be facing at the time. Venting to someone who cares brings a level of comfort knowing that there is someone to lend a shoulder to cry on and to give a warm hug filled with love. They become your cheer leader who will help you get through yet another challenge that life has to offer. I have loving and caring vent friends and family who listen well and offer some of the best advice without even knowing it. Sometimes my vent buddy might just listen to my story but to be able to have someone to just listen on the other end immediately brings about a level of relief. It also allows you to see the issue from a different perspective when that friend shares their opinion and allow you to make the necessary changes to improve the situation. Noteworthy, you don’t need to vent to everyone with whom come into contact with which can potentially make things worse but rather, create a small group (maybe two or three) of supportive friends that you share with.

  • Keeping Positive.

Optimism, optimism, optimism! This is very important in overcoming or rather getting through a stressful situation. It is very hard to speak positivity into your life when all you see and are experiencing is a dark cloud. Nature is our best example, after a cloudy day there will be a clear beautiful sunny sky and even more outstanding on the cloudy, dim days there is usually such a beautiful rainbow stretching across the sky. Speak life into yourself, say you are an overcomer, I will get through this issue like the many others I would have gotten over, I will achieve my biggest dreams and I will get through this challenging home situation. It is also important to keep friends and family that speak life into you as well. When stressed, the last thing you need is someone who would use a hammer to beat you down further and bury you with negativity. The vent buddy that you decide to confide in should be able to speak positive words that are uplifting, motivating and acts like a fuel that will propel you into your destiny. 

  • Exercise. 

Being stress can make you feel tired, fatigued and low on energy. But try to exercise as much as you can doing routines that you enjoy. Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise five days per week or just do what you can but keep active and healthy. For me that 30 minutes of exercise is so refreshing and rejuvenating, it takes my mind off the issues and allows me to think clearer. Read my blog Exercise for Better Health for more information on what is required to get the most out of your workout

  • Rest

Take some “me” time. Take some time every day to just sit and think about nothing stressful, relax your mind and allow yourself to recuperate, recharge and reenergize. Have a glass of wine and watch your favourite show, just sit on your gallery and reflect on happier days or just meditate, if that is something that you generally do. I find that resting brings you out of that confused state and allows you to think clearer and allows you to devise ways to deal with the issue at hand. It gives a fresh perspective and opens the mind’s eye to new ideas and better solutions.

Il dolce far niente – Italian phrase for the sweetness of doing nothing.

  • Keep calm.

It’s easier said than done but throwing temper tantrums and breaking things just makes the issue worse than it should be. It would more than likely give rise to the unnecessary expense or get you into trouble with the law. It is better to just keep calm and vent to your friend, meditate or just rest when things get heated. Many times, we might act irrationally in the heat of the moment and end up regretting our actions later on. It is better to revisit the issue when calm and you can think and act rationally.

Exercise for Better Health

I sometimes forget how therapeutic exercising is. Being a physician working long hours, sometimes taking up part-time jobs and a mother of a very active child who loves sports can pose a challenge. Trying to strike a balance can sometimes be hard but I find that when I do get the opportunity to exercise it more of a breath of fresh air rather than a stressful physical activity. Maybe because I do routines that I like rather than having a drill sergeant breathing down my throat telling me what to do. As much as it might allow one to be disciplined and set in a routine, I personally never find it fun, relaxing and most importantly therapeutic to have personal trainers dictate forcefully your daily workout. Exercising addresses issues of the mind, body and soul, from relieving stress in one’s life, to controlling chronic medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes to bringing about self-awareness and decluttering the brain.

The Mind

The challenges of life can create a basket of stress that we carry daily on our shoulders, sometimes not realizing that we are subconsciously saturating the brain with things we have no control over. People are constantly bombarded with financial burdens, juggling two and three jobs, separation and divorce and providing for their children, ensuring that they receive the best that life has to offer. Might I say that cap fits me so perfectly? Constantly carrying these stresses daily can have a significant negative effect on our mental health and our communication with friends, colleagues and family. Hyper concentrating on an issue can potentially affect your performance at work or other aspects of life resulting in bare minimal performance daily. Meditating a few days per week has been useful in resetting my thought pattern and refocusing on what is important for that particular day and by extension, the week.

The Body

The curves are so motivating, aren’t they? Exercising improves one’s physical appearance by toning all the muscles, making them more defined. Your skin looks healthier and the glow is admirable. But exercising is more than skin deep, it improves physical discomfort caused by being stressed. The physical ailments of being mentally stressed are so uncomfortable by itself, ranging from headache, back pain, neck pain to feeling fidgety and nervous. Physical activity can help alleviate some of the pain and stress an individual might be experiencing. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity or a combination of both spreads throughout the week. Further, recommending even light-intensity exercises to offset some of the risks of being sedentary especially for some of us that are at home during this COVID-19 pandemic. Walking briskly, gardening, mowing the lawns and cycling are some moderate-intensity activities. Vigorous-intensity exercises include hiking, running and swimming among others. 

