How to Get Back in Shape After the COVID-19 Lockdown

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Happy Sunday all! Today, I am featuring a guest blog post from a fellow blogger. His name is Gabriel Patel. He enjoys writing about health and wellness, and co-founded Health Well Wise with a group of friends who share the desire to help people live happy, healthy lives. Have a blessed rest of your Sunday.

Photo via Rawpixel

If you gained weight during the coronavirus quarantine, you’re not alone. It’s normal — and completely okay — to put on a few pounds when you’re experiencing periods of stress and a serious change to your regular routine. However, self-isolation may have left you feeling less than your best. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply regain the energy you had pre-lockdown, check out the following tips to reclaim your wellness and get back on track!

Clean Up Your Diet

For many of us, the lockdown meant living off of freezer meals, instant noodles, and other forms of quick, easy, and accessible processed foods. But it’s time to get some nutrients back in our diets! Fortunately, there are all kinds of healthy meals you can make with basic ingredients you already have in your pantry, such as spinach tortellini soup, legume quesadillas, skillet rice, and stew. The beauty of these recipes is that you can mix in whatever vegetables or proteins you have in your kitchen. Casseroles are also great for this! Get creative and have fun coming up with nutritious meals based on the ingredients you have on hand.

If you could use some help creating a clean diet plan, consider working with a professional dietician. You can use job boards to find qualified pros, such as freelance dieticians, who can answer all of your nutrition-related questions, help you build a healthy meal plan, and coach you through any barriers you may be facing. Some other freelancers who can support you on your wellness journey include online personal trainers, yoga instructors, and therapists.

Take Steps to Avoid Injury

When you get back into exercise, do it slowly; pushing yourself too hard after an extended period of inactivity could lead to injuries. This is especially true if you’re going back to the gym. Remember, you may not be able to work out at your previous level, so go easy on yourself by reducing your reps and weight. The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body.

If you’re hesitant about returning to the gym, try at-home workouts, running, or hiking — or just go for a walk! If you were unfortunate enough to contract the coronavirus, CNET recommends talking to your healthcare provider about when it would be safe to start exercising again. Try to stick to short bursts of gentle exercise in the days and weeks following your recovery.

Get More Sleep

When it comes to fitness and overall well being, sleep is underrated. Getting enough sleep plays an important role in muscle recovery, stress reduction, and weight management — all of which will help you meet your post-lockdown fitness goals. If you’re not getting at least seven hours of good-quality sleep every night, take some steps to improve your bedroom environment and help your body wind down in the evening. Make your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet; develop a relaxing bedtime routine; avoid caffeine in the afternoon; and limit alcohol late in the evening.

Conquer Stress

Stress is one of the largest barriers to a healthy lifestyle. Stress can disrupt your sleep patterns, affect your eating habits, and reduce your motivation to exercise. Of course, we’re all experiencing heightened stress with everything that’s going on in the world right now. Even if you can’t control what’s happening all around you, you can bring a greater sense of control to your own life by taking active steps to reduce stress. Make time for your hobbies, socialize with friends and family members who make you happy, get in the habit of positive self-talk, and try to exercise daily — even if you’d rather do anything else.

While it was easy to let healthy habits fall by the wayside during the corona virus lock-down, now is the time to regain control over your fitness. Exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and combating stress will do a lot to improve how you feel — and you may even lose a few pounds! Start working towards your goals today!

Episode 60: Listen to Your Body

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Episode 60: Listen to Your Body
Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...

 
 
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We listen to our friends, our enemies, “our hearts”, the radio, our children, etc. How many of us listen to our bodies? Did you know that listening to your body can give you clarity into listening to the needs, longings, and desires of your soul? Take a listen to this week’s podcast to gain a bigger perspective. Just in case you missed my last podcast, you can grab that one here: Episode 59: The Gift of Margin. God bless!

listen, listen to your body, podcaster, podcast, podcasting, emotional health, mental health, physical health, spiritual health, soul, cravings, addictions, PTSD, Elijah, the raven, 1 Kings 19, blogger, lifestyle, katina horton
Photo by Sarah Pflug at Shopify

Podcast Notes

HALT

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

Bible Passage Focus for Meditation:

1 Kings 19

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

1 Kings 19

Simplicity of Plants

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Plants bring so many benefits to our lives: 1) They give us oxygen and clear the carbon dioxide from the air. 2) Like pictures, they bring life and promote creativity to one’s home. 3) They bring the outside in by causing a de-stressing effect, and 4) For the most part, they are simple and low-maintenance.

