Spring is officially here and in a number of cultures around the world the coming of spring is celebrated as an opportunity for new beginnings.
In the spirit of Spring, or new beginnings, here are a few random tips to help make your life a bit better:
Prioritize Social Connections:
Countless research studies have shown that having strong and meaningful social connections with friends and family is one of the secrets to a long and healthy life. Of course, this is referring to in person face to face connections.
As cliché as this is, its important to remember that it is not about quantity rather it is about quality. Having just one person that you are close enough to is more than enough. Whenever possible try to prioritize your social connections with those nearest and dearest to you because life is simply so unpredictable.
Just recently a friend of mine lost her cousin whom she loved like a brother due to a tragic traffic accident. A week before this tragic incident my friend and this cousin of hers had planned to go to lunch together but my friend cancelled last minute because she felt that she was too busy. Of course, sometimes life gets in the way and we simply don’t have time to socialize but her tragic story reminded me that we really should reevaluate our priorities every once in a while.
Research has shown that volunteering for a cause that you care about has health benefits for yourself as well. The results of one recent study showed that those who volunteered were as healthy as non-volunteers who were five years younger than them. You can volunteer at your local library, hospital, animal shelter, nursing home or anywhere else you would like. If you have a computer you can even volunteer virtually visit volunteermatch.org for a wide range of opportunities.
Consider a Clinical Trial:
As many of you already know, clinical trials are basically like scientific experiments to test the effectiveness of a particular medication or method of treatment. Of course, in order for clinical trial to be conducted people need to volunteer to participate in the clinical trial. Currently, in the United States there are about 61,000 open clinical trials but very few people actually participate in these trials. By participating in these trials you will definitely be doing something that is for the greater good. However, there is also a chance that you will also reap the benefits of whatever treatment or medication that they are testing in the trial.
Just Say No:
Honestly, this is probably one of the most difficult things for many people, including myself, to say. Many of us have difficulty saying “No” and as a result we tend to take on much more than we can handle. Of course, taking on too many things at once can lead to heightened levels of stress and overtime excessive stress can lead to a wide range of other health concerns such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, etc. I truly believe that saying “No” not only has health benefits for you but also for the other person because realistically if we have too much on our plates its impossible for us to give our full time and attention to any task.
Sometimes life gets so busy and hectic that we forget to take a moment to truly relax. Also, another issue is that some people spend their downtime doing tasks that are not truly relaxing for them. If you feel that this is the case for you, be sure to take some time to find what are some of the most relaxing things for you and be sure to incorporate those activities into your days.
If you are anything like me, the shorter, darker, and cooler days of winter might make you feel a little less energetic and a little more prone to laziness.
Here are a few tips to help boost your energy levels and conquer winter:
During this time of the year our lack of energy may be due to the winter blues. Research shows us that one way to boost your mood is to wear bright and vibrant colors. Sometimes during these dark and cloudy days a little burst of color might just help to lift your spirits.
Rise and Shine:
It turns out that there is wisdom behind the cliché saying rise and shine. Experts recommend either stepping outside or simply facing a window soon after waking up. This flood of natural light can help energize you and exposure to sunlight has been shown to set our internal clock, regulate hormones, and put you in a better mood.
During the cold winter months many of us spend almost the entire day indoors. However, once in a while it is a good idea to bundle up and go outside. But you don’t have to stay outside too long. Research shows that just a quick walk around the block can ease our tiredness and help us feel much better. If it is dark outside make sure to be extra safe and carry a little flashlight with you or just use the one on your phone if your phone has one.
I feel slightly hypocritical because out of all of these tips this one is the hardest for me to implement. During the winter you should take soothing warm showers. However, experts recommend that right before getting out you should give yourself a 30 second rinse in cold water.
Research shows that once you get over the initial shock you will feel more energized as the blood flow increases to help your body conserve heat. One study even showed that doing this can even help your brain release endorphins and this can even have an antidepressant effect.
Don’t Forget about Water:
Normally, drinking plenty of water is most often emphasized during the warmer summer months. However, it is possible to become, at least, mildly dehydrated during the winter and this can lead to lethargy and changes in mood. The simple solution is to carry a bottle with you and continue to sip throughout the day.
I just wanted to wish each and every one of you a very happy holidays! May these holidays be a time of joy and laughter for you and all of your loved ones!
Everyone has slightly different holiday traditions and I would love to read about any special traditions that you may have so please feel free to comment them below!
My family and I do not celebrate Christmas but we still appreciate the extra time off from work and school during this time of the year and we usually have at least one family gathering where we gather to share a meal and some laughter!
During this time of the year many of the local homeowners decorate and light up their homes and one of my pastimes during this time of the year is to go for a walk and look at all of the lights and festive decorations.
I have to admit that my absolute favorite pastime during this time of the year is watching Christmas movies . I just love the light hearted and often cheesy romantic movies. I have to admit that this year my favorite was the Princess Switch.
