Does the Weather Affect Our Body?

I remember being 8 years old, sitting on the front porch with my grandma on a summer afternoon.

“It’s going to rain,” My grandma spoke out-load as she touched her rigid knees. “I can feel it in my bones.”

I looked down at her wide arthritic fingers rubbing her smooth knees and wondered if she could really feel something…or was just saying things.

My grandma said a lot of things.

“If you don’t clean your ears…corn will start growing out of them.”

“I saw video of what you did on the news.” She matter of factly stated, when she assumed we did something wrong but couldn’t prove it.

“Purple is the color of death.” She said whenever we had anything purple on.

“Put that candy bar down, you’ll get acne.”

So, when my grandma said she could feel the rain in her bones…I seriously doubted it.

Later that night as I was sitting around the coffee table, I began to hear the soft patter of rain hitting the roof of our house.

Bewildered, I got up and peaked through the blinds.

“My grandma is a weather psychic.”

A lot of time has passed since this moment.

I was reminded of it a few days ago when rain began to suddenly down pour here in Phoenix.

A few days before, I noticed that it was painful for me to move my left hand. When I tried making a fist, my hand curled in slowly and it felt tight.

I shrugged it off, chalking it up to too much typing and hoped it would just go away.

But now, as I sat at my desk with the sudden rain drops hitting the window, the memory of my grandmother came into my mind.

I made a fist with my left hand and now found it easier and less painful to do.

“Did I feel the rain coming on?” I thought to myself. “Is this a real thing?”

What is it about the weather that affects our bodies?

While I was hoping the answer would be that I have a magic power, I learned this wasn’t the case.

Oddly enough, the answer is actually due to the barometric pressure.

The pressure change in the air, also changes the pressure on our joints. For this reason, joint pain can occur; especially for those who suffer from arthritis.

The pressure change can cause headaches for people as well.

While there is no “cure” to this barometric pressure phenomenon…luckily, the effects are only temporary.

Preventive Care

If this happens, the best thing to do is to relax our bodies.

If our muscles are tight the pain may increase. For this reason, you will want to keep them loose and comfortable.

Keeping these joints warm with a heating pad or blanket should help reduce pain and also aids in relaxation.

So, next time that feeling of pain sets in, relax and grab the umbrella.

Labor Day in Phoenix

Walking into the Frys grocery store, the red plastic awning was stretched out in front calling customer’s attention from the parking lot.

The closer I approach to the entrance of the automatic sliding doors, the smell of barbeque flows under my nose. The loudspeaker blaring a familiar song that I’m sure has the words, “USA” somewhere….is playing in the air.

The last summer holiday weekend is here and everything you need for a great party is just inside these set of doors. The ribs being cooked outside under the speakers, are just $6.99 a pound.

Thoughts fill my head.

Thick green blades of grass filling up a back yard. A game of friendly competitive cornhole being played among friends drinking out of red solo cups. The smell of that barbeque drifting from the smoky grill, off to the side of the cornhole game.

Kids wearing goggles and floaties along their arms, jumping in unison into a bright blue refreshing pool. At the table on the patio more friends sitting around with their red solo cups, smiling and laughing.

And in this backyard, somewhere in the background, a song playing. A familiar song that you are sure will say USA at some point.

This is how the perfect Labor Day weekend is sold to us. Friends gathering outside. Eating ribs, chicken, burgers or brats. Anything that is cooked on a grill. Cold fruit and cold drinks sitting around a cold pool.

This is the last official holiday weekend of the summer, so you need to enjoy every second of it.

As this daydream dissolves from my mind, I feel sweat forming on the back of my neck. The sliding glass doors open and I walked through feeling instant relief of the air conditioning blowing upon my warm skin.

The reality of my situation sets in.

In Phoenix, Arizona there are no smiling faces playing cornhole in a backyard filled with grass. The truth is….is that it’s just too damn hot.

And while yes, I will be making ribs this weekend. But I will be eating those ribs, inside my air-conditioned house…while watching Mind Hunters on NetFlix.

