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Self-Care

Below are the articles in the Self-Care category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.

Self-Care

Aging Well by Eating Well

How simple changes in your diet now can exert a major influence on how well you age into your golden years.

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Our health and how we age are not only dependent on our genes, exercise and a postivie attitude. Our diet is a major influence on how well we look and feel as we head for our golden years. Hippocrates said that food is our first medicine. It's also the fountain of youth! Simple changes in your diet now can make aging well all the more likely.

Before we get to diet, however, there is one vitamin (really a type of hormone) that most of us are deficient in but that is essential to good health. It's vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D3), and many longevity experts call it the miracle anti-aging vitamin.

A lack of D3 is thought to be a factor in many health problems, from increased cancer risk to inflammation to osteoporosis. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. But most of us don't get enough sun. Since our level of vitamin D decreases with age, and it is almost impossible to get through diet, most people take it in supplement form. Your doctor can arrange for a simple blood test that will determine your vitamin D3 level.

We also tend to become deficient in B vitamins, especially B6, as we age. This vitamin is one you can easily get through food. Choose chicken and other meats, and cod, salmon, halibut and tuna among fish. Vegetables such as bell peppers, spinach, yams, broccoli, potatoes with the skin on, asparagus, and green peas are also excellent sources of this essential vitamin. And snack of sunflower seeds, peanuts, cashews (but opt for the unsalted variety) to get a good dose of vitamin B6.

Aging Well: Make the Investment Now

Offers food for thought in creating the elements of a happy, healthy life in the “golden years.”

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Groucho Marx once said: “Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.”

Aging well, in contrast, is an entirely separate art that involves planning, getting clear on your own definition of the “good life” and self-care.

Making these investments in your life now can yield a life that continues to be satisfying, rich and active…well into your “golden years.”

Lifestyle

Say the word “retirement” and images pop up like post cards: hammocks, gardens, more time for hobbies, motor home at the Grand Canyon, spending more time with your family, finally seeing Paris. If you’re still in the planning stages for retirement, note that the key word here is “plan.”

A New Look at Selfishness

Modern culture prizes selflessness and abhors selfishness, in effect setting the two against each other. But do we really aspire to be without concern for ourselves?

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“The alternatives are either to love others, which is a virtue, or to love oneself, which is a sin,” wrote social scientist and philosopher Erich Fromm, in his essay titled “Selfishness and Self-Love.”

While no one would argue with considering others, it could be worthwhile to re-examine our beliefs around being selfish. Do we really aspire to be without concern for ourselves? Or is it important to value and love ourselves, to think for ourselves, to have a life of our own and to be able to love others without losing ourselves? How do we differentiate between valuing ourselves and egotistically indulging ourselves?

The answers lie in self-knowledge. When we undertake an inner journey and come to truly understand ourselves—the sacred and profane dimensions of our lives—we develop the capacity to deal honestly, thoughtfully and lovingly with ourselves, as well as other people.

An “Exercise” in Vitality: The Missing Ingredient in Vital, Vibrant Living

We all know the benefits of exercise. Why, then, do we resist doing it?

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What’s on the list of top 10 ways to reduce stress? Exercise.

One of the top 10 ways of relieving anxiety? Exercise.

Maintain good health? Exercise.

Relieve depression? Build self-esteem? Improve self-image and confidence? Reduce tension? Improve mental sharpness and alertness? Increase immunity to certain diseases and health risks? Lose weight? Improve the quality of sleep? Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.

With a list like this, one might ask if there is any aspect of human life that isn’t helped by regular exercise. Not according to physical and mental health experts. Anyone and everyone who is concerned with health and well-being agrees: Physical activity is a vital component for optimum physical and emotional health. Regular exercise is the key to increasing the quality of life. Being active improves body, mind, and spirit.

Are You Taking Good Care of Yourself?

The busier we are, the more vital it is to take care of ourselves. How well are you doing in that?

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With our busy lives, taking care of ourselves is more important than ever—yet it’s often the last thing on our minds. We have to meet that deadline, use any break time to run errands, accomplish all the items on our list. We all know the negative impact on our health that stress can have—even positive stress such as that caused by a promotion. Take this Self-Quiz to see how well you are taking care of yourself.

1. I ask for help and support. When I feel I need help, I ask for it from a friend, counselor, coach, or colleague.

2. I let go of the way things used to be. I accept the way things are.

3. Every day I do something physical even if it’s just a walk around the block or a 15-minute workout.

Changing Relationships: Caring for Yourself While Caring for Your Aging Parents

Finding time for self-care is even more challenging and necessary for the growing “sandwich” generation.

