Three Steps To Achieve Freedom From Too Much Clutter

Are you feeling anxious and finding it hard to focus? Are you easily annoyed over the smallest things? In case you’re wondering why you are constantly stressed out, it might help to take a minute and observe your surroundings. Do you see a messy room overflowing with stuff? Is your work area laden with random papers and other unnecessary things? The clutter around you may just be the reason for your inability to concentrate and stay calm!

Take the challenge to declutter today!

The things you accumulate throughout the years contain memories that are hard to leave behind.It is understandable if you struggle in letting go of too much stuff. Science can explain this behavior, as a study done by researchers from Yale School of Medicine revealed that for hoarders, throwing away previously owned stuff triggers the brain area that is associated with pain. Taking the challenge to declutter is essential to maintain a positive mindset and achieve work efficiency. Holding on to old things traps you into all the negative effects of a disorganized life. In fact, researchers from the University of California Los Angeles found a direct link between stress and clutter. So if you want organization, clarity and peace back in your life, free your home or desk from things you do not need. Say yes to decluttering today with the following steps.

Complement your goals with concrete plans.

Once you decide to declutter, set out goals that you need to accomplish for a simpler, minimalist lifestyle. To lay out achievable objectives, the first thing to do is determine the areas or spaces that you need to work on. It is probably the closet that is brimming with clothes you have not seen or worn for some time. Or your child’s playroom which is filled with broken toys. After listing down all the areas that you need to clean up, it is time to think of concrete plans to get rid of it by selling or recycling those items.

Take it one day at a time and set a deadline.

Even if you are aware of the urgency to free your home or desk from things you do not need, the task of decluttering is not always easy. You may be tempted to just throw everything in sight, but that is impractical and irresponsible. Most of the time, you need to carefully go through your things to determine if something is for keeping, throwing or donating. The whole process can take time, so do not not expect the road towards minimalism to be a fast one.

You are unlikely to finish decluttering in a day, so break down your goals and target one messy area at a time. The pace of your progress will depend on your schedule. But don’t forget to set a deadline for your decluttering goals. With a fixed time frame in mind, you can easily avoid the lure to procrastinate or set aside your mission to live with less stuff.

Choose a desired decluttering method.

Admit it, you need every help you can get to finally live with less clutter. It would not hurt to look for inspiration that can motivate your decluttering efforts. You can also choose to follow a method or technique that is known to effectively help people who wants to lead a minimalist lifestyle. One method you can try is Konmari. This method was is proposed by Japanese author Marie Kondo. In this approach, you organize your things and keep only the things that spark joy. Another option is called the four-box method, wherein you allot four containers to easily sort through your things. One box for items to give away, another box for things to throw away, one box for things to store and the last box for items you can’t decide what to do with. There are more organization methods, so try to choose one method that will suit you best.

The decision to live with just the basics is not a spur of the moment thing. Rather, it is a lifestyle change.nce done with decluttering, try not to be tempted to hoard things again. Remember that every item you purchase but do not actually need adds up to invisible baggage that may become very hard to carry later on. Commit to living with less stuff to enjoy the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle!

Dean and Marcie WhalenThree Steps To Achieve Freedom From Too Much Clutter
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Four Practical Tips To Stay Productive When You Feel Exhausted

The deadline for several projects you are working on is looming, and you desperately want to finish your work, but your head is aching and your body feels weak. Sound familiar? Almost everyone can relate to the above scenario because we have all been there at one time or another. There are days when you are swamped with tons of tasks that need to be done, but you are also aware that your body needs rest.

Your initial reaction may be to sacrifice one or the other. Either you listen to your body and ignore the deadline or stretch your strength to the limits as long as you get the work done. Facing the dilemma in one of these ways may work, but can also backfire in the long run. You may think it is too good to be true, but with a few tweaks to your daily habit and routines, it is possible to have the best of both worlds. You can stay productive and meet the deadline without abusing your body. Try the following practical hacks:

Take regular breaks.

Have you been struggling to finish your tasks easily because you’re not taking breaks? It may feel a bit sad to know, but this tactic will not work. In fact, ignoring break times may only slow you down. Taking a break and forgetting about your work for a little while will refresh your mind. After the break, you will likely to be more inspired and ready to tackle the tasks anew

If you need further proof, researchers from the University of Illinois showed in a study that taking quick breaks can greatly enhance focus and performance. So no matter how heavy your workload gets, remember to take a short break once in a while. Allow your mind and body to recharge by taking a short power nap or eat some snacks. If you know that a busy week is coming, you can prepare for it by taking a relaxing getaway just before things get hectic.

