Reduce Plastic Waste #bebetter52

Copy of Copy of Copy of Alexandcaroline.jpg

Happy Earth Day!

Whether environmental issues top your list of concerns for our future or not, we have all heard something about the less-than-satisfactory condition of our planet. If you have ever set out to do research on current environmental issues, you know it can feel like a wormhole of complex problems with limited solutions. Many of us, quite frankly, choose not to look too deeply into these topics because of how powerless we feel about the bleak narrative surrounding the future of our planet. However, the Be Better Movement is all about taking small steps to improve our lives and the world we live in, so why should we treat the environment any differently? This week is all about recognizing the impact we can make as individuals by taking a simple action which can make a huge difference for the planet.

Plastic is everywhere, and nearly 300 million tons of plastic is thrown away annually by Americans, half of which is for single use. This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to reduce your plastic waste by finding ways to eliminate single-use plastic items. Notice all the times you grab for a ziplock bag at home or produce bags from the grocery store and quickly throw them away. Every time you replace a single-use plastic item with a reusable replacement, you are making a difference.

The next time a grocery cashier asks you whether you want paper or plastic, hopefully after this week’s challenge, you will respond “neither” because you have a reusable bag. By keeping a few cloth bags in your car and carrying them with you to the grocery store, you can decrease the number of plastic and paper bags in circulation. Simply using a cloth bag can help keep nature clean and safe for animals.

As mentioned, plastic has negative, long-lasting effects on our environment. The average American goes through six disposable shopping bags a week. Maybe that number sounds miniscule, but if you multiply that by our current U.S. population and the 52 weeks in a year, the number starts to look scary. According to ReuseThisBag.com, lightweight plastic bags often end up flying away from landfills, only to land in trees and oceans. Approximately 1 million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea creatures die each year after ingesting plastic bags which block their digestive tracts. Let’s start this week to lower our plastic and paper bag use and keep the earth and its creatures happy!

In the Box: The Traveling Bee Shop Wax Wrap (Etsy)

Beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly substitution to plastic wrap and baggies! Beeswax is naturally antibacterial and water resistant. Every one of the wraps is made by hand from 100% cotton, organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, and pine tree resin, making them compostable and biodegradable!

Proper Posture #bebetter52

4 copy.jpg

Sitting, standing, walking, driving, all actions we do in our daily routine.  But are we thinking about their effects on our body? More specifically, about how we’re positioning our bodies as we go through our day. Back pain isn’t a stranger to anyone after a long day or carrying in big bags of groceries. However, there are a few things we can do to better our wellness while doing everyday activities. That’s why this week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to focus on our posture while sitting and standing. To begin, choose an activity, one that will allow you to focus on your posture: eating, driving, or doing the dishes are ones we recommend. We want you to pay attention to what your body is telling you about how you’re sitting and standing.

You may be asking yourself, “What is the right way to make sure I have good posture?”  Don’t worry, the American Chiropractic Association has a few tips to make sure we are benefitting our bodies the proper way this week.

Sitting Posture:

  1. Keep your feet on the floor (if they don’t reach, then use a footrest).

  2. DO NOT CROSS YOUR LEGS and keep your ankles in front of your knees.

  3. Allow a gap between the back of your knees and your seat.

  4. Check that your knees are at or below the level of your hips.

  5. Relax your shoulders and let your forearms stay parallel to the ground.

  6. Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

  7. If available, use a backrest support for your mid and lower back.

Standing Posture:

  1. Bear your weight on the balls of your feet.

  2. Keep your knees slightly bent.

  3. See that your feet are shoulder width apart.

  4. Let your arms hang naturally by your side.

  5. Stand straight and tall with shoulders pulled back.

  6. Tuck in your stomach.

  7. Keep your head level with your shoulders; DO NOT push it forward, backward, side to side, etc.

  8. If standing for a long time, try shifting your weight from toes to heel or foot to foot.

Seems pretty simple, right? There are many long term benefits for your back by being aware of the way you are positioning your bodies. Having proper posture makes sure the stress is distributed evenly between your joints and muscles, which means you don’t get sore since nothing is under intense pressure. Over time, the outcome of having continual bad posture is pain, and it may already be affecting your everyday life. Southern California Orthopedic Institute tells us that even the way we adjust the seat in our cars may be causing us trouble without our even knowing it!  Sitting too far away from the steering wheel may actually be causing an imbalance, putting stress on our lower backs. Something so simple may be putting too much strain on our bodies.

