Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

Have you ever gotten overwhelmed, in a funk, or frustrated about the pace of life? Having a hobby can help quiet the roar of chaos and make you feel human again. I’ve got some great hobby ideas for you. But wait! I know what you might say, “I don’t have time for a hobby”. I used to think that way too, but after a little experimenting, I found my hobby to be a superhero to my mental health. Let’s get a better understanding of why a hobby helps us then get hobby ideas to try out.

What exactly is a hobby?

A hobby is an activity that someone does for pleasure when they are not working. The keyword in that definition is “not working”. The hard part is knowing when to stop working. What I love about a hobby is that time isn’t ticking in your ear. You’re not looking at the clock to see when your shift is over. A hobby is your gift to yourself, so you can be yourself! When we’re under heavy stress our bodies produce more cortisol which can be harmful to our health. But when we’re engaged in, let’s say, a hobby, we’re producing the ‘feel-good’ hormones.

I like to look at a hobby as a type of recreation that rejuvenates your spirit. It’s an activity that challenges you in a way in which you want to be challenged. You see, your hobby is YOUR hobby. No one can tell you how to do it unless you welcome the suggestions.

Top 13 reasons to get a hobby:

1. Helps enhance meaning in your life.

2. Gets the creative juices flowing.

3. Increases personal satisfaction.

4. Builds self-confidence and self-esteem.

5. Relieves stress.

6. Gives you something to talk about other than work.

7. Helps you meet new people.

8. Contributes to society or the community.

9. Boosts brain power and cognitive function.

10. It has the potential to create extra income.

11. Gateway to happiness.

12. Helps prevent boredom when boredom can be harmful to you. Let me expand: overeating, depression, drug use, looking at things you know you shouldn’t, or alcohol use usually come into play when we’re bored. Boredom and its adverse effects are going to get the best of us at times, but when we have a hobby we have an easy way out and can focus on that.

13. The icing on the cake about a hobby is that it actually helps you do a better job at work. CNBC posted an article about how a hobby can improve your work performance. For one, it helps prevent burnout. As said earlier, it helps inspire creativity and enhance your problem-solving skills. A hobby helps reduce stress. 

More on hormones.

silhouette standing in start

Hormones are a love/hate relationship. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. As said earlier, the most damaging hormone is cortisol which is produced in our bodies when we’re under stress. The good news is that happy hormones do exist, but to get them we must do a few things. There are four major blissful boostersendorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. Each hormone serves a different purpose, in a nutshell, this is what they do:

  • Endorphins are essentially the body’s pain killers. Vigorous exercise or even eating spicy food releases endorphins.
  • Serotonin is the mood mediator. Get outside. Being in the sun helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which helps produce serotonin. Or even low-intensity exercise helps.
  • Dopamine is a gratifying hormone, in terms of goal achievement. It’s all about goals and achieving them to bring on the dopamine. We set an achievable goal and go after it, when we reach it, dopamine is experienced.
  • Oxytocin. This is the love hormone. I think my husband has an abundance of this one! LOL. Physical contact, hugs, massage, and sex release this hormone.

When it comes to your hobby, aim to achieve one of these hormones. Now if you want to experience all the bliss boosters at once, you might want to look into “R5HHPJ” as your hobby: Run 5 miles while holding hands with your honey, drinking hot pepper juice from your water bottle…now that’s a hobby!

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What are some great hobby ideas?

This is a loaded question because you can make a hobby of your own; the trick to finding one you love is to try some on. Here are some hobby ideas for you to check out:

Knitting, exercising, reading, sales shopping and discount hunting, start a blog, music, woodworking, organizing, auto work, boating, horseback riding, hobby farming, candle making, photography, dance, winemaking, beer brewing, cooking, traveling, wilderness survival, Bible memory, drawing, painting, decorating, gardening, hunting, fishing, camping, running, write a book, kayaking, cycling, walking, surfing, sewing, essentially any sport, collections, puzzles, and pretty much anything other than work.

Remember a hobby is something that gives YOU personal enjoyment yet still a little challenge to enhance your well-being. Think of it as keeping your hands and mind busy getting lost in creativity. This could very well be the peacekeeper you’ve been looking for to help balance life.

