beautygrind

Archive for 2019|Yearly archive page

Elevate Your Skincare Game With The Power Of Retinoids

In beauty, skincare on May 30, 2019 at 11:15 pm

Retinols, which are a form of retinoids, have long been the go to when it comes to skincare multi-tasking and anti-aging.  Considered to be the gold standard in skincare, retinoids are like your big sister who can do it all.  Retinoids have been around since the 70’s and were originally prescribed for acne concerns because they help to slough off dead skin and clear pores. Dermatologists and patients began to see that with regular use skin was more clear and smooth, with fewer pimples and less discoloration.  Skin looked better overall.

What Is A Retinoid And Where Does It Come From?
To first understand what a retinoid is and what it does, it is important to understand where retinoids come from.  Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A which occurs naturally in the body and can also be found in animal or plant sources.  Vitamin A is important because it is responsible for things like good vision and healthy bones as well as healthy cell turnover and collagen production.  

The term retinoid is the category name or umbrella under which the terms retin-a and retinol fall under.  Retin-A (aka tretinoin) is available with a prescription.  Retinol, the more common form of retinoid, is known by more familiar terms such as retinol palmitate, retinol acetate and retinol linoleate.  These forms tend to be more gentle and are a perfect introduction into the world of retinoids.   Retinols don’t need a prescription and can be found over the counter – in your favorite beauty stores.

How Do Retinoids Work And How Are They Different Than AHA’s And BHA’s? 

Retinoids, which work in the deeper layers of the skin, help to reduce the appearance of fine line, wrinkles, discoloration and enlarged pores.  They also help with cell renewal and collagen production.  The later two functions are important to note as they relate to anti-aging concerns because when you reach the age of 30, cell renewal begins to slow down, occurring evey 60 days or so as opposed to every 28-30 days when in your twenties. Slower cell turnover leads to dull, lackluster, congested skin.   In addition, collagen production, which is responsible for giving our skin, bones and connective tissues the structure they need, also begins to decline as well when we age.  This reduction in collagen production is responsible for fine lines, deep wrinkles and sagging, less plump skin. Retinoids work to increase skin thickness and elasticity in the deeper layers where wrinkles begin.  They also slow down the breakdown of collagen and curb the production of melanin (brown spots).

So what is the difference between retinoids, AHA’s and BHA’s?  AHA’s work on the surface of the skin to improve what we see while BHA’s work just below the skin’s surface.  Retinoids affect the deeper layers of the skin to push out permanently better skin and are more effective in the long run. 

How Does One Incorporate Retinoids Into Their Skincare Routine?

Start slowly and follow the directions of the brand you choose.  Directions usually instruct to use every other evening or 1-2x weekly, eventually working your way up to every evening.  Always use a sunscreen and keep in mind that results can take anywhere from 3-6 months of regular use to really see results.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Retinol Use?  What Precautions Should One Take When First Using Retinol?

Possible drying, peeling, or redness.  However, the new generation of retinoids deliver the same results with less irritation because these formulations include ingredients such as honey and jojoba to help soothe and calm irritation.   If you do experience any side effects, you can reduce dosage/usage but don’t stop completely because you won’t see the benefits.  Make sure you are using a moisturizer/oil to keep the skin hydrated and to counteract any possible irritation associated with retinol use.  Don’t use if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. 

Differin Gel.  Once available only with a prescription, Differin gel is the first FDA approved retinoid gel approved for over the counter use for the treatment of acne.  Differin gel contains adapalene, a form of retinoid that treats/clears acne.  Available in a 30 day and 90 day supply and has an accompanying cleanser and moisturizer. The highest dose still requires a prescription (.3% adapalene)

Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength 3% Retinoid Plus.  Perfect for normal, oily, combination and dry skin, this lightweight serum helps to get rid of the signs of aging.  A key ingredients include caffeine which helps with penetration and the buffering complex of symitive 1609 and symcalmin to calm irritation.

Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex.   This vegan, gluten-free eye cream is microencapsulated, ensuring potency of the retinol as well as better absorption into the skin.  Niacinimide, vitamin C and peptides help to ensure hydration, reduction of dark circles and plumping of fine lines.

Darphin Ideal Resource Youth Retinol Concentrate.  Infused with nourishing botanicals, this retinol encourages cell turnover, moisturizes and is perfect for face and eye.  To preserve potency and protect from light damage, this retinol concentrate is housed in individual opaque capsules.

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream.  This cream has the highest strength of retinol available without a prescription and works overnight to help reduce the signs of aging with pure RoC Retinol and an essential mineral complex.

Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster. This lightweight fluid is a slow release retinol that actually boosts the efficacy of your other skincare products such as serums and moisturizers.  It also helps to even skin tone and improve radiance.  Can also be used alone.

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum.   This serum which is perfect for normal, dry, combination and oily skin contains a 6.5% blend of retinoid ingredients to fight the signs of aging as well as Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol and ginger to help balance and soothe the skin.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream.  The key ingredients of Vitamin F, triple peptide blend and Retinol 1% work together to help target UV damage and other signs of aging while helping to firm and smooth the skin.

Are you a retinol user or is it something you have considered adding to your skin care routine but haven’t done so yet? Leave your comments below.

The Interview. Karin Rodney-Haapala

In the interview on May 15, 2019 at 4:33 pm

What happens when the ladies get together for a day of makeup-art and conversation?  A wonderful time spent talking about life: careers, relationships, life lessons and of course beauty.  Ideas and laughter permeated the creative space and was the perfect backdrop for encouragement and pushing each other toward greatness.

Karin Rodney-Haapala

Social: @krhaapala, @damesativa

Hometown: Washington, D.C. (Currently residing in Silver Spring, MD)

Occupation:

  1. A/R/Tographer (artist/researcher/teacher) owner of KRH Arts & Academics and Part Time College Professor of Fine Arts at Montgomery College
  2. Depth Psychologist
  3. Cannabis Health and Wellness Educator and Co owner/Chief Creative Consultant of Greener Living Experience

Describe your style in 3 words. Androgynous. Comfortable. Minimalistic.

Where does your style inspiration come from?   Playing in an orchestra from 10-19 years old, I had to wear black all the time.  I am also drawn to the style of the abstract expressionist.

You have amazing skin.  Tell us about your skincare routine and some of your favorite products.  A fragrance free skin care routine is key.  As an aesthetician, I find that people use products with copious amounts of fragrance in their skin care products.  Though they may not develop an allergy from their products at that moment, it is highly possible that they will develop one in the future.

I have very hormonal reactive skin.  To counteract this, I do the following – in the morning, I use Ceravae Face Wash.  Then I follow up with a sulfur wash.  To finish up, I use an acne cream called Aczone,  followed by a Neutrogna Gel Cream and a sunscreen.  In the evening, I oil cleanse with grape seed oil and Ceravae Face Wash.  I then use Ceravae Night Cream followed up with Retin A.  I also get monthly facials.

You mentioned that you wear a sunscreen.   It can be difficult for those of us with deeper skin tones to find the right sunscreen that doesn’t leave that horrible gray or lavender cast on our skin.  What are some of your favorite brands to use?  For sunscreens there are some unsung choices.  Neutrogna Hydro Boost Water Gel Sunscreen is a delightful treat. I believe it comes in SPF 30 and 50.   It’s light and perfect for oily skin.  Black Girl Sunscreen says it all.  It is made for us brown girls by brown girls.  It fits along my “clean” skincare regimen.  It has no fragrance, parabens, oxybenzone or octinoxate. SuperGoop! Unseen Sunscreen is a treat.  It is gluten free and an affordable daily staple. 

I love your haircut/style.  What hair care items do you use and what does your daily/weekly routine look like?  Well thank you!  I use hemp oil to moisturize my hair and scalp daily.  I also use Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl And Shine shampoo and conditioner.  I follow up with the Ouai leave in conditioner.  I often wear protective styles like braids and twists.  After six years of growing my hair, I decided to get it trimmed.  I know…I know…Also, I shave my head every two weeks.