Schedule a time for emails.

Email notifications can be useful but can also distract you from the more important tasks. To keep these messages from stealing your attention, you may want to allot a specific time for it. Choose the most convenient time in your day to check and reply to emails and stick to it. You may be surprised at how much you can accomplish if you do not have to stop your work progress just to reply to a message or read an email. A smart idea to ensure that emails will not take up too much of your time is to set a timer for it. Thirty minutes a day will be more than enough to ensure that you do not miss any important messages or reminders.

Drink your way to productivity.

On days when you feel really sluggish and unmotivated, a cup of black coffee can help you get through the day. A research study published in the British Conference of Undergraduate Research showed that drinking coffee before physical exercise results in longer workout hours. You can boost your caffeine fix by drinking black coffee mixed with coconut oil. Many claim that this drink gives tremendous benefits, but others say that it can pose health problems. To be certain, you may want to consult with a physician regarding your coffee intake. If you are not a coffee drinker, tea is an alternative power drink. One study revealed that drinking tea stimulates the mind and help you do your job more efficiently.

With coffee and tea on this list, it seems obvious that staying hydrated is essential to staying productive. So aside from the drinks mentioned, do not forget to drink enough water. Research done by the University of East London proved that water intake can increase brain activity up to 14%. Next time you feel a need for something to perk you up, a glass of water may be all you need. It is generally readily available and safe for all.

Stand, walk or stretch.

Sitting too long working on a task is likely to lead to health problems and can contribute to poor work performance. Throughout the day, take time to engage in a brief physical activity. This suggestion is tied into the idea of taking a break, because it implies finding opportunities to have time away from your desk. You can allot a few minutes to stand and stretch your muscles. Or have lunch at a nearby restaurant. Walking to the restaurant and a bit of change in the surroundings can leave you more inspired to work.

Aside from the four tips featured here, there are many other ways to stay competent and productive even when the workload starts to get overwhelming. Panicking and worrying will not help and may further slow you down. So stay calm amidst a pile of tasks. With a few tricks here and there, you can finish them all in a cinch!

Dean and Marcie WhalenFour Practical Tips To Stay Productive When You Feel Exhausted
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Increase Mental Prowess As You Age: It Is Possible With Brain Plasticity!

Everyone knows the importance of exposing young minds to various ideas and knowledge. We want to teach useful skills and instill good values early because of the notion that children’s brains easily adapt to stimuli and therefore learn faster. This principle may be useful in shaping the minds of youngsters, but it may discourage an adult from learning something new with the thought that studying at a later age becomes more difficult. We have this misconception that the brain’s functions start to diminish as we grow older.  Unsurprisingly, we tend to associate old age with weakening mental faculties such as memory loss or disorientation. Fortunately, this way of thinking is now being challenged with the theory of brain plasticity.

What is brain plasticity?

Brain plasticity or neuroplasticity debunks the notion that the brain stops developing at a certain age. On the contrary, it suggests that the human brain has this remarkable ability to adapt to various changes and further develop or repair itself.

Brain plasticity is the product of years of research in the field of neurology as scientists discovered that new nerve cells or neurons are born everyday throughout your lifespan. The growth and production of these nerve cells are affected with our lifestyle, diet and experiences.

Why is neuroplasticity important?

The old field of study used to claim that once brain cells die, they are irreplaceable. This theory sadly implies that old people just have to deal with deteriorating mental health. Neuroplasticity breaks this old belief as it shows that the brain can continually evolve and change. This means that we are capable of remaining brain fit until old age.

The ability of the brain to regenerate itself does decrease as we age, which explains why children can indeed absorb new ideas and master new skills faster. Still, brain plasticity supports the idea that the elderly can enroll in classes or develop new skills without fear that learning will be extra challenging. Brain plasticity is also an important breakthrough in the field of mental health as it suggests that the mind has the power to fully recover from brain injuries or emotional trauma. Moreover, illnesses related to aging and memory such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease can easily be avoided.

