Play Like a Kid #bebetter52

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The importance of play is often overlooked as we enter adulthood. Recess and playdates at the park are only for small children, right? As we become adults, life is meant to be taken seriously because we have responsibilities. Playing is often viewed as a waste of time, but what if we told you finding time to play has both physical and emotional benefits? Play stimulates the mind, expands our creativity, reduces stress, increases joy and allows us to better connect with others.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to carve out time in your day to play.  First step is to view play as a necessary priority in your life. Adding little bits of play here and there will go a long way to boosting your productivity and happiness.

In a fast-paced society focused on accomplishments and material success, it sometimes becomes a struggle to pay attention to the important things that bring real happiness. In the words of Christopher E. Peterson, a noted psychologist and expert on happiness, play is “a robust predictor of how satisfied we are with our lives.”

The book titled, The Top Five Regrets of The Dying, adds some perspective to the subject. Note how differently people wished they had lived their lives in retrospect:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Scott, Eberle, Ph.D, author of Play in Mind, states play is “a process, not a thing.” He continues, “...in between you find surprise, pleasure, understanding — as skill and empathy — and strength of mind, body, and spirit.

Dr. Stuart Brown, a pioneer researcher on play, states, “Play is something done for its own sake. It's voluntary, it's pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome."

Brown outlines five different types of play. Hopefully, you will be motivated to add a few to your weekly schedule.

Rough-and-tumble: Tug of war, capture the flag, dodgeball

Ritual Play: Games with set rules like board and card games.

Imaginative Play: Storytelling, painting, drawing, acting

Body Play: Yoga, hiking, surfing

Object play: Legos, building forts, building blocks

Please take sometime this week to play. It will positively impact your career, relationships and families.

Skincare with Cooking Oils #bebetter52

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What’s in your kitchen cabinet, full of healthy fats and nutrients, and amazing for your...skin? That’s right, the stuff you drizzle on your vegetables has a secret talent entirely unrelated to your cooking endeavors. This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to incorporate cooking oils into your skin care routine. But before you conclude we’ve lost our minds, allow us to explain how this unlikely household item can actually make your face and body glow with hydration and vibrance.

The first step to harnessing the powers of natural oils for your skin is understanding which ones to use, their benefits, and how to decide which type of oil is best suited for you. Some of the more common cooking oils that have a multitude of skin benefits are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and grapeseed oil. It is important to use these oils as opposed to some others because they contain the right kinds of fats that will nourish your skin and are less refined. However, your skin type is also an important factor in making an ideal selection.

OILY OR ACNE PRONE SKIN

If your skin is oily or acne prone, opt for grapeseed oil. It is light in consistency, packed with vitamins E and C, and great at balancing your skin’s oil production. Just pat it directly onto your face and let it work its magic for clear, glowing skin.

NORMAL OR COMBINATION SKIN

If you have normal or combination skin, coconut oil or olive oil may be a good option for you. Olive oil has antioxidants that help to heal and protect the skin, and coconut oil has lauric acid, which is easily absorbed and put to use by the body because it occurs naturally in human breast milk. They both work exceptionally well as moisturizers, but since coconut oil is antimicrobial, it can be used to cleanse the face or even remove makeup! These oils are also the most versatile and effective for moisturizing your whole body, although any of these oils could work great for full body use depending on your skin’s needs.

DRY SKIN

If you suffer from dry skin, avocado oil is a perfect fix because it is highly moisturizing and boosts collagen production. It works great as a spot treatment for dry patches, to hydrate the skin under your eyes, or even just as an all over moisturizer on days your skin is feeling especially parched.

AGING SKIN

Finally, for aging skin, try macadamia oil! It’s uniquely high fatty acid content helps with cellular regeneration. Therefore, you can feel free to ditch the expensive anti-aging serums and instead enjoy the benefits of this affordable, all-natural option.

So there you have it, 52ers. Who would have thought these kitchen staple items could actually give your complexion such a boost! Take this week to experience the benefits of cooking oils and all they can do for your skincare routine. And remember every time you complete a #bebetter52 challenge, money is donated to Every Mother Counts. 

