Relax

Clear Your Mind and Refocus

With hectic lives and busy schedules, it can be easy for the mind to become cluttered, making it difficult to concentrate and be productive. If you want to be able to quickly and easily clear your mind so that you can refocus, here are a few tricks that you can try.

Mindfulness
One of the most effective ways to clear your mind and really refocus your energy is by practicing mindfulness, and this does not need to be anything more than a breathing exercise or two. This is something that you can do anywhere and at any time, making it a great method to master. One breathing exercise that you can try is sitting or standing up straight and closing your eyes, before taking a deep breath in through your nose. Allow your diaphragm to fully expand, and hold the breath for a few seconds before exhaling through your mouth. Counting your breath will also help with this, as it will give your mind something to focus on to prevent you from being sidetracked.

Woman in cafe thinking of what to write

Write it Down
Writing down all of your thoughts and worries is a great way to release any pent-up emotions, and will help you to take a look at the entire situation from a different perspective. Keep a journal that you can turn to whenever your mind is feeling full, and continue writing in it until you feel at peace with whatever has been on your mind. Alternatively, if your mind has been filled with all of the different things you need to do, start keeping lists, as this will free up some space in your head, and you can then turn to your list when you have more time and are feeling calmer.

Physical Activity
In addition to helping to control weight and prevent illness, exercise is a fantastic way to clear your mind and improve your mood. Exercise releases endorphins, which will really help to take your mind to a better place. This does not mean that you need to spend hours at the gym, as simple short bursts of exercise will also have this same effect. Try to find an activity that you enjoy doing, but make sure that it raises your heart rate.

Woman painting on canvas at home

Get Creative
Exploring your imagination can really refocus your mind, as it will make use of different parts of your brain. Creativity is the perfect way to engage your imagination, and this can take shape in many forms. From painting and drawing to singing and dancing to cooking or doing a puzzle, there are so many ways in which you can be creative, so give this a go the next time you are feeling stressed and worn out.

The human brain is not built to be able to split its attention into too many different areas, which is why it is often easy to feel overwhelmed when there are a number of things on your mind. Rather than allowing this to bring you down, try out some of the above-mentioned tips, as they will help you to clear your mind and get back to what you really need to be doing.

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The Tools You Need To Start Yoga

Yoga is a good way to maintain one’s body at almost any point in life. It becomes particularly attractive as we age and our body’s ability to handle some of the more forceful movements and shocks of other exercise options decreases. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t necessarily know where to begin when it comes to yoga. It seems to have always been present as an option for exercise. There are yoga studios and classes in most major cities that make it quite clear what they’re offering. This isn’t always enough to help those of us who tend to plan more to get over that initial hurdle of wanting to be properly prepared. A good way to get past that is to inventory the tools you’ll need to start yoga. This provides a sense of being ready while at the same time being easy enough to ensure that it doesn’t take an excessive amount of time. With that in mind, we’ve got a quick look at some of the most important tools anyone needs when looking into starting yoga for the first time.

Woman meditating with cat

Patience
Most of the time we associate yoga with a certain fluidity of movement. The demands placed on the body by the positions involve maintaining patience enough to move through them at the proper pace while holding position when necessary. Yoga positions are healthy for the body through the fact that they are repetitive motions that work to maintain and build slowly. The tension of holding the position is prominent in the way they help the body too. However, the positions that everyone pictures in their mind when people talk about yoga are only part of the practice. Yoga is also about controlling one’s breathing and becoming aware of one’s body as a cohesive whole. Many instructors will walk you through breathing exercises when beginning yoga. These also require patience that not everyone will necessarily have if they aren’t expecting it. Remembering that patience is required at all steps to make the most of yoga.