Ways to keep the mind sharper

If you do not take care of yourself, brain plasticity will decrease as you age. The following are some of the things to keep in mind to maintain and even increase your mental aptitude as the years pass:

Stay active.

Inactivity slows down the production of new neurons, so engage in any form of physical activity such as walking or running to stimulate the brain. Research done by neuroscientist Dr. Sandrine Thuret showed the effect of physical activity helped the growth of new brain cells. In this research, a group of mice were placed in a cage with no running wheels while another group were placed in a cage with one running wheel. Brain scans of the mice showed that the group in a cage with a running wheel were significantly growing more neurons than the mice who did not have a running wheel.  

Get an adequate amount of sleep.

Do not abuse your body and mental abilities by pushing it to the limits. Our body, including the brain, needs rest to recover and replenish itself. The best way to give your body a break is by getting enough sleep. It is important to make sure you get enough hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation decreases the size of the brain as proven by a 2016 research study by a group of scientists.

Expose yourself to new things.

Exercise your brain by constantly immersing yourself in new mental stimulants. This means being open to new ideas and always being eager to learn new things. Traveling or going to new places and trying new activities are also fun ways to keep the brain’s health at its best.

Stay positive.

A happy mindset is essential for a healthy brain. Stress and depression will not only lessen your quality of life, but it will also reduce your brain’s ability to function. This is backed by a research that was published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine which revealed that stress negatively affects brain functions.

Eat more brain food.

To nourish brain health, it is recommended to eat a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids and decrease intake of calorie-rich and sugary foods. Instead of munching on junk food, it is best to snack on nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds, walnuts and sunflower seeds. You should also cut back on dishes full of saturated fat and your alcohol intake should be in moderation. Some of the things you can indulge on are dark chocolate, red wine and blueberries.

Neuroplasticity erases the fear that we have to succumb to memory loss as we age. It gives hope that you can literally grow older and wiser. However, to fully benefit from the idea behind brain plasticity, you will need to consciously mind your lifestyle, diet and mindset.

Dean and Marcie WhalenIncrease Mental Prowess As You Age: It Is Possible With Brain Plasticity!
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Tips To Gain The Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet

Everybody wants to be healthy and fit because of the many benefits they bring. A healthy lifestyle is bound to make you feel good inside and out. Still, most people find it hard to stick to a diet because it mainly involves curbing appetite and limiting food intake.

So how does a weight-loss method that actually encourages a high-fat diet sounds to you? It may sound unbelievable, but this is precisely what comes to mind when one mentions the ketogenic method.

What is the keto diet and how does it work?

A myriad of ways to shed those extra pounds have been introduced throughout the ages, but the ketogenic diet is appealing to many because it allows consumption of food which we are normally taught to avoid when trying to lose weight such as meat and dairy.

The keto regimen promises to help you lose weight by following a diet plan composed of more fatty food, moderate protein and minimal carbohydrates. Since glycogen production, which the body needs for energy, comes from proteins and carbs, the increase intake of fat-rich food while limiting consumption of protein and carbohydrates sets the body into a state of ketosis. In this metabolic condition, the body is forced to convert the fatty acids into energy. A simple way to explain it is that the keto diet uses fat to burn fat. So if you love meat and other fatty-foods, the keto diet may be the solution to help you attain the figure of your dreams.

What are the benefits of the keto diet?

Advocates of the keto diet attest to the many ways that it improves overall health. The most obvious benefit is that it helps you maintain your ideal weight. Aside from that, the keto method also prevents onset of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. One long-term study showed how the keto diet aids in weight loss of obese patients.

The keto diet can also lower blood sugar and blood pressure. Other health benefits include improving brain functions and preventing memory-loss problems such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Is keto diet the right one for me?

Most people dread the idea of dieting because not everyone has the discipline and determination to let go of what some would consider comfort food. On the contrary, the keto diet will allow you to indulge in fatty foods. The notion that you do not have to deprive yourself and still lose weight makes the keto diet popular. However, health matters are a serious concern, so no matter how appealing it seems, it is not wise to blindly plunge into any diet program.

While a keto diet may be effective, some nutritionists claim that it can only bring short-term benefits. Some researchers also say that in the long run, a high-fat, low-carb diet may cause adverse effects on health. A keto diet is also not advisable for pregnant women and people with certain conditions such as kidney problems and Type 1 Diabetes. To prevent potential harmful effects, it is best to consult a doctor before diving into the keto diet craze.

