Six Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

If you are thinking about the holidays right now and frowning, smooth your face, square your shoulders and take a cleansing breath. A little positive thinking can go a long way in helping you to enjoy the holidays this year instead of agonizing over all the little details. These 6 tips for a stress-free holiday season will start you off on the right foot.

1. Plan ahead. Print out return address labels for cards (I’m really doing it this year – bad hand cramping), update your address book, make room in your front hall closet for guest coats instead of piling them on a bed like usual, and prepare guest rooms ahead of time. Tackling a few of these tasks before you get really busy can make a world of difference.

2. Rethink your gift giving. Cut down on the mad shopping rush and stress of finding exactly what everyone wants this year – consider giving experiences instead of material gifts, and maybe even implement The Four Gift Rule. My extreme-gift-giving mom is actually trying it this year. Thanks, Mom!

3. Keep things simple with food and d├ęcor. Stick to your favourite recipes instead of trying something complicated and new, and a simple homemade centrepiece is all you need on your table. Please don’t belittle yourself for not having matching napkins and candleholders! Focus more on the family and friends you are gathering with rather than stressing over too many fussy preparations.

4. Have a few extra gifts on hand. A small stash of thoughtfully wrapped gifts is perfect for unannounced friends or last-minute invites. Choose items that have universal appeal and can be used by you and your family if they are still around come January. Think locally-made condiments, soy candles, handmade chocolates, wine and preserves.

5. Be choosy when it comes to events. This can be tough for social butterflies (my husband) and people who have trouble saying no (me). Only accept invitations to gatherings that are pertinent to the holiday and meaningful to your family. When planning your own event, keep it small and intimate with just a few close friends and relatives. We used to have a big Christmas open house but after a few years, we realized it was too chaotic as we spent most of our time greeting and seeing friends out, refilling glasses and snack bowls, and making sure little ones didn’t trash our house (even if they were adorable). Choose to host big parties at a different time of the year, when there is less going on and you are not so taxed.

6. Live in the now. As you trim the tree or make cookies with your kids, don’t forget to pause and really live in the moment. Don’t worry about what’s still on your to-do list (there’s always something), because before you know it the holiday will be over and you’ll be disappointed that you didn’t make the most of it. Also, carve out some time to do something just for you – take a walk, read your book, have a hot bath – it will go a long way in helping you to keep your sanity during the holidays.

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Living The True Weight Loss Lifestyle

For those that are trying to lose weight, they focus on rigorous workout routines and different diets is not their primary focus, but changing their lifestyle entirely. Stop counting calories and start changing your life as a whole.

Do you spend so much time working out at the gym that the receptionist knows you better than your housemates right now? Nonetheless, you have no success at weight loss no matter how hard you try.

Diets that are fads tend not to work out well, even through people tend to get on them frequently each year. Exercising will only make you lead a healthy life Multiple studies have revealed that the key to long-term weight loss is about lifestyle alterations. There are examples of people who have made changes, and then gone on to lose and keep off over 60 pounds of weight. Let’s take a look at how they succeeded.

One: Eat the right foods. The topic of calories is actually perfectly straight forward. It comes down to simple math. Eating more calories than what is required leads to increased weight. Still, you do not have to worry about calories if you make smart choices from the get go. Don’t eat portions that are too large and start to put lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and also fruits into what you eat each day.

2. Reasonable exercise. Nearly 90 percent of people who have lost significant weight changed their lifestyle by incorporating one hour of walking each day. This is what you should know. You do not have to buy fancy equipment or belong to a high-priced gym. Moderation is the key, consistency is the focus.

3. Quality Support System It is far easier to shed fat when you have positive influences around you at all times. If the people you are conversing and eating with have bad eating habits, the likelihood of you going down the same path increases.

4. Develop a good sleeping pattern. If you don’t get enough sleep, insulin production will fall. Your brain requires insulin to regulate your appetite. If you don’t get enough rest, you will certainly make poor decision as far as food choices are concerned. Insulin regulates your metabolism, so when you get proper sleep you also have the energy to stick to your daily exercise routine.

5. Keeping track of progress. The journal, believe it or not, is one of the most effective weight loss tools. By writing down the foods you eat and how much you worked out, you’ll have success. The process of documenting your progress helps you maintains a constant awareness of good and bad habits and is proof in black and white of what is working for you personally and what does not. This journal helps you pinpoint problem areas, such as snacking and eating on the weekends when you hang with people who are not as driven. In most cases, simply keeping consistent records (at least six days out of the week) is enough to increase the total amount of weight lost by as much as one hundred percent. Let your journal serve as a daily reminder of the things you should do and where you want to be in the future.

A change in lifestyle isn’t just about losing weight – it’s about living longer, happier, and better lives. Understand the efforts to change your lifestyle are worth the effort because once you lose that weight, you will keep it off. This the time you must get realistic with weight loss effort by changing your lifestyle since no other method will give you the required results.

