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    Astrologists Share the Journal Prompts That Can Transform Your 2023

    While a clean, blank slate (read: the new year) brings with it an air of excitement, it also comes with added pressure, leaving you wondering where to even begin (and–if you’re like me–anxiety-ridden that I’m already somehow behind). The good news: Journaling can be just what you need as a jumping-off point to make sh*t happen. If the 4.4 billion views #journaling has on TikTok or the benefits journaling has on your mental health and well-being haven’t already convinced you to put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard), consider this your sign to get writing.
    I tapped into the expertise of astrologists to kick us off, because writer’s block is real and 2023 is all about doing the most. We’re not talking the “Dear Diary” of the past or cliche prompts, but rather deep self-reflection to (actually) achieve your best life. Remember that there is no right or wrong answers when it comes to journaling, and you won’t get dinged for improper syntax, spelling, or grammatical errors. Translation: Your journal—whether notebook or app—is a safe, judgment-free zone. Ahead, astrologists share the practices they swear by to reach your goals in 2023. 

    Why 2023 is an important year to start a journaling practice
    So you set an intention to take up journaling this year, but your new notebook has been sitting pretty on your desk collecting dust since January 1. Sound familiar? Well, if there was ever a year to channel your inner Sylvia Plath, it’s 2023. “We have lucky Jupiter in Aries this year, so it’s all about being bold and brave, creating opportunities for yourself, and pushing the limits,” said Iva Naskova, a western astrologer at Nebula. “2023 gives all of us a chance to take control and adjust our life the way we see fit and think it’s best. So self-reflection and writing about your future can help you manifest happiness, abundance, good health, and success.”
    Whether we care to admit it or not, we are often our own worst enemies—you know, the harsh inner critic, the overanalyzing, not trusting your gut. All the more reason to jot down your thoughts and create the life you want. “This is a year of understanding what is really going to be there for you, and where you need to become more self-reliant and anti-fragile,” conveyed Jill Loftis, an astrologer and Founder of Nuit Astrology. “It’s time to take responsibility for who you are and where you are going. It is up to you to decide if you are successful; if you are happy. And typically, there is one person standing in your way—you. That should become abundantly clear this year, and instead of scattering your energies, take the momentum of the beginning of this year to get clear and take charge.”
     
    Journal prompts to start the year off

    What makes you thrive and excites you? How can you make your everyday experiences richer and more endearing? 
    What aspects of your life have always stayed the same and why? What can help you make a change and move forward? 
    How can your life experiences help you expand and grow, and in which direction?
    What one self-defeating habit or pattern do I need to eliminate and how can I focus all of my energy and resources to healing that destructive habit?

    Why you should journal with the phases of the moon
    If you’ve ever noticed yourself in your feels during a full moon, that was no coincidence. In astrology, the moon represents your emotions—your feelings, hopes, fears, moods, relationships. And your journaling practice should vary with it. “Consistent action through the ebbing cycles of life is so key for living your best and astrology echoes that with its monthly moon cycles,” affirmed Julien Elizabeth, astrologer and yoga teacher. “My best tip for staying aligned is reflection and journaling with the phases of the moon. Life is always shifting and so too can our perspective to it.” Elizabeth suggests beginning with the new moon (January 21) to initiate a new cycle, and then staying steady with these weekly (or daily!) prompts to witness your growth.
    Liz Simmons, an astrologer and tarot reader, agreed: “Astrological journal prompts are best used during new moons, full moons, and when a planet enters a new zodiac sign. Depending on the astrological period, we can use the journal prompt to plan, set goals, or reflect. For example, new moons can be the perfect time to journal about new opportunities, manifestations, resolutions, and more. Full moons are more of a reflective period, so this is the time to journal about what has unfolded during this past lunar cycle and what you have gone through.”

    Journal prompts for each moon cycle

    New Moon: great energy for setting intention and orienting yourself for the cycle ahead.

    What dream or vision do you want to stay aligned to this month?
    What negative or unhelpful habits are you ready to transform?
    What actions or practices can you commit to integrate your vision and build upon your intentions?
    Where do you see yourself in six months? What are your top three goals or resolutions that you want to pursue during these next six months? What will inspire you to move forward during these next six months?

    Waxing Crescent Moon: a phase of small actions and building confidence, great for getting organized.

    What do you need to feel confident, energized, and engaged with your life right now?
    What strengths are needed to work towards your intention?

    Quarter Moon: great energy to come back to your “why” and check in with yourself, your actions, and how you’re feeling.

    What hurdles are you experiencing in your vision? 
    Where do you feel yourself out of alignment?
    Where is their pressure or intensity building in your life? How can you lean into the pressure that feels productive and helpful? Where can you lean away from any intensity that feels limiting or distracting?

    Full Moon: a powerful time to release what isn’t working and celebrate progress made.

    What are you learning most about yourself and your circumstances this month?
    What behaviors or patterns can you identify as blocking my progress?
    How can you honor these unhelpful patterns and release them to create more space for growth? (Creating a ritual or ceremony is great!)
    What have you learned or experienced over the last six months? What are three high points and three low points that stand out to you from this lunar period? What can you take away from this lunar cycle?”

    Last Quarter Moon: This is a time to get grounded back into the self and reflect on how you’re showing up this month.

    What are you celebrating about yourself this lunar cycle?
    What routines or rituals ground you and help you feel well cared for?

    Waning Crescent Moon: The days leading up to the next new moon are for reflection.

    Free write on what you feel grateful for and how you feel about the month’s cycle.

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    Everything You Need To Know To Make a Vision Board That Actually Works ✨

    Every year around the end of December, I set resolutions to eat healthier, journal more, and decrease the time spent on my phone (I swear, this is my #1 resolution every year), and by the end of the year, I find that nothing has really changed. This year, I found that people on TikTok are taking a different approach to New Year’s resolutions in 2023. Instead of letting your resolutions collect dust in a random notebook or forgotten on your notes app, try creating a vision board. 
    You might have already made a few “vision boards” in your day (cutting out pictures from a magazine and gluing them on a poster sound familiar?), but vision boards have evolved a bit since then. Whether you want to manifest new career opportunities, clearer skin, or a trip to Greece where you just so happen to meet the love of your life, a vision board can help you visualize those dreams into reality. Read on for how to create the vision board that’ll knock last year’s New Year’s resolutions out of the water.

