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The Gatecrashers…

As I think of Kate Spade, my mind goes to this poem that I wrote which can be found in my poetry book Unbridled.’ You can read Unbridled for free. 

 

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The Gatecrashers

Uninvited, they arrive. I smell them from miles away.

Their radar zeros into the crowd, they steal in to join the happy gang.

Their presence disturbs and stifles, like thieves, they are up to no good.

Planting themselves on both sides like guards, the silent battle of my mind begins.

My other self, the invisible one vacates in a hurry to watch them from the other side

‘Do they know your secrets?’ depression asks in its know-it-all voice.

‘I bet you wouldn’t be the belle of the ball if they knew,’ loneliness opines.

Lips crack a smile, false laughter rings in the room,

intelligent conversation over glasses of wine;

breezy kisses blown into the air of cheek sides,

troubles forgotten maybe till tomorrow or less;

We do know how to throw great parties,

our mannequin faces caked in powder

I count minutes before it’s alright to escape;

With depression and loneliness dogging each step I take,

making such ruckus as we jostle out of the room.

© 2018 Jacqueline

Mental illness and depression is no respecter of persons and knows no boundaries. It is a silent killer and fast becoming an epidemic. An insidious illness that robs the sufferer of so much. We must stop the stigma. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. We must keep talking and keep the channels of listening open. Please take care of yourself and each other.

#RIP Kate #How are you feeling? #It’s okay to ask for help

Mental Health Matters

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Times in Your Life To Consider Health Supplements

In an ideal world, you should be able to get all the nutrients and minerals that you need from the food that you consume on a daily basis. However, there may be times in your life that you need the boost which is provided by health supplements.

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Of course, you need to know more about the different options available. Just a few of the most common include fish oils, multivitamins, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. It is worth consulting with your doctor about the benefits of these various substances to you. So, here are a few of the most common times in your life when it may be appropriate to take health supplements.

When You Have Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies

If you have had a blood test which shows that you have deficiencies in certain vitamins or minerals, you may want to take supplements as a way of correcting this imbalance. Your doctor will be able to advise you as to which ones are appropriate for your particular deficiency or deficiencies.

When You Have Dietary Restrictions

Whether you have dietary restrictions which are caused by your health or a lifestyle choice such as veganism, you may not be getting some of the minerals and vitamins that you require. The supplements which you take may be able to fill in the gaps and help to give you the greater sense of balance that you are looking for.

When You Are Pregnant

There are plenty of nutrients out there which have shown to play a major part in preventing birth defects and promoting the health of your baby. Your obstetrician is best-placed to give you direct advice about pre-pregnancy and pregnancy supplements which can play a useful role in the healthy development of your baby.

When You Are Getting Older

As we age, our calorie requirements adjust and the amount that you eat can start to decrease. When this happens, you may end up getting fewer vitamins and minerals in your diet. Once again, this is where health supplements can play a role in picking up the slack.

When You Take Medications Which Lead to Deficiencies

There are all sorts of medications out there which can end up leading to mineral and vitamin deficiencies. You can even end up being unable to absorb a range of essential nutrients. The best course of action is to work with your health professionals who will help you to select the right supplements for you.

When you are deciding on which supplements to take, you also need to consider what other food you are eating which are a source of that particular vitamin or mineral. You don’t want to risk exceeding your maximum intake levels as this can end up having the opposite impact on the one that you were intending. As we have mentioned a couple of times in this article, you are always better off consulting with your doctor if you are at all unsure.

This is a collaborative post.

What Your Health Really Needs, When It Really Needs It

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When it comes to our health levels, you’re always going to find that you need to focus on different things. Because there’s no one size fits all approach to your health levels. Of course, there are key recommendations that are going to help you to stay fit and feel your best, but as you go through life you’re likely to find that your needs change. And when your needs change, you have to tweak your approach to health a little. Whether we’re talking about growing children (such as your own) or old age (whether that’s yours or your parents’), everyone will need to take a different approach to health. But how do you know what your body needs?

Most of the time, it will be telling you. And while you may not be all that in-tune with yourself yet, you will be. Before long, you’ll recognize the signs and what your body is trying to tell you about what it needs the most. But until then, we’re going to break down what some of them might be. Because during different phases of your life, your body will want and need different things. So let’s take a look at what you need to know to help your health during them.

To Feel Good

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First of all, we’re going to talk over the things that your body needs right now in order to feel its best. And yes, we’re kicking off with some of the most simple, but also the most effective, tips.

Water

First of all, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re drinking enough water. This is the secret to feeling good. And yes, it’s really that simple. When you drink more water, your body will be energized and able to work at its best. Your digestion will improve, your skin will clear up, and your brain will function better – all because you started to hydrate your body better. So whenever your body doesn’t feel its best, load up on water!

