Categories
Lifestyle

Best practices for decluttering your home and keeping it that way

It’s spring, so get into the spring cleaning spirit and declutter your home. If you’re spending more time at home than usual, you might be noticing that the house needs a good decluttering. Whether you want to declutter because it’s been on your list of to-do’s for far too long, or you’re clutter is affecting your productivity, don’t get overwhelmed. It’s natural to fall into clutter when life gets crazy. What’s important is learning how to declutter in a way that won’t overwhelm you and approaching your lifestyle minimally moving forward. 

Set intention

Whether your goal is to make your room more inviting or more productive, or calm and relaxing, setting an intention for your space before starting your decluttering project is paramount. This sets a tone for how you approach the actual decluttering and will help you decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to repurpose. 

Work in sections

Don’t try to tackle cleaning the entire home at once. You’ll just be setting yourself up for unnecessary stress and potential failure, and we don’t want that. Instead, work in sections. For a smaller apartment, that could mean decluttering your workspace first and then moving on to your TV console, then your kitchen, and so on and so forth. For a larger home, this could mean following the same approach as with a smaller space, or to working from room to room. Don’t be afraid to break up your decluttering into smaller sections despite how large your home is. The key is to take on what you can handle so you don’t become overwhelmed. Even if it takes you several weeks to a month to get your home to where you want it to be. 

Take everything out 

Laying everything out will help you really see how much stuff you actually have. It’s amazing how much clutter builds up in drawers and other storage areas. Start by laying out everything you had in those drawers and storage bins on the floor. As you clear everything out, you’re able to find things you may have forgotten about or duplicate items. This will also allow you to plan where you want to organize everything.

Keep, donate, or repurpose

Now, we take a play out of Marie Kondo’s book. The KonMarie method outlined in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, advises you to ask yourself, “does it spark joy?” in order to decide whether or not to keep an item. Although you may not feel too strongly about your stapler remover, a similar approach can be used anyway–maybe instead, you ask yourself “do I need this?”. If the answer is yes, move on to the next step. If no, you can decide to donate it, recycle it (if possible), or to repurpose it (if possible). 

Organize & plan

While all those items are laid out in front of you, you can start to organize things. Let’s say you’re emptying out things from your desk, for example. Start to put all the electronics together including charging cables and wall plugs, put all the small office supplies like paperclips, pens, and staples into a pile, and gather all your shipping materials like packing tape and box cutters in one place. Once everything is organized in front of you, you can visually see how much space you need to store the items in each category.

Invest in organizational storage

If you’re tossing everything into one big pile, you might want to rethink things. Storage bins, boxes, and trays can help you maximize your storage as well as keeping things neat so that they’re easier to find. Being able to find things means you won’t have to keep repurchasing items you already have because you “lost” them. Sound familiar? It’s not absolutely necessary to go out and purchase storage accessories either if you’re on a budget. You can repurpose boxes from products you’ve purchased in the past, like your old iPhone’s box to store your charging cables, or even use the top and bottom separately as trays to keep your paperclips and thumbtacks in their own spaces. That mug you don’t love can be repurposed as a pen and pencil holder too. The possibilities are endless. 

Put away

As soon as you’ve made spaces for your items and planned where you want to put everything, you’re ready to go. If it’s been a while since your last good cleaning, you might notice there’s a lot less clutter as you’re putting things away. What an amazing feeling right? 

Prevent future clutter

As you’re putting things away, be mindful of where everything is, and set the intention to put things back where they belong to ensure a clutter-free future. It may help to label things and communicate with others living in your home where things are. Getting everyone on board with the organizational structure of your home will take a bit of time, but will pay off in the long run. 

 

In addition, now that you’ve probably had to donate quite a bit from your decluttering project, you might begin to see how wasteful it can be to buy things. Taking on a minimalist approach, and applying the KonMarie method, be mindful when you’re making purchases–Will this improve your quality of life? Will you keep it for years to come? Does it spark joy? What use does this provide for you? Will you use it often? Asking yourself these questions will help you decide what you want to bring into your home. What we don’t want is more waste, and you can prevent that purchasing quality items that will last. With less waste, you’ll also be lessening the load on Mother Earth. Let’s do more by buying less. 

Categories
Lifestyle

8 Unique latte drinks to try during your quarantine

One of the good things to come from shelter-in-place is that starting our mornings now are a bit more enjoyable. Saving some time from getting dressed for work or commuting to the office allows for more relaxed mornings. As a result, you can take advantage of that time and do an at-home workout, a yoga session, or… you can prepare yourself a proper cuppa. 

There’s nothing like starting your morning with a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea. If you fancy a nice cup in the morning and want to jazz things up during this shelter-in-place, here are some upgraded coffees, teas, and beverages you can try at home. Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Some of these lower caffeine options are perfect to give you a little boost. 

 

Dalgona Coffee

The term “Dalgona” actually refers to a Korean honeycomb toffee. South Korean actor, Jung II-woo coined the term after tasting a whipped coffee in a Macau cafe during a taping of the TV show called “Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant” (신상출시 편스토랑). The flavor of the whipped coffee reminded him of the beloved Korean flavor, Dalgona. 

If you haven’t heard of this viral favorite by now, don’t worry–we’ll give you the scoop. This traditional Korean drink gained popularity right as COVID-19 news started to break. It’s a concoction of instant coffee, sugar and hot water, which are whipped together with an electric mixer or by hand with chopsticks until it becomes frothy and creamy. The texture is thick and meringue-like. Once whipped, top it over any milk or milk-alternative, stir and enjoy with a reusable straw.

Note: Instant coffee froths up when mixed with sugar and water because of the drying process it has endured–so this won’t work with freshly ground coffee. 

dalgona coffee latte with brownies

Dalgona Coffee Recipe

(serves 2) 

2 tablespoons of Instant Coffee

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, turbinado sugar, raw cane sugar, or brown sugar 

2 tablespoons of hot water

Milk of your choice

Whip together the ingredients in a clean bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer. It’ll take longer and require a little bit of elbow grease to whisk by hand, but it’s absolutely achievable without an electric mixer. It should take about 3-5 minutes for the mixture to fluff up. Prepare your cup with hot or cold milk or milk-alternative, leaving room for the Dalgona mixture. Then, spoon the Dalgona over the top and enjoy! 

Matcha Dalgona

If you’re more of a matcha person, or want to try a slow-burst caffeine alternative to coffee, the Matcha Dalgona is a worthy alternative. This version has gained popularity as people experimented with the Dalgona-style of drinks. Matcha powder won’t froth up the same way instant coffee would so it’s not a swap for the Dalgona Coffee recipe. Instead, the best way to achieve the whipped texture is with a meringue style base–that’s right, with raw egg whites. 

