Tag Archives: rest

Meditation Recommendations

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Meditation Recommendations

Hi everyone! Something that I really enjoy doing is going to a meditation class offered by my local library. The woman who runs it, Joann Xi, is the founder of the Center for Health, Happiness, and Chan. This organization promotes a mindful and contemplative lifestyle and teaches the art of meditation to those in the greater Akron area. During class this week, Joann gave us a paper listing some helpful books, apps, podcasts, and websites that she recommends and I thought that I would share it with all of you. And, if you are interested in seeing Joann in action, check out my blog post which features her YouTube videos. She’s amazing!

From Eastern Traditions:

Books:

  1. The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka by William Hart
  2. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  3. True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  4. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa
  5. Bringing Home the Dharma by Jack Kornfield
  6. The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron

Podcasts:

  1. Insight Hour Podcast with Joseph Goldstein
  2. Ram Dass Hear and Now
  3. Heart Wisdom Podcast with Jack Kornfield

Websites:

  1. https://www.secularbuddhism.org/
  2. https://www.lionsroar.com/

From Western Traditions:

Books:

  1. Invitation to Love by Thomas Keating
  2. Intimacy with God by Thomas Keating
  3. Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
  4. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  5. Fully Present by Susan L Smalley and Diana Winston
  6. Mindful Work by David Gelles

Audio Books:

  1. Going on Being by Mark Epstein
  2. Going to Pieces without Falling Apart by Mark Epstein

Podcasts:

  1. 10% Happier with Dan Harris

Apps:

  1. Headspace (Westernized version of eastern meditation practices)

YouTube:

  1. Zen Den
  2. Cosmic Kids

Websites:

  1. https://www.cac.org/
  2. https://www.couragerenewal.org

Integration of East/West:

Books:

  1. Living Zen Loving God by Ruben L.F. Habito
  2. The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale
  3. The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts

I hope that some of these wonderful options to help introduce you to meditation or further your practices prove to be beneficial to those who need it. Once a skeptic, I truly believe in the power of meditation and the amazing work that Joann is doing, so please enjoy!

Who else participates in meditation? What are some ways that help you to relax? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Meditation Station

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Meditation Station

Hi there! Something that I’ve been enjoying a lot lately is meditation. One of the libraries in my area has been hosting the two founders of a local nonprofit organization Health, Happiness, & Chan to teach meditation classes to the public. I have been going since the spring time, and found it to be really difficult. Dare I say, I even found it to be completely ineffective.

Then, we had a hiatus for a few months until the summer session began. Upon returning to classes, I had a total turn around during our hour together. I was able to complete the entire forty minute process when, before, I couldn’t even finish five minutes. It felt awesome and I left class feeling so uplifted and accomplished.

Unfortunately, but fortunately, one of our two amazing teachers (Both of whom are professors at Akron U.) has accepted a position at Harvard and is no longer with us. But, our other guru, Joanne is simply the best. I have such a strong connection with her and it was such a delight to be welcomed back to class by her with a huge hug.

Joanne has quite possibly the most beautiful voice known to mankind and, after all of us insisting on it for months, she has finally made a YouTube channel! The quality of her first few videos is not the best, but there will certainly be more to come so I wanted to share them with all of you, anyways. Joanne has such a gentle, kind, and nurturing spirit and you can literally feel it just by hearing her speak. So, subscribe and enjoy as she walks you through all different types of meditation!

Who else practices meditation? What are some of your meditation tips? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

7 Ways To Stop Stress

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7 Ways To Stop Stress

Is stress starting to get you down? Long-term stress can have lots of negative effects – it can damage your sleep quality, create achy muscles, make your skin more reactive to spots and rashes, raise your blood pressure, and bring on serious conditions such as heart disease and strokes. Taking steps to reduce stress could save your mind and body. Here are seven ways to counteract stress:

Take a hot bath:

Nothing beats a hot bath for helping you to relax. The hot water is great for your skin and can help your muscles relax, whilst pumping your body with feel good endorphins that help to rid it of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s the best way to unwind after a stressful day.

