Christmas gift ideas on a budget!

Resources & blog referenced from David Weliver

It’s never ever too early to start thinking about Christmas – so Christmas 2020 here we come!

We’ve had quite a year so far, dealing with the unexpected and most of us living on a budget due to the pandemic…here are some inexpensive Christmas gift ideas for your friends, family, & loved ones!

Remember, it’s the thought that counts especially now more than ever!

Here are 10 Christmas gift ideas on a budget!

1. A nice poster or print in a good frame


Picking out decor for other people is always dicey, but the Internet is full of a lot of talented artists making really cool stuff.

Are they really into music? Maybe find a nice concert poster from their favorite band. Are they really into Doctor Who? The Internet is overflowing with fan art.

Here are some poster ideas to get you started:

2. Scented candles


In those weeks leading up to Christmas, everyone’s house smells of delicious pine. In the weeks after, when that pine tree’s desiccated corpse has been tossed out into the street for trash pickup, a nice scented candle can fill (with a lovely aroma) the void it left behind.

3. A photo calendar, coffee mug, or a good old-fashioned scrapbook

scrapbook

Image by Lewis Minor.

True story: At the end of seventh grade, one of my best friends moved to Iowa. I spent that entire year taking really bad (yet cherished) pictures of her and our other friends and put them all together in a scrapbook. In hindsight, it was maybe a little creepy, but my friend loved it.

And now, with services like Shutterfly and Snapfish, you don’t even have to put those precious memories into a scrapbook. They can go on magnets, coffee mugs, mousepads, and to-go cups. Or just on a big poster.

4. A journal or notebook with a personal note

Image by matryosha.

Image by matryosha.

Keeping a journal can help increase focus, promote mindfulness, and boost memory. An empty notebook is also just full of promise, especially for a person of a creative or analytical bent.

5. A nice vase or jar filled with candy

jar of candy

Image by Javcon117.

Food, honestly, is never a bad gift. People need to eat, and they’d prefer to eat something delicious. Similarly, home décor is often the last thing on somebody’s mind. So give them a jar or vase full of candy of your choice, and once they’ve scarfed that down, they’ll have a nice receptacle for flowers to go on the dining room table.

6. A coffee or tea mug with a bag of coffee or a box of tea


Mugs are another place where your knowledge of your friend or loved one will come in handy. Do they love owls, penguins, or turtles? What about Bob’s Burgers? (Maybe they’d like this Tina mug )

7. A gift bag or basket of gourmet chocolate truffles or bars

Gift basket

Image by Mark Lee.

Your gift of chocolate will be another delicious drop in the holiday sea of sugar and candy.

8. A deck of playing cards and a book of rules

playing cards

Image by Jiahui Huang.

Cards are a great holiday game! Go for a classic deck, or maybe for something themed, if that’s your thing. Introduce your household to such classic games as whist (kinda out of fashion, but ripe for a comeback), bridge, or the many varieties of poker.

 9. Winter skin care kit

skin care kit

Image by Dee.

Some nice lip balma good hand lotion, some cuticle oil, and maybe a facial moisturizer or shaving lotion.

10. Board games

monopoly board

Image by Mike Fleming.

You can go old-school with childhood classics like JengaTroubleHungry, Hungry Hippos, or Sorry. Or you can go with strategy games like Risk or Agricola.

For word nerds, consider Scrabble or Bananagrams. Again, consider your friend’s interest.

Make your holiday budget go further

These inexpensive-yet-thoughtful gifts are a great way to buy your loved ones gifts that won’t break your budget.

If you want to make holiday shopping even easier, consider using a credit card that offers great cash back rewards or a sign-up bonus. That way you’re still earning even while you’re spending. Plus, some of these cards have the added bonus of offering 0% interest on purchases for over a year!

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10 stretches to keep your body healthy

Resources from self.com By Amy Marturana

Why stretching is important

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

As a NASM certified Personal Trainer with specializations in Integrated and Neuromuscular flexibility, these are some of the most beneficial stretches to ensure your body is maintaining it’s mobility & flexibility throughout the day.

here are 10 stretches to help keep your body healthy

This image may contain Fitness Sport Sports Exercise Working Out Human Person and Yoga

Standing Hamstring Stretch

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides.
  • Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lowering your head toward floor, while keeping your head, neck and shoulders relaxed.
  • Wrap your arms around backs of your legs and hold anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes.