You are truly a multi-hyphenate. Tell us a little bit more about your career and what advice would you give to someone who might want to follow a similar path?  I guess you can say that I am an entrepreneur in many ways.  I do not have one set career field. I have many interests and skills, so I decided to create my own lane.  After ten years of service in the military and 6 degrees under my belt, I decided to never work in a cubicle or work a 9 to 5.  I encourage others to do the same.  It is scary to do but just create a lane and ride!

Tell us more about your work as a depth psychologist and as a cannabis health and wellness educator.   Depth psychology, which studies the unconscious, investigates the inner systems of the psyche and how these processes, such as dreams and/or complexes affect our life or vice versa.  Most of this exploration is visible in mythology, fairy tales, ethogenic experience (the use of psychedelics) and theology.  This work affords me to study the creative process and facilitates my students’ inner processes and, at times, reveals gems that heightens and expands their creative work.

Navigating the realm of cannabis can be overwhelming.  My initiation into using cannabis as medicine and lifestyle lacked when it came to open resources to study so I took it upon myself to do the research.  I now share that journey and knowledge with patients to teach plant based self care management.  As a cannabis health and wellness educator, I facilitate a learning environment that engages patients and helps them see the healing properties of the beautiful Cannabis sativa plant.  My business partner and I assist in the crossing of the threshold of medical marijuana patients who initially have a warped perspective of using plant based medicine (cannabis) in their times of need.  We focus on the science and individual experiences to suggest strains that may benefit the patient. We emphasize and promote a responsible healing culture for all.  Deconstructing and destigmatizing the ugly myth of exploring and consuming cannabis yields a whole new way of exploration and consumption of cannabis and thus the use of some harmful and addictive pharmaceuticals such as opioids.

If you could be any character from a movie, who would it be and why?  Brad Pitt’s character, Tyler Durden from the film “Fight Club” or Tilda Swinton’s character Madame Markos in the remake of Dario Agento’s “Suspiria”.  Practically any villain or anti-hero would be my choice.  Both are flawed and exude a depth of authenticity even in their non-heroic ways.

What advice would you give to your younger self?  “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” William Shakespeare

Are you currently working on any projects?   Yes, I am working on a thousand things.  My photographic work, Incidents, is part of the National Veterans Art Museum’s triennial.  I also just came back from Chicago for the opening and gave an artist talk.

I am the curatorial Consultant for the upcoming exhibition in the Fall called “Service, Art and Passion. Six Veteran Artist.”

As Cannabis Health and Wellness educator and Co owner/Chief Creative Consultant of Greener Living, we are preparing to launch our YouTube channel and Podcast.

Photography by @rozzienecole

Makeup by @khalilahneals

Styling by @krhaapala





PIT STOP: What Happened When I Tried Natural Deodorant For 5 Months?

In beauty, clean beauty, skincare on April 29, 2019 at 8:53 am

I have been on a journey of sorts for the past 5 months or so trying to navigate the natural deoderant space.  For years, I have given the side eye to the thought of using natural deodorants (and many beauty products with the word “natural”) because I have considered these types of products to be ineffective.  That coupled with people’s account of their own testy experiences with natural deodorants was enough to make me never want to convert.

Clean Beauty

Natural beauty products and their use is nothing new as these types of products have been around for some time.  However, with greater and more recent focus on the environment and sustainability, people have also been shifting their focus to cleaner living by using products (food, beauty and cleaning products, etc) that are perceived to support better health with fewer to no toxins.  With that said, although there are some products I love that I’m not ready to part with, I decided I would begin my clean(er) journey by starting with my deoderant.  A Degree and Dove user for years, these two deoderants have NEVER let me down with profuse sweating or smelly pits. I have always been confident when raising my hand, hugging people or just being outside of my house for that matter.  In addition, the pits of my clothing have not been ruined with stains or smells and life was good.  So, before stumbling head first into this arena, I felt I needed to do some research.  I needed to be educated and ensure that I wasn’t jumping on some scare tactic bandwagon.  Why should I, or anyone for that matter, consider clean/green beauty products in general and deoderant specifically.  Why is this a good idea?  I also wanted to stop feeling guilty and worthless because I wasn’t interested in making the change – despite what everyone was saying. Cause no one has time for stinky pits.  EVER.

