Health & Wellness

  • Four Major Mental Health Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

    Are you wondering what mindfulness is? Perhaps you already know and want some reasons why this would be a beneficial lifestyle change. While mindfulness is often associated with meditation, you don’t have to mediate to be more mindful. Today I’m going to share more about mindfulness and the benefits of this practice.

    What Exactly is Mindfulness?

    Mindfulness is the art in which we learn to pay attention to our feelings and thoughts. Practicing mindfulness comes with acceptance, not judgment, of what you’re thinking and feeling during any given situation. You’ll evaluate what you’re feeling and thinking as a means to be more aware of what works best and doesn’t work best for you in life. You’ll use this information to start being more aware of how you respond and act in all areas of life.

    The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
    Boosts Working Memory

    Since mindfulness is an art that makes you more aware of how your feeling and what you’re thinking, your working memory improves. You’ll be forcing your brain to work during your daily interactions as a means to become more self-aware of your thoughts and feelings. When you increase your brain usage, your working memory starts to improve.

    Reduces Stress & Anxiety

    When you become more aware of how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking, there’s a sense of calm that overcomes you. Mindfulness is more about acceptance and awareness than judgment. You’ll start to reduce stress and anxiety because you’ll learn to embrace how you’re feeling and thinking as opposed to analyzing or criticizing it.

    Improves Focus

    As you continue practicing mindfulness regularly, you’ll find that you have improved focus in all areas of life. You’re using your mind to focus on how you’re feeling and thinking, therefore it’s a similar activity to help increase your concentration skills. When you become more aware of your thoughts, you’re better able to clear your mind to have more brain power for focus in other areas of life.

    Reduced Emotional Reactions

    Lastly, another benefit of mindfulness is that it reduces the risk of you reacting emotionally to any given situation. When you start practicing mindfulness, you’ll be able to pause before speaking. This practice enables you to respond to situations as opposed to react to them. Being able to reduce emotional reactions is a fabulous way to increase your ability to effectively communicate with anyone.

    benefits of practicing mindfulness mommyrandr

    These are just some of the major benefits of practicing mindfulness that you’ll experience. Mindfulness will take a lot of effort and focus at first, but in time this practice will come quite naturally to you. You’ll begin to feel lower stress levels, fewer anxiety attacks, and in turn, live a happier life when you make the commitment to practice mindfulness.

  • Seven Key Things You Need To Do In Order To Maintain Healthy Eyes

    Healthy Eyes mommyrandr valerie pierre

    The ability to see makes up a great part of how we view the world. Without sight, living can be limited. Yet few people ever see the need to care for their eyes. The eyes are often neglected until near/far-sightedness worsens or cataracts and glaucoma begins to limit vision.

    Despite being nearsighted since the second grade, you can count me in as someone who neglects her eyesight. Up until recently, it had been a decade since my last eye exam and I was wearing the same frames from 1997. Yeah, you read that right, 97. My mom got me some great Emporio Armani frames that set her back $500 plus. She told me in the store to never take them off and by 2018 aside from changing the lenses, I hadn’t. I think it’s safe to say she got more than her money’s worth.

    Thankfully, to my eyeballs credit, my prescription hasn’t changed much over the years hence my laziness to get a checkup. But that was the problem they had changed even if it was a little bit. My eyes had changed enough that I was straining to see. I forgot my 37-year-old eyes didn’t work the way they used to at 27.

    Not to mention, today’s technology doesn’t help matters as it creates conditions that degrade our eyesight. Along with millions of other people, I’m constantly looking at some sort of blue screen which steadily increases eye strain or even vision loss. Which means everyone needs to be diligent about their eye health.

    Maintaining healthy eyes naturally should be an important part of everyone’s life. Here are ways to keep your eyes healthy and sharp.

    An Eye-Healthy Diet

    Eye health starts with foods that improve eyesight. A diet of fresh fruit and vegetables. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens, and kale come loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that help the eyes filter out harmful radiation. Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene that has protective effects on the eyes. Lycopene, bioflavonoids, proanthocyanidins, quercetin, and polyphenols are found in many brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including green tea.

    Antioxidants are effective in protecting the eyes from free-radical damage. Considering that most foods lack enough essential vitamins and minerals, supplementation with vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, and zinc can promote eye health. Bilberry, ginkgo Biloba and taurine help to improve night vision, enhance circulation to the eyes and support collagen production. Check out WebMD for a listing of foods that are good for your eyes.

    Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Your Diet

    Speaking of diets, in ancient cultures ate a diet that consisted of equal quantities of omega-3 and omega-6. Today’s diet leans heavily toward omega-6 but omega-3 contains DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and this particular fatty acid is praised for its many health benefits one of which includes eye health. While both are important, omega-3 is found in foods that are the least consumed. Fish such as sardines, salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, and tuna are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed also provides essential omega-3 oils but is versatile as it can be incorporated in almost any dish.

    Do Eye Exercises (Yes, it’s a thing)

    Eye muscles are constantly at work, but they experience a great deal of strain and fatigue when used through repetitive movements. These movements stem from reading, watching television, driving long distances, and working with computer screens. Eye exercises can help improve the elasticity of the eye muscles. Healthline lists a number of eye exercises to help you maintain your vision.

    Wear Sunglasses

    Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, in addition to hiding your dark circled or bloodshot eyes. Now before you grab any old pair of shades make sure your sunnies can block 99% to 100% of UV rays. Also, you’ll want to look into frames with thick sides to keep the sun from hurting your eyes from the side.

    Keeping Blood Sugar in Balance

    High levels of glucose and insulin levels in the bloodstream are not only a recipe for diabetes, but they adversely affect eye health, particularly the small vessels that supply the eyes with the oxygen and nutrients the cells need to function properly. Keeping your blood sugar stable means eating fiber foods and less refined, high-calorie foods that raise blood sugar levels. While drugs help control blood sugar, they do not prevent the complications of blindness and neuropathy that affect so many diabetics Much of the problem is due to the lack of nutrients such as chromium, Gymnema Sylvestre, vanadyl sulfate and banaba leaf that can protect the eyes. Many diabetics do not have adequate levels of many vitamins and minerals that help enhance eye health.

    Take Device Breaks

    As I mentioned before, we spend a lot of time looking at computer monitors and phone screens for work and entertainment but what we have to remember is over time is our tv and phones contains blue light and too much exposure can affect our eyes. You can tell you’ve been looking at the screen too long when you’re eyes begin to notice you’re straining to see and your eyes begin to burn. Now because blue light travels all the way to the retina too much exposure can damage light-sensitive cells in the eye. This is why it’s crucial we take device breaks to give our eyes a rest, especially before bedtime.

    And the most important tip…

    Get Regular Eye Checkups

    Healthy Eyes mommyrandr valerie pierre

    I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your eyes checked annually, or when you find yourself straining to see. You will save yourself a lot of headaches and pain. And if you’re prescribed glasses for the love of humanity wear them. Yeah, you’re doing all of these things to keep your eyes healthy but if you aren’t wearing your glasses/contacts then you really aren’t doing shit as your eyes will get worse.

    *Extra Tip: Make sure to get glasses or contacts with a blue light filter and UV ray protection.

    Keeping healthy eyes and maintaining sharp eyesight is not as difficult as it may seem. Good eating habits, reducing eye strain, and keeping blood sugar in control will ensure that eyesight remains sharp without the macular deterioration that so many experience today.
  • 15 Ways to Help You Clear the Negative Energy from Your Home

    Just like the people around us, places too, carry their own energy. Our homes should be a space filled with positive and abundant energy, and one way to make sure it does is to take active steps to clear the negative or stagnant energies away.

    Negative energy was a contributing factor to my depression and while I’m for the time being trapped in my current space it’s imperative that I take measures to ensure the space around me keeps my vibes on the up and up.

    So how do you know if your home has negative energy? For me, I know it’s time to clear the energy when I start to feel overly exhausted, can’t think straight, have headaches, I’m snapping at others or just don’t overall feel well. You know that strange feeling that doesn’t sit right and you can’t pinpoint the why or the cause – that’s negative energy.

    Now the most important question, how do you clear the negative energy from your home? There are a number of ways to do this and depending on your mood you can do one or a combination of many, it’s truly up to you.

    Open Your Windows

    Clear the Negative Energy from your Home

    Opening your doors and windows will allow the fresh air to flow into the rooms of your house. Stale air not only traps negative energy inside it can also make your home feel stuffy and suffocating. Regardless of the season I always have my windows open. You’d be amazed at how quickly your mood will change from sluggish to energized by simply allowing a breeze to blow into your home.

    Clear The Clutter

    There’s a different kind of energy that comes with decluttering your home. A good decluttering will leave you feeling refreshed, accomplished, and positive. Clearing the clutter and letting go of things that you don’t use can remove all those emotional and mental blocks, and invite more opportunities your way.