Woman doing yoga on mat

Comfortable Clothing
As a form of exercise that concentrates on mobility and flexibility, yoga strongly encourages participants to wear comfortable clothing with a high degree of freedom of movement. This helps to ensure that there are no artificial restrictions placed on what one can and cannot do during yoga. Most people tend to stress this particular piece of “equipment” thanks to the potential demands on freedom of movement from given positions. Admittedly, no one should try to push their bodies far beyond their abilities, but we all do still need to be able to press a bit farther than more restrictive clothing might allow. Additionally, you’ll want to stick to comfortable clothing made from a fabric that can breathe. Yoga, despite its often sedate pace, is a form of exercise that will place stress upon the body and can cause you to sweat just like any other exercise. Staying cool while exercising will go a long way towards keeping you comfortable.

Woman folding yoga mat

Mat and Towel
This is the sort of equipment that most people would expect when it comes to yoga, but it isn’t necessarily required so much as it makes things a bit more comfortable while you’re exercising. A good mat will provide you with cushioning through the various positions you go through and prevent any unnecessary strain on the body. After all, it feels a lot better to have a comfortable mat beneath you than the hard ground or floor. Try to pick a durable mat that will hold up to repeated use to avoid having to replace it regularly. Keeping a towel handy is advisable to help wipe away sweat after holding a particularly difficult pose. It will help keep you both more comfortable and ready to keep going without feeling too unclean. Consider leaving it on the mat below you to catch sweat in some instances, but don’t be afraid to pat dry when you need to either.

There isn’t really any traditional equipment “required” to start yoga. As a discipline, it focuses on the body’s capabilities and typically only requires that and the strength of will to stick with various positions. Patience helps a lot with this and so does dressing comfortably so that you don’t end up feeling confined in the middle of things. Yes, a mat can help, but you don’t necessarily need it. Remember that yoga is an ancient discipline focusing on the mind, the body, and the soul and not a modern fad exercise like it often gets treated. In the end, all you really need is yourself.

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Old School TV Shows That Are Perfect For A Night In

There’s something about older television shows that is inexplicably attractive. Yes, we’re all children of our generations, but at the same time there’s always something new that pushes the limits or brings innovative ideas to the table. Why go backwards for a change though? Writers, actors, and directors still practiced their crafts and created memorable stories to enjoy. One of the best parts is that, if you end up wanting to binge, the run of the series is already over and you don’t need to worry about waiting for the next episode. You’re going to need to figure out what suits your tastes before you can settle in though and what counts as “old” to you. These are very flexible criteria that can be hard to pin down. You should have a good enough idea of what appeals to you and anyone you’re choosing to settle in for the evening with that we can at least offer a few suggestions from across the eras of television.

The Twilight Zone (Original Series 1959-1964)
It is hard to pin down anything about the overarching nature of this series as it was defined by its episodic approach. Rod Serling introduced the segments of the show that each acted as self-contained stories that took a moment to look at the world from a slightly different angle. Already famous or eventually famous writers frequently wrote scripts for this speculative fiction show that has gone down as one of the finest shows ever created. It alternates between spirited and beautiful whimsy all the way to spine-chilling horror as it wonders at what would happen if the world was “just so” rather than how it was at the time. Like most shows of any era, it addressed relevant topics of the day in veiled ways that allowed it to pass things off as “just fiction” while still offering commentary on the state of things whether it was emotional abuse or the nature of not knowing where you belong. While the series itself may be in black and white, the lessons it strove to teach were certainly never that simple.

Cheers (1982-1993)
As much as wondering at what might be interests us, we often like to visit familiar places and times. Cheers, in many ways, embodies this concept by taking its name from the titular bar where most of the cast meet up during the course of the show as vignettes of their lives unfold. The show is sitcom and as a result is comparatively lighter fare even if it did set the stage for exploring deeper themes just like its descendants in the genre would. The heart of the show often finds itself in these moments where characters wrestle with heady topics such as addiction, homophobia, and women’s rights only to turn back around and end with a laugh so that everyone enjoys themselves. Cheers might not has started as the most notable show, but by the end of its run it had already become a legend for how deftly it navigated the various aspects of its genre all while handling cast changes and all the other aspects of the outside world that might affect it. It is worth at least an evening’s viewing though many people would suggest you need to see the whole thing to appreciate it properly.