Back To That Research

During my research,  I learned that that one of the active ingredients of concern in traditional deoderant/antiperspirant is aluminum. Aluminum, which is responsible for blocking odor and keeping you oh so fresh and so clean is also stopping a natural process by which your body gets rid of toxins – sweating.  Sweat in and of itself doesn’t cause odor but when mixed with the naturally occurring bacteria on your skin can cause odor.   It has also been found that traditional deoderants/antiperspirants contain other ingredients that can cause skin irritations as well as can be can be linked to certain health issues.  With the application of these questionable ingredients being applied regularly so close to the breasts, there is concern of increasing estrogen related hormones as well as increasing lymph node and breast health concerns.  While organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National institutes of Health (NIH) have not concluded that not using a natural deoderant can negatively impact one’s health, switching over is definitely worth consideration so I decided to give it a try. During my research, I also learned that there can be a significant detox period with your pits as you make the transition which can result in you smelling like a 15 year old boy after gym class.

With that being said,  I decided that I would wait until the fall/winter months to give natural deodorants a try.  I figured that I would be less sweaty from the hot weather.  To me, less sweaty means less funky.  Or so I thought. Not sure what would make me think that I was exempt from the impending detox period. 

So now, a run down of the clean deoderant brands that I have tried thus far…

Tarte Clean Queen Vegan Deoderant. Because I respect Tarte as a brand and enjoy using their Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes and Tarteist Clay Paint Liner, I was excited to try this deoderant.  My initial impression of this deoderant was that it smelled pleasant and applied smoothly.   As I went throughout the day, I was unable to get past the moist feeling under my arms but that was to be expected right? Right.  Then the unpleasant scent began to linger under my arms.  I was definitely uncomfortable but decided to stick to it.  I would also reapply mid day to ensure fresher smelling pits but to no avail.   I also noticed that the deoderant dried out rather quickly and became harder to apply and yes, the cap was on tightly.  My intent was to finish what I started and use the entire tube.  However after a month or so of funk, swamp like wetness and general torture, I figured this particular deoderant was not for me and decided to try a different natural deoderant.

Kopari Coconut Deoderant.  Kopari is still a fairly new brand to me and I do like their Coconut Lip Glossy so I decided to give the deoderant a try.  Let me just say it was love at first swipe.  I loved the way this deoderant smelled and was infatuated with the texture and the smooth way it applied to my armpits.  I looked forward to using this during my am and pm beauty routines.  It did feel more moist under my arm than with the previous deoderant BUT my pits smelled good.  Initially.   The good times lasted for a couple of weeks then one day I got a whiff of myself and was frightened.  How could this be?  I wasn’t going to run away and again decided to stick it out.  I made sure I reapplied throughout the day which curbed odor but I honestly couldn’t get past the fact that my armpits felt like a raging ocean during hurricane season ALL. DAY. LONG.  After almost 2 months I decided to move on.

Farmacy Freshen Up All-Natural Deoderant. Farmacy is a brand that I absolutely love. From their Green Clean Makeup Melt Away Cleansing Balm to their Honey Savior All In One Skin Repair Salve, Farmacy is definitely a brand that I will spend my money on and feel good about it.  So when this deoderant launched I was extremely excited.  I liked the cool, menthol-like scent and feel and loved the way it applied smoothly.  I felt good about the fact that my pits were dry and stayed that way throughout the day.  I felt like I was winning.  Then a few weeks in I happened to get a whiff of my pits. The scent was enough to choke a baby elephant.  Again I was going to stick it out. After a month or so, nothing changed.  NOTHING. Enough already.

So after all that, what did I do?  I went back to my regular deoderant/antiperspirant  – Degree to be exact.  I have received some recommendations for a few other clean brands that I want to try.  But not right now.  I need a break.   I will definitely give an update on this journey because I really want to change but I just can’t right now.