    Get a House Plant

    There are some plants that have the power to attract positive energy. However, before you head out and buy any ole plant you should know there are some plants attract negative energy. Take, for instance, cactus. Due to their thorns, it’s best to avoid this plant if you’re trying to bring positive energy into your home. Here is a list of plants that bring positivity as well as other forms of abundance.

    Burn Candle Or Incense

    Clear the Negative Energy from your Home

    I am a candle lover so this is an easy one for me. Burning a candle or incense can restore the balance in your surroundings, which can be exceptionally helpful especially after you’ve arrived home after a rough day out or have had negative encounters taking place in your home. In ancient times, incense was burned to not only change a rooms fragrance and religious practices but to also ward off evil spirits.

    Smudge Your House

    Clear the Negative Energy from your Home

    This is a Native American tradition in which you burn herbs as a means to clear the negative energy from your home. How do you smudge your space? You hold the stick over a fireproof bowl which will collect the ash that falls as you smudge. You don’t want those small ambers hitting the floor and possibly causing a fire. With your smudging stick in hand move and lit move your arm in a clockwise motion starting from the entry point. You will continue this motion throughout the entire room while making sure to focus on the corners where negative energy can be stagnant. You can smudge your home once a week, once a month or every six months the choice is up to you, smudge when you feel it’s time.

    Repair and Remove Items

    Raise your hand if your guilty of holding on to things that are broken and you swear you’re going to fix it but you know you never will? Yeah, me too. Hoarding broken or damaged items and keeping them in your home invites negative energies, and clutter. If something gets chipped or broken fix it right then and there if you can and if you can’t ask yourself if it’s something you really need to keep. If not, let it go. As for your other things, be sure to look after them and clean them regularly as dust can prevent the circulation of positive energies.

    Rearrange Your Furniture

    Rearranging every so often is a perfect way to breathe new life into your home. Your new furniture placement should give you positive vibes and renewed happiness. If your space is small or shaped in such a way that you can’t move certain things around go for smaller things like chairs or other decor items.

    Salt Power

    Clear the Negative Energy from your Home

    Salt is believed to be a powerful agent specifically when it comes to cleansing your home. If you find yourself stuck with negative thoughts and emotions, consider soaking in a salt bath for some time. Another great idea is to sprinkle sea salt over all 4 corners of your space and let it sit for 48 hours before sweeping it up. You can also put the salt in water, let it sit, and using your fingers or small brush rub it on various surfaces in your home. The salt will help absorb any negative energies in your room and cleanses it in ways you can’t see.

    Bathroom Matters

    Your bathroom also plays an important role in determining the quality of energies in your home, after all this is where you’re taking your salt baths. So when not in use, make sure the toilet lid is always shut and the bathroom is always clean and fresh.

    Use Essential Oils

    When I feel out of sorts the first thing I do is turn on my diffuser, add a few drops of lavender essential oils, and in no time I feel more calm and relaxed. It’s this feeling why so many rely on a variety of these oils to lift their spirits and put them in a better mood. I’m  Here is a list of essential oils that will remove negative energy. I’m also a huge fan of Saje’s Goddess natural perfume with gemstone rollerball. I keep it handy and when I’m feeling overwhelmed I apply it on my pressure points to help me relax.

    Place Crystals Around Your Home

    Clear the Negative Energy from your Home

    For many, crystals are used for spiritual and healing purposes when worn, held or placed in strategic places throughout their homes. It is believed that crystals connect with our auras and depending on which one(s) you have they will help ward off bad energy, act as a stress reliever, and improve our overall health. Here is a list of stones that will keep negative energy away.

    Do Yoga and/or Meditate

    clear negative energy from your home

    Nothing gets your mind, body, and spirit in a better mood than by doing a little yoga and meditation. Negative energy loves it when you’re lazy so by doing some yoga you’ll get your blood circulating and your body will feel re-energized. But if you want to remain in a stationary position, you can meditate. During meditation, you are setting clear intentions of happiness and to do this you can chant a mantra that will release negative thoughts and vibes from your mind and environment.

    The Power of Sound

    A super effective way to break the stagnant and bad energies in your home is sound. I’ve got three ways that you can use sound to clear the negative energy from your home.

    Sound Bowls

    Himalayan or Tibetan singing bowls create a relaxing and stress-free environment. You can include it in your meditation and yoga sessions or as a stand-alone as you walk through your home. How do you use a sound bowl? Take the small mallet and press is against the rim of the bowl in a circular motion until you hear a solid clear tone. You can also tap the outside of the bowl before and/or after the circular motion to signify the start or conclusion of your session.