    In this article

    Why ditch your typical resolutions for a vision board
    Hot take: Let’s leave the “New Year, New Me” mindset behind in 2022. Have you ever felt like resolutions hold a certain amount of shame? Like you need to achieve these resolutions, and if you don’t, you’ve failed? “We are primed to view our lives and events through a negativity bias, focusing on what went wrong versus what went well,” said Elspeth Robertson, a registered clinical counselor and professional art therapist. Resolutions tend to be about stopping a habit in order to become “better” (less phone scrolling, no alcohol, no sugar, less rest days, etc.). Quitting a bad habit is not the same as manifesting a better life. “If a resolution says, ‘Here is what I need to take away,’ a vision board says, ‘Here is what I would like to add,’” Robertson said. A vision board is supposed to make you feel confident and inspired in your life, not shameful for all you should change about yourself. 

    What is a vision board?
    A vision board is a collection of photos and text that can help you approach the future with hope. Instead of focusing on what habits you should be stopping, focus on the possibilities of the next year. “From a scientific perspective, vision boards do what we call ‘priming,’ which essentially is when exposure to a certain stimulus affects how you act towards whatever comes next,” said Elizabeth Mateer, a licensed mental health counselor associate. A vision board can also help you be specific about the goals you want to manifest for 2023. “A vision board is an opportunity to really focus on the reality you want to create, a prediction of your possible future, and a connection to hope and a life that feels aligned,” Robertson said. 

    How to make a vision board
    Do it digitally
    If anyone knows how to make a vision board work for them, it’s TikTok lifestyle creator  Morgan Rhodes. Every goal she featured on her 2022 vision board came to reality, so trust her when she says Pinterest and Canva will be your best friends when it comes to making your own vision board. “Resolutions feel like more of a chore to me,” Rhodes said. “Putting together a collage of photos that inspire and bring me joy felt like an art form.” When you’re scrolling on Pinterest looking for photos, follow Rhodes’ footsteps and only choose photos that you feel emotionally drawn to—photos that you believe will give you motivation and courage throughout the year. 
    When you have all of your photos, you can either keep your Pinterest board as your vision board, or if you want a PDF file you can turn into your computer wallpaper or print out, upload the images to Canva (a free online graphic design tool) and get creative. Fight the urge to make it perfect. The photos don’t have to be flawlessly organized on a grid, in the same color scheme, or make sense to anyone other than yourself. Remember, this vision board is for you. 

    Categorize and subcategorize
    First, think of the different aspects of life that you’d like to invest in this year. For example, career, love life, family dynamics, self-love, home environment, travel, style, beauty, overall health. Then break them up into subcategories. Where do you want to travel specifically? Where do you see yourself living in the next six months? What growth do you want to see for yourself professionally? Do you want a raise or the opportunity to work from home? Take your distinct answers and start searching “Greece aesthetic photos,” “apartments in Boston,” “CEO aesthetic,” etc.  

    Be super specific
    Be specific with your vision board: What city do you want to live in? Chicago? New York City? What type of self-care do you want to make a daily ritual in your life? Hot yoga? Hot girl walks every morning at 7 a.m.? What does your ideal job look like? Working from home? A raise that comes with a bigger office and more benefits? Go to Pinterest and search specific photos of what you want to manifest. The possibilities are truly endless. I’m manifesting adopting a dog in 2023–specifically a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel–so you know what I put on my vision board? A picture of the cutest little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel I’ve ever seen.

    Add affirmations
    To counteract the negativity associated with resolutions, try adding affirmations to your vision board along with the curated photos. “Affirmations go hand-in-hand with successful vision boarding because just like vision boards, affirmations are also about rewiring your beliefs about yourself and what is possible for you,” said Theresa Cheung, an astrologist and dream expert. Cheung suggested using simple affirmations to ground your intentions throughout the year:
    Every day I take small steps in the direction of my dreams.
    2023 is the year to focus on what is important to me.
    I am doing what is right for me, not what others expect.
    I will overcome any challenge and learn and grow from it.
    I notice my thoughts and feelings and what they are teaching me.
    I am grateful for all that I am.
    The past does not define me.
    I choose to think positive thoughts about myself.
    Success and happiness are my birthright.
    I am moving forward in the direction of my dreams.
    I am enough.

    Add your own photos
    Stephanie J Wong, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist, encouraged featuring your own photos on your vision board. “If you have pictures of you previously engaging in these aspirational activities, or images of people that you identify with doing these activities, even better,” Wong said. “Past behavior tends to predict future behavior, and if you have done some of these healthy activities before, you can do them again.” So grab that cute selfie that makes you feel really beautiful or a photo of you in your favorite place to replicate that healthy energy in the new year.

    So I made my vision board…now what?
    Be intentional about where you put it
    In order to truly manifest the contents of your vision board into existence, astrologer Jill Loftis suggested to “charge” your vision board by placing it somewhere you’ll see often. Whether that’s making it your laptop or phone wallpaper or printing and framing it, simply being intentional about its location is manifesting in itself. To begin manifesting your goals, Loftis advised making your vision board a daily ritual. “Place it near a candle you can light or create a small altar with the board as its centerpiece, adding symbolic statutes, crystals, or other items,” Loftis recommended. Whatever your vibe, look at your vision board every day and repeat some of your favorite affirmations, bringing back the intentions you set on the day you created the board. 

    Bring it into your meditation practice
    Another manifestation tool that can support your vision board intentions is meditation. “Meditation reminds you that you are not your thoughts, your feelings, or your skills,” Cheung said. “You are your choices. You can consciously choose more positive thoughts, feelings, and actions, and when you do that, you naturally start to feel better about yourself and you start to manifest or attract a better life while using your vision board.” Light a few candles, place your vision board in sight, and meditate. 

