Counselors Explain Why Every Parent Needs to Take a Mental Health Day

Counselors Explain Why Every Parent Needs to Take a Mental

Life is full of things that stress you out. Work, bills, social life, kids, spouses – it can all be so demanding. It comes at you like a train going full speed ahead. A good mental health day is almost always the answer.

This is especially true if you have kids and even worse if you have more than one kid. You love them, and they love you. This doesn’t mean that you should be embarrassed to want a break from them.

Unfortunately, for a lot of parents, that break never comes. Many parents don’t make it a priority to take a mental health day to relieve themselves of all the stressors they deal with. They use their kids as an excuse as to why they can’t take time out for themselves.

If this is you, it’s good that you’re reading this article. You need to know why it’s imperative that you give yourself the occasional mental break. Here’s what counselors have to say about it.

Why You Should Take a Mental Health Day

As a parent, you’ll often put your kids first. Your needs get put on the back burner until you get some free time (which doesn’t come very often). You may find that your list of requirements keeps getting longer and longer.

Although you may be the best at managing stressful situations, that doesn’t mean you should continuously do it. The effects of stress can creep up on you and even impact your relationship with your children. You may not realize how stressed you are until you’re on the verge of having a breakdown.

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., president & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, says it’s common for people not to realize how stressed they are. “Often people minimize the stress they are under, the effect it has, and don’t take action,” he says. This pressure is hazardous to your health.

The problem with ongoing stress is that your body never has a chance to settle down. According to Dr. Borenstein, the human body is designed to deal with short-term stress, not long-term stress. No matter how well you handle stress, it’s still stress.

Taking a mental health day ensures that you get a break from stress. This way, even if you don’t realize you’re stressed, you’re still getting a break. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to put yourself first. In fact, doing so helps to teach your children good stress management.

When You Should Take a Mental Health Day

The time to take a break may not be evident because, as stated before, you may not realize how stressed you are. Because of this, you should schedule these days regularly. However, there are a few signs that can let you know if you’re stressed out. Some of them include:

  • Jaw or tooth pain
  • Expanding waistline
  • Having a hard time focusing/concentrating
  • You keep having headaches
  • Trouble sleeping

If you notice that any of this is happening to you, it’s time to take a day to yourself. These few symptoms are manageable, but not taking care of them can cause worse symptoms that will impact your health as well as your relationship with your family.

Once you realize how important it is to take a day to yourself, you’ll probably wonder when the best time is for your day. Scheduling your day can be just as stressful as anything else in your life.

Just keep in mind that scheduling is the key. If you make a plan and plan far enough ahead of time, you can make sure that things will be handled while you’re having your day. The last thing you need to be worried about is who’s taking care of your kids and your household while you’re doing you.

A failure to plan will lead to you feeling guilty about putting yourself first. Guilty feelings lead to stress, and this can cause you to cancel your day. It’s imperative that you make a plan so you can have a peaceful mental health day.

One great way to start your plan is by picking a day that your spouse is off from work. This will ensure that you have someone to watch your kids when you’re not around. If you’re a single parent, try picking a day when a friend or family member is fully available for the entire day.

If you don’t have either of those options, you may have to hire a babysitter. You could save money by picking a day when your kids go to school—that way, the babysitter only needs to be there in the evening.

How You Should Take a Mental Health Day

While you’re planning the date, you should also plan your activities. However, don’t plan a strict schedule. A strict schedule could make you stressed if you can’t stick with it.

You should expect your day to be relaxing above all else. To do that, you need to figure out what you need most of all to rest.

Do you need complete solitude? Perhaps you need more time with your loved ones? A massage is a classic choice.

Whatever it is that you need, put that at the top of your activities list. Try focusing anything else you do that day around your priority. Think of some activities that will relax you and help you have a peaceful day.

Even if you decide to do that one activity, that’s okay. The goal is to renew yourself. But to do that, you’ll need complete peace of mind. Just make sure that you take the whole day to yourself, even if it’s to do that one thing.

Here Are Three Positive Activities to Help You Enjoy a Relaxing Day

You can take your mental health day alone, with friends, or with your partner. Modify these activities to suit your lifestyle.

1 – Treat Yourself to a Day at the Spa

Enjoy a pampering retreat, either alone or with your partner.   Enjoy a manicure-pedicure service, massage, and facial masks. While these services might feel decadent, remember that you deserve it! This self-care is essential to well-being.

2 – Connect with Mother Nature

Do you live near a beach, National Park, or mountains? Grab some of your friends, pack a picnic, and hit the bicycling or hiking trails they offer to visitors. Getting your heart rate pumping as you engage in these activities will invigorate you. And, the grand vistas you see along the way are food for the soul.

3 – Explore Cultural Activities

If you are not the “outdoorsy” type, consider a day trip to a nearby city. Open your mind to learning by exploring their cultural offerings. Do they have an art museum, historic district to explore or live theater? Are any festivals happening that you would enjoy? Expand your mind. That focus on learning new things will entertain you as well as engaging your mind.

What You Shouldn’t Do on Your Mental Health Day

The objective is to have a peaceful day that renews you and gets you ready to face your stressors with a clear head. So far, you’ve been told what you should do during your day. However, there are some things that you shouldn’t do either.

1 – Illegal Drugs

You should never do illegal substances. For starters, it’s illegal. Doing anything against the law is a bad idea. Plus, getting arrested is going to stress you out more than anything your kids could do. Doing drugs while you’re already under pressure can lead to a higher risk of debilitating addiction. Then the drugs will cause even more stress on your mental and physical health. It’s a vicious cycle that can have devastating effects on your life.

2 – Infidelity

Infidelity never ends well. Sure, you may feel good on that day or that night, but eventually, the truth will come out. When it does, it will cause more stress than you could ever imagine.

The stress will come from guilty feelings, but more of it will come from the effects that the infidelity will have on your spouse. Talal Alsaleem, an expert infidelity counselor, says that infidelity causes “…triggers, flashbacks, hypervigilance, avoidance behavior, and manifestations related to the knowledge about the affair and everything related to the affair.” Dealing with this type of fall out in an already stressed marriage could be enough to push you over the edge.

If you’re tempted to cheat on your spouse, perhaps what you need to schedule is marriage counseling instead of a mental health day (you may need both). Communication can significantly reduce stress between you and your spouse.

3 – Overspending the Family Funds

Going shopping is a great way to relieve stress unless one of your regular stressors is finances. The last thing you want to do is aggravate your stress when you’re supposed to be relaxing. If money is a problem in your life, try to plan your day with activities that are free or low-cost.

Even if money isn’t a common issue for you, overspending can stress you out once you’ve realized how much money you wasted. Joel L. Young M.D., medical director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, compares overspending to using drugs. He says that even if people have unlimited funds to spend money, overspending can lead to feelings of guilt or shame, hoarding, and undermining relationships.

Enjoy your day, but don’t bring more stress on yourself by spending unnecessary money. There are plenty of ways to do you without breaking your wallet.

Final Thoughts on Why Parents Should Take an Occasional Mental Health Day

You’ll always be Super Mom or Super Dad to your kids. However, remember that you’re human. You get stressed out, and that’s okay.

What’s not okay is ignoring the fact that you need a break. Even if you handle stressful situations well, you need to renew your mental health every once in a while. Not doing so will begin to affect you and your family in ways you may not even notice.

Focusing on your mental health is setting an excellent example for your kids. After all, you wouldn’t want your kids to subject themselves to constant stress, right? Taking the occasional mental health day will keep you in the right frame of mind to continue being the best parent you can be.


10 Cleaning Tips to Prevent a Dirty House

10 Cleaning Tips to Prevent a Dirty House

A clean home is a happy home, but some of your cleaning tricks may be spreading dirt around rather than making it a germ-free space. Did you know that the average household in this country has more than 7,000 different types of bacteria floating around? It’s no wonder people get sick so frequently these days.

You may be worried about picking up germs outside, but you can catch a virus or infection from your sweet abode. There are ways that you can cut the bacteria and other germs that lurk inside your home. Get ready; you’re going to be shocked how some of your traditional cleaning methods and supplies are doing more harm than good.

If you want to make a change in your family’s life and health, start by adapting new cleaning methods first. Here are the top ten cleaning fails that make your home dirty.

