15 minute tasks #bebetter52

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How many times have you had a task you just keep putting off? Mark Twain once said, "If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first." Twain was referring to those tasks we all tend to procrastinate, the ones we hate doing and continue to nag at us until-- the bill goes past due, the laundry piles up, or the dirty dishes take over the sink. It's best to do those tasks first thing rather than put them off all day and fret about eating the frog.

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This week's #bebetter52 challenge centers on "15 minute tasks," where you dedicate 15 minutes in your day to tackling a task, ideally in the morning. It might be something as simple as folding the laundry, or it could be a grand task like planning a vacation.

How to utilize your 15 minutes:

  • Set aside 15 minutes each morning (or afternoon, or evening, whatever ends up working) and tackle a nagging task.

  • Set a timer or watch the clock, and as soon as the 15 minutes is over, stop the task.

  • You may be willing to continue working on the task after 15 minutes. If so, continue to add 15 minute increments until the task completion is where you are satisfied.  

  • Break up larger goals into smaller tasks that are more doable in 15 minutes or less. For example, instead of the larger goal to plan a party, break it down into "plan the menu,""pick decorations," "pick cake,""make list of needed ingredients." These smaller tasks can help you reach your goal without being overwhelming.

Another way to think of it is to "suffer for 15 minutes," like Gretchen Rubin mentions in her book Happier at Home.  The goal is to choose a task that's been weighing you down and take 15 minutes to lighten that burden! Remember, don’t waste 15 minutes making excuses for not doing the task when you might be able to complete the task or at least made significant progress to pick up the following day.

Herbal Tea #bebetter52

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Fun Fact from National Geographic: “The world’s most consumed beverage--not counting water, which has no equal--is actually a dark horse, the kind you don’t suspect. It’s not coffee, as Brazilian kids learn at early age, nor Coca Cola, as I grew up hearing in America. It’s surprisingly not even beer.  It’s Tea.”

As the weather starts to change from hot summer days to brisk fall ones, nothing is nicer than sipping on a cup of something warm. But what we put in our warmed mug is a personal choice, often times the same old choice, day after day.

This week's #bebetter52 challenge is to fill up that cup with herbal tea.  A loose definition of tea is a hot drink made by infusing natural ingredients such as dried leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, spices, bark and more. Try replacing your morning mug of coffee with herbal tea or drinking a cup to help relax you at the end of the day. The benefits of herbal tea include hydrating your body with a great tasting beverage packed with natural vitamins and minerals. Best benefits come from steeping loose tea as long as 10-15 minutes and using high quality ingredients.

Research reveals tea holds myriad health properties. Here is a list of more benefits as outlined by Tea Association.

Peppermint Tea: Relieves symptoms of abdominal gas and bloating

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Ginger Tea: Curbs nausea, vomiting or upset stomach

Chamomile Tea: Calms, often used as a sleep aid

Rooibos Tea: Contains high amounts of vitamin C and other antioxidant properties

Lemon Tea: Energizes

Milk Thistle and dandelion tea: Gently cleanses the liver

This challenge encourages you to explore how ingredients can be infused into hot water and the health benefits that come from them. Hot water and lemon infusion is a favorite of ours. In order to make this drink, you need:

·       1 to 1 ½ cups of boiling water

·       Juice of ½ freshly squeezed lemon

·       ¼ teaspoon of turmeric

·       Pinch of red chili powder or cayenne

·       Pinch of coarse salt.

·       Pinch of raw cane sugar.

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Mix these ingredients together in a mug for a detoxifying beverage. This hot drink highlights the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric, while the hot water and lemon combination flushes out the liver and kidneys of toxins.

Tea not only has multiple health benefits but also is good for the soul. It helps calm your mind, soothe your muscles, and provide an aromatic scent that relaxes your body. Overall, tea can be a meditative experience.

We encourage you to try out different kinds of teas and infusions.  Share a photo and some ideas, even if it is simply 3 ounces of thinly-sliced ginger root in a cup of boiling water as a start.

Be Present #bebetter52

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We Live in an Age of Distraction

How many times have you driven down a highway, only to realize you have no memory of the last 15 minutes of driving? You were deep in thought, somewhere else in your consciousness. Moments when you are distracted by your thoughts are moments you are not in the present. The world exists around you, but you are engaged in distraction, whether it is your phone, the radio, your worries, or your regrets. As a result, life passes by without you noticing the details within it.

We love this passage from Psychology Today: “Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what's past.”

