6 ways to keep your brain young and healthy From Home

As I talk with friends and family over the past few weeks, since the pandemic began, I hear people expressing their frustration at being “stuck at home”, saying they’re going “stir crazy” and other similar phrases. This is understandable, since we are used to coming and going as we please. For me, I actually find myself veering away from social media and searching for ways to stimulate my brain. Being stuck at home seems to have created a craving for brain stimulation. After all, the brain needs exercise, just like the rest of the body. Here is a list of 6 ways to stimulate your brain and keep it young, from Kwik Learning. With each recommendation, I’ve included ways you can do each activity from home, for free when possible.

6 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG AND HEALTHY

Woman, Kitchen, Man, Everyday Life, Blond
  1. Try new things. This may prove difficult from home, but let me make a few suggestions.
  • Learn a new language– This article from Livewire.com has a list of 14 free language learning software sites.
  • Learn to cook– This article, from The Purple Almond Wellness Kitchen, includes a list of online cooking classes. While some in the list do cost money, there are several that are free including: Skillshare, Chef2chef, and The New York Times.
  • Visit a museum – Many museums are offering free virtual tours. This article from mentalfloss.com includes a list of 12 museums around the world you can visit from home, including The Louvre, The Guggenheim, and The Met in New York.
  • Read classic literatureProject Gutenberg is a non-profit online data base of free online e-books. Founded Michael Hart in 1971, it was the first organization to offer free online e-books. It has a huge database of literature. You are sure to find something of interest.
Woman, Person, Cyclist, Bicycle, Movement, Exertion

2. Exercise – Just as exercise is good for the heart and the rest of the body, it’s very good for the brain as well. Exercise is proven to decrease stress and depression which also slow brain function. Exercise also boosts mental ability, and focus, minimizing risk of damaged cells, which leads to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Here are some ways to exercise from home for free:

  • Walk (and earn money for charity) – Walking is one of the healthiest exercises, it’s free AND it gets you out of the house. While you’re walking you can earn money for charity with the Charity Miles app. Once you download the app and choose a charity, all you have to do is move. The app lets you do anything from walking and running to dancing and biking. For each mile you move, Charity Miles donates money to your chosen charity. The amount per mile depends on the activity chosen.
  • Take a free exercise class – If you prefer more organized exercise or you miss your gym, try a free online class. Here are a few places offering free classes: Planet Fitness, Blink Fitness, Orange Theory, and Gold’s Gym.
Laptop, Coffee, Arm, Desktop, Notebook, Writing

3. Volunteer – Yes you can volunteer from home. Cool right! My search yielded many results. Here are a few opportunities:

  • Covia – This non-profit serves older adults. They are looking for people to help isolated elderly individuals through 1 on 1 friend matching, send cards/letters to 10 elderly adults, or simply donate money. Here is a short video…
  • 7 CupsThis organization provides free emotional support via caring listeners. They are in need of volunteers who could fill this roll.
  • Crisis Text Line – This non-profit is a 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the USA. They are in need of volunteer crisis counselors. If you are interested, follow this link.
  • American Red Cross – Digital advocates are needed through The American Red Cross. Follow THIS LINK for more details.
  • Be My Eyes – When you install the app on your phone, you will be “on-call” to help the visually impaired with everyday tasks, such as reading instructions, checking dates or other small jobs.
Handshake, Hands, Laptop, Monitor, Online, Digital

4. Be Social – Now, this one may be a bit more difficult, but in this technological age, there are things you can do. Here are a few suggestions on being social from the comfort and safety of home:

  • Movie night Netflix has a new service called “Netflix party”. It’s a free download which synchronizes movie playback with a chat feature.
  • Book club – Facebook has many book club groups. I just joined a Nourished Reader book club and am awaiting reading the first book There are many other such groups on Facebook. Bustle.com has 10 tips for setting up your own book club.
  • Virtual Happy Hour – If you miss meeting your friends for a nite on the town, host a virtual happy hour. Mydomaine.com has an article on this topic called “The Entertainer’s Guide to Hosting a Virtual Happy Hour”.
Woman, Asleep, Girl, Sleep, Dreams, Face, Young Woman

5. Get good sleep. – Working from home may lead us to slack off on our nighttime routine. However, it’s more important than ever to stick to a routine when it comes to bedtime. A good night’s sleep keeps the brain cell connections strong, helps us retain information and calms us. Poor habits lead to depression, bad memory and psychiatric problems. I’ve written a few articles on insomnia. Follow THIS LINK for more information.

Yoga, Calm, Release, Stretching, Golden Hour, Nature

6. Beat anger. This one is difficult under the best of circumstances. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are not helping in this department. We need to do our best to alleviate stress and anger in our lives, especially now.