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With people living longer than ever before, more and more individuals find themselves sandwiched between caring for their children and caring for their aging parents.

Coping with our fast-paced, always-connected world is stressful enough, but when you add double or triple the family responsibilities, well, it quickly gets overwhelming.

You’re probably losing time and energy worrying about things that aren’t getting done or things you have to do next. You may not realize just how much physical and mental stress you are under, or how much that has been sapping your effectiveness at work and at home. Guilt may be a constant companion. While you take care of your parents, you may feel that you’re not doing enough for your children, and vice versa.

Claiming the Empty Spaces: The Importance of Idle Time in a Fast-Forward World

Discusses the importance of idle time and offers strategies for carving it out—and protecting it.

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If you’re like many of us today, the thought of doing absolutely nothing for an entire hour seems as wasteful as throwing a week’s worth of groceries out with the garbage. Indeed, free time with nothing to do can generate near panic among some of us who are overloaded and time-starved.

“We seem to have a complex about busyness in our culture,” says Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul. “Most of us do have time in our days that we could devote to simple relaxation, but we convince ourselves that we don’t.”

And yet, the harder we push, the more we need to replenish ourselves. As Stephan Rechtschaffen, author of Timeshifting, says, “Each of us needs some time that is strictly and entirely our own, and we should experience it daily.”

The importance of this downtime cannot be overstated. We see more clearly, we hear more keenly, we’re more inspired, we discover what makes us feel alive.

Do You Give It All Away?

Quiz assesses and raises awareness about whether one gives away too much time, energy and/or money.

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Most of us have been taught that it is more noble to give than to receive. While giving can be a wonderful, heart-warming experience, giving too much of our time and energy can be detrimental to both our physical and emotional health, leading to anxiety, overwhelm and burnout. Take this quiz to see if you are giving it all away.

1. I force myself to do things even when I don’t have the energy to do them.

2. I ignore my body’s “no” signals when I think someone’s needs are greater than mine.

3. I hate conflict, so I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid it, which often means doing something I don’t want to do.

Go, Go, Go...on a Break. It's Important!

Three practices for taking a break from a hectic and over-scheduled life help you renew, recharge and refresh—and why it's critically important.

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In today's "go, go, go" society, we idealize the pink Energizer Bunny® that beats his drum non-stop. As the battery commercial says, "He keeps going and going and..."

And so do we.

We work long hours, days and weeks without a break. Some employees don't even take advantage of their entire vacation time. Then we pack our non-work hours with more activities.

But taking breaks—whether for a short walk or a long vacation—helps you avoid burnout, improve mental health and reduce the likelihood of stress-related illnesses that sometimes accompanies the "don't stop 'til you drop" attitude. Breaks encourage the discovery of fresh perspectives and new ideas. They are a delicious reward for hard work, a pause that reinvigorates.

If you feel overwhelmed, depleted or under-energized, chances are it's time for you to take a break. These three practices help you renew, recharge and refresh:

Get up and walk or stretch. If you spend most of your day at a computer or stuck in one place, get up and move around for a few minutes several times a day. Try to stretch. Experts continually caution that sedentary people are at increased risk of developing health issues, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

How to Have it All

Having it all is about creating a healthy work/life balance. This article affers ways to bring that about.

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Ask someone if he or she wants to "have it all" and the likely response would be a resounding, "Yes."

But what does it really mean to "have it all"?

It could be argued that having it all means striking a healthy balance between work and life.

That's challenging during tough economic times when many people feel the need to put in more hours at work in order to retain their job or keep a business afloat. More hours spent working means there is less time available to spend on hobbies or leisure. This puts work/life out of balance.

Also, there was a time when the lines drawn between work-life and home-life were obvious. Among other factors, technologies that facilitate always being "on the clock" have blurred those boundaries and made it more challenging to keep a healthy work/life balance.

How Well Do You Care for Yourself During Difficult Times?

A quiz that explores your self-care during hard times, when we need it most.

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We all go through challenging times at various points in life—whether it’s a health crisis, the end of a relationship, job loss, financial difficulties or the death of a loved one. To cope with such difficult times, self-care is vital but, too often, we are hard on ourselves instead.

Answer these true/false questions to discover how well you support yourself during difficult times.

True or False?

Set 1

1.Although it doesn’t really help, when I’m facing something difficult, I often self-soothe by over-indulging in food and alcohol.

