Cozy up Your Reading Nook – A Book Lover’s Dream

 

The reading nook. Every home deserves to have one in this chaotic day and age. When the day is done and the stress of the outside world starts to slowly dissipate into the unknown, the last thing we want to do is to try to relax by once again staring at a smartphone screen or watching TV. Instead, you need to rest properly on an emotional, physical, and psychological level.

 

A good book can help you achieve this and so much more. Whether it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon just for you, or a quick reading session before you turn in for the night, letting yourself go to the comfort and serenity of a romantic reading nook with a book in hand can be a truly restorative experience. Here is how to create such a setting in your own home.

 

 

Start with the lighting

 

Aside from mere illumination, lighting in interior design is used to set the mood in the room, accentuate certain features, and help the right kind of vibes imbue the space with that romantic homey vibe. When it comes to designing the perfect reading nook, lighting will play a vital role.

 

You could just read under the base overhead light that’s already in the room, but that would be a terrible waste of your riding nook’s aesthetic potential. Instead, turn off the chandelier and introduce dedicated lighting for this area. When you’re reading in the daytime, natural light should gracefully fall onto the seating area without making it too hot and without producing a glare from the windows and the surrounding decor, so be sure to balance the light beams with beautiful curtains or natural blinds on the windows.

 

The setting area is your focal point

 

Of course, the main spot in the reading nook is the seating area, and this can be anything from a cozy armchair with an ottoman, or even an entire couch other family members can enjoy with you. No matter the arrangement, this piece of furniture should be designed for maximum comfort – meaning that it should not only be fluffy, but supportive as well.

 

Choose sturdy leather upholstery for skeletal support, and then accentuate with throw pillows and cozy blankets later on. Complete the seating area with a wooden side table where you can lay down your book and other reading necessities.

 

Cozy up the setting with layered rugs

 

They are key to creating a reading nook of ultimate coziness (go ahead and write that in stencil on the wall behind it), lies in leaving no surface uncovered, especially the floors. There is a distinct difference between a reading nook with bare hardwood flooring, and one that enjoys the cozy vibe emanating from the fluffiness of the surrounding carpets.

 

With that in mind, consider positioning your armchair and ottoman on a soft Moroccan, and then layer strategically by putting accent round rugs right beneath your feet to create a cozy landing spot. It’s little accents like these that will make a beautiful, romantic reading nook come to life.

 

 

 

Surround yourself with books

 

Whether or not you will be able to truly surround yourself with books will depend on the amount of space you’re working with – sometimes, a reading nook is just a chair, a free standing lamp, and a corner. Nevertheless, there is always a way to strengthen that “intimate oasis” feel.

 

For instance, you can mount floating shelves on the walls next to you and put the books on your reading list on them so that you always have a good read close at hand. If you have plenty of space, on the other hand, then go ahead and position your seating arrangement right next to a grand bookshelf.

 

 

Don’t forget about pillows and throws

 

Now is the time to add the finishing touches to your romantic reading nook. Your lighting scheme is spot-on, the upholstery is not too soft or to rigid, the floors are radiating coziness, now you only have to add pillows and blankets to the mix.

 

This might seem like a simple task, but bear in mind that these additions can easily clutter up the look, so be frugal in your approach and only add the pieces that will enrich the reading nook in aesthetics and comfort. This can be a single chunky-knit blanket complemented by two accent pillows – one to support your lower back, and one to support good head posture.

 

The reading nook doesn’t get the praise and recognition it deserves in the modern household, and it’s time we brought this amazing restorative piece back into our daily lives. With these tips in mind, you will have no problem creating a romantic reading nook the entire family will love.

 

 

 

 

Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home décor and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”

 

 

 

Fighting Anxiety: How to Cope with an Overwhelming Workload

Fighting Anxiety: How to Cope with an Overwhelming Workload

 

Do you feel pressured by deadlines, responsibilities, and complex projects at work?

 

Unless you’re superhuman, you probably do. Work-related stress is an all-too-common issue the vast majority of professionals across all industries cope with – not to mention entrepreneurs.

 

We’ve sort of learned to accept it as a matter of fact – we manage the daily operations and keep the stress under control, but every now and then the workload expands (somewhat dramatically) and that fine balancing act we’ve maintained masterfully for weeks, maybe even months, goes to pieces. Pair it with responsibilities and circumstances outside your work life, and you’ve got yourself feeling like a hot mess.