How can you ensure success on a keto diet?

Once you know that the ketogenic diet is safe for you and decide to give it a try, not knowing the do’s and don’ts of this diet  cause harm. Keto is a high-fat diet, but it does not mean you can consume everything fatty. Trans fat is still harmful, so stock up on food that are sources of good fats such as nuts and olive oil. Food to avoid will be carbs such as rice, bread and pasta. Each person is different so the amount of fat, protein and carb intake will vary. A dietitian can help create a customized meal plan for your keto diet.

Any diet regimen that promises to help you lose excess body fat without much effort is bound to be a hit. The success of any diet plan, though, will rely on the individual’s effort to research ways on how to do it properly and the commitment to stick to a healthy lifestyle.  

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Five Lasting Benefits Of Family Mealtimes: Make Quality Time Count

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.
So tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins.”- Ronald Reagan

When you start a family, you begin a journey of creating memories. For meaningful mementos that you can reminisce on for years, you usually go out of the way to celebrate special occasions. The effort you give to make big events memorable sets a positive example because it is a subtle way of showing your kids how well you value your family.

However, parents should realize that the part and parcel that form their everyday life will have greater impact on their children. If done right, the simple act of eating a meal together can create lasting benefits for the whole family.

Deeper relationships.

The world will definitely be a lonely place without relationships. Everyone will agree that having a strong support network is one thing that helps all of us get by through life’s ups and downs. Since family members are usually the persons closest to you, building relationships should start at home. Gathering together during mealtimes allows family to communicate and connect with each other. In the long run, the interactions that take place at the family table will strengthen relationships.

Well-adjusted kids.

As children grow, they become susceptible to bad influences which can lead to behavioral problems. Fortunately, regular family mealtimes can help parents shield their kids from all these possible scenarios. A 2014 research study published by the National Council on Family Relations, a non-profit organization, showed a positive correlation between family dinners and well-adjusted kids.

Smarter children.

If you want your kids to do better in school, you have another good reason to insist on making mealtimes a family activity. It may seem unlikely, but you can use mealtimes as a chance for learning. Aside from demonstrating proper eating manners, you can briefly discuss topics while at the dining table. The exchange of ideas that happen during meal times will open the minds of children to various points of view. These conversations encourage kids to speak their minds, and in the process, sharpen communication skills.

Better health.

Home cooked dishes are generally healthier than fast food and takeout meals. Eating together at home is therefore one way to ensure good health of the whole family. It is also a way to monitor the food intake of everyone. This claim is even backed by research as a paper published by the American Academy of Pediatrics concludes that families who dine together at least three times a week reduces the risk of obesity and eating disorders.

Happier household.

It will be hard to foster a loving environment if you do not make bonding times a daily priority. Finding time to be together can be tough because everyone can get so busy. The good news is that mealtimes are one of the easiest ways to catch up with each other. Furthermore, a study by Brigham Young University researchers found out that family mealtimes allow working mothers to de-stress after a tiring day in the office.

So if your goal is to leave wonderful memories and impart great values, give prime importance to ordinary moments as well. Who knows? The fondest memories of your children can even be during family meal times.

Dean and Marcie WhalenFive Lasting Benefits Of Family Mealtimes: Make Quality Time Count
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Can You Be Busy & Healthy? Easy Wellness Tips In Today’s Hectic World

Everyone wants to enjoy the benefits of healthy living. So you vow to set a regular time for exercise, be more mindful about food intake and indulge in rest and relaxation. For most people though, the commitment to be healthy quickly vanishes into thin air once the demands of the real world come in.

Too often, once you realize that you have too much on your plate, you find it difficult to have the time nor the energy to even bother about wellness. The journey to health and wellness can really be a struggle with today’s hectic lifestyles. However, if you are ready to exert effort, staying in tip-top shape amidst tight deadlines and numerous goals is not impossible.

Time management is the key.

The gift of time is essential for you to accomplish your healthy goals. Still, being busy is not an excuse to ignore your fitness regimen. If you take time to organize your day, you can discover ways to squeeze a quick workout on your to-do list. You can also spend some time to whip up a nutritious meal.