    Make changes and adjustments as needed
    Remember that your vision board is ever-evolving. You can add, delete, and change things as the year progresses. Your thoughts and goals will grow, just as you will. “Vision boarding and manifestation is all about learning to ask for what you want, knowing that you are deserving of receiving what you want, and then trusting the universe to bring those wants into fruition,” Neville said. Whether you need support, guidance, hope, love for yourself, or growth, a vision board can help you stay true to yourself in 2023. Say it with me: “I deserve whatever happiness and success the universe has to offer.”

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    How To Survive Work During the Gloomiest Season of the Year

    Shorter days, a lack of sunlight, and freezing temperatures can easily kill off any and all productivity and passion, and getting through work during the gloomiest time of the year can feel like an insurmountable task. This is especially true for those struggling with seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—a type of depression related to changes in seasons. Typically SAD starts in the fall and continues throughout the winter before resolving on its own in the spring. However, that is a long time to be struggling at work when you’re trying to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head.
    So if you’ve been feeling a bit “blah” lately and lacking all work-related motivation, you’ve come to the right place. Thankfully, with the right tips and tricks, you can survive work during the gloomiest time of the year. Keep on reading to learn how.

    1. Take short breaks away from your desk
    Due to the lack of sun exposure and vitamin D and disruption to our internal body clocks, we all feel a bit more tired and sluggish during the winter. Unsurprisingly, this often correlates to less physical activity. This lack of movement, though, can only add to your lethargy and just make you feel a bit more “blah.” To counter this inactivity and refresh your mind, take short breaks away from your desk periodically throughout the day. Doing things like getting up and going for a quick walk, splashing cold water on your face, or finding a quiet space to do mindful meditation or deep breathing for a few minutes can be beneficial. Eating lunch away from your desk can also be helpful too.
    Taking short breaks away from your desk will help break things up, and the change of scenery can help your mind refocus and reset. This short burst of movement is also likely to reinvigorate you a little bit, which will give you a small amount of much-needed energy to continue making boss-chick moves. Plus, extra movement can help release endorphins, which can act as a natural antidepressant and relieve some stress and anxiety.

    2. Try conscious connected breathing
    Breathwork is one of the best mindfulness tools because it can be done anywhere—like at your desk or corner in your office. There are many different forms of breathwork out there, but breathwork practitioner, spiritual mentor, and CEO Alyse Bacine, swears by a technique called conscious connected breathing. “It’s the perfect way to shift your energy out of stagnation and depression related to SAD,” Bacine told me.
    With this technique, you lay down for 15-20 minutes in a quiet space and breathe in and out through your mouth in a circular pattern with no space between the inhale and exhale. “Set the intention that you’re going to shift your energy and journal about how you’re feeling or what you’re grateful for before or after,” Bacine said. “This will shift your energy into gratitude which is the highest frequency in the universe.”

    3. Set Boundaries
    It can be difficult to separate yourself from work, especially if you’re self-employed or work from home. Think about it: How often do you “log off” for the night only to check your email the second you hear a notification, lest you miss something from work? It’s natural to want to perform well at your job and keep your boss happy, but never turning off “work mode” can be draining. The truth is, everyone needs time to rest and recharge; without it, you’re more likely to get burnt out and your work performance will suffer.
    When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do for yourself is set boundaries. Maybe this means not responding to emails after a certain time or avoiding work-related discussions after hours. Whatever the case may be, setting boundaries will give you the opportunity to rest and renew, and you’ll go into the following work day sharper and on your game.

    4. Dress for Success
    There’s some truth to the old saying “dress for success.” During the winter, there’s a real temptation to bundle up in cozy, comfy clothing, and this is especially true if you spend the most of your time working from home. However, wearing ratty, old clothing around the clock is not going to make you feel good about yourself, which is why during working hours, make it a point to dress for success.
    Dressing for success doesn’t mean throwing on an expensive pantsuit (unless you want to, then by all means). Rather, it means wearing clothing that makes you feel good, like a chic loungewear set or cute top. Likewise, if dabbing on a bit of blush or applying a drop of mascara will help you feel better and more confident, then you should absolutely put some on for work. Taking the time to put on and wear things that make you feel your best will give you an energy boost and the confidence to kill it at work.

    5. Keep a mindfulness journal
    Keeping a mindfulness journal can help you recenter and ground yourself, relieve feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, and remind you of how far you’ve come. It’s also a great way to cultivate self-awareness, increase gratitude, and uncover detrimental behavior and thought patterns. Regularly using a mindfulness journal will make you feel better equipped to handle the season because you’ll be more in touch with yourself and your emotions and help you get out of your own head and remove yourself from the cycle of overthinking.

    6. Upgrade Your Desk
    Having a desk you love will naturally make you feel more motivated and inspired, and if your setup currently leaves a lot to be desired, it might be time for an upgrade. Your upgrade doesn’t have to be anything big—it can be purchasing a new keyboard, desk lamp, plant, or simply reorganizing what you already do have. Having work tools you love is also going to make you more excited to work, and in turn, you’ll be more productive.

    7. Be 5% kinder
    I recently listened to an episode of Jay Shetty’s podcast that featured Khloé Kardashian. During the episode, Kardashian mentioned that being just 5% kinder can make the biggest difference in the world. This stuck with me because of its sheer simplicity and truth—it costs $0 to be kind, but for some reason, kindness is often hard to come by.
    Make a conscious effort to be 5% kinder to yourself and everyone else moving forward. Hold the door open for someone else, be gentle and compassionate with yourself and rest on days you’re struggling, patiently listen to a co-worker vent instead of rolling your eyes behind their back, or take your family member’s phone call instead of letting it go to voicemail. Little acts of kindness will make you feel good and radiate light and positivity out into the world during a time filled with so much gloom and doom. In turn, you’ll feel lighter, clearheaded, and more excited for work.
    In addition, be mindful of using social media because it can easily become a toxic place. Tristan Thibodeau is a brand strategist and CEO who encourages social media users to engage with forethought. “A lack of emotional intelligence can turn social media into an ugly place very quickly,” she divulged to me. “Part of you wants to have compassion for these people because they must be carrying so much negativity. But at the same time, it’s frustrating to watch them take zero responsibility for their emotions as they project their unhappiness onto innocent strangers online.” If you find that you’re logging off social media feeling worse than when you logged on because of toxicity or falling into the comparison trap, consider taking a break from it for a little bit. No amount of likes or comments is worth sacrificing your mental health.

    8. Take Care of Your Body
    This one probably seems like a no-brainer, but we so often put self-care on the back burner. Make it a point to eat foods that make you feel good and are good for you, get plenty of rest, and drink enough water. Take the time to check in with your body and see how you’re feeling. If there’s an area where you feel you’re lacking, figure out what you can do to nourish it. Taking care of yourself outside of the workplace will translate to taking care of business inside of it.
    That said, if you feel like you’re really struggling, it is never a bad idea to talk to your doctor. As a professional, they’ll be able to further guide you in the right direction and provide you with the necessary tools to overcome. Millions of Americans suffer from SAD every year, so try to remember that you’re not alone and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. In truth, we all feel a bit gloomy during this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer alone. Don’t ever forget that you are a divine and deserving human being, and you have absolutely every right to be successful and happy.

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    This Stress Management Method Is Extreme—But the Benefits Speak for Themselves

    Chances are you’ve seen celebrities, athletes, and that one diehard wellness friend who will try just about any trend (it’s me, hi) documenting their ice bath experiences on TikTok or Instagram in the name of overall well-being (teeth chattering and all). From repairing sore muscles to boosting energy, cold water plunges seem to be what all the cool kids are doing. But submerging in cold water for its health-promoting properties is nothing new—it dates back centuries with Hippocrates recorded as an OG stan, documenting the use of cold water for medicinal purposes and pain relief in fourth century BC. (He went so far as stating that “the water can cure everything.”) Today’s biggest proponent of cold water immersion is arguably the cold-embracing Dutch, Wim Hof. 
    Aptly nicknamed “The Iceman,” Hof is an athlete with seemingly superhuman abilities and an intriguing leader in the world of health and wellness all in one. Case in point: He has set over 20 Guinness World Records, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and Everest wearing just shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot and in shorts (sense the theme?), and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. Impressive feats aside, he’s perhaps best known as the creator of the Wim Hof Method and the guy who made the cold plunge a modern global phenomenon (you might recognize him from Netflix’s The Goop Lab or BBC’s Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof).
    From the likes of Oprah, Lizzo, and Kendall Jenner to wellness-seeking enthusiasts all over the world, Hof has amassed millions of devotees who swear by his three-pronged method for its physical and mental health benefits. Read on for what the Wim Hof Method is, its advantages, why everyone’s getting their cold on, and whether it’s worth giving the practice a go, according to experts. 

    In this article

     
    What is the Wim Hof Method? 
    After decades of self-exploration and scientific studies, Hof created the Wim Hof Method to stimulate the body to develop a higher level of control over the autonomic nervous system (AKA the system that controls the body’s “fight-or-flight” response and the “rest-and-digest” body processes), thereby controlling its pain and stress response, using a foundation of breathing, cold therapy, and a commitment to master your own body and mind. In other words, think of it as stress management for modern life. “The Wim Hof Method is a systematic approach to nervous system regulation and stress resilience,” summarized Dr. Kelly Kessler, a licensed physical therapist, wellness coach, and owner of Optimal You Health and Wellness, LLC.
    According to the Wim Hof Method website, the first pillar of the method—breathing—is “the easiest and most instrumental part of the autonomic nervous system to control and navigate.” In fact, breathing has been scientifically proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, and the immune system. “Conscious breathing involves taking 30-40 deep breaths, an exhalation hold, and then a recovery breath,” Dr. Kessler explained. The second pillar—cold therapy—is just as it sounds: exposing your body to the cold, which can be done using various techniques—from ice baths to cold showers to cryotherapy. Lastly, the third pillar—commitment—comes down to increasing your willpower and self-control in order to fully master both conscious breathing and cold exposure. “Commitment involves training self-control, improving discipline, and overriding impulses, and initial emotional responses,” Dr. Kessler elaborated. 

    What are the benefits of the Wim Hof Method?
    While breaking a sweat, taking a long soak, or getting a mani pedi may be stress management standbys, you’d be hard-pressed to find an activity that single-handedly touts as many health benefits as the Wim Hof Method: strengthened immune system, better sleep, increased energy, heightened metabolism, decreased inflammation, enhanced happiness, regulated stress levels, boosted mind-body connection, just to name a few.
    “One of the more profound benefits to the Wim Hof Method is reducing stress and anxiety,” Dr. Kessler said. “Stress and anxiety are a result of the brain’s perception of a potential threat to the system. The Wim Hof Method trains a ‘top-down’ approach in which we can train our brains to not respond as impulsively, thus increasing our overall resilience to stress.” Dr. Carolina Estevez, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist at Infinite Recovery, agreed: “With regular practice, the Wim Hof Method can help strengthen the body’s response to stress and increase its ability to cope with challenging situations. This improved resilience helps practitioners stay calm and focused in difficult times, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving skills.”
    Still think it’s all just woo-woo? In a 2014 study, subjects trained by Wim Hof practiced meditation, exposure to cold, and breathing techniques for over a week, and results showed that the sympathetic nervous system (read: stress response) and immune system can in fact be voluntarily influenced. The main takeaway? By utilizing the Wim Hof Method, you can help keep stress at bay and aid in improving the immune system. 
     