Matcha Dalgona Recipe 

(serves 2)

1 pasteurized egg white

2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (to taste)

2 to 4 tablespoons water (1:1 ratio with sugar) 

1- 1 1/2 tablespoons of matcha powder

Milk of your choice

Make a simple syrup with the granulated sugar and water by heating over a stove until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat. Then, in a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until it starts to become frothy and white. Gradually pour the simple syrup into the egg white mixture as you continue to whip with the electric mixer. It should become glossy and stiff–be careful not to overbeat. Once you’ve got the right consistency, add the matcha powder and mix until well combined. Pour a cup of your favorite milk (can be enjoyed hot or cold), spoon the dalgona over top and serve. 

Golden Dalgona Latte  

A caffeine-free take on your beloved viral favorite. It features turmeric, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb. If you’re familiar with golden lattes (we’ll talk about this later), you might want to try this take. Similar to matcha, turmeric won’t froth up with only hot water and sugar. This will require an egg white to achieve the fluffy consistency of a Dalgona. 

If you’re feeling even more adventurous, we’ve tried this Golden Dalgona spooned over a matcha latte. There are some strong flavors here but it’s unique and complementary. Can you tell we’ve been getting creative in the kitchen lately? 

golden dalgona latte recipe
 Golden Dalgona over almond milk

Golden Dalgona Latte Recipe

(serves 2) 

1 pasteurized egg white

2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (to taste)

2 to 4 tablespoons water (1:1 ratio with sugar) 

½ to 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Milk of your choice

Make a simple syrup with the granulated sugar and water by heating over a stove until sugar is fully dissolved and remove from heat. Then, in a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until it starts to become frothy and white. Gradually pour the simple syrup into the egg white mixture as you continue to whip with the electric mixer. It should become glossy and stiff, but be careful not to overbeat. Add the turmeric powder and ground cinnamon and mix until combined. Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of turmeric powder or cinnamon according to your taste! Pour some hot or cold milk of your choice into a cup and spoon the Golden Dalgona over top. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a dash of cinnamon if you’re feeling fancy! 

Lavender Black Tea Latte

The calming effects of lavender meet energizing black tea. Not your usual combination, but if you like florals in your lattes, you’ll love this one. Dried florals don’t have much color to them so they can be very light. You can drink them like teas when steeped on their own, but they’re amazing additions with tea if you’re looking to jazz things up. 

Lavender Black Tea Latte Recipe

(serves 1)

1 teaspoon dried lavender 

1 to 2 teaspoons black tea (or 1 sachet) 

8 oz hot water 

Milk of choice (optional, to taste)

Sugar (optional, to taste)

To make this, steep dried lavender in hot water for 2-3 minutes on its own. Then, add 1-2 teaspoons of black tea (about one sachet’s worth) with the lavender and steep for an additional 2-3 minutes, or as directed on your tea packaging. Remove the black tea and the lavender with the steeper. Then add milk or cream as desired. This tastes great on its own, but the addition of a little sugar brings out the flavor of the lavender. 

You can also try a lavender coffee, but instead of using dried lavender, this will require a lighter roast of coffee and lavender extract so the lavender flavor comes through. Both are amazing drinks you ought to try! 

 

Honey Black  Tea Latte

If you’re feeling allergy season kicking in, many swear by drinking local honey to build immunity from local allergens. Although some experts have debunked this myth, a lot of people still believe in its allergy-relieving properties. Either way, if you enjoy honey, you might want to give this Honey Black Milk Tea a shot. 

The key is to use a really good local honey. Raw and unfiltered versions are our favorite because of the richness in flavor. Use your favorite black tea for this–we prefer loose leaf, of course. A Darjeeling, English breakfast, or any mild-flavored black tea will work wonderfully with this one. You really want the honey to take center stage here. 

Honey Black Tea Latte

(serves 1) 

3 to 4 teaspoons of loose-leaf black tea 

2 to 3 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered local honey (Or, to taste) 

2 to 3 oz hot water

5 to 6 oz Milk of choice

First, steep the loose leaf black tea in the water as directed. You can let it go a little over the recommended time, but not too much lest you want a bitter-tasting tea. You want it to be more concentrated than you normally would drink it because you’ll be adding milk later. Once steeped, remove the tea leaves from the hot water. The result should be a dark concentrated tea. Then, add the honey. 

Now, if you want a hot latte, heat the milk over the stove before adding it to the honey and black tea mixture. 

If you prefer it cold, you can prepare this ahead of time and leave it in the fridge overnight before adding cold milk when serving. Otherwise, you can add a bit of ice and your milk of choice to the concoction and enjoy. 

Golden Milk Latte

Unlike the Golden Dalgona we mentioned earlier, the Golden Milk Latte is a lot easier to achieve. We’d recommend trying it this way before the commitment of a Dalgona because the turmeric flavor does take some getting used to if you haven’t tried it. It’s used frequently in curries to give it that earthy flavor and yellow-orange hue. But no, this is not a savory drink–it is a sweet one, if you want it to be. It’s traditionally enjoyed with cinnamon and ginger for some added spice and digestive benefits. This one has no caffeine so you can enjoy it any time of the day. Drink this to unwind in the evening or jumpstart your digestive system in the morning. It will also give you immunity a boost too! 

Golden Milk Latte Recipe

(serves 1) 

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

½ teaspoon fresh ginger (or sub for ground ginger) 

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

8 oz Milk of choice

On the stovetop, heat your milk of choice in a small saucepan over low-medium heat until it starts to simmer. Then, add fresh ginger. You can substitute for ground ginger if you don’t like too much heat or if you don’t have fresh ginger on hand. Continue on low heat for about 1-2 minutes. Then, remove from heat and add the turmeric and cinnamon. Whisk to incorporate the mixture. Then, place a small sifter over your mug (a tea stepper will work too), and strain before serving to remove the ginger and any remaining clumps. This recipe is fully customizable depending on how much turmeric you like or how much ginger or cinnamon you like in your latte, so feel free to experiment! 

Matcha Latte

For you matcha lovers out there, this is probably what your drink of choice is every morning. For those who want to venture into the wonders of matcha and sick of the jitters you get from coffee, try this on for size! Matcha is a powerful antioxidant that contains the same levels of caffeine as brewed coffee and about half the caffeine of espresso. However, it doesn’t come with the jitters or crashes that are characteristic effects of coffee. Matcha contains amino acid L-Theanine, which slows the release of its caffeine content, giving you sustained energy throughout the day.

matcha powder, and matcha whisk  

Matcha Latte Recipe

(serves 1) 

½ to 1 teaspoon matcha powder 

¼ cup hot water

Sugar, honey or another sweetener (to taste)

6 oz milk of choice

Measure the matcha powder into a bowl or wide mug. Add hot water and stir with a bamboo matcha whisk until the powder dissolves and there are no visible clumps. Then, add your sweetener and stir until dissolved. For hot, heat up your milk of choice over the stovetop before adding to the sweetened matcha mixture. For cold, you can prepare the matcha mixture ahead of time and add your milk of choice straight from the fridge; or add a few ice cubes before adding the chilled milk to complete your matcha latte. 