Additional resources on cooking oils for healthier skin

Little Green Dot

Beautiful with Brains

 

Farmers Markets #bebetter52

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When we decide to ditch grocery stores and shop at farmers’ markets, the environment, farmers, and our bodies thank us. 

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to shop at a farmers’ market. Bring as little as $5--$10 with you and purchase locally grown produce. You do not have to buy huge quantities; it can be as small as a basket of fresh strawberries, just as long as it is locally grown. This way you will not only be buying the freshest produce, but you will also be supporting farmers in your community.

This does not mean you have to completely get rid of shopping at grocery stores, but it is a great way to incorporate some fresh fruits and vegetables into your meals!
 

Here are a few reasons why we love farmers markets

They are better for the environment.

Less transportation and truck fuel will be put into the air when food is transported to large chain grocery stores. The food you buy at a local grocery store travels an average of 1,500 miles to reach you. The shipping itself consumes great quantities of  fossil fuels, thereby contributing to pollution. Also, conventional agriculture pollutes water, land and air with toxic agricultural by-products, whereas sustainable agriculture uses methods that minimize the impact on our planet.

Most foods at farmers’ markets are organic and cost less than at other stores.

Big farming companies use harmful chemicals and pesticides that can damage the soil and the ecosystem, and the fuel from their shipping trucks and smog from their giant packing houses pollute the air. Small family farms, on the other hand, maintain healthy, nutrient-rich soil, and their food doesn’t have to travel far to your table.

We support local family farmers who provide us with delicious and nutritious food to fuel our bodies.

When we do business with people that are directly within our community, we benefit financially, too! Think about it, if we pay the people in our community, they spend more money within the community, too. Once this happens, we all get more business, and with the demand rising, prices of things also drop!

The fruit and vegetables are usually picked at their peak ripeness, where the most flavor and vitamins are in the foods.

It is important to know exactly what goes into your food and how it is processed. At farmers’ markets you can simply ask the farmer how the produce is grown, and he or she will tell you everything you need to know. In big grocery stores, produce can sit on a shelf for weeks before it is purchased. However, farmers at the local market can tell you the exact date the produce was picked, often no more than a day or two before.
To find out more, check out this article by CUESA about the top 10 reasons to support Farmers’ Markets. Let us know how your trip to the Farmers’ Market went by reporting your challenge!

Deep Breathing Under the Stars #bebetter52

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Sometimes the answers are in the silence, just you lying under the endless night sky and allowing it to speak. A moment of pure perspective, and everything else falls into place. Sometimes running around the mazes in your own head leave you with no solution, hitting every dead end when all you really needed to do was breathe for a minute and realize there was never a maze in the first place. It’s okay not to have all the answers, it’s okay to let your best be good enough, to become content with the mess. After all, we are all part of something much, much bigger. There is purpose behind the chaos, and the quickest way to remember that is to look right at it. That’s why this week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to sit under the stars and just breathe.

The night sky has a way of making you feel painfully insignificant yet vitally important all at the same time. It is the window to the unknown. And while that unknown can be terrifying and perplexing to think about, it can also offer abundant comfort. Like the weight of a giant blanket cascading down upon you. Each star tells a story and reminds you that you are not alone in this. When nothing makes sense that much is certain, and suddenly everything is going to be just fine.

We invite you this week to go outside, lay out a blanket, and just look up. The best way to experience this powerful moment is in a state of conscious awareness, and deep breathing is essential to enter that space. Try breathing in for 8 counts, or whatever number feels most comfortable for you, and out for that same number of counts. Breathing this way relieves stress and anxiety, promotes blood flow, and makes you more in tune with your body’s physical and emotional state. This allows us to experience health benefits while simultaneously discovering what we may need in that moment, helping us to set our intention for our meditation. So focus your attention on what lies above and experience the connection you feel to the universe. It is also worth noting that many of the areas our 52ers live in have a fair amount of light pollution, meaning that far fewer stars are visible due to city lights. If you wish to take this challenge to the next level, finding a place with as little light interference as possible will greatly enhance your viewing experience. We hope this makes you feel centered and clear this week and that this week brings some much needed perspective. Happy star gazing 52ers!