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Lunge with spinal twist

  • Start standing with your feet together.
  • Take a big step forward with your left foot, so that you are in a staggered stance.
  • Bend your left knee and drop into a lunge, keeping your right leg straight behind you with your toes on the ground, so you feel a stretch at the front of your right thigh.
  • Place your right hand on the floor and twist your upper body to the left as you extend your left arm toward the ceiling.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Lunging hip flexor stretch

  • Kneel on your left knee. Place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you, knee bent.
  • Lean forward, stretching your left hip toward the floor.
  • Squeeze your butt; this will allow you to stretch your hip flexor even more.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Side bend stretch

  • Kneel on the floor with your legs together, back straight, and core tight.
  • Extend your left leg out to the side. Keep it perpendicular to your body (not in front or behind you).
  • Extend your right arm overhead, rest your left arm on your left leg, and gently bend your torso and right arm to the left side.
  • Keep your hips facing forward.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Frog stretch

  • Start on all fours.
  • Slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Turn your toes out and rest the inner edges of your feet flat on the floor.
  • Shift your hips back toward your heels.
  • Move from your hands to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, if possible.
  • Hold for for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Figure four stretch

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your left foot over your right quad.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.
  • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Lying pectoral stretch

  • Lie on your stomach with both arms extended to the sides so your body is in a T shape.
  • Push off the ground with your left hand and bend your left knee for balance as you start to roll to your right side. You should feel this in your right-side pectoral muscles.
  • As your mobility increases, you’ll be able to stretch further and roll your body further.
  • Repeat on the other side.

seated neck release

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, or sit down with your back straight and chest lifted.
  • Drop your left ear to your left shoulder.
  • To deepen the stretch, gently press down on your head with your left hand.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

extended puppy pose

  • Start on all fours.
  • Walk your arms forward a few inches and curl your toes under.
  • Push your hips up and back halfway toward your heels.
  • Push through the palms of your hands to keep your arms straight and engaged.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

lying quad stretch

  • Lie on one side.
  • Keep your bottom leg straight and bend your top knee so your foot is by your butt.
  • Hold your top foot with your hand, pulling it toward your butt.
  • Keep your hips stable so you’re not rocking back as you pull.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

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How to Cope with Anxiety

Resources from https://www.healthline.com/

Only YOU have the power to take control of your anxiety & to seek help.

Breathe: There are ways to calm your anxiety

Know that feeling of your heart beating faster in response to a stressful situation? Or perhaps, instead, your palms get sweaty when you’re confronted with an overwhelming task or event.

That’s anxiety — our body’s natural response to stress.

If you haven’t recognized your triggers yet, here are a few common: your first day at a new job, meeting your partner’s family, or giving a presentation in front of a lot of people. Everyone has different triggers, and identifying them is one of the most important steps to coping and managing anxiety attacks.

Identifying your triggers can take some time and self-reflection. In the meantime, there are things you can do to try to help calm or quiet your anxiety from taking over.

5 quick ways to cope with anxiety

If your anxiety is sporadic and getting in the way of your focus or tasks, there are some quick natural remedies that could help you take control of the situation.

If your anxiety is focused around a situation, such as being worried about an upcoming event, you may notice the symptoms are short-lived and usually subside after the anticipated event takes place.

1)Question your thought pattern

Negative thoughts can take root in your mind and distort the severity of the situation. One way is to challenge your fears, ask if they’re true, and see where you can take back control.

2)Practice focused, deep breathing

Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total. By evening out your breath, you’ll slow your heart rate which should help calm you down.

The 4-7-8 technique is also known to help anxiety.

3)Use aromatherapy

Whether they’re in oil form, incense, or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can be very soothing.

Aromatherapy is thought to help activate certain receptors in your brain, potentially easing anxiety.

4)Go for a walk or do 15 minutes of yoga

Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to walk away from the situation. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety.

5)Write down your thoughts

Writing down what’s making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.

These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) when they’re in a bind too!

However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldn’t be the only kind of treatment you employ. You’ll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.


6 long-term strategies for coping with anxiety

If anxiety is a regular part of your life, it’s important to find treatment strategies to help you keep it in check. It might be a combination of things, like talk therapy and meditation, or it might just be a matter of cutting out or resolving your anxiety trigger.

If you’re not sure where to start, it’s always helpful to discuss options with a mental health professional who might suggest something you hadn’t thought of before.

1)Identify and learn to manage your triggers

You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.

Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out — is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.

When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you can’t limit it — like if it’s due to a stressful work environment that you can’t currently change — using other coping techniques may help.