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In conclusion

There are some great hobby ideas out there to suit you, you just need to experiment with which one or ones find your fancy. Hobbies do change too. Pay attention to when you might be phasing out of one hobby, so you can start searching for new hobby ideas. Just remember, hobbies are not a waste of time, they are our therapy to keep us happy.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

Ready to manage stress in a healthy way? Stress is now becoming a part of our everyday lives. The pace of life is heightened, people seem to be edgier, and anxieties of all sorts are making their way to the front of the line. However, there are ways to manage stress in a healthy way that will make you happier and healthier than submitting to medication or drugs. Today I have four questions to help you manage stress in a healthy way.

woman with horse manage stress in a healthy way

“She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes.”

While writing this post a lyric from the old childhood song, She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain got stuck in my head. She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes ‘whoa back’. Busyness can take many forms: a badge of accomplishment, a strained ball-n-chain, or simply a lifestyle without margin. When we get in the busy mode we have blinders in our peripheral vision, our backs are heavily weighed, and we kick ourselves to go faster. The term ‘whoa back’ isn’t in our vocabulary, so slowing down would be a crime!

However, at some point, we will get bucked off and hit the ground, it’s just a matter of how hard we hit. After we dust ourselves off we most likely will ask what the heck was that. Staying on the horse is about knowing when to say “not right now”. It’s about knowing where we need to slow down. And it’s about knowing how to do it.

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4 tips on how to manage stress in a healthy way

Question 1. What is causing me to stress out and fall off my horse?

I recently got bucked off of not knowing what caused my unstoppable momentum. My schedule had no margin. If I wasn’t working on my blog, I was working on my side gig, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was busy with some other project, and then finally…I would fill in the cracks with my family. My priorities were out-of-whack, seriously backward! The harmony of the many roles I played each day was out of tune. And the problem was an overloaded schedule. I knew it but ignored it.

Was I addicted to being busy? Running from something? Trying to impress someone? I’m not 100% sure, but I know when I fall prey to comparison, my schedule builds. If she can do it, I can do it. The word “no” doesn’t exist. The word “stop” is blasphemy.

How comparison happens

During these comparison seasons chatting with colleagues and hearing stories of massively insane schedules makes me wonder how they get it all done. Am I doing something wrong? Am I not doing enough? Are they really getting it done? This thinking catalyzes my expectations of myself, which can be good and bad, but differentiating between the two is a challenge.

Why am I so tired?

This superficial race is mentality exhausting and frankly, it’s stupid thinking. No one is perfect. Who has it all figured out? No one is ever skipping down the Yellow Brick Road with all her ducks in a row. Everyone has different strengths. Yet, the problem with comparisons, whether it be on social media or in grocery store conversations, is that we don’t know the whole story. We don’t always see the condition of others’ hearts and how it weighs on their wellness. We just see the ‘yes man’ and subconsciously start to compete.

The ‘yes man’ is a vicious cycle and a damaging one. We agree to things we don’t want to do, we fill our schedules to please others, and we constantly aim for perfection. But what happens to us in the process? What happens to OUR well-being? What happens when we’re running here and there and everywhere with no time to spare? Mistakes. Mistakes happen.

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2. When do I know when something has to change?

My red flags come from a variety of sources. One source is my family when they voice their opinion. Another source of red flags is when I don’t have time to get outside to garden or walk. The biggest warning that something has to change is from my body, the one vessel that makes it all happen. If there is one thing that will slow us down, it’s our bodies. My mistake is not listening to these messages. Before you know it your body will tell you when to change things. Unfortunately, in 2019 I ended up with horrible piriformis syndrome which forced me to slow down, way down. Injuries aren’t the only signal from our bodies, being overweight, being chronically sick, and developing a disease can tell you too.   

woman laying on log slow down time

The Bible talks a lot about slowing down, taking a Sabbath (Exodus 20:9-10), just be (Psalm 46:10), and coming to Him who are weary and need rest (Matthew 11:28). These are just a few references in the Bible. But the Lord has a reason for teaching us how to slow down. I believe one of those reasons is to give our bodies and minds rest so we don’t make big mistakes.

3. Where do we need to slow down?

This question is simply answered by paying attention. Where are you most stressed? What is occupying the majority of your time? How is your schedule affecting others? Are the people around you agitated? Needy? Lonely?

Perfecting balance in every area of your life is not a destination. It’s a moment. We can’t be everywhere at once. There will be days when the schedule weighs heavier in one area than another, but the key is to recognize it. Quieting the mind and sitting in silence helps see where there is congestion. Slowing down a racehorse isn’t easy, so start by giving yourself five minutes of silence. This awareness helps you try harder the next day to find that harmony. Consciously be aware of how you’re using your time, you’ll see where it needs to slow down.