Exercising has a plethora of health benefits of which we can be beneficiaries. Exercise and a delicious glass of green smoothie (please read Blog ‘Skin so Smooth’) can be an excellent start to a productive day or the perfect de-stress to a long hectic day. It requires self-motivation and a little extra effort to reap the benefits.

Skin so Smooth!

It is every woman’s dream to have skin so smooth you can lick it. Well our skin just needs a little caring and we can achieve just that. Many individuals invest so much financially into products that are so expensive and frankly, the products do not deliver what was advertised which is very disappointing. It is a given that to achieve smooth skin you just have to be patient whiles consistently using the right products or rather in this case taking the right nutrients on a daily basis. Yes! It can be inexpensive, and all ingredients are found in your local grocery store.

Antioxidants

Anti who?  Who are we against? We are against the free radicals that are naturally produced by our body when it turns food into energy that we so desperately need to carry out our daily function of life. Further, these free radicals are also produced when exposed the X-ray, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants and industrial chemicals, basically its avoidance is inevitable. They, in turn cause damage to the cells of the body and lead to chronic diseases such as cancers and atherosclerosis.  So, this magnificent creation called our body decided that the antioxidants are going to fight the free radicals and aid in the repair of DNA and maintain healthy cells thus slowing the process of aging.

With that being said, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, selenium and manganese are wonderful sources of antioxidants and it is not necessary to use these nutrients as a supplement but rather the benefits are in use of it in its natural form. When trying to extract the nutrients from the fruits and vegetables, that is its natural form a lot of other nutrients are loss in the process which defeats the purpose all together. Great sources of vitamin C are cantaloupe, grapefruit, orange, papaya, strawberries, tomatoes, kale, kiwi, lemon just to list a few. Vitamin E is found in almonds, avocado, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, peanuts among others. Carrots, pumpkins, kale, watermelon, tangerines, mangoes are great sources of beta carotene, foods with that lovely rich orange color.  You can get a daily dose of antioxidant by preparing a balance meal with your favorite sources of antioxidant or my preferred method is to a make a delicious cup of green smooth. I will share my favorite recipe below: 

Ingredients 

1 handful of spinach

½ cup strawberry (frozen or fresh)

½ cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

½ cup chopped mango 

3-4 pitted prunes

1 small banana 

1 cup water (optional: almond milk, orange juice etc)

2 packets of stevia (natural sweetener, zero calories)

1 tbsp Flax seed (optional)

Method:

Blend all ingredients together in your blender, magic bullet, nutribullet etc. 

Enjoy!

The best thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile, and you can easily switch out a fruit or vegetable for your favorite one. Secondly, this is smoothie is loaded with roughage and aids in making it easier to have a bowel movement.  I enjoy the smoothie on a daily basis, and it is simple and easy to make. It can be used as a meal replacement if you are trying to lose weight. In conjunction with exercise and increase water intake which I will discuss at another time, can definitely aid in slowing the aging process and help our skin to look smoother and cleaner for a longer time.

Humble!

The world has placed us into an involuntarily time out and like an infant as much as we would want to be rebellious, we cannot. For many, since attaining adulthood we are forced to be obedient to the laws of the land or else the consequences could potentially be detrimental to oneself or the people we care about the most.
With emergence of the COVID-19, many have realized that they are powerless despite their status in society, CEOs, managers, Prime Ministers and guess what! For once we are all seen a human beings despite our race, creed or culture, no one is wealthier than the other. There are no medications that the rich can afford and leave the poor begging desperately for help, we are all in one bracket fighting to survive. Isn’t that a humbling experience for all?
At this point, we surrender to a higher power and deem ourselves powerless submitting ourselves in hope that mercy may fall upon our land and we will once again, sometime soon, return to some level of normalcy, well what we perceive to be normal. The hustle and bustle of life, 12- hour shifts, days-off spent at a part-time job, 2 hours commute to our dream job or the job that will make our dreams come through, missed dinners disappointing our spouse and children and barely glimpsing at our children on the way out to work, sharing a kiss that they cannot appreciate because they are asleep. Is this really normal and more so is this a healthy way of life?
We should use this downtime to reflect on who we are and where we want to be in life. Remember to be kind and care for loved ones that we often take for granted and those that we seldom see because with the turn of this world we might probably never see them again after the quarantine is done. Say I LOVE YOU as often as you can to the people you care about and most importantly deem yourself powerless and surrender to the higher power.
Selah!