    Ring a Bell

    Another way to break the stagnant and bad energies in your home is to ring a bell three times in each corner. Doing this can almost instantly revive the space, and also help attract more abundant energies.

    Put On Some Music

    You’ll become more cheerful with a renewed sense of energy you didn’t know you had when you put on music. I have a number of playlists on Spotify with all different kinds of music from pop to old school, but whatever your taste or mood music is the remedy to rid yourself of negative energy.

    Decorate Your Home In Positivity

    When decorating your home add objects that will invoke happiness. My little corner home office is an explosion of happiness and calm for me. I have images and phrases that put me at ease when I sit at my desk. This is what you have to do for your home. Add as little or as much as you would like until it feels just right and switch them out often to keep the vibe fresh.

    Hang A Mirror

    Mirrors do more than give a room depth they also reflect light making the area brighter which will combat negative energy. For mirrors to be effective make sure they’re framed and not cracked as sharp edges are considered negative energy. Also, be sure to keep them clean allowing as to allow as much light as possible to be reflected.

    I hope these tips are helpful to you. In addition, I’ve compiled some items that will help you clear the negative energy from your home.

    1. Art of the Root Purification 8oz Soy Herbal Candle for Negativity
    2. MAMA WUNDERBAR Smudge Kit
    3. Aura and Reiki Crystal Protection Mist (smudge alternative)
    4. Beverly Oaks Charged Black Tourmaline Crystal Complete Kit
    5. Levoit Kana Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt Rock Lamp
    6. Protection Spells
    7. Tibetan Meditation Yoga Singing Bowl Set
    8. Rose Gold Modern Circle Mirror

    What are some of the ways that you clear the negative energy from your home?
  • 10 Tips For Taking Care of Yourself This Summer as a Stay at Home Mom

    Taking care of yourself this summer as a stay at home mom is just as important for yourself, as it is for your family. When you have a kid, your life may seem like it revolves around your child, and on some level, it does, especially during the summer months. Your schedule might be a little more hectic as you’re taking kids from one outdoor activity to another, or you start to go a little bonkers from staying indoors to beat the heat. And as a result, you may forget to take care of yourself.

    Here are some tips for taking care of yourself this summer as a stay at home parent

    Be sure to give yourself 6-8 hours of sleep

    Real talk, your sleep is important. It’s recommended that you get between six and eight hours of sleep a night, but as a parent, you’ll be faced with times when you’ll get less. Much less. So what’s the key to getting a good night’s rest? The most important thing (and I swear by this) is you must have a solid bedtime routine.

    This routine is more than hopping into bed at the same time every night and pulling up the covers. I’m talking about the steps you take that will send a signal to your body that it’s bedtime. My routine lasts about an hour cause I like to take my time. By the time I”m finished and get into bed I’m asleep in less than ten minutes.

    Another way that I make sure I’m well-rested is naps. Let’s face there are times you can get all the sleep in the world and still be tired during the day. I make no bones about my afternoon nap. It makes me feel refreshed. An hour to an hour and a half of sleep is a good way to make me feel like a new woman. So do yourself a favor and take yourself a nap whenever you can. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

    Make sure to eat and stay hydrated

    Taking Care of Yourself This Summer valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Your health is just as important as your child’s health. Making sure to eat three meals a day to keep your energy up so you can keep up with your kid(s). It’s really easy to skip a meal when times get hectic, trust me I have and there wasn’t a time where it worked out for me. Missing a meal left me with headaches, not feeling like myself, and just plain ole angry.

    I also know during the summer you might not want to cook cause the heat outside and the heat in the kitchen isn’t fun. But Good Housekeeping has 60 quick summer dinner recipes that will have you in and out of the kitchen.

    And while you’re in the kitchen, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. It’s summertime and you’re gonna be outside a lot more which means you need to prevent dehydration. How do you know you’re dehydrated? You’ll start to feel any number of things from thirst, headache, dizziness, and tiredness. You’ll also notice that your skin will feel super dry and your urine will be darker. To avoid this you should make sure you’re drinking at least eight or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

    Do an activity that would be considered good exercise

    Taking Care of Yourself This Summer valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Exercise can help keep you in shape. If you’re stuck at home, you can do simple things like floor exercises or walk around the neighborhood. This can be especially helpful if you cannot afford a gym membership right now.