I think its safe to say that, at least to some extent, everyone likes to gain the acceptance or approval of others. I know I sure do.
I think that its human nature to desire to be well-liked since we humans are such social beings.
I think that this need for approval becomes problematic when we constantly think about, worry about, and stress over how other people will judge every step or action that we take.
The reason why I felt the need to briefly write about this is because I was recently spending time with a dear friend who has a normal office job but on the side she also has a very small business as well. She asked me if I had told my parents about her business and I admitted that I had (because as far as I can remember she never told me that I shouldn’t tell anyone about her business)
After my admission she briefly became very sad and I could really see the intense agony in her face and she told me that she did not want anyone to find out about it because then people would start talking about her behind her back. (As a side note, I don’t know why she was worried about people talking behind her back because I think that starting a small business is a very impressive thing to do).
The truth is that when I told my parents about my friends’ business venture they were very impressed and then they never discussed the matter again. This simple incident reminded me that sometimes we make things a bigger deal than they really are. We fear that others are judging us and talking about us behind our backs but in reality they are not doing any such thing because they are usually too busy and/or stressed with their own lives.
Lets say worst comes to worst you do something and people do start talking about you behind your back. I know that this would be a nightmarish situation for many people including myself. However, the reality is its more than likely that people are not going to talk about what you did or what happened to you forever.
More often, they might discuss you among themselves for a few minutes and then they might go to a different topic or soon afterwards things will come up in their own lives such that you are probably going to be the last thing they are worried about.
Also, please remember that people who do talk behind your back are far from perfect themselves and remember that their words do not make you any less successful, likeable, or less of a good person. Their words cannot harm you as long as you don’t let those words affect the way that you think or act.
I know that this is much easier said than done but I think that instead of worrying and agonizing about what others think about us we should instead focus on being the best version of ourselves that we can be and making sure that the decisions that we make are true to our own beliefs and values.
Normally when we are having a face to face conversation with another person we maintain eye contact and we use our eyes to guess how the other person is feeling.
Basically, most of us believe that the best way to figure out how the other person is feeling is to focus on their facial expressions.
However, the latest research from Yale University seems to refute that belief. Researchers at Yale conducted five experiments and they discovered that people who listened to what the other person said and how they said it were able to make a better judgement of the speakers emotional states as compared to people who just focused on the speakers facial cues and expressions.
Researchers concluded that perhaps the best way to figure out how someone is feeling and to empathize with them better is to simply listen to them.
I think that deep down each and everyone one of us knows the value of helping others and most of us can probably think of at least one instance in which we have helped someone else.
However, I believe the thing that most of us humans struggle with is actually asking for help when we need it ourselves. Many of us are afraid to ask others for help because we fear being rejected or we just immediately assume that the other person will say no.
If you are anything like me, you may feel that you are being a burden to other people if you ask them for help. Without a doubt, there is definitely a limit to how much someone can help us because helping others requires time and effort.
However, most of us only focus on the burden that we are putting on others and we don’t focus on how rewarding helping us may be for the other person.
In fact, a great deal of psychological research shows that helping others increases self-esteem, sense of belonging and overall well-being.
Of course, there is a wrong way and a right way to ask for help. I know that it is really tempting to ask for help through text or email. However, this is not such a great idea because its easier for you to ask but its also easier for them to say no.
Also, whatever you do, don’t send a mass email asking for help because you’re much less likely to get a response. Most of the people included in the mass email may not even reply because they will just assume that someone else will help you.
When you are about to ask someone for help try to follow these tips:
Ask in person or over the phone: The live interaction is key and research shows that you are 34 percent more likely to get a yes if you ask in person or over the phone.
Be specific and direct: Most people are not mind readers so don’t be vague and don’t assume that they already know what you need. Be completely honest and tell the person exactly what you need, when you need it, etc. so that person cam make a decision to help or not.
Be positive and understanding: I know this is obvious but make sure to ask for help in a kind and friendly manner. And if they do happen to say no don’t take it personally.
I know that at first it is very difficult to ask for help but research has shown that succesful people have strengthened their “asking muscle”. These people have gotten past the initial difficulty of asking for help because occassionally everyone needs help to succeed.
I know that I haven’t mentioned this before but I have a pet bird, a cockatiel, and her name is Laily! This week marks one year since we brought her into our home. This past year, Laily has brought us so much joy and happiness so I wanted to create this post to share some of my personal tips and experiences of living with a pet cockatiel.
Please remember that I am not an expert on cockatiels, these are just some of the things that I have learned over the course of this past year. If you are thinking of buying a cockatiel please do your own research first to determine if a cockatiel is a good pet for you.
Why a Cockatiel:
My fascination with cockatiels began about a year and a half ago at a family gathering. We had all gathered at my grandmother’s house and my younger cousin brought over her two pet cockatiels and I got to meet them for the first time! I was really amazed at how cute and friendly the cockatiels were!
After going home, I did some research of my own by watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading a few articles and I decided that I really wanted a pet cockatiel as well. Basically, a short while later, my family and I went to our local breeder and that’s how we brought Laily home!