Labor Day is a sign that summer is almost over. And here in Phoenix, we can’t wait until that’s a proven fact.

Because the truth is….in a few months when everyone is stuck inside due to cold weather and snow, us Phoenicians will be out grilling and enjoying a game of cornhole on a winter’s day.

No holiday needed for that event. No marketing tactics needed to sell us the perfect barbeque party.

I for one, can’t wait.

Bored of Drinking Water? Try These Substitutes Instead!

Hike Phoenix

Not a fan of drinking water? I get it. Sometime the blandness of water can get you down and make it hard to drink, (especially when we live in a world of vast drink options).

When this happens, I have a few water substitutes that I go to and thought it would be useful to share. This is also really helpful for those who are looking to stay hydrated , especially during the summer months!

Water Infused with Fruit

Okay, adding fruit to your water may not add a TON of flavor, but you will notice a taste difference. There’s a never ending number of combinations that can be delicious for infusing water. Here are some suggestions:

  • Strawberry, Blueberry and Lemon
  • Orange and Lemon
  • Orange and Blueberries
  • Mint leaves and Cucumber
  • Lemon and Cucumber (my personal favorite)

The combinations are endless! That’s what makes infusing water so fun! You can…

View original post 335 more words

Abandoning Perfectionism

Since the introduction of smart phones and social media the desire to be perfect has increased in our culture. While it’s a positive to set goals and aim high, it can turn negative if you begin to feel contradictory emotions while on the journey to achieve the end goal.

It boils down to adaptability and positive self-talk.

For example, if a non-perfectionist makes a mistake, they can feel let down but also recognize that mistakes are normal and are willing to use it as a learning tool. In other words, they do not self-depreciate themselves when a mistake is made.

On the other side, a perfectionist will feel like a failure and frustrated by a mistake. Or they may be so scared to actually make a mistake that don’t even take action. This causes this type of person to become vulnerable to mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, frustration and other negative disorders.

Signs of Perfectionist

  • Fearing you’ll be judged for imperfections
  • Unwilling to make mistakes
  • Social withdraw
  • Lack of self-care, due to overworking
  • Actions resulting in bad quality of life.

Treatments

  • Break big goals into smaller goals
  • Start with a small goal such as, organizing your closet. Instead of giving it 100% do it at about 80% and experiment with accepting it.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Seek professional help
Be kind to yourself

So remember, it’s not perfect to be perfect. We all make mistakes which are necessary for learning and growing. Life’s a journey and while you cannot control obstacles in your path you can choose how to handle them.

Do you want to handle your thoughts poorly or do want to handle them positively?

In the Darkness There is Nothing Worth Fearing

Hike Phoenix

A Journey through Flagstaff’s Lava River Cave

The blue steller’s jay birds dance around the big and empty dirt parking lot, greeting us as we pull our stiff bodies up and out of the car.

Steller’s Jay Bird

It is early morning and although the sun came up two hours ago, the tall ponderosa trees are completely saturated in sunlight.

I pull out my day pack from the back of the car and unzip
the pocket, retrieving my trusty and worn headlamp. I leave my sunglasses on
the seat. It’s been a few years since I’ve done this trail and I remember to
not let the sun or its warmth fool me.

We follow down the familiar wide and worn dirt path leading into the forest towards the main event we came see. Shortly, upon our right side, a big brown trail sign greets us. Carved and painted in bright…

View original post 823 more words

What Happens If You Get Dehydrated?

Hike Phoenix

Have you ever been dehydrated before? It is not a fun ride to be on.

When you are not replacing the fluids in your body, you will become dehydrated. This is extremely easy to do in Phoenix, especially for us hikers.

Along the trails we can be sweating without even realizing it, seeing as it instantly evaporates off our skin.

When our bodies start to begin to become dehydrated the
first thing that happens is we feel thirsty. Yep! That’s right! If you feel
thirsty then you already dehydrated.

As we keep losing fluids our blood will actually become thicker, which tells the kidneys to start saving up any water left, stopping us from urinating. Your kidneys are literally holding on to what it can.