Stress and anger release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These are processed in the brain before the rest of the body. I’ve written several articles on stress. follow THIS LINK for more details. Stress and anger increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, change brain structure, increase risk of mental illness and kill brain cells.

Under current circumstances, it’s difficult to avoid stress and anger, but you can manage it. Here are links to some articles to help alleviate stress

Closing thoughts…

Brain quote by Daniel Amen | Weight Loss/ Nutrition ...

You may be thinking now isn’t the time to be worrying about all of this. I beg to differ. It’s during times of stress that it’s imperative to take care of your brain. Anyway, taking the 6 steps listed above will help make your time in self-isolation that much easier…and you can bring joy to others at the same time.

 Until next time…Namaste my friends

6 ways to keep your brain young and healthy From Home

As I talk with friends and family over the past few weeks, since the pandemic began, I hear people expressing their frustration at being “stuck at home”, saying they’re going “stir crazy” and other similar phrases. This is understandable, since we are used to coming and going as we please. For me, I actually find myself veering away from social media and searching for ways to stimulate my brain. Being stuck at home seems to have created a craving for brain stimulation. After all, the brain needs exercise, just like the rest of the body. Being stuck at home day after day can become boring, draining and mundane. Here is a list of 6 ways to stimulate your brain and keep it young, from Kwik Learning. With each recommendation, I’ve included ways you can do each activity from home, for free when possible.

6 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG AND HEALTHY

Woman, Kitchen, Man, Everyday Life, Blond
  1. Try new things. This may prove difficult from home, but let me make a few suggestions.
  • Learn a new language– This article from Livewire.com has a list of 14 free language learning software sites.
  • Learn to cook– This article, from The Purple Almond Wellness Kitchen, includes a list of online cooking classes. While some in the list do cost money, there are several that are free including: Skillshare, Chef2chef, and The New York Times.
  • Visit a museum – Many museums are offering free virtual tours. This article from mentalfloss.com includes a list of 12 museums around the world you can visit from home, including The Louvre, The Guggenheim, and The Met in New York.
  • Read classic literatureProject Gutenberg is a non-profit online data base of free online e-books. Founded Michael Hart in 1971, it was the first organization to offer free online e-books. It has a huge database of literature. You are sure to find something of interest.
Woman, Person, Cyclist, Bicycle, Movement, Exertion

2. Exercise – Just as exercise is good for the heart and the rest of the body, it’s very good for the brain as well. Exercise is proven to decrease stress and depression which also slow brain function. Exercise also boosts mental ability, and focus, minimizing risk of damaged cells, which leads to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Here are some ways to exercise from home for free:

  • Walk (and earn money for charity) – Walking is one of the healthiest exercises, it’s free AND it gets you out of the house. While you’re walking you can earn money for charity with the Charity Miles app. Once you download the app and choose a charity, all you have to do is move. The app lets you do anything from walking and running to dancing and biking. For each mile you move, Charity Miles donates money to your chosen charity. The amount per mile depends on the activity chosen.
  • Take a free exercise class – If you prefer more organized exercise or you miss your gym, try a free online class. Here are a few places offering free classes: Planet Fitness, Blink Fitness, Orange Theory, and Gold’s Gym.
Laptop, Coffee, Arm, Desktop, Notebook, Writing

3. Volunteer – Yes you can volunteer from home. Cool right! My search yielded many results. Here are a few opportunities:

  • Covia – This non-profit serves older adults. They are looking for people to help isolated elderly individuals through 1 on 1 friend matching, send cards/letters to 10 elderly adults, or simply donate money. Here is a short video…
  • 7 CupsThis organization provides free emotional support via caring listeners. They are in need of volunteers who could fill this roll.
  • Crisis Text Line – This non-profit is a 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the USA. They are in need of volunteer crisis counselors. If you are interested, follow this link.
  • American Red Cross – Digital advocates are needed through The American Red Cross. Follow THIS LINK for more details.
  • Be My Eyes – When you install the app on your phone, you will be “on-call” to help the visually impaired with everyday tasks, such as reading instructions, checking dates or other small jobs.
Handshake, Hands, Laptop, Monitor, Online, Digital

4. Be Social – Now, this one may be a bit more difficult, but in this technological age, there are things you can do. Here are a few suggestions on being social from the comfort and safety of home:

  • Movie night Netflix has a new service called “Netflix party”. It’s a free download which synchronizes movie playback with a chat feature.
  • Book club – Facebook has many book club groups. I just joined a Nourished Reader book club and am awaiting reading the first book There are many other such groups on Facebook. Bustle.com has 10 tips for setting up your own book club.
  • Virtual Happy Hour – If you miss meeting your friends for a nite on the town, host a virtual happy hour. Mydomaine.com has an article on this topic called “The Entertainer’s Guide to Hosting a Virtual Happy Hour”.
Woman, Asleep, Girl, Sleep, Dreams, Face, Young Woman

5. Get good sleep. – Working from home may lead us to slack off on our nighttime routine. However, it’s more important than ever to stick to a routine when it comes to bedtime. A good night’s sleep keeps the brain cell connections strong, helps us retain information and calms us. Poor habits lead to depression, bad memory and psychiatric problems. I’ve written a few articles on insomnia. Follow THIS LINK for more information.

