The Best COVID-19 Eye Protection

closeup photo of person

Medical experts previously recommended the use of facial masks and shields to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Recent guidelines also include eye protection for individuals who run an elevated risk of being exposed to the new coronavirus. The best eyewear options include face shields, goggles and prescription safety glasses that have facial cavity seals. Learn more about the most effective forms of eye protection against exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

ANSI Z87.1-Certified Safety Goggles

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend eye protection for healthcare workers and individuals who come into close contact with other occupants in buildings that have poor ventilation. Spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 typically occurs when aerosolized respiratory droplets come into contact with mucosal membranes in the nose and mouth. Eyes also have a similar mucosal lining and can provide an entry point for the new coronavirus.

Impact protection is a primary factor for the ANSI Z87.1 safety rating, but a “D3” marking on frames and lenses indicates that eyewear provides splash and droplet protection. Consider goggles made by a trusted personal protective equipment brand such as the Uvex Classic, Livewire or V-Maxx styles. Goggles with foam seals or rubber gaskets can limit opportunities for aerosolized respiratory particles to enter eyes in addition to direct contact.

Safety Glasses With Gaskets, Seals or Shields

woman in pink and white hijab

A standard pair of ANSI Z87.1-rated prescription safety glasses frames without a facial seal can protect wearers’ eyes from impact hazards but may not include splash and droplet protection. In order to prevent particles in the air or direct contact spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, you should look for safety glasses with a “D3” splash and droplet rating. This eyewear will probably feature gaskets or seals for a close fit.

Wiley X safety glasses such as the Airrage, Boss, Compass, Enzo and Gravity are all compatible with removable Facial Cavity seals. All of these styles also meet ANSI Z87.1 High Velocity and High Mass Impact standards and can accommodate prescription lenses within specified ranges of sphere and cylinder measurements. Other brands also make conventional frames that have removable side shields or permanent shields along the sides, top and bottom of lenses.

Full Coverage Face Shields

A face shield is a full-coverage solution that is intended to be worn with a cloth or particulate face mask. If you wear standard prescription glasses to improve your vision, you should be able to fit these frames under a face shield.  Face shields are effective for protecting your entire face from exposure to aerosolized respiratory particles and direct contact. This PPE functions as source control, but may not be as effective for protecting others unless you pair shields and masks.

Consider purchasing adjustable disposable face shields or TPE face shields. It is also possible to order headgear compatible with replaceable shields or visors. While a face shield is easy to position properly, this type of PPE may be less comfortable than a pair of properly fitted goggles or safety glasses paired with a mask. Fog can pose more of a problem with this full-coverage mode of protection and the combination of a shield and mask forces wearers to speak loudly to communicate.

These types of safety eyewear and facial PPE are effective for reducing the risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 through the mucosal lining of the eyes. Goggles rated for droplet and splash protection provide a close fit and can minimize fogging. If you require vision correction, you may want to upgrade to goggles or prescription safety glasses with facial cavity seals, gaskets or shields for complete eye coverage.

Heavy Metals in Your Baby Foods Cause Irreversible Brain Damage

selective focus photography of baby holding wooden cube

“Baby products used to hold a special position of public trust,” however, this is no longer the case. The House Oversight and Reform’s Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee released a report stating that baby foods are “tainted with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury. These toxic heavy metals are declared dangerous to human health, according to The Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization. Children and babies are most vulnerable to the effects of toxic heavy metals, and even low levels of exposure can cause “serious and often irreversible damage to brain development”.

Effects of exposure to toxic heavy metals

person wearing gray shirt putting baby on scale
  • Permanent decrease in IQ
  • Diminished future economic productivity
  • May danger infant neurological development and long term brain function

Where does toxic heavy metals come from?

brown farming equipment harvesting on rice field during daytime

Naturally occurring toxic heavy metals contribute to the unsafe levels of toxicity in baby products. Crop fields contain varying levels of toxic heavy metals in the soil, due to metal containing pesticides and ongoing industrial pollution. However food manufacturers may also voluntarily add ingredients high in toxic heavy metals such as vitamin / mineral pre-mix.

Following allegations of high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy requested internal documents and test results from seven of the largest manufacturers of baby food in the United States. Out of the seven, only four of the companies responded to their request, suggesting that companies (Walmart, Campbell, Sprout Organic Foods) had something to hide. Independent testing conducted confirmed that baby foods sold by these companies contain concerning levels of toxic metals, which is a huge problem as their products are marketed to babies as young as 4 months.

Toxic heavy metal results:

Arsenic, lead and cadmium was present in all baby foods from all responding companies, while Mercury was detected in baby food for the only responding company that tested for it. The results are multiples higher than the maximum allowable levels dictated by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the report by the subcommittee, test results far exceeded those limits and were “up to 91 times the arsenic level, up to 177 times the lead level, up to 69 times the cadmium level, and up to 5 times the mercury level, ” resulting in a higher level of contaminants.

Other things to look out for:

woman in teal tank top drinking milk from feeding bottle
  • Nurture (HappyBABY) created its own internal standard for toxic metals, which exceeds the FDA limit by 15%, while Hain (Earth’s Best Organic) exceeded its internal policies under the guise of “theoretical calculations”.
  • A secret slide presentation from Hain (Earth’s Best Organic) was ignored by the Trump Administration, which revealed that corporate policies test only ingredients and not final products. Inorganic arsenic in Hain baby foods were found to be “28%-93% higher in finished products. “
  • Food producers may be adding ingredients that have high levels of toxic heavy metals into their products.

Advisory:

kid sitting beside round cake close-up photography

Parents: To this day, there is no warning label on toxic heavy metals on baby products. The Subcommittee urges parents to keep up with the news and avoid baby products containing ingredients that test high in toxic heavy metals. (Check out our article on determining if diapers are toxic for your baby.)

Manufacturers: Manufacturers should take responsibility and label their products transparently, and to report the levels of toxic heavy metals on food labels. Furthermore, manufacturers should voluntarily find substitutes for ingredients that are high in toxic heavy metals.

FDA: The FDA should set maximum levels toxic heavy metals allowed across all forms of baby foods and make mandatory testing to ensure that baby food products adhere to FDA regulations.


References:

 “Leading baby food manufacturers knowingly sold products with high ….” 5 Feb. 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/04/health/baby-food-heavy-metal-toxins-wellness/index.html. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

 “Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead ….” https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-02-04%20ECP%20Baby%20Food%20Staff%20Report.pdf. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

 “Parents Erupt Over FDA Failure To Regulate Toxic Metals in Food ….” 28 Feb. 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/agenda/2021/02/28/fda-toxic-metals-food-471757. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

the Disappointing thing about good cosmetics…

Having been contributing to the 1Source blog, the platform has introduced me to the deeper side of the beauty industry, especially as a skincare junkie, I became more aware about the ingredients that I put onto my skin.

Using 1Source upload / scan, the revelation of ingredients leaves a long lasting impression about a product I use. And it certainly becomes disappointing when a product I really like has suspicious toxic chemicals.