Women watching TV

Babylon 5 (1994-1998)
Sometimes we want to use television to get away from it all. Babylon 5, in many ways, is not one of those shows despite being set hundreds of years into the future where humanity has made it into space. The show itself was troubled by claims it was too similar to “Deep Space 9” of Star Trek fame, but both series set their own pace and story independent of one another. Babylon 5 focuses on the trials and tribulations of the command staff of the titular space station located in neutral territory. It acts as a sort of interstellar United Nations between many of the races of the galaxy. The benefits from expert writing where the writers had charted out the entire run beforehand and made sure to include ways to counteract any mishaps along the way. It benefits from this in that it allows them to look into both the depths and soaring heights of the soul against the backdrop of political and personal drama even as the threat of a renewed war lurks on the horizon. While science fiction may not appeal to everyone, the strong characters may be enough to draw the attention of many who would otherwise pass the show by.

We’ve tried to touch on shows that cover several sections of time. Our list is by no means exhaustive and simply provides a guideline to shows that you might have missed over the course of your life or not had the chance to encounter yet. We’ve favored a combination of storytelling and exploration of what it means to be alive from multiple perspectives. Each series has its share of light and dark to ensure there is something to satisfy everyone. Consider watching one of them on your next night in and you might see why these shows have an enduring popularity.

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Spring Break Through The Ages

Spring break is that time towards the start of the year where we all get to kick back, relax, and enjoy the sun again for the first time in a while. We each have our own particular ways that we like to celebrate that period of time though. Those change as we age too. In college, a quick flight to an appropriately sunny and attractive destination with friends was the order of the day. That starts to change once we hit our 30s and higher. Our responsibilities mean we need to focus on other things and find a way to spend the time that fits within our schedules. That’s assuming we even get a spring break. Interestingly enough, spring break has a fairly long history. We just haven’t always called it that and by the time we did it was already starting to change into something else. Let’s take a quick look at how Spring Break has changed through the ages.

three friends at the beach

Way Back In The Day
Celebrating spring is nothing new. Just as our winter festivals were about celebrating one another and togetherness in the face of all consuming cold and dark, spring festivals were about coming out of all that and celebrating that life had returned to the world. This ended up taking a lot of different forms. Celebrations entirely centered on revelry were the most common response to the coming of spring. Understandably, these also ended up linked to fertility celebrations occasionally as well. The key element in both these cases is that they celebrated life in a glorious and fanatical way that can only be understood when we realize our ancestors weren’t sure they’d make it through each winter. So why shouldn’t they have celebrated making it out the other side and the return of warmth and life? Our modern idea of spring break is vastly different in concept, but you can still see some of the echoes of the ancient past in the spirit of the celebrations.

Back In The Day
What we’d consider modern Spring Break only started to really show up in the 1930s. This is when it ended up becoming tied to academic calendar years and similar things. It didn’t begin as anything terribly special though. Originally it was simply the result of off-season athletic practice becoming unofficially formalized. Friends began to go along with the athletes though and gradually it became something…more. After a few decades, the modern concept of Spring Break as a time for beaches and overindulgence had become solidified within the popular culture. This particular form of Spring Break was originally a phenomena predominantly found in the United States and centered on Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It remained there for a long time before it began to branch out to other locations such as Panama City, Florida and similar destinations. It remained largely centered on college age people though. The expansions of location has eventually come to mean an even wider choice of venue these days and also lead to an expansion of people enjoying the time.

happy woman and child

These Days
Spring Break is still a major academic calendar year celebration, but it keeps expanding its modern form beyond such petty constraints. These days the United States version has become an international affair that draws celebrants from all over the world. Most of the tick people flock to various tropical locales that are farther out than comparatively familiar Florida. The idea remains the same though. People travel to get away from everything for a while and enjoy the sun. There are plenty of enjoyable drinks to be had as well. The age group has also expanded as more and more people see the value in remembering to take a break every now and then. Particular resort locations have even started to cater to specific Spring Break demographics to help people have the experience they’re looking for without too much of someone else’s bleeding over into theirs. So you can party if you like, but you’re just as likely to find people out there enjoying a relaxing time in the sun with friends and family today.

