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8 Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Life Now

In Health, lifestyle on February 17, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Madison Inouye via Pexels

The term self care and all that is associated with it may be a trendy buzzword for some but it is becoming a necessary way of life for others. Many people are beginning to see the importance of intentionally slowing down, re-evaluating their lives, and taking inventory of their mental health and well-being and doing something about it.

When you hear the term self care, what comes to mind? Getting your hair and nails done?  Going to your favorite restaurant? Retail therapy?  There isn’t a right or wrong answer per se as self care can mean different things to different people. Activities such as the one’s previously mentioned can be considered self-care because they encourage one to take time for themselves and can even add some much needed fun to one’s day. However, these activities may only address the physical or surface needs and desires of an individual and not deal with the deeper emotional needs and concerns that one may have. A broader definition or vision of self care can also mean getting therapy, meditating, spending time with friends or reading a good book

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 can still be considered trendy, it’s 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, think of self care as 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 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 what a “good” woman does 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 such as a 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 first 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, professional, relational or financial, saying no can prevent things 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 might mean taking a different route to work or taking the morning off. Doing so 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.

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

9 Tips To Help You Reduce Bloating

In Health on February 1, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Polina Zimmerman Via Pexels

Do you ever have those times that, no matter what you do, you feel bloated?  Bloating can happen to the best of us and can come from a number of factors such as over-indulging in your favorite foods (hello carbs), the onset of your menstrual cycle, eating too fast, irregular bowel movements and even stress. In most cases, bloating is temporary and making a few minor adjustments can help alleviate the discomfort you may be feeling. Continue reading for several tips that you can use to help you gain some relief from occasional bloating.

Warm Lemon Water. Upon waking up in the morning, have a glass of warm water with fresh squeezed lemon (or lime) in 8 ounces of water.  This wakes up the digestive system and will help move waste right along. To get the most juice out of your lemon/lime, put it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.  Also, consider adding fresh ginger to your lemon water as ginger is great for it’s de-bloating properties.  Read about the additional benefits of lemon water here.

Lower Your Sodium Intake. Lowering your sodium intake is one of many important steps to take to help decrease your risk for hypertension, headaches and other health concerns.  But a diet high in sodium also causes your body to retain water. Instead of reaching for salt to add more flavor to your food, consider experimenting with other herbs and spices to season your food with.

Increase Your Fruit And Vegetable Intake.  Before you raid your refrigerator and throw out anything that isn’t a fruit or vegetable, there are some things to consider.  When buying fruits, choose fruits that have the combination of being lower in sugar alcohols and higher in water such as blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and oranges.  Papaya and pineapple are also great fruits to eat because they have the enzymes bromelain and papain which help to de-bloat.  When it comes to vegetables, reduce the consumption of bulky and cruciferous vegetable such as kale and broccoli which can cause gas and bloating and instead choose veggies like baby spinach and zucchini.  When it comes to meat, keep it lean which is often easier to digest.

Drink Water.  This seems obvious but many people do not drink enough water which leads to dehydration.  Aside from headaches, skin problem and fatigue, dehydration can make bowel movements more difficult and even close to non-existent, thus causing gas and bloating.  It is recommended to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water (approximately half a gallon) a day for optimal benefits.

Increase Your Fiber Intake.  But slowly that is. Fiber is beneficial because it helps to keep you regular.  However, too much fiber at once can do more harm than good by actually causing painful bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.  The recommended amount of fiber is 20-25 grams a day.

Spice It Up.  Adding spices to your food not only makes it more flavorful, but can also help you to de-bloat.  Certain spices such as tumeric and cayenne contain properties that are anti-inflammatory as well as aids in digestion and banishes gas.  Consider adding one or both of these spices into your warm lemon water for healthy digestion.

Consider Reducing Dairy.  For many, dairy can cause a many digestive problems (lactose intolerance).  From cheese to ice cream, consuming dairy products on a regular basis can cause gas, diarrhea and general discomfort from the inability of one’s body to break down lactose.

Take A Probiotic.  Probiotics can be a good remedy for bloating because they help maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut.

Go To Sleep.  Sure you have a lot to do but sleep deprivation has many adverse side effects.  Aside from brain fog and irritability, sleep deprivation increases the hormone cortisol which increases belly fat so make sure you get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  Find out more about sleep deprivation here.

If you find yourself experiencing prolonged bouts of bloating, seek help of a medical professional for diagnosis.

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

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.

9 Tips To Keep You Fit And Healthy Through Holiday

In fitness, Health, lifestyle on November 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Get back on track and don’t wait until the new year to stay healthy.


As we continue celebrating the holiday season with family, friends and lots of shopping, there is another activity that we look forward to participating in during this season:  eating delicious food.  And lots of it.  From family get togethers to work related festivities, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in decadent, high calorie foods more than usual during this time of the year.

Many people enter this festive season with plans to consume and enjoy any food not nailed down.  For others, it can be met with trepidation – particularly if health and fitness is top of mind or if you have particular dietary goals and requirements that you need to stick to.  With that said, there is no need to approach the holidays with fear or apprehension when you have a plan.  Continue reading for 9 tips to help you stay fit and healthy through holiday.

Plan Ahead.  Meal prep ahead of time and/or keep healthy snacks with you to munch on when you feel hungry.  This is especially true in the workplace where there will most likely be all kinds of treats like cookies, cakes and candies.   While you don’t have to avoid these kinds of foods all together, be sure to include snacks that are nutrient dense to keep you fuller throughout the day.

Eat A Good Breakfast.  Eating a good breakfast will set the tone for the day by fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to power through the first part of your day.  In addition, a nutrient dense breakfast keeps you fuller longer and when you partner that with your meal prep, you have a better chance of staying focused and not fall into the temptation of over-indulging and binge eating.

Drink A Lot Of Water/Stay Hydrated.  We all know about the multitude of benefits to staying hydrated such as glowing skin, better regularity, and increased energy.  In addition, drinking a glass of water before a meal to help you feel fuller, thus reducing the desire to overeat.  Keep this in mind when you head out for holiday festivities.

Work Out In The Morning.  Getting a good workout in the morning can not only make you feel energized but it can also help set tone for therest of the day for better food behaviors throughout the day.  You also won’t have to worry about working out when you get home later in the day.

Eat Before You Party.  Eating something lightweight before you arrive at a party can help you focus and not over-indulge as you approach the table of holiday cheer.

Sign Up For Paid Classes With Expiration Dates.  Since you don’t like waisting money and you really do want to stay on track with your fitness routine, choose some classes that will expire soon so that you will make it a point to get to class.

You Can Always Work Out.  If working out in public is not your thing, take 10-15 minutes to get moving and create that mind/body connection.  You can do some body weight, plyometrics, or kettle bell swings.  Whatever you choose, remember that some time is better than no time.  For the more ambitious, sign up for a marathon or obstacle course with a few loved ones to get your fitness and bonding on at the same time.

Indulge For The Day Not The Season.  Take some of the pressure off by allowing yourself to go all out and eat what you want on certain days like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and stick to your regular eating plan all of the other days in between.

Get Enough Rest.  Getting enough rest can ensure you restore your mind, body and spirit during this hectic time of the year. It can also help guard against getting sick during these colder months of the year.

This list includes just some of the things you can do to stay fit and healthy during the holiday season.  Get creative and come of with ideas that you and your loved ones can incorporate into this season and your lifestyle in general.  Above all else, remember to be thankful, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.