things that matter

21 Tips To Drastically Improve Your Mental Health

Everyone gets a little down sometimes. It is hard to be upbeat and happy 24/7. Sometimes it can be caused by different things, getting into a rut at work, or the change of the seasons or something not so great may have happened to you recently. Whatever the issue is, it is essential to work to pull yourself out of it before it gets any worse. Here are some ideas to help you get through the blues and get back to being yourself in no time.

Clean up Your Space

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Sometimes when we get down, it’s easy to let things become a mess. If you take 30 minutes each day to do a little picking up here and there the whole job will be done in no time. Having a clean room or house will make you feel better about being in it and lift your mood. If you don’t have the time to clean it yourself hire a cleaning service to get things started for you.

Get Out

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Lots of the time if we are stuck in a rut of some sort that is dragging us down we find it hard to pull ourselves away from the television and get moving. Usually, the hardest part is the initial get up and go. Make plans with a friend or schedule a workout class. By making a date with someone else, you are accountable for showing up. When you are accountable to someone else for being there that makes it easier to find the gumption to go and do what you said you were going to do. Once you are up and out the going gets easier. Make yourself accountable to someone to get out of the house, and you will be feeling better in no time.

Get Creative

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Sometimes all we need is an outlet of some sort for some of our feelings. To take care of this type of itch invest in some paints, pencils, or try out that recipe you have meant to try. Take artistic license in whatever you do and have fun with it. If it’s not perfect, that is OK, as long as you are having a good time doing it and working through some of the negative feelings that have been plaguing you lately. Invite a friend to help for additional fun!

Get Some Sunlight

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Sometimes, especially in the winter, all we need is some Vitamin D. We get this naturally by being exposed to sunlight. If you do not go out much, you can also take supplements. If you are supplementing your vitamin D intake, be sure not to overdo it because that can cause problems as well. If you can’t get out for at least 15 minutes during daylight hours, think about purchasing a sun lamp. You can put it next to your computer and turn it on for 15 minutes a day. Many people report this as a good solution for their seasonal depression. If you are down during the winter months; or don’t get out much no matter what season, try a sunlamp at your desk.

Journaling

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Writing out your thoughts and feelings can help you to process them faster. When you process your feelings faster, you will be your awesome self in no time flat. If you do not usually journal, it may take a few tries to get comfortable with the process. Some people prefer, and others prefer an electronic format. Set aside about ten minutes to sit down and work on this process. If you don’t get much down the first couple of times, do not be discouraged. Keep at it and see what works best for you.

Exercise

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Exercise has been medically proven to help lift people out of depressive states. When your body is stagnant, toxins can build up. One great way to rid your body of toxins that may be dragging you down is to get up and move. If you have not worked out for a long time, you may want to start by committing to taking a walk every day. Walk for 30 to 45 minutes to get your blood flowing. You will feel more energetic in the long run. After you get this down, maybe think about joining a gym and working on the parts of your body that you would like to improve.

Try Out a Life Coach

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Sometimes we need a little direction to get us back on the path to happiness again. Getting another person’s point of view on things can be helpful. Look up life coaches in your area. This person should be able to help you to reorganize and come up with new ideas that will make you happy and more satisfied with what you are doing.

Talk to a Professional

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There are times when we need a little extra help with our mental health, and that is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you feel like you can’t pull yourself out of the blues, maybe it is time to talk to a professional counselor. These people are specially trained to listen and give you actionable ideas on how to improve your mental health.

Consider Getting a Pet

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Pets are known to cheer people up. Just having something else around to take care of and concentrate on helps many people to not focus on their mental anguish. If you are considering a pet, think about what type of pet would fit your lifestyle the best. You may have always wanted to get a puppy, but are you ready to house train it and be there to walk it when it needs to be walked? If you choose to find a pet, be sure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. You and your pet should have a happy and safe space to coexist in at all times.

Take a Vacation

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If stress in your daily life is what is getting you down, consider getting away for a bit. You will enjoy planning the time away, taking it, and then organizing your memories after the fact. Go somewhere that you have never been before for a little extra adventure. Remember always to be safe and travel with a friend or a group to be sure that nothing terrible happens to you.

Sleep!

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We are sure that you have heard it already, but we are going to say it again. You need to get your sleep for improved mental and physical health. Consistently skimping on sleep is an unhealthy habit that many people pride themselves on. When you sleep, your frontal cortex can refresh, kind of like when the flash drive in your computer is deleted when you turn it off. Having too much built up will drag you down and won’t be as good at problem-solving and remembering day to day things. Refresh your mind and experience additional health benefits by getting 6-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis.