 

That’s when we feel anxious, overwhelmed, and desperate to grasp some resemblance of order, both internal and external.

 

If this sounds all too familiar to you, it’s important to know that you’re not alone – and that there are ways you can manage these overwhelming pressures. Here are some helpful tips for fighting work-induced anxiety and finding balance.

 

Acknowledge your co-workers as teammates

 

When faced with an overwhelming workload, many people create a barrier between themselves and their co-workers, trying desperately to deal with their anxiety all on their own.

 

But what if you didn’t push back the people who are most likely going through the same thing at that very moment and who have the clearest insight into your situation at work?

 

Perhaps your company doesn’t promote a team culture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bond with your co-workers and foster the team spirit. When things get tough, team members help each other by providing empathy, motivation, and energy, or they may even quite literally step in for each other and help out with certain tasks.

 

So, the next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed by your workload, don’t internalize it. Tell a co-worker what you’re going through, ask for help, don’t eat lunch alone – lean on your team for some support.

 

Ask for support from friends and family

 

Your co-workers are not the only ones who should know what you’re dealing with – it’s important to create your safety net, which can’t be complete without your friends and family. Tell them what you’re going through and what’s troubling you the most about the current pressures. And don’t think you’re burdening them – after all, that’s what friends and family are for.

 

It’s better to vent right away and let them know the issues you’re dealing with than to let the anxiety build up, suffer in silence, and lash out at some point. That’s how you’ll avoid turning work stress into home stress. When loved ones are clued in to what’s going on, there will be no misunderstandings on both sides – only then can they give you the emotional support and the space you need.

 

Take care of your body

 

When tensions rise, it’s more important than ever to take care of your body. This wonderful mechanism, where all the pieces are closely intertwined to form your physical and mental wellbeing, needs to be nurtured so it can help you push through.

 

Any kind of exercise is great for relieving stress, so dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to an activity you like to get your blood pumping. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it, and yes, you can find 15 minutes in your busy schedule. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid alcohol and other stimulants, and try to get enough sleep.

 

Sleep can be an especially tricky issue when you’re fighting anxiety, but if the stress is keeping you tossing and turning at night, try to avoid sleeping pills. It’s always better to find a natural solution, such as plant-based stress support supplements to promote healthy sleep because unlike sleep meds, they have no side effects. These types of products can provide you with stress-relief by managing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, with the help of natural ingredients known as adaptogens.

 

Set boundaries and find your relaxation rituals

 

You need some serious you-time, otherwise you’ll burn out completely.

 

First things first, set clear work-life boundaries to the best of your ability. If boundaries are something you’re especially having trouble with, it’s okay – start small and you’ll get there. For example, dedicate a 100% work-free hour each night.

 

Take that time to reset both mentally and physically. A relaxing daily routine that you truly enjoy helps you maintain a sense of order and calm amidst the chaos. Maybe it’s pursuing a hobby that you love, watching your favorite show, doing a relaxing beauty routine, or taking a hot bath each night before bed – whatever works for you.

 

Prioritize tasks

 

When you think about the overwhelming workload and you have no idea how on Earth you’re supposed to get all that done on time, the panic is bound to settle in.

 

Take a deep breath and step back. Not everything is urgent.

 

Grab a pen and paper and write it all down, one by one, then assign priority rankings to each task. Think in small steps, focus on time management, and develop a day-to-day plan for tackling the monster project. You’ll feel a lot calmer when you have a battle plan and when everything is put on paper rather than swarming around your head.

 

Work inevitably gets overwhelming from time to time, but the only way to handle this anxiety is by maintaining your perspective. Remember that this will pass and use these tips to help you get through it. Lastly, although humor may be the last thing on your mind in uptight situations, do try consciously to find a bit of it every day – it really heals.

 

Caitlin is a bookworm and recreational dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science in all its forms. Her fields of expertise could be summed up in psychology, productivity, and well-being related topics. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related and well-being related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter dashboard. 