    Why is cold water therapy all the rage?
    Cold water therapy–namely cold water immersion–has been in the spotlight in its own right, and for good reason. Researchers in Finland who studied the effect of regular winter swimming (four times a week for four months) discovered a significant decrease in tension and fatigue and an improvement in mood and memory in the study’s participants. What’s more, those who suffered from rheumatism, asthma, and fibromyalgia expressed pain relief. Although further research is needed to prove that other factors of the study (i.e. exercising, socializing, being outdoors, placebo effect) didn’t play a role in the reported effects on mental health, there’s science to back up why cold water immersion, simply put, makes you feel great.
    “Cold water therapy induces a number of changes and reactions in the human body that are beneficial across physical, cognitive, and mental health,” described Dr. Holly Schiff, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist. “Exposure to cold activates the sympathetic nervous system, which increases the brain release of norepinephrine—an adrenal hormone that helps people feel more ‘up’ naturally. During whole body cold exposure, the spontaneous release of opioids and cannabinoids in the brain are promoted, which has the potential to create a feeling of well-being, mood control, and reduced anxiety.”
    Dr. Sony Sherpa, a holistic physician and writer at Nature’s Rise, affirmed that exposure to cold water can help alleviate stress and anxiety by soothing the vagus nerve. “The vagus nerve is a part of your parasympathetic nervous system, the system that’s responsible for relaxing your body after experiencing danger or stress,” Dr. Sherpa described. “When you expose yourself to cold temperatures, such as taking a cold shower or washing your face with cold water, you slow down your sympathetic nervous system that’s activated when you’re under stress or anxiety. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, your heart rate slows down, your breathing stabilizes, and your blood pressure decreases. In short, your body relaxes.”

    @lizzo
    ♬ original sound – lizzo

     
    Are there downsides to the Wim Hof Method?
    There’s no denying the myriad of benefits the Wim Hof Method offers, but it does come with some potential risks. “The Wim Hof Method intentionally activates the sympathetic (fight, flight, freeze) response of the autonomic nervous system, which can lead to hyperventilation and potentially fainting,” Dr. Kessler pointed out. “It is important to consult with a medical professional prior to starting the Wim Hof Method, especially for anyone with a heart condition. This is a method where proper implementation and training are essential for safety.”
    Then, there are the possible dangers that come specifically with cold water therapy. “Cold water immersion can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, which could be dangerous for people with certain health conditions,” Dr. Estevez illustrated. “Additionally, inexperienced practitioners [of the Wim Hof Method] may not be aware of the proper technique and could potentially cause harm by trying to push too hard or too fast.” Other probable negative side effects include frostbite, hypothermia, and heart arrhythmias. Bottom line: As with any health and wellness trend, speak with a healthcare professional before taking the plunge. 

    Should you try the Wim Hof Method?
    It’s hard not to be intrigued by the purported natural high supporters of the method claim and what it evidently does for stress management, but is it right for you? “Wim Hof breathing is definitely worth trying if you are interested in building resilience in the face of stressors, and if you’re able to engage in it safely,” conveyed Aubry Alvarez-Bakker, Ph.D., a licensed and board-certified clinician and a neuropsychology researcher at the Yes Supply Institute. “Because some practitioners report that it can take a few months of consistent practice before they notice the maximum benefits, you may have a better experience if you go into it being open-minded about focusing less on the outcome, and more on enjoying the process. If you can do that, after a few months, or perhaps sooner, you will likely feel more at peace each day.”
    The best part of the Wim Hof Method other than the supposed benefits? It’s accessible and doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg (looking at you, $13K cold plunge). “The Wim Hof method has provided many people with an alternative way to take control of their health and promote overall well-being,” Dr. Kessler expressed. “The beauty of it is that it does not require fancy equipment and it can be done right at your own home. Changing the stress of the world is not in your control, however improving your ability to be more resilient to stress through the Wim Hof Method is a powerful way to be a healthier version of yourself.” 
    To get a taste of the Wim Hof Method, start with the breathing exercises laid out on the Wim Hof Method website while taking a cold shower: Adjust the temperature to the absolute coldest you can tolerate for a minimum of ten seconds and work your way up to one minute or end your shower with 10-60 seconds of cold water.
     
    Please consult a doctor or a mental health professional before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may be experiencing mental health symptoms, please seek help from your doctor, a mental health professional, and/or a trusted friend or family member. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

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    Consider This Manifestation Expert’s 7 Steps Your 2023 Roadmap

    Welcome to The Everygirl Podcast. Whether you’re looking for insider secrets from successful women that have your dream job, are interested in expert advice to transform your health and feel your best, or just want to be entertained and laugh along with us on your commute, we’ve got you covered.

    Let’s get corny for a second. When manifestation first started to go viral, I didn’t exactly buy into it. I misperceived it as repeating constant affirmations or strictly visualization, and was under the impression that my journaling techniques for goal-setting were far more effective. Then, a year and a half ago, I landed an internship interview at The Everygirl, and realized that I had been thinking about working here every single day since I was 15 years old without ever once writing down a goal about it. I literally thought my dream first job into existence, almost unintentionally. Turns out, I have manifestation to thank for having the opportunity to do something I love every day.
    Whether you’ve yet to be convinced or consider yourself a manifestation convert like yours truly, this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast has something for you. In this episode, Josie sits down with queen of manifestation Roxie Nafousi to break down misconceptions about manifestation (hint: my old journaling techniques? Yeah, those were kinda manifestation too), unpack some of the science behind manifestation, and walk through Roxie’s manifestation routine. Read on for Roxie’s 7-step manifestation practice (check out her book Manifest: 7 Steps to Living Your Best Life for more details), and listen this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast for more tips from Roxie.

    1. Be clear in your vision
    Let’s say you want to manifest something specific in 2023, like landing your dream job. According to Roxie, the first step is all about really honing in on a specific goal, asking yourself questions about what you do and do not want to attract as you work towards that vision. Thinking about who you want to be and how you want to feel while you manifest will allow you to be as clear as possible in your vision. To help out with this step, Roxie recommends creating vision boards and using visualization techniques.
     
    2. Remove fear and doubt
    In order to succeed in your manifestation, you need to believe that you are worthy of receiving the things that you are manifesting. This step is absolutely crucial for building your self-confidence so that you are capable of going out and achieving all of your dreams. As Roxie says, this means doing lots of inner work and introspection, and can often be the hardest (but most worthwhile) part of the manifestation process. One helpful tip that Roxie recommends on The Everygirl Podcast for moving forward with this step? Whenever you receive a compliment, instead of negating it, respond with a simple “Thank you.”

    3. Align your behavior
    A common misconception about manifestation is that it’s all happening in your head or on a vision board. According to Roxie, that couldn’t be further from the truth, because step three happens in the real world. Aligning your behavior means stepping out of your comfort zone and implementing habits that will launch you to where you want to be. “This is really about stepping into the character of your future self. It’s about taking action, taking risks,” Roxie says. “It’s about being the change that you want to create.” Take a look at the habits and actions you are taking in your life, especially those that you repeat frequently like a morning and night routine, and live according to your goals.

    4. Overcome tests from the universe
    According to Roxie, there are two sides to this middle step in the manifestation process. The first is about not settling for less than you deserve: if an opportunity is coming your way but you’re looking ahead to something even bigger, perhaps now is not the time to settle. Roxie uses the example of manifesting a great partner, going on an amazing first few dates with a certain person, and then realizing that they’re starting to be inconsistent: this is a test from the universe, and your own self-worth will help you walk away from that situation. The other side of this step is about how you meet challenges and rejection, and your ability to bounce back from those tests without losing your confidence.
     

    5. Embrace gratitude without caveats
    “Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a key and integral part of manifestation,” Roxie says on The Everygirl Podcast. “The manifesting sweet spot is knowing where you want to go whilst being entirely grateful for all that you already have.” According to her, manifesting cannot just be about bringing new things into your life; it also has to be about feeling appreciative of the things that are already there. There are many gratitude practices to try, but Roxie’s favorite is a positivity journal, where you write down every single good thing that happened to you today, big and small.

    6. Turn envy into inspiration
    Envy is often coded in our society as an entirely negative emotion, but Roxie sees the flip side in her manifestation practice. It’s something that we all feel, and can turn into a powerful tool, as it shows us where we still need healing: it opens our eyes to our own scarcity mindsets. Envy can be turned inside out into inspiration by leaning into an abundance mindset and believing that there is enough out there for everyone, including ourselves.

    7. Trust in the universe
    This final step in Roxie’s manifestation routine is all about letting go. Impatience and desperation do you no favors in the manifestation process, and trusting in the universe looks like truly believing that the things you have worked for will come to you in time. It’s the mental equivalent of submitting the job application, shutting your computer screen, and not obsessively checking your email for the next several days, because you believe so strongly that what you deserve will come to you. As Roxie says on The Everygirl Podcast, “Strengthen that magnetic, unwavering confidence that you know everything is going to be OK.” More

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    Got Post-Holiday Blues? Here are 7 Things to Do Today To Feel Happy and Excited

    The decorations are coming down, Hallmark Christmas movies have come to a screeching halt, work is going back to its regularly scheduled programming, the last of the figgy pudding is gone, and we’re saying good riddance to 2022. Chances are the high of all the holiday cheer has given way to feelings of loneliness and sadness, AKA the post-holiday blues. While the symptoms of post-holiday blues are short-term, there’s no denying they are very real. Rest assured, they’re normal and you’re in good company. We’re coming down from the intense hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, shindigs, indulgences, and travel and facing the letdown of going back to business as usual. That said, there are things you can start doing today to snap out of the post-season funk. Read on for seven tips on how to feel happy when you’ve got the post-holiday blues. Time to get back in the groove.

    1. Move your body intentionally
    Call it a holiday hangover or a case of the post-fa-la-la-la-la blahs—no matter how you look at it, you’re in an emotional slump and you want out. Your workout routine may have been non-existent amidst the holiday madness, so what better time to shake off those “meh” feelings with a solid sweat sesh than today? When you have obé Fitness and its community at your fingertips, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home (who wants to bear the frigid temps?) and you’ve got built-in accountability. Start with one of their Express Classes because 10 minutes is all you need to get those endorphins going. In fact, exercising for just 10 minutes a day can make a difference—and have lasting, measurable effects on your health. What’s more, with 20+ class types and over 10,000 on-demand classes to choose from, there’s a workout for every mood, level, and fitness style. To banish the post-holiday blues once and for all, use code EGYEAR for one-year access to obé fitness for just $99 ($70 off)!

    2. Reset your eating and sleep habits 
    So we’ve established that the holiday rush didn’t leave much room (or energy) for working out, and if we’re being honest, the same went for keeping up our healthy eating and sleep habits. Between the cookies everywhere you turn and the Christmas movie marathons, who can blame us? I don’t have to tell you that those slices of pumpkin pie and glasses of eggnog can mess with your gut health (hello, bloat) and not prioritizing your beauty sleep can throw off your mood and energy. So hit reset on your diet by keeping the water coming to aid in digestion and prevent constipation and focusing on veggies and other whole, unprocessed foods to help keep you stay satiated and regular. While you’re at it, re-establish a consistent sleep schedule and get a solid 7-9 hours of shuteye in every night. Bonus points: Getting quality Zzzs can help you eat healthier (how’s that for a two-fer?).

    3. Think ahead and make plans to look forward to 
    After the spark of the holiday season has faded, it’s hard not to think back on the good times and feel a sense of dread (womp womp). Instead of ruminating on the past, try thinking about the future to help you feel better in the now. After all, giving yourself things to look forward to—no matter how small—can reduce stress and boost mood. In fact, simply visualizing and anticipating your future (best) self can lift your spirits. Whether it’s the matcha latte you plan to grab on your way to work, the new pair of boots you’re expecting in the mail, or your long-awaited trip to Iceland, make it a point to relish in the upcoming things and experiences that excite you. The result? You’ll cheer up in no time. And don’t forget to pepper in mood-boosting activities (the more the merrier!) throughout the year to spread the joy. 

    4. Spruce up your home
    We’re still in staying in season, which means spending more time at home. Do yourself and your mood a favor by doing a quick sweep of your abode. As empty as it may feel with the tree gone and all the tinsel stored away, it’s the ideal time to clean and declutter every nook and cranny. Because a tidy, organized space can improve your well-being, and there’s nothing more satisfying than checking off the dirty dishes in the sink, the growing piles of laundry, and the clutter on your desk. So pop in an inspiring podcast and get to it! Then, hygge your home with warm elements (you can never have enough candles), layered textures (give me all the warm throw blankets), and natural touches (a new plant, anyone?). Bottom line: Making your crib comfy cozy translates to optimal health and happiness. 

    5. Reflect and set intentions 
    While this may be a given when the New Year and resolutions are top of mind, setting attainable goals—whether health, personal growth, career, or relationship-related—makes us happier. Jumpstart the year by reflecting on what your highest self looks like, creating clear and realistic objectives to become her, and planning out actionable steps to achieve them. Perhaps you want to level up your meditation practice. What are things in your control that you can do each day or week to improve it? Is it dedicating two minutes first thing in the morning to sit in stillness, listening to one guided meditation every afternoon to break up the day, or exploring a new technique each week until you find the one that suits you best? Having an achievable purpose to set your sights on will help enhance your well-being in the present, while progressing toward it will help bring about ongoing happiness and satisfaction.  

    6. Pile on the self-care
    PSA: Now is the time to especially listen to what your mind and body need. Your “me” time and healthy routines have taken a back seat to the whirlwind of the holidays, and enough is enough. Enter: all the self-care. While there’s no one-size-fits-all self-care practice, you can take your pick—from journaling and going for a walk to diving into that must-read novel and blocking off your entire Sunday for Pilates, a lymphatic massage, and a mani-pedi. It goes without saying that you don’t have to do it all at once (but by all means!)—do what works and feels best for you, and switch it up from time to time according to your ever-changing needs. Whatever you choose, you can expect reduced stress levels, higher self-worth, and overall improved well-being. Who says you can’t give yourself gifts (material or in the form of self-care) year-round? 

    7. Get outside
    There’s a reason it’s called nature therapy. While we’re staying indoors more this time of year, we can reap a host of mental health benefits by being one with nature: increased happiness, decreased anxiety, stress, and depression, and better focus. Try forest bathing (AKA a nature walk) where you connect with nature through your five senses, visit a local botanical garden, participate in a sound bath, play with your dog in a park, or sip your morning coffee on your balcony. The world is your oyster. A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology showed that just five minutes in nature can make you happier. For the times you’re too cozy in bed to move or it’s a tad too cold to bear staying outside for a prolonged period of time, you can bring the outdoors in by adding plants to your home, cueing soothing nature sounds via an app, or using a light therapy box to mimic the effects of being in the open air. 

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    60 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions You Can Totally Achieve This Year

    Lose weight. Run a marathon. Cut out alcohol. Get a raise. We make the same tired new year’s resolutions every year that we never manage to keep, or we forget we made them altogether by February. Seriously–is it just me, or do new year’s resolutions never seem to work? My suspicion is that we make resolutions that we think we want, not resolutions that will actually make us healthier and happier. We think losing weight will make us feel more confident or that running a marathon will get us to the gym (and back to that weight loss goal). We believe cutting out alcohol will make us healthier or that getting a raise will make all of our problems disappear. But are these resolutions really making us feel good, or are these “goals” in the name of being better actually distracting us from truly being healthy? 
    In 2023, it’s time to ditch the typical resolutions that leave you feeling stressed out or let down year after year. Instead, opt for resolutions that you’ll enjoy so much and will make you feel so good, you’ll have no trouble sticking with them at all. These 60 new year’s resolutions will make you feel happier, healthier, and all-around better (difficult diets or forced workouts need not apply). Whether you choose one resolution or all 60, you’ll be happier and healthier by 2024. 
     
    If you want to revamp your diet…

    Check in with your body before and after every meal to see how it feels
    Ditch outdated food rules 
    Focus on adding more nutrients (instead of eating fewer calories/carbohydrates, etc.)
    Eat leafy greens with two meals a day
    Drink more water and eat more water-rich produce (like watermelon, romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, etc.)
    Try new produce you’ve never cooked with before
    Eat the rainbow with a variety of fruits and veggies in every color
    Start meal prepping to make cooking during the week easier
    Eat seasonally
    Replace your favorite meals with plant-based alternatives (cauliflower pizza crust, chickpea pasta, etc.)

    If you’re motivated to update your fitness routine…

    Exercise in ways that feel exciting and fun
    Get specific about your goals
    Add an outdoor activity to your routine (going on a walk counts!)
    Be active in ways that don’t feel like exercise (play sports with friends, go ice skating, swim in the summer, etc.)
    Prioritize rest and recovery just as much as you prioritize workouts
    Work out without your phone
    Try something totally new once a month
    Be more active outside of the gym (take the stairs, walk everywhere, etc.)
    Stretch more
    Schedule workouts into your calendar (yes, even if that means your work calendar)

    If you need to stress less…

    Prioritize the hobbies, habits, and people who make you happy
    Reexamine all of your relationships–let go of the ones that don’t make you feel good, and invest more time into the ones that do
    Practice gratitude, even for the smallest things
    Start a meditation practice
    Have a go-to morning and nighttime routine that makes you feel relaxed and happy
    Try a weekly social media detox
    Get 7-9 hours of sleep (every single night)
    Talk to yourself like you talk to loved ones
    Say “no” when you mean no
    Schedule time to do something fun “just because” every day

    If you want to look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside…

    Nail down a skincare routine that you can consistently do every single day
    Focus on scalp-care
    Experiment with color in your makeup routine
    Invest in a beauty supplement
    Find your perfect foundation or concealer shade
    Try a new nail color you’ve never worn before
    Make your quarterly haircut appointments in advance
    Develop a nighttime hair routine
    Wear sunscreen every single day
    Make a skin-check appointment with your dermatologist