1. Feather Dusters

If any cleaning item should be thrown out the window, it’s the feather duster. This invention was famous in the 1970s to quickly remove dust. The only problem with this device is that it scatters the dust everywhere. Sure, a bit of the debris gets trapped among the feathers, but most of it just gets transferred into the atmosphere.

You’re doing little good for your family when you spread the dust around. However, if you want to trap the dirt and remove it from your space, you need a wet cloth. A damp rag will trap the dirt into the fabric and doesn’t redistribute it.

You’re not cleaning if you use this old-fashioned duster, and your home will still be dirty. Someone with asthma or allergies in your family needs you to get rid of as much dirt as possible.

2. Dirty Vacuum Filters

In the age where people can use a bagless vacuum, why are people still using bags? A bag collects all the crud it picks up from your floors and keeps it in reserve. Have you ever turned on your vacuum cleaner, and it blew dust everywhere? Bags are not full proof.

Another problem is those dirty filters. Many people don’t even check their vacuum filters, so it can’t effectively clean because it’s clogged. The dirty vacuum filter won’t stop it from operating, but it won’t work as efficiently to clean your home.

3. Toilet Brush

Is there anything nastier than a toilet brush that is reused? It sits on a stand and collects water, fecal matter, and urine for everyone to breathe. These brushes are a magnet for harmful bacteria and diseases.

Thankfully, there are new one-use brushes on the market that you don’t have to store anything other than a wand. You clean your commode, release a lever, and the pad falls into the trash. You will have better luck keeping your bathroom germ free when you get rid of those disgustedly dirty toilet brushes.

4. Kitchen Sink

You wouldn’t think that your kitchen sink would be a place where dirt and debris harbor, oh, but it’s one place that needs some bleach. Do you know how many people let dirty dishes sit for days? What about the people who bathe their kids and animals in the sink? All these things are causing a build-up of germs in a commonly used area.

The sink is one place where you need to keep the germs down because you will eat from dishes cleansed here. Make sure that after each time you use your sink, you wipe it down with bleach or scrub it down with detergent. Bleach and soap will kill any germs that harbor on the surface and keep your home cleaner.

5. Using the Same Cleaning Cloth

The cleaning cloth you use for dishes wipe down the table, clean your child’s dirty hands, and wipe down the stove, should only be used for one purpose. You can’t keep using the same cleaning cloth and not expect to spread germs around.

It would help if you had a dedicated rag that you can use for each surface, and it needs to be washed when you’re done. Never let a dishcloth sit out on the sink to dry and then use it again the next day. If you want to cut down germs in your dirty home, then stop using the same rag for multiple purposes.

6. Not Cleaning the Register Vents

Your register vents are one place that is out of sight and out of mind. However, you drop things down in these vents all the time. Some may be more of a “hot spot” than others. Your children also drop things into these holes.

The real problem is when your furnace or AC system kicks on. It spreads these germs all-around your home. Bits of food can mold and spread fungi all over the place, making your home’s air quality lackluster.

Take a vacuum hose and clean as far back into the duct as you can. If you find that the area is really dirty, then you should call in a professional for duct cleaning.

Trying to decide if a night or morning shower is better? Here’s what doctors say.

7. Washing Machine

No one would dream that their washing machine would be dirty. It has soap, bleach, and fabric softener running through it all the time. Yet, if your clothes come out smelling not so fresh, then this appliance and its bacteria levels could be to blame.

When the new front-loader style washer came to the forefront, it changed everything. All these rubber seals to keep the water inside while turning on its side made things tricky. Unlike a top loader, which can easily have the lid opened to keep it fresh, it’s a bit more challenging with the new models.

The wet atmosphere and closed-door make it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Many people complain that their washer stinks as well as their clothes are coming out with a smell. It would help if you cleaned your washer with a bleach and baking soda combination. If you don’t do this routine clean, then your washer’s seals will become full of mold and bacteria that will get redeposited on your clothes.

8. Remote Controls

If there is one item in the household that most people forget to clean, it’s the remote control. Think of how many times the remote is touched daily. Now, consider how many people sneeze, wipe their nose, cough, and then toss the remote on the couch; it’s dirty.

It collects germs from almost every member of the household, and it also gathers surface germs. You must wipe down this handy device at least once a week with an antibacterial wipe. Just remember to remove the battery before doing this routine clean.

9. Shower Curtain

The shower is the place you go to get clean. All the dirt and grime your body picks up during the day is washed down the drain. Naturally, it would be best to clean your shower and bathtub regularly to keep germs at bay.

However, when is the last time that you’ve washed your shower curtain? The curtain encounters your body both before and after it’s passed. Additionally, your body isn’t the only one it’s touching.

Chances are there is a lot of dirt that fungi that harbor on this curtain, and it should be washed frequently.

10. Light Switches, Doorknobs, and Handles

You can sit back and kick your feet up after a routine clean. You’ve got the important stuff that seems to have germs and dirt cleaned, but have you got everything? Light switches, doorknobs, and handles are often overlooked as no one thinks to clean these unless the dirt is apparent.

However, dozens of times, people in your home touch these items and bring outside germs inside your home. Think of all the times your children go to the bathroom and forget to wash their hands, or there are numerous occasions that a cough or sneeze will encounter them.

When you do your routine household cleaning, you need to remember to include the Light switches, doorknobs, and handles on the list. Your family could easily pass around the flu or other viruses on such items, and you might not be any the wiser.

Final Thoughts on Whisking Away Those Dirty Cleaning Habits

Do you still use the old mop and bucket when you clean your floors? You pick up dirt and redistribute it to other areas of the home. So many old cleaning methods can’t get rid of the germs and infectious diseases that you fight today. You can never be too careful when it comes to the cleanliness of your home.

Sure, your schedule is busy, and the last thing you have time for is to be sick. Sadly, many people aren’t cleaning their houses well enough, or they forget germy hot spots that make them ill. Engage the whole family in making the home a cleaner space.

Cleaning your remotes, washing machines, kitchen sink, as well as your light switches, doorknobs, and handles, should be a routine part of your week. You want to encourage a haven for your family where they can rest easy and won’t get sick. Are you guilty of these epic cleaning failures? Now is the time to cast toxins from your living space.


4 Habits Of Highly Organized People For A Productive Morning

4 Habits Of Highly Organized People For A Productive Morning

Do you often find that your mornings start a little too slowly? Does it take you much too long to get your gears whirring during the daytime? Do you struggle to stay on-task and finish jobs so soon after waking up? If you answered yes to any of those questions, don’t worry! Highly organized people reveal their tips for success. It’s much more common than you think!

Being productive in the mornings isn’t easy. Conditions have to be right, you must know yourself and what you’re doing, and you need to be able to find thoughts and objects quickly. But how can you do that? By learning from those who do this successfully, of course! Here are four habits of highly organized people for a productive morning.

1.    Scheduling In A Smart Way

Everyone talks about the importance of keeping a schedule. But there’s no point in creating a program that simply doesn’t work for you or anyone else. The point of scheduling isn’t to make a pretty list of work but to actually help you stay on track in a reasonable but firm manner. Here are some tips for scheduling smart:

·         Make A To-Do List

Yes, it’s easy to assume that you’ll naturally remember everything you have to do without the aid of a list. Still, writing a to-do list is considered one of the most positive and organized steps you can take if you want to be more productive. List down what you have to do that day, that week, and even that month if you plan your schedule that far in advance. You won’t feel pressured to remember everything, and you’ll feel accomplished when you cross items off the list one by one while the day goes on.

·         Be Mindful Of Your Energy

Don’t base your scheduling off of others. You know best how your energy levels are like. If you’re booming with alertness right after waking up, you can schedule things earlier in the day. If you’re a night person, you might be more lenient with your time limits for tasks. Take all of this into consideration. Remember, your schedule is for you, not anyone else!

·         Set A Timetable

Remember that to-do list? Trying setting it to a timetable. When everything you have to do has a set schedule that is easy to follow and an exact deadline, it’ll be easier for you to stay on track. Assign reasonable times, keep track of your progress, and don’t lose your positive thinking. Highly organized people tout this habit as a fantastic way to up your productivity as it keeps you on task from the beginning of each day.