Have you considered switching to a natural deoderant or are you a hardcore traditional deoderant user?  If you have switched over, how has your journey been?   Leave your comments below.

8 Things You Can Do To Incorporate Self Care Practices Into Your Life

In lifestyle, productivity on March 13, 2019 at 6:20 pm
Image Courtesy of Pexels.com

 

In recent years, the term self care and all that is associated with it has become quite the buzzword.  Although not a new concept, with everything that is going on in one’s life and in the world, people are beginning to see the importance of slowing down, re-evaluating their lives, and taking inventory of their mental health and well-being.

When you hear the term self care, what comes to mind?  Going to get your hair and nails done?  Going to your favorite restaurant for a delicious meal?  A little retail therapy?  There isn’t a right or wrong answer per se as self care can mean different things to different people.  These types of activities can definitely be considered a form of self care as they can encourage one to take time for themselves as well as add some fun and beauty to their day. Keep in mind however that some of these same types of activities can be confined to physical part of one’s being and may not deal with the deeper needs and concerns that one may have.

What Exactly Is Self Care?

First, we should re-frame our mind around self care, what it is and who it is for.  Self care is for everyone and there are many ways to do it.  Because it is such a trendy buzzword, it can be easy for it’s importance to get lost in the sea of swoon-worthy Instagram posts of beautifully arranged bath photos (nothing wrong with Instagram and beautiful bath photos).  With that said, self care can be considered to be something you do frequently and intentionally to positively impact your mental, emotional and physical being.  It’s about creating health and wellness habits that will sustain you in the long run.  It’s not a once in a while occurrence – it’s about these tiny habits that you create that lead to living a better life, thus empowering and energizing you.

But I Don’t Have Time.

This is a common statement I hear from many people – women in particular.  Women have been conditioned from an early age that putting themselves first is selfish.  It is your job to take care of everyone else because that is the mark of a good woman but this is not entirely true. Whatever the case, it is important to make time specifically for yourself and not put it on the back burner until you have some sort of crisis, health scare or mental breakdown because you have been running on all cylinders.  You know when you get on a plane and before takeoff they tell you to that in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before you help those around you with their oxygen masks?  It’s the same thing in your daily life – take care of yourself and you will be able to take better care of everyone and everything else in your life.

Benefits Of Self Care.

There are many benefits of getting into the habit of taking care of yourself such as the following:

  • Focus.  You will be more focused and in tune to your needs when you take regular time for yourself.  You will also be better able to reflect on things that need to get done in your personal, professional and family life.
  • Better Self-Worth.  Having a healthy relationship with yourself will boost your confidence and self esteem.  You will be able to address those areas in your life that are not at your personal standard so you can make improvements.  You will also be empowered to set boundaries with yourself and others.
  • Stress Reduction.  Being able to step away to reduce stress and anxiety is a great way to lower your risk for things like heart disease and snapping on family, friends, co-workers.
  • Productivity.   Self care can help you set better priorities for yourself so you know what’s important such as doctor appointments, visiting loved ones and even writing that book or taking that class you’ve always wanted to take.

Activities that you can include in your self care practice:

The Art of Saying No.  Saying no can be the most loving thing that you can do for yourself.  When you know your limitations, whether it be emotional, time, or financial, saying no can prevent you from interfering with your well-being.  It may be a hard no which is final (like “no and don’t ask me that again”) or it can be a soft no, (like “not right now” or “I want to be sure that I am able to give you my undivided attention, how is Tuesday evening”)  Only you will know what kind of “no” to give.

Stop Apologizing.  Somewhat related to saying “no”, don’t feel you need to apologize for the decisions you make regarding the need to take care of yourself or anything else in your life.

Be Gentle With Yourself.  Sometimes the thing we say to and about ourselves is not very kind.  Would you speak to others the way you speak to yourself?  Probably not.  Treat yourself like your own best friend.  When you make mistakes or miss the mark, don’t berate yourself.  By making time for yourself, you can examine those areas of yourself and your life that need improvement so you will have a sense of accomplishment and feel good about yourself.