 

Strawberry Matcha Latte 

As San Francisco natives, we’re huge fans of the local tea shop, Boba Guys. They make an amazing Strawberry Matcha Latte that puts a sweet spin on a beloved classic. The strawberry puree sweetens up the drink for a bright pick-me-up in a cup. The drink is assembled in a sequence so that the thick strawberry puree sits on the bottom, slightly thinner milk is center, and the matcha is added on the top. This drink is best served cold and can easily be prepped ahead of time. Here’s our spin on this local favorite. 

Strawberry Matcha Latte Recipe 

(serves 4)

For the Strawberry Puree 

½ cup fresh strawberries, diced 

¼ cup raw cane sugar

¼ cup water

 

For the Matcha

2-4 teaspoons matcha powder

1 cup hot water 

16 oz milk of choice (4 oz per serving) 

In a small saucepan, add strawberries, sugar and water over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to bubble up, reduce to low-medium heat and stir–mashing up the strawberries as you go. When the puree thickens to a honey-like consistency, remove from heat to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, transfer the puree to a container to chill. 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the matcha and hot water until dissolved. Let cool for a few minutes until room temperature. 

Prepare a 10oz glass to assemble your Strawberry Matcha Latte. First, spoon in a quarter of the strawberry puree to the bottom of the glass. Then, pour in 4oz of your milk of choice. Lastly, pour a quarter of the match mixture over that. The result should be a beautiful 3 part drink. Serve with some ice and a reusable straw and stir before enjoying. 

If you’re getting a little stir crazy, stir up a nice cup of coffee or tea, take a break, and enjoy. We’re loving this time to declutter, be introspective, and to really push the limits on our creativity. How are you spending your shelter-in-place? 

 

Categories
Sustainability

How to live sustainably during a pandemic

These days, living a sustainable lifestyle seems to have taken a backseat to grabbing what we can from the stores while they’re still on the shelves. Seriously, why can’t a person find paper towels or toilet paper anywhere? Whether it’s the result of hoarding or that people simply have been using more due to quarantine, this is a cause for reflection on how much we’re using. 

In recent news, grocery stores have temporarily banned reusable grocery bags from entering the premises. In addition, quarantine or shelter-in-place for COVID-19 means that more people are ordering takeout than before. This is causing a major spike in plastic consumption during this time and expected to rise as more time passes. 

Reduce, reuse, recycle–is this possible during a coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, or rather any global crisis for that matter? We think so. If you really thought about it, you could very well find workarounds for using say, too many paper towels, or too much plastic wrap, or even too many disinfectant wipes. 

Refrain from buying bottled water

The importance of sustainable habits and living a mindful lifestyle is more important than ever. As we approach Earth Day, we want to drive home the fact that people are buying more plastic bottled water than ever, among other products, that add to the single-use waste issue. Bottled water should be used as a last resort in disaster situations to provide relief to the masses. Not for daily consumption. 

Plastic bottles are made with toxic chemicals like BPA that will leech into the very water it’s bottling, and as you can gather, you’d be exposing yourself to unnecessary chemicals by drinking it. Instead, use a filter system to eliminate heavy metals from your tap water, or use your LARQ Bottle to purify and eradicate germs from your water. 

Reduce paper towel use 

If you got your hands on paper towels, that’s great! But that doesn’t mean that you should use them to your heart’s content. Paper towels can be used for everything under the sun, but if you’re using a sheet every single time you wash your hands, this can get quite wasteful. 

The CDC recommends washing hands thoroughly and wiping dry on a clean cloth or air drying. The important steps are lathering with soap and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (about the length of singing “Happy Birthday” twice). Use a clean cloth to wipe your hands. You should replace your hand towels routinely depending on how many people in your household are using it–the frequency should be increased if there are more people using the same cloth after washing. 

For light kitchen spills or cleaning, use a washcloth for spot cleaning countertops after cooking instead of using paper towels or disinfectant wipes every time. Simply hand wash the washcloth with dish soap and warm water after each use and hang it to dry. 

You can probably tell there are a lot of little ways to reduce your paper towel use. Always reuse when you can. And please, don’t hoard essential products like this from people who might desperately need them. People caring for infected loved ones at home or severely ill individuals need these to take extra precautions at home. 

Be stingy with your disinfectant wipes

Some of us are in a place where nothing that enters the home without a good disinfectant wipe-down, and with good reason. However, being extra careful doesn’t mean being extra wasteful. With wipes, we all know sometimes they’re a little too saturated or the sheets are too large for what you’re using them for. 

How I’m living now with my partner has changed drastically since our pre-shelter-in-place days. First of all, before quarantining, I only used disinfectant wipes to do a weekly deep clean of my room, living areas, kitchen, and the bathroom. Now, it’s used for everything that enters the house. So, we try to cut down our sheets if we only ordered a few grocery items via Instacart, or packages from Amazon. If we did a big grocery haul, we cut a sheet in half and divide and conquer. For phones and other electronics, we’ve been using 91% Isopropyl that we already had on hand, soaked a tiny spot of this on half of a cotton pad (yes, we’re being stingy with this too), and wipe our phones down. Alternatively, we’ve been using our Bust-a-germ box to do a zero-waste UV-sanitization clean. The Bust-a-germ box was a really quick and easy DIY on how to build your own UV-sanitizer to utilize with your LARQ Bottle caps you already have. We built two Bust-a-germs for our phones, keys, hand sanitizer, and even our reusable face masks. Basically, anything that we took with us out goes into the Bust-a-germ as soon as we get home and finish washing our hands. 

Use your DIY Bust-a-germ box

The Bust-a-germ box is no doubt the best method to sanitize sustainably and without the use of scarce resources like disinfectant wipes or sprays. This DIY UV-sanitization chamber we concocted uses your LARQ Bottle cap’s PureVis™ technology to neutralize bio-contaminants from your household objects without the use of harsh chemicals or supplies you can use for other things. This device has saved us from using too many disinfectant wipes and sprays which we use on larger surfaces and objects in the house. Did you know your LARQ Bottle’s technology could do all that? Well yes, it can, and all the while, it’s doing the same thing in your water bottle to purify water and keep it bacteria-free. 

Make your own reusable face mask

The CDC is officially recommending the public to use or make reusable cloth face masks instead of buying N95 masks or even surgical masks as these should be reserved for our frontline healthcare professionals. In fact, we donated the 1,000 face masks that we had on hand to healthcare heroes fighting COVID-19. And instead, we’re using our own reusable cloth face masks, reducing the amount of time we’re out to avoid exposure, and staying 6ft apart from others when we are out. 