 

 

 

End the Year Happier, Healthier & Wealthier With These Simple Lifestyle Changes

End The Year Happier, Healthier & Wealthier With These Simple Lifestyle Changes

 

No matter how good we’re doing in our lives, we can always stand to improve them. How many times have you told yourself that starting tomorrow, or starting next year, you’ll finally stick to your resolutions and turn your life around? Change starts now and it starts with you. The important thing is knowing where to start from. There are simple yet life-changing decisions you can make and stick to regardless of your busy schedule. These changes are bound to improve the three aspects of life which suffer most in today’s world- health, happiness, and wealth.

 

Save some cash

 

 

Saving money is always a good idea and a fail-proof way to more wealth. You don’t need to change your habits entirely to do it, though. For example, you can change the way you use transportation. Instead of taking your car or the bus, cycle to where you need to go.

 

This way you’ll be saving a lot of money on gas and car maintenance (and bus tickets) while keeping fit and healthy. Additionally, you can put the money you’d spend on fuel in a jar or an envelope. Don’t touch it for a few months and see how the money piled up. Now you can afford something nice for yourself or use it for an unexpected fee without stressing.

 

Appreciate what you have

 

 

Perhaps the most efficient way to happiness is by changing your outlook on life. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have and what you want, look at what makes you happy in your life. Remember that at some prior point, you wanted everything you have now.

 

Greed and a negative attitude are what pulls us down and keep us from being happy. Stop yourself every time you have a negative thought about your life. It’s helpful to keep a diary of nice things that happened to you during the day so that you can read it when you’re feeling down.

 

Get enough sleep

 

 

A full night of sleep is essential for your happiness and health. Even though we live in a busy world and have a lot on our plates, it’s important to prioritize sleep. Think of it this way, you’ll achieve nothing if you’re not well-rested and thereby happy.

 

A regular sleep cycle improves your productivity and leaves you more time to do the things you love in the long run. It’s even a good idea to take a half hour nap daily. This way you’ll be setting some time for yourself and be able to finish the rest of your daily duties more quickly.

 

Watch your diet

 

 

Watching your diet doesn’t need to imply some drastic changes. It’s enough to stack up on healthy snacks and cut the sugar out of your life as much as you can. Sugar makes you sleepier and slowly kills your willpower, so it’s good to avoid it.

 

Healthy alternatives will rid your body of toxins you’ve ingested through unhealthy food. This will make you not only healthier, but happier, more energetic, and more positive.

 

Find an exercise you enjoy

 

Most of us only start working out because we have to. Since there is no actual joy in exercising, it’s hard to stay motivated and stick to the routine, hence why we fail most of the time. This can be solved pretty easily by finding an exercise you actually enjoy.

 

There are plenty to choose from, and you’ll surely find the right fit for you after some experimentation. To stay energized and motivated, combine the exercise with a proper diet. If you’re new to exercise, you should use fast digesting post workout protein which will help you kick-start the recovery process and continue exercising regularly.

 

Drink more water

 

This is a very simple way to keep your body healthy and vital. Water is good for all aspects of your being, and you can never have enough of it. It cleanses you internally and leaves your skin soft and radiant. What’s more, you’ll have more energy and will be much healthier.

 

There are plenty of apps which can help remind you to stay hydrated if you don’t have the habit of drinking water regularly. Another idea is to spice up your drink with some fresh mint or lemon. These two ingredients will keep you refreshed and on your toes.

 

Conclusion

 

All in all, you don’t need to make major changes to improve your life overall. Small steps are okay and they lead to the big improvements. The important thing is that you stick to these little decisions and make time for them in your busy schedule. Consistency has always been the key to success. It also helps with maintaining high levels of motivation. That means that you’ll be the best version of you in no time.

 

 

Stella is an art historian, entrepreneur, conscious consumer and a proud mother. She can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of home improvement/DIY projects.When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book.

 

 

Easy Ways to Get Fit When Your Schedule Is Crazy

 

Easy Ways to Get Fit When Your Schedule Is Crazy

 

You’re a busy woman. Between work, family, and other obligations, finding time to do more than the essentials can be impossible. Slowly but surely, things get cut from your schedule, and oftentimes, taking care of your health is one of the first to go.

 

However, staying healthy is even more important when your schedule is beyond crazy, and no matter how hectic your day is, you can find some time to be active. Need some help finding time on those busy days? Check out these tips.