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A few months ago, one of my friends blessed me with two plants. I decided to add them to my bedroom so that I could feel refreshed upon waking up in the morning. I am all about aesthetics, and especially having spaces that are light and airy. I decided to place one in the corner of my bedroom in front of a wall mirror. The second one was placed on top of my storage trunk, along with another faux plant.

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Bedroom Corner

My son was given two plants recently for his birthday. One of them is a bamboo plant. He placed them in chairs by the living room window so that they could get proper sunlight. At first, I was questioning the location. Now, I have decided that I like them there. The greenery against the natural colors of the chairs and the curtain makes you feel so relaxed.

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What simple, functional, grace-filled plants do you own? What places are you keeping them? Send in some comments and pictures below.


Have a grace-filled weekend!

Katina

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10 Things You Can Do When You Start Your Morning Earlier

time management, wellness, yoga, dance, organization, morning routine, kids, family time, water, facial, writing, journal, praying, physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, anxiety

*******This post contains affiliate links.  This means that I will receive a commission for purchases made via the affiliate links provided.

Background

No matter how old we are, it can be difficult getting up in the morning.  We can have every intention in the world, but we seem to repeat the same patterns of behavior.  When we don’t take charge of our morning routine, it often sets the tone for the rest of the day.   This sets up a domino effect.  We end up being more anxious, screaming at our kids for small things, and discombobulated for the rest of the day.  Here are ten things you can do when you get up 2 1/2 hours earlier in the morning.

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1.  Reflection Time (25 minutes)

Reflection time is best when we first wake up in the morning.  Instead of hopping up and rushing, we allow ourselves time to meditate on God’s goodness.  During this time, I praise and thank God for life, health, and strength.  This is also the time when God reveals clarity in regards to relationships, parenting, and the trauma that I have suffered during my life.  Grieving is also part of my reflection time.

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When I don’t allow myself reflection time, my mornings feel stressful and rushed.  A few times, I hopped out of bed too quickly and threw my back out.   Other times, I rushed out of the house without any time to process the grief that I was feeling when I woke up.  The end result of that was dysregulated emotions for the rest of the day.  Grief from trauma has to go somewhere.

2.  Devotion (20 minutes)

Devotion time is a good time for reading and meditating on God’s word.  It is also good when we have a devotional book or online devotional study.  This helps us to place our meditation time on a central theme.  If we don’t use a book or study, we can always pray for God to lead us to a particular scripture as our focus.

3.  Face (5 minutes)

Using five minutes to wash, cleanse, and moisturize our faces in the morning makes a world of difference.  I usually feel refreshed and more awake after this process.

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4.  Water (5 minutes)

Drinking two glasses of water helps to jump start the day.  It also helps to replenish the liquids that we lost during sleep.  In the spring, summer, and early fall, leaving the house without drinking water on a warm day can lead to dehydration.  If it’s sunny outside, then you will feel even worse.  Water helps to hydrate the skin and improves the under-eye puffiness.  It also improves red blood cell circulation and removes toxins from our skin.  Room temperature water is best in order to avoid an upset stomach.

time management, wellness, yoga, dance, organization, morning routine, kids, family time, water, facial, writing, journal, praying, physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, anxiety

5.  Prayers (10 minutes)

When we start our mornings with prayer, it also sets the mood for the day.  We get to go before God’s throne of grace.  Next, we get to put on our spiritual armor.  Then, we get take our thoughts captive as we bask in God’s perfect love that drives out all fear.

time management, wellness, yoga, dance, organization, morning routine, kids, family time, water, facial, writing, journal, praying, physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, anxiety

6.  Gratitude Check (5 minutes)

The gratitude check can be done verbally or on paper.  The nice thing about doing a gratitude check is that the list of things that we are grateful for always outweigh our problems.  I had a major gratitude check recently.  You can check that post out here.