Watch Your Mouth.  Even more important, what are you thinking?  Because what you think shapes what you say.  Your words have creative power and become your reality.  You tend to nurture your reality with words and behaviors and that is what grows in your life – whatever it is.  So speak only the things you want to be true over your life.

Become Still/Incorporate Quiet Time.  Even when you are busy, you need to have quiet time.  As a matter of fact, that is when it is most important.  You might be having the craziest work day ever or you may have to care for rambunctious children and you probably only have 5 minutes to yourself.  Use them to get quiet and re-center yourself.  Quiet time is also the perfect time to pray and meditate.

Plan Time Away.  Be intentional about taking time off for vacation.  Nothing re-energizes you more than getting away from your regular grind and surroundings.  If you dont have the resources of time or money to go far away, do something local like getting a nice hotel room in the city for the weekend and act like a tourist.  Something else you can do is switch up your daily routine.  This keeps your brain healthy by strengthening your neural pathways and this will also help you discover new things.

Set Boundaries/Expectations.  Make it a common practice to let people know what you need and expect from them so that you never feel like you are being taken advantage of.  For example, if you don’t want people calling or texting you after a certain time, let them know instead of being mad about it.  If you don’t want someone borrowing your favorite scarf – ever, say so.  If it angers you when people don’t show up on time, say so.  Furthermore, don’t worry about managing their emotions around said boundaries and expectations.

Be Mindful Of Who You Spend Time With.  the truth of the matter is that some people are energy vampires and can be quite negative.  If you feel depleted instead of empowered when in the company of certain people, it may be time to re-evaluate the company you keep.

Whatever practices you choose to incorporate into your life, be intentional and consistent.  These are practices that may take time to develop and you may have to rearrange some things in your current daily practices for these things to become more permanent in your life.

What self care practice resonated with you?  Do you have some self care practices that not mentioned above that you utilize on a regular basis?  Please share your thoughts below.

8 Reasons Why You Don’t Work Out (And How To Overcome Them)

In fitness, Health on February 18, 2019 at 7:48 pm

selective focus photography of woman in white sports brassiere standing near woman sitting on pink yoga mat

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

So you want to start working out to get in shape and be healthier but the thought of working out brings you a type of mental anguish that you would rather avoid. You want to start working out but the thought of having to fit this new lifestyle habit into your already hectic schedule is downright annoying. You might even think that working out is a reality out of reach, that it will take forever to see results, and besides, you don’t even know where to start.  But the writing is on the wall: perhaps you have been feeling sluggish lately, or maybe you picked up a few extra pounds during the holidays and your clothes don’t fit like they used to. Whatever the case, any attempt you’ve made in the past has been met with failure, leading you choose not to do anything and avoid the topic altogether.

Then there are the excuses and rationalizations – all of which are plenty and seem legitimate. Sure, you have heard about the multiple benefits of working out/getting in shape such as slowing the aging process, glowing skin and lower risk of cardiovascular disease and other disorders. It’s also great for better cognitive process/brain function and overall better physicalityThese benefits are great but you’re still on the couch with your excuses and rationalizations and you feel  powerless and unaccomplished.  But it’s ok because you can win when it comes to getting fit.  Below are some of the common reasons people have for not made for not working out and solutions to help you overcome them.

I Don’t Have Time/I’m Too Busy.  You may actually have more time than you think.  Is it that you don’t have time or is it that your health is not a priority?  How much time do you spend watching television?  Talking on the phone?  Shopping online?  Stalking social media?  See – you do have time!  Just like you have a set time for your other activities, set aside some time for fitness. The truth of the matter is that you do not have to spend hours upon hours in the gym.  There are plenty of workouts you can do, at the gym or in the privacy of your own home that are quick and effective.  For instance, you can get a good kettlebell workout done in about 20 minutes.  It’s a great form of resistance cardio that will get your blood pumping and help build and strengthen muscles.  If you only have about 10 minutes, an 8 minute tabata workout will have you feeling (and sweating profusely) like you worked out for 30 minutes. Whatever your time factor is, there is always something you can do.  The bottom line is to get moving, even if you walk around your neighborhood or apartment complex when starting out.  Taking baby steps builds upon taking bigger steps.  Also, if you have a hectic schedule like many people do, consider working out first thing in the morning.  Doing so will wake you up and get your blood flowing which leads to more energy and you will start your day feeling amazing.