Common toxic chemicals I find in good products are Phenoxyethanol and suspicious Colorants.

Example: Phenoxyethanol – How I personally use the app

To clarify, Phenoxyethanol is not a ‘bad’ chemical in skincare products. It’s a ‘great’ preservative and the best, for now – it replaced Formaldehyde, which to me looks like a sign that cosmetic brands are regularly finding / forming better and advanced chemicals for us.

Here is an excerpt of what Paula’s Choice (skincare and makeup focused site) had to say about Phenoxyethanol

‘Phenoxyethanol is a widely used synthetic preservative that has global approval for use in all cosmetic products in concentrations up to 1%’

‘The rest of the alarming studies are about using phenoxyethanol in full-strength or atypically high concentrations, not the amounts of 1% or less used in cosmetic products. Think of it as the difference between taking one sip of wine versus chugging several bottles at once!’

Hence approving and debunking the demonization of Phenoxyethanol.

However, the information 1Source Ingredients that provide about Phenoxyethanol should also not be ignored. As a science focused ingredient analyzer, 1Source’s ingredient information tab provides a summary of the ingredients and corresponding it to the potential risk index (PRI)

1Source’s PRI of Phenoxyethanol

Overall Phenoxyethanol has a rating of 5

‘Some blogs may claim that there is a link to ovarian cancer but the correlation has yet to be accepted by the scientific community as definitive…An alternative to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives’

And in the recent findings section. It has warnings and summary of scientific discoveries of the chemical, for example suggesting to not use it for new born babies and informing the ecotoxicity of the chemical.

Overall, the EU SCCS has classified phenoxyethanol as safe for use as a preservative with a maximum concentration of 1.0%. However, care should still be taken when using products with phenoxyethanol, given its potential as a skin irritant.’

Conscious Buying

So that’s how I use the 1Source app/site, it provides information that I find skincare focused sites seem to lack. I don’t only want to know if it would be good or bad for my skin. I want to know why it would be good or bad. I also like to know about the background of the ingredient more as a chemical substance rather than a name in an ingredient label on the back of a packaging. That, to me, is conscious buying.

I am in no way calling out other sites or am comparing 1Source to Paula’s Choice. Paula’s Choice is indeed reliable and informative, and of course, I will use it when it comes to choosing makeup and skincare products, as I use 1Source as well.

The Conspiracy of non-regulated chemicals

A few days ago, I came across a tiktok (unfortunately, I can’t find it anymore) where a user shows a list of chemicals that are banned in the EU for food / cosmetic uses that are fine in the USA.

From what I remember, he points out that the overall health of the European population tends to be better than that of the US is because the FDA is not as strict as the EU consumer regulations. He added that the reason is because unlike Europe which has freer healthcare and is seen like a social welfare, health care in the US is an economy or to be more accurate, a business of its own. The conspiracy is that if the unhealthy and toxic chemicals are banned, there would be less patients which threatens the economy of the country. 

Though, convincing. It doesn’t explain why some EU banned chemicals are in Hong Kong stores when public healthcare in Hong Kong is more similar to the EU rather than the USA.

According to Oliver Milman on the Guardian,  In cosmetics alone, the EU has banned or restricted more than 1,300 chemicals while the US has outlawed or curbed just 11.

Milman: ‘The clout of powerful industry interests, combined with a regulatory system that demands a high level of proof of harm before any action is taken, has led to the American public being routinely exposed to chemicals that have been rubbed out of the lives of people in countries such as the UK, Germany and France.

From this article, Asbestos was used as an example of the poor regulatory system of the US. ‘Asbestos exposure has long been known to cause deaths and illnesses but the substance is still not banned in the US. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to do so in 1989 only to be overturned by the federal court following a backlash from manufacturers.

In 1source, all types of Asbestos are labeled as a hazard. This substance has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

As much as it is fun to entertain the conspiracy. The fact is that the FDA in the USA is limited by law. According to them: FDA does not have the legal authority to approve cosmetics before they go on the market, although we do approve color additives used in them (except coal tar hair dyes)… FDA can take action against a cosmetic on the market if we have reliable information showing that it is adulterated or misbranded.

As I read this, I realized that it isn’t just makeup or skincare products that is not strictly checked. This applies to tattoo inks as they are categorized as cosmetics to the FDA too. The pattern becomes more apparent. ‘A report by Bioelements and Health Unit Italian Ministry for Health Roma categorized the heavy metals into different colorants and their health effects were reported to vary from mild irritations to harming of the brain.’

(click here to read more about the dangers of tattoo inks)

Products I use that I found to have ‘toxic’ or banned chemicals

Disclaimer: this section of the article is to show the products that I used that surprised me with it’s ingredient compounds. The performance and my “love” for the product has no relevance to this section.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub

This includes the colorant CI 73360 a.k.a Red 30 which is an Environmental Hazard.

Yves Saint Laurent TOP SECRETS Instant Moisture Glow

This includes the colorant CI 14700 a.k.a Red 4. This substance has been prohibited by the European Commission for use in cosmetic products.

FENTY BEAUTY Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer – Shimmering Rose Nude)

This includes the colorant CI 15850 a.k.a Red 6. This substance has been prohibited by the European Commission for use in cosmetic products.

Superdrug Vitamin E Skincare Gentle Micellar Solution

It says Bronopol – May release Formaldehyde under aqueous conditions, such as contacting with water or in humid conditions, which is quite an eye opener.

It also has Benzophenone-4. This compound is categorized in WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2018 – Group 2B

Honorable mentions of products that I like which are 1Source acceptable

Visible Ingredients SPRAY MASK



Overall Rating: 1

La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Soothing Repair Moisturizer

Overall rating: 3

Tony Moly Egg Pore Blackhead Steam Balm

Overall rating: 4

Vichy Mineral 89

Overall rating: 4

Conclusion:

Comparing my consumer behavior now to before, it’s empowering to see how more aware I became with the products I use. Buying consumer goods is in my power even if I am to choose to buy a product with a chemical to look out for, I would at least know now.


References:

 “Formaldehyde – 1Source – 1Source.com.” https://1source.com/ingredients/formaldehyde. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

“phenoxyethanol | Paula’s Choice.” https://www.paulaschoice.com/ingredient-dictionary/preservatives/phenoxyethanol.html. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

“Phenoxyethanol – 1Source.” https://1source.com/ingredients/phenoxyethanol. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

“US cosmetics are full of chemicals banned by Europe – why? | US ….” 22 May. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/22/chemicals-in-cosmetics-us-restricted-eu. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

“Asbestos – 1Source – 1Source.com.” https://1source.com/ingredients/asbestos?lang=eng. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

“Cosmetics Q&A: Why are cosmetics not FDA-approved? | FDA.” 24 Aug. 2020, https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/resources-consumers-cosmetics/cosmetics-qa-why-are-cosmetics-not-fda-approved. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

 “Tattoo Taboo: Think before you Ink – 1Source.” https://1source.com/holistic/tattoo-inks-what-you-should-worry-about. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Are Sugar Substitutes Better Than Sugar?

six teal icing cupcakes with sprinkles

Have you ever wondered how “sugar free” beverages or “diet” candies still taste sweet? Sugar substitutes such as artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols are replacing sugar and corn syrup across industries. You can’t have your cake, and eat it too, but trending sugar substitutes say otherwise. The demand for sugar substitutes are rising as science and mainstream healthy living sheds bad light on sugars. According to report by News Wire, the global zero calorie sweetener market was expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.40% from 2017 to 2021.