Yoga, Calm, Release, Stretching, Golden Hour, Nature

6. Beat anger. This one is difficult under the best of circumstances. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are not helping in this department. We need to do our best to alleviate stress and anger in our lives, especially now.

Stress and anger release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These are processed in the brain before the rest of the body. I’ve written several articles on stress. follow THIS LINK for more details. Stress and anger increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, change brain structure, increase risk of mental illness and kill brain cells.

Under current circumstances, it’s difficult to avoid stress and anger, but you can manage it. Here are links to some articles to help alleviate stress

Closing thoughts…

Brain quote by Daniel Amen | Weight Loss/ Nutrition ...

You may be thinking now isn’t the time to be worrying about all of this. I beg to differ. It’s during times of stress that it’s imperative to take care of your brain. Anyway, taking the 6 steps listed above will help make your time in self-isolation that much easier…and you can bring joy to others at the same time.

 Until next time…Namaste my friends

Sleep tips: Mayo Clinic Minute~ Tips for Better Sleep

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Oh let’s face it, I have all out insomnia. So, I’ve decided to share sleep tip videos this week.

Today, I have a “Mayo Clinic Minute: tips for better sleep”

 

 

Tips for Managing Summer Stress | HealthCentral

As children, we always look forward to the lazy, hazy days of summer. For me, it meant bike riding with my best friend, swimming, sleeping late, and relaxing. However, as adults, we don’t often have that same luxury. Summer is often seen as a relaxing time, but it rarely works out that way.

As a stay at home Mom, summers were always one of the most stressful times of year. The quiet I enjoyed during the year, disappeared when summertime hit. While I absolutely LOVE and adore being around my kids, there is a certain amount of stress, when they are home, all day, every day, running, being loud, often fighting, asking questions, etc. There’s also the pressure to keep them busy. This is also the “family vacation” time of year, which is, itself a lesson in stress.

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According to an article by Health Central, approximately 1/3 of Americans find summer to be a stressful time of year. (I guess I’m not alone.) The article states that most people get less sleep in the summer, adding to the stress of the season. An increase in social engagements and activity is listed as the main reason for a lack of sleep. Vacation planning and caring for children were listed as other reasons.

How, then, do we deal with summer stress? Here are some of the tips, according to Health Central, and professional life coach Dr. Jaime Kulaga.

  1. Keep priorities straight. Many people, especially women take on extra tasks in the summer. Other than caring for your children, don’t take on extra duties and learn to say no.
  2. Stay active. Spend time outdoors, enjoying the wonderful summer weather.
  3. Take care of your bodyTry to get enough sleep, if possible. Eat a healthy and light whole food diet and drink plenty of water.
  4. Stay present in the moment People leading busy lives tend to worry about future events. These events are out of your current control. Stay focused on the task at hand. Learn mindfulness techniques.
  5. Focus on you and your familyTurn off ALL electronic devices and spend quality time with your loved ones. Dr. Kulaga says that being constantly “connected” causes us to worry about everyone else. Disconnecting helps us focus on the present and our loved ones.
  6. Take time to do activities you enjoyMake sure to take time to take care of yourself. Take some time, every day, by yourself. Relax, meditate, do yoga, do anything that helps you relax and enjoy your time alone.

To help you relax, especially with the last tip, I have gathered a few summer guided meditation videos. Whether you use these, or find your own way unwind, take some time to enjoy yourself, and have a wonderful and relaxing summer.

Until next time…Namaste my friends.

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Guided Meditations:

Let in the Summer Light

The Summer Meadow

Summer Solstice


For the main article, follow the link below

Source: Tips for Managing Summer Stress – Anxiety | HealthCentral

An Archive of Meditations – The Purple Almond Year in Review

Since it’s a federal holiday here in the USA, I decided to take the day off from both blogging and school. I still wanted to posts something, so it’s a repost day here at The Purple Almond.