People Are Watching Me/Judging Me.  Newsflash: no matter what you do and where you are people will always watch, stare and judge. It’s rude, annoying and can definitely make you feel self-conscious. With that said, even if people are looking at you, they are still most likely more concerned about themselves in a self-conscious kind of way.  If you are working out in a gym or some other fitness studio, get focused on why you are there, put on some cute workout gear and some big headphones, turn up the volume and get in the zone. Bring a workout buddy if you need to. And if working out in public causes you too much anxiety (which is totally legitimate) you can always work out at home.

I Don’t Have Money.  To be honest, it doesn’t take a lot of money to get fit.  If going to the gym is your thing, gym memberships vary in price from $20 and up.  That cost depends on what you are looking for in a gym.  Other options would be at home gym programs such as Daily Burn, The Hollywood Trainer Club, and Beachbody that you can stream. These programs are great for those who want to supplement what they do at the gym, don’t know what or when to do certain exercises or who don’t want to go to the gym at all.  Online gyms are run by certified fitness instructors who provide various types of workouts for all levels and all interests for a low monthly/yearly cost.  There is also great content on YouTube from which you can create a fitness calendar.  If you need lightweight equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and jump ropes, you can purchase from places such as TJMaxx, Marshall’s and Five Below. As always, check with your health care professional before starting any type of program.

It’s No Fun/It’s Boring.  You have to find what excites you and that sometimes comes from trial and error.  Running may not be your thing but dancing might be.  You might not be coordinated enough to get those dance moves but kickboxing excites you.  Take some different classes and experiment.  With so many types of workouts out there you are bound to find something you like.

It’s hard/I Will Be Sore.  Sounds cliche but with anything worth having you have to work at it.  The hardest part is getting started.  And yes there are workouts that will challenge you physically but that’s a good thing because it will eventually make you stronger, faster, as well as increase stamina and endurance.  In addition, with any workout program you do, it’s important to incorporate warm up and cool down, keep proper form,  take rest and recovery days to help prevent injury, so on and so forth.  Besides, once you get into a fitness routine you enjoy, you may even derive somewhat of a perverse pleasure from the soreness you feel a day or two after a new/grueling workout.

I Don’t Have Enough Room.  Well, unless you are running a marathon in your living room, you don’t need excessive amounts of room. Yes you might have to move a coffee table or a chair but that’s a small price to pay for getting fit in the privacy of your own home.

I’m Tired.  Is it that you are tired or that you don’t have enough energy?  If you are tired, you probably should get more rest.  If lack of energy is your concern, working out can be a great way to increase your energy.

I Will Just Quit/I Never See Results.  Oftentimes, when beginning a workout program (or anything new for that matter), people tend to bite off more than they can chew (no pun intended).  The key is to start small, be consistent and work your way up to longer and more challenging workouts.  You also need to understand what your fitness goals are.  Is it to loose fat, build muscle, or sculpt and tone?  This will also help determine what your workouts and eating plan will look like.  In addition, you must determine what success looks like for you.  And give yourself time.  The results you are looking for don’t come overnight.  Keep going.

Will it always be easy to get up and work out?  Will you always be motivated?  No and no.  But by creating habits, and becoming disciplined, strategic and consistent, the journey to getting fit and staying fit becomes smoother and you become stronger both mentally and physically.  You will also be able to sidestep your emotions when the going gets tough.  You can do it!!!

Be sure to check with your healthcare professional before starting any fitness program.

Do you workout on the regular or have you struggled with starting/maintain a fitness program?  Leave your comments below.