Table of contents:

Why is there a demand for sugar substitutions?

brown donuts on white tray

Weight gain: Eating too much sugar can cause a calorie surplus and lead to weight gain and obesity. This is detrimental to health as being overweight increases the risk of health problems such as cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Tooth decay: Sugar is one of the main culprits of tooth decay.

Diabetes: Artificial sweeteners allow diabetic patients to indulge in sugary food without the risk of spiking their blood sugar levels.

The origins of artificial sweeteners

coned ice cream with blueberries and flowers

Origins: The first artificial sweetener is saccharine, which was discovered in 1879. Saccharine was discovered by Russian chemist Fahlberg during his work on substitution products of coal tar. After forgetting to wash his hands after a long day in the lab, chemist Fahlberg discovered the coal tar product on his hands, Saccharin, made his dinner bread very sweet.

The rise: Artificial sweeteners or non-nutrient sweeteners shot to fame during World War I & II when sugar production was falling. Saccharin was a cheaper alternative compared to sugar. Since then, several artificial sweeteners have been discovered and produced, and are found in more than 6000 food products across the globe.

Different types of sugar substitutes

Sweeteners impart a sweet taste, which is highly addictive to many. Traditional sweeteners refer to the many forms of the carbohydrate, sugar, which gives out 4 kilocalories (kcal) per gram when consumed. Sugar substitutes are sweeteners that are being used instead of regular sugar sucrose. Sugar substitutes include sugar alcohols, natural and artificial sweeteners which vary in calorific value.

Artificial sweeteners

Monster Punch can

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes. However, they may not be as artificial as we think as some are derived from naturally occurring substances such as herbs or sugars. Widely used in processed foods, artificial sweeteners can be found in soft drinks, powdered drink mixes, confectionery, canned foods, jams and jellies and dairy products. Check out our article on why “low sugar” labels on beverages are lies.

There are two branches of sweeteners, nutritive and non nutritive sweeteners. Non- nutritive sweeteners are chemical additives that are sweeter than sugar, but contain 0 kilocalories. They are sweeter than sugars and a tiny amount of sweetener can provide enough sweetness in foods. 1 gram of aspartame of 4 kcal, can replace 200 grams of sucrose which is worth 800 kcal. Nutritive sweeteners contain less energy than sugars but are not kilojoule free.

Illustrated is general information on low calorie sweeteners:

General information on low-calorie sweeteners
Source: Centre of Food Safety

Weight control: Artificial sweeteners have “virtually no calories”, hence if you’re trying to prevent weight gain, products sweetened with artificial sweeteners may be an attractive option.

Blood sugar level: As artificial sweeteners are not carbohydrates, they generally do not break down into sugars and raise blood sugar levels. A 2018 study reviewing 29 research articles found that artificial sweeteners had no effect on blood sugars after consumption. Consult doctor or dietician before using any sugar substitutes for health reasons.

Health concerns: Artificial sweeteners, saccharine in particular has been tied to the occurrence of bladder cancer in laboratory rats in studies conducted in the 1970s, hence the label warnings that it “may be hazardous to your health”. However, the National Cancer Institute and other health agencies point out that there is no scientific evidence that artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer or other health problems. Coupled with studies that artificial sweeteners are generally safe in limited quantities in pregnant women, the warning label for saccharin was dropped and is permitted for food use in more than 100 countries to date.

chocolates with box on white surface

However, a 2020 study by a group of Yale researchers found that consuming artificial sweetener sucralose and a carbohydrate may disrupt body’s natural systems for regulating blood sugars although there is not enough evidence to conclude that artificial sweeteners cause diabetes.

What to look for: Artificial sweeteners are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as food additives, and have to go through a process of being reviewed and approved by the FDA, Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/ World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) for safety, with before hitting grocery stores. FDA declares a substance as “generally recognized as safe”(GRAS) after being met with either criteria:

  • “Substances has a history of common use in food and is considered generally safe”
  • “Qualified professionals deem the substance safe for its intended use on the basis on scientific data”

Sugar alcohols

woman in white crew neck shirt blowing bubble

Found in processed foods, chocolates, chewing gums and tooth paste, these carbohydrates occur naturally in certain fruits and vegetables, although they can also be manufactured. Although a natural substitute may seem healthier than sugar, its vitamin and mineral content isn’t significantly different. Sugar alcohols are hard to digest fully hence provide fewer calories compared to traditional sugars. Examples of sugar alcohols include xylitol (additive number 967), sorbitol (420), mannitol (421) and erythritol (968). When consumed in large amounts, sugar alcohols can have a potential laxative effect.

Weight control: Sugar alcohols range from 1.5-3kcal per gram and are less sweet than sugars, hence one puts on fewer calories than when consuming regular sugar, making them seem like an attractive alternative.

Blood sugar level: Although its calorific value is lower than traditional sugar, it is still a carbohydrate and therefore is capable of raising blood sugar levels. However, as the body doesn’t metabolize all the sugar alcohol, the effect on blood sugar level is lower compared to other sugars, but not non existent. Be sure to consult your doctor or dietician for guidance.

Natural sweeteners

honey jar with honey comb

These sugar substitutes are promoted as “healthier options” compared to the others, however, these “natural sweeteners” often undergo processing and refining before reaching supermarket shelves. Natural sweeteners are considered “added sugars”and are generally safe, but when broken down by your body into simple sugars (glucose, fructose) it is nutritionally similar to sugar. Although marketed as a healthier and au natural alternative, “they are basically just ‘sugar’ and have been extracted and sold in concentrated form.” according to a report online.

Consuming too much sugar can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, weight gain, poor nutrition and increased triglycerides.

Natural sweeteners approved by the FDA:

  • Fruit juices and nectars
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Maple syrup
  • Stevia
  • Monk fruit (luo han guo)

Moderation is key

vegetables and fruits display

Be it to lower the amount of calories consumed, to steer away from sugar, or to avoid a spike in blood sugar levels, sugar substitutes are appealing for a number of reasons. A 2019 review concluded that there is no strong evidence linking artificial sweeteners to any positive or negative outcome as there is not enough evidence available to draw a conclusion. When choosing sugar substitutes, remember that food marketed as sugar free isn’t necessary calorie free and can still cause weight gain. Furthermore, processed foods containing food substitutes don’t provide the health benefits as whole fruits and vegetables.