Get more sleep:

A lack of sleep could lead to stress, which could be affecting your sleep, creating a vicious cycle. Going to bed earlier and catching up on sleep could help you to break this cycle and destress. If you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep, consider changing your bedtime activities – staring at bright screens or eating lots of food can make it harder for us to get to sleep, so quit these activities an hour before bed. You may also be able to up the comfort of your bedroom with better bedding, sleep-inducing scents, and black out blinds.

Listen to music:

Listening to music that you like can release endorphins that can help you to overcome stress. Studies have found that calmer music and classical are most effective at combating stress, however, louder music may appeal to some people – it’s all a matter of taste.

Exercise:

Physical exercise also releases endorphins that can combat stress. It doesn’t matter what activity you do, so long as it helps to get your blood pumping, igniting those feel good hormones and flushing out the cortisol. This could be a long workout at the end of the day or a short five minute burst of HIIT when you don’t have the time.

Book a holiday:

A holiday in the sun could be just what you need to get away from the causes of your stress. Hotels like the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Villahermosa could offer the spa treatment you need on a budget. Cut yourself off from work if you need to or take a weekend away without the kids and get some much needed R&R.

Have a digital detox:

Much of our stress nowadays is technology based, whether it’s work emails or social media pressures or simply the strain of having to stare at a screen all day. There are many resorts and hotels that are now being marketed for this purpose such as these retreats at It’s Time To Log Off. Take a digital detox and watch your stress dwindle away.

Try meditating:

Meditation is also great for reducing stress and can be something that you can do at any time throughout the day. Finding some time to yourself, closing your eyes and freeing your mind of the things worrying you can help you to gain better perspective and reduce your cortisol levels.

Stress sucks. Take a deep breath, get yourself in the zone, and reduce your stress levels with the above tips.

Featured Image By: Flickr

Getting The Gear: For Outdoor Adventures

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Getting The Gear: For Outdoor Adventures

Nature enthusiasts, outdoor junkies, and those that just love a good hike in the woods rejoice, as spring is just lurking around the corner. Outdoor excursions in the snow can be fun and all, but the sunshine sure is nice! Anyone who enjoys an afternoon in the great outdoors knows that the company they spend it with (or their solitude) is essential in a pleasant day. But the gear that you choose is also important in making your time outside all the better. Let’s discuss further:

Trekking Poles:

I think everyone can admit to grabbing a huge stick off of the ground and going full Gandolf from Lord Of The Rings during a nature walk. Who doesn’t love yielding a great big stick and trudging through the terrain? It sure makes me feel majestic, anyways. But if you want the best of the best in trekking poles (AKA nothing that you found off of the ground.), then you might want to consider a few things. Can it fold? Is it lightweight? Will it help you get from Point A to Point B with some sweet relief on your joints? Find your best fit, and hit the trails!

Knee Sleeves:

Hiking the paths is no walk in the park, especially if you deal with pain from arthritis, injury, or occasional soreness. Although knee sleeves don’t protect your knees from injury, they do offer compression and support. They might be just the extra boost that you need to climb the highest mountain.

Dry Bags:

During water activities like kayaking or rafting or even if a random downpour drenches you during a trek, keeping your goods dry is a major concern. You can’t take pictures of the gorgeous scenery with a waterlogged phone or camera, after all. Dry bags offer airtight protection to keep water, water everywhere out and your possessions dry as a bone. Need to take a breather? Dry bags are also inflatable! Hello, cat nap pillow.

Rest And Relaxation:

After a long day outside, a relaxing sit down at sunset is a must. Grab a cold lemonade, kick off your shoes, and take a seat on a sturdy, wooden porch swing. First of all, they’re just pure fun and they add the sweetest hint of Southern charm to any home. Let the cool breeze blow your hair as you rock back and forth and congratulate yourself for a job well done on the trails.

Take full advantage of experiencing the great outdoors with the most helpful gear as you trek around Mother Earth. Of course, it won’t turn your next excursion into a walk in the park, but where’s the adventurous fun in that?!