Some general triggers:

  • a stressful job or work environment
  • driving or traveling
  • genetics — anxiety could run in your family
  • withdrawal from drugs or certain medications
  • side effects of certain medications
  • trauma
  • phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
  • some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • chronic pain
  • having another mental illness such as depression
  • caffeine

2)Adopt cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors before they spiral.

3)Do a daily or routine meditation

While this takes some practice to do successfully, mindful meditation, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise.

If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga.

4)Try supplements or change your diet

Changing your diet or taking supplements is definitely a long-term strategy. Research shows certain supplements or nutrients can help anxiety reduction.

These include:

  • lemon balm
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • ashwagandha
  • green tea
  • valerian root
  • kava kava
  • dark chocolate (in moderation)

However, it can take up to three months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If you’re taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor.

5)Keep your body and mind healthy

Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to stave off anxiety symptoms.

6)Ask your doctor about medications

If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health practitioner believes you’d benefit from medication, there are a number of directions to go, depending on your symptoms. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.


When is my anxiety harmful?

Identifying what sort of anxiety you’re dealing with can be somewhat challenging because how one’s body reacts to perceived danger can be entirely different compared to another person.

It’s likely you heard anxiety as a blanket term for that general feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. It’s often a feeling grown in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome.

Every person deals with it at one time or another, because it’s part of our brain’s response to a perceived danger — even if that danger isn’t real.

That said, there are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that initially feel manageable and then gradually build up over a few hours. (This is different from a panic attack, which is out of the blue and subsides.)

Signs of an anxiety attack

These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

It’s also possible to experience an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously. The quick coping strategies mentioned above may also help with a panic attack.

Other mindful strategies to cope with panic attacks include focusing on an object, repeating a mantra, closing your eyes, and going to your happy place.

Symptoms of a panic attack

What causes anxiety?

If you notice that quick tips haven’t been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD and its interfering with routine activities and causing physical symptoms.

A mental health professional can help with streamlining the process of identifying your triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, medications, and more.

For example, if your anxiety stems from a trauma you experienced in your past, it can be helpful to work through that with a licensed therapist. On the other hand, if you’re brain chemistry predisposes you to chronic anxiety, you may need to go on medication to manage it.

Anxiety may always be a part of your life, but it shouldn’t overtake your day-to-day. Even the most extreme anxiety disorders can be treated so that the symptoms aren’t overwhelming.

Once you find what treatment works best for you, life should be a lot more enjoyable and a lot less daunting.

Get Help

Not sure where to go to find help or who to turn to? Consulting with your healthcare provider or another trusted professional is always a great start.

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What to do in Fall during a pandemic?

Resources from Katie Hetter – CNN

You can get really amazing ideas of what to do in the new season when you write down your list and ask your family members to do the same. It’s a fun way to see what they’re thinking, especially to see what’s inside kids’ heads — and maybe even try to get to 50 things. You can also be inspired by our list.

5 Ways to connect with your loved ones this fall

1. A weekly Zoom date. Set up a regular video call with friends or family (or both). My partner set up a regular weekly call with her extended family, and I did the same. My setup with my California-based mother is to invite special guests to join us. Last week: my best friend in LA. This week: my cousin in Miami.

2. Set up a regular card game. This may seem like a repeat of the video call, but it’s not. Features Editorial Director David Allan plays Hearts with his dad and siblings every week, and they plan to keep going after the pandemic.

3. Collect recipes. Since the pandemic has likely thrown your Thanksgiving plans up into the air anyway, why not try some new traditions? Ask your friends and family for their favorite holiday recipes, share your own, update your Turkey Day menus and make a family recipe book. Everyone will love that memento.

4. Write a letter. People love getting mail, and letters can be short and include something nice you want to say to them.

5. Send a postcard. It’s easy and it’s short (and you can make them if you want). Postcards always feel sweet to me, mostly because I had a childhood friend who sent them all the time. She passed away a few years ago, and every time I send one, I think of her. It’s a good memory.

10 fun activities to do this fall during a pandemic

1. It’s time to pick apples. Apples are in season over the next few weeks, and there are delicious varieties like Gala and Golden Delicious to be picked. We eat some right out of the bag and make applesauce and apple butter for the year ahead.

2. Get lost in a corn maze. Gather your bubble mates, pack some masks, visit a farm and do a corn maze. Have hot drinks and doughnuts

3. Hike through the woods. I know plenty of people have been hiking through the summer, but it can be too hot for that activity in BC! Fall is the time to put on those hiking pants and explore nature preparing for winter, which leads us to the next fun event.