time management, wellness, yoga, dance, organization, morning routine, kids, family time, water, facial, writing, journal, praying, physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, anxiety

7.  Movement (20 minutes)

For the majority of us, when we get to work, we are sitting for the majority of the day.  This 20 minutes gets our blood pumping and oxygen flowing before we get to work to sit again. Movement time has a lot of flexibility involved.  We can do a combo of things during this time, or focus on one single thing.  Here are some ideas: cleaning, dishes, walking the stairs, yoga, dancing, making the bed, Zumba, etc.

time management, wellness, yoga, dance, organization, morning routine, kids, family time, water, facial, writing, journal, praying, physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, anxiety

 

time management, wellness, yoga, dance, organization, morning routine, kids, family time, water, facial, writing, journal, praying, physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, anxiety

8.  Breakfast (15 minutes)

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  A good breakfast consists of lean protein, fruit, dairy or dairy substitute and whole grains.  Fruit juice is a great substitute for the fruit.  Some people need coffee for a boost.  I am an orange juice kind of person.  It is always good to throw in some healthy fat such as avocado, vegan butter, or olive oil in the mix.

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time management, wellness, yoga, dance, organization, morning routine, kids, family time, water, facial, writing, journal, praying, physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, anxiety

9.  Makeup or Shaving (15 minutes)

Having a set time slot for makeup or shaving also reduces anxiety.  I don’t use a lot of makeup.  However, rushing in this area could lead to makeup getting all over the bathroom sink, and in turn all over your clothes.  And of course, quick shaving leads to nicks.  The Canvas Women Toiletry Bag pictured below is the Perfect Bag to House Makeup and Shaving Kits.  Click here to take a look.

 

 

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Canvas Women Cosmetic Toiletry Bag

The Retro Vintage Roll Up Cosmetic Bag Pencil Pen Case Bag Pouch is the perfect roll up and go makeup bag.  Click here for details.

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Retro Vintage Roll Up Cosmetic Bag Pencil Pen Case Bag Pouch

10.  Hair (30 Minutes)

Having enough time for hair and showering is just as important as makeup time.  A quick shower takes about ten minutes.  This leaves twenty minutes for your hair.  For women, twenty minutes could be a blow dry, french braid, or pony tail.  For men, twenty minutes might be a shampoo, blow dry, and gel.  It’s up to you.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

 

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I hope that these tips will encourage us all to start our morning a little bit earlier.

God bless,

Katina

5 Reasons Why I Like Everyone Products

Background on the Everyone Products

I wouldn’t consider myself a makeup person.  I like wearing lipstick, and sometimes I will put on some eye shadow and eyeliner, but that is the extent of it.  The one thing that I do love is being able to buy facial and body products.  This has been my favorite thing to do ever since my kids were little.  Part of “me time” was spent combing the racks at Jewel, Dominick’s, or Walgreens looking for and spelling soap bars and body washes.  Even now, whenever I go to farmer’s markets or Whole Foods, my favorite place to stop is the section where they have all the goat’s milk body bars.  My daughter introduced me to the Everyone brand about a little over a year ago.

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Nicole De Khors by Burst at Shopify

Why Do I Like IT

I like their brand for several reasons:

  • they contain aloe
  • essential oils are present
  • duration of time
  • they use hyaluronic acid
  • they have multiple uses

 

wellness, facial, body, healing, eczema, skin, morning routine, facial, makeup
Nicole De Khors by Burst at Shopify

Aloe

The benefits of Aloe are never-ending.  Aloe helps with inflammation of the skin, mosquito bites, skin problems, and burns.  My neighbor and I were outside talking, when she decided to cut off some of her Aloe Vera plant some that I could take some home to help with all of the nice, red mosquito bites that were going up and down my leg.  I also gave a few pieces to my daughter to help with her eczema.  We hated when we ran out.

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Essential Oils

The Everyone products contain essential oils, which are good for some of everything.  People use essential oils to replace candles, and to have a calming, relaxing spa effect.  They are also used to help with pain and inflammation.  There are others who used essential oils to boost their immune system.