 

Reusable cloth face masks are more environmentally friendly than single-use masks. They’re not meant for people who are regularly interacting with a loved one who is ill, but are for everyone who is not working the frontlines during COVID-19. Just remember to launder or hand wash your reusable face masks routinely (depending on the frequency of use) and follow the CDC’s guidelines on how to make reusable cloth masks

Use reusable containers or eco-friendly cling wrap

Due to the quarantine, we’re staying home and cooking a lot more, which also means that there is the potential need for plastic sandwich bags and saran wrap for storing leftovers. Not to mention all the takeout containers for those days where you’re ordering in instead. 

If you’re cooking up a storm and have leftovers, opt to use your reusable food containers instead or eco-friendly cling wrap made from silicone or beeswax instead of saran wrap. 

As for your frequent takeout situation, we believe you should support local restaurants, but try to limit the amount of takeout you’re ordering in a week. Or, make a note to the restaurant to omit single-use cutlery from the order, or encourage restaurants to use paper instead of plastic. 

Prevent food waste 

For those of us who aren’t used to cooking every meal, cooking at home can be challenging and inadvertently result in food waste. An easy way to prevent this is to plan ahead. Do your research on some meals you want to cook. It’s important to find recipe ideas that call for similar ingredients. Also, keep some produce on hand that you know you can whip up something fast with like avocado toast, grilled cheese, or a caesar salad. Just remember to consume within a week to avoid food waste! If you haven’t already, compost any food scraps. This reduces the volume of waste going into landfills and helps repurpose organic material. 

Reuse glass jars

Whether you’re buying tomato sauce or jams, opt for glass jarred products instead of plastic at the grocery store when possible. These glass jars can be recycled or even upcycled as containers around the house. You can grow your own scallions in just some water in a glass, and 2-3 inches of the root of the scallion. You can organize your snacking nut collection in jars or make some overnight oats in them too! Think beyond the kitchen and organize your push pins or paper clips in the glass jars. The possibilities are endless.

Take shorter showers

Water conservation is more important than ever as more products are being produced all the time. Most processing, produce, and production requires an amount of freshwater and carbon emissions. Only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater supply, and 70% of that freshwater supply is used for agriculture. With everyone (hopefully) washing their hands frequently, we’ll need to find other ways to conserve water. 

Categories
Wellness

Productivity tips for working from home and staying healthy

Amidst the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a lot of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely are under quarantine. We can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to self-quarantine whether you are exhibiting symptoms or not. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as governments all over the world, are advising curfews, lockdowns and at the very least, self-quarantines. These efforts will reduce exposure significantly and is currently the best method to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Whether you enjoy working from home or absolutely hate it, it’s a reality a lot of us are facing now. At this time, we stress the importance of balance and mindfulness. This means doing what is necessary to take care of loved ones–children, elder family members, and those with immunodeficiencies–as well as yourself. It also means keeping your sanity by cracking a window or taking a walk outside (alone), or video chatting with friends to keep your sanity. Furthermore, it means setting yourself up for optimal productivity so that your performance doesn’t suffer after working from home for an extended period of time. Sound like the type of thing you need right now? Keep reading. 

Spring Cleaning

What better catalyst to clean than a widespread virus? Sorry, but there’s a little truth to this. Whether you were not well-versed in the advised methods of handwashing or if you were a germaphobe since the womb, cleaning the entire house should be the first and foremost task on your to-do list. Clean home, less to worry about. 

A little known truth is that cleaning and disinfection products require a “dwell time”. This means that the surface being cleaned should be well saturated and you should allow time for the product to work on the surface. Not necessarily wiping off the excess or using the surface right away. Read the manufacturer’s label before cleaning to ensure you’re following the proper method for maximum efficacy. 

If your home hasn’t undergone a great dusting in a while, now’s the time. Do a full sweep of the home and invest in an air purifier. Air purifiers filter dust, pollen, and smoke from the air and improve air quality.

Productivity

Working remotely has its perks like being able to work from the comfort of your bed, or getting to cuddle with your pup all day. On the other hand, some things become distractions and can impede your performance for work. Here are some helpful tips on how to stay productive when working from home. 

Get organized 

If you don’t typically work from home, this is imperative. At the office, you may have your usual routine set up and a way of doing things. Things might need to change or adjust for working remotely at home. Make sure you have all the essentials to keep you focused like a designated work area–be that a desk and a chair, or your kitchen bar. Do you usually have a whiteboard you work from at work? Get one for the home, or transition to a notebook instead. 

Another piece is putting a checklist of what you need to get done, or using your calendar more frequently to make sure you’re on top of your tasks. Leverage tools like Google Calendar, Evernote, and even a good old notebook or notepad to keep everything organized. 

Minimize distractions

Distractions can come from anywhere. Avoid turning your TV on while working (as tempting as it may be). If you’re not accustomed to listening to podcasts or music at work normally, don’t change that when you start working from home. If you normally have silence at work, invest in some good quality noise-canceling headphones to keep yourself focused. It’s always a good idea to clean up your workspace too. Clutter can cause distractions and cloud your mind. For some people, it induces stress–and nope, we don’t want that at all. Take some time to reorganize your space. Move to a different area of the home with the least distractions. Adjust as you go to make your work from home a better place to work. 

Check your posture

Fatigue is often distracting and can link to poor posture when working. Hence, why no one recommends working from your bed. Ever get neck cramps throughout the day or back pain that you can’t stop obsessing over? Yeah, not great for productivity! If possible, try to make your at-home workspace more ergonomic. That is, make sure that when you’re sitting, your feet are planted fully on the ground at a 90 degree angle. Sit up, keeping your spine and neck aligned. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle when typing and your eyes should be looking straight ahead at your monitor. Additionally, be sure to take frequent breaks (especially if your current desk situation is sub-optimal). And we don’t mean to take breaks to go on Instagram. Take breaks to do some stretches to mitigate any chronic pain that can stem from a long workday with bad posture. 

Wellness

Your personal wellness is just as important as your professional output. As we’re adapting to at-home confinement, things can get a little lonely and hectic. That’s why we’re huge proponents of health and wellness–especially during this time. Remember to take care of your bodies even though gyms are closed. Drink lots of water, and do more things that make you happy (at home). 

Eat well 

One of the most important things you can do for your body right now is to eat well. We hope you’re not hoarding food because that will take away from someone who might need it more than you do, but it does mean being selective with what you put in your body. Adopting dietary habits that are geared toward nutrition will help boost your immune system and overall health. Need a reference point? Check out the Planetary Health Diet, an eating plan developed by a prestigious collective of scientists, nutritionists, and environmentalists as the optimal diet for both human and planetary health. If there are concerns to fill nutritional gaps, supplements are a great option to explore. 