 

Move More

 

When you just can’t find time to get in a full workout, do your best to move more throughout the day. Use the stairs whenever possible, park on the far end of the parking lot, bike to work, walk around when talking on the phone, do lunges down the hallway — it can be anything, as long as it gets you moving more than usual. Find something you can do at work, at home, or even waiting in line at the store. While not the same as a trip to the gym, spending more time moving will at least keep you up and on your feet throughout the day.

 

Incorporate Technology

 

Involve technology into your daily routine. From Fitbits to fitness apps on your phone, there are a plethora of options available to fit your needs. Fitness technology can help you keep track of your body and everything it does: how much water you drink, how many steps you take, and even what your vital signs are like. Not only is fitness technology extremely popular, 96 percent of health app users believe these apps work to improve their quality of life. Even if it doesn’t work to help you be more active, you can at least begin to play an active role in monitoring your health.

 

Schedule It

 

Schedule time to workout in your calendar and stick to it. Be as consistent as possible and keep your workout appointment the way you would keep plans with a friend. When you toy with the idea of going to the gym after work instead of committing to it wholeheartedly, you’re a lot more likely to skip it altogether. Treat your workout time as a necessary part of your schedule and you’ll be less likely to flake on it. Of course, sometimes things do come up that get in the way of keeping that commitment and that’s perfectly fine; just make sure you’re not looking for an excuse to get out of your fitness plans.

 

Take It on the Road

 

Traveling, whether for business or fun, is a great opportunity to get out of a fitness rut. George Washington University notes that “being on the road often leads to drastic changes in exercise and eating. Although your change in venue can be disrupting to your routine, it’s beneficial to maintain your exercise and dietary habits as much as possible.” However, it is precisely because of that disruption that traveling is the perfect time to squeeze in a few workouts. While you may not be dying to fill your vacation with trips to the gym, take advantage of your new surroundings to get active.

 

Hit the Hay

 

When you’re busy, it’s all too tempting to go to bed later than usual to add a few more hours to your day. But think twice before rearranging your sleep schedule; sleep is part of living a healthy, balanced life and if your schedule is beyond busy, getting enough sleep is more vital than ever before.

On particularly hectic days, sleep may be the only downtime you get. Be sure to prioritize high quality rest, especially if you sleep with a partner. Between your partner’s sleep habits and other disruptions, it can be tricky to ensure a full, good night’s sleep. To protect your health and stay energized throughout your days, don’t make any compromises on your sleep.

 

Focus on Overall Health

 

Even though it’s a large component of a healthy lifestyle, there’s a lot more that goes into staying healthy than working out. Take a more comprehensive view of your health and focus on the other ways you can take care of yourself. Be sure to properly hydrate, get enough sleep, and maintain your mental health. Whether or not you have time to be active during your crazy schedule, you do have time to work on improving your health. If you’re so busy that you truly can’t find time to exercise, you owe it to yourself to ensure that you are taking care of your health in other ways.

 

There is no singular solution to getting fit even when your schedule is jammed. You simply have to try different things and figure out what works best for you. After all, if you aren’t much of a planner, it probably won’t help to schedule workouts in advance. But with a little trial and error and a lot of patience, you’ll be able to fit fitness back into your life.

 

Alex Quayle currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her partner, cat, and dwarf hamster. She can never say no to coffee, doughnuts, and good conversation. Follow her on Twitter @alexquayle33 for more articles and pictures of her cute, little family.

 

 

Meditation for the Modern Woman

 

 

We live in a time when distractions and anxieties abound. We’re encouraged to keep our schedules as busy as possible and are sometimes judged for having free time. Women are not immune.

 

In fact, we can sometimes get hit the hardest with these unrealistic expectations of constant productivity and business. The problems that result from this mindset are detrimental to our health; anxiety, negative self-talk, shorter attention spans, and life-threatening health conditions run rampant when we live in a constantly “on” world and never take the time to turn it all off and be alone with ourselves.

 

Meditation can enable us with the tools to turn off when we need a break; it can also help us get to know ourselves better, practice mindfulness, and live in the present moment. Meditation needs to be a priority for the modern woman. We’ll explain how to do that in further detail below.

 

 

The Benefits of Meditation

 

Meditation can lead you to a plethora of physical and mental benefits as well as improved connections within your relationships and with yourself. Some people use it to help them feel more spiritual and some use it to help them deal with anxieties at work. Whatever your goals are, take a look through the benefits of meditation and consider how a regular practice could improve your life.