Fermented Foods – Choose Beneficial

Many vegetables are grown in a fertile valley far away. Almost as soon as they are harvested, they are flash-frozen and transported on refrigerated trucks to a supermarket near you. You have a freezer at home, and the delivery of healthy nutritious vegetables from farm to consumer is completed easily. Refrigerated trucks keep fresh-picked vegetables viable long enough that your green grocer’s shelves remain well-stocked throughout the year.

Go back just a few decades, and you will find that this was not the case. Winter produced very sparsely populated shelves in the green grocery section of the market. Go back just a few more decades and you will discover that people had to find creative ways to sustain themselves through harsh winters and on long journeys. For thousands of years, people have fermented foods to preserve them for when supplies of fresh foods were not available.

The Romans preserved cabbages with salt, and Genghis Khan fed his armies fermented cabbage to sustain them on their campaigns through Europe. This use of preserved, fermented foods was a common practice for travelers as a source of nutrients. As late as World War I, allied forces relied on fermented cabbage, or sauerkraut as we now know it, to supply nutrients to soldiers on the battlefields of Europe.

The process of fermentation helps to preserve the food for use many months later. Fermentation also generates many health benefits for the consumer. The essential nutrients and vitamins are preserved. Sugars are broken down so they are more easily absorbed with far less insulin or allergy reaction, in the case of lactose intolerance to dairy products. The process also generates enzymes that are essential to supporting the digestion of foods that we eat. Finally, they are natural probiotics, jam-packed with beneficial microorganisms.

A healthy gut, supported by a strong population of beneficial bacteria, serves as a powerful booster for your immune system. The digestive tract is where nutrients are extracted from food and absorbed by the body. Enzyme and microbial activity accelerates digestion and generates enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants that are essential to health. They also protect us from pathogens and flush out toxins from our bodies.

You can find a variety of ready-to-use fermented products at your local supermarket. They include yoghurt, which is fermented milk (usually cow’s milk). The fermentation process breaks down the milk lactose to make it easier to digest and the yoghurt supplies billions of helpful bacteria. Be careful of brands with large amounts of sugar added, as that will create other problems. Another healthy fermented product from milk is kefir, a drink often found in the supermarket refrigerator.

Kombucha tea is another good source of enzymes and beneficial microbes. Kombucha is made from fermenting black tea. Other products you may find in the supermarket include kimchi, a Korean version of fermented cabbage and a mixture of other vegetables. Raw apple cider vinegar is also loaded with beneficial bacteria and has many different uses apart from supporting a healthy digestive system. You may find Japanese products like miso, and natto, both loaded with microbes and used in cooking soups, marinades and sauces.

If you feel adventurous, the processes for making your own fermented yoghurt, kefir, pickles and kimchi are relatively easy and they require no special equipment. Select healthy organic ingredients and you will be able to rely on the process for creating your own healthy, nutritious probiotic foods.

Find Loan Companies Near to You

It can happen to anyone, however good you are budgeting. You are getting close to payday and, suddenly, out of the blue, the car breaks down, the heating packs up, or you faced with another type of emergency expense that you just weren’t expecting.

The traditional way for people to deal with this situation was to look through the newspaper or phone directory to find the nearest loan company that would provide a short-term, small loan, but searching for the nearest local loan company severely restricts your choices and it often means that you will need to stand in line at a local loan store, which can be very embarrassing.

Fortunately, the internet has made finding loan providers much easier, but it can be very time-consuming and frustrating making inquiries at lots of different web sites and you also need to be aware that every enquiry you make could trigger a credit check, which could adversely affect your credit rating.

There are, however, free services available on the internet that many people are not aware of that make the search for a loan Company much easier.

These websites partner with a network of lenders, so they give you more choice than just going direct to a single loan company. You just simply complete an online application form with a few details about your earnings and employment and then the system will try to match your requirements with one or more of their lenders.

Leaders in these networks may do credit checks, but they don’t usually use the big credit agencies, so the check won’t affect your credit rating. They are usually a lot more flexible than the major banks are about things like lending to people who have less than perfect credit ratings.

Of course, as with all credit arrangements, you need to make sure that you read the terms and conditions properly and that you fully understand when the loan needs to be repaid and how much interest and charges will be levied, but you do get the opportunity to do that before you agree to accept the loan.

You also need to be aware that short-term loans, or payday loans as they are sometimes called, are only meant to be used to tide you over to your next pay-check. If you try to use them for long-term finance, or you keep rolling them over, they can get very expensive.

So, if you do need cash fast for an emergency bill, don’t panic, take your time, and look around for the best deal. You don’t have to go running straight to the nearest loan shop in your town, you can do a bit of research for free on the internet, in the privacy of your own home.

So long as you use them for the purpose they are intended, and you pay them back on time, short-term small loans are and affordable way to see you through a cash crisis. Just be sure to read the terms and conditions of any loan before you take it out.