How To Receive A Gift You Don’t Like

In etiquette, gift giving, holiday, how to on January 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm

The holidays are over but throughout the year you might find yourself on the receiving end of gifts you aren’t too fond of.

We have all been there:  It’s gift exchange time or some other occasion during the year and you receive a gift prompting an immediate roller coaster of negative emotion, causing you to think:

  • “What the hell?”
  • “What were you thinking?”
  • “Are you serious?”
  • “Going in the trash.”
  • “This relationship is over.”

When you receive a gift that is less than desirable, it can make you wonder if the giver put any consideration into what they were giving you.  It is possible the gift giver is clueless, doesn’t have good taste or they just don’t care.  However, the fact of the matter is that many people struggle with giving meaningful gifts and most likely put a lot of thought and effort into selecting the gifts they give.

Whatever the case, it’s important not to offend the gift giver.  It’s never ok to be rude and instead it’s important to be gracious and show appreciation for what you receive, even if it isn’t what you would have chosen for yourself. If you struggle with how to react when receiving a gift you don’t particularly care for, keep the following in mind when it comes to navigating the murky waters of undesirable gift receiving:

Take a deep breath, smile and say thank you. As mentioned before, you don’t want to offend the gift giver so it is important to quickly manage your facial expression and thoughts to mask any negative emotion you might feel.  If you are used to Aunt Janet giving you cat socks for every milestone in your life even though you like birds and you never wear socks, then you know how to do this but if you are doing a gift exchange with someone new, you might need to practice the rapid fire smile and thank you.  You might even throw in a hug to give yourself time to recover before you face the person again.

Don’t gossip about the gift.  Keep discussion about the gift to a minimum, especially if you are around the person (perhaps at a gathering). Word travels fast and you don’t want to cause trouble –  even though you are troubled by what you received.

React to the thought of the gift.  Keep in mind that most people have the best of intentions when giving you a gift.  It’s also important to not let negative emotion overrule all manners and sense of decorum, especially when it’s someone who cares for you.  Instead, respond to the spirit of the gift.

Deflect attention away from the gift.  If the giver continues to press you for your thoughts about the gift, you can always say something like

  • “Thank you.  I appreciate it.”
  • “I’m not sure how I’m going to use this but I’m definitely going to put this to good use.”
  • “Do you have one? How do you use it?”

Re-gift with caution.  If you store the gift away for later, put the date and the name of the person who gave it to so you don’t give it back to them at a later date.  Hopefully that same gift won’t come back to them in the future from someone else you re-gifted to.

How should you react if you receive a gift that that is offensive such as something with racial undertones, is sexist or doesn’t support a personal journey (you are working towards sobriety and the person gifts you alcohol)?  You are within your right to politely tell them how you feel about the gift they have given you.

Now…

What if you are someone who is challenged and misses the mark when it comes to gift exchange?  If that’s you, keep these 6 points in mind to help you be a better gift giver.

Pay attention.  Take note of what the recipient buys for themselves, their personal style, what they talk about, even how they decorate.  This type of information can give you some insight into what they might like to receive as a gift.

Give gifts around their hobby or interest. For instance if the person you are shopping for is an avid gamer, instead of or in addition to getting them the newest game, consider getting them a gaming chair.

Ask.  Simply put, it never hurts to ask what a person wants for themselves.

Take yourself out of the equation. Remember that the gift isn’t for you so if your Uncle James loves collecting ashtrays from the 1920’s then go ahead, make the man’s day and get him those rusty ashtrays.

Don’t give anything that is used.  It’s poor taste and makes you look very bad, especially if the item looks, smells or feels used.

Give money or a gift card.  There are many schools of thought regarding giving money or gift cards as gifts.  The prevailing thought is that it is not very thoughful or personal.  I believe it depends on the relationship between the giver and the receiver and chances are you’ve never met anyone who didn’t like to receive cold hard cash as a gift.   Giving money/gift cards can often empower someone to purchase things for themselves that they normally wouldn’t purchase for themselves. Which can be a gift in and of itself.