4. How do we slow down before it’s forced upon us?

This is a great question. I’m still figuring it out. One thing is for sure, we need to set boundaries. Setting boundaries gives us permission to say “Not right now” or “No, but thank you for thinking of me”. Boundaries give us our space to recuperate so when we do say ‘yes’ we can be our best. You can say ‘no’ to others, but it’s imperative to also say ‘no’ to yourself and the expectations you’ve created. Learn how to relax.

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Wrapping it up

How to manage stress in a healthy way starts with being aware of what you’re reacting to. Asking yourself key questions will help you understand why your body and mind are working on overdrive. What is causing this stress? Knowing when to change something. Where you need to make that change. And how to slow down. Please note that racing with other horses is a game, not a lifestyle. Set your boundaries and take the time to love yourself.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved. 

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Tired, bloated, indigestion after you eat? Let me fill you in on a little secret, it probably has something to do with food combining. Our stomach is known for acid. Stomach acid, along with the help of enzymes, helps break down food. Not only that but it actually helps support the body in absorbing protein and vitamin B-12, which we only get from protein (meat). In this post, you’ll find tips on how to feel better and get more bang for your nutrition buck! How to reduce stomach acid, how to increase stomach acid, how to test which one you have, and why food combining has a lot to do with stomach acid is in this post. Plus! You can download my free easy to understand food combining chart!

Let’s jump into the stomach.

If you have high levels of stomach acid you’re probably experiencing one of these symptoms: acid reflux, burping, or you may even feel nauseated. If you have too little stomach acid you may feel bloated, experience diarrhea or constipation, have food intolerances, osteoporosis, leaky gut, malnutrition, and heartburn. It’s kind of confusing, eh?

If you have either too high or too low of stomach acid it puts stress on the digestive system which can lead to further problems down the road, for instance, if you have heartburn (GERDS) and don’t pay attention to it, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus and upping your chances of precancerous cells. If the stomach acid is too low and left untreated it can lead to hair loss, GI infections, anemia, lupus, allergies, chronic autoimmune disorders, and thyroid issues to name a few. Yikes!

how to manage stomach acid

How do you know if you have high or low stomach acid?

First off, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in. I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version of what I’ve learned. *Consult your physician before jumping into new things.*

There are a number of things you can do to figure this out:

1) You could visit your doctor and have them order a test. Most likely it will be a CBC (complete blood count) and CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel). From the test they’ll look at a variety of factors, some include iron and phosphorous levels.

2) The other test is the Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test, this test requires fasting for 12 hours and swallowing a tiny electronic capsule. You will need to drink a baking soda solution and then the capsule will record how long it takes your stomach to restore normal acidity levels. Cool!

3) If you don’t like doctors or want to spend the extra cash, there is a simple at-home test is called the Baking Soda Acid Test. The accuracy of this test is not 100%, so it’s best to do this test regularly to get a better idea of where you are on stomach acid.

Here’s how to do it: Mix ¼ tsp of baking soda in four ounces of water. In the morning before you eat or drink anything else, drink the concoction. Next, start your timer on your phone and time how long it takes to burp. If it takes more than five minutes or you experience no burp at all, it’s a sign of low stomach acid.

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Tips on how to reduce gastric juice:

1) Understand what food combinations cause high acidity. See my chart on freebies.

2) Eat smaller meals. Overeating can put pressure on the esophageal sphincter, which causes it to open and leak acid into your esophagus.

3) Try a low-carb diet. When our system can’t digest carbs well, we get gassy and bloated, which then leads to GERD. Numerous studies support this idea. Looking into amylase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down carbs may significantly help you when you can’t say no.

4) Limit the guilty pleasures of caffeine and alcohol. The alcohol relaxes the esophageal sphincter and the caffeine weakens the sphincter. They basically have the same effects on the sphincter. Try decaf coffee instead, that’s what I do and my body has adjusted well after the caffeine withdrawal ended.

5) Chew gum. This helps increase saliva production and helps clear the esophagus of stomach acid. It helps with symptoms but doesn’t solve the root cause. No wonder my son loves gum!

6) Cut back on carbonated drinks and citrus juice. Again both of these kinds of beverages weaken the esophageal sphincter.

7) Mint is a no-go. Mint chocolate-chip ice cream should take a backseat if you experience symptoms. This refreshing herb is so relaxing that it too relaxes the sphincter. Peppermint tea, peppermint chocolate or candies, and peppermint-flavored gum have the potential to fire back, literally up your esophagus.