Featured Image By: XPATMATT

Enjoying An At Home Spa Day

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Enjoying An At Home Spa Day

Many of us love the idea of heading to the spa for a day of total relaxation. Slipping on that white fluffy robe and slippers, indulging in a massage, a facial, a manicure, or pedicure. Lounging around on those beds reading a magazine and maybe enjoying a glass of champagne. It can be a girls’ dream day, but it can also be an expensive one. However, there is no reason why you can’t get the same level of relaxation at home from your very own bathroom.

There are simple things that you can change in your bathroom to make it feel more spa-like, and there are certainly bigger investments that you can make to improve how your bathroom looks. But every girl deserves a place to chill, and the throne room can be that little piece of heaven that you crave at the end of the day. Creating an at home spa experience isn’t all that difficult, so let’s discuss how to do just that:

Major Changes (If You Want!):

One of the biggest transformations that you can make to your bathroom, and also the most expensive way to achieve a new look, is to replace the bathroom entirely and fit a new suite. You could use this opportunity to change the layout and even consider something a little different like a free-standing bathtub – companies like Kardiel have a great selection! Whichever way you want to go, replacing your bathroom can be the ideal way to create an at home spa experience. While it can cost you a fair bit to remodel, it can also increase the value of your home, meaning the investment is never truly lost. Talk about a win/win!

Making Simple Updates:

If you don’t want to replace the whole bathroom, you could choose to update it in other ways. Changing the tiling you have on the floor, swapping the basin for a vanity unit, or painting the walls in a more neutral tone could really brighten up the bathroom area and change the way that it looks and feels. You don’t even have to be as extreme as getting the paint brush out, sometimes just investing in some new towels and colorful accessories or prints for the wall can give your bathroom the update that it needs.

Light All The Candles:

One of the great ways a spa can help you relax is because they have a clever use of low lighting, and one way to achieve that is through candle light. You could consider oil burners, which takes advantage of the light as well as an essential oil scent to help you relax even further. Lavender or eucalyptus are always good ones to consider. Candles also help to relax the mind, so having a nice warm bath by candle light could be the perfect remedy for a stressful day.

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 What’s your favorite candle scent?

Smartphone Savvy:

While you may be thinking that the last thing you want to be doing while relaxing in your bathroom is to be messing around on your phone, please reconsider! There are some great apps that you can download to recreate the sounds of a spa. Mood music or even listening to some guided meditation can be a great way for you to channel your thoughts and enjoy your R&R time.

DIY Treats:

Part of the spa experience is to enjoy a treatment or two, and while a massage might not be in the cards unless you have a willing partner, there are other treatments that you can easily do at home. You could consider putting on a face mask, which is a great way to deep clean your skin and pores, and adding a few slices of cucumber over your eyes might help you feel like you are actually at the spa. You could also give yourself a pedicure or manicure by filing and shaping your nails and adding a splash of color with some vanish. There are some great DIY beauty methods you could also try like coconut oil added to your hair for a conditioning treatment or creating a body scrub from coffee. You can find a ton of articles online full of ideas and recipes!

Pop Some Bottles:

Finally, whether you enjoy a glass of bubbles, your favorite wine or beer, or even just a hot chocolate or a good cup of tea, arm yourself with your favorite drink, put on your best robe, and get ready for a soothing evening in. Enjoy!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Making The Ultimate She Shed

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Making The Ultimate She Shed

Man caves have been around for decades. This space in one’s humble abode tends to be an attic room or a shed at the bottom of the garden. It’s always somewhere out of the way where the guy in your life can squirrel himself away and play with his train set, perfect his 1:16 replica of a spitfire, or enjoy some video games. But it’s not just guys who need some extra space to veg out for a bit. Check out some of these ideas for the ultimate woman cave AKA the she shed:

The Music Lover:

A she shed isn’t always sparkly, filled with love hearts, glitter, and pink. A woman cave is a space designated solely for you, a place that allows you to feel at your most comfortable and enjoy your hobbies. For the music lover, you may want to set up a high-quality sound system to play your old vinyl LPs or CDs. Build bespoke shelving to house your 1990s music collection. And for the organization lovers, of course you can alphabetize your collection!