Due to our blood being thicker, our heart has to pump much harder than normal. This puts stress on our system, which causes it…

View original post 147 more words

Never Underestimate the Power of White Space

Remember what your teacher said about writing paragraphs?

That paragraphs are sentences on the same topic, put together in one block. We only start a new paragraph if we are transitioning to a new topic. Remember that?

Well, when it comes to blog writing you can take that advice and throw it out the window!

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

In order to create an effective blog you need to create white space and not have your sentences all jumbled together.

If you’ve never heard of white space (aka blank/negative space), it’s all this empty space around these words and in between these paragraphs.

You might be thinking, “Who cares about space?! What’s the big deal?”

Well, it’s a huge deal.

Why White Space is Important

When you are blogging, your readers likely are not reading everything that you are writing. Sorry to say! Most of us online readers are skimming the page. It’s just what we all do.

Usually we are looking for pieces of information and just want to be able to find the answers and then move on. So in order to help our readers out, we create a lot of white space.

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Easier to Scan With Our Eyes

With white space your eyes have a clear layout which allows the page to be easily and quickly scanned. Not to mention doing this also makes it easier to understand as well, providing a better experience for the reader.

Shows Organization

White space allows to visually show how your blog post is organized. It also helps you keeps your place, in case you look up from the page for a second. You’re able to turn right back to the page and quickly find where you left off.

Think if you had the page all jumbled up. It would be too cluttered to scan and to visually map out.

I like to use headers on each topic so that it’s easier to scan as well. I feel like this leads your eye to the important information that you are seeking.

Appealing to Readers

White space also makes your post more attractive and keeps your readers intrigued and engaged. Too much clutter is a post is no good! It doesn’t lead the eyes to important information and instead of figuring it out, your readers will just hit the back button and find a new website to get the answers.

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

If you’re unsure of how to use blank space, then look at the blogs that you enjoy reading and see how organize it. While it sounds easy, there are many different ways you can create this blank space and use headers.

And if you’re still reading this then I guess I did something right in my use of whites pace! Remember that it’s an important tool to use and never underestimate the power of white space!

Accepting Feedback as a Freelance Writer

While I was getting my undergrad degree in English, in all my writing courses we would have numerous peer review days. This was when you would give a draft of your story to another classmate and have them review and edit it.

I dreaded these days.

Not another peer review day!

At first, it’s a really scary feeling to give your piece of writing to someone else to critique. I mean, it’s your baby. It’s something that you’ve created and put your heart into. But feeling scared happens when you actually care and are passionate about your writing. So relate the feeling of being scared into a positive factor.

In my imagination I would think that someone would completely mark up my page and tell me I sucked at writing. But, you know what. That never happened. And it won’t happen to you either.

Instead it would just be a few markups, some grammar errors and some suggestions. In fact, most of the time…the suggestions helped me out and made the paper flow and sound better. As I looked around the room, in the sweet relief that I wasn’t told I was a sucky writer I saw that everyone received some type of mark up in red ink on their draft. I wasn’t the only one.

As I continued with my classes my anxiety about peer review day began to decrease week by week.

Overtime, I began to look forward to the peer reviews. I also learned to take suggestions….as just that. A suggestion. Most of the time I felt the suggestions helped the piece and I used it. Other times, if I didn’t like it, I didn’t use it. I mean, ultimately it’s your creation. So you can do what you want with it.

You do you and make your piece how you want

I feel that all people have the ability to offer you great feedback. But, sometimes you have to look at the source of that feedback before taking it too personally.

For example, I had a business owner tell me not to use so much white space in my blogs.  Which, I hesitantly had to accept and follow. I mean, it was his website and if he didn’t like the white space I could limit it. But, what this business guy didn’t care to understand was how important white space in a blog. So, while he wasn’t a fan of white space, I personally am. For his company’s blogs, I didn’t use white space. But going forward with my other blogs, I used white space.

Again, his suggestion wasn’t the say all end all for all blogs out there. It was just his opinion. And just like all opinion you can decide to take it or leave it.

I also look and think about who is giving the suggestion. I have some people in my life that are amazing writers and have grown into being very successful writers. Due to their experience and success I respect and follow their feedback with a higher regard than someone who doesn’t make a living from writing.