·         Don’t Drop The Ball

When your day is hectic, it’s easy to forget some appointments or tasks. Try your hardest to keep each in mind. This is why you need a to-do list – so everything you have to do is nicely laid out and very difficult to forget! If you wind up having no choice but to miss specific tasks due to time constraints, learn from that mistake and schedule things more realistically in the future.

·         Follow A Routine

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a little variety in your life. But if you genuinely wish for a productive morning, make your schedule a routine. Do chores in the same order and basic tasks in the same general timeline every day. Routines are hugely crucial for positive productivity and efficiency, and they can even help with cognitive ability. This makes a routine a surefire success when your goal is a productive morning.

2.    Getting A Good Breakfast

Of course, breakfast is the first and most important meal you’ll have all day long. That’s why it’s so essential that your productive morning starts off with a well-planned breakfast. Here are some ways to make your first meal more fulfilling:

·         Eat Protein

The breakfast you eat makes a huge difference in how productive your morning is. Think about it: your body hasn’t had food for a prolonged period of time while you slept, so you need something that can get your engines into gear. A lot of people talk about carbohydrates as a breakfast food, but few fully grasp just how much protein can do for the body. Protein is a great brain nutrient that studies have found has positive effects on brain function. Consider breakfast foods involving eggs, Greek yogurt, almonds, or cottage cheese.

·         Prepare Food In Advance

Preparing your breakfast the evening before is a fantastic way to save a good chunk of time every morning. Your breakfast will be nutritious and won’t require the thinking of your groggy, still-tired brain. Even better, you can opt to prep large batches of breakfast over the weekend, so your entire week’s morning meals are ready to go!

·         Do Something Productive During Your Breakfast

Breakfast is a great time to get your gears going, and it’s an excellent way to get ahead of your tasks for the day. By the time you’re done eating, you’ll already be ahead! However, take this hint with a grain of salt, as it doesn’t work for everyone! If you tend to overeat, get distracted, or become stressed out when you do something else with breakfast, it’s best to opt not to go for this trick.

Here are ten daily habits that put you in a great mood.

3.    Be Tidy

Sure, being perfectly clean all the time is overrated. But making sure your clutter stays under control is very important for productivity. Plus, you can hardly consider yourself highly organized if your entire house and workstation are a mess! Here are some ways to keep things neat:

·         Clear Your Workspace

Want to have a fresh start to each day, full of positive thinking? Make sure your working space or desk is clean and clear before you begin. Clutter can almost feel comfortable sometimes, but what it actually does is trip you up. Things get harder to find, you’re more likely to be stressed out, and it’s tough to get things done without holdups. Sure, everyone has different limits to how messy space can get before it affects them, but if you follow science, cleanliness and tidiness is most crucial to productivity.

·         Resolve Snags

If you want your days to run smoothly, try making a habit of smoothing out so-called loose ends left behind from days past. It’s easy to ignore the tissue that fell on the floor, but in time that will amount to a lot of rubbish everywhere, which will impact your productivity. You might not think that missed call is that big of a deal, but when twenty of them pile up, you’ll be too overwhelmed to get to them. Learning to quickly tidy up these tiny little things as and when you notice them is key to being organized.

·         Clean Key Areas Before Leaving

Before you leave your house every morning, take a quick glance through the critical areas of your home. This might be your dining table where you eat, the kitchen counter where you need to cook, or the shoe rack by the front door that you tend to dump everything into. Give them all a cursory once over and clear or tidy what you can before heading out. This places your mind at ease as you go about your morning while also giving you a little sense of accomplishment from the start.

It’s worth noting that we’re not insinuating you need to have a perfect environment in order to be productive. The lesson here is to learn to become a more organized person, so you need to know where things are and feel relaxed in your living and working spaces. Often, being at least some degree of tidy is necessary to achieve this!

4.    Learn To Prioritize

Highly organized people don’t mistake productivity for the simple act of squeezing in as much as you can into as few moments as possible. The issue with this description is that it removes quality from the equation

When you are productive, you’re performing with high-quality and delivering outstanding results, but at a consistent and, if possible, fast pace. This means that sometimes, there are tasks you have to leave behind in favor of what really matters. Here’s how to better prioritize the things you need to get done for a more productive morning:

·         Decide On What You Want To Accomplish

What are the three things that you absolutely want to accomplish today? Which tasks must you complete to feel like you’ve been productive? Once you have your three most important tasks, schedule your day around them. You can do them at any point, as long as you get them done. When you have to choose between these tasks and other less major ones, always choose the former! You’ll feel better about yourself while teaching yourself not to sweat the small stuff.

·         Get To Critical Emails As Soon As Possible

It’s a great idea not to make a habit of browsing your email first thing in the morning before work begins. But once it starts, it’s all fair game! Focus on starting with the more critical emails first, resisting the urge to the top of your inbox chronologically. When you have the most vital emails settled, you’ll feel more relaxed and have more positive thinking throughout the day. Plus, there’s a much lower risk of you forgetting about those essential tasks as the day goes on! Highly organized people do not waste too much time on pointless, spammy emails.

·         Do The Worst Things First

Think of the three “worst” things you have to do today and get them done first. It’s up to you to define what “worst” entails. Are they the tasks you find most problematic? The ones you find most boring? The chores that take up the most time? An assortment of all of the above? Spend your morning on those “worst” tasks, and you’ll feel much more accomplished after – and, therefore, more motivated to do the more straightforward jobs during the rest of the day! Your concentration and energy are also likely best in the mornings, which plays into this.

Final Thoughts On Some Habits Of Highly Organized People For A Productive Morning

Few can deny the benefits of being organized. It helps you concentrate, reduces stress levels, and, of course, it makes you more productive. No matter what the time of day it is, focusing on the proper organization of your work area, your living space, and your tasks and goals for the day is crucial. Absolutely everyone can benefit from adding these habits of highly organized people to their lives!


Behind the Scenes Look: A Day in the Life of a Freelance Ghostwriter

Behind the Scenes Look: A Day in the Life of

Behind the Scenes Look: A Day in the Life of a Freelance Ghostwriter

Did you know that around 60% of celebrity books on the top seller list are written by ghostwriters?

With so many people learning about ghostwriting, it’s natural that there’s a curiosity about what a freelance ghostwriter does on a daily basis. Some people might be considering working in this field as well, but many people want to find and hire a ghostwriter.

Continue reading this article and we will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a freelance writer and incite in how to hire a ghostwriter.

Planning and Productivity

Before a ghostwriter even starts writing, they map out their day and figure out what they are going to do and when they’ll do it. Most freelancers track their hours to make sure they’re working enough to hit their income goals.

It’s easy to let your day go off the rails without proper planning. Any other productivity exercises are done early in the morning as well. If you want to hire a ghostwriter, it’s best to email them late at night or very early in the morning. Make sure to be very direct when hiring a ghostwriter so they understand what you want and how they can help.

Checking Emails and Responding

After morning planning, productivity, and some breakfast—and lots of coffee—it’s time to check emails.

Morning emails might hold requests from potential clients, or from current clients with questions about current projects. Getting these emails taken care of early in the morning will allow for the actual writing part of things that takes place next.

Writing for Someone Else

Since ghostwriters write for someone else, they have to be good at taking on the voice of other people. It’s important that people not know that someone else other than the person who’s name is on the content wrote the book.

Not everyone is good at writing and you’d be surprised how many people that are bestsellers never slaved over a computer putting their words together in the beautiful arrangement that is now their amazing book.

A large part of writing for someone else means they will need to interview that person and learn more about their story, who they are, and how they speak.

Finding a Great Ghostwriter

In order to find the perfect ghostwriter, you might need to search through a good deal of people. Keep in mind, though, that once you find the perfect person that gets your voice, you’ll be able to use them for multiple projects.

If you’re hiring virtually, don’t be afraid to ask them to hop on a video conference with you, so you can get an idea of who they are. You should also ask them to do a small sample project, but keep in mind you do want to pay them for this.

Understanding a Freelance Ghostwriter’s Job

Now you know more about what a freelance ghostwriter does and you have an idea about how to hire someone. Depending on your project, you might be able to get it done faster than you thought with a professional that knows how to get the job done.