A two pronged approach is advised: to replace sugary foods and drinks with unsweetened substitutes and slowly cut down the amount of sugar consumed. The end goal is for the food trade to reduce the sweetness levels in products while the public “adapts gradually to lighter flavored food”, hence altering their dietary habits and pioneering a better approach to healthy living.


References:

“Artificial sweeteners vs sugar (stevia, aspartame & more) | CHOICE.” 12 Jun. 2020, https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/nutrition/sugar/articles/sweeteners. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

“Global Zero-Calorie Sweetener Market Trends and Analysis 2017 ….” 28 Mar. 2017, https://www.newswire.com/news/global-zero-calorie-sweetener-market-trends-and-analysis-2017-2021. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

 “Sugar: the facts – NHS.” https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-does-sugar-in-our-diet-affect-our-health/. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

“Association between intake of non-sugar sweeteners … – The BMJ |.” 2 Jan. 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.k4718. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

 “Low-Calorie Sweeteners | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan ….” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/artificial-sweeteners/. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

 “The truth about artificial sweeteners – Are they … – ScienceDirect.com.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019483218300142. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021

“Constantin Fahlberg – Discovery of Saccharin.” https://todayinsci.com/F/Fahlberg_Constantin/FahlbergConstantin-Saccharin.htm. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

 “Sweeteners in Food – Centre for Food Safety.” https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/multimedia/multimedia_pub/multimedia_pub_fsf_08_02.html. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

 “Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes – Mayo Clinic.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/artificial-sweeteners/art-20046936. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

Why Mental Health Should Be Your #1 Priority in 2021

selective focus photo of terrestrial desk globe

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted society in a number of ways. One of the most concerning is the significant deterioration of the mental health of many of the world’s citizens. A rise in isolation, economic stress and worry about loved ones has led many to experience emotional distress in ways they previously had never encountered. It’s time to enter the new year with increased attention to emotional wellbeing. Here’s why mental health should be your number one priority in 2021 and some ways you can address your state of mind in a proactive manner.

Social Connection

three women walking on brown wooden dock near high rise building during daytime

Many have lost valuable social connections due to imposed social distancing since the beginning of the pandemic. One mental health trend that should arise is a renewed focus on the importance of social connections. It’s easy to forget what social creatures humans are and how they depend upon relationships with others. However, mental health professionals are seeing more of a crisis now that so many have been isolated from their social networks.

macbook pro displaying group of people

Chances are, you’re not seeing many people outside of those who live in your household. This is a wise and necessary choice that can, unfortunately, have negative effects on your mood. There are steps you can take to maintain connections and make new ones. Technology offers a number of outlets for connecting. Zoom meetings aren’t just for work. You can use such online services to organize chats with loved ones or friend groups. If video isn’t your thing, text chats through Facebook messenger can be a way to stay in touch with important people. In addition, there are lots of online learning and social options such as virtual tours, classes, and performances. Try to take advantage of some of these outlets for connection. it can do wonders for your mood and mental state.

Sleep Quality

woman sleeping on bed under blankets

Many who are spending the majority of their time at home are experiencing disruptions to their sleep cycles. The time you’re spending online might also contribute to a change in your slumber habits. Good sleep is crucial to overall wellness. Not getting enough rest can have you feeling groggy, cranky, depressed, anxious, and stressed. Your productivity can also be negatively affected if you’re not getting plenty of sleep.

Improving your sleep habits can be one way to overcome the negative mental health effects you may be experiencing due to your other life changes. You can take some control of this aspect by adhering to a regular sleep schedule. Shoot for getting eight hours of sleep each day.

Choose a bedtime and stick to it. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Turning off electronics an hour before bed can help you fall asleep better. So can making your bedroom as conducive to sleep as possible. Dim the lights as you prepare for sleep. Read or listen to music quietly. Get the best quality mattress you can afford. You’re likely to notice that things begin to seem quite a bit better once you get your sleep patterns in order.

Health and Wellness

woman in black shorts and white tank top doing yoga

Paying better attention to your general health will go far toward improving your mental health. Taking care of your physical condition can go a long way toward making you feel better emotionally. That means trying to eat a healthy diet and getting exercise. These things can be especially important if you find yourself primarily housebound. Stress eating is understandable, but you may be surprised what making a few healthy substitutes can do for your energy level and confidence. Getting out for a safe and socially-distanced walk around the block, bike ride, or hike in the woods are wonderful ways to move your body and experience a change of scenery. You’ll feel happier and more alert when you return.

This is the sign you've been looking for neon signage

Taking care of your mental health is obviously part of managing your wellbeing. Don’t hesitate to seek out professional assistance if you’re feeling overwhelmed. There are online programs and counseling available that are safe and confidential. Whether you seek counseling for anxiety or for specific mental health problems, you will almost certainly find benefit in such activities.

There are steps you can take on your own to improve your mood. Give some of these suggestions a try. Your mental health should definitely be a priority in 2021.

5 Ways to Become Happier and Healthier

We all want to be happier and healthier, however, how to achieve it, is a million dollar question. Luckily, I have compiled a number of things you can do. The following are five ways to accomplish what you want, but bear in mind, it is going to take some work.

1. Dealing With the Physical

woman standing on dock

Take care of your body if you haven’t been doing so. This means doing everything you can to be your best self, which includes visiting your doctor to make sure your body is working as it should. This step will definitely make you happier and healthier.

On top of that, consistently work on eating well and exercising. Taking an active interest in your overall health should help you feel good. Try to make a habit out of this because happiness and health are life-long battles.

2. Addressing the Issue

smiling woman standing beside plant

Embrace your imperfections. Everyone has a few imperfections that do not fit society’s standard of beauty. However, don’t mistake things that make you unique versus things you can make better, like misaligned teeth. If it bothers you that much, go the extra mile of visiting a dentist. You can also try to address other imperfections, like if you’re losing your hair. You may have to use things like Theradome to help reverse this problem. Be sure to read Theradome reviews before you make your decision, but this should boost happiness and your self esteem.

3. Improving Your Lifestyle

woman sleeping on bed under blankets

Your lifestyle could also be fighting against your happiness and health. You could take the time to think about your life, and try to figure out where you can make some changes. These changes should help you feel happier and make you healthier.

For example, if you tend to stay up too late, you should fight this habit. Sleep can help regulate your overall mood, and that’ll make you feel happier. In addition to that, sleep also helps your body repair itself, which should make you feel healthier in the long run. Vices such as constantly drinking or smoking is detrimental to your health. Giving these up should help your health, and the accomplishment should uplift you.

4. Let the Heart Drive

man holding card with seeking human kindness text

It’s important to do something that brings your heart joy, and this goes beyond doing what you’re passionate about. You need to figure out how you can give back in some way. Doing a little charity work every so often or making a donation can do a lot for you. Being altruistic can help your soul sing, and that can help your overall self esteem.

Sometimes, being a good person can fight stress. If you are dealing with chronic stress, you need to find something to do for your mental health. You can try to do a few things until you find something you feel comfortable with. Be patient with yourself. Getting used to this can take some time, but you’ll get there.