Eating Healthier

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We can all eat more healthfully. It is just too easy to grab a bag of chips or a quick burger when you are in a rush and feeling hungry. Junk food does nothing to improve mood because it has minimal nutrients and often a lot of sugar and fats that we do not need. Consciously making an effort to eat more healthfully will make you feel better because your body will be getting the nutrients it needs to fight off sickness and operate at its best. If you know you are going to be in a rush pack some carrots, celery sticks, or a protein bar to tide you over until you can prepare yourself a good meal.

Write Out Your Goals

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Pick a goal and chop it up into smaller easily attainable steps. When you complete a step, check it off or scratch it out on your list. Making your goals realistically achievable by taking small steps will improve your outlook on your life.

Work on Something You are Good At

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If a daunting task is getting you down start off by doing parts of the task that you know you are good at and work your way on to the harder pieces. Doing this will boost your self-confidence in working on the parts of the task that you’re not so thrilled about.

Just Smile

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Sometimes this is harder than it sounds, but if you make an effort to smile when the going gets rough, you will get through the harder times much easier. By smiling, you will trick your brain into thinking you are happy and the rest will follow along.

Do Something Nice

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You can make this as hard or easy a task as you want. You can sign up to volunteer your time, or you can do a favor for a friend. Any way you choose to do this, it will cheer both you and the person you are helping up. Sharing joy is one of the best ways to refocus your mind on the better things in life.

Spend Time with Friends

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Spending time with people that care about you can be uplifting. Even just sitting and letting them talk about their problems can help you to see that you are not alone. Make plans to enjoy a meal, take a walk, or have coffee with one of your friends today. You will be glad that you did!

Get Results

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Work on a small, simple task that will give immediate results to lift your mood. Organize your spice cabinet, fold your clothes, or sock drawer. The great quick results will give you a sense of accomplishment and get you feeling good for the rest of the day!

Get an Older Relative of Friend to tell you a Story

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The older people in our lives always have such great stories to tell. Most of the time they will not share them unless you ask. Call up or visit someone in your life that would enjoy sharing a story with you. It will be a gratifying experience for both of you.

Go Virtual Window Shopping

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Remember how much fun you had window shopping on a lazy Sunday? Now you can do that online. Go to your favorite online store and fill your cart up. After you have had your fun picking out the best new spring outfits go to another store and do it again. Virtual window shopping is just as much fun as regular window shopping, of course, you can do that too!

Start a new Hobby

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The key here is to keep it simple. Start a new hobby such as knitting, learning to strum a guitar or cooking. Do your best not to go out and expect to become a master chess player in a week. Pick something fun that will keep your mind active and has you enjoying your day in no time!

Now you have some good ideas on ways to improve your mental health. Get out there and enjoy life!

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21 Tips To Go Plastic Free This Month

things that matter

21 Tips To Go Plastic Free This Month

Plastic is poison for our planet and there’s no better proof than the piles and piles of garbage polluting our oceans and landfills across the globe. While no one person can possibly save the planet from plastic in one day, we can all do our part to help protect the planet from the poisonous plastic that takes so long to degrade. Making the switch to biodegradable, using plastic-free products and reusing everything are small changes you can make to protect the planet from the damaging effects of plastic. Here are 21 ways to go plastic-free this month.

1. Use Canvas Bags Instead of Plastic Bags.

Instagram – Credit: @shop.canvasco

Use canvas totes instead of plastic bags. This Instagram user keeps a few tote bags in her car and uses them for nearly everything. They’re a great alternative to plastic bags and you can use them over and over again.

2. Get a Bamboo Toothbrush.

Instagram – Credit: @queen_bunny_kat

Instead of getting yet another plastic toothbrush, order yourself a bamboo toothbrush, which can help cut down on plastic use and waste.

3. Buy Milk in a Glass Bottle

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Twitter – Credit: @alexiskeech

Most milk comes in those one-gallon plastic containers and the waste from those containers is wreaking havoc on our planet, which is why making the switch to glass milk bottles is recommended. You can’t go wrong when you’re saving the Earth!

4. Swap Out Your Body Spray.

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Tons of body spray cans are made with plastic on the tops. To go completely plastic-free, try switching your body spray to an eco-friendly brand you can be proud of.

5. Bamboo Your Cotton Swabs.

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Cotton swabs can take forever to degrade naturally, which is why it’s best to ditch the ones with plastic handles and hop on the bamboo bandwagon. Bamboo cotton swabs are much more biodegradable than plastic ones.

6. Shop at Plastic-Free Shops.

Twitter – Credit: @wastenotlife

A number of plastic-free stores and pop-up shops have begun appearing across the country. Do your part by shopping at stores committed to ending plastic consumption. Every dollar you spend is a vote for or against plastic.