Do you want to learn more about writing and other interesting topics? Continue through our blog to learn more.


How to Survive on a Low-Income Without Going Broke

How to Survive on a Low-Income Without Going Broke

How to Survive on a Low-Income Without Going Broke

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Are you worried you will get behind and fall into debt? Don’t worry, with some money management and budgeting you can keep your head above water and stay on track.

Keep reading to learn some great low-income living tips. 

Create a Budget

When living on a low income, one of the first things you need to do is create a budget for yourself. This can be an unenjoyable task for most people but it is an essential step for you to do in order to live within your means and not go into debt. 

Start by determining what your total monthly income is and then your essential bills and utility expenses. After subtracting your expenses from your income you will see how much you have leftover at the end of the month. From this difference, you can decide how much you have to spend on groceries and entertainment each week. 

This is also a great opportunity for you to take a deep look at where your money goes and how you can budget things better. Do you have cable? It might be time to cut the cord. Do you like to get a coffee every morning on the way to work? It’s time to start brewing your own at home. 

Creating a budget is the best way for you to see how your money is being spent and to keep you from going over and accruing debt. 

Start an Emergency Fund

One of the biggest traps to fall in when you have a low income is not having an emergency fund. This fund will help you out when times are tough and avoid putting expenses on a credit card or taking out a loan.

It might seem difficult to save money when you are already having trouble making ends meet, but it is possible once you create and stick to your budget. Once you cut your budget down to only your priorities you can save money fast by placing all of your extra money into your savings account. 

Another great way to build your emergency fund is by funneling any windfalls you might receive directly into savings. If you’ve earned a bonus at work, received birthday money from your grandma, or started a side hustle, all that should be sent straight to savings. Once you have saved up at least $1000 you can start using any extra earnings at the end of the month to pay down debt you’ve accrued. 

Prioritize Your Spending

If you have a low income one of the first things you should do after reviewing your budget is cut down on excess spending. If you track your spending for one month you will see where these extra frivolities cost you a lot in the grand scheme of things. 

Do you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol? These habits are not only bad for your health but they wreak havoc on your wallet. It is in your best interest to cut back or quit these addictions altogether. 

Do you pay a subscription fee for music, cable, or a monthly club? These types of monthly fees should be canceled. You can still enjoy your music by using the free version of the service, switch to streaming instead of cable, and cancel the subscription boxes. 

Start Cooking at Home

One of the biggest expenses each month will be your food budget. If you aren’t a strong cook then it’s time to read some cookbooks and follow the recipes. Learning to cook can save you a ton of money, especially if you have children, and it can be a fun and rewarding experience. 

Start out by trying some simple meals and then as you get comfortable grow your skill and expand on your weekly meals. You can then pack your leftovers for lunch at work the next day and avoid spending money on fast food restaurants. Once you start preparing your own meals regularly you will begin to notice a big impact on your monthly budget. 

Get a Roommate

If you’ve cut back in many ways but are still struggling to make ends meet then it’s time to take a look at your living situation. If you live in an area where the rent is higher than you can afford you might want to consider getting a roommate. 

Renting an apartment together can be cheaper for you than moving into a room that is sublet by someone else. Often times the other person will sublet the room at a higher rate then if they were to split the rent in half. However, this might be a great option if you are already in an apartment that you enjoy. 

If getting a roommate isn’t an option then you might want to consider if its time to move to an area that is more within your cost of living range. While it might be fun and exciting to live in the city, it’s probably time to move out to the suburbs so you can get your finances back on track. 

Change Your Future

Once you have been living on a low-income budget for a while you will realize that it can be exhausting and unsustainable for a long period of time. If you have been working at a job that is low-paying then its time to take inventory of your life and decide if this is where you want to stay or is it time to move on. 

If you have been living on a low-income budget while you are going to secondary school then you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you were unfortunately unable to go to college then now is the time to determine if you should now or learn a trade to help raise you up out from living paycheck to paycheck. 

Learn More Low-Income Living Tips to Live a Comfortable Life!

These are just some of the low-income living tips you can start using today. Start by creating a budget, cut back on all unnecessary expenses, and save an emergency fund. Keep your priorities in mind when spending money, start cooking at home, and get a roommate if you are having trouble making your rent payments. 

Remember to keep your head up because this situation is only temporary if you take the proper steps to achieve more in the future. 

If you’d like more financial tips or information be sure to visit our website daily!



Therapists Reveal 6 Ways to Support a Couple Who Suffers a Miscarriage

Therapists Reveal 6 Ways to Support a Couple Who Suffers

A miscarriage is a tragedy for expecting couples. As a friend or family member, it can be hard to see the toll that it takes on them. It’s natural that you’ll want to do all you can to help them get through their grief, but you may not know what to do. Taking the advice of medical experts and therapists can help you with this.

Therapists advise not only grieving couples but loved ones of grieving couples because a tragedy takes a toll on friends and family as well. By following some simple advice, you can help the couple get through their grief in one piece. Here is what therapists say will help a couple who have suffered a miscarriage.

6 Ways to Help Someone Grieving a Miscarriage

So, you’re not sure how to comfort your friends? Here are some tips on compassionate ways to show them your love.

1 – Acknowledge the loss.

Many people often try to avoid talking about a miscarriage because they think it’s too hard for the couple to talk about it. While this is a noble idea, it’s not necessarily the right idea. Talking about grief is one of the best ways to get over it. Perhaps it could be that you don’t know what to say to the couple.

Not acknowledging the loss can make you seem that you don’t care how the couple is feeling. While this is probably the furthest thing from the truth, the couple is probably not thinking straight, and the couple may feel like you aren’t empathetic to the plight. A simple acknowledgment lets them know that you care about what they’re going through.

What you don’t want to do is pretend the incident didn’t happen. The couple is going through a real tragedy, and their grief is there. You don’t have to pretend to be a professional therapist – merely letting them know you’re there for them can be enough.

If you want to go a little more in-depth, or you feel that the couple needs to go a bit more in-depth, London-based psychotherapist Julia Bueno suggests saying something like, “Tell me your story. Start wherever you want.”

Not only does this let them know that you’re there for them, but it opens up the floor to allow them to express whatever they need to communicate. This leads to the next tip – listening.

2 – Listen to them.

Acknowledgment is the first step. When the couple is ready to talk, you should be prepared to listen. It could be just a few sentences they want to say, or it could be an entire speech. Either way, you should be ready to be the ears they need.

Listening doesn’t mean just “hearing” what they say. It shouldn’t be going in one ear and out the other. This means understanding their emotions, reacting to it, and being non-judgmental.

This last part – being non-judgmental – is where a lot of people go wrong. It’s not that they do it on purpose. Sometimes it can seem that you’re being helpful, and no one can blame you for that. After all, you’re not a therapist.

Avoid saying things like, “you were only X weeks along,” or “you’re young so that you can get pregnant again.” Not only is this judgmental, but it’s also insensitive. It’s like you’re telling them that their grief is unfounded.

Of course, you don’t mean any harm, but remember that the couple may not be in the most rational state of mind. They can take your comments and advice out of context and turn it into something that you didn’t mean.

After the acknowledgment, sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing. Allow the couple to do the talking, and you respond only when necessary. Just let them get their emotions out while being non-judgmental.

3 – Refer to the lost baby as a person.

This may seem simple, but it’s especially important if the baby was lost early in the pregnancy. You don’t want to refer to the baby as “it”, or “the fetus”. Remember that to the couple. Their baby was a person, not a failed project.

If the couple had a name picked out for the baby already, use it. When you talk about the baby (which may not often be because you’re listening more than talking), talk as if the baby was already a part of everyone’s life. You may even realize that the baby was a more significant part of your life than you thought.

Just make sure you don’t make unfounded speculations. For example, don’t say something like “baby Sarah would have loved the color pink,” because you don’t know that. Just keep things simple and remember that the lost baby was just that–a baby.

4 – Be prepared for erratic emotional responses.

A miscarriage can cause couples, especially the woman, to have erratic emotions and bizarre behaviors. Many times, the feelings aren’t entirely logical, but depressed people can have strange responses and reactions. Pair this with raging hormones and guilty feelings, and you have a couple that might be nuclear reactors waiting to explode.