    But just because you’re exercising at home that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. There are tons of fitness videos you can follow right in your livingroom like yoga, pilates or even kickboxing. You can even involve your children too which might even lead to a nap afterward – although I can’t make any promises.

    As an additional tip, with it being summertime be on the lookout for any local free outdoor classes you can attend. But if you can afford a gym membership check out Classpass. This is my personal favorite as it allows me to attend different fitness classes all over the city. It’s my go-to for everything from candlelight yoga, barre class or a relaxing steam. Oh, and please before you start any workout regiment make sure you have the proper running shoe and don’t forget an SPF moisturizer of 30 or greater while outdoors.

    Take a family staycation

    Everything isn’t about venturing off to faraway lands. You and your family can have blast together at a nearby hotel. Make lasting memories with a little weekend poolside fun and rediscovering your neighborhood. It’s a great way for everyone to have a little escape without the big-ticket travel price.

    Keep your skin clean

    During the summer months, it’s imperative that you keep your skin clean. Sweat and dirt will clog your pores and can cause skin irritations or in worse cases infection. So you have to make sure your skin is cleansed and moisturized daily, or even twice a day.

    Now the thing to remember with your shower is that you don’t want the water too hot. I love hot showers year-round they soothe my body and make me feel rejuvenated. However, while hot water opens your pores to help you clean your skin but if it’s too hot water it will dry out your skin and can aggravate existing skin issues.

    Make it a good mix of hot and cool water. Taking a cool shower also has its benefits like increasing blood circulation and can even promote weight loss as you burn calories as you try to keep warm in the shower.

    Plan and delegate tasks to not overwork yourself

    Taking Care of Yourself This Summer valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Feel frazzled and don’t know what day it is or can’t remember why you have a 9:30a appointment? Then it’s time to get yourself a planner. Mom brain is a serious thing. One minute you can remember your entire shopping list and the next minute you can’t remember where you left your coffee. This is why I suggest getting a planner. You don’t have to go crazy like some planner lovers unless you want to. It’s a fun hobby – but that’s another conversation. But you can get yourself a simple weekly planner to help you keep track of your appointments and other notes.

    Now that your day and week is planned out you can start to delegate other things around your home. It’s okay to want to be the super parent, but sometimes, a little help can reduce your stress, and also allow time for family fun. If you’re married or have a partner, get them involved if they aren’t already. Get them involved by bathing the kids or taking them to the park. If you have a child that is old enough assign them some chores.

    Remember, the key to running a household and raising children is to never overwork yourself.

    Log off the internet

    Social media can be addicting. It’s important for you to take breaks from time to time. Log off for a couple of hours, a day, a week, a month. It’ truly up to you. But the point is to reconnect with yourself, your family, those in your inner circle outside of Facebook. Also, while social media can be a fun place for laughs and memes it can also be very toxic, and that can lead you to feel sadness, frustration or even anger. It’s not healthy to have any of that in your life.

    Now, what happens if you have a hard time logging off social media? Well, there are plenty of apps that will monitor your social media usage and set timeframes when you can and can’t use it. The apps work as long as you don’t go tinkering with the settings or uninstalling altogether. You have to want to take a step back.

    Take up a hobby

    Now that you’re spending less time on social media you now have time to take up a new hobby or revisit a hobby you used to indulge in. I would recommend taking up a hobby that you’ve never done before as a way of trying new experiences. You can either take a local class as a way to meet people in your area with the same interests as you or you can watch how-to’s on Youtube in the privacy of your own home.

    Take some you time once a week without the kids

    Taking Care of Yourself This Summer valerie pierre mommyrandr

    You can’t always be cooped up in your house, and you can’t always have your children attached at the hip. Having your partner spend time alone with the kids or getting a babysitter will allow you to have a little bit of time to yourself. Even if it’s just an hour to yourself. As much as you may not think you need the alone time, trust me you do. The benefits of spending time alone will prevent burnout, stress, headaches, and losing patience just to name a few. You need time that is spent on you doing what you enjoying doing.

    Spend time with your partner

    For those in relationships spending time with your partner is crucial. Yes, I’m all about getting you time in but you also need to consider your partner and make some us time. I know you’ve had a long day of being with the kids and they’ve had a long day at the office. Both of you are tired. But as a couple, making time for one another is important. By fitting in a date night (it doesn’t have to be romantic, although it can be) you’re telling each other that you want to be together and are doing all you can to prevent the relationship from becoming strained over time.

    Do you have any tips for taking care of yourself this summer as a stay at home mom?