You do not necessarily need superb and sophisticated organizational skills, just a clear idea on the tasks that make up your day. By identifying the areas that eat up most of your time, you get to see what you need to adjust or give up to be healthier.

Strive to get enough hours of sleep.

Sleep deprivation is surely one of the ill effects of the modern way of the life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ((CDC) reported that one out of three adults in America do not get the recommended number of hours of sleep every night. Moreover, many studies have linked lack of sleep to chronic diseases such as heart problems and diabetes. According to the CDC report,  if you truly want to be healthy, decide to give your body at least seven hours of sleep every day.

The reasons that rob you of sleep may vary, but whatever it is, your body deserves some rest.  Giving your body ample amount of sleep will get you in the best condition to accomplish more, making it possible to be busy and healthy at the same time.

Be an early riser.

If you want more hours in a day, try getting up an hour or two earlier. By being an early riser, you get a chance to finish tasks that you would normally run out of time for in the course of the day. You can use the extra time to improve your well-being. Maybe you can meditate to clear your mind or allot some time for flexing those tired muscles. By making it a habit to wake up early, you are one step closer to reaching whatever goals you set your mind to.

Have a role model.

An article that appeared in American Psychological Association  notes the importance of role models when setting goals. The scientist, Albert Bandura states in his social learning theory that people learn by imitating certain influential individuals.

With this theory in mind, it is safe to conclude that choosing a certain person to serve as inspiration will greatly help in your fitness journey. Aside from the tips and tactics you can learn from your fitness idol, he or she can also be the powerful reminder you need when you feel like giving up.

Set achievable goals.

If you have been stretching yourself to the limits but still failing to achieve results, it may be time to examine your goals. Chances are, you have set unrealistic targets. To succeed, it is better to start with small goals then gradually increase targets in time.

Stick to your wellness goals no matter what.

It is normal to feel guilty whenever you skip a gym session or feel bad whenever you stray from healthy eating habits. These mishaps can happen every now and then but it does not mean you need to abandon the overall goal altogether. Sometimes, what matters is that you strive to stand up and start again even if you keep on failing. Small progress is better than none at all, so do your best to hold on to your goals.

Good health is associated with happiness and vitality. It is hardly surprising that many are aiming for physical fitness. Sadly, the stress-filled days of the modern world are not exactly health-friendly. Nevertheless, with sheer determination and discipline, you can enjoy all the benefits of being in the peak of health.

Dean and Marcie WhalenCan You Be Busy & Healthy? Easy Wellness Tips In Today’s Hectic World
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Ten Effective Techniques to Achieve Emotional Freedom

Holistic freedom is a term that defines liberation within every area of daily life. One of the most important elements of our day-to-day demeanor is our emotional well-being. Every interaction we encounter can either positively or negatively affect our next actions. Whether we allow our undesirable experiences to shape our attitude is completely reliant upon us. If you find yourself feeling depressed, irritable, anxious or hopeless, you may be suffering the effects of emotional burdens. Keep reading to learn how to regain control of your emotional freedom.

Emotions can be tricky. Sometimes we feel stuck dwelling on emotions that we’d rather not have. Other times, we struggle to feel the emotions that we think we should be experiencing. Maybe you aren’t as happy as you’d like to be. Maybe you feel angrier than you know how to adequately control. You get frustrated and label yourself as an emotional wreck, but what’s really going on? Often times, negative emotions can present themselves as anger or embarrassment, when really they are masking deeper emotions that haven’t been expressed.

Anger is frequently rooted in fear, rejection or hurt. Embarrassment usually follows vulnerability or isolation. People struggle to find genuine solutions to their negative feelings because they regularly tend to the secondary emotions instead of the primary causes. Occasionally, even primary feelings are difficult to sooth. So what’s the proper approach? Rest assured, there are many techniques and best practices that, when practiced habitually, promote healing and emotional freedom.