You must understand that every couple is different, and there is no right or wrong way to react to such a tragedy. There is also no right or wrong length of time to respond to it. One couple may get over it in a week while another may take years.

It can be challenging as a friend or family member to deal with the ups and downs of an emotional couple, especially if they are expressing anger or frustration, but remember that you need to be there for them. The couple doesn’t mean to take it out on you. Intense emotions, paired with tragedy, can make people behave in ways they don’t mean to.

Another consideration is that one partner may be reacting differently than the other partner. This happens more often than you think. In this case, it’s essential to be there for the partner that’s taking the miscarriage hard.

Women can often take a miscarriage harder than men. According to Rayna Markin, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and associate professor at Villanova University, women can feel desperate, inadequate, embarrassed, or even have guilty feelings. A woman may need a lot of support to get over these feelings.

5 – Be willing to help with physical responses to grief.

The mind and body connect on a spiritual level. It makes sense that when the mind is in distress, so is the body. This can lead to a lot of physical ailments when couples are depressed over a miscarriage.

This means you must be empathetic to their emotions as well as their physical needs.

For women, they’ll already be dealing with the health-related physical ailments of the miscarriage. Their emotions can cause even more problems. These can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Concentration issues
  • Sleeping problems

Women’s emotions and physical ailments can be extreme compared to men. This doesn’t mean that men don’t take it hard, but women tend to take it harder.

Research now reveals that men can be in psychological distress, just like women. For men, their guilty feelings or depressed state of mind can cause some of the same adverse physical reactions that women have.

Depending on how severe their ailments are, they may need a third person to aid in their physical recovery. It could be as simple as making dinner or fetching sleep aids. Whatever they need, you should be willing to help with it.

6 – Don’t rush their grieving process.

Everyone grieves differently, so it makes sense that everyone will take a different amount of time to get over the grieving process. It doesn’t matter if the length of time doesn’t make sense to you. People must have the time they need to process and get over tragic events.

If you’re an impatient person, now is the time to work on that. If you plan to be a good friend or family member, you must be willing to deal with the couple’s grief for as long as it takes. Don’t try to rush them through it.

According to therapists and researchers, women can take up to three years to get over the emotions from a miscarriage. Men usually don’t take as long, but the relationship can be affected by negative emotions. Just be prepared to be the shoulder and ear for the long haul.

Final Thoughts on How to Support a Couple Who Suffers a Miscarriage

Losing a baby is one of the most challenging things a couple can go through. It doesn’t matter if the baby was born or not. The couple had a strong bond with their child, so losing the child can be devastating.

Being a person on the outside of the situation can be tough as well. You want to be there, but you may not know what to say or do. The advice that therapists and doctors offer in this article can get you on the right path.

Above all, remember to be empathetic, non-judgmental, and patient. You can’t put a time limit on grieving, and you can’t streamline the process. The most you can do is be a good friend or family member and be there for them the best way you can.


15 Signs Your Relationship is at a Turning Point (for better or worse)

15 Signs Your Relationship is at a Turning Point (for

Humans are social beings with an innate desire for a relationship. While you are a complete person in your own right, there’s something magical about finding and cultivating a lasting relationship with a person you love. You may believe in love at first sight, but true love is a decision, and it takes a lot of work for both people to come together.

If you think about your life as a long road towards eternity, you will have many people who travel with you. Beloved family and friends are often at your side, but your soulmate is the one who holds your hand with each step. How do you know if you have the right person?

Your destiny is filled with forks in the road to allow you to make life-altering decisions. You and a potential lover will often come to one of these forks to see if the relationship was meant to be. It becomes the turning point for you both.

Are there common points where couples must decide to stay together or walk the other way? How do you know if the hand you hold is your forever person?

Fifteen Signals You’ve Reached a Relationship Turning Point.

Here are 15 signs that your relationship is at a turning point, be it good or bad.

1. Attraction

While inner beauty out-trumps outer beauty, attraction starts with the outward appearance. Your physical beauty may be the thing that attracts him, but your lovely soul will be what keeps him. The difference between the two aspects is often a turning point for couples, because who cares if he looks like a movie star and has the integrity of a beast?

2. Lying

Nobody is above stretching the truth a bit to save face. However, chronic lying can destroy even the best relationships. If you find out your lover is dishonest in one area, what other lies is he weaving that you don’t know?

3. Wandering Eye

You shouldn’t be so insecure in your relationship that neither of you can say someone else is attractive without causing a war. But if your love interest looks beyond you with a constant wandering eye, it could be a turning point that says something is amiss.

If you both decide that you are in an exclusive relationship, you have a right to expect that your partner will be loyal to you. Be suspicious if your beau can’t keep his eyes on you and is constantly texting and talking on the phone to “nobody in particular.” His “nobody” may be the third person in your relationship.

4. Bonding Experience

After your first initial attraction, dating each other provides the ideal bonding experience. You get to ask questions and eventually learn about what makes the other tick. Taking time to date and bond can lessen the chances of getting married and finding you have nothing in common.

5. Birth of a Child

Is there any greater joy than for a couple to be blessed by the birth of a child? This precious life is the ultimate result of your love and can bring you even closer as a couple. However, unplanned births or a baby born from unfaithfulness can often destroy a relationship.

6. Moving in Together

You never honestly know someone until you move in together. When you share a common space, you see each other at your best and worst moments. Maybe you will find that you can work things out with time, or that you are entirely incompatible.

Some couples won’t move in together unless they are married due to religious obligations. You can still learn a lot by visiting each other’s homes and seeing how you live. If you can’t come to a compromise about your different lifestyles, your future as a couple may be bleak.

7. Your First Big Argument

After you have your first big fight, you will probably think the relationship is over. Be assured that the most devoted couples have arguments but still know how to make up using compromise. If there are never any disagreements, then one of you is giving in and not being genuine.

It’s possible to disagree or even have an argument without crossing a line. Many committed couples say that the secret is to talk it out and never go to bed angry at each other. Should arguments become physically or verbally abusive, it’s time to walk away.

8. Lack of Communication

One of the top complaints of couples who are in therapy is that they never communicate. When was the last time you and your lover sat down and really listened to each other? A healthy relationship is based on trust and honest communication.

Practice improving your listening skills. A good listener will keep an open posture, display neutral body language, and will mirror the speaker’s emotions. When you and your partner listen to each other, you aren’t as likely to have miscommunications.

9. In-Law Issues

Another turning point in your relationship can be how you relate to each other’s family. It’s not always easy to strike a balance and create boundaries with in-laws. If he hesitates to introduce you to his family or doesn’t seem interested in meeting yours, it may be a red flag.

It’s beneficial when you have a good rapport with both families. While you try to be friendly and respectful, it doesn’t mean that you must be treated like a doormat. If need be, distance yourself until the other family can learn proper boundaries and accept you for who you are.

10. Creating New Traditions

As individuals, you both had family traditions that you hold dear to your heart. When you become a couple, you may have to compromise on how to celebrate the holidays, special occasions, or religious obligations. You bond even more when you create new traditions of your own to pass on to your children.

11. Knowing the Other’s Thoughts

A relationship isn’t going anywhere unless you can be empathetic with one another. Sometimes, you become so close that you intuitively know how your sweetheart would feel about something. If you find that you are often completing each other’s sentences, it could be a beautiful turning point in your relationship.

Being empathetic also means that you care about what the other thinks. Maybe you won’t agree on everything, but your person should respect your thoughts and opinions. When you can work together, you know that you can withstand the problems that life will throw at you.

12. Substance Abuse

When your lover has a substance abuse issue, every aspect of your relationship is adversely affected, such as finances, health, and stability. In these cases, it takes a lot of love and professional intervention if your relationship will survive. The worst mistake you can make is to stay in such a toxic relationship with the idea that you can change the other person.

Alcohol and drug abuse alter people’s minds, and a once loving person can become abusive or even dangerous. If you live with someone who smokes, breathing secondhand smoke is more hazardous to your health than smoking the cigarette. Gambling isn’t a substance abuse, but it is a common addiction that can break a relationship.

13. Lack of Intimacy

Let’s face it; if you have a romantic relationship without intimacy, you just have a roommate. Talk to your lover about your concerns because depression, some medical conditions, and many medications can cause a lack of sexual interest. It can also be a sign that he has taken his affections elsewhere, which can be a negative turning point in your relationship.

