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How to Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care This Christmas Season

How to Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care This Christmas Season

How do you squeeze self-care into this holiday season?

Christmas is a joyful holiday that many of us look forward to, but it’s also a busy season. It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic rush of buying gifts, cooking, and going to parties—so much so that we often neglect ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let Christmas overwhelm and exhaust us each year instead of filling us up. This Christmas, try giving yourself the gift of self-care to ensure that you’re able to relax. Here are a few self-care ideas you can make a priority this season.

Try not to overcommit yourself.

It’s easy to feel like the Christmas parties and events—many of which you may need to cook or decorate for—never end. One of the best things you can do for yourself this holiday season is to not overcommit yourself. Learn to say no. You don’t need to feel obligated to go to every event you’re invited to. You can also save yourself hours in the kitchen by buying a mix or premade dish for some of the parties you are attending. This will save you a lot of time and stress when preparing for events, allowing you to enjoy them more and lowering your overall stress levels.

Additionally, the gift of self-care means not being afraid to ask for help when you need it. Ask a family member or friend to come over and help clean, decorate, or simply watch the kids while you get things done or take a breather. A little help goes a long way; it’ll lighten your load considerably and may even help make the tasks you still have to do more enjoyable.

Practice taking belly breaths.

Belly breathing is a stress-reduction exercise that essentially tricks you into feeling relaxed. Studies show that breathing exercises like belly breathing lower your heart rate and blood pressure and reduce anxiety. You can practice belly breathing anywhere, so it’s a good way to quickly lower your stress levels when you feel them spiking. Many people also use belly breathing as a regular morning routine to help them start off their day on the right foot.

Drink water throughout the day.

When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. If you let yourself get dehydrated, however, you’ll likely notice that you’re not as productive—even if you don’t realize why. This is because dehydration can make you more tired and can cause headaches and dizziness. Drinks like soda or coffee might give you a temporary energy boost, but they’ll stain your teeth over time. Water is great at hydrating your body and doesn’t come with any downsides; it’s low-calorie and actively helps your body to fight cavities.

Stock up on easy-to-grab healthy snacks.

When you’re in a rush, it often seems easier to grab a candy bar or fast food for a quick snack. Eating too much of these foods, however, is bad for your body and your teeth; they can trigger acne breakouts, cause you to gain weight, and increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these foods occasionally, but it’s far healthier for you to make a habit of snacking on fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body, and crunchier varieties will actively help clean plaque off your teeth as you eat them. They’ll also provide a longer-lasting energy boost than sugar—with no nasty crash when your energy runs out. Most fruits and vegetables are just as portable as junk food, so simply take a few seconds before you head out the door to shove an apple or a few carrots into your bag before you leave the house. If you make this a habit and a gift of self-care, you’ll likely notice a significant difference in your overall health and energy levels.

Set aside time for yourself.

No matter how much you have on your to-do list this Christmas season, it’s important to set aside at least a little bit of time for yourself. If you can, it’s a good idea to do this every day, even if some days you’re only able to spare five minutes for yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much stress will melt away with just a few minutes of genuine relaxation. Take this time to do something you enjoy. Read a good book, watch your favorite TV show, or take a long, relaxing soak in the bath. You may even want to start up a new hobby—whatever will help you relax and take your mind off everything.

Go for a walk outside.

Staying active can be hard when you’re busy—especially when it’s cold outside. Getting a moderate amount of exercise each day, however, is important for both your physical and mental health — and can be considered the gift of self-care. It will help you fight off cabin fever, eat Christmas sweets with a little less guilt, and it’s a good way to soak up the sun for essential vitamin D. When you don’t get enough vitamin D, you’re more likely to feel depressed, so a walk in the sunshine might help dispel the infamous winter gloom that so many of us experience. It’s also essential for keeping your immune system strong and your bones and teeth healthy.

Keep a travel toothbrush in your car or bag.

If you’re constantly on the move during the holiday season, it might be a good idea to keep a toothbrush in your car or bag. It helps ensure that you give your oral health the attention it needs—no matter where you are. When you skip brushing your teeth to make it to an appointment on time, you’ll have the tools to brush them as soon as you get a chance. This will help prevent cavities and curb bad breath; you won’t have to worry that the bad taste in your mouth is announcing itself to everyone at a Christmas party or work event.

Make the time to visit the dentist.

Giving yourself the gift of self-care is about slowing down and taking care of yourself—mentally and physically. One of the ways you should take the time to care for yourself this Christmas season is by checking up on your oral health. The holidays can be pretty busy, but the time that you have off work or school often makes it a perfect chance to visit Dr. Farless. Regular dental visits save you money in the long run by ensuring that Dr. Farless can catch cavities or gum disease early, and they help to keep your entire body healthier.

Christmas is often a busy but enjoyable time centered around family and friendship, but it can be easy to let a full schedule overwhelm you. Taking just a few minutes each day to focus on self-care, being careful not to take on too many obligations, and keeping an eye on your health can make all the difference—helping the stress to melt away so that you can enjoy all that Christmas has to offer.

