Five Mental Health Reasons to Get a Plant

Plants can be great for your mental health.

I’ve never really been much of a plant person. Keeping my kids alive has been a highlight of my life, but I know myself, and adding the responsibility of a bunch of plants on top of that might not end well.

That being said, this pandemic has changed a lot of things, both personally, and on a global level. Spending so much time in my home has made me come around to the idea of opening up the space to some greenery.

For some people during these lock-downs, plants have been a savior. Especially if you live alone, taking care of a plant can provide some much needed stress relief, help ease depression, and improve your overall mental health. Here are five reasons you should consider getting a plant today!

Nurturing mental health. As human beings, our need to nurture is built into our DNA. Taking care of a plant is rewarding because it makes us feel needed, and gives us a sense of purpose. This promotes positive mental health, especially for people who don’t have many interactions.

Sticking to Routines. Watering your plant regularly will help you stick to a schedule and routine in other areas of your life, which will help keep your organized and less stressed.

Conversational Skills. They say we should talk to our plants, and I personally think it doesn’t hurt. Especially if you live alone, talking to your plants can trick your mind into thinking of it as social interaction.

READ MORE: Five Plant-Based Proteins to Stock Up On

Sense of Accomplishment. As your plant grows, you will feel a sense of accomplishment at being the reason it is still alive. And all you have to do is water it regularly!

Maintaining Relationships. A plant is a commitment, so if you have trouble committing to relationships, try starting with a plant. Once you realize that a plant enriches your life, maybe you will feel the same about your people.

Five Ways to Keep Your Skin Moisturized

Moisture is not something you should take for granted.

If you suffer from dry skin, you should moisturize. If you are over 20, you should moisturize. If you live in a higher altitude client, you should moisturize. If it’s winter, you should moisturize.

I don’t know if you are sensing a common thread here, but whether or not you’ve gotten the point I am trying to make, you should moisturize.

Dehydrated skin can be uncomfortable, tight, and itchy. Down the road, without proper moisturization you are likely to suffer from premature aging, sagging, and wrinkles. Beyond that, moisturized skin acts as a form of barrier protection against all kinds of microscopic allergens.

Here are five ways to keep you skin hydrated:

Apply moisturizer to damp skin. When you add moisturizer on top of wet skin, it locks the moisture in. After your morning shower is ideal, or after a warm rinse to open your pores.

Use a gentle cleanser. When choosing a cleanser try and stay away from anything too acidic, especially salicidic acid. All natural or mild cleansers work best.

Always rinse your face before bed. Getting rid of any excess makeup or dirt from the day will help your skin heal and retain moisture overnight.

READ MORE: Quarantine Skin Care: Five All Natural Moisturizers in Your Kitchen Now

Use Hyaluronic serum. Hyaluronic acid helps draw water into the top layer of skin, keeping you hydrated longer. You can apply regular moisturizer on top.

Use emollient creams. Emollient creams work as a barrier on top of skin, by filling in cracks with fatty molecules to help protect the skin underneath.

Everyone’s skin is different, so some of these options might not work for you if your skin is excessively dry, or naturally oily. Listen to the advice of your dermatologist over all else, but if you are looking for a crash course in skin hydration, these tips are a good place to start.

How to Snap Out of a Mild Funk

All depressions are not created equal.

If you’re like me, the past few years have been a roller coaster of emotions. The world is going through a huge upheaval in terms of politics, the pandemic, and new technology like social media, finding new ways to play on our insecurities every day.

Prioritizing your mental health is one of the most important ways you can practice self-care. Whether you are suffering from a minor funk, or in the middle of a full-on depression there are small things you can to do try and get through it more quickly.

Here are five ways you can try and snap out of a minor funk.

Eat- Your brain needs 130 grams of carbohydrates to perform daily functions.

Hydrate- Dehydration contributes to cognitive decline. You need at least 1.5- 2L of water per day to function.

Shower- Showers will always help you feel better. If you are depressed, take a cold shower. To fight anxiety, go warm.