Some other tips to help alleviate symptoms are not eating too close to bedtime, elevating your head while sleeping, and avoiding laying on your RIGHT side. These tactics help calm the acid and keep that pesky sphincter closed!

banana fact

4 little ways to increase low stomach acid at home

1) I wouldn’t hit the meat & potatoes to fix your low stomach acid, instead, take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar that includes the Mother. This is an easy way to help your stomach acid get ready to work before a meal. Mix one tablespoon of the vinegar in water and drink before a meal. Make sure you get the right one. You can see it here.

2) Like honey? Try Manuka Honey. This honey comes from New Zealand and has amazing antimicrobial properties. It helps with IBS, indigestion, stomach ulcer prevention, oral health, and like most honey, helps with wound healing and sore throats. Get more details on Manuka Honey here.

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3) Chew. “Chew, chew, chew.” When we’re hungry, we tend to eat fast and take big bites! It’s like a welcome mat for a stuck burp. Chew every bite so it turns into mush. There is no need to eat your food fast. Simply use a smaller fork to help with bite-size.

4) Digestive enzymes also do the trick. Unfortunately, the first time I tried these they gave me diarrhea. They can actually cause constipation in some people too. But don’t let this discourage you. Digestive enzymes play an important role in vitamin and nutrient absorption. As you age or if you have a digestive disorder, or have pancreas issues, your enzymes deplete and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. For instance, one sign is a change in bowels and/or seeing undigested food in your stool. Yes, you should look at your poop! So before I completely gave up on digestive enzymes, I gave them another try. This time I played with the dose. Instead of a whole pill before a meal, I only took a pinch and it worked a lot better. After your body gets used to them you can move forward from there.

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What are digestive enzymes?

In a nutshell, there are three main types of digestive enzymes: proteases, lipases, and amylases. Here is a list of the enzymes and what they do. Helpful Hint: Pancreatic enzyme names usually end in “-in” (like trypsin or pepsin), while other digestive enzymes usually end in “-ase” or “-ose” (like lactose, sucrose, fructose).

The trick for making digestive enzymes work for you is to first determine if you are a candidate for supplementation. Know your body, pay attention to how it reacts after you eat. Are you burping, bloated, having to run the bathroom, heartburn, stinky gas and a lot of it, or cramping?

The next step is to determine what kind of enzyme you need. Asking your doctor, a nutritionist, or a functional medicine doc for their recommendations is the way to go. Just note the FDA does not regulate digestive enzymes, so everyone will have their own opinion, but you know your body best. You want clear ingredients from a reputable manufacturer.

Third, you’ll have to experiment to find the right dose. Remember this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. I’m not a doctor. Seek advice from a qualified health provider before trying something new. This post is to help you investigate how to help heal your body and ask the right questions to your healthcare provider.

digestive enzymes list

Stress can increase stomach acid?

Does stress increase stomach acid? That’s a great question. The answer is debatable but most likely. Stress affects our muscles, our immune systems, and our minds. All of those things work together to keep our bodies functioning. When one is off, it affects the other. If your muscles are tight around the stomach, it might push your stomach contents around and increase pressure. It doesn’t hurt to manage stress. For managing stress you’ll want to check out this post: How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips.

Food Combining 101

Back to Food Combining. Yes combining food makes a difference with stomach acid. Food combining gives you a little bit of control. When certain foods are put together they can either wreak havoc on your stomach or can give you energy. For instance, the classic steak n potato with melted butter, well it’s going to spoil in your stomach. You will most likely have bloating, stinky ‘wind’, and indigestion. This combo could also contribute to weight gain. And the melon salad with grilled chicken, well that’s going to do the same thing. This is not to confuse you, it’s just the opposite.

Keeping a diet with a few simple rules will reap benefits in the short and long term. I made a simple, easy-to-understand food combining chart to help regulate your stomach acid. In my kitchen, I tape it to the inside of one of my cupboards. Don’t forget to head to Freebies to download yours today. All in all, remember to eat fruit alone on an empty stomach and only eat proteins with non-starchy vegetables. We’ve covered A LOT of information. Keep this post handy to reference for a quick guide.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Better Belly Steak Recipe

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for

Omega Oil Benefits, Why I’m Picky

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

No More Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

No More Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

Want no more money problems? Listen up to these 9 must-do steps. There is no way in predicting tragic storms, destructive earthquakes, virus pandemics, wars, house fires, the sudden death of a loved one, or unemployment. If we could tell our money ‘a tornado is coming, hang on tight’, life would be so much easier. In fact, we can tell our money to do that, but what if we weren’t ready? In knowing how to fix money problems you can do some simple steps. To get started, I’ve got 9 easy-to-do steps to help you manage money wisely starting today!