Try:

  1. Being Emotionally Accountable
  • Be open to the fact that you may be causing some of the emotional pain you’re feeling. Consider the part you play and accept a leadership role when it comes to being in control of your feelings. 
  1. Practicing Awareness
  • Being aware is a life skill that has endless benefits. Emotional awareness helps you identify triggers and remove yourself from situations that are causing a spike in your negative emotions. Awareness also helps you recognize what causes your happiest moments so you can duplicate them to increase the positivity. 
  1. Opening up to Others
  • Find a trusted companion and vent about your feelings. If someone hurts you, let that person know. If you caused emotional pain, apologize. 
  1. Practicing Forgiveness
  • Forgiveness is hard, but necessary. The emotional baggage that comes with carrying around negativity from the people and situations that hurt you, only causes you more damage – don’t allow outside forces to have such an effect of your life. 
  1. Altering Your Perspective
  • Perspective is everything. A simple shift of thought can make all the difference. Instead of focusing on the bad, cancel those thoughts and replace them with the opposite. 
  1. Changing Your Lifestyle
  • Think about what causes you the most strife and emotional turmoil. Now create a plan to remove it from your life for good. 
  1. Identifying Productive Outlets
  • Negative emotions can leave us feeling frazzled and upset. If you never release that tension, the pressure mounts and results in an outburst. To avoid this, find a healthy outlet to channel your anger. Rage rooms, physical activity and recreational hobbies are all perfect coping activities. 
  1. Granting Yourself Permission to Fully Feel Your Emotions
  • Many people try to avoid the feelings that they deem unfavorable. Grief and sadness are two of the most popular emotions that get pushed out of the way. The problem is if you never allow yourself the time to experience those feelings, you effectively remove your opportunity to heal. As uncomfortable as it may be, you must give yourself the chance to feel and heal. 
  1. Treating Yourself with More Mercy
  • Holding yourself (and your feelings) to unrealistic standards does more harm than good. Remember that each person is unique and you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. 
  1. Seeking Therapy or Medical Attention
  • If your negative emotions feel unbearable or overwhelming to the point of toxic coping methods or a desire to self-harm (more info here), seek professional treatment immediately. Clinical depression, chemical imbalances and emotional disorders are very real. Conditions such as these require assistance from professionals who are trained to handle these matters. Never hesitate to make that call. 

The goal of emotional freedom is reach the point where your negative feelings no longer control you. Emotional freedom leads way to overall freedom, which, when achieved, produces overall joy in every part of your life. Remember these 10 tips and take the next step toward holistic freedom.

Dean and Marcie WhalenTen Effective Techniques to Achieve Emotional Freedom
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Recreational Team Sports That Will Help You Stay In-Shape

As children, it was easy to get daily exercise. We explored our backyards, ran at recess and had neighborhood friends who begged us to come and play outside. As adults, things aren’t so easy. We think of our backyards as nothing more than postponed yard-work. Our recesses have turned into coffee breaks. And our friends? Well, they only beg us to pick up our phones to view the latest memes. None of which help us stay in shape. We didn’t lose our love of play or appreciation for healthy competition; matter of fact, we watch sports all the time. So why do we no longer play them ourselves? Adult athletic leagues offer friendship, exercise and a chance to relive our childhood passions. What could beat that? Whether you want to join a local recreation league, an amateur team or form a team of your own, there are many sports to choose from. (Clickable league links are in each sport’s title)

Basketball(or here)

For those who love high-paced, high-scoring activities

Requires: Agility, speed, hand-eye coordination

Soccer

A runner’s dream! Soccer is a perfect way to implement a high level of cardio and build leg strength.

Requires: body control, balance, conditioning

Hockey

Hockey offers a bit of variety with the option of ice or field play. Master skaters who love being on the ice find joy chasing down a puck and making the big shots. Field hockey is played on foot.

Requires: Endurance, speed, hand-eye coordination

Tennis

With quick bursts of energy and powerful racquet swings, tennis is a full-body workout.

Requires: Flexibility, quick response, hand-eye coordination

Volleyball

Played both indoor and outdoor, volleyball is a know for short spurts of high-intensity play.

Requires: Multi-level movements, spatial awareness, quick bursts of energy

Baseball/ Softball

America’s favorite! Time to put all those catching lessons from dad to the test. A slower paced activity for those who are okay with lower-scoring sports and long breaks between action.

Requires: Arm strength, patience, running, hand-eye coordination

Football

Most adult leagues feature flag football, which increases safety while maintaining the fun.

Requires: sprinting, agility, balance

Other Unique Team Sports: Ultimate Frisbee, Roller Derby(or here), Kickball, Quidditch, Dodgeball

Cautions

Don’t Over-Commit

As tempting as it is to commit to a team on a whim, don’t fall victim to impulse. Many teams require practice, weekly matches, and extra time in the gym. You may also need to travel for playoffs, championships, and tournaments. Sans proper research, the unexpected time commitment can lead to burnout or lack of follow through. Make sure to pick a league that aligns with the time availability that you can handle.