That’s why we want to challenge you this week to be aware of your posture and to focus on making sure you’re doing it properly. We suggest picking an activity you know you will do, and paying close attention to how you’re sitting or standing. Maybe watching television or driving your car is a time without too many distractions. You may be surprised once you discover how incorrectly you’ve been sitting or standing all these years. Our bodies are important, and a healthy body is a happy one!



Spring Cleaning #bebetter52

2 copy 2.jpg

“Tidy house, tidy mind.” It’s safe to say we all have piles of papers, letters, or general clutter on our desks. What about the “catch-all” drawer in the kitchen were we put things we don’t quite know where to put anywhere else? Although we say we’ll go through that infamous junk drawer one day, somehow it’s on the bottom of our to-do lists, and we never get around to it. This week’s #bebetter52 challenge wants to help you conquer the little messes with a new approach to spring cleaning.

First, we do not want or expect you to do a complete overhaul of your home. Instead, we want you to clean or organize just one portion of the mess that has been bothering you for awhile, the one you keep staring at, promising to tackle tomorrow. These little piles, drawers, whatever it may be, are only a portion of the clutter, but you may be surprised at how great you feel after conquering these smaller battles.

According to Psychology Today, there is a stress that comes along with the messes we create. A few ways it does this are by distracting us from what our attention should be on, telling our brains that our work is never over, thereby causing us to feel guilty.  I’m not organized enough. I can’t clean fast enough. Why can’t I be like so-and-so who seems to be on top of everything? Clutter may be doing more damage to your self-esteem than just making it harder to find your favorite jeans in the middle of the pile.

Here are a few tips to help defeat some of these little messes in our lives:

  • Create designated spaces for frequently used items to make sure they’re easy to find when needed. When you take something from that space, put it back once you’re done using it.

  • While cleaning, if you find something you don’t use or need, consider throwing it out or donating it. You will be pleasantly surprised how much space you’ll have when you start getting rid of things you don’t use anymore.

  • Have fun! Play music or listen to your favorite podcast or audio book. Cleaning is self- care, too, and doesn’t always need to be a chore. Enjoy it!

Again, focus on the little messes instead of the more overwhelming tasks. The impact of cleaning up smaller areas of clutter will add up overtime. We hope you are surprised at how much better you feel after you do!



Eat Honey #bebetter52

Copy of Copy of Copy of Alexandcaroline copy.jpg

Did you know honey is one of the oldest sweeteners on Earth? Not only is it yummy, adding a burst of flavor to pretty much anything, but honey is a power-food with benefits galore. Honey is a simple sugar that contains antioxidants, catalase, ascorbic acid, flavonoids and alkaloids.  These helpful free-radical fighters have been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

HOWEVER, NOT ALL HONEY IS CREATED EQUAL.  

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to eat honey, specifically raw local honey.  Believe it or not, the artificial honey market is growing due to the rapidly declining bee population and the high cost of honey. Manufacturers dilute this delicious substance with various forms of artificial sweeteners.  But eating raw and local honey preserves micronutrients and enzymes that assure many positive health side-effects.

So what can we do to help?  Olivia Box, beekeeper and honey bee researcher, suggests, "The absolute best thing you can do is buy local honey. Whether it is from your farmer’s market or a friend, supporting local beekeepers is key to making sure we can push artificial honey off the market.  Be sure to check your labels for where it is from and what is in the honey." Buying from local farmers also helps the local economy!

The FDA recently drafted guidelines that state, “Only manufacturers that do not add sugar, corn syrup or other sweeteners should label their products as “pure honey.”  It is also important that we, as consumers, read labels and know exactly what we’re buying. Don’t have access to the label? Rub the honey between your fingers.  If it’s sticky, it’s probably fake.  

Benefits of Honey

- Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, which provides our bodies with instant energy and strength. When it comes to athletic performance, honey improves endurance and plays a key role in preventing fatigue during exercise. So before your next workout, grab a spoonful of honey for that extra push. Or if you’re feeling lethargic in the morning, try putting honey on toast or replacing the sugar in your drink with some honey for a quick energy boost.