First things first

First and foremost, remember these times of despair are just that, a time. It’s not forever, it’s not the end of the world; it’s just a season that is visiting for a while. It may seem like an eternity but it will pass like all our other seasons IF you want it to. The hard part is getting through it without much pain. But you must get through it, keep moving forward! Want to know more about motivation? Check out How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything.

Your 1st priority

Your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family. If it’s a spreading sickness, do everything in your power to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Did a storm hit your house? Then get your family to a safer shelter. If you lost your job, then start looking for a replacement job, even if it pays less than the work you had before, just get something going so you have a little income.

When the overall shock has faded, this is usually about a week to 10 days depending on the severity, you can start working on these 9 must-do steps to get your life back on track and put your money problems behind you.

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9 Steps to Manage Money Wisely

1. Clean up the unnecessary subscriptions

Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions: magazines, the gym (unless you’re using it), weight loss programs, email subscriptions that you’re not using every week, and might I even say cable TV? When you add all these things up, you will be surprised at how quickly things add up! It will make you sick. Stop giving your money away to companies you’re not using! Again, look at the numbers and the amount of time you use these things. Is it worth it? Is it distracting you from accomplishing your goals?

2. Work on your budget

Having a budget is the BEST tool out there to manage money wisely. Money problems happen when a budget is not in place. What I love about a budget is that it can help you find the holes and to see what holes need to be filled. For instance, my husband and I recently redid our budget and found that we were spending way more than we thought on eating out. Ouch! I like to think of a budget as a treasure hunt or a crime scene. It lays it all out so we can solve the case.

A budget doesn’t need to be restrictive, tedious, or confusing. Keep it simple. Paper and pencil work great. Or step it up to an excel worksheet. I already created one for you that you can use for free. Go to Freebies to get yours.

If you want something beefier that has printable reports I highly recommend Quicken or Quickbooks. We use both for different accounts.

Budget tip

Start your budget out simply. Scale down and only focus on your necessities. This may be hard but look at it from a survival perspective. What can I, or we as a family, live without for two months? Do we have an emergency fund?

There’s another post about budgeting to checkout. #1 Cause of Money Problems, plus 4 tools to solve it

Simple Finance Journal
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3. Make extra money

Wipe your money problems away by making extra money. There are some amazing side gigs out there that I’ve even done! For instance, you can grocery shop for others. This is actually a fun job if you like the grocery store. There are numerous delivery services that are desperate for people to work. I suggest searching online using keywords like “work-from-home jobs”, “part-time jobs”, and “best side hustle jobs”. There are a lot of opportunities.

Heads-up: Many bloggers say to start a blog. FYI – You’ll be spending more money on starting it than making any money on it. They are only telling you to start a blog to sell their blog-building tools or to exercise their affiliate programs. Building a profitable blog takes time and money, it’s not impossible, but it is a lot of hard work, especially starting from scratch. Just being honest here.

Simply look at what businesses are booming in tough times and then go there and inquire about opportunities. For instance, health care during a pandemic, delivery services, construction workers, or restaurants. Search with an open mind and ask yourself what you would enjoy and be willing to try.

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4. DIY (Do It Yourself)

Do things yourself. Ideas in this arena include selling your crafts and creations on Etsy, cleaning your own house, mowing your own yard, and for minor fixes around the home get on YouTube to find ways to fix things yourself. Doing things yourself can help save you money and give you gratification and confidence!

5. Cut Costs

Cutting back on costs can be kind of fun to figure out yet still be content. Things to look at are the number of visits to: the hair salon, getting your nails done, trips to the grocery store, and the car wash. Other ways to cut back are to shop at a lower-priced grocery store, and to be mindful of your utilities: shower or bathe once a day instead of two, turn off the lights when not using that specific room, turn the thermostat down one or two notches, ‘when it’s yellow let it mellow when it’s brown flush it down’, turn the faucet off while scrubbing those pearly whites. Things like that. Here’s a great post on how to save money grocery shopping that you should check out.