Communication is vital when it comes to intimacy. Men usually aren’t as adept at discussing their feelings or knowing what women need. Don’t be shy about talking about your need for intimacy, love, and quality time together.

14. Making Each Other a Priority

When two people are in a committed relationship, you should be each other’s top priority. Mutual trust assures you that he’ll always have your back and will be there for you and you for him. If you consistently find yourself at the bottom of his list of priorities, perhaps finding someone else should be at the top of your list.

15. Financial Issues

Other than cheating, nothing can decimate a stable relationship more than financial struggles. Yes, every couple has a few rough patches here and there, but chronic money problems tear people apart. Although money can’t buy love, being financially secure can minimize fighting and worry about how the bills will be paid.

If you are having financial issues, take an honest look to see where the problems lie. Is it just poor money management, or does one or both of you have a spending addiction? For a relationship to prosper, you also must be on the same page concerning your financial goals for the future.

Final Thoughts on Recognizing That Your Relationship is Reaching a Turning Point

Since nobody is perfect, there’s no such thing as an ideal relationship. As your relationship matures, you may come to many situations that will make or break it. Remember what’s best for you and when you’re in for the long haul, or know when it’s time to say goodbye.


30 Foods That Dietitians Refuse to Eat

30 Foods That Dietitians Refuse to Eat

Dietitians know better than the average person just how accurate the adage is–you are what you eat.

Eating well ensures that you lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. Thus, it may help you live a longer and more productive life.

The question is–do you want a healthier diet and lifestyle? Learning how to make better food choices is crucial for your weight loss goal. Here are 30 foods that dietitians recommend that you avoid.

30 Foods That Dietitians Will Never Eat

1. Sausages

Most sausage is a mixture of pork, a lot of fat, and spices. If that were all, an occasional small serving wouldn’t be wrong. The problem with most processed meats like sausage is that manufacturers usually use nitrates as a preservative.

Once these chemicals get into your system, they break down into substances that have been linked with causing cancer. This popular breakfast meat is also loaded with salt, which can raise your blood pressure and cause other health issues. Sorry, pork isn’t the other white meat.

2. Sugary Cereals

Studies show that most pre-sweetened cereals contain nearly a tablespoon of sugar per serving, and the ones geared toward children often have 60 percent more sugar than ones marketed to adults. Your best option is a low-sugar cereal or good old-fashioned oatmeal.

3. Artificial sweeteners

The sweet debate of sugar vs. artificial sweeteners has been raging for decades. When dietitians realized that people who consumed too much sugar gained weight and was prone to diseases, the search was on for a sugar substitute. However, these lab-created substitutes create a different set of health hazards.

For years, scientists have warned consumers of the cancer risks from eating saccharine. Once thought the miracle sweetener, aspartame soon fell from grace when researchers discovered its potential health threats. Most dietitians recommend that you kick the fake sweeteners and apt for a bit of honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar in moderation.

4. Microwave popcorn

Even if you purchase a brand of microwave popcorn that has no salt, butter, or other toppings, you could be risking your health. When the packaging is heated in the microwave, it can produce a cancer-causing compound called PFCs. If you want some tasty popcorn, pop some fresh on the stove or the hot air popper and jazz it up with flavorful herbs or spices.

5. Margarine

While it may be lower in saturated fats, margarine still has as many calories and fat as pure butter. Most of this butter substitute’s fat is trans fats, which are worse for your body than the saturated fat in butter. At the very least, choose a brand with the least trans fats, or splurge on the occasional dab of butter.

6.Processed Deli Foods

Processed meat and other deli specialties are far from their original form. Most of the meats have been processed with artificial fillers and preservatives, which can cause heart disease or cancer. Choose unprocessed lean meats and whole foods for a healthier and safer option. For example, you could bake a whole chicken on Sunday afternoon, slice it nice and thin, and enjoy ready-made sandwich meats for a couple of days.

7. Frozen Dinners

Convenient doesn’t always mean healthy. Today, even many of the frozen dinners labeled “healthy” are loaded with preservatives and may have as many calories and fat as the regular ones. For quick dinner ideas, freeze your healthy entrees and sides.

8. Canned Cheese

No one doubts that canned cheese is fun to spray on crackers or right in your mouth if you’re a kid (or a child at heart). However, many things shouldn’t come in a can, and cheese is one of them. Not only is the canned variety loaded with sodium, but it is chock full of chemicals and preservatives that aren’t good for anyone.

9. Hotdogs

Hotdogs may be an integral part of Americana cuisine, but you’ll not see them on any list prepared by dieticians. Most hot dogs are made with scrap meat cuts, too much salt, and harmful nitrates.

Studies show that kids who eat too many of these franks have a higher risk of leukemia. If you crave hot dogs, make sure to choose a brand that is 100 percent beef with no fillers or artificial ingredients.

10. Ramen Noodles

The dried, crunchy noodles in plastic wrap that are dirt cheap at the grocery store aren’t even close to the traditional version from Japan. This staple of new college students may look healthy and is easy to cook, but the noodles are high in fat, and the questionable spice pack is mostly salt and MSGs.

11. Fruit Yogurt

Wouldn’t dietitians rather you have a tasty fruit yogurt than sugary cereal for breakfast? You may be surprised that there’s not much of a difference. Most brands of fruit yogurt use sugar-laden jam rather than whole fruit, and you’re not doing yourself any good by consuming it. Try plain yogurt and fresh fruit instead.

12. Soda

Did you know that many of your favorite carbonated beverages can contain up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per 12 ounce can? Most have a whopping 185 empty calories, plus artificial colors and ingredients that aren’t good for you. Water is always best, even if you must drink some sparkling water with a twist of lemon.

13. Diet Cola

If you ditch the sugary pop for a diet soda, shouldn’t it be better for you? Diet cola may have zero calories, but the artificial sweeteners have been linked with causing cancer. Additionally, countless studies have suggested that drinking diet pop may make you gain weight.

14. Canned Fruits in Syrup

Enjoy fruit as Mother Nature intended, sweet and juicy on its own. Why ruin it with a puddle of high fructose corn syrup that can contribute to obesity and diabetes? If you purchase canned fruit, dietitians suggest that it’s canned in water or no-sugar-added fruit juice. Canned fruits in syrup are not healthy at all.

15. Wheat

For most people, eating natural wheat products in moderation is okay. However, some people have an intolerance to gluten, the protein found in wheat. Talk to dietitians about other options if you have this condition.

16. Icing with Food Coloring

Everyone deserves a modest piece of cake every once in a while, but watch the colored icing. Preliminary research suggests that icing with food coloring may be linked with hyperactivity in children and some forms of cancer in adults. Better yet, try a little cake without the sugary topping.

17. Sugar-Free Treats

Today’s market is brimming with sugar-free treats for dieters. Shouldn’t you eat them without guilt? If you read the labels, you’ll find that most have as many calories as their sugary counterparts, as well as extra sodium and harmful sugar substitutes. Look for natural alternatives to sweet treats.

18. Skim Milk

Do you buy skim milk to lower your daily fat intake? A glass of whole milk only has about 12% of your daily fat recommendations, and it keeps you satisfied longer. A diet too low in fat can make you crave an abundance of carbs and sugar, leading to heart disease and diabetes.

19. White Rice

There’s a reason why dietitians recommend brown instead of white rice. The white variety is processed and bleached, which depletes much of its beneficial fiber and nutrients. Plus, brown rice has a delicious nutty flavor that goes well with any rice dish.

20. Sports and Energy Drinks

One glance at the label of popular energy drinks, and you’ll be shocked at how much sugar and caffeine they have. Some sports drinks have an overload of herbal supplements and vitamins and can often do more harm than good. Instead, drink fresh water or a homemade smoothie and pass on the sports drinks.

21. Sushi

Not all sushi is nixed on dieticians lists of healthy choices. Be aware of what fish you are eating, because shark, marlin, swordfish, and some mackerel might contain toxic levels of mercury. Choose tuna, salmon, and veggie sushi to be on the safe side.