Here is a repost of my Meditation Monday year end review from December. I couldn’t decide which article to repost today, so I decided to post this one, which posts all of them, up until December. Do you have a favorite? For me, it’s the grounding meditations as well as the walking and EFT tapping.

ENJOY!


I began my Meditation Monday blog series on December 19, 2016. One year on, I have covered the gambit of meditation and relaxation techniques. I began with Yoga, and have included everything from Qi Gong to chair yoga and candle gazing to stone stacking. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic, or hate to exercise (like me!) there’s something for everyone.

Many of you may wonder why I focus so heavily on meditation and motivation, despite being a nutrition site. As someone who is studying holistic nutrition, I learned early on that food is only part of the equation when it comes to complete, whole body health. A body under constant stress is an unhealthy body, even if you eat in a super healthy way. Yes, all of that healthy food does help, but the stress still takes a toll on you. That’s why I include so many meditation and motivational posts on my blog.

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In fact, I feel that dealing with stress is so important, my very first blog post, from over a year ago, was devoted to dealing with anger:

Do You Hold Onto Your Anger?

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Here are just a few physical effects stress has on your body:

  • Acne and other skin problems
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • High cholesterol
  • Increased risk for a heart attack
  • Lower bone
  • Joint pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Diabetes
  • Irritable bowel
  • Lower sex drive
  • Comprised immune system

So below is a list of 23 of my Meditation Monday posts from this past year, beginning with my first YOGA post, from December 19, 2016. I hope you can find something on this list to help you relieve stress over this holiday season, and through out the new year.

The Benefits of Yoga with 30 Minute Restorative Yoga and Meditation video

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NEW YOU –

Letting Go Of Yesterday Guided Meditation

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Qi Gong –

7 minutes of Magic for Health

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Guide to walking Meditation

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Simple Meditation led by Jeffrey Zlotnik – Founder of The Meditation Initiative

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Meditation for Beginners:

The Ultimate Guide 

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The Butterfly – Kids Meditation

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40 Ways to Relax

in 5 Minutes or Less

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6 Guided Meditation Videos

for Anxiety and Fear

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A Mindful Eating Meditation

to Manage Food Cravings

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Stone Stacking

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Grounding Meditation (AKA: Earthing) with Free Guidebook

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Tapping-The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

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EFT Tapping for Self-Love

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Candle Gazing

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Deepak Chopra’s Top 8 Meditation Tips

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Partner Yoga for Relaxation

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Guided Imagery

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Foot Soaking Meditation

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Yoga for Mental Health

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20-Minute HIIT Yoga Flow for Stress

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Chair Yoga

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A Quick Guide to Yin Yoga

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Meditation Monday: Yoga for Mental Health

It is a well known fact that exercise is beneficial for stress relief, anxiety and  depression, but yoga is one of the best. Yoga combines strength and flexibility exercises with meditation and relaxation…a winning combination if you’re fighting depression or anxiety.

5 Reasons to use Yoga for Mental Health (1)

  1. Yoga slows down breathing and heart rates, which lowers blood pressure
  2. It has been proven that yoga helps to boost GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which slows down brain activity, enabling you to relax. A one-hour session can increase GABA by 27% (1).
  3. Research indicates that regular use of yoga can lead to improved mood, reduced anxiety and anger reduction in people suffering from depression (1).  One study found that one 12 minute yoga session daily, for 8 weeks, can reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a known risk factor for depression (1).
  4. Yoga raises the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This is a type of protein that stimulates the development of new brain cells. (1)
  5. Yoga can improve memory and concentration. Doing just one 20 minute Hatha yoga session was shown to improve memory better than any other form of exercise.

This video  discusses the science behind why yoga helps improve conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress and PTSD.

From: Live Sonima

Understanding How Yoga

Can Help Depression,

Anxiety & PTSD

Have I peaked your interest? If you are interested in using yoga to help with your depression, anxiety or stress, I have found 3 different routines for you. Each routine is approximately 30 minutes long. I personally find this to be the perfect length. Choose the video, instructor and routine that best fits you. Enjoy!

From: Psyche Truth

Beginners Yoga for

Depression, Stress,

the Blues

&

Anxiety Relief

Anxiety & Panic Attacks,

Deep Relaxation, Sleep,

Stress Relief, ASMR

From: Fightmaster Yoga

Yoga for Depression

I practice yoga as often as time allows in my life. (So not as often as I would like. 😦 ) I hope this article helps you understand how yoga can help with your depression, anxiety, or stress. It was my desire , through this article, to introduce you to yoga as a tool to help you combat the issues you face daily.

Let us stop for a moment to pray and meditate.

SOURCE:

  1. https://bebrainfit.com/mental-health-benefits-yoga/
  2. http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression