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Dealing With Stress

Ask Amanda, Blog, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments
Ask Amanda: Dealing with Stress | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: What are your best stress-coping methods?

 

This is a really great question! Sometimes I feel as if I have so much stress that I’m drowning. Other times, I feel like I can conquer the world. I find that dealing with stress is best done by preventing it as much as possible. Of course, this is not always possible - life likes to throw unsuspected curve balls every once in a while. I suppose the easiest way to answer this question is to share some of the things that I utilize to both prevent and manage stress.

 

 

Keep a planner

Writing down my tasks and goals and prioritizing them helps me keep on track. I am able to focus on things that keep me productive and I waste less time when I know what I need to be doing. When I find myself wasting time, I get discouraged and have a hard time picking myself up from it, so this is a nice preventative way of dealing with some stressful things.

 

 

Journal

Oh, the amount of filled journals I have is amazing. I write in them significantly less than I used to, but I do journal regularly. Sometimes I’ll just get my thoughts out till I can think straight again. Other times I’ll write prayers or letters to God. I do have one rule in my journals though: I never write anything bad about anyone. My journals will likely outlive me, and I don’t want a moment of agitation or anger on my part to ruin anyone’s reputation. Besides, I want to get over it, right? I don’t want to have to relive it every time I reread my journal - which I do on occasion.

 

 

Take time for Me

This may sound counter-productive, but when I take time to sit back and recharge, I am able to come back and face all of my tasks head-on, and with a better attitude than before. Taking a bath, or lighting some candles and chilling, taking time to read something for fun. Those are all great ways I can just remove myself temporarily from the situation. Sometimes, I just need a power nap to get my focus back on track as well.

 

 

Sing

This started from a very young age. I’ve sung to myself in so many stressful situations - from pumping myself up for interviews and other difficult situations to singing while driving on icy roads. It somehow calms me. Especially singing hymns and scripture songs that are filled with promises that remind me that God’s got me.

 

 

Give My Burdens to Jesus

How heavy a glass of water is just depends on how long you hold it. The longer you hold it, the heavier it seems. And if you’re carrying that thing for a year, we may have to call the ambulance for you. The same with our stress and burdens. Jesus tells us to come and give Him our burdens (see Matthew 28:11). His rest is a promise to us that I love to cling to.

 

 


How do YOU deal with stress?


 
 

Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Diet Today

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps12 Comments

This year, I've made some changes to my diet in an attempt to better myself as well as an elimination experiment to confirm some things for me (I'm working on a whole, detailed post about what's been going on, so be sure to look out for it). I've always grown up hearing about healthy ways to do things as it was always very emphasized at home, at school and even at church and it never occurred to me that some people may not know about some of the basic things our bodies need for optimal health (I wrote about these things here). Today, I will just share some easy food switches you can make to help reach your health goals.

4 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Diet Today | www.maplealps.com

 

Related: Spring into Health this Spring

 

Skip the sugary drinks and drink more water. Sugary drinks are delicious, don't get me wrong, but it's too easy to overlook the effects of sugar on your body. Skip the addictive substance, and drink water - our bodies need it anyway! I also really enjoy unsweetened herbal teas. The bottom line is that since our bodies are made up of over 70% water, it is absolutely necessary we drink it. It supports our systems and flushes it out. 

 

Add vegetables to your meals. Your mama was right - veggies help you grow strong! Eat your vegetables! Add a side of broccoli or opt for a side salad (or make it your main course!). You can start small, but add more vegetables to your diet. The best kind are the ones that are fresh and in season. Fresh, nourishing food is essential! I love meals that are full of vegetables!

 

Choose fruit over cookies. Again, the side effects that come with sugary treats will harm you more than do you good. Choosing fruit when you have a sweet craving is a better choice that fatty desserts. Again, with the summer close, in-season fruit is becoming more readily available!

 
It’s not hard to clean up your diet! Here are some easy tips you can start using today!
 

Pick steamed or raw over fried. I know, I know. Fried foods are so delicious - but they are really not good for you. Because of the added calories and health risks involved with commercially fried foods, it is best to avoid consuming them (or avoid when possible). If you must have fried, try oven frying or air frying at home for crispy food, but with less oil and the calories that come with it.

 

Make your own meals. I know it's fun to eat out, but save your wallet and your bodies by making your own food. When you cook or prepare your meals yourself, you have total control over what goes onto your plate. On top of that, it is also much cheaper to buy your own groceries

 

Related: Eating Cleaner on a Budget

 

Listen to your body. For me, when I eat dairy or other heavily processed foods, I'm noticeably more lethargic. Then again, I likely would not have even noticed had I not decided to cut it out. When I am intentional about drinking enough water and eating fresh foods and avoiding "empty calories" (calories that add no nutritional value), I feel my best - energetic and ready to go. Listen to your body - it speaks louder than you might imagine!

 

What are some ways you make healthy switches?


 
4 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Diet Today | www.maplealps.com
 

I Quit Makeup. Here's What Happened.

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Health, BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps11 Comments

I quit makeup.

Over two years ago.

Now, before you stop reading because you think I’m going  to tell you to stop wearing makeup, I’m not going to do any such thing.

I just felt like writing about my experiences - good and bad - when I stopped wearing makeup. Consider this more a personal reflection, and take from it what you wish!

This girl quit makeup | www.maplealps.com

Why did I do it?

I’ll be honest: I have no radical reason as to why I stopped wearing makeup. I just….decided to one morning. Don’t get me wrong - I really did enjoy wearing it and putting time and effort into my appearance, but when I questioned my motives (and some of the ingredients and testing methods of certain companies), I didn’t like what I was seeing. It was all about me and what people saw when they saw me. I realized that what I looked like shouldn’t matter as much as what my character was - so I took a break. My break has stretched to two years now, and I can’t say that I don’t miss it at times (again, for mostly superficial reasons), but I took some time to reflect on it.

 

It saves me time

I seriously used to be really good at getting up really early in the morning and getting myself together and ready. Over the years, however, it has gotten harder and harder to do that - mainly due to my light sleep and having a husband who goes to bed later than I would prefer. I am still obligated to wake up much earlier than I would like with these circumstances, but when I need the extra ten minutes, I take it. When I don’t need the extra time, it is now used in a much more productive way; I can extend the time for prayer, or eat a slower breakfast. It’s nice to not rush. It’s also nice to not spend so much time in front of the mirror looking goofy.

 

It saves me money

As I was going through the cosmetic aisle the other day, I was shocked to see some of the prices on brands I used to buy regularly. I did some quick math in my head and the number that came up was quite large. Being much more intentional about my money is important, and prioritizing what I spend it on is part of that. I was glad to realize that a large portion I would normally not even think about spending on makeup “essentials” now goes into savings.

 

It saves me stress

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand the extra stress. Why should I have to worry about whether my mascara is truly waterproof when it rains, or if my nail polish is chipping in an unattractive manner? I have enough to worry about in a day, so adding on these factors was just making me more of a basket-case than I already am! Honestly, going back to the time thing as well, the stress of running out of time in the morning is too much for my delicate heart.

 

It saves my skin

It is nothing new that a lot of makeup and other toiletries are made with questionable ingredients that harm our bodies. Yes, there are fantastic alternatives I’m sure, but I’ve not explored these [often expensive] alternatives. Honestly, I could do with putting fewer layers of “stuff” on my extremely absorptive skin anyway. I don’t have the best skin, and skipping the chemical-filled cosmetics has improved it so much.

 

My Husband Still Loves Me

Yup.

 

In Conclusion

I never set out to see how long I could go without painting a nail or lining my eye (sounds so weird when I say it that way). I just got fed up and started on a journey I didn’t know I was going on. I doubt that I’ll ever go back, and if I do, I do. For now, I am content with my choice and glad for the extra time, money and peace of mind it contributes to.

 


What do you think about my experience? Experienced anything similar?


 

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

There are days when your home feels too comfy to leave it, and since gym memberships can be quite costly, sometimes your home seems like the best option for getting your workout done. So, turn your house or apartment into a private and budget-friendly gym with this home workout guide.  Get your yoga mat, put on your workout clothes and get ready to discover easy and fun ways you can get fit and healthy right without ever leaving the comfort of your home.  

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

When You Feel Like Staying In

When you just feel like spending your day inside and not going out in the cold, there are simple and effective indoor workouts you can try. You don’t need much equipment, just a plain yoga mat or an old blanket for some knee and back protection. When it comes to the exercises, aside from basic sit-ups, pushups and crunches, you can also do some stair stepping that will definitely raise your heart rate. If you don’t have stairs in your home, you can still do this exercise with the biggest book you can find or a small chair or bench. You can also add some arm and back exercises with weights or water bottles. Water bottles are quite handy as weights because you can adjust the weight to your fitness level. 

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

When You Feel Like Staying in Bed

If you would do anything to stay a few extra minutes in bed in the morning, we have some good news for you. You don’t even have to get up to do your morning workout! Stay in bed and still get a workout  in with some simple exercises you can do right on your mattress. Choose a few every day (or complete the whole set) and try circuit training. Complete as many reps as you can in 30 seconds, take a 10-second break and get onto the next exercise. These will get your blood pumping and you’ll certainly burn more calories than scrolling through Instagram in bed. 

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

When You Need to Stay In

If you work from home sitting in front of your computer screen for hours and after you’re done, you just want to relax and stretch out on the sofa, you have to know that you’re not doing yourself a favor. Research shows that prolonged sitting is bad for your lungs, heart, back and your mental health. So, if you want to break this cycle and get some exercise while at your desk, embrace deskercising! For your office workouts, you don’t need any special equipment aside from things you can find in your home office, such as books, desks, a chair and yourself. You can do all sorts of exercises like leg raises, chair crunches or table pushups. One great way to get moving in your office is to pace every time you’re on the phone! You’ll stretch your legs and put some extra steps on your Fitbit. Pro tip: either find a good ergonomic chair for your office or get a soft pillow that will protect your back from prolonged sitting.