READ MORE: 7 Mental Health Hacks to Prepare for a Long Winter

Exercise- Even if you just take a walk around the block, physical movement releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that stabilizes mood.

Breathe- Deep breathing exercises can help calm you by sending oxygen to the brain, which helps boost energy and release tension. Breathing exercises can do wonders for helping you get out of a funk.

Five Ways to Deal with Political Stress

With the recent insurrection of the capitol building, tensions are high.

This week was both incredibly shocking, and unsurprising. On Wednesday a group of right-wing extremists stormed the capitol building while Congress was in session, and rioted for several hours.

We are in the middle of a pandemic, with tensions already high, so the last thing we need is political unrest to add fuel to the fire. I know many of us are barely keeping it together mentally, and the stress of a possible insurrection or rebellion is just too much to bear.

That being said, the violence that left five people dead has largely passed, and now we are faced with picking up the pieces and dealing with the anxiety of living in such uncertain times.

So if you have had a rough week dealing with the frightening possibilities, here are five ways you can deal with political stress:

Focus on Family- Our families can be our greatest sense of comfort in these times, provided you don’t disagree on politics. Reaching out to family and loved ones to discuss your stresses and fears is a great way to overcome them, even if you can’t do it in person.

READ MORE: How to Avoid Politics at the Dinner Table

Express Gratitude- The police and politicians at the capitol building on Wednesday did an admirable job with the situation they were given. There will definitely be questions about the police response, but right now it is very helpful to show gratitude to those who were there, and to let them know that we support them.

Take a Tech Break- Seriously, lock your phone away for a few hours. You will not BELIEVE the amount of stress that disappears when you aren’t constantly plugged in.

Prioritize Fun- This week was a lot to deal with, so you should take a day for yourself. On this day, don’t take things seriously and just have some fun. Whether that involves going sledding in the backyard with your kids, or downing an entire bottle of red wine, more power to you!

Purge Your Friends List- I am not someone who believes that we should cut ourselves off from everyone who doesn’t think the same way we do. I am very much a proponent of reaching across the aisle. That being said, we all just want to feel like we are doing something right now. Purging your friends list of toxic people will both give you a little rush of productivity, and limit your stress in the future.

Watch Me Get the Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine

Recently, I was vaccinated for Covid-19 at Stamford Hospital.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been raging through the globe for a little over a year now. Every country in the world has been affected, and each day the numbers rise, and we set new records for infections and deaths.

The United States is at the top of the list when it comes to these numbers, but luckily we were able to galvanize the pharmaceutical companies into creating vaccines for this deadly pandemic.

As a healthcare worker, I was lucky enough to begin the vaccination process at Stamford Hospital recently. I wanted to make a video of it to show you that it is nothing to be afraid of. The only way we can beat this virus is to make the majority of the population immune. So please pay attention, and when you are able to get vaccinated, please do so.

READ MORE: Five Myths About the Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine

We owe it to all the frontline workers, the medical staff, and the victims of Covid-19 to protect ourselves, and our fellow Americans.

How to Avoid a Champagne Hangover

Champagne hangovers are the worst hangovers.

Of all the hangover inducing alcohols, red wine and champagne are the worst. Champagne is specifically horrible because the carbon dioxide in the bubbles compete with oxygen in your blood, which gets you drunk faster. Because champagne is so tasty and fun to drink, we tend to drink more of it, hence the terrible hangovers.

If you’ve ever had an 11-hour unlimited mimosa brunch, you know what I’m talking about.

Here are a few ways to curtail your champagne hangover in the new year.

Drink in moderation. I know this may seem obvious, but you can enjoy a glass or two of champagne, and some other light cocktails, too. The good thing about champagne is that it mixes fairly well with other liquors, but I would stick to 3-4 cocktails total, or a hangover is fairly inevitable.

Eat some carbs. Carbohydrates slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, so don’t drink on an empty stomach.