If you love playing a musical instrument, soundproof the room and set up your drum kit, house your selection of bass guitars, or sing away to your heart’s content. Set up some recording equipment, too, if you want to gift everyone with your holiday music covers for Christmas!

Games Room:

It’s not just men that enjoy gadgets, gizmos, and games. While you may not be the most avid console player in the world, you still might like to partake in pool, poker, and board games. If you’re keen to get the girls over to enjoy your woman cave with you, why not investigate the best foosball tables on the market. This quick game of soccer conducted within a games table is fun, fast, and competitive. With your music playing, the drinks flowing, and great company, the addition of a foosball table, darts board, or pool table is a no-brainer.

Book Worm:

If you’re more into finding a little bit of seclusion away from even your closest pals, you may want a space that gives you some alone time. A cellar, attic, or she shed is your best bet to fully remove yourself from the stresses and strains of daily life. If you are an avid reader but find that life simply gets in the way of you getting lost in a good book, it’s time to find a retreat for your novel collection and get reading. Immersing yourself in a fine classic can be the best way to let go and remove yourself from reality, even if it’s just for a little while. Be sure to add a mini fridge for a glass of wine while you read!

It’s time to banish the stereotypical man cave and embrace the she shed, the woman cave, and the lady attic. It’s not just men that need their space, womankind does too. Locate that place within your home and get to building your cave to embrace your little slice of heaven.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Excessive But Enriched: Having A High Quality Of Life When You’re Too Busy

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Excessive But Enriched: Having A High Quality Of Life When You’re Too Busy

Many guides are making the rounds about living life to the fullest or having that perfect work/life balance. But, the fact of the matter is, that this is incredibly difficult for the vast majority of us. Especially when you think about parents who have more than one child and have things like family commitments in addition to working, it’s bound to have a major impact. There’s a lot of stress that can make an effect on their ability to live a proper life that has meaning, aside from their children. So, how can we all live a rich and fulfilling life when we are so busy all of the time? Here’s how:

Make Health Your Top Priority:

Even though we can work excessive hours and not feel like we have time to ourselves and our loved ones, if we address the mental and physical health aspects of our lives, it means we are better equipped to deal with these overarching stresses in our lives. It is such a cliché, but you are what you eat, and also people seldom make the connection between a bad diet and low mood. It’s best to think of your body like a car, you wouldn’t put the wrong fuel in your car, so why should you put the wrong fuel in your body? You may not even realize you have an intolerance of some sort, and there are plenty of online blood tests you can order to check if there’s anything you have a deficiency in. By getting your health back on an even keel, physically and mentally, it leaves you with more energy, which leaves you better prepared to make the most of what little time you have left during your week.

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Working out is a great stress reliever!

Leave Work Behind When You Leave The Office:

Even the busiest CEOs who work over 70 hours a week will tell you the importance of compartmentalizing your life in this respect. It’s easy for the mental baggage we take with us after we leave the office to hang around us and loom large in our minds, even if we’re not consciously thinking about it. Have a look at the Instagram of Chris Pivik, an entrepreneur with the busiest of careers. He still manages to get out and see the world despite his career. And the entrepreneur to end all entrepreneurs, Tony Robbins, will tell you about the value of a vacation to make lasting memories with your loved ones.

It’s these things that will replenish your emotional well being and leave you with a better outlook on the world. And, granted, a lot of us don’t take many vacations due to time constraints or lack of finances, but many businesses now are hot on the notion of flexi time, and this is something that you should take advantage of. It doesn’t do anybody any favors to get engrossed in your work outside of the office, especially if you have loved ones you rarely get to see. In this instance, it may be worth looking for a different career, one that leaves you feeling more fulfilled, so when you do go home, you have the satisfaction of feeling like you have achieved something throughout the course of your day.

The way to live an enriched life is not completely about tackling your work/life balance, but in feeling that you have a sense of emotional freedom. This is the key to you living a rich life when there are so many every day world pressures to get you down.

Featured Image By: Pexels