The scientific name for cockatiels is Nymphicus Hollandicus.
Cockatiels are originally from the warm semi-arid regions of Australia.
On average, the lifespan of the cockatiel is anywhere from 10 to 25 years.
Cockatiels are very curious and smart animals. They have the intellect of a two year old child.
Cockatiels are the second most common pet birds in the United States, right after the budgie/parakeets
Pros and Cons:
Without a doubt, cockatiels can be amazing pets. They are adorable and many of them are very sociable as well.
However, in my experience, two of the major cons of having a cockatiel are their messiness and their tendency to make a lot of noise.
Cockatiels are very clean animals, in fact if you sniff them, they smell quite nice. However, they love to make a mess, especially when they are eating.
Everyday, when I clean Laily’s cage, my father sweeps the floor near her cage because she always spills seeds everywhere. This can definitely be an annoyance but I believe that some companies are starting to make spill-proof or mess-proof cages with a special enclosed area for feeding.
If you are sensitive to loud noise (especially loud squawking noises) I definitely would not recommend a cockatiel (or most other pet birds). In general, cockatiels can make a lot of noise in the mornings, then once again in the late afternoons/early evenings.
They will also make a lot of noise if they’re bored or if they are in a very bright and sunny environment. The excess light can overstimulate them.
Also, if you leave the room, they will make a lot of noise for you to come back. (I personally find this very endearing but others may find this to be an annoyance)
Male vs. Female:
In most cases, there not many physical differences between males and females. From what I have read males can be a bit noisier than females. However, males are able to whistle and sing while females are generally not able to do so.
My Cockatiel Care Tips:
Every morning I thoroughly clean her cage. I take out the removable bottom tray of the cage and wash and clean it. I then use a damp paper towel and soap to clean any remaining droppings and food particles. I also clean her food and water bowls and replace them with clean food and water.
As you can imagine, diet is essential to a healthy cockatiel. Cockatiels love seeds but they should have a well balanced diet. Most experts recommend giving your cockatiel pellets. Also, try to give your cockatiel veggies and a little bit of fruit as well. Admittedly, this is something that I have to work on with Laily because I give her a fortified seed diet and I keep trying to introduce her to vegetables but she is a very picky eater!
When it comes to bathing her, I usually just mist her with a spray bottle filled with water. However, now that the weather is very hot I usually hold her under the sink and gently wet her. Most experts recommend only using water to clean cockatiels because their feathers contain a natural dusty powder which helps keep them nice and clean.
In fact, it is very common for cockatiels to preen themselves on a daily basis. When they are preening themselves it looks like they are itching themselves but in reality they are just preening/cleaning themselves.
To Trim or Not to Trim:
Many bird owners have very strong opinons on whether a pet bird should be flighted or should have trimmed feathers.
Obviously, in their natural settings, birds fly freely and this is a great form of excercise. However, in my opinion if you have a pet bird it is best to trim their feathers.
Primarily, this is for their own safety. However this also gives peace of mind to the bird owner (or bird parent) because if a bird accidently flies away it is very difficult to find the bird and the birds’ life may be in danger.
When you first bring your cockatiel home, it is very tempting to want to immediately interact with it. However, it is best to give it a day or two to allow it to get used to its new surroudings.
Approach the cockatiel very gently: Start by just sitting next to the cage and softly talking with your new bird. As the bird becomes more comfortable you can put your hands inside the cage and gradually work your way up to having the bird perch on your finger. There are many YouTube videos and online articles that teach you how to tame your cockatiel. The best tip that I can give you is to be very gentle and make sure to have some spray millet with you as a treat for the bird.
I definitely only reccommend getting one cockatiel rather than two. Its much easier to form a bond with a single cockatiel. However, you must be able to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour of quality time with the cockatiel each day. If you don’t have that much time then I would reccommend getting two so they keep each other company.
Buy two or three toys for your cockatiel and alternate them every few weeks so your bird doesn’t get bored. Toys are essential to keep your cockatiel happy and calm and quiet.
During the first few weeks try to spend a lot of time with your new cockatiel so you too can form a strong bond. Eventually after the bond has formed it might be a good idea to set up specific time(s) of the day to play with your bird so the cockatiel knows what to expect and this structure can also keep them calm and quiet.
Make sure that the cage is not too small. It should be large enough for the bird to move around freely without hitting anything.
At nighttime cover the cage with a towel or thin blanket to prevent street lights or the sunrise from waking them up. They need between 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night.
If you want your bird to be friendly with other people start having different family members or friends spend time with the bird. The sooner you start the more likely you are to have a friendly and well-socialized bird.
Laily, my pet cockatiel, has provided my family and I with an immense amount of joy and happiness. However, a cockatiel may not be the right pet for everyone. Honestly, each cockatiel has its own personality. Some may be more friendly and sociable than others. However, with a little bit of effort and a lot of patience, it is very possible to form a bond with a cockatiel!