Fuel

Alongside water, you have to fuel your body. Yes, it’s nice to be able to eat for taste or enjoy certain foods because they’re comforting, but when you want to feel good, you need to focus on foods that fuel. Things like salmon, walnuts, and eggs are great for you. Start to research different foods and see what will benefit your body the most.

Sleep

And sleep is the secret. There’s nothing else that can really beat the benefits your body will get from a good night’s sleep. You’ll find more details at SleepFoundation.org on why our bodies need sleep, but above all else, you heal. When you’re tired or achy, your body is going to work on repairing itself when you sleep. So make sure that you’re getting a solid seven to nine hours each night, just to ensure that your body can feel its best.

To Look Good

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And yes, of course, we all want to look our best. But we don’t always associate health with beauty – when the two go hand in hand. So if you want to start looking your best as well as feeling it, here’s what you need to focus on.

Your Diet

We’ve already talked about the foods your body needs to feel good, but you also need to realize that what you eat is reflected in your body too. You are what you eat! So if you want to look good as well as feel it, you need to focus on the foods that will help you to do that. And we’re not necessarily talking about weight loss (although this can help you if your weight is at an unhealthy level), but the foods that will improve your skin, give you healthy hair and generally help your health. So start to look into nutrition and what you need to be eating to look your best.

An Exercise Program

Again, we all tend to look to exercise as something we do to lose weight. But it’s so much more than that. When you exercise, you get your blood flowing, your skin glows, your circulation improves, and yes you do tone your muscle and lose fat too. But with the right exercise program, you will start to look your best.

Avoiding Stress

Stress is an incredibly dangerous toxin that will always show in your skin, your digestion, and even your mental health too. So if you’re serious about looking good, you need to work on keeping your stress levels as low as possible.

During Pregnancy

Taking Care of yourself during pregnancy

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It’s vital that you work to have a healthy pregnancy. While you may feel as if there isn’t a lot you can do to influence the success of your pregnancy and the health of your baby, there’s so much!

Nourish Your Body

During pregnancy, you really need to focus on nourishing your body and helping your little one grow. There are lots of great foods to eat when you’re pregnant and this list on HealthLine.com details most of them. When you load up on things like dairy, leafy greens, and berries, you’ll be doing what you can to boost your health.

Keep Active

Staying active as much as possible if going to help you to keep your body healthy during pregnancy – it can also aid with your labour too. If you don’t exercise regularly, then you don’t have to go to crazy with this, but things like gentle walks, doing your housework, and even gardening can help. If you don’t stay active, you may find it harder to stay mobile during the later stages.

Listen To Your Body

Above all else, you need to listen to your body. Rest when you feel tired, eat when you’re lacking in energy, and laugh when you’re feeling a bit stressed out. You’ll know what your body needs, when you need it, so do what you can to really be in tune with yourself.

As You Age

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As you start to get older, your body also has different needs. And you have to take a lot of care. These tips can also be useful for your ageing parents too.

Looking After Your Joints

The number one area that you’ll want to take care of as you start to age (and even well before that) is your bones and joints! You’ll want to keep them mobile and ease an onset of arthritis that could be coming your way. Things like joint supplements and products which you’ll find more at ArthritisHope.com on that can help. By looking after your joints as much as possible, you should find that you can stay mobile as you age.

Taking Care Of Your Skin

Next, you need to think about taking care of your skin that little bit more. Because when you are, you see the visible signs on your skin. Make sure that you’re avoiding too much sun exposure, that you’re wearing SPF, and that you’re taking care of your skin with the right beauty regimen too.

Keeping Your Brain Active

And finally, you’ll also want to make sure that you keep your mind active as you age too. It’s so easy to believe that as you get older, it’s just natural for your mind to get a little bit rusty (along with your body). But that’s really not the case. Our minds and bodies only become less active because we use them less. So keep reading, write, do puzzles, learn more, try new things, and just generally look to make the most of your mind to keep it strong and healthy.

To Grow

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Now, this final point is aimed mainly at your kids. But it’s safe to assume that you won’t want all of these tips and tricks for yourself. So let’s take a look at the primary health needs of your small children.

Vitamins

Children have different nutritional needs to us. They need so many more vitamins and nutrients in order for their bodies to grow and their minds to develop. So make sure that you’re looking to feed them a mix of lean meats and proteins, leafy greens and vegetables, and whole grains. Also add in a good all-round vitamin supplement, just to make sure that their levels stay topped up.