2.During tough times, I get caught up in “putting out fires,” and self-care goes out the window.

3.It’s easy for me to mentally spin out of control with worry and worst-case scenario thinking.

Is Not Getting Enough Sleep Getting In Your Way?

This quiz explores the symptoms, including lesser known ones, of not getting enough sleep and the effect that has on one’s life.

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Quality sleep is as important to our health as food and water. Yet, we often cut back on sleep in favor of “getting more done.” Chronic lack of sleep can cause a wide range of symptoms, including impaired brain function, memory loss, depression, weight gain and irritability. Long-term health issues include increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Answer the following true/false questions to discover whether lack of sleep is getting in your way:

1. Instead of feeling refreshed when I wake up, I still feel tired.

2. I have to have coffee to get going in the morning and often depend upon other caffeine or sugar boosts to get through the day.

3. I feel easily irritated, impatient and/or moody, and my relationships are being affected.

Keeping the "Healthy" in Food

Practical tips to ensure that the food you eat is as chock full as possible of healthy enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

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Crisp carrots and asparagus. Glistening tomatoes. Firm potatoes. You know fresh food when you see it—and when you taste it. So how can you best ensure that as you store and cook your food it retains the highest nutritional value? Well, it depends on who you talk to. Experts don't always agree. However, there are some general rules of thumb that will ensure that the food you eat is as chock full as possible of all those healthy enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

Eat your food soon after you buy it. Most of us store our food too long, especially if we buy large quantities at those low-cost bulk food stores. But time, light, heat and air are enemies of nutrients. Just the process of transporting food from the farm to your local grocery store—which can vary from days to weeks—has already reduced some of the nutritional value of those foods. So the top tip is to buy small quantities of fresh food locally (especially from your local farmer's market), use it soon after purchase, and then replenish your stock as you need it.

Store food properly. In general, when properly stored, fresh vegetables and fruit "last" for about one to two weeks without losing too much of their nutritional value. Veggies are best kept in the refrigerator in airtight containers. Some kinds of vegetables can last longer than a week or two. For example, peppers, squash, celery and green beans can last up to a month. Root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips and radishes will keep up to eight weeks. Beets and sweet potatoes for up to ten weeks. Fruits, once they are ripe, are best kept out of the sun, in a cool spot with less light.

Maintaining Balance Is an Inside and Outside Job

Trying to maintain balance in life can make one feel like a tightrope walker, working without a net while the crowd below holds their breath in anticipation of a slip. Thankfully, there’s hope.

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These days almost all of us have so many demands placed on our time and energy, life can feel like a three-ring circus. And if you’re not up there on the tightrope, you’re down on the ground in the midst of tigers and lions, in charge of keeping a couple of dozen plates spinning in air.

Maintaining balance isn’t easy. It requires holding steady with the many responsibilities that are a normal and everyday part of life: home, family, friends and work, while at the same time recognizing and fulfilling personal needs and wants. Finding and maintaining balance when life can be so complicated and demanding is both an inside and outside job.

Inside—Only you can take care of yourself.

Consider how well you take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. Do you eat healthfully and exercise regularly? Do you get check-ups and take preventative precautions? Do you set aside personal, quiet time for yourself? Do you make time to enjoy nature and art, filling yourself up again and again?

Making Sleep a Priority

Not getting enough sleep impacts our mental and physical health more than we thought. Learn some DOs and DON’Ts that will help you sleep better.

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Over the last half a century, we have shaved off an average of two (precious) hours of sleep a night. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll this year, 40 percent of adults say they get less than seven hours of sleep on a weeknight, compared with the seven to nine hours that are recommended.

Of course, most of us know this. We burn the midnight oil, we get up way before the kids just to get things done. Our days are go, go, go! And it’s often hard to stay asleep once we get there.

And while most of us know that too little sleep makes us cranky, less focused and less available to those who need us, did you know this?

•Bodies deprived of sleep produce less leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone; this increases our craving for sweets and salty carbohydrates.

•Shortened sleep produces metabolic changes. These may lead to diabetes or may alter the nervous system in a way that could contribute to high blood pressure and heart-rhythm irregularities.

Music: A Soothing Balm for Stress

The astonishing benefits of music and its important role in stress relief and bringing balance to mind, body and spirit.

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Most people have experienced the relaxing effect of music—from the soft strains of a flute playing in the background during a massage, to tuning out the world with your headphones during a grueling commute on public transit.

