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4 Simple Self-Care Tips to Improve Your Mental Health by Brad Krause

This post was submitted by Brad Krause. Brad is a full-time life coach who writes a lot about self care, which is something I’ve been big into in my own writing (if not in those exact words). You can find more of his writing at https://www.SelfCaring.info.

Image courtesy of Pexels

4 Simple Self-Care Tips to Improve Your Mental Health

With family obligations, deadlines at work, and meals to cook, sometimes we forget how important it is to take time for ourselves. But self-care isn’t selfish. In fact, taking care of yourself both mentally and physically can boost your health, prevent burnout, and make you more alert, focused, and present — all things that will allow you to perform better in every aspect of your life. Here are a few simple things you can do to improve your mental health.

Meditate

If you’re feeling rushed and overwhelmed, you may balk at the idea of meditation, but as Healthline explains, meditating can calm anxiety, increase optimism, and reduce stress. This is vital for your mental well-being, especially if you’re routinely tense. While everyone experiences occasional stress, chronic stress can be detrimental to your health. If you’re constantly stressed, you’re more likely to get sick, have digestion problems, or suffer from insomnia. 

Not sure where to start? Apps like Calm or Headspace offer a great way to dip your toes into meditation and reap the benefits to your mental health.

Make Time to Exercise

If meditation isn’t quite your speed, exercise is a great way to reduce stress. Regular exercise can give you an endorphin rush, boosting your sense of accomplishment and well-being. To really get motivated, fitness trackers can be just the ticket. 

As an example, the now-available Apple Watch Series 5 is a prime candidate. It monitors not only your workout progress, but also your heart function. There are integrated safety features as well, such as fall detection and the ability to summon help if you get into trouble. Or consider the Fitbit Versa Lite, which monitors not only your workout, but also your sleep patterns, and will provide you with information to help you make adjustments. 

Prioritize Sleep

When you’re rushing to get things done, sleep is often the first thing to get ignored. If you often find yourself saying that you can get by with just a few hours a night, reconsider — some studies show that sleep deficiency causes a whole host of problems. In fact, if you miss out on a good night’s sleep for just a few days, your brain begins to function as though you’ve been fully awake for 24 to 48 hours. 

Taking the time to sleep for seven or eight hours a night rapidly improves your brain health. It helps you learn faster, focus better, and make decisions more easily. Getting enough sleep also improves your immune system and allows your body to heal during the night, meaning you’re less likely to need sick days. So next time you start to prioritize work over sleep, take a step back — and if you can’t relax enough to fall asleep, try incorporating some soothing music or ambient noise into your evening.

Self-Soothe With Aromatherapy

While research into aromatherapy is still ongoing, Verywell Mind points out that using soothing scents can reduce the stress hormone cortisol and help people sleep. Lavender essential oil is a great way to calm your mind after a stressful day, but you can experiment to find the scents that work best for you — maybe you’d prefer a pop of citrus to energize you and clear your mind, or a more earthy smell like rosemary. Try using an essential oil diffuser or putting a few drops of oil on your pillowcase. 

If you choose to use pure essential oils in a household with pets, be sure to do your research first; certain essential oils can be toxic to cats and dogs. Scented candles are a great alternative if you’re concerned about the use of essential oils around your pets.

No matter how you choose to take care of yourself, it’s vital for you to continually prioritize self-care in your everyday life. Even if you’re busy, simply meditating for 10 minutes before bed can make a world of difference over time. Get sufficient sleep, add some exercise as well, and indulge in scents that revitalize you. Taking care of yourself means you’ll be happy, healthy, and better able to help the people you care about.

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Meta

I’m excited for The Slow Reader – 2 weeks from now

I haven’t even completed the pre-production on the final episode for “Gone” (catch up on the book by following the Podcasts category on the blog) and I’m already excited for it. I’m excited for me, and I’m excited to have people listen to it. Because I think it’s going to be the best one yet (for this book). I’ve been really up & down with my own personal reaction to the podcast and how I’ve produced it, but I’ve been taking in everything I’ve done for it so far and internalized how I want to make the podcast sound better.

I’m not going to release any details – because there’s still two more episodes for the book left (tomorrow, and 14 days from now); but I will give you a little bit of behind the scenes to chew on.

Left: My Kobo Clara HD reader
Right: My podcast notebook

This is a new approach to podcasting for me; I usually just take notes and improvise as I go on the mic, because I don’t like working with a script. While this isn’t exactly a script, and I deviate from what I write from time-to-time, I figured that doing a solo show needed a bit more structure and that doing it unscripted would be harder.

Indeed, even partially scripting it is more difficult than I thought (for example, for an episode I thought would definitely be longer than 15 minutes, I came in under 10). But I’m having a good time doing it. As I said to Vanessa last night, I’m doing a lot of the work for the podcast in small chunks, because I don’t want to burn myself out and have it actually feel like work.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been trying to make the podcast sound better as I continue through the books and reading that I’m doing. It bugs me a little bit that most of my episodes are still quite short – 10 minutes or less. I feel like I’m not putting as much effort as I could be into the episodes, so that’s mainly why it’s bugging me. So that’s why this episode coming up in a couple of weeks has me excited – like I said, I’m still doing the pre-production work and have a lot to put together, but the material I’ve written already is some of the best I’ve done for this podcast to date.