Energy

It’s easy to think that children just have endless amounts of energy, and it probably seems that way, but you will need to nurture it. Along with a healthy diet that will help to fuel their bodies (which will be very similar to your own), you’ll want to make sure that they’re doing activities and classes that will push them to workout out and exercise. Lots of different sports will be great for this.

A Healthy Mindset

And finally, above all else, you’re going to want to make sure that you encourage a healthy growth mindset in your children. We all want to raise happy and healthy children, but it’s so easy to just think that their minds will develop themselves, or that you don’t need to do anything else to nurture them. But focusing on a positive and healthy mindset will allow them to grow into healthy adults.

Putting The “Light” In “Twilight Years” – What We All Really Need In Old Age

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Old age, it’s one of those things that we consider to be so far ahead in time that we don’t need to worry about it. But old age creeps up on us sooner or later, whether it’s planning for retirement by starting up a pension in your 20s or 30s, or we have a moment in life that makes us realize how fallible we are. Preparing for old age is something we can all do, regardless of how are young we are, and what are the best ways to do this?

Financial Security

Not just the aforementioned pension, but if you live in places where you need to pay for your medical treatment, it is essential for you to start a pension pot as well as a medical fund pot as soon as possible. While there are many organizations that can help with regards to medical payment, such as GoMedigap, – that helps pensioners with Medicare costs – you can find out more from GoMedigap.com, but it’s your prerogative to start preparing for your twilight years in the financial sense. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people in their old age struggling to pay bills, or living without the essentials in life, and this appears to be the way of the world currently. So it’s in your best interests to start preparing for a more enjoyable later period in life.

Looking After Our Mind

It looks like there are more cases of Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline than ever before. And you might have seen relatives succumb to Dementia, and how upsetting it is for the caregivers.

Looking after our brain isn’t a difficult task. The trick is, much like physical exercise, we need to be doing enough to stimulate our brain muscle so it can grow. Essentially, this is all about doing stuff that you find challenging. And while it may sound like you’re going back to school, do things that are stimulating, but stuff you enjoy.

This could be playing more computer games, as they have been shown to have a positive impact on brain development, or it could be something as simple as having a strong coffee while playing Sudoku. Caffeine has been shown to have a positive impact on the brain, and Sudoku is one of those complicated puzzles that you can do anywhere. If you’ve always wanted to learn a language or an instrument, these are options too. But we all seem to think that our brains get worse as we get older, this is not the case!

Learning About What Makes Us Happy

In old age, we can all start to feel somewhat isolated, especially as people our own age starting to pass away, and you might not feel that people aren’t listening to you anymore. It’s important for us to know what makes us happy. It’s not just beneficial to us in old age, but it’s beneficial to us in life. We can spend our whole lives not knowing what really makes us happy because we focus more on other people. Your happiness is paramount to ageing, but it’s also important to how you live your life.

And of course, making sure that you appreciate life, by getting out regularly into nature, is something simple that we can all benefit from. There’s an article on TheGuardian.com explaining more on why we need to get out into nature. Not only is it beneficial for our minds and bodies, it helps us gain a perspective on what really matters in life. This, ultimately, is what will help us keep a sense of perspective as we get older.

This is a collaborative post.

4 Things That Are Messing Up Your Immune System

Energy is one of those things that we are constantly chasing after in life. We need energy to concentrate at work. We need energy to keep up with the kids. We need energy to keep our relationships and love life healthy. Energy is what keeps us moving and if you’re feeling constantly tired and sluggish, then it’s important to know how you can replenish your energy and get those levels soaring back to their best. Before you can understand how you can boost your energy and repair any cracks in your immune system, you need to understand that our energy levels are not something that is passive. The choices that you make from food choices to hours you choose to sleep have a direct effect on your energy levels. Those social media buffs that are constantly perky and peachy? They’re likely living a life that ensures that they have bags of energy to work with. And you? When you’re feeling tired, sluggish and can barely function, that depletion is a direct result of your own choices.

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Of course, there are times in life that the reason for our depleted energy levels isn’t a choice. Chronic illness, stress and depression all contribute to low energy levels, and it can be very hard to boost your energy levels when your immune system is being attacked. Medications can drain your energy and when your body is fighting as hard as possible against an illness or infection, it’s companies like https://www.herabiolabs.com that are going to be the rescuers rather than a concoction of ginger and cayenne pepper. Science is currently developing in leaps and bounds when it comes to medication and understanding the diseases that hit us, compromising our immune systems and making us feel weak. In the meantime, though, we need to do everything possible to work on our bodies and our health, so that even when illness does inevitable hit we can be ready to fight it. We have the choice to create the energy that we live with; whether that is low or high. If you can feel yourself flagging, ask yourself whether you are ready to fight for your body to work in the right way. It doesn’t take much; a few changes a day could change your life in a good way. Below, you can find some ways you are draining your own energy levels and how you can get your energy levels at their best again.