- Honey also has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Honey helps make your digestive system run smoothly and keeps you healthy and free from many diseases.

- The antibacterial qualities are especially helpful for moisturizing and nourishing the skin. Check out this beauty treatment recipe for a carrot face mask that contains honey.

- Locally grown, raw honey contains immune-stimulating properties that help our bodies adapt to our environment. This means honey can boost your immune system.

- Although honey contains simple sugars, ironically, it also helps regulate blood sugar. Honey’s combination of fructose and glucose aids the body in regulating blood-sugar levels.

How can you use honey?

Use honey in the foods you eat. Spread it on a bagel or muffin.

Pour some in your coffee or tea.

Even consume a teaspoonful for a sweet treat after dinner.

You can also use honey on scrapes and scratches or minor skin ulcers. Dab a little on your bandage and cover your injury.

And next time you feel a cold coming on, grab a local bottle of honey, and you’ll experience the benefits!

OTHER FUN FACTS ABOUT HONEY:

·       Honey is a natural cure in first-aid treatments of cuts and burns.

·       Honey can help combat hangovers.

·       Honey can soothe a sore throat and kill the bacteria that causes the infection.

·       Honey can even help sleeplessness. Just take a glass of hot milk and mix with a teaspoon of honey to induce sleep.

So grab a jar of the sweet stuff (preferably raw, organic, and fair trade) and have at it!  Also by posting a picture of how you used honey this week, #bebetter52 will donate extra money to Every Mother Counts. Let’s all Be Better this week.

(Warning: The Mayo Clinic does not recommend giving honey to babies under the age of one due to their immature digestive system.)

IN THE BOX:

To this day, Glory Bee remains family-owned and operated in Eugene, Oregon, where they pour their passion for honey into every jar. At GloryBee they strongly believe in the healthful benefits of honey and give their guarantee that their honey is all natural, 100% pure, and of the highest quality.



Phoneless Nights #bebetter52

After a long day, you might find yourself sitting on the couch and vegging out by watching TV or scrolling through Instagram photos on your phone. Although you have every intention of going to bed at a decent hour, 10:00 pm soon becomes 10:58 pm because you brainlessly lost yourself in the deep web of your smartphone. Be Better Movement wants to help you get a full night’s rest so you can conquer your day, every day! This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is all about optimizing your nighttime routine to assist with better sleep. And what’s our recommendation? Phoneless nights. This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to create a nighttime routine that includes mindfully putting away your phone 30 minutes before going to bed. If you are one of those people who uses your cell as an alarm, we suggest plugging it in away from your bedroom, but close enough you’re still able to wake up to the alarm. That way, you will be less tempted to look at it when alerts pop up. By fully separating yourself from your cell at bedtime, you can start that book you’ve had on your shelf for awhile or reconnect to another part of your life by journaling. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even fall asleep before you’re able to decide!  Take time for yourself this week and see what benefits our challenge has for you!

Psychology Today tells us there are some negative effects caused by staring at a phone screen before bed. The artificial light that comes from a device like a phone confuses the brain and can delay the circadian rhythm, your body’s internal clock. These screens keep the brain alert, reduce your melatonin production and, during the night, can wake you up either by noise or by the light emission. That glowing blue screen tells your brain to stay awake which causes these adverse effects. A good night’s sleep is important for your appetite, metabolism, and the rejuvenation of the mind and body, so using your phone before bed is definitely NOT worth it!


What’s in the My Be Better Box:

If you’re a subscriber to the My Be Better Box, you’ve been given a Bagby Anti-Phubbing Band, which goes around your phone as a reminder of just how often we look at our phones and the amount of time we spend on them. In 2017, the Sanchez family members challenged each other to not use their cell phones in their bedrooms and called it the #PhoneFreeBedroomChallenge. They discovered that this one simple change helped them reconnect with one another, and it was so successful, they wanted to share their idea with others. The Bagby Band is now promoting real face-to-face exchanges and closer connections with friends and family-- away from our digital devices. Their belief is that “LESS Technology is MORE.”  We, at BeBetter, agree and want to inspire you to connect with people instead of Wifi with this week’s challenge.