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Nicole De Khors by Burst at Shopify

Duration of Time

For two people sharing the 32 oz sizes, the Everyone products can last literally for about two to three months.  Believe or not, you don’t need a lot.  A small amount goes a long way.  The bonus is the fact that they use purified water to make their products, which helps those of us who have sensitive skin.  The 32 oz. sizes are $9.99 at most stores, and some months, I have been able to get them for 6.99 to 7.99 at health food/all natural stores.  It is best when they are that inexpensive to buy two, if possible.

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I was so happy because the Everyone Face for Everyday cleanse was on sale for $5.00 at Whole Foods Market.  This was over a month ago, and I have a good 60% of the bottle still left.

 

Hyaluronic Acid

The hyaluronic acid from the Everyone products adds to the hyaluronic acid that is already present in the skin, helping to:

  • moisturize skin
  • lessen lines and wrinkles
  • benefit collagen levels
  • help with aging skin process

Multiple Uses

The last benefit of the Everyone products that I like is that the lotion and wash have multiple uses:

Everyone Wash:  shower, bath, and hair shampoo

Everyone Lotion:  face, body, hair

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19

Have a blessed night!

Katina

Improve Your Health with a Simplified Beauty Routine and Natural Products

Today, I am featuring a guest blog post “Improve Your Health with a Simplified Beauty Routine and Natural Products” from Breanne Connor at Essential Moves to Wellness.

 

Do you find the idea of a natural beauty routine a little off-putting? Look, I get it.  Why would you change out your products that already work?

 

While your tried-and-true products work great, they are slowly and subtly sabotaging your health.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. I only promote products I use and love. You can read more about it on my disclaimer page.

A Natural Beauty Routine Defined

 

What exactly is a natural beauty routine?

 

It’s a certain lifestyle where all of your beauty products are free from harsh chemicals or ingredients that can cause your body harm.

 

The thing is, most big-name beauty brands use way too many ingredients, and most of them have been scientifically proven to be harmful.  Yet beauty companies continue to use and abuse these ingredients.

 

Some common harsh chemicals include sulfates, parabens, carcinogens, and “fragrance” (source).  They can cause anything ranging from skin irritation to infertility to cancer.

 

Natural beauty products can be homemade, and some are only one or two ingredients!

Start With the Basics

 

When starting a natural beauty routine, it’s best to start with the absolute basic products and add only what’s necessary for your skin and hair.

 

A terribly underrated part of a natural beauty routine is many single-ingredient products are very versatile.  Take honey, for example. You can use it as a facial mask, replace your shampoo, the list goes on.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

See some more of my single-ingredient beauty product swaps with my free download! Just enter your name and email below.

 

[mailerlite_form form_id=5]

 

To help you avoid overwhelm, I’m going to list what I think are the absolute basics for every beauty routine. Give these suggestions a go, and add on anything else as you go through your natural lifestyle journey.

Body and Facial Wash: Norwex Cloths

 

I’m sure you’re wondering, “What on Earth are Norwex Cloths??”

 

Norwex is an amazing company that sells microfiber cloths designed to pick up any unwanted microscopic organisms on a surface. Whether it be your body, or kitchen counters!

 

Read more about Norwex Cloths and Get a Cleaner Home and Body With These Microfiber Cleaning Cloths!

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

These cloths are literally the only things that have cleared my body acne, and I haven’t bought body wash in years! The antibacterial power of these cloths are the only thing your face and body need to stay clean.

Toner: Rose Water

 

I know that toner may seem like an unnecessary product, but it actually is very helpful for keeping an even and youthful skin tone.

 

Rose water helps balance your skin’s PH, control excess oil, heals scars, and so much more! (source)

 

You can find rose water at any health food store, or even the vitamin section of your local grocery store. I get rose water in a fine mist bottle specifically meant to be a toner. I just spray it all over my face after washing and let it air dry!

Moisturizer and Hair Oil: Argan Oil

 

I used Argan oil on face as a moisturizer for years before I decided to make my own! There are so many benefits, including repair to damaged skin, anti-frizz, and quick absorption for perfect moisture! (source)

 

After every shower or every time I washed my face, I would put a few drops of Argan oil on my fingertips and massage it into my skin. Then I would put a few more drops in my palms and run it through the ends of my hair.