With hectic schedules, busy families, financial pressures and life's many complications, stress can permeate every aspect of daily living. Whether you're experiencing more persistent stress or just looking to enjoy the many health benefits of increased relaxation, music can play an important role. It has the power to engage the body, mind and spirit and carry you into a more relaxed state.

The Mind

Listening to music may evoke memories, images or scenes. This is how music soundtracks help "tell" the story of a movie. We can all intentionally create soundtracks for our lives, and music therapist Jennifer Buchanan guides us in doing just that in her book, Tune In: Use Music Intentionally to Curb Stress, Boost Morale and Restore Health.

Overwhelm-Busting Strategies

Employ these intervention techniques when overwhelm starts to descend.

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Symptoms of overwhelm can be physical (nail biting, clumsiness, neck ache); psychological (forgetfulness, rudeness, defensiveness); social (poor hygiene, inadequate boundaries); or spiritual (loss of sense of purpose, unsure of what’s important).

Its triggers are just as individual: a deadline, a certain tone of voice, change.

Noticing these symptoms and triggers is like setting off the two-minute warning buzzer—giving you time to implement your intervention techniques.

The Strategies

Write down all the nurturing things you can think of to do when overwhelm begins to visit. They’ll help you reconnect with yourself, to re-collect and re-focus your energy inside. Keep a copy with you and one at home. When you begin to notice your particular symptoms and/or triggers, use the list to remind yourself of things that have worked in the past. Here are a few suggestions. Be as creative as you want.

Reclaiming Silence

Immersed as we are in constant sound and stimuli, silence is needed now more than ever.

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In today’s world, “white noise” suffuses our office buildings; music, news and sports broadcast in public places morning to night; leaf blowers scream; cell phones track us down with their insistent rings. Our homes offer no refuge either: On go the TVs and stereos as soon as we walk into the house; the computer hums an incessant, tuneless number; we talk constantly.

We seem to rush to fill up the silence, to cover it with some sound or another.

And yet, only in silence can we hear the voice of our heart.

“Silence allows us to open the door to our unconscious mind, feel the yearnings of our heart, follow the wisdom of our intuition, probe the origin of our aversions and understand the truth of our experience,” says Richard Mahler, author of Stillness: Daily Gifts of Solitude, Simplicity and Silence. “We at last get in touch with our deepest secrets, strongest passions, fondest wishes and happiest memories.”

Sabbaticals for Everyone

No longer just for academics--now anyone can benefit from the time to reflect, volunteer or focus on one’s health.

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There was a time when the word sabbatical was most associated with professors taking a year off from their teaching duties to do research or write a book. Today, sabbaticals are for everyone: overburdened care providers, entrepreneurs—just about anyone with the ingenuity to make it happen. The time off may help you find intellectual and spiritual renewal, allow you to transition to a new career, re-energize you for the work you already do, or give you more time to bond with your family.

In Escape 101—Sabbaticals Made Simple, Dan Clements and Tara Gignac tell us, “Your sabbatical is about living deliberately… It’s about unlocking the part of you that you know is still there, but may have been afraid to acknowledge.”

What Kind of Sabbatical Would You Like?

Get clear about what you really want to do with your time off and plan well so you get all you desire from it.

Creative Pursuits. Is it time to finally write that long-contemplated novel or take up the piano?

Travel & Adventure. How about a 3,000-mile bike trip across the U.S. or walking the Pacific Crest Trail?

Self-Care: Becoming Your Own Best Friend

Self-care is about more than a woman giving herself breast exams. It’s about being responsible for and accountable to oneself.

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Need someone to work extra days? Ask me. Someone who’ll clean up the place because we’ve scheduled an open house? Sure. I’ll even bring the cleaning supplies. Need someone to baby-sit your kids while you go away for a weekend? I’ll do it. Stay late? Cook extra? Loan money? Run an errand? Give up my bed, my book, my best outfit? You bet.

“This was my life,” said Sharon, 42. “I thought I had to do anything and everything people asked. Even if they didn’t ask, I’d find ways to accommodate them. And if I couldn’t, I felt guilty.”

Sharon was an expert, no-holds-barred, genuine “accommodater.”

Somewhere along the line she learned that her needs weren’t important. In fact, she had been accommodating others for so long and doing it so well, she didn’t even know what her needs were.

What she did know was that she was unhappy, that she sometimes felt angry and almost always felt guilty. She realized she allowed people to use her, but she didn’t know how to say no.