4. Watch the leaves change color.  Many leaves all across North America change color, and there is amazing science behind it. Collect some fallen leaves and you’re ready for the next project.

5. Build a bonfire. That way you can roast marshmallows and make s’mores. If your local fire codes don’t allow it, local campsites have been known to rent out their fire pits.

6. Make your own costume. This year, I have loads of cardboard in my house, markers, paint and tape and several ideas for a fun Halloween costume!

7. Make your own candy. I’m not talking about my usual combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips (highly recommended, however). Make fudge or peanut brittle or caramel apples. If you do it in advance, you can share the treats with neighbors and friends.

8. Halloween at home. Speaking of Halloween, trick-or-treating doesn’t sound so safe this year, which can be a huge bummer if you live in a Halloween-destination neighborhood. Why not have a Halloween movie night with popcorn and already-made or purchased candy?

9. Host a best costume contest. Have an extended-family Zoom contest on who can make the best Halloween costume, and get extended family on Facebook to vote for the winner.

10. Honor your relatives. Put together an altar to honor loved ones who have passed during Dia de los Muertos (the Day of Dead) on November 1 and 2.

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Embracing Your Emotions

Either the false positive or “keep calm and carry on” is so much bound into the way the culture exists.

WE become hooked on the idea that happiness is the holy grail. And what the push for only happiness does is it leads to IGNORE our difficult experiences.

Therefore, we aren’t actually bringing ourselves into the fullness of what we are capable of, & to bend on the reality of those experiences.

Because our culture doesn’t support our ability for us to be WHOLE with these difficult emotions…we often start engaging in hustling with them. We either bottle them, suppress, deny, or even brood on them – where we get stuck in them and start treating them as fact.

So many of us express “I don’t want to feel, I don’t want to feel this stress, I don’t want to feel anxiety. I just wish this feeling would go away.” I get it. At such a deep level I GET IT. When we constantly wish away our difficult emotions & avoid feeling what we feel at a fundamental level, we are not living to our fullest. If you are ALIVE you will FEEL. If you are alive you will feel stressed, hardship, disappointment, failure. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life.

Embrace your feels ❤️

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Focus. Grind. Grow and Glow

Resources & Inspiration for Fitness & Personal Growth

What’s the Difference Between Coaching and Therapy?

This article is written by Stephan Wiedner, co-founder and “Head Coach” at www.Noomii.com

A common misconception is that coaching is the same as therapy, when in fact they are quite different. Therapy is intended to help people recover from emotional or other psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety. Coaching, on the other hand, is intended to help normal, healthy individuals achieve personal goals such as increased happiness, weight loss, improved work-life balance. etc.

The table below shows a quick side-by-side comparison of coaching vs. therapy:

Coaching
Therapy
Client is emotionally and psychologically healthyClient is emotionally unwell and needs healing
Focuses on the present and futureFocuses on dealing with the past
Driven by goals and taking actionDriven by unresolved issues and feelings
Works toward a higher level of functioningWorks to achieve understanding and emotional healing
Results-based and focuses on exploring solutionsExplores the root of problems and offers explanation
Asks, “Where would you like to be and how can you get there?”Asks, “How did that make you feel?”
Acts on informationAbsorbs information
Done over the phone, internet or in personDone in an office setting
Coach and client collaborate on solutionsTherapist is the ‘expert’
Contact between sessions expected (accountability and wins)Contact between sessions for crisis and difficulties only

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10 Affirmations to keep your momentum going



1. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK.
2. THIS IS NOT FOREVER. YOU WILL NOT BE HERE FOREVER.
3. “THERE IS NO GROWTH ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAINTOP”- ANDY ANDREWS
4. JUST BECAUSE YOU TOOK LONGER THAN OTHERS DOESN’T MEAN YOU FAILED” – DANIEL FRIDAY DANZOR
5. NEVER TRUST YOUR FEARS. THEY DON’T KNOW YOUR STRENGTHATHENA SINGH
6. IF YOU CAN’T FLY. THEN RUN, IF YOU CAN’T RUN, THEN WALK THEN CRAWL, BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, YOU HAVE TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD.” –MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
7. DON’T LOOK AT EVERYONE ELSE. STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE,
8. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES WHEREVER YOU ARE
9. “IF YOU WANT THE RAINBOW, YOU GOTTA PUT UP WITH THE RAIN” – DOLLY PARTON
10. “A CHAMPION IS DEFINED NOT BY THEIR WINS, BUT HOW THEY CAN RECOVER WHEN THEY FALL.” – SERENA WILLIAMS


above Resources from The Start Today Brand



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