 

I still use it on my ends occasionally. The only reason I don’t do it as much is because I’ve learned to mix essential oils for a more tailored effect on my hair. You can read all about essential oils and my favorite brand on my post Ditch Your Low-Quality Essential Oils for this Brand—Rocky Mountain Oils Review.

 

Deodorant: Lavender Essential Oil or Any Chemical-Free Brand

 

Okay okay, I know that lavender essential oil sounds a little crazy for deodorant, but believe me when I say that it works!

 

Lavender has a very strong antifungal and antibacterial property, so just a drop or two per armpit has enough power to keep you smelling fresh all day!

 

You can get pure, high-quality lavender oil for a good price if you click here at Rocky Mountain Oils. It’s safe to apply to skin, or use a carrier oil if you like, such as almond or jojoba oil.

 

Now if that’s too weird for you, I get it. I tend to use store-bought deodorant that I know is free of harsh chemicals. We can’t just DIY everything, right?

 

How do you know if your deodorant is safe? I have a little secret weapon called the Think Dirty App. It’s an amazing little app on your phone that lets you scan products to see how clean they are.

 

You can read more about it on my post Your Ingredient List Secret Weapon—Think Dirty App Review.

 

Toothpaste: Tom’s of Maine

 

Now I’ll admit that toothpaste is one area that I haven’t found much success in terms of safe ingredients. While there are some perfectly safe products out there, they are not effective for me at all.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

There was one brand that I used for months, but my teeth looked like they weren’t brushed at all! I later found out that I was basically brushing my teeth with watered-down clay.

 

The only brand I recommend is Tom’s of Maine. They have several safe options that scored well on the Think Dirty app, and my teeth are staying clean!

Shampoo and Conditioner: Any Chemical-Free Brand

 

I’d love to list a Holy Grail brand for hair care here, but there is no one amazing shampoo for everybody. We all have different hair types, so this one will take a little research on your part.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

But I’m not going to leave you completely hanging! Some brands that I love and trust are Desert Essence, Shea Moisture, and Calia Natural. All of these brands have amazing ratings on the Think Dirty App.

 

Also, you don’t need to have an app on your phone to tell what is natural and what’s not. I have a handy post on How to Tell if Your Natural Products are Actually Natural. Just because something says “natural” on it, doesn’t mean it actually is free of harsh chemicals, and this post tells you how to navigate through the confusion.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

Razors: Get a Safety Razor

 

I bet you’re thinking, “What? I even need to change my razor?” The answer is yes, yes you do.

 

You know that little lubricating strip on your razor? That thing is chock full of unknown stuff that the razor company isn’t even obligated to list. Throw it out now!

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

Look into the money-saving, eco-friendly option of a safety razor! You can read all about my first time using one in my post Safety Razors and Classic Shaving: The Absolute BEST Way to Shave!

 

Putting it All Together

 

Now that I’ve somewhat overwhelmed you with my favorite basics for simplifying your beauty routine, go forward and try what speaks to you!

 

It will certainly be a journey, and it will be very gradual. I personally started out with nixing my toxic shampoo and conditioner and slowly worked from there. You can read about my journey and 5 Things About Going Chemical-Free that No One Will Tell You.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

I hope that this post sparks your own journey to a natural lifestyle. I’ve never felt better, and I’ve certainly never looked back.

 

Now I want to challenge you! Take a look at the ingredient list of one or two of your beauty products. Ask yourself if you’re okay with what you’re putting on your hair or skin every day.

 

If not, I challenge you to try natural products! I’ll be rooting for you along the way!

 

Would you be up for switching out some of your beauty products? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine
Breanne Connor

Breanne is the owner of the blog Essential Moves to Wellness, where she writes about getting the most out of a healthy lifestyle. Her posts range from DIY beauty to ballet to mental health and wellness. When Breanne isn’t writing, she loves to crochet, tutor other writers, and dance ballet. Check out her blog for more on healthy living.