Setting Limits is More than Just a Parenting Issue: How to Say Yes to Yourself and No to Others

Set limits when necessary to claim what one needs, including self-respect.

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Read any magazine article or book about parenting and the author will advise the necessity of setting limits for children. “Set limits and stick to them,” parents are counseled. Limits create the structure and discipline that every child needs for healthy upbringing.

But for adults—especially those who tend to view other people’s needs and wants as more important than their own—setting limits is more than an exercise in discipline; it’s a vital component in good self-care.

Sometimes it’s difficult to learn to care for ourselves as much as we care for others. Especially if we feel uncomfortable or guilty saying “no.” We may fear losing someone or something if we set limits on how much time we can give or work we can handle or if we claim space for ourselves. But always giving in to the requests or demands of others is plowing a field where resentments take seed. And failing to assert our needs and wants or to stand up for ourselves is disregarding our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Take a Tech Detox

The more plugged-in we are to the electronic world, the less we engage in real-life encounters with loved ones—and ourselves. See what "unplugging" can do for your well-being.

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For one day a year each March, members from the nonprofit organization "Reboot" urge people to join them in observing the National Day of Unplugging.

From sundown to sundown during this 24-hour period, participants take a tech detox—a time-out from using anything that connects people to the electronic world. Thus, all devices such as computers, cell phones, laptops, iPods, tablets and Kindles are taboo, as are email and social media.

Today's world is so hectic for many of us that taking a short break from technology and its related paraphernalia makes good sense and can be therapeutic.

Being constantly connected in cyberspace, for instance, can become highly addictive. According to webMD.com, "An AOL study found that 59 percent of PDA users check their inboxes every time a message arrives."

The Ultimate Act of Self-Care: Clearing Clutter

How can clearing clutter lead to a better life? Clearing away physical clutter often has the unexpected effect of clearing away emotional clutter, too, that may be holding us back from our heart’s desire.

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Clearing away physical clutter often has the unexpected effect of clearing away emotional clutter, too, that may be holding us back from our heart’s desire.

In fact, organizing your life is one of the kindest acts of self-care there is.

Think about it: When things are organized, we spend less time looking for things, set a good example for our children, reduce overwhelm, do more with less time, make better use of our talents and skills, increase our self-confidence, feel more in control and make more/spend less money.

There is no shortage of ideas and books on how to organize. Julie Morgenstern, in her book Organizing from the Inside Out, takes the “how to” a step further and suggests that to arrive at any kind of a sustaining system, we need to understand and work with or around our psychological obstacles to a clutter-free environment. Do you see yourself in any of these obstacles?

Unclear goals and priorities. Organizing is about defining what’s important and setting up a system to reflect that.

To Make Time, Take Time

If time were an animal, it would be on the endangered species list. At least that’s how it seems: Too much to do, too many places to be, too little time to do it all. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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On the job, in school, at home, we are increasingly imprisoned by the perception that time is a scarce and limited resource. We rush from one commitment or activity to another and believe that we haven’t a minute to spare. We yearn for more time, yet we often feel anxious and guilty when idle.

Is this how life is supposed to be?

No! Nor does it have to be.

But until we change our relationship to time, our lives will continue to speed away from us—at enormous cost to our health and to direct experience of ourselves and the world around us.

“There is no issue, no aspect of human life, that exceeds this in importance,” says Jacob Needleman, author of Time and the Soul. “The destruction of time is literally the destruction of life.”

When we learn to shift time, our relationships become more rewarding, our time spent alone is richer, our aging is more satisfying, our work is more fruitful and our stress and anxiety are less paralyzing, or even nonexistent.

Top 10 Everyday Retreats

No exotic vacation on the horizon? Find ways in your own everyday life to retreat and renew.

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To go on a retreat usually conjures up images of remote, sometimes exotic, locations for anywhere from a weekend to a month. When we can’t afford the time away, or the cost, we can still derive some of the benefit by finding ways in our everyday lives to retreat and renew. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Abstain from speaking. Silence leads to inwardness, even in the midst of family life.

2. Fast for a day or three. Fasting reminds us of the bounty of food available to us. It also lets the body rest from the busy-ness of digesting.

3. Spend a day in the garden. Or the container pots. Or a community garden. Anything to get your hands in the earth.

4. Go for a hike. Even an hour of one-on-one time with Mother Nature can reap huge relaxation dividends.

Top 10 Routine Maintenance Points

Not just for cars—one’s mind and heart needs maintenance, too.