Drink Pedialyte before bed, or when you wake up. Pedialyte is a life-saver, because most of the hangover symptoms are due to dehydration. You can buy Pedialyte in powder form, and take it with you to drink before bed, or when you first wake up.

READ MORE: The Effects of Alcohol on Athletes and Sports Performance

Hydrate. Drink water in between every cocktail, and a have a glass before bed.

Avoid extra sugar. Brut champagne tends to have less sugar than other options like Prosecco. Sugar can worsen your hangover, so avoid it as much as possible.

Take the next day off. 2020 was a hot mess of a year. Be kind to yourself the day after drinking, and take the day to binge watch Netflix.

Five Healthy New Years Resolutions

After such a difficult year, resolutions are more important than ever.

2020 has not been a normal year. We have dealt with every kind of problem, from Nazis, to world-wide protests and a pandemic that shut down economies all over the globe.

Every year on this date, we tend to give some thought to what we want from the coming year. After the colossal dumpster-fire of 2020, I think most of us just want food on our table, a roof over our heads, and most of all health, for ourselves and all of our loved ones.

Resolutions are normally just random little wishes we make for ourselves, like the prospect of a bikini body, or a savings account that has more than one digit.

This year, I encourage everyone to make healthy resolutions. Here are five ways you can use your New Years resolution to serve you well in 2021.

Be kind to yourself. We all have that little voice in our head that tells us we aren’t good enough. Make 2021 the year that you are aware of that voice, and choose not to listen to it. There is enough pain out there in the world; we don’t need to be inflicting it upon ourselves.

READ MORE: 7 Mental Health Hacks to Prepare for a Long Winter

Get some sunlight. Especially during winter months, it is important to get enough Vitamin D. Make an effort to go outside 2-3 times a week. Listen to relaxing music and just take a walk. It will do wonders for your mental health.

Find more hobbies. Make 2021 the year of exploration and try all of the things that you ever thought you might enjoy. Personally, I am going to try my hand at crochet. Make a list of hobbies you might like, and try one every week. Hobbies are more than just a way to pass the time, they are also a way to be productive and do something you really enjoy.

Stay in touch. Even if you don’t want to, schedule weekly video calls with family and friends. If this year has taught us one thing, it’s that video calls are almost as good as seeing people in person. Friendships have to be maintained, and weekly video calls are good for everyone’s spirits.

Sleep regularly. The most important resolution you can make is to find a way to sleep better in 2021. Take melatonin, turn off your phone an hour before bed, meditate, or use a massage gun every evening. Whatever you have to do to achieve, and maintain a healthy sleep schedule is what you should focus on. It’ll improve every area of your life.

Whatever you do in 2021, just make sure you are gentle with yourself, don’t expect too much of yourself and others, and focus on the positive things in your life.

Five Myths About the Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine

There is a lot of vaccine misinformation on The Internet.

We are living in very uncertain times right now. While it is a great thing to have developed a vaccine to Covid-19, mistrust in the media is at an all-time high. From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, misinformation has spread like wildfire. We haven’t had any strong leadership from the top-down, so normal people aren’t really sure how to act, or what to believe.

This has caused a lot of issues from a social perspective, but it is very important to remember how deadly this disease really is. Pfizer and Moderna have both developed vaccines approved for use by the FDA, but many people no longer have trust in our institutions.

As a medical professional, I am going to get the Pfizer vaccine today, so I wanted to share a few common myths about it.

My goal is to ease the minds of some of people who feel disillusioned or confused about the safety of the vaccine. Vaccines only work if the majority of the population becomes vaccinated, so if you have questions or concerns about taking the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, please read on.

The vaccine was developed too quickly to be safe. While it is true that vaccines normally take longer to create, we are dealing with a worldwide pandemic, thus resources were allocated properly to ensure the vaccine was developed quickly. Covid-19 is also similar to other coronaviruses, so previous research helped with the process. Lastly, the clinical trials themselves were not rushed, so the vaccine was pronounced safe according to normal protocols.