Something I’m struggling with at the moment is a lack of time, though. I’ve finished Gone, but haven’t picked a new book to read yet – so while I have plans for an episode or two in between Gone and the next book, I don’t know how all of that will work out yet. If I sit down and think about it, I likely have a lot of time to puzzle it out. I definitely want something planned to release so I don’t get caught with several weeks without a new episode again.

I’ve got a few notes and ideas for the next book and how to cover it a bit differently. Some of that will go into the final chapters of Gone; but for the most part you won’t see a change until the start of the next book.

Thanks for reading / listening. Let me know if you are listening to the podcast!

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Meta Podcasts

No Podcast Today

Photo copyright Robert Lamb.
Source: https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5364653

I’m travelling back home on the train while I write this; I’m sorry to disappoint anyone who was waiting for it (hey…there are at least 60 listens! That’s not nothing.), but I don’t have a podcast to release today. Normally by my schedule it would be out early Thursday morning.

I finished my notes of the chapters I read – actually, I decided to stop short of a few chapters, because it was just getting really long in the tooth. I’ve lamented before that my episodes are so short, but I’ve gotten used to the idea of little 8-10 minute chunks. I can’t say for sure how long it will take me to record this upcoming episode, but it really felt long. So I added one more episode to cover “Gone” to my list of episodes, which is fine by me.

I’m not entirely sure if the format I’m using is going to stick. I’m still only 5 or 6 episodes in, so I feel a bit of freedom when it comes to finding my footing for a format to use. I think that is pretty normal for most podcasts. However, most podcasts also don’t have a single host.

I really wanted to avoid missing a week (let alone 2 in a row now) while starting out fresh. However, just due to timing, that’s the way it worked out. But I have a plan written out (slightly modified now that I’ve decided to add an extra episode for Gone), so I will probably take some time off work shortly to get a few episodes ahead.

So I hope I haven’t lost all of the listeners I accumulated so far, and that you’re eager to hear what’s in store for the kids in Gone. I made a conscious choice not to get something released last night; I could have done the work from my hotel room last night, but I chose to relax instead. I don’t regret that decision.

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Meta

Huzzah!

So…my website broke Tuesday afternoon, completely my doing.  It’s fixed now (I’m typing, you’re reading – in theory!).  But I was using a plugin to re-direct HTTP requests to HTTPS, and I didn’t have proper security set up…long story short, I broke the website.

In the process of trying to fix things I also deleted some files, images, etc.  I’ll have to go back and edit some links but for the most part I think I’ll just leave them broken and remove links to them.  It’s a little safer that way I think.

Well, at any rate, it’s resolved now.  I’m happy, I can move on and get working on some things I wanted to get done earlier this week.  Woohoo!

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Meta

Trying Something New

As I type this introduction to the blog post after typing the title, I realize that this should be the perfect post title to match with a life experience that I’m trying new for the first time to follow up my post about acting a couple of weeks ago.  Disappointingly, it’s not about that (for now, anyway).

Instead this is just a post about the blog itself and a head’s up for what I hope you will see happening in the next little while.

I’ve cleaned up the blog categories and separated everything into 4 broader headings: Media, Life, Sports, and Meta (which houses stupid self-referential things like this).  So if you come here and are only interested in one topic, you can click on the one that interests you most.  Why you would want to read the meta posts, I don’t really know.  But people like weird things on the Internet.  In fact, I bet there’s a niche out there for blog posts about blogs.

The other thing I’m trying to do is automatically import posts from my other blog(s) into this one.  I’ll know tomorrow if it works – I have it set to import a post from Alternative Airwaves tomorrow morning.  I’m crossing my fingers.

Anyway, that’s all for today.  Nothing insightful for you to read!

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Meta Music

Return of the Blog

Hey everyone!  Hope you are all well.  As mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been making some background changes that affect mostly the podcast feed, but also some minor tweaks to previous posts.

The background changes were that I switched podcast hosts; this past Wednesday I fixed ALL of the links (except for Episode 7 – that one is missing!  If you have a downloaded version, get in touch with me!), so everything should be working.  This also means that finally, ALL regular episodes are back on the feed.  I didn’t re-upload any Weekly Airwaves, if those links are broken, they’re staying broken.

I also have some exciting changes in the FOREGROUND for you!  I used to blog regularly about creative commons music (and other CC topics, too) but faded away in favour of just doing the podcast.  Well, I’m starting to find I have less time to produce a show all the time, but I’m re-gaining my interest in blogging.

Starting next week, you’ll start to see a return of regular blog posts on www.alternativeairwaves.com.  I no longer send my podcast feed through the blog – I use Pinecast for that now.  You can find that feed at https://pinecast.com/feed/alternative-airwaves (I’ll make a more friendly link for that soon).  But since my feed isn’t exactly complete – you can only find episodes 79 through 107 right now, plus a handful of earlier shows from 6+ years ago – I’m not going to leave you without podcasts entirely!

I still plan on recording new shows – hopefully that will become easier with various changes on my end that I plan on doing for curating.  But I will likely be recording less often.  My original plan was to pick out some of the shows not available on the feed anymore, but since I fixed that, I’ve pooched my own plans already.  I’ll come up with something good, I’m sure.

I might start things a little slow – at least once a week – but you never know what kind of groove I might fall into.  Thanks for listening & reading!

Categories
Meta Music

Background Changes

Hi everyone,

I’m going to be making some background changes to the website & podcast in the next little while.  You shouldn’t see any changes on the RSS feed – though that likely will be changing – but for a short while the streaming links on the individual blog posts might be broken. 

There are also other changes on the horizon – more on that soon!