6. Sell stuff

Sell stuff through Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, or other trustworthy platforms. This is a great time to declutter your home and really ask yourself if you need certain things. Selling your things is a lot easier these days too. If you don’t want to hassle with a garage sale, sell things online. I have done well using both methods. In my last garage sale, I squashed a money problem using my profits. It felt so good!

7. Be smart

Make smarter buying decisions on the necessities. Okay, toilet paper baffles me, unless you have an underlying condition like Crohn’s, colitis, or cancer, cool your jets on the TP. Simply take what you need for two weeks then manage the toilet paper you have in the house.

Ask yourself if you really NEED a particular item before buying it. Look for deals or coupons. Opt to never buy full price for anything! Always keep your receipt incase you have buyer’s remorse and want to return an item.

The solution to your money problems isn't more money; it's new habits. David Bach

8. Whoa-back on large money deals

It’s human to be uneasy during uncertain times, but only allow yourself one day to ‘freak out’. After that, get your battle face on and make adjustments. However, the one caveat to making change is to not make any major financial decisions in the first 7-14 days. For instance, don’t cash in your 401K or buy a new car/house, or rank up your credit cards. Put your mind to work and figure out some ways how to adjust in ways that help you and not hurt. Put together a budget and get a plan in place.

9. Emergency fund

When all is back up to speed, start to build your emergency fund for the next time something like a pandemic or war sucker punches us again. One way to do this is to put a little bit away every paycheck. Some people do 10%, others 5%, and so forth. You will be amazed at how quickly this adds up, especially if you put it in a savings account that accumulates interest.

In closing

I believe in you. You totally got this. Just remember your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family with the necessities. Work together as a family. Working together will not only bring you all closer together and working as a team, but it will be a lasting memory and bring more happiness into your home.

Before you go, check out these great blog posts:

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

How to be Smart and How to Teach Your Child

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

7 Ways to Improve Lung Health

7 Ways to Improve Lung Health

With viruses penetrating our bodies, seasonal allergies clogging our sinuses, and the normal colds circulating in our environment, keeping our lungs happy can be stressful. Our lungs give us energy and life. When we’re breathing well, our minds are clear, our sleeping is solid, and we don’t really think about breathing. Learn seven great ways to help your lungs.

7 ways to take care of your lungs

Viruses

The Coronavirus attacks our lungs. It takes a completely healthy human and preys on our breathing source. I understand this virus reacts differently in everyone depending on age and underlying conditions. We tend to think it’s out of our control. But we can be in control of how we are preparing our bodies for viruses or seasonal allergies.  

walking 6000 steps a day will improve health and 10000 steps a day will help lose weight

7 Lung Health Builders

Exercise

Simply walking every day is a great exercise for your lung health. If you start walking try increasing the speed or distance every once in a while to give your lungs a workout. A slow jog will also do the trick. Aim for at least 20 minutes. Try breathing in your nose and out your mouth.

Breathe clean air

We can clean our air. During allergy season it’s not a bad idea to try an air purifier. Here is an economical air purifier option. This is a great option to improve lung health.

**I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in, and then I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things. This article is for information purposes only.**

Humidify

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Humidify while we sleep. A morning bloody nose is usually what I had for breakfast at least twice a week when I was a kid. There were three causes to this: dry winter air, seasonal allergies, and me picking my nose. My fix was a humidifier.

A humidifier keeps nasal passageways moist. Meaning with viruses, when the surface is moist it has a harder time sticking and penetrating through our body. Similar to a sore throat regime; keep the throat moist to flush out the virus. Here’s my humidifier. I absolutely love it!

water

Drink Agua

Drink lots of water. Keep things slippery in your body. Remember that viruses like to stick to things. Don’t give them an opportunity. Get a good water filter. Water is the source of everything, so make sure it is clean water.

No smoking, please

Steer clear of smoking. There is no proof that smoking is good for your lungs. It may feel good for a little bit, but it’s not worth the long-term effects. I’m talking about cigarettes, vaping, marijuana, and cloves. I understand that pipe (as in tobacco) and cigar smoking is slightly different…, but those have problems of their own.  

Roll up the car windows

Roll up the windows on diesel. Some people love the smell, others despise it. If you’re behind a truck or diesel-driven vehicle your nose will tell you, especially if they don’t have Def in the line. Short-term exposure to diesel can cause people to feel dizzy, get a headache, or have irritation in the eye, nose, and throat. Long-term exposure can result in cardiovascular and