Stay hydrated

Your body needs water, whether or not “feel” thirsty. Drinking an adequate amount of water will help your overall wellness and support your immune system. This is especially important in today’s world. Water flushes out toxins and other bacteria from your body that can cause illnesses. It also helps oxygen flow throughout your body. 

Whatever you’re drinking from, it’s especially important to clean it frequently–preferably at each refill. Why? Because bacteria can grow faster than you think in moist places. Yes, we’re talking about your mug, your tumbler, your water bottle, and yes your favorite baby Yoda glass. Check out this guide on how to clean your reusable water bottle to be sure you’re cleaning properly. If you’re not into all that cleaning or just want peace of mind that your drinking vessel is bacteria-free, we make these really cool self-cleaning bottles using PureVis™  technology. PureVis™ uses a non-toxic UV-C LED, which purifies water and sanitizes surfaces by eliminating bacteria and viruses. 

Meditate

In this stressful period, meditation can be helpful to help you maintain your sanity. There are so many things going on on top of this global pandemic–events and weddings being canceled, resource crisis, and bleak thoughts about what the future holds. Here’s a reminder that we can stay positive and be proactive about what we do now to ensure the best possible outcome. That includes keeping a good attitude, practicing mindfulness, being compassionate to others, and taking care of your own mental health through practices such as meditation or yoga. 

Exercise

In some areas, fitness clubs and gyms are closed as a result of recent developments regarding COVID-19. Even if you weren’t going to the gym really before, it’s important that you work this into your schedule more than ever. Since we’re not physically going anywhere, taking to the outdoors is a great way to work some much-needed vitamin D and exercise into your routine. Exercising releases endorphins that lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. 

No matter where you are in the world, be compassionate to others and remember to wash your hands. We hope these tips help you work from home better and stay healthy while you’re at it! 

 

Categories
Lifestyle

7 Romantic Outdoor Date Ideas

Planning something special for Valentine’s day can be a daunting task, but if you’re really in the mood to woo your S.O., you can do it with a thoughtfully planned romantic outdoor adventure. Scenic hikes, picnics, camping, glamping, and other outdoor activities are the makings of a fun and romantic date you and your S.O. will enjoy and remember for years to come. 

Take a day hike

A simple idea, but one that can be jazzed up to feel even more special for Valentine’s day or anniversary date idea. Find a hike that neither of you has been to, or maybe one that’s been on your bucket list for a while. Another fun idea is for the two of you to write down a bunch of different hiking trails or parks, put them in a jar and draw one at random! You can keep that jar of adventures for the next time you and your significant other run out of cute date ideas. How romantic. 

 

Prepare some food for the hike, a picnic blanket, and plenty of water from your favorite self-cleaning water bottles, and other refreshments. You can make it extra special by splurging on the food you both love. Don’t forget to research several spots where you can set up the picnic that will have a great view (just in case some are taken when you’re there). And lastly, remember to relax and enjoy each other’s company! 

Try a new activity  

What’s something neither of you has done together before? Ice skating? Snow-shoeing? Horseback riding? An outdoor spa? There are a ton of ways to enjoy the outdoors even when it’s cold out that are both romantic and fun. If things have been stressful lately, trying a new activity together is an especially fun way to let loose, be silly, and to be carefree. REI (yes, the same REI you go shopping for all your outdoor gear) has dozens of classes all over the US you can take. 

Take a class

With dozens of classes in different areas of interest, you can find something new to learn or do together. Who knows? Maybe you’ll both pick up a new hobby along the way you can share with one another. Try cooking classes if the two of you usually eat out a lot together, a pottery class if both of you don’t mind getting a little messy and creative, or even try an outdoor photography class so you can finally capture those adventures you’re always taking together. Want something more challenging? Try a rock climbing class to literally take your relationship to new heights. 

Go on a scenic drive

Sometimes the best destination is no destination. Driving aimlessly on the open road, blasting your favorite music, maybe sharing new ones, or throwing back oldies you both know the words to, and having meaningful conversations with one another, are the best parts about scenic drives. 

 

Pick a scenic route that you may have heard about but have never actually taken or one that’s nostalgic, but somewhere your significant other hasn’t seen yet. You can look up a few places to eat around your route, but the beauty in a day like this is to wander and explore with your loved one. Making it a somewhat spontaneous day out can reignite some untapped creativity or joy–and who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite place on this new adventure. Just make sure to pack some snacks for the road and lots of water (you’ll need it after singing at the top of your lungs!). 

Go stargazing 

If you live in a city with a lot of light, this may be particularly special for you and your significant other. The idea of this is inherently romantic–whether it’s driving up to a vista point somewhere to look at the view and enjoy the stars, or if it means camping in the wilderness to enjoy the fresh air, sounds, and more stars in the sky than you’ve seen in a while. Put together a playlist of you and your significant others’ favorite songs, bring come cozy blankets, refreshments, and maybe even some chocolate covered strawberries. 

Go glamping

This may require a bit more planning and booking in advance, but it’s sure worth it and definitely special. If you and your significant other like to enjoy the outdoors but want a touch of luxury to go along with it, a glamping trip might just be the thing for you. Rent a yurt or cabin for the weekend, and bring everything you need for s’mores and a good time. You can bring some refreshments, camping food, and even some board games. Here’s another cute idea–bring a canvas and some paint and do your own “paint nite” together in the woods. Bring on your artsy sides! Better yet? Just relax and enjoy the outdoors with your favorite person. 

Bonfire on the beach

This is typically something you may do with a group of friends, but it’s 10 times more romantic to do just with your significant other. Make sure you go to a beach that allows bonfires and be sure you are doing it safely in the designated areas. Typically, national parks beaches and other public lands will have information regarding campfires or bonfires on their websites. Beware of high tide and nearby fire hazards like docks, bushes, and trees–stay as far away from these areas as possible. 

 

Now that we’ve got the safety warnings out of the way–because nothing is sexier than being prepared–make sure you have everything you need to hang out by the bonfire with your beau. Bring warm clothes and lots of blankets, beverages like beer, wine, water (of course), hot chocolate–whatever suits your fancy–hot packed food, biodegradable wet wipes, cards or board games, a portable Bluetooth speaker, external battery, and maybe even an iPad to cuddle and watch your favorite movies or shows on. When you’re ready to head home, don’t forget to pack everything you brought out with you and follow the Leave No Trace principles to ensure your beach stays beautiful. Lastly, make sure you’ve followed the proper method of putting out your bonfire to ensure the land, wildlife, and people don’t get hurt. 