22. Pancake Syrup

Pancake syrup may taste a little like maple syrup, but it’s just artificially flavored high fructose corn syrup. It is high in empty calories and can make you crave more sugar. Pure maple syrup is a better sweetening option in moderation.

23. Canned Soup

Perhaps nothing is more comforting than a steaming bowl of soup on a chilly evening. Treat yourself to homemade for a tastier and healthier dish. Canned soup usually has too much sodium and other artificial ingredients that you don’t need. Instead, fix a big pot of soup to enjoy over your weekend, and portion leftovers into freezer containers to enjoy later.

24. Coffee Creamer

Do you enjoy coffee with cream? Don’t be surprised if dietitians steer clear of coffee creamer. These “non-dairy” products have sugar, trans fats, and corn syrup, all of which are bad for your heart and can lead to diabetes. A little bit of real cream in moderation is your best option, or learn to enjoy black coffee.

25. Fast Food Cheeseburgers

Fast food cheeseburgers may be as American as hotdogs, but they can wreak havoc on your health. One can have up to 14 grams of fat, not including the high calorie and carb content if you crave a cheeseburger, grill one at home and eat it with veggies and no bun.

26. French Fries

Who can have a burger without fries? The classic darling of fast food can be the worst when it comes to fat grams and sodium. Did you know that you can bake crisp fries in your oven and use fresh herbs and less salt?

27. Fruit Juice

Wouldn’t you think that fruit juice would be better to drink than soda? Not necessarily, because even 100 percent juices can pack a lot of fructose, a natural sugar that can build up fat cells in your abdomen. For a kick of fruit, add a few berries or citrus slices to your water.

28. Canola Oil

While canola oil may be better for you than lard or other cooking oil, it’s not necessarily the best. Remember that canola oil is still a hydrogenated oil refined with chemicals that can cause inflammation and some forms of cancer. Your better option would be olive or grapeseed oil.

29. Red Meat

Dietitians may approve lean red meat in moderation. However, there are still concerns in the medical world about the unhealthy saturated fat in red meat and added hormones. Try to keep it at a minimum and eat white meat, fish, or vegetable proteins.

30. High Fructose Corn Syrup

Did you know that this corn-derived sugar has been shown to cause inflammation in the body? When your body is inflamed, you are more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. It’s best to eliminate it from your diet. Choose natural sweeter (think honey) instead!

Final Thoughts on Eating Like a Dietitian

It’s essential to eat a balanced diet every day and limit things like sausages, French fries, sugary cereals, processed deli foods, and ramen noodles. When you learn healthier options, you can plan tasty meals for the whole family. After all, you are what you eat.


Therapists Explain 10 Red Flags You’re Dating a Narcissist

Therapists Explain 10 Red Flags You're Dating a Narcissist

If you’ve been in the dating pool for a while, you know how difficult it is to find someone who is honest, genuine, and the best fit for you. Nobody is perfect, but you want to find a love interest who can own up to his mistakes just as well as you can. How do you know if you are dating a narcissist?

There’s a big difference between loving and respecting yourself and being chronically selfish. Narcissism is a broad mental health disorder that makes people believe they are the most important being on the planet, according to therapists. Some of the signs are a grossly inflated ego, refusal to accept responsibility or blame, constant cravings for attention and praise, and disregarding other people’s feelings.

The Myth of the Vain Narcissist

This uncommon personality disorder was named for Narcissus, a character from Greek mythology. According to the story, this child of the river god and a nymph was so beautiful; he fell in love with his reflection in a water pool.

So great was his love that he pined away until he died, leaving a trail of beautiful flowers that still bear his name. Although this is a fictional story, mental health disorder is real.

Types of Narcissism

Psychologists recognize six different types of narcissism, ranging from closeted to psychopathic. This research suggests that a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may stem from a combination of heredity and environment. While therapy can help this condition, there is no cure.

  • Seductive Narcissist: These narcissists try to win your heart to display it as a trophy.
  • Bully Narcissist: To boost their ego, the bully narcissist puts others down and steps on people to get to the top.
  • Exhibition Narcissist: There’s no guessing about this guy because he proclaims his egocentric tendencies to the world.
  • Secret Narcissist: He may not push his selfish agenda on others, but he secretly believes he is superior and entitled.
  • Toxic Narcissist: The ranges of this narcissistic personality are characterized by chronic drama and a long history of abusive relationships.
  • Psychopathic Narcissist: Not only can this narcissist break your heart, but he could also take your life. Most mass murderers are also psychopathic narcissists without remorse.

Are You Dating a Narcissist?

At first, you may not see that your new love interest has a psychological problem. However, warning signs will soon be evident if he is a narcissist. Here are ten red flags of narcissistic behavior that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. He isn’t Honest About His Marital Status

A narcissist can’t admit a failed relationship, even if he is still in it. Before you get attached to someone, be sure that he is free and not committed to somebody else. Take warning if your new love interest’s social media relationship profile says that he is separated or “it’s complicated.”

Do you want to be the third person in a cheater’s marriage? What does it say about a man or woman who is dating while still married? Regardless of the excuses, this person is lying and cheating. A selfish person doesn’t have the honesty and integrity to be part of a healthy relationship, so run while you can.

2. She Lies and Hides Things

A fulfilling relationship must be based on mutual honesty and trust. If it’s not there, then you’re headed for heartache. You can often tell if you are dating a narcissist if you are constantly catching her in lies. Often, narcissistic people will lie and stretch the truth about insignificant things, like where they bought their car or the fabulous job they had back when.

Sure, everybody has made mistakes and done things in the past that doesn’t make them proud. However, an honest person will have no qualms about being truthful about her past, where she grew up, former marriages, etc. Pay attention if she gets defensive and turns it around on you as if you have trust issues.

3. He Can’t Follow the Rules

There’s nothing wrong with individuality, but the typical narcissist expects the world to run by his rules. He has such a high opinion that he believes he is above the laws and rules of society. If you are dating a narcissist, you may see him ignoring simple laws and mandates “just because he can.”

A person who ignores laws is also apt to disregard morality. Perhaps he thinks it’s nothing to cheat on his taxes or his mate. He may think he is good enough to get away with it but refuse to let him get away with your heart.

4. His Romance is Not Genuine

When you first start dating a narcissist, one thing that gets your attention quickly is his air of romance. He knows precisely what you want to hear and uses a lot of smooth-talking to charm you. In the beginning, he may be generous with gifts and treat you like a queen.

The catch is that when he has captured your heart, the narcissist often loses interest. It’s a game of hunt and chase for him, not a seriously committed relationship. He will soon be on to the next conquest, so nip this selfish game in the bud.

These ten signs unmask an abusive narcissist.

5. She Can’t Respect Boundaries

The celebrated poet, Robert Frost, said it best when he wrote that “good fences make good neighbors.” Boundaries are essential for any relationship, be it family, friends, professional, or social. We all have lines drawn in the sand, and we show mutual respect by not crossing them.

You can often tell if you are dating a narcissist if she refuses to respect yours or anybody else’s boundaries. She may continuously push you beyond your set boundaries for her own selfish needs. If dating is this bad, what would marriage or living together be?

6. He Can’t Show Empathy

Do you have a narcissistic friend or relative who can’t put himself aside for one minute to be concerned about your problems? Therapists concur that people with NPD lack empathy skills. So if you are dating a narcissist, take a hint if he can’t relate to your feelings and tries to push your opinions aside.

This cynical personality not only can’t empathize with others, but he will often try to vie for attention by “one-upping” any of your situations or experiences. He is too busy promoting himself to think about your feelings.

7. She Uses People

How does your new love interest interact with her friends and coworkers? Is her friendship and professional relationships mutually respectful, or are they one-sided? A narcissist is always there when she needs you and is seldom seen rushing to help anyone else, not even her beau.

Does she only react with those who feed her ego and discard people who have no more energy or substance to offer her? Be assured that her intentions aren’t any different for you. Please don’t get caught in her web of selfishness.

8. He Takes No Responsibility for Past Relationships

Nobody can defend a narcissist better than himself, especially in past relationships. In many broken connections, the fault can usually be shared. Of course, this isn’t the case for those who’ve endured an abusive or cheating partner.