In any industry you should always be learning, growing and listening. Feedback is one of the greatest sources to improve your writing and should always be welcomed with an open mind. Again, while it may feel scary at first, the more you do it the more you will feel comfortable and even enjoy the feedback process.

Tips for Creating New Workout Habits

Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you may find yourself hitting a wall.  The motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.

This seems especially true when it comes to working out.

Working out can be one of the top activities where you can find an excuse to get out of it. The excuses of not having enough time, not feeling like it, having an injury or headache, and so on. The only real reason why these excuses are coming up is because you allow it. If you really want to form a new habit you have to ignore the excuses in your head and just do it. (Just like the tennis shoe!)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In order to create a new habit of working out, here are some suggestions that hopefully will help you out.

Tips for Creating a Lasting Habit

The first thing is to get real with yourself and set realistic goals that you know you can do. You don’t want to set your goal so high that it’s impossible to reach. It’s not fun and motivating to not reach a goal. Instead, make it a goal you know you will be able to easily handle.

In other words, if you haven’t been to the gym in over a year, what makes you think you can realistically show up there 5 days a week? Take it down a notch! Try to do about 3 times a week and if you show up on more days, then considered it a bonus and reward yourself for the bonus days! Shit, set your goal for 2 days but go 3 days and really reward yourself for doing that 3rd day!

Don’t do this on your first day back at the gym!

Which, this is a great transition to get to the fun part of setting up new habits. The rewards!

Our brains are wired to repeat actions that bring us pleasure and to avoid actions that we don’t necessary like to do.  That’s how every single human on this planet behaves. There’s no denying it, there’s no changing it. This is just how we are. So for that reason you need to find out what you can do to trick your brain into thinking that working out is a pleasurable experience.

In order to do this….you need to reward yourself. And don’t be stingy about it! In the beginning plan a reward for yourself  for every week you accomplish your work out goals.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Some people like to create a calendar and mark off the days they did their workouts, with fun stickers. This allows you to visually track you getting closer to your goals and it makes them happy to see it. Once the week is over, now give yourself the reward.

Types of Rewards

This is the most important factor make your reward a non-food related item. And as the weeks keep growing, make the reward better.

So for example, for the first week reward yourself with a manicure or pedicure. Or hell, even just buy a new nail polish color that you love. The second week, reward yourself with a new water bottle or cup. Third week, get a new workout shirt. And the fourth week, treat yourself to a massage! I mean, if you did a month straight, that’s amazing!!! Reward yourself and keep it coming!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After this first month, start it all over again for the next month. Over time, going to the gym and working out will become easier to do and at some point it will just become a habit. You’ll no longer think of excuses but instead find yourself easily heading to the gym, without much thought about it.

Make Your New Habit Fun

It’s also a good idea to do exercises that you love to do. Make it as pleasurable as you can. So, join a Zumba class if that makes you happy. Or a boxing class. Or walk on the treadmill if that’s your thing! In the beginning as your growing the habit, don’t worry about following a routine or doing a work out you “think” you should be doing. Instead do workouts that bring you the most joy and then reward yourself for it!

Bloggers: Write Like You Talk

No one enjoys reading a research paper. Even if it’s the most interesting topic you can imagine, putting it in a research theme type of paper, can quickly become snoozefest. If your blog is too formal it can feel like a monotone robot spewing out information. Which, people in academics seem to love but the rest of us searching online need a little bit more fun and engagement.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

For this reason, when writing a blog it is highly necessary to write as if you are talking.

By keeping this friendly and human tone it shows personality and therefore is engaging. I mean, if you’re still reading this…then I’ve kept you engaged. See? It works!

It also makes you more approachable to your readers. If you’re approachable then people will actually enjoy and look forward to your blog posts. I mean, that’s the goal of writing a blog, right? To connect with other people with similar interest and learn from each other.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Plus, isn’t it more fun to write like you talk? To show your personality while still giving out vital pieces of information? I think so! Comment your thoughts! I would love to hear them!