 

Valentine’s day is a great excuse to show your partner how much you care–no matter if you’ve been dating for three months or three years. But don’t let the romance die after Valentine’s day is over. Be spontaneous and plan more adventures together in the outdoors. Connecting with nature is the best escape for whatever lifestyle you’re living. So go ahead, let your inner romantic shine and show your partner how much you care.

Categories
Wellness

8 Easy ways to boost energy

If you’re feeling sluggish lately, whether it’s from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), or just from burnout, you’re not alone. On that fifth cup of coffee and still no sign of that lively, energetic person you once knew? You’re not alone. If you’re in dire need of an energy boost, these tips for boosting energy are worth a shot.

Manage stress 

Your body reacts when you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and downright stressed out by making you feel fatigued and tired all the time. It could also be preventing you from getting better sleep quality which makes you tired throughout the day. In order to get better sleep, try meditating, exercising, reducing caffeine intake, or whatever helps you unwind

 

Exercise

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, natural hormones that give you a boost of energy. On top of that, exercise has been proven to improve the quality of sleep, mood, and overall wellness. Instead of waking up and grabbing your coffee, go on a walk or run or do some yoga to boost energy and start your day off on a good note. Plus, you’ll get added benefits of cardiovascular health–it’s good for your heart. 

 

Get better quality sleep 

Getting a full night’s sleep is everyone’s goal, but let’s face it–it’s hard. Getting restful sleep is a surefire way to fight that midday fatigue and urge to grab another coffee. Luckily there are easy ways to get better sleep. To get better sleep, exposing yourself to daylight during the day and shutting off electronics 1-2 hours before bedtime will help you regulate your body’s circadian rhythm which will regulate your body’s melatonin production in order to get you sleepy in time for bed. 

 

Eat nutritiously

It’s no secret that diet and exercise are the keys to a healthy life and it’s no different when it comes to energy. Eating nutritiously will get your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to operate at its full potential; it’s literally fuel for your brain and body. 

 

Similar to what’s recommended on from the EAT-Lancet Commission’s Planetary Health Diet, a plant-based diet with low amounts of meat can have significant benefits to health. Eating nutrient-rich foods like whole grains and nuts will help you reach your daily recommended value of magnesium and folic acid (300mg for women and 350mg for men). 

 

You’ll also get B12 from animal-based foods like meat and dairy–for those who don’t eat meat, you might be deficient in this vitamin that is only found in animal products, but you can take supplements to get your daily recommended amount. Just remember meat-eaters: you won’t get extra energy from B12 if you already get an adequate amount. 

 

Low levels of iron can also leave you feeling tired and weak. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from your lungs to the organs and tissues in your body. You can find iron in foods like edamame, lentils, spinach, clams, and mussels. Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C as well to maximize your absorption of iron. 

 

Caffeine

Caffeine is not always the answer (especially at odd hours of the day), but there is a way to optimize its powers. According to this study, you should be drinking coffee between 9:30 am and 11:30 am, the time frame which your body secretes the highest levels of cortisol (the hormone that helps you regulate metabolism), to reap the most benefits from the caffeine. 

 

If you’re an avid coffee and it’s just not affecting you anymore in the way that it should, try weaning off of it and swap for matcha. Matcha has caffeine to keep you alert and boosts energy, but it also contains L-theanine which is an amino acid that promotes well-being and relaxation. L-theanine has the added benefit of helping with memory and learning as well as inhibiting the possible side-effects of caffeine. It gives you that energy boost without the jitters, and it has a slow-release effect that gives you energy for longer periods of time, contrary to coffee. 

Drink water 

If you’re feeling fatigued, ask yourself if you’ve drunk enough water. If you’re dehydrated, one of the things you’ll feel immediately is tired and lethargic. Drinking water will give your body what it needs to be alert. Try to avoid just chugging a ton of water when you realize you haven’t gotten enough. Instead, keep your reusable water bottle with you throughout the day so you always have easy access to water. The LARQ Bottle is a self-cleaning bottle, so it doesn’t need to be cleaned after every refill like others do (it’ll prevent bacteria and mold growth with UV-C LED technology!), so you won’t forget it in the sink at home or get sick from this water bottle. No bacteria or funky smells here. If you prefer something lightweight with high water capacity, try out the LARQ Bottle Movement. It cleans and purifies water on-the-go too, with an ultra-lightweight non-insulated stainless steel build so you can carry more water without the added weight. 

 

Peppermint

If essential oils are more your speed, peppermint is a great one for focus. Dab or roll-on a bit of this for a fresh minty scent that will wake you up. Scents are effective because they travel through the olfactory nerves that connect to the parts of the brain that dictate emotions, mood or memory. Your body will react to the smell of peppermint by feeling more invigorated and alert. 

 

Get some sunshine

The sun boosts serotonin levels, also known as the ‘happiness hormone’. You’ll feel calm and more alert, so if you’re sitting inside with no sunlight, take a moment to walk outside and you’ll come back refreshed. 

 

Sunlight also helps regulate your circadian rhythm–your body’s sleep schedule. Getting an appropriate amount of light throughout the day keeps you alert when you should be alert, and sleepy when it’s time for bed. 

 

These easy tips for boosting energy are extremely attainable and can make a huge impact on your daily life. When it comes to your well-being, don’t cut corners. 

Categories
Wellness

15 ways to sleep better

 

How many of us are actually getting the required amount of 7 or more hours per night? Show of hands? That’s not a lot of hands. About 35% of adults don’t get this required amount, according to the CDC. We don’t need to tell you how detrimental sleep deprivation can be. It can take a toll on your mental health as well as your physical health. Constant lethargy, foggy mind, and stress can all be results of sleep deprivation. To feel more energized for your days, think more clearly, and to manage stress, there are many mistakes you may be making that prevent you from getting quality sleep.

 

Here are some ways to get better sleep or fall asleep faster: 

Increase exposure to light during daylight hours 

Exposure to light during the day helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. If you do no expose your body to light (artificial or otherwise), your body will feel tired and sleepy throughout your day and into the night. Because the sunlight helps our bodies differentiate between daytime and nighttime, a lack of light exposure during the day will make you sleepy and make it difficult to sleep later when your melatonin levels drop. This is part of the reason people get jet-lagged on long flights

 

Do not nap for longer than 30 minutes during the day

Heavy napping throws off your body’s sleeping cycle–especially in large durations–because the adult body does not need that much sleep to operate. Napping for longer than 30-minute intervals will make you less tired by the time bedtime rolls around, making it more difficult to fall asleep. If you want to fall asleep faster, avoid naps during the day unless you truly need it. 

Reduce consumption of caffeine

Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages are great for staying awake (obviously) but not great for when you need to sleep later. Resist the urge to grab that second, third or fourth cup of joe in the late afternoon. 