Like most cultural thing, Spring Break is a consistently evolving concept. It would have been a bit hard to fathom it being a particularly encompassing time of year even a decade or so ago. You can expect that it is going to keep on changing too. Spring Break isn’t going to slow down any more than the rest of life. You just have to decide how you’re going to enjoy it.

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Ideas To Help You Relax and Unwind

Stress is one of the true universal aspects of life. It always seems to find a way to creep in even if things are otherwise going well. This is what makes stress management so important to our overall health. Failing to figure out the best ways to manage the problem typically leads to growing issues as our minds and bodies suffer from the strain stress puts on them. That’s why we all need to find ways to relax and unwind now and again. It is one way to help ensure we’re managing our stress occasionally. How do you go about it though? This question is the plague of those of us who are highly dedicated to our work or causes. It seems like everything we do eventually turns into our focus. The good news is that it isn’t too hard to figure out a good way to relax. Let’s review a few of the more common ways though. This can give you a good starting point to find your own way to relax and unwind in your busy life.

Follow Your Passion
It is easy to get lost in the haze of constant “Must do”s that take up a lot of time in our lives. After all, these issues tend to feel like they have top priority even when they really shouldn’t. We sacrifice various things to make sure we get them done, but at the end of it we’re left without direction because the goal has already been achieved. Try to keep the things that make you happy and passionate close to your heart, though. Pursue these when you don’t have another goal. These can be things like art or collecting a particular kind of object. The key here is that they provide an outlet for part of yourself that you likely need to set aside most of the time to keep everything organized. Using your downtime to pursue them helps to nurture your soul and soothe you. Depending on your passions, this might not necessarily be the best way to relax in a conventional sense, but it will certainly be able to help you unwind.

Soothe Your Senses
There’s a lot to be said for just taking time away from everything. A good way of doing this is creating your own private space to indulge. Aromatherapy is popular as a means of helping to relax. The various scents can help bring back powerful, calming memories that let you step back from your hectic day-to-day life. This effect isn’t restricted solely to you having potent scent memories though. We all have particular scents that get to us in a special way and help take away our stress. You can build on the effects of this by adding in music too. Playing some of your favorite music is typically a good way to unwind for many of us. It is a positive feeling and typically adds in a sense of energy in the case of a lot of popular music. It is up to you if this kind of frantic energy works well to help you unwind, but more many people it does. All else failing, you can select some of the more soothing music that you like to help you relax away all your worries.

Friends
The Comfort of Others
As humans, we connect to other people. It comes with being a social species. We need one another to make life worthwhile. Think of this as the reminder that you really should make time for your friends and family regularly. We need to hear from one another and talk. It helps us to support one another in figuring out the various problems that come up in our lives. There are few things quite as relaxing as sharing an outing or a meal with loved ones simply because there is no comparable experience. Friends and family trigger particular responses that help to soothe and mend our souls on a visceral level. We need to feel wanted and cared for our our mental and emotional health suffer. Fortunately, this is typically a fairly easy way to relax and unwind as your loved ones need that time away from daily obligations too. Working together to create a night out or in is a good way to ensure everyone is committed to taking a small break and relaxing for at least an evening.

None of us can really afford to neglect our well-being forever. That’s why we need to make the time to relax and unwind. Stress can and will literally kill you if it gets to be too bad. Learning to use the ideas we’ve discussed or others will help you find ways to help minimize the problem and keep your stress levels under control. They’ll also help ensure life is just a little bit more fulfilling.

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