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We do routine maintenance checks on our cars to keep them running well, and regular physicals to check up on our bodies. It’s also a good idea to perform routine check-ins with our minds and hearts to see if we’re keeping on track with what we want to do and create with our lives. Here are ten areas of inquiry.

1. Am I asking for what I need? Do I act as my own advocate?

2. Am I taking good care of myself? Check in with the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life.

3. Is there something I need to do that I haven’t done? What’s in the way?

Top 10 Ways to Eat Healthy Every Day

A comprehensive list of 10 ways to eat healthy every day on your way to becoming a "new you." This list is good for those wanting to lose weight or improve health.

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Whether you are dieting to lose weight or changing your food choices to improve your health, making change isn't always easy. Experts say that we have to stay with a change for at least 28 days to make it "stick." Here are 10 ways to make your new food habits a solid part of the "new you."

1. Start slowly and be realisticThe reality is that old habits die hard. So don't try to do too much too quickly. Make one or two changes at first, solidify those new habits, and then when you feel ready, take the next step. It's better to make a few healthier choices—not drinking sugary sodas or switching from fast food to home-prepared food—than to completely change the way you have been eating all at once.

2. Get support Find a nutrition buddy! It's easier to make changes when you declare your intention to others out loud. Once you do, select a few supporters to lean on during those times when you feel yourself wavering. Team up with a friend. Ask a sibling or spouse to cheer you on. Get the support of your social circle for when you go to parties or get-togethers.

Top 10 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

We all know what it’s like to drag ourselves through the day when we have slept poorly the night before. Here are 10 good sleep habits to make.

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Seldom does time pass more slowly than when insomnia hits. And the next day at work can go just as slowly—and just as poorly—in your sleep-deprived state! Following are suggestions that might help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

1. Structure your sleep. Try to go to bed and arise at the same times every day.

2. Create a soothing bedtime routine. Watching the news or reading your e-mail are not good sleep inducers.

3. Create a suitable environment. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool, and your feet warm.

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Environment

Ten tips for enhancing one’s surroundings.

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Our surroundings play an important role in how we feel and, consequently, how we behave in all realms of our life. Here are 10 ways to make your environment support the best you.

1. De-clutter. Do whatever it takes to bring order to your space. Clutter is the enemy of clarity and relaxation.

2. Add flowers/plants. Living things help clean the air and clear the brain. Be sure to keep them fresh!

3. Keep relationships clear. Unresolved conflict with relatives or workmates can poison the best spaces.

Top 10 Ways to Simplify Your Life

These days a chorus of thousands has taken up Henry David Thoreau’s advice to “Simplify, simplify.” And for good reason.

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Few among us would deny our lives are too complicated and filled with too much stress. Simplicity is about eliminating clutter – from your mind, your home, your relationships and your lifestyle. Following are ten ways to begin.

1. Get a clear idea of what you want your life to look like. This picture will help you discover what you must eliminate.

2. Let go of projects, roles or self-imposed obligations that take up time and keep you away from what you really want.

3. Say No to what you don’t want in your life. Say Yes to what you do want.

4. Schedule “break” days for yourself where you don’t do anything but what you really want. Don’t cancel them.

Top 10 Ways to Take a Break

Strategies for successfully taking a break from work—and increasing your value.

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If you're one of those people who don't take all the time off you need, you're not alone.

In 2006 Expedia reported that 36% of people polled don't plan on using all their paid vacation days, and 37% never take more than a week off at a time. The Globe and Mail reports that in Japan a whopping 92% of workers never use their full 15 days of holidays.

Why Do We Need Breaks?

Taking breaks allows you to:

• Avoid burnout• Find a fresh perspective• Create space to generate new ideas• Give yourself a pat on the back with a reward• Improve your mental health

Top 10 Ways to Take Care of Yourself at Work

Self-care at work increases effectiveness and productivity. So how can a person begin?

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Self-care is not an “emergency response plan” to be activated when stress becomes overwhelming. When we consistently take care of ourselves and our energy, we are noticeably more effective and more productive—and usually in fewer hours. Put these tips into practice, and see what good business sense they make.

1. Create a nurturing work environment, with healthy air and lighting, supportive décor, ample water, high-protein snacks, etc.

2. Keep writer’s hours, even if you’re not a writer. Reserve blocks of focused time that are yours with no, repeat NO, interruptions.

.3. Start each week and each day with planning. Doing so increases productivity and success, and eases anxiety and stress.

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