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

For Those Who Have A Pool

If you’re one of those lucky people with a backyard pool, you basically have the best piece of workout equipment at home: water! Depending on the size of your pool, you can start swimming laps or engage in some water aerobics. These exercises will do wonders for your posture, weight, muscles and your overall health. All you need is some basic swimming pool equipment like goggles and you’re ready to go. 

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

For Those With a Backyard

If you have a backyard, you have a whole new world of workout options (hello, cardio!). Cardio is great for improving your heart health, boosting your metabolism, shedding fat and keeping you fit and toned. So, try organizing a boot camp in your backyard that will leave you absolutely breathless.

As you can see, your level of activity doesn’t depend on the weather, budget or time; you can get good workouts at home. All you need is 15-30 minutes, some basic equipment and the motivation to get moving! 

 

Bio.jpg

Faith is a writer, seeking beauty everywhere she goes and finding it in art, nature, family, and home. Passionate about just living life to the fullest, she’s into home decor and healthy lifestyle, trying to be the best version of herself and make her surroundings match.

If you are interested in guest posting, check out the guest posting guidelines for Maple Alps, here. 


 

Five FREE Apps I Use to Track My Health

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps16 Comments

Ever since I got my first smartphone, I have tried to use it for as many things as possible. There are a few things I tried and failed (like the calendars and such - I’m truly a paper girl!), but one thing that really helped me was health tracking apps. After coming back a good 20 pounds heavier from Europe, using my phone made it easy to keep track of my diet and exercise and keep myself accountable. It became almost a game to make sure I was logging in and tracking - and I tell you - the results came! Today I wanted to share with you some of the apps that I tried, those I loved, and those I didn’t love as much. And no, no one is paying me to say all these things. I just wanted to share some of the tools I use/have used to be intentional about my health.

Five FREE Apps to Track Health! Great! | www.maplealps.com

 

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal was my best friend for a few years! By keeping track of what I ate, how much I exercised, and setting goals (and keeping them), I was able to lose 20 pounds easily. Now, I am able to maintain my weight. It’s not some magical tool that makes you do that - you do have to input everything you eat. It’s basically a food log, but instead of writing everything down in a notebook, you can carry it on your phone. If you eat something out of a package, it’s easy to scan it, and if you make a recipe, you can input that too! You can even copy and paste meals to make it simple. I have recently stopped using it as much, but I still recommend it to others (and I hear back from them with happy results).

Verdict: Great if you have the time to input your data every day, but I’ve moved on.

 

Runtastic

I have used Runtastic for a long time too! I love it for tracking all of my walks and runs and other exercises and keeps me motivated. It shows lifetime kilometers or miles every time you log in, which is fun, and connects to My Fitness Pal so you can seamlessly add your exercise. I now use Runtastic Pro (that I got for free during a promotion a few years back) and I love how it tells you every time you’ve hit a km. It keeps me on track when I’m doing long runs - and it helps me pace when I do races.

Verdict: I still love and use this app after years of use!

 

GLOW

I know there is a lot of controversy about cycle tracking apps and how they do not work. I switched to GLOW almost a year ago from another app that I had been using, and I am pretty impressed. You can track everything from your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) to your moods. Patterns are then created and you can look back and see when you’re more likely to have different symptoms. It also predicts (quite accurately!) your upcoming periods - which helps with planning certain things like trips and activities. It’s not as accurate as the tracker I used last, but I still like it more.

Verdict: Love how simple it is to log information and the accuracy of the predictions! I’ll keep using this.

 

Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen

This is a fun, streamlined, and creative way to keep track of your fruit, veggie, and legume intake. Each time you have a serving, you can easily add it to the app so you can see how you are doing on that given day. The only downside to this app is that you can’t keep your information from day-to-day to look back at your progress. Instead, it resets every day so you can add your new information. It’s still a cool way to see what you’ve eaten every day and gauge the areas you need to improve in.

Verdict: I love the concept and simplicity for logging necessary food groups as opposed to actual meals and calories (and prefer this actually). If they would change it so you can see how you did in the past, I would love it more.

 

Fitbit

Now that I have jumped on the Fitbit wagon (my husband got me one for my birthday!), I now use the Fitbit app. It’s fun to keep track of my steps and be reminded to move on days I have off. The Fitbit itself tracks your steps, distance and even sleep, to name a few features (depending on the model you get). But I’m talking about the app. You can add your water and food and create and achieve goals and set alarms and reminders to assist with that. It also links to My Fitness Pal, which is an added bonus (but I’ve since replaced My Fitness Pal with this app because it pretty much does the same thing, and I like to simplify my life as much as possible instead of using 500 apps when I could use 3). The best part is the community of other people with Fitbit devices. You can challenge and encourage each other, which is a lot of fun.

Verdict: I would say this app is a win. Easy and fun to use.

 


What apps do you use to track your health? Any of these?