Wake up consistently every day 

Setting an alarm to wake up at a consistent hour of each day regulates your body so you’ll fall asleep or get tired around the same time too. If you work inconsistent hours or days of the week, this may be a bit more difficult, but try to find a window where you can wake up consistently and fall asleep faster and more consistently for your bedtime. The same goes for your days off! We all want to sleep in on our days off, but avoid sleeping in more than 3 hours past the time you usually wake up. This can throw off your sleeping schedule too and make it more difficult to sleep on time that night. 

Limit eating and drinking alcohol right before bed

It’s recommended to eat at least 2 hours before bed to allow your body to digest. You’ll find that if you eat too close to bedtime or snack late in the night, it may be harder to fall asleep or have a great sleep. 

Alcohol right before bed could also affect your quality of sleep. If you want to get to sleep faster, make sure you’re not consuming alcohol 2-3 hours before bedtime. Studies show that alcohol negatively affects the quality of sleep in many ways–reducing the secretion of melatonin in the body resulting in disrupted sleep patterns. Drinking alcohol before sleep can also cause sleep apnea and oxygen desaturation. 

Take a warm bath or shower

We’re not ones to deny a nice warm shower or bath in any case, but taking one 1-2 hours before bed will help relax your body and mind to prepare for bed. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil for a spa-like experience that has calming effects. Making this a part of your nighttime routine can help you decompress after a long stressful day. We’ll talk more about essential oils’ effect on sleep later.  

Have a routine

Speaking of nighttime routines, having one helps a ton with sleeping. Going through the motions helps your body prepare for bed since there is a sequence involved that your body gets used to. It’s also like checking off a mini-list (if you’re a list person), so mentally you’ve checked everything off and are ready for bed. 

Keep your room dark during nighttime hours

Having light on in the room while you’re trying to sleep can lead to bad quality sleep and grogginess during the daytime–yes, we’re talking about the TV too. Referring back to your body’s circadian rhythm, your body needs to differentiate when its daytime or nighttime which is affected by light. If you are used to falling asleep to the sounds of the TV, try a white noise machine instead. 

Use a white noise machine 

A white noise machine plays soothing, repetitive sounds that help some people fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. This ranges from waterfalls to birds chirping, or even the crashing of waves in the ocean, and creates an environment where your mind can relax and drift off without the disruptive blue light of your TV.

Reduce exposure to blue light at least 2 hours before bed

Blue light from devices like phone screens, TVs, tablets and more, are known to delay the release of melatonin, and in contrast, increases alertness disrupting your body’s circadian rhythm. See a pattern here? We’re probably all a little guilty of this, but putting your phone away from your bed could have many benefits. It’ll keep you from grabbing it and browsing for another hour past your bedtime, and when your alarm rings (assuming you use your phone’s alarm), you’ll have to physically get up in order to turn it off–no more hitting snooze. 

Exercise during the day

Exercise, as we all know, has many health benefits, so it’s a must to incorporate into your daily routine. Studies show that exercise can even help sleep by deterring symptoms of insomnia in adults. In fact, one study showed that in people with severe insomnia, exercise reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30% and anxiety by 15%–increasing total sleep time by 18%. It’s quite possible that if you exercise right before bedtime, your body might need some time to adjust, so if you’re having this problem, try exercising during the day instead to improve sleep and benefit your body’s circadian rhythm. 

Use a humidifier or aromatherapy diffuser

Humidifiers are great for those with sinus congestion, when you’re sick, or if you live in a dry climate. They relieve congestion by adding moisture to the air and helping the hairs in your nose to move freely so they can filter out bacteria that can cause colds or allergies. They also prevent dryness that may lead to bloody noses or irritation in the nasal passages that may disrupt sleep in addition to keeping skin hydrated so you don’t toss and turn from irritated dry skin. Ever get that dry, scratchy feeling in your nose and throat that makes you wake up in the middle of the night? A humidifier will provide relief by adding moisture into the air in your room, resulting in better quality sleep. 

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to relieve stress which promotes better sleep. If you prefer holistic approaches, this may be worthwhile to try. Scents and smells that travel through our olfactory nerves connect to the brain, sending signals to different paths like the limbic system and the amygdala, which dictate emotions, mood, and memory. This indicates that scents can trigger physical reactions in the body proving effective in various ways–including sleep.

You can use aromatherapy for your benefit in several ways: topically when diluted with water and rubbed gently into acupressure points on the body, with reed diffusers, candles, or even with aromatherapy diffusers (some are a combination of humidifiers and aromatherapy diffusers!). The six types of essential oils proven effective for sleep are lavender, lemon or yuzu, bergamot, ylang-ylang, clary sage, and jasmine. All have properties that relieve stress and have calming effects to help you achieve better quality sleep. 

Keep your room cool

Keeping your room cool encourages deeper sleep. Your body naturally drops in temperature before bed, signaling that it’s time to get some rest. Keeping your room cool will trigger this response, but when a room gets too hot, it will block this signal or disrupt your sleep. 

Your body temperature naturally drops before bed as we mentioned, but it also naturally gets warmer when you’re closer to waking up, which can make you feel like you’re sleeping hot or make you wake up sweating profusely. Keeping your room cooler can prevent this and regulate that optimum temperature throughout the night. So–what is the optimum temperature? It’s recommended to keep your room between 60-68 degrees to stimulate the production of sleep-inducing melatonin. 

Meditate

Meditation has been growing in popularity for good reason. It’s the practice of emotional wellness, caring for the mind, managing stress and promoting overall happiness. Practicing meditation is great for people who tend to be restless at night and have trouble clearing the mind before bed. Meditation is a practice, so it takes some time to get it right, but the benefits are worthwhile. Once you practice how to meditate, you’ll be able to use it to destress after each day and use your practice whenever you need to. 

Take supplements

You’ve heard us talk about melatonin throughout this entire read, so you probably know by now how important it is to have healthy levels of melatonin in your life. If you feel like none of the above methods are helping, it might be worth it to look into taking melatonin supplements. Always consult your physician before taking supplements to see if it is the right option for you.

 

Getting good quality sleep is so crucial for your wellness and worth investing the time and energy in for overall better quality of life! It’s your source of energy, anti-aging, and recovery. Try these tips for getting better sleep for yourself and see how life-changing great quality sleep can be. 

Categories
Wellness

8 Life-changing wellness habits to kickstart your new year

For many, entering into a new year is the time for a clean slate–to start fresh no matter how unhealthy (physical, mental, or otherwise) your previous year was. 2020 is the turn of a decade which means many bigger shifts in habits, health, and overall wellness. If you’re having trouble kickstarting your new year, try shifting your mindset. It’s not about reinventing yourself or making major changes in your life, but rather, a series of small ones and changing your attitude for overall wellness–mind, body, and soul.