Listen to Your Body

Starting a new sport, or even a new season of an old sport can cause strain on the body. Suddenly increasing your level of activity can be a jolt on muscles that haven’t been conditioned. Instead of jumping from no (or low levels of) activity to high exert play, make the transition seamless by preparing for your sport weeks in advance. If you feel irregular pain and fatigue during the season, listen to your body instead of pushing yourself past your limit. Let your teammates know that you need to sit out or rest and jump back in during the next game.

Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health

At their best, team sports feed an internal need for socialization, physical activity, and challenge. At their worst, those three things can go awry. If you find yourself on a roster where tense interpersonal relationships are causing issues, don’t overlook how that affects your mental health. Some teammates will take the league more seriously than others. The varied levels of competitiveness are a common cause for dissension amongst the group. As is the varying level of skill. If the level of physical activity or challenge is causing strife, the mental weight of the situation can also negatively affect your health. The goal is to remain happy while your body benefits from the workout. If that isn’t happening, there’s no shame in finding a new team, or a new sport. Your physical and mental health comes first, even when you are a part of a team.

Be Mindful of Your Budget

Before you consider joining a team sport, first look into the cost. For some, the fees can be higher than assumed. If that’s the case, instead of giving up on joining, research other local teams. Gyms, rec centers, independent clubs, and sports complexes all offer adult sports programs. If your first choice is too pricey, there’s no harm in placing budget over preference. If your heart is set on playing in an expensive league that isn’t necessarily budget-friendly, consider playing one season a year while supplementing your exercise regimen with a less expensive alternative during the off-season.

Adult team sports greatly benefit both your physical well-being and your social life. Enroll in a local club today and restore your rightful title as a lifelong athlete.

Dean and Marcie WhalenRecreational Team Sports That Will Help You Stay In-Shape
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Eight Habits of Happily Married Couples To Emulate

Marriage vows promise, “Till death do us part”. In no way is that a light commitment. A lifetime of happiness requires hard work. It is cultivated through consistent effort, effective communication, and a lot of patience and love. But outside of those large foundational cornerstones, marital longevity is built through small daily interactions. In other words, it’s the little things. Here are 8 small steps that make a huge impact on maintaining the bliss in your relationship.

1. Have a Heart of Gratitude

Keep in mind that your partner doesn’t have to do anything; every kind of action is a conscious choice. The way your spouse loves you is a direct result of his/her purposeful intent. Don’t fall into the trap of taking your loved one for granted. Be thankful. Exude gratitude in your words, your actions, and your thoughts.

2. Do at Least One Extraordinary Thing a Day

Extraordinary sounds big, but it doesn’t have to be. Commit to performing small, “outside of the norm” acts that will make your spouse smile. Leave a handwritten love letter in her car, run that errand he’s been too busy to tackle, call her at work just to compliment her – do something thoughtful.

3. Ask “What Can I Do to Make Your Day Better?”

When you live with someone, it’s easy to assume that you know what he/she needs. You cross off all of the daily to-dos, pay the bills, and take care of chores, what more could your spouse need? While you are probably handling the major day-to-day responsibilities, there’s always more that can be done. Asking this simple question shows that you are willing and open to do a little extra to make his/her day easier.

4. Be Polite

Saying please and thank you is a common nicety that we often extend to strangers, acquaintances and coworkers. We hold doors open, quickly apologize for mistakes and maintain friendly body language and tone during communication. If we do all this for the people outside of our houses, why do we suddenly deem them unnecessary inside our homes? Your spouse deserves to be addressed the utmost courtesy. Never let the behavior you display for strangers to outshine the behavior your display with your spouse.

5. Touch Often

Small touches throughout the day are a form of intimacy, bonding, and attachment. At home, in public, in the car – touch your spouse. The goal is to stay connected. Hold hands, hug, sit closely, cuddle, and kiss. Touch is a perfect way to keep the romance alive.

6. Be Spontaneous

Marriage can fall victim to the comfort of routine. Keep things fresh by being spontaneous every now and again. Try a spur of the moment vacation, a date in a different city, or unexpected surprise. Your partner will love that you put thought into doing something new.