Your meditation practice is like mindfulness training. Many practitioners say the main benefit of diligently maintaining their meditation practice is the result of mindfulness, or full awareness of the present moment without any judgement.

Marissa Powers and Lindsay Benjamin, both experts in meditation and mindfulness, explained to Concordia University that when we become aware of mindfulness through meditation we can:

  • Become more deeply and fully connected to the present moment
  • Deepen our relationship with other people
  • Improve communication
  • Connect with our work
  • Become a better listener
  • Even change our brain activity, improve heart rate, and reduce overall stress

 

Few people question anymore whether or not meditation is beneficial to your mind and body. We might discuss to what degree or who benefits most, but research proves the benefits of meditation. Dr. Robert Schneider noted research on transcendental meditation that found benefits such as:

  • Reduced blood pressure and insulin resistance
  • Slowing of biological aging
  • 48 percent reduction in rates of heart attacks, stroke, and death in coronary heart disease patients

 

Even though most doctors aren’t prescribing meditation to help treat health issues (yet), the benefits are still clear to see. Sometimes, it’s our own responsibility to take our health into our own hands and try something new. Next, we’ll discuss a few common types of meditation if you’re ready to get started but don’t know how.

 

 

Which Type of Meditation Is Right for You?

 

Over time, various cultures, educators, leaders, and experts have developed many different ways to practice meditation. There is something to suit anyone, no matter your personality or lifestyle. These variations were created because the same practice doesn’t work for everyone.

Cultivating a meditation practice is flexible, so you can create a unique practice that works for you if nothing else seems to fit your needs. There is no “right way” to meditate. But if you’re looking for a more traditional meditation practice to help get you started, here are a few types of meditation to consider:

 

  • Metta meditation, also known as loving-kindness meditation, focuses on cultivating an attitude of love, kindness, and compassion toward everything, even stress.

 

  • Mindfulness meditation aims to maintain your awareness of the present moment by noticing your surroundings without judgement.

 

  • Progressive relaxation, sometimes called body scan meditation, entails scanning your body for areas of tension, notice and release it, working your way through your whole body.

 

  • Breath awareness meditation is all about focusing on your breath; breathing slowly, deeply, and counting your breaths to help you focus and ignore the thoughts invading your mind. This is also a form of mindfulness meditation.

 

  • Zen meditation, sometimes called Zazen, involves specific steps and postures usually guided by a teacher. It is a form of mindfulness meditation that focuses on breath and mindfully observing your thoughts without judgement.

 

  • Transcendental meditation is more focused on the spiritual self than some forms of meditation practices. Practitioners focus on repeating a mantra while sitting still and breathing slowly in order to transcend above your current state of being.

It’s perfectly acceptable to blend different types of meditation until you’ve found your own personal practice. Keep in mind that this list only covers a few types of meditation and each description is a brief overview. There is a lot more out there to discover.

 

It’s perfectly acceptable to blend different types of meditation until you’ve found your own personal practice. Keep in mind that this list only covers a few types of meditation and each description is a brief overview. There is a lot more out there to discover.

 

Making Meditation Work for You

 

As a fellow modern woman, I know it’s difficult to cultivate a regular practice. Here are some quick tips from my research and my personal experience:

  • Use a guided meditation app. My favorite is Stop, Breathe, and Think.
  • You don’t have to sit and meditate. You can actually meditate anywhere while you’re doing anything — just take deep breaths and focus on the present moment.
  • Practice gratitude and take a few minutes to reflect on everything in your life that is good.
  • Unplug from all forms of technology for a set period of time.
  • Schedule your meditation practice like you would any other responsibility.
  • Try using a timer if you’re struggling.

 

In the not too distant future, I think we’ll find that meditation is a normal part of life for everyone, especially the modern woman. As we become more productive and connected than ever before, it will become increasingly important to take time to disconnect from the world and reconnect with ourselves. I hope this article will help you develop a practice that works for you.

 

Alex Quayle currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her partner, cat, and dwarf hamster. She can never say no to coffee, doughnuts, and good conversation. Follow her on Twitter @alexquayle33 for more articles and pictures of her cute, little family.