 

Whether you’re jumpstarting the new year with some hardcore fitness goals or pining for a big promotion at the end of the year, here are some healthy habits that will help you stay sane no matter how crazy life gets. To us, sustainability isn’t just about the planet, it’s about personal health too. 

 

Exercise

You’re thinking about it anyway, so might as well put this at the top of the list. Exercise is important on so many different levels (so you’ve heard), but we’re not talking about weight loss goals or hitting your benching PR. We’re talking about cardiovascular health and mental health. 

 

You don’t have to commit to 6 days at the gym or running 5 miles every morning. 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week of any physical aerobic activity will help maintain overall cardiovascular health. If you wanted to, the American Heart Association suggests that breaking these up to 10-15 minute segments of your day will provide benefits too. This can be anything from a brisk walk to a jog or a swim to get your heart rate going. 

 

In addition to cardiovascular health, exercise can relieve stress. Exercise reduces cortisol levels (the body’s stress hormone) over time and increases the release of endorphins, which help boost mood! It’s also a great way to get better sleep. 

 

Eat well 

balanced healthy meal via Unsplash
Photo by Brooke Lark

Trust us, we love our In-n-out just as much as the next guy, but it’s really easy to overdo it. Eating well comes to the top of our list for many reasons; our diet can affect our health, mood, and even the planet. With disease and cancer rates increasing and fertility rates dropping, we’re not too far off from a Handmaid’s Tale type situation. 

 

The EAT-Lancet Commission’s Planetary Health Diet is shifting thought on what it means to eat in a healthy way that doesn’t accelerate the degradation of the Earth. Eating well means increasing our intake of fruits and vegetables (by almost triple) and reducing our consumption of meat, namely red meat which requires significantly more resources than any other food, and releases the highest number of greenhouse gas emissions than even their animal-based counterparts. If you’re a meat-eater, try eating less than 50g of red meat per day to reduce your impact. 

 

For better health, the Planetary Health Diet also recommends eating more plant-based foods that provide more nutrients to the body for optimum health and reduced risk for diseases and certain cancers. This means eating more whole grains, less refined sugars, more legumes and nuts, and colorful fruits and vegetables. With more conscious food choices, you’ll live longer, better, and prolong the life of the Earth for generations to come. 

 

Meditate

This is no joke. With the volume of stressors that modern life throws at us, it’s increasingly difficult to completely shut off for the day. The practice of meditation takes time to get down, but can be extremely beneficial for mental health and even sleep. 

 

Reduce phone time 

Our smartphones are usually on us 24/7–it’s practically impossible to not be around your phone for more than a few minutes at a time. They’re tied to work, play and everything in-between so how could we possibly unplug? 

 

Exposure to light is healthy throughout the day because it regulates your body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. However, when exposing yourself to light even in nighttime hours–for example, before bed–you more often than not will have trouble falling asleep and have poor quality of sleep to boot. Light exposure is not limited to just your phone though; your TV, laptop, tablet, and everything of the sort, expose you to blue light which has the same effect on your melatonin levels. For the betterment of your health, it’s recommended to avoid all electronics at least 2 hours before bed. 

 

Keep living spaces and workspaces neat

If you’ve ever seen the show Hoarders, you’ll know why this is important. Cluttered spaces can lead to stress, fatigue, reduced productivity, and can even put a strain on your relationships. Keeping your living spaces and workspaces neat prevents you from losing important documents and prevents cloudy thoughts from clutter. It makes for a messy mind. 

 

Drink more water

This might not come as a shock to you, but most people are probably not drinking enough water. Requirements for how much water to drink aren’t one-size-fits-all because everyone’s body has different needs. What we do know is that chronic dehydration can take a toll on a person’s body since our cells and organs depend on it. Adult humans are made of 60% water and blood is 90% water, hence the need to constantly replenish. Not sure how much to drink? Drink enough water so that your pee runs clear–and if it’s on the yellow to the dark yellow side of the scale, you’re dehydrated. 

 

Dehydration also has negative side effects on your kidneys. Your kidneys filter fluids that flow through the body, so water is essential for the kidneys to function. Without water, waste products and excess fluid can build up inside the body leading to chronic kidney disease, kidney stones, or kidney failure–yikes. They can also lead to urinary tract infections (the second most common type of infection in the body). The solution to all of this? Drink plenty of water.

 

If you haven’t done so already, invest in a reusable water bottle that you can carry with you to have water on you at all times of the day. Among many other reasons, people are choosing a sustainable self-cleaning water bottle–the LARQ Bottle–because it uses UV-C LED technology to eliminate harmful, odor-causing bacteria all day long. This creates a more convenient approach to using reusable water bottles so you don’t need to wash it after every refill (the recommended amount to prevent bacteria growth). It even purifies water on the go so that you can drink from most water sources with peace of mind. No Bali belly here. 

Ditch fast food and takeout

Not only is it better for the planet, but it’s also better for your health. Making your meals at home lets you control what ingredients you’re putting in and puts you in control of your weight and your health. Plus, you’ll only put in things you love to eat, so why not right? 

 

In addition, less takeout means less waste. Those styrofoam boxes, plastic containers, and plastic utensils are not recyclable and go straight to the landfill after you’re done. Instead, make your own meals at home or dine in. You’ll enjoy the experience more and you won’t be contributing to the growing waste issue. 

Go zero-waste

One thing we really need to put an end to is this culture of single-use waste. Dependency on plastic single-use products is accelerating the degradation of the Earth and poses health risks to both humans and wildlife. In this new decade, if there’s anything you should resolve to do–it’s reducing waste. This means reducing packaged food purchases, single-use plastic waste (disposable straws, utensils, plastic wrap, sandwich bags, etc.) and spreading awareness of this issue to others. There is no action too small! Check out this list of things we’re ditching in 2020 for inspiration on what to swap out in place of some of the most wasteful everyday products. 

Keep a journal 

Journaling is an excellent way to unpack the day’s events, vent, or keep your thoughts in order. It may help you sleep better too because you’re not just going to bed with your thoughts. If you’re the type of person who has trouble going to sleep because you’re thinking about a million things a minute, the act of writing something down–we’re talking about taking pen to paper here–is the most effective method of clearing those thoughts. Set aside time at the end of your day to detox. Preferably a couple of hours before you plan to sleep. This allows you enough time to write and think about what you’ve written down before going to bed. 

 

A great way to conclude your journal entry is to also review the positive highlights of the day, what you’re grateful for–whether that’s from that specific day or overall in life. Sometimes we can get caught up in the curveballs that life throws at us, but it’s important to also reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Regularly writing down what you’re grateful for can meaningfully increase your well-being.

2020 is the year for growth, wellness and overall happiness. Ditch those old unhealthy habits, and step into a new you this year. Your body and the planet will thank you.