5. Positive Friends All Around

people laughing and talking outside during daytime

The kind of people you have around can be good or bad for you. If you’ve noticed that some of your friends have a way of making you feel worse, then it’s important to minimize contact with these friends. You need to find a group of friends who are willing to back you up every so often and make you feel good about yourself.

This doesn’t mean your friends can’t disagree with you. Sometimes, you need a little push back as this can help you see things more clearly. What you don’t need is a person who constantly depresses you. This is not going to help you feel happy, and it might end up hurting your mental health. If you need to find new friends, this can be good for you because it will get you out of your comfort zone and give you a chance to meet new people.

Hopefully, you can use some of these to make yourself feel happier and healthier. Always look for more ways to achieve these goals because they aren’t incredibly simple goals to achieve, but they are worth the work.

The Black Community and the Fashion & Beauty world

In celebration of Black History Month, let’s explore how the Black Community has shaped the fashion & beauty world!

The Black Cosmetics Pioneer – Annie Turnbo Malone

Malone was considered to be one of the first African American women who earned her millionaire status in the US. She was born in Illinois, by the age of 20, she used her chemistry knowledge to form her first shampoo and scalp treatment. Her product became a success in 1902

Distribution Channels were not accessible to Black people during Malone’s days. She sold her products with her assistant by going door-to-door. And the product started to get the buzz as it spotted a gap in the market: although there were commercial shampoos targeted towards this niche, it was the only product to straighten the natural curly texture of Black hair without damaging it.

She expanded her business, thus naming it Poro Products. It later became a National brand after the 1904 World’s Fair, a large international exhibition showcase. In 1918, she built a factory and a cosmetology school, Poro College. She stayed in business after a divorce and the great depression. While doing so, she contributed and helped a lot of charities throughout her lifetime.

And it must be known, she was the employer of the famous Black entrepreneur and activist, Madam CJ Walker. Today, her legacy is still on Earth, as the St. Louis Colored Orphans Home.

The 60-second-rule by Nayamka Roberts (@LaBeautyologist)

Whether you heard it or not, Roberts had popularized this routine to the world of the skincare junkies. The rules of this ‘Free.99’ routine are simply cleansing your face with your fingers. She explains that the average person only spends 15-20 seconds washing their face, it is not enough for your cleanser to battle your skin concerns. This routine helps the face by improving the texture of the face, cleaning the pores and promoting circulation. The #60secondrule has been proven to be a must-do step by people’s reviews and reactions online!

Reviews on Twitter:

@if_iknewbetter: Not to be dramatic but the 60 seconds rule saved my skin in a week @LaBeautyologist

(https://twitter.com/if_iknewbetter/status/1181618814422794244?s=20)

@_kafayaat: The 60 second rule by @LaBeautyologist has literally changed the entire look of my face! Y’all really need to listen to that free gem! Wash your face for 60 seconds! I promise it works

(https://twitter.com/_kafayaat/status/1137813151876046848?s=20)

@sydmoise: thankful for @LaBeautyologist 60 second rule- CLEANSE UR FAVE FOR 60 SECONDS FOLKS

(https://twitter.com/sydmoise/status/1065762910125858816?s=20)

@skincare_hub: •Wear SPF everyday whether you’re going out or not. •Know your skintype and ingredients that work best for you and stick to it. •Double cleanse at night always using @labeautyologist 60 seconds rule. •Use witch hazel ONLY when you’re wearing makeup •Silk pillow case 24/7

(https://twitter.com/skincare_hub/status/1115620555724660737?s=20)

Robert’s video on the 60 Second Rule on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9yyZ9PysjI&feature=youtu.be

Y2K Aesthetic

Y2K – Network Encyclopedia

Y2K, or The Year 2000, was a colorful and fun time. NOT! The reason why people started expressing experimentalism and creativity in the beauty world and what not was because of a massive scare, caused by a computer bug. People thought that the world was going to end.

According to National Geographic, the Y2K bug caused a global panic because computers were not able to interpret dates beyond December 31, 1999. Only the last two digits of the year would represent the years. So when January 1, 2000 was coming, it could have turned to January 1, 1999. This was a problem to businesses like banks, technology centers, power plants and transportations e.t.c people believed that the computer crash was going to cause an apocalypse.

Now back to the beauty world. Y2K was everything, if it wasn’t girly – it was boyish, if it wasn’t baggy – it was skimpy, if it wasn’t metallic – it was vibrant, if it wasn’t cyber – it was street!

Destiny’s Child
Cam’ron
Missy Elliot

Jackie Aina, a Nigerian-American Youtube Star on her video, Things Black Culture Popularized, explains how the Black community started the Y2K fashion wave.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM7tjVVAGSQ

“right now something that is very very very popular that I’m actually really here for is the Y2K aesthetic…” at 3:50

What was it like to be wearing Y2K? It was never praised like today, in fact, according to Rashida Renée on ELLE, who explains that celebrities like Lil’ Kim, Mariah Carey and Foxy Brown were always criticized and labeled as ‘Worst Dressed’, while the ‘proper’ dresses were ‘Best Dressed’ on the runway. Interestingly, the Instagram engagement that the ‘worst dressed’ red carpet walkers had was better.

What is Y2K now? Resurrected – – Well it was never dead. The article mentioned above got me reminiscing from my childhood. Then I remembered these iconic looks that has a special place in my memory:

Beyonce’s metallic suit in Sweet Dreams MV
Zendaya’s ‘Pretty Girl Swag’
Nicki Minaj’s giraffe pink zip up suit in Super Bass MV

So Y2K stayed but it wasn’t called Y2K anymore, the different looks started to have its own names, during the 2010s, they were called Tomboy, Preppy, Hip-Hop and whatnot. Today, the trendiest look names are E-Girl/Boy, VSCO, Art Hoe, Soft Girl/Boy and…………….. Y2K.

Y2K today is not as versatile as before, now it has a specific look. It’s fun, cool and retro.

Saweetie
Megan Thee Stallion
Normani

Honorable mentions from Aina’s video:

Styling of baby hairs

Rico Nasty, an American rapper, not only known for her music but also her cool style!

Super long nails

All these iconic looking long nails are worn by the Youtube Star and Influencer, De’arra Taylor

Big Lips

Also from Aina’s video at 14:08, “Another painfully obvious thing that black people didn’t even intentionally make popular, we just existed, our big lips.”

Big Lips, or more popularly known as, the ‘Kylie Jenner’ Lips. It took the beauty world to another turn like when thick bushy eyebrows dethroned the thin eyebrows trend, also popularized by another black woman, Diana Ross. The 70s Diana Ross eyebrows flipped the game, even though the 80s went back to being thick and bushy like the 60s, the 90s turned back time and made brows thin again!

Diana Ross, an American singer and actress from Detroit. She was also the lead singer of the popular 1960s singing group, The Supremes.