7 Life-Changing Benefits of Being Kind

7 Life-Changing Benefits of Being Kind

Being kind is good for you and everyone else.

When you’re kind, you develop more friendships than when you’re not. When you give kindness, you tend to receive kindness back, as well and this is one of the many benefits of being kind.

These are some benefits of kindness that you may have already predicted (or maybe not). But did you know that when you are kind, you boost your body’s levels of serotonin production and lower inflammation?

Science is finding more and more ways our mental and physical health impact each other. Here are a few science-backed benefits of being kind.

1. Kindness boosts your immune system.

Oxytocin, our brain’s feel-good hormone, reduces inflammation. Inflammation is linked to all kinds of diseases in the body, including diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, and migraines. Even a little kindness boosts our body’s natural oxytocin levels. So don’t wait for someone else to show kindness to you; you can boost your own oxytocin by being kind to others.

2. Being kind is also good for your heart.

Oxytocin, which we now know is boosted by being kind, also expands blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. That’s why it’s sometimes known as the cardioprotective hormone.

Just like damaging behaviors can be addictive, positive habits can be addictive, too. Once our body finds a source of oxytocin, it doesn’t forget it. Kindness is one addictive habit you can start that will be appreciated by your heart, immune system, and more!

3. Kindness can reduce anxiety.

Social anxiety can feel debilitating or even paralyzing. Even as we try to learn social skills and the right way to make small talk, anxiety can jump in at the last minute with reasons why what we’re about to say will be the wrong thing.

So we clam up.

Instead of thinking about how you feel, think about how someone else might be feeling and try to brighten their day. If this advice sounds easier said than done, you’re probably right! It’s hard for those of us whose anxiety sabotages every attempt to be kind. But those who matter will notice the effort. While you’re waiting for them to come around, let the knowledge that you’re treating others the way you’d want to be treated calm your social fears.

One way to let kind acts garner your self-confidence is to plan something out ahead of time that won’t require you to think on the spot. Text ahead and ask what you can bring to an event. Bring allergen-free cookies. Comment on the achievement of your host/hostess or someone at the event. If there are small children, bring a small gift or book.

4. Being kind helps you build your village.

Kindness always comes back, just like other emotions and characteristics, like hate, love, friendliness, spite, maliciousness, humor, and generosity.

Kindness comes back in a way that helps you build a network of humans that all of us are bound to need at some point. It’s the people who become our village. We all go through hard times when we don’t feel like we’re doing enough for the challenges around us. If you’re lucky enough to have a strong network of friends, you’re less likely to bear your burdens alone.

5. Kindness gives you a sense of control.

We instinctively feel resentful of people who push our buttons and cause us to lose our temper or our calm nature.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we start to feel a loss of control or mental stability around these people. Deep down, we know nobody else should be able to control our mood. When we find the resolve to act with kindness, we gain the self-respect that comes from not letting other people rattle us.

Sometimes certain people put us in impossible psychological binds, and there’s no right way to respond to these people. It’s best to avoid these people but still continue being kind on your way out.

6. Kindness gives you a break.

One of the biggest problems with anxiety and stress is that they don’t give our brains a break. When we focus on the joy we are bringing to someone else, we give our brains a much-needed break from figuring out our own problems. This is one of the amazing benefits of being kind.

This break is similar to the kind of brain break we gain from meditation, a good cardio session, a healthy sleep, or engaging in relaxation or art. We give the analytical, thinking, or “left” side of our brain a rest, and we instead engage the creative and feeling side of our brain. In doing this, we find that our consciousness is eased, and our “thinking” brain can operate with a little more ease.

By focusing on someone else’s happiness, we forget about our problems for a while. And that alone is enough to give us a little boost. This is truly one of the “secret” benefits of being kind not many people realize.

7. Kindness is what we all need.

We all need as much kindness as we can get. We all need to be extended grace for our shortcomings. We all need thoughtfulness in our times of need. And no matter how many friends we might have, we can always use another.

If you need a little more convincing about the value of kindness, or even some inspiration, check out “24 Stories About the Touching Kindness of Strangers That’ll Make You Tear Up.”

Then, be on the lookout for ways you can show a little kindness. And remember to notice and show gratitude when others do the same for you.

How to Make the Most Out of Winter in Greensboro, NC

How to Make the Most Out of Winter in Greensboro, NC

Greensboro, NC, is a great place to have fun all year long.

Spring, summer, and fall are all full of activities you can do alone, with your significant other, or as a family—festivals, craft fairs, and concerts are easy to track down almost any weekend you have spare time. When the chill sets in, however, it can be hard to think of activities to do. Thankfully, Greensboro is a lively city with plenty to do during the winter. Here are some ideas that will help you to avoid feeling cooped up or bored this winter in Greensboro.

Spend time outside.