Stress. Earlier on, I mentioned stress as a reason that we can feel low in energy. When our mental activity is at a height – ie, when stressed and overthinking things – it can be very difficult to pull it back. It can take an awful lot of energy for your brain to comprehend what’s going on. Long periods where we feel stressed can leave us very fatigued and bogged down, and this is all created with brain power. It’s called burn out, and those who have suffered it before will know exactly how draining it is to deal with. The first thing to do when you’re feeling sick, tired and run down, is to work out whether your thoughts are running away with you – literally.

Communication. For the most part, communication is a good thing. Talking to people that we love about how we feel can never really be a bad thing, can it? However, in this world of hyped technology and constant need to talk to people and check social media, you are draining your batteries faster than an iPhone. Sometimes, taking a step back and quite literally switching off our modes of communication can make a massive difference to the way that we feel. Blue light technology has an awful lot to answer for, and it’s important for you to put down the phone and the tablet and look at the world around you for a moment. Recharge your batteries to be able to work at the maximum efficiency available.

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Saying ‘Yes’. Are you a ‘yes man’? A yes man is someone who will say yes to everything. Overtime? Yes. Extra work? Yes. Extra time at the gym to get fit? Yes. Sometimes, saying yes is not a good thing. Being a people pleaser can drain your energy as fast as that ‘yes’ escaping your lips. It’s lovely to want to help everyone, but it’s also exhausting, and it can do you no favours to say yes to everyone around you. You need to remember that you have needs and you need to come first, sometimes. The last thing you need to know here is that it’s absolutely fine to say NO once in a while. If people get offended by that, you need to breeze on by and ignore it; you are important, and you should be remembering that you come first.

Sleep. Those who lack energy often find themselves unable to sleep, as well. Sleep replenishes those stores, much like a SIMS character; when the bar is empty, you cannot function. A lot of people nowadays struggle to get more than a few hours of sleep every night, but it’s so important for your basic functions. Sleep helps your brain to work through the day to day stresses and issues that you are battling against. Without it, you cannot work your issues through and they weight in your mind the next day. It’s a nasty cycle of stressful thoughts and lack of sleep and low energy. The way out of it? Any of these natural sleep remedies can help you to switch off and refresh.

There are literally hundreds of things that you can do to boost your immune system, but ultimately it’s going to come down to the choices that you want to make to make yourself feel good again. You matter and if you want to move forward in life feeling whole and healthy, your energy levels have got to matter to you, too. Take the time to fix them, before all you’re doing is not fixing them.

Foods For Brain Health And How To Use Them.

When it comes to nutrition, most of us think in terms of our bodies. We think about the food we can eat to relieve digestive discomfort or the meals we can plan that can help to manage our weight.

However, it’s worth spending a little time thinking about just how much the foods we eat can influence. As well as our weight and our physical health, the foods we choose to enjoy have a direct correlation with the health of our brains. When it comes to managing your mental health and overall wellbeing, adding foods that have been proven to be beneficial to brain health could be extremely beneficial.

Want to give it a try? Below, you’ll find a list of foods that have long been associated with improved brain health, as well as some helpful tips on how to incorporate these grey-matter-friendly foods into your existing diet…

#1 – Avocado

Avocados have been riding high on the list of common food trends for a few years now, but there’s a good reason for that: avocados are incredibly good for you. They are rich in essential fats and fatty acids so anyone interested in boosting their brain health will want to incorporate avocados into their diet.

If you’re new to avocados, why not give the recipe below a try? It’s a classic avocado dish — avocado on toast — but with a special twist.

#2 – Kale

As with avocados, kale has become the go-to “superfood” for the past few years. And, as with avocados, the reason for the popularity of kale is genuine. Kale is rich in a number of vitamins and minerals vital for brain health, but there’s just one downside… it’s not the most appetizing of foods, is it?

If you’ve previously shied away from kale due to dislike for its rather strong taste, perhaps these crispy kale chips could be just what you need to change your mind.

#3 – Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is chocolate that is comprised of at least 70% cocoa and, ideally, that number will be closer to 100%. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which can be hugely beneficial to brain health.

If you’re looking for a brain health boost that actually tastes good too, then the dark chocolate recipe below is sure to delight you…

It’s worth noting that for those who have previously primarily eaten milk chocolate, eating dark chocolate can be something of a shock at first. However, when you’ve adjusted, you’ll come to love the crisp, bitter taste and enhanced health that eating dark chocolate affords you.