The Big Lips trend was a big ‘culture’ change. More people began to get lip injections and overline their lips in their makeup routines. A study conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), shows an increase in lip augmentation procedures. The statistics report shows the difference of lip augmentation procedures done between the year 2000 and 2019. In 2000, only 18,589 procedures were done. And in 2019, a whopping increase, 31,789 procedures took place! Why? It’s a safe bet that ever since Kylie Jenner posted her selfie in 2014 with plumper lips, and coming clean about them in an episode of Life of Kylie, that she was getting her lips done, the influence started flooding the world… while black people…have natural big lips…which were unlikeable???

Aina pointed out the irony of the Big Lip trend. Before the acceptance of big lips, they were once ridiculed for. Not only are big lips now a trend, it has become part of someone’s career.

Black people getting ridiculed for having big lips is not just a story about being bullied, it has a dark history. Minstrel shows, a form of racist ‘entertainment’, where an actor performed in a way that was dehumanizing and mocking of black people, in black face. An obvious feature to these shows are the overlining of the lips representing the ‘lips’ of a black person.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1280px-Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit-1024x758.jpg

The term ‘Kylie Jenner’ Lips proves what Jackie Aina mean: ‘the regurgitating of things that naturally come to us, and rebranding it, packaging it, selling it, making a career out of it, commodifying it basically where for us it’s a weapon, it’s a tool, it’s a flaw.’

How Lip Augmentation works?

Also known as lip fillers, this procedure is quick and simple. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the key ingredient to lip augmentation is Hyaluronic Acid (HA). Polyacrylamide is also available, but it is less common because it may cause granuloma. We ourselves have HA in our body, but overtime, the lip loses volume because of age, sun exposure and more. The purpose of the HA in lip fillers is to replace the HA that was lost.

Inclusivity

The beauty industry is one of the biggest industries in the market. According to Statista, in the year 2019, the beauty industry earned a revenue of USD49.2 billion in the United States alone! For such a universal market, the beauty industry still fails to cater to people of color. This includes: foundation, lipstick, eyeshadows – basically, everything.

Fenty Beauty

Rihanna

Fenty Beauty is a cosmetics brand that was launched back in the year 2017 by mega star Rihanna. When the brand launched, the foundation caught the most attention, not of it’s formula, packaging or whatsoever, it was the shade range which consisted of 40 colors (now 50), covering not only the light skinned, but also the darker skinned. It is almost satirical that 2017 would be the year people became more conscious about foundation shades that are lacking. Not saying that Fenty was the first brand to make foundation for POCs, but rather, it offered more. The brand didn’t just offer a ‘dark’ color, the brand closely looked into making shades with different undertones – because not everyone is warm, or neutral, or cool toned.

So why is it so hard to have darker shades? It’s not. According to Al-Nisa Ward, the owner and president of Cosmetic Science Innovations who appeared on Vox, said that the claim of product development for dark shades being more difficult is false. She explains, foundations have the same base formulas, the difference between shades is just up to the differing of ratios in pigments. There are 4 basic pigments in foundations – Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide Red, Iron Oxide Yellow, Iron Oxide Black.

PAT McGRATH Labs

Pat McGrath

PAT McGRATH Labs is a cosmetic brand that was founded in 2016 by the legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath. She is known for her experimentalism with bold colors and materials like feathers and gold leafs.

The makeup line is known for its luxurious packaging, shiny shimmers, pigmented lipsticks and more. McGrath appeared in an interview with Guardian writer Sali Hughes. “…a lot of the time when you buy a normal shadow, it doesn’t always work on every skin tone – it’s chalky or too light – so that’s my main aim, to bring makeup for all skin tones to the fore.” She told Hughes, ‘there was no makeup for women of color…NOTHING”

McGrath does not only bring inclusivity when it comes to race. She works with everyone, like men, drag queens and plus size people. To her, “It’s about pushing boundaries. I believe absolutely, the world wants something different, people want back their individuality.”

SKIN FETISH: SUBLIME SKIN HIGHLIGHTING TRIO

Beauty Bakerie

Cashmere Nicole

Beauty Bakerie is an indie cosmetics brand founded in 2011 by Cashmere Nicole. The indie brand is known for it’s cute and ‘yummy’ theme. Where products are designed or inspired by foods found in bakeries, like cartons of eggs, flour bags or utensils.

After surviving breast cancer. Nicole became more health conscious and looked closely what ingredients are in the beauty products people put on everyday. She developed the brand to be cruelty-free and vegan. In addition, in 2016, Beauty Bakerie became associated with Sugar Homes, which donates money, clothes, toys and more to orphanages. Their journey has helped children from Uganda, Indonesia and Zanzibar.

ORGANIC EGGS BEAUTY SPONGES
FLOUR SETTING POWDER
EYESCREAM PAINT JOB

For such a fan favorite brand, it wasn’t an easy journey for Nicole. According to an interview with Aimee Simeon in Refinery29, Nicole observed that the beauty industry was focused on ‘self’, she thought, approaching the cosmetics business with ‘thinking about others’ would be the right way for her.

Apart from cancer, raising a daughter by herself, and investing into the side-business. Being a black entrepreneur was not going to be easy, “I’ve learned that being Black and running an indie brand is extremely tough. As a child, I remember hearing that you have to work twice as hard when you’re Black — and now I know that it’s true.” However, Nicole never gave up, her constant perseverance and hard work had brought her to where she is today. A successful strong Black businesswoman.

Why is being a black entrepreneur hard?

According to Devin Dixon, Black entrepreneurs lack access to ‘people, education, opportunity, and capital’. Dixon, who started being an entrepreneur at the age of 18 and the journey was hard. He recalls to a moment when he was advised by a Black business leader to have a White man become the face of the company, this was shocking. Dixion pointed out that this type of idea is part of the problem and plays into the narrative that Black people are not collaborative or don’t work.

Systematic racism in society is still very apparent. And it is a reason why being not only a Black entrepreneur, also in general, Black is hard. There is lack of safety when it comes to being a Black entrepreneur. Jumping to being a business owner or CEO is risky, the access to important materials makes it harder to obtain. “For example…these top execs have strong ties to the top schools such as Stanford or Harvard. Given that top schools tend to only have about a 5% black population, we have less access to powerful networks.”Video by Sam Dey about being a Black entrepreneur.

Video by Sam Dey about being a Black entrepreneur:

https://youtu.be/66ak9PWUyuc

2:05 ‘One thing I noticed about these events is that the Black race are underrepresented at the majority of these events…’

6:06 ‘Particularly in the UK, young black males are seen as a certain way, whether we like it or not, we are often portrayed as trouble makers because of the way we are depicted in the news….’

Support the Black Community

As we observed, it is acknowledged that the Black community has contributed a lot to society, however, it gets rebranded as ‘an invention’ or ‘a trend’ curated by non black celebrities or influencers. I remember a sign from one of the Black Lives Matter protest that says something like ‘You enjoy our culture, but hate our People.’ This article was not written to tell people to stop participating in the culture, but rather, appreciate and give credit where credit is due.