The vaccine will have long-term effects. Side effects of vaccines (like allergic reactions) typically happen within minutes to hours of taking the vaccine. Any potential side effects can be ruled out relatively quickly after vaccination.

You can get Covid-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine doesn’t contain the virus, so you literally can’t contract COVID-19 from being vaccinated. The vaccine responds to the protein that infects cells with the coronavirus, not the actual virus itself.

If you’ve had Covid-19, you don’t need the vaccine. According to the CDC, the vaccine offers better protection than having actually had the virus for several reasons. Faulty testing and false diagnoses being two of the main reasons.

Once I’m vaccinated, I no longer have to wear a mask. The vaccines are only 95% effective, and you have no way of knowing who else is vaccinated or infected. Regardless of whether or not you take the vaccine, you should still wear a mask and follow recommended safety protocols until the danger has passed.

In this age of mistrust, I can understand why people are concerned about potential vaccines. I ask that you remember the polio vaccine, which pretty much saved the world.

Over the past few years, science has been attacked time and time again, but the truth is that science is what saves us from disease.

Personal opinions aside, science stands on a foundation of proven truth.

Amazon Holiday Gift Guide: For the Athlete in Your Life

Unsure of what to get for the athlete in your life?

For most Americans, Christmas looks a little different this year. Brick and mortar stores are experiencing less traffic than normal. Family members are prioritizing health over travel and deciding to stay home. Athletes are cooped up in their homes, unable to take part in the team sports they normally love.

This year we want to find a way to show our loved ones we care, while bearing in mind that there are certain health risks associated with traveling, whether to shop, or to spend time with family.

That being said, Amazon has everything you could ever want, in terms of gifting. So, if you are wondering what to get for the athlete in your life this year, look no further than this gifting guide!

Hyperice hypervolt massage gun

Noxgear 360 reflective vest

Normatec recovery boots

READ MORE: How to Actually Enjoy the Holidays

TRX GO Suspension Bands

Adjustable Kettlebells

How to Boost Your Metabolism This Winter

There has never been a better time to boost your metabolism.

Winter is here. A pandemic is in full swing. Those two things create the perfect storm for a sedentary lifestyle. The weather keeps us from going outside, and the pandemic gives us the perfect excuse to let ourselves go. Before we know it, spring will be back, and we will have completely lost touch with the summer body we took for granted in 2020.

As you know, I am a huge proponent of regular exercise and healthy lifestyle changes. That being said, I also understand the appeal of staying glued to a couch all winter.

One way you can minimize the damage of our current constraints is to increase your metabolism. A faster metabolism burns fat more quickly, and helps keep off excess weight. So if you can’t get to the gym as regularly as before, these things will help maintain your body while the world heals.

Strength training- Muscles help burn calories, even when your body is at rest. Lifting weights can help strengthen your metabolism, and keep your body running all the time. Free weights and exercise bands (easily ordered from Amazon) are two easy ways to keep your muscles in fighting condition this winter.

Eat Spicy Foods- Spicy foods can help your metabolism because they contain capsaicin, which can help burn an additional 10 calories per meal. Spicy foods aren’t a weight-loss plan by any means, but they help.

READ MORE: Five Surprising Foods to Boost Your Metabolism

Regular physical activity- 20 minutes of physical activity per day is all you really need to keep your body running at a decent pace. Walking, cleaning up around the house, or a healthy hobby like yoga are all great ways to keep your metabolism running strong.

Hydration- Choosing to drink water over sugary drinks helps you lose weight in calories alone, but it also increases your resting metabolism, and can help you feel more full. The next time you are hungry, try drinking a glass of water instead.

Sleep Schedules- Your circadian rhythm is very important in terms of overall health and weight loss. Lack of sleep is also a cause of obesity, and can contribute to type 2 diabetes. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every night is integral to keeping your metabolism going strong.

Stress Relief- Stress and anxiety are major factors in a lot of issues, including weight loss. Yoga, journalling, and meditation are three good ways to combat stress.