How many minutes, hours, days have you wasted by missing out on present moments because you were worried about the future? At work, all you can think about is your next vacation, but once your vacation begins, you feel anxious about work.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to be present in the moment. It is a mindful and active attention to the present. Notice the new sounds and smells around you. Pay attention to when you are are distracted by thoughts in your head or outside interferences and are not fully engaged in conversation. Try bringing yourself back to the present by taking a deep breath and acknowledging something you hear, smell, feel or taste in the present. Do not live in fear of the “what if’s” of the future or regrets of the past. It is only in the present you actually live.

If you want to delve deeper, think about this quote:  "When people are not in the moment, they're not there to know that they're not there."

If you need additional guidance, we found some great tips:

5 steps for being Present, Psychology Today

Why Being present in the moment is Important (And How to do It)

Apple Cider Vinegar #bebetter52

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Apple cider vinegar has been used for years as a home remedy to treat and prevent a variety of aliments. Recently, apple cider vinegar has re-emerged as a staple in many homes to lower blood pressure, improve diabetes, help with acid reflux and aid in weight loss. Although debate is ongoing regarding the exaggerated benefits of apple cider vinegar, most scientific sources agree that vinegar offers benefits due to its acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes.

According to Superfooly.com, “Apple Cider Vinegar, in addition to the vast majority of fruits and vegetables, are indeed very acidic substances when you consume them. However, once they’re inside your body and you metabolize them, they promote alkalinity. This is due to the metabolic and chemical processes which take place to break down and digest them.”

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to try apple cider vinegar as an aid to digestion. Simply dilute apple cider vinegar with a cup of water or tea before drinking. If you cannot stand the taste, add a little bit of honey. Apple cider vinegar has been proven to reduce gas, combat constipation and reduce heartburn.

However, before you buy a bottle of the good stuff, it is important you understand what type of Apple Cider Vinegar to buy and how to use it.

Tips when buying Apple Cider Vinegar:

1.     Avoid Plastic bottles. Plastics can be made from harmful toxic materials.

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2.     Make sure the bottle says certified organic.

3.     You want vinegar to be raw, meaning it has not been filtered and will not have any added artificial flavors.

4.     You want the brown stuff floating around the bottle of the bottle. It is called the Mother. Although it might appear gross, it contains all the live bacteria and enzymes.

5.     Unpasteurized vinegar helps keep the good bacteria. When it is pasteurized, the vinegar is heated which destroys all bacteria, including the good kinds.

One of the most recommended brands is Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

It is important to consume the proper qualities of apple cider vinegar to prevent the negative side effects of over consuming.

Here is a great resource from Curejoy.com

Some ways vinegar can benefit you:

• Indigestion and heartburn: Drink 2 tsps. of ACV mixed in a glass of water with each meal.

• Constipation: Drink 2 tsps. of ACV mixed in a glass of water after waking up in the morning, during the main meal of the day, and just before bedtime.

• Diarrhea: Drink 1 tsp. of ACV mixed in 1½ cups of water, 5–6 times a day.

Here are some additional resources regarding the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar from Superfooly.com

 

Reconnect with Old Friends #bebetter52

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Life is busy, and sometimes it feels impossible to keep in touch with old friends.

Between social media, email and text messages, we often let months go by without picking up a phone and having a live conversation with a close friend. You might think the convenience of the above methods outweighs the act of dialing a phone and actually talking, but this is not the case. We should not let an important relationship of the past simply dwindle or fade away. Make it a priority to nurture your relationships with conversation over the phone or in person.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to choose two friends whom you want to reach out to during the week. Take a few minutes to call or meet up in person; text messages do not count. We are confident this extra effort will bring joy into your life and likely brighten their day, too. The phone calls or meet ups do not have to be long, but try your best not to be distracted. Be present and appreciate the genuine conversation.

Why friendship is important?

“Life wouldn't be nearly as interesting, exciting or emotional without friends along for the ride. Friends are there to teach us about how other people work – they are our window to the world outside ourselves and our family life.” –Elite Daily

Truth can be deceiving on social media. Although it might appear life is “peachy” over Facebook, most of the time a good chat with a friend is necessary to process the little bumps and trials we face in life. Communicating voice-to-voice or face-to-face is necessary to having authentic conversations and sustaining real relationships.

An interesting article on the AARP website explains how reconnecting to old friends from one’s past isn’t just “a stroll down memory lane” but has tangible health benefits.

Nurture your friendships this week by making the phone calls or scheduling the meet ups necessary to connect through conversation.

And remember Be Better Movement donates extra money every time you document the challenge completion. We do understand this one might be difficult to visually record, so feel free to just post a picture of your closest friends with the hashtag #bebetter52.