7. Find a Common Interest

For long-term couples, time apart is a vital element of a healthy relationship, but you don’t want to create too much separation. Investing time in a common interest is a fun way to stay united. Make a list of all the things you mutually enjoy, then try to find a class, club, or group that is centered around that hobby.

8. Create Traditions

Strengthen bonds by creating family traditions that celebrate the uniqueness of your union. Pick an annual custom that you’ll be able to maintain throughout the years. As your family grows, you’ll be able to share them with your children, who will go on to teach them to their own future generations. If you don’t know where to start, consider holiday traditions, sport rituals, or yearly vacations.

Countless threads of commitment hold happy marriages together. Committing to seek marriage advice, and put it into action, is one way to do your part in strengthening your union. When you make small deliberate choices to put your spouse and your marriage first, you are investing in the success of your future. Start by personalizing these 8 tips to fit the needs of your relationship.

Dean and Marcie WhalenEight Habits of Happily Married Couples To Emulate
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How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Whether you’re a picky eater in search of ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, or you have a child who perpetually leaves “the healthy stuff” on his plate, I’m here to help. There are plenty of creative techniques that will assist you in your efforts in meeting your nutritional needs, without feeling like you are forcing yourself to eat things that you dislike. Keep reading for a few easy tips.

Purée or dice them

Mashing, processing, or blending a cooked fruit or vegetable, create a purée.
Traditionally, the skin and seeds will be removed and liquid will be added, to create a smoother end result. You can purée an array of foods such as carrots, beets, bananas, and blueberries; the possibilities are endless. Fruits and veggies can even be combined to double the benefit. Purées can be used as a base for soups, smoothies, and sauces. Depending on your choice of ingredient, purées can also add fun and vivid color to foods, which increases their visual appeal to children. A win-win.

Dicing means cutting into small chunks. Diced vegetables add color, flavor, and important vitamins to dishes. Many recipes like salads, pasta sauces or egg rolls already include diced vegetables, but they can be added to other foods as well. Below are a few examples:

· Scrambled eggs with diced asparagus, red bell peppers, and onions
· Rice/quinoa with diced mushrooms and broccoli
· Flaked tuna with diced carrots, celery, and grapes

If dicing is too difficult (raw carrots are hard to dice) try using a peeler or food processor to make the process a bit easier.

Make fruits and vegetables look like other tasty foods.

Popular foods like fries, chips, pasta and ice cream can be elevated to fit into a healthy lifestyle. Simply replacing the core ingredients with nutrient dense foods can make all the difference.

Here are a few substitutions that will leave your whole family wanting more:

Fries
· Zucchini fries
· Carrot fries
· Beet fries
· Apple fries

Chips
· Kale chips
· Banana chips
· Apple chips
· Eggplant chips

Pasta (*use a spiralizer)
· Spaghetti squash
· Eggplant lasagna noodles
· *Carrot noodles
· *Zoodles (zucchini noodles)

Ice Cream
· Nicecream
(Blended frozen bananas are the base for “Nana Cream”. Nicecream can be combined with other fruits, purées, and flavors to increase the taste complexity)

· Fruit popsicles
(Purées, mixed with chopped fruits, can be frozen to create healthy popsicles)

· Yogurt popsicles
(Greek, dairy-free, or traditional yogurt, with added fruits, make a perfect frozen treat)

Pizza
· Cauliflower crust
(After pulverizing the cauliflower in a food processor, combine it with garlic, herbs, egg, and spices, then bake)

Bake them

Fruits have been baked into muffins, breads, and cakes for centuries, but did you know that vegetables could be included too? Most of us only have extensive experience with carrot cake, a fan favorite, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

A list of untraditional (vegetable based) baked goods:

· Zucchini bread
· Red beet pancakes
· Coconut butternut squash bread
· Chocolate avocado cake
· Spinach muffins
· Cauliflower bagel bites
· Chickpea peanut butter cookies

Fruits and vegetables are a vital part of sustaining any healthy diet. Each meal should contain at least one serving of a fruit or vegetable. Reaching that goal doesn’t have to be difficult. Be creative when preparing your food and use the tips above as a guide. Before you know it, you’ll have formed a habit of eating foods that are both delicious, and good for you.

Dean and Marcie WhalenHow to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
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