    If you want to feel more in control of your finances…

    Max out your retirement contribution or start contributing to a retirement fund
    Pay off credit cards
    Increase your credit score
    Pay off one thing that requires monthly payments
    Reach a certain amount in savings
    Set up an emergency fund and build it to a percentage of your salary
    Save for a big goal (down payment on house, car, etc.)
    Talk with your boss about action plans to maximize your compensation (work toward a raise, check out commuter perks, look at non-health benefits, etc.)
    Work on your financial wellness
    Budget to make room for items, experiences, or indulgences that truly bring you joy

    If you’re ready to upgrade your home…

    Create a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal cleaning routine
    Replace one disposable item in your kitchen with a more eco-friendly alternative (for example, swap paper towels for rags, aluminum foil for reusable food wrap, or counter cleaner with a refillable essential-oil based cleaner)
    Tackle one home project a month
    Do a quick declutter of closets, drawers, laundry chairs, and piles of paper once a week
    Make seasonal updates so your home always feels fresh
    Make one big change like painting a wall, getting a new couch, or DIYing a gallery wall to make your space feel like new
    Reorganize one area every month, like your makeup stash, pantry, fridge, or hall closet
    Aim to bring your personality into your home more 
    Get in the habit of cleaning off counters, finishing the dishes, and putting away any laundry before bed
    Make upgrades to your bath or shower for a more peaceful environment

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    7 Steps to Declutter Your Mind For 2023

    Every time the new year comes around, we are bombarded with the notion to get ahead by mapping out our list of resolutions. Whether it’s committing to a new gym membership or getting out of financial debt, the new year is that blank slate (or Blank Space, if you’re a Swiftie) you’ve been waiting for. It makes for a great time to do personal reflection and check in with yourself. If you’re like me, your mind can be an incredibly challenging thing to slow down. Here are seven tips to hitting the refresh button mentally so you can declutter your mind and feel capable of taking on 2023.

    1. Look for ways to simplify
    Whether it’s committing to only a certain amount of appointments/commitments a week or getting rid of the clothes you don’t actually wear, find ways to make life easier on yourself. Life can be challenging, and while many things are out of your control, reflect on the habits you have control over. Are you looking for ways to create margin in life, or are you continuously overbooking your schedule? Life will look a whole lot better when you intentionally develop habits that bring you to a place of personal balance. 

    2. Romanticize sleep
    According to The Sleep Foundation, “Women have a lifetime risk of insomnia that is as much as 40% higher than men,” which is why cups of coffee probably sounds so good in the morning. In other words, we do–in fact–need our beauty sleep. So please pass the eye masks and satin pajamas. Prioritize better sleeping habits to make sure your body is reaching its full potential wellbeing. Limit screen time before bed so you can wind down mentally and prepare for snoozing. If going to bed sounds boring, create a personalized nighttime routine you love. After your skincare routine, put on your loungewear, turn on your essential oils diffuser, and curl up to read a good book. 

    3. Write down the “clutter”
    A great way to process your thoughts in a healthy way is by journaling. Even if you only have a few minutes, take a pen to paper or create a note in your phone where you’re able to dive into different thoughts you’ve been dealing with. Maybe you’re stressed and need to write about your work challenges, or maybe you’re grieving the loss of a close friend and need to let out the emotional trauma. Writing is a way of communication that helps us process our emotions through words so we’re able to release any ideas or beliefs we might be holding in our minds. Journaling is a healthy outlet, and it’s a safe place you can look back on as you move forward throughout different seasons.

    4. Make time for alone time
    As I like to say, take yourself out on a date. On the weekends when I’m able to get away from mom duties or home/work life, I love going to a local coffee shop, ordering a latte, and truly engaging with my environment without being interrupted or distracted by my phone. Set one day or different hour blocks throughout your week where you can do something just for you that brings you to life. We are often the most stressed when we haven’t had a chance to take a breather and step away from our schedule to invest in ourselves. Go to the nail appointment, see your dentist, shop for a new pair of boots, or simply relish a delicious croissant by yourself. Do something you love, and make a habit of it to make sure you’re taking care of you. 

    5. Leave the past in the past
    Maybe you went through a tough breakup this year or someone broke your trust. Maybe you struggled at work or made mistakes you regret. Sometimes we don’t deal with negative emotions properly, or we harbor them and let them manifest as unhealthy projections toward other people. Before stepping into a new year, take a moment to identify those negative emotions and do a heart check up. Start by asking yourself questions like: What events significantly impacted me negatively this year? What lies or limiting beliefs have I allowed myself to hold on to from those events that I need to let go of? 
    Whatever it may be, consider letting those things go to move on and truly heal. In order to show up for others, we must first always be willing to show up for ourselves. A new year doesn’t change the hurt. But it is a beautiful reminder that we can choose to start over again and–as my friend told me once–keep pursuing a healthy heart. 

    6. Get active
    There are so many resources and updated research that continuously affirm the importance of exercise. I’m obsessed with spinning and took a spin class at least 3-4 times a week (before having my first baby) because it always makes me feel amazing mentally. After exercise, we often feel clearer and are able to move stagnant energy making us feel stuck, not to mention those feel-good endorphins that get released when you move your body. Whether you love to go for a walk or take yoga class online after work, show your body some TLC by making exercise a priority for your mental health. Not only can movement improve your mood, but you’ll build strength–both physically and mentally.

    7. Do the small things right away
    As a working mom who has a chaotic schedule, one of the ways I’ve minimized what’s on my plate is by choosing to do things right away. Imagine it’s late at night and there’s a pile of dishes in the sink–you’re probably tempted to hold off until the next morning to wash it all. Instead, get in the habit of getting it done right away, or the next free moment you get. When we keep putting off those little things, we end up piling chores or responsibilities until we reach our breaking point, causing more stress and anxiety than if we just take care of it right away. If you have an extra five minutes in the morning before leaving for work, make your bed, drop off the rent payment, or make your next doctor’s appointment.
    Because life can be so busy, “I’ll get to it later” can sometimes set you up for forgetting the task in the long run, or add to your stress levels because you have a subconscious growing to-do list. Avoid the stress, and simply get it done when you can. You’ll be grateful you did it, and you’ll be mentally at ease for prioritizing it.

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