7. Use Refillable Water Bottles and Filling Stations.

Instagram – Credit: @myflowater

Plastic water bottles are crippling the planet and this could be a potential solution to the problem. Bring your own water bottle and fill it up at a Flo Water filling station. This helps cut down on plastic tremendously. My Flo Water has taken great strides to help people eliminate plastic bottle waste.

8. Keep on Sippin’…Through the Same Straw.

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Plastic straws are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to plastic pollution. Consider reusable straws instead of plastic straws. Bring one with you whenever you go out to eat and inform the staff that you won’t be needing a plastic straw.

9. Replace the Blades on Your Razor.

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Instead of using single-use, disposable razors, opt instead for a reusable razor that allows you to change the blades instead of throwing the whole thing away. Disposable razors are made of mostly plastic and they’re only hurting the environment.

10. Get Pretty Without Plastic.

Twitter – Credit: @FHCCosmetics

Cosmetics companies are notorious for using tons of plastic in their packaging. From the plastic tubes used for mascara to the plastic used to contain the concealer – and don’t forget the additional plastic used to prevent tampering. You’ve got a full-on plastic-palooza. Ditch those companies for one that cares about the environment.

11. Use a Bamboo Dish Brush.

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Washing the dishes doesn’t have to involve grabbing a traditional dish wand (made mostly of plastic) or a sponge made with plastic materials. Get yourself a bamboo dish cleaning brush. Your planet will thank you.

12. Get a Bar of Shampoo.

Twitter – Credit: @TweetTheCoach

You read that right – a bar of shampoo. A bar (as opposed to a bottle) of shampoo helps cut down on plastic by avoiding it in the packaging. It may sound silly at first, but it’s actually a small step in helping to save the environment.

13. Get a Tin of Shaving Soap.

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Shaving cream containers often contain plastic lids that only contribute to the plastic pollution problem. The next time you find yourself shopping for shaving cream, consider switching to a plastic-free brand like the one mentioned here, which uses tins instead of aluminum cans and plastic lids.

14. Invest in a Reusable Coffee Cup.

Twitter – Credit: @Starbucks

Coffee lids are one of the top offenders when it comes to plastic pollution. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, grab yourself a reusable coffee cup and either make your coffee at home or bring your cup with you when you go out to get coffee. You’ll help eliminate unnecessary waste from all those pesky coffee lids. You can also choose a coffee place with biodegradable lids (if one exists in your area).

15. Get a Plastic Lunch Pail.

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A tin lunch pail is not only reusable but when it comes time to throw it away, you’ll have peace of mind knowing it won’t be polluting the planet for hundreds of years before finally decomposing.

16. Don’t use plastic wrapped toilet paper.

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Who Gives A Crap is an awesome choice to switch that plastic-wrapped toilet paper to paper-wrapped rolls. Besides, 50% of their profit goes towards building toilets!

17. Get Your Gum Sans Plastic.

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That’s right. Most chewing gum on the market contains plastic. When you pick up your favorite brand of gum, you’re likely chewing on plastic, among other ingredients. Probably where the idea that gum takes seven years to digest comes from. Finding a plastic alternative like the one above can be accomplished with a quick Google or social media search.

18. Go to Plastic-Free Farmer’s Markets.

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Instead of a trip to the grocery store where plastic bags run rampant, head to your local farmer’s market instead. Farmer’s markets typically provide you with bags or containers to carry your purchases, but many are doing away with plastic containers altogether and going completely plastic free. Find one in your area and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies and put plastic in the past.

19. Use Compost Food Bags.

Twitter – Credit: @@MaisticBioGroup 

Maistic Bio Group sells compostable food bags and a full range of other products designed to help eliminate plastic waste. This includes kitchen cleaning tools like the bio scrubber and a hemp scrubber.

20. Sip Your Tea Plastic Free.

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Tea bags are traditionally made with food-grade plastic (which – alarmingly – not a lot of people know). So if you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative, try tea bags made from bananas or other biodegradable materials. Because who really wants to dunk a plastic bag in their tea?

21. Grab a box of Plastic-Free Feminine Products.

Instagram – Credit: @plasticfreemillenial

Feminine hygiene products are made with plastic in the product as well as the packaging. Not only are traditional feminine products made with plastic, but they’re also loaded with chemicals that aren’t great for your body. Think about making the switch to an eco-friendly feminine product brand. NatraCare offers plastic-free liners as well as plastic-free packaging. Win-win.

You might have believed plastic is so ingrained in our lives that we can’t possibly continue modern life without it. But actually, plastic is a detriment to the survival of the planet. We all need to do our part to eliminate plastic waste and protect the environment. Hopefully, you’ve learned some things that can help you make the transition to living a plastic-free life. One step at a time is all it takes.