References:

“The PROFESSIONAL skincare tip that will … – YouTube.” 11 Jan. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9yyZ9PysjI. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“Four Pioneering Black Cosmetics Entrepreneurs – LiveAbout.” 16 Feb. 2018, https://www.liveabout.com/black-cosmetics-pioneers-2442513. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“Annie Turnbo Malone – Historic Missourians – The State Historical ….” https://historicmissourians.shsmo.org/historicmissourians/name/m/malone/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “Things Black Culture Popularized | Jackie Aina – YouTube.” 11 Oct. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM7tjVVAGSQ. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“Y2K bug | National Geographic Society.” https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/Y2K-bug/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “Times people thought the world was going to end – Insider.” 24 Jan. 2019, https://www.insider.com/apocalypse-end-of-world-predictions-theories-2019-1. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“Huge Moments In Fashion History That Were Inspired By Black Culture.” 6 Oct. 2020, https://www.elle.com/uk/fashion/a34244867/fashion-inspired-by-black-culture/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “Minstrel as Costume – Scalar.” https://scalar.usc.edu/works/birthofanindustry/minstrel-as-costume. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “2019 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report – American Society of ….” https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2019/plastic-surgery-statistics-full-report-2019.pdf. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Kylie Jenner Plastic ….” 29 Sept. 2020, https://screenrant.com/keeping-kardashians-kuwtk-kylie-jenner-plastic-surgery-timeline/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “Shaping Lips with Fillers – NCBI – NIH.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4645142/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“How do dermal fillers work? – The Victorian Cosmetic Institute.” 17 Aug. 2016, https://www.thevictoriancosmeticinstitute.com.au/2016/08/dermal-fillers-dermal-fillers-skin/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “Revenue of the cosmetic & beauty industry in the U.S. 2002 … – Statista.” 24 Nov. 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/243742/revenue-of-the-cosmetic-industry-in-the-us/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“How beauty brands failed women of color – YouTube.” 14 Nov. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch/v5e4gwDGrNk. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “Beauty queen: how Pat McGrath became the world’s … – The Guardian.” https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/aug/06/beauty-queen-how-pat-mcgrath-revolutionised-makeup. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “Pat McGrath’s Best Makeup Looks in the Pages of W | W Magazine ….” 21 Jul. 2018, https://www.wmagazine.com/gallery/pat-mcgrath-best-makeup/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “The Makeup at Valentino S/S 2020 Was Like Gold Face … – The Cut.” 30 Sept. 2019, https://www.thecut.com/2019/09/valentino-spring-2020-makeup-pat-mcgrath.html. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“Beauty Bakerie: Cruelty Free Cosmetics & Beauty Products.” https://www.beautybakerie.com/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

“Sugar Homes – Beauty Bakerie.” https://www.beautybakerie.com/pages/sugar-homes. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “Beauty Bakerie Founder Cashmere Nicole Interview – Refinery29.” 6 Nov. 2018, https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/beauty-bakerie-founder-cashmere-nicole-interview. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “The Changing Faces & Mindset of Black Entrepreneurship … – Medium.” https://medium.com/@BlackMage1987/the-changing-faces-mindset-of-black-entrepreneurship-dd000dbffb1. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

 “My experience being a black entrepreneur – YouTube.” 10 Apr. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66ak9PWUyuc. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.

How to look after your mental health during a pandemic?

The Covid-19 pandemic may feel like we are in stuck in a nightmare of a never ending crisis. No matter how positive and upbeat you are, the pain and loss we feel for friends, loved ones and for strangers at all corners of the world is inevitable. Pandemic fatigue is real! Although things may feel hard to get through, this is a reminder that this crisis is impermanent, and with the launching of various vaccines all over the world, it most certainly won’t last forever. In the mean time, hang on tight, here are some ways to help yourself cope.

man sitting while holding red smoke signal

1. Keep in touch with loved ones digitally

macbook pro displaying group of people

Nothing can replace meeting people face to face, however, calling, texting, sending emails, and video calling are a close second. The beauty of technology is that it eradicates the problem of distance, and you are able to check up and reach out to loved on all across the globe. With a touch of creativity, possibilities are endless. Organize activities such as Netflix parties, zoom games such as family quizzes, charades or attend a live music / theatre show online! If you prefer not to use a phone or computer, go retro with letter writing and sending postcards!

2. Keep active

group of women doing yoga

Try to incorporate physical activity into your life as it can provide you with a routine and give you something to look forward to each day. Furthermore, the cocktail of “feel good” chemicals can help reduce stress and anxiety, thus keeping a positive mindset. Be creative with your choice of physical activity, a tip from us? Find joy in the simplest chores:

  • Dancing to music : Turn the music up and bust some moves!
  • Cleaning your home : Having a neat space can make you feel more motivated to complete more tasks.
  • Walking up and down stairs: Free, effective workout! Able to work around your schedule so, no excuses!
  • Follow online exercise classes: Get a workout in, support the fitness industry and be a part in a community!

3. Eat regularly and stay hydrated

person holding burger bun with vegetables and meat

Drowned with work and our thoughts, our meal times may be turned upside down. However, it is important to establish a routine in our daily lives. Structure is important for us as it can motivate us to be more productive in order to stick to a schedule. Furthermore, food is an important factor that affects our mood. It is important to eat a balanced diet, but remember to treat yourself once in a while! If you have a difficult relationship with food and eating, Mind Organization has information and tips that may be able to help you out.

Drinking water is one of the most underrated things in life. Feeling groggy? Skip the cup of coffee for a cup of water. Slight dehydration can significantly drain energy levels, causing you to feel lethargic and demotivated. According to Eat This magazine, the brain is made of 80% water, hence slight dehydration impairs brain’s abilities and functions. The article also cited a study done in the journal Nutrients, which reported that water can prevent memory and attention decline.

4. Experience personal growth

white printer paper beside black and white click pen

No, you don’t have to bake something new every day or learn a new language. Instead of seeing this as a lockdown, view it as a breather for you to reevaluate the trajectory of your life. Reevaluate your goals, your personal relationships, and make a list of your priorities. Take a step to deeply reflect how you have changed as a person and make a list of aspects of yourself you want to improve. Take this time to reconnect with yourself without the pressure and influence of peers, and create new goals from there.

5. Retain your autonomy

This is the sign you've been looking for neon signage

The lack of control we feel during the pandemic may make us more susceptible to anxiety and negative thoughts. To cope with this point, find ways to take charge over your life. Creating a routine can be necessary to increase productivity, but it is also necessary for us to feel in control of our lives. Work out what time you choose to wake up, eat your meals, when to stop work, when to sleep. Take time out of your mornings to write our daily schedules and weekly plans. Baby steps, creating a new schedule is wholly up to you!