#4 – Eggs

Eggs may just be the original superfood. They’re inexpensive to buy; rich in a wide variety of essential nutrients, and there are a thousand different ways they can be used in cooking. If you’re looking to cultivate a health-friendly diet, then eggs will certainly have their role to play. As one might expect, eggs — and particularly their high protein content — have been linked with improved brain health, so they definitely qualify for a place on this list.

Given the plethora of different ways that eggs can be cooked, finding an interesting recipe idea to include was tough… but we think this classic Spanish omelet recipe is a choice that will delight everyone. Omelets are a fantastic choice when you’re in need of a quick and healthy meal, and the extra vegetables used in this recipe help to provide an extra health and taste boost.

#5 – Coconut oil

Coconut oil has long been associated with mental and cognitive health; it has even been suggested as a potential remedy for those who have been diagnosed with dementia. Given the prevalence of dementia in society, the need for specialist nursing, and the impact the condition can have on lives, this is a tantalizing thought, but sadly, one that is without scientific proof at this point in time.

However, while the jury is out on the benefits of coconut oil for dementia specifically, coconut oil does have all the markers of being beneficial for brain health in general. Coconut oil is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been linked to enhanced brain health and memory function.

If you want to give coconut oil a try, then introducing it into your diet is relatively simple. Coconut oil can be used as a substitute for butter, olive oil, and even eggs in some recipes. So we’re not going to suggest a specific recipe because most recipes can easily be adapted to accommodate coconut oil— instead, we thought it might be fun to look at the possibility of making your own coconut oil:

Do you think you might be tempted to give it a try?

#6 – Beetroot

Yes, humble beetroot has a huge role to play in human health. The nutritional profile of beetroot is full of vital nutrients, with manganese, B vitamins, fibre, and potassium all found in abundance. As a result of such a stellar showing in the nutrient stakes, it should come as no surprise that beetroot has also been linked with increased brain health.

Incorporating beetroot into your diet is incredibly simple. Beetroot can be added to sandwiches, pasta dishes, omelettes, and any other dish in need of a bit of a kick. However, health-wise, arguably the best way to get its benefits is to opt for beetroot juice. You can buy this surprisingly-tasty juice in stores, but it tends to be expensive; if you have a juicer, then you should have no problem making your own.

In conclusion

The food that we eat doesn’t just impact our physical health; it has a huge role to play in our mental and cognitive health also. By incorporating the foods above into your diet, you can be sure that your eating habits are providing health benefits and support where it’s needed most.

Coach Yourself Back To Full Health

The list of things that you could be doing to damage your own health could go on forever. Some things you know you’ll be doing wrong, but you’ll actively be ignoring. Others you’ll be blissfully unaware of. We’re so bad at damaging our own health because we believe we’re young, unbreakable and that nothing we do is going to damage our health as long as we give it all a rest as we start to really age. All of this is wrong, the earlier you start coaching yourself back to full health, the sooner you’re going to feel like a completely new person. Follow our life coaching advice below and you’ll be reborn in no time.

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Cutting Out Serious Habits

We might as well start with the serious things first. The sooner you cut out the things that might seriously be damaging your health, the better you’re going to feel within most likely a few weeks. So, one of the main ways both Americans and Brits are damaging their health is through alcohol consumption. One little tipple a night soon turns into two, two turns into a heavy drink at the weekend, and before you know it you’ve got a problem that you don’t like to talk about. One thing you could consider is a rehab facility. You don’t necessarily need to be fully addicted to alcohol, we’re talking having a drink in the office to get you through the day. It could just be an evening problem that you believe is getting out of control. Just a week or two away can change your whole life. Another serious issue that a lot of people suffer from is smoking, and it is highly addictive. The best thing you can do here is to purchase an E-cig pen. They’re the best way to cut out the majority of harmful chemicals from cigarettes that you’ll be putting into your system.

Finding Your Health Plan

This is essential. You should have a plan for pretty much everything in life, but none more so than with your health. Having a plan gives you something to stick to, therefore making more long-term results possible. So do a bit of research and find out what plan might work for you. If we’re talking diet, you want to ease yourself into it. Start with dieting for a few days a week, the increase it by a day until you’re ready to tackle it full time. As for exercise, you can follow the same sort of principle. Light exercise once or twice a week, then increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of your workouts.

Sticking To The Changes

The last thing you want to do is to relapse and fall back into your old ways. So, the best thing we can advise is to make sure you’re reminding yourself of why you started to coach yourself back to full health in the first place. Pinpoint the exact moment that you said enough is enough, and keep that in the front of your mind.