When you are dating a narcissist, he may fake honesty about his past relationships. If you believe his narratives, he was always the victim, and past partners were “unstable,” and single-handedly destroyed him. Be even more suspicious of him if he doesn’t want you to talk to his ex-partners to find the truth.

9. He Just Wants a Reputation

Narcissistic people spend a lot of time and energy cultivating a false image. He brags up every aspect of his life to impress others and create a bigger-than-life reputation. He usually isn’t worried about character building, because he will often do what it takes to make himself look good, even if it’s immoral.

If you are dating a narcissist, his chronic boasting should be a red flag. He invents big job titles and unbelievable salaries for every job he’s worked. You name it, he’s done it or owned it. Remember the saying that things that are too good to be true usually aren’t?

10. Your Relationship Is Chronically Unstable

Like everything in life, even the best relationships have their ups and downs. However, you shouldn’t feel like you are always on an emotional roller coaster. When you are dating a narcissist, everything will seem unbalanced.

At first, he may pretend to be all about you, then suddenly he is a ghost for days at a time. It’s easy for him to turn his feelings on and off toward you. Please resist the urge to stay in the relationship to change him, because the chances are that he or she will remain a selfish narcissist.

Final Thoughts on Recognizing a Narcissist

Unfortunately, the narcissistic person will never find someone who he loves more than himself. Consider these tell-tale signs that you are dating someone with unhealthy views of themselves, and walk away with your dignity. You deserve to have someone who will love and care for you as an equal. Meanwhile, the narcissist will be left with the only person in his life who loves him: himself.


Banish Negative Self Talk by Trying These 10 Techniques

Banish Negative Self Talk by Trying These 10 Techniques

Everyone experiences negative self talk, even the most confident people. It is detrimental to your wellbeing, however, and you should work to achieve positive thinking, instead.

The negative self talk is what is happening when you are judging, doubting, or belittling yourself. It’s when you are telling yourself you aren’t good enough or that you always mess everything up. Usually, these thoughts you think about yourself are ones you’d never say to anyone else.

You have to remember that every thought you have about yourself affects your life. Regardless of whether it is good or bad, it will play a factor in determining your next steps. It will cause you to give up or hold back, preventing achievements and goals from being accomplished.

Not only that, but negative self talk can also cause depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders. When you are hostile toward yourself, you won’t accomplish as much as if you were optimistic. Your thoughts are what you become, so you should always strive for positive thinking.

The Effects of Negative Self Talk and Positive Self Talk

Effects of Negative Thoughts

Some of the impacts of negative self-thoughts were already discussed, but there are more. Some of them include:

  • weakening of muscles
  • increased stress levels
  • your hormone levels change
  • gastrointestinal and digestive problems
  • increased heart rate

Effects of Positive Thinking

The results of thinking positively are much better than those of negative thinking. These effects include:

  • improved coping skills during stressful times
  • a longer life span
  • decreased chance of depression
  • less stress
  • increase in the immune system functioning
  • better overall wellbeing
  • cardiovascular health

When your body is put through less stress and negativity, you tend to be healthier. Since stress causes the heart to weaken, you have less chance of developing heart disease if you are positive.

How to Stop Negative Self Talk

1. Recognize When You are Doing it

The first step to stopping negative self talk is to recognize when you are doing it. Often, we don’t even notice what we are thinking about as we go about our day. You must consciously keep track of your thought process to recognize and stop it as it’s happening.

One way to recognize this negative thought process is by looking for feelings of guilt, shame, doubt, or worthlessness. When you are experiencing these emotions, you are likely to engage in negative thoughts again.

Once you can regularly recognize when it occurs, you can figure out the situations it most often happens in. Keep track by writing down each time you have the negative self talk and what appeared to make it happen.

2. Replace it With Positive Thinking and Positive Self Talk

Once you have acknowledged the negativity, replace it with positivity. Anytime you realize you have a negative thought, replace it with a positive view about yourself. Starting paying attention to the good things about you rather than the wrong things.

If you get used to consciously changing your thought process to be more positive, it’ll begin to become a habit. You will start to recognize the positives automatically, and you’ll have better thoughts about yourself.

The way this works is simple. When you always tell yourself you are no good, you will subconsciously focus on all the mistakes you’ve made. Likewise, when you always tell yourself you are right, you will begin to focus on the good things you do.

An easy rule to remember is to talk to yourself the way you speak to others. If you would not say it to someone else, you shouldn’t say it to yourself. Lift yourself in the way that you lift others.

3. Figure Out Areas for Improvement and Think About the Cause

This point relates to number one when you recognize and keep track of when you notice negative self talk. When you consistently do that, you will be able to figure out which areas of your life need improvement. If you are unhappy in a particular situation, figure out how you can change it.

This isn’t to say you should walk away from a job or relationship because you are unhappy. It could be all about changing your perspective of the situation. Find which parts of it make you tick and then find a way to make those things better.

4. Find a Reason to Laugh or Smile

Laughing and smiling are sure ways to help you with positive thinking. This is especially important when you are in the midst of negative thoughts. Find something that makes you laugh–and then do that every time you feel you need some positivity.

This could be spending time with a loved one or friend who always cracks jokes. You could also put on a stand-up comedy show on TV or read a funny book. Whatever options you choose, make sure you are genuinely laughing and smiling.

5. Be Active

You’ll be surprised to know that exercise and an active lifestyle can lessen negative self talk. If you exercise for around 30 minutes each day, your mood will be positively improved. It can also help you manage your stress, helping with less negativity in that way, as well.

If intense exercise isn’t for you, there are other options. You can take a light jog or take a walk around your neighborhood a couple of times. Another option is to do yoga, which helps you relax while exercising.

6. Spend Time with Positive People and Doing Positive Things

When you are surrounded by negative people, you’ll wind up being negative, too. If you want more positivity in your life, you have to surround yourself with positive people. They will be supportive and be there for you positively, whereas pessimistic people will only make your negative thoughts worse.

If you can’t be around positive people all the time, surround yourself with positive energy. This boost could be an uplifting playlist or a good book that makes you happy. You could also try a positive movie or podcast.

7. Take a Moment to Breathe

Sometimes taking a break to do some deep breathing can help you reel in your thoughts. Frequently when you become overwhelmed, and the negative thinking begins, it’s because you are overwhelmed. Other times it’s because you have made a mistake.

No matter what the cause is, breathing is likely going to help. It will help slow your heart rate, which will make you calm and help you think clearer.

 8. Stop Striving for Perfection

No one is perfect, and you can’t hold yourself to that standard. If you try, you’ll only set yourself up for failure and negativity. Give yourself the same bit of grace that you would show to others and judge your work in the same way you consider theirs.

Imperfections happen, and things can never be completely perfect. Embrace the imperfections and keep moving forward while reminding yourself that you are healthy and capable. Once you stop trying to be perfect, you’ll be happier and have more positive thoughts.

9. Create a Routine

If you have a routine in place, you’ll move through your day with less thought. It will take less energy and less stress, and you won’t feel like you forget anything. You will arrive at places on time, get your work done on time, and never feel like you are behind.

When you can work in this continuous way with minimal stress and thinking, you’ll have fewer negative thoughts. It will prevent you from overthinking and criticizing yourself or your work.

10. Stop Thinking the Worst Possibility Will Happen

When you always think the worst will happen, the negative thinking will set in quickly. You will convince yourself that the worst is the only possibility, even though that is far from the truth.

If you always think you’re going to be fired from your job, you’ll still be thinking of your shortcomings. Conversely, if you tell yourself daily that you are great at your job, you’ll think about your strengths, instead.

Remember that you can’t predict the future, and thinking of the worst-case scenario isn’t healthy. It will only hinder your growth and cause a feeling of worthlessness.

Final Thoughts on Banish Negative Self Talk by Trying These Techniques

Negative self talk is severely detrimental to your mental health and your goals. You won’t be able to achieve your goals if you are always telling yourself you are incapable or unworthy. Remember that you are healthy and can do anything you set your mind to.

When you are having trouble with positive thinking, remember these tips for banishing the negativity. Take a few moments to breathe–then consciously change your thought process.

Spend more time thinking about what you are good at and what you have already accomplished. In turn, you will spend less time thinking about your shortcomings and failures. By doing this, you’ll be able to banish the negativity and think more clearly and realistically.