References:

 “What is an eating problem? | Mind, the mental health charity ….” https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/eating-problems/about-eating-problems/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

 “What Happens When You Don’t Drink Enough Water | Eat This ….” https://www.eatthis.com/drink-water/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

 “Dehydration Influences Mood and Cognition: A Plausible ….” 10 May. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257694/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Doing This 5 Things Every Morning Can Change Your Life

The raging pandemic has caused us to trade travel and dinner parties for more time in the comfort of our own homes throughout the latter of 2020. But as the days blur into weeks, and weeks blur into months, it is tough to find motivation and joy to show up and get things done. Below, we’ve compiled a short checklist to work on yourself as well as spur you to tackle bigger things.

brown and white concrete building

Make your bed

white and gray bed mattress

Many of us believe that our time should be better spent over turning our closet looking for a particular item of clothing or dusting the living room, however former Navy SEAL and author McCraven has a different opinion. In a commencement speech, he told students of the University of Texas that making your bed every day was one of the most powerful lessons he learned.

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,″ he said. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

A study conducted by Best Mattress Brand supports McCraven’s hypothesis and showed that up to 80% of bed makers follow routines and schedules. Besides giving you the drive and challenge to get more and more tasks done, McCraven emphasizes on the importance of the finer details in life. If by chance you have an utterly miserable day, you will come home to one achievement of the day – the comfort of a bed YOU made.

Start the day with two glasses of water

person holding clear glass cup with half-filled water

After fasting the whole night, starting the day with two glasses of water can hydrate the body as well as aid digestion and metabolism, according to an article published by USA Today.

We wake up dehydrated from the previous night, and drinking water can help rehydrate the body and move the lower bowels in the morning according to Angela Lemond, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Furthermore, a comment from registered dietician Alissa Rumsey in the article stated that drinking sufficient water ensure that the metabolism is “functioning optimally”.

Meditate

woman taking selfie

There is no way of sugar coating it: our mind is a mess. The good new is, you don’t have to be a yogi or deeply spiritual to reap the rewards of this magical pill. Meditation can help rewire the brain by causing the pituitary gland in your brain to secrete a cocktail of feel good chemicals, setting the tone of the day to be focused, content and optimistic while warding of any stress and anxiety from the previous day.

Starting meditation is daunting. However, with the wealth of information at our fingertips, learning this new skill is a lot more attainable than you think! There are plenty of ways to inject meditation into your daily lives. Fitness lovers can opt to try out meditation / breath work incorporated yoga. For those who want to try out meditation from the comfort of their homes, there are several apps available for download that walk us through the whole process. Guided meditation is available on apps such as Headspace, Insight Timer, Stop Breathe Think, and allows you the freedom to choose the length of meditation, and schedule reminders for you to turn meditation into a habit.

Write down you to-do list

person holding ballpoint pen writing on notebook

So much to do, so little time! In order to plan for the day, write down all the tasks and reassign them according to the level of difficulty and priority. Working out a schedule for the day can help can help you visualize what your day looks like as well as complete as many tasks as possible. Instead of stretching yourself thin, focus on sticking to your schedule and slaying one dragon at a time!

Check in with a loved one

man and woman siting on sofa chair inside room

We are social creatures. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused us to minimize dining out, attend social gatherings, and canceled travel plans, causing us to feel isolated and alone at times. Thankfully, checking in with friends and loved ones in only one call away. To spice things up, schedule wine o’ clock with your girlfriends, play some virtual games with your loved ones, or host a virtual cooking competition!

Reaching out to others is particularly important in these trying times as we may spiral into a depression without emotional support. Hearing the voice of friends and family can help lower anxiety and stress as well as provide another angle to your problems. A video call may never replaced the exact feeling of human interaction in real life, but it is the closest thing to it!


References:

 “Here’s what making your bed (or not) reveals … – CNBC.com.” 13 Sep. 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/12/heres-what-making-your-bed-or-not-reveals-about-your-personality.html. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

 “Can Making the Bed in the Morning Make You Happier? – Best ….” 17 Apr. 2020, https://bestmattress-brand.org/making-the-bed/. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

4 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

Food is medicine, and the consumption of the right foods can lead us to boost our immune system and protect us against unwanted diseases and colds. Having a good immune system is essential these days as more virulent strains of Covid-19 are appearing all across the globe. As well as taking preventative measures and precautions, take care to add the following foods to your cart during your next trip to the supermarket.

aerial view of people walking on raod

Ginger

white and brown dog paw on red textile

This spicy, yellow, stem is a popular medicinal plant in various cultures and is traditionally used to treat a myriad of conditions such as colds, digestive maladies, fevers, and nausea. Adding slices of fresh or dried ginger in your food to give dishes a lovely aroma. You can also obtain ginger powder and add hot water/ tea to turn it into a comforting drink.

Easing a cold or flu: A study done in 2013 shows fresh ginger is effective against a respiratory virus in human cells. In a separate study, researchers aimed to investigate the popularity of herbal medicine as a treatment for cold or a flu. 69% of the public used herbal medicine out of a total of 300 pharmacies and most found it as effective.

Reducing inflammation: A 2017 review of 16 clinical trials determined that phytochemical properties in ginger leads it to have anti inflammatory properties.

Lowering cancer risk: Ginger is packed with antioxidants and multiple studies have shown that ginger can reduce oxidative stress which occurs when too many free radicals build up in the body. Free radicals are toxic substances produced by metabolism and other factors, according to Medical News Today, and antioxidants are needed to eliminate free radicals to prevent them from causing cellular damage as it can lead to a range of diseases such as cancer.

Relieving nausea: Research shows ginger is able to alleviate morning sickness and relieve nausea from cancer treatments. A study in 2010 observed that ginger was able to reduce nausea in most of 60 children and young adults who underwent chemotherapy. Furthermore, a 2011 review of studies reported that a daily dosage of 1,500mg of ginger extract was able to alleviate symptoms of nausea.

Raspberries

black berry fruit

One cup of these ruby jewels contain over 50% of the minimum daily target for vitamin C which supports immunity, according to Health Magazine. Furthermore, raspberries are packed with other minerals and vitamins such as manganese, vitamin K, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium. Besides that, they are associated with cancer protection as research shows that phytonutrients in raspberries may signal apoptosis, programming cell death in cancer cells. Another major attraction to raspberries is that they are easy to add to our diet as it can be served as sweet desserts or incorporated into savory dishes.

Cocoa

open cacao fruit lot

Nope, this is not a justification for you to stock up on chocolate bars! Rich in polyphenols, cocoa is a potent antioxidant and is reported to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, brain functions and cancer prevention. More importantly, cocoa influences the immune system, in particularly the inflammatory innate response and the systemic and intestinal adaptive immune response. Look out for cocoa powder (without added sugar) and go wild on different desserts!

Poultry

roasted chicken

When we’re sick, getting a bowl of chicken soup is almost a reflex action. However, there is more to this scenario then we let on. Properties of chicken in the soup may help lower inflammation, thus improve symptoms of a cold. Furthermore, poultry are high in vitamin B-6, which is crucial to the formation of red blood cells. The stock made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin and other nutrients that are beneficial to improving immunity.


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