Ideally, everyone should get 10 to 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight each day; this helps you get the vitamin D that you need, and can help fight off the winter gloom that many of us know so well. So when it’s not too cold, try to get outside for a little bit. You can go on a walk in your neighborhood or you can do more involved activities, like skiing or hiking. The mountains are beautiful at any time of year, especially when they’re capped with snow. You’ll be able to enjoy nature and get some exercise, and sitting down with a mug of hot cocoa at the end of the day will feel that much more relaxing. Getting outside and being active will also go a long way towards fighting off cabin fever.

Have a game night.

When it’s too cold to do anything outside during winter in Greensboro, a great way to keep yourself entertained is to have a game night. There are so many great games out there nowadays—you don’t have to stick to typical board games if you don’t want to! There are many games available that will get you up and moving, competing in new ways, or even working together towards a goal. Whether you’re a single college student or married with kids, a few unique games and good company makes for a wonderful evening.

Regardless of who you play with, a game night is a great way to make the most of being stuck inside where it’s warm; it’s hard to be bored when you’re busy trying to figure out which of your friends is bluffing. It’s also a great chance to spend time with your friends or family, as laughter has a way of bringing you closer—even if you’re mercilessly trying to crush each other to win the game.

Try ice skating.

It’s easy to see why ice skating is a popular activity whenever it’s winter in Greensboro. You don’t have to be good at ice skating to enjoy it—it’s fun whether you’re speeding around the rink at breakneck speeds or falling down every few minutes. And while it’s certainly exercise, it’s much more entertaining than going to the gym. It’s refreshing to get out of the house and do something that is both active and fun. Additionally, there are plenty of ice skating rinks to choose from; if you’d rather be out of the wind, you can choose an indoor ice skating rink instead of an outdoor one.

Clean out your closet.

This isn’t a particularly fun suggestion, but it’s a great idea to clean out your closet when it’s winter in Greensboro —and perhaps your dresser—during the slower winter months. You’ll be able to get rid of clothes that you don’t wear anymore, clearing out space for new clothes and keeping your house looking neat. Listening to music or a podcast while you work will help you stay entertained as you sort through your clothes. It might be a little work, but you can go to bed with a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it’ll be done when spring arrives, so you won’t have to spend a warm spring afternoon stuck inside.

Make a gingerbread house.

If you have kids, they’ll absolutely love making a gingerbread house together. You can either bake the gingerbread cookies yourself or you can buy them to save yourself some time. No matter what you do, making a gingerbread house is going to make a mess, but it’s a fun family activity that allows you to spend time with your kids and encourages them to be creative. Don’t forget to find the time to visit your family dentist even during winter in Greensboro, though, as eating too much of the gingerbread house can cause problems with your / your kids’ teeth.

Tour the Christmas lights.

If you love looking at beautiful or over-the-top Christmas lights, Greensboro is a great place to be. There are many fantastic places in town you can go to look at the lights—all without spending a dime! To be honest, Christmas is an expensive season, so finding an inexpensive Christmas activity can feel like a godsend. You can view the lights for as long as you want, and you can always find somewhere to warm up if you get too cold.

Go sledding.

When we get enough snowfall, sledding is almost a requirement in Greensboro. There are so many perfect sledding hills—even if you don’t have a hill to sled down in your yard, many local parks, like Brown Bark Park, have plenty of hills to choose from. Your children will be ecstatic at the chance to go sledding, and it’s a family activity that everyone will enjoy. Plus, your kids will likely exhaust themselves with so much excitement, gifting you a nice, quiet afternoon even if the kids have the day off school. If you don’t have a sled, don’t worry. Large plastic lids, boogie boards, and even cardboard covered with a trash bag will do just fine in a pinch.

Read a good book.

As we get older, life has a way of getting busier. If you used to love reading but haven’t had the time or energy to sit and read like you once did, take advantage of your time off during the holidays. Allow yourself to sit, relax, and read a good book. It’s a simple, easy way to relax and enjoy yourself, regardless of the weather outside.

While the cold weather can make you feel bored and cooped up inside, there are plenty of ways you can make the most of this winter. When you’d rather be inside, you can use the chance to relax or spend time with your family. If you’re fighting cabin fever, however, Greensboro has plenty of activities for you—indoors and outdoors—from hiking or ice skating to looking at Christmas lights. Regardless of the weather, you can make the most of this winter by exploring the city despite the cold, and spending your time indoors growing closer to the people you care about.

The Best (and Worst) Sweet Treats for Your Teeth This Halloween

The Best (and Worst) Sweet Treats for Your Teeth This Halloween

Are your favorite treats playing tricks on your teeth?

There’s something about fall weather and the quickly approaching holiday season that tends to spark a higher consumption of sweets, especially around Halloween.
Sugar and dental health aren’t the best of friends, and while it’s easy to tell yourself to just not eat candy, this isn’t a very realistic approach. Instead of trying to avoid candy altogether, focus more on keeping the sugar binges in check and indulging in sweet treats that aren’t as bad for your teeth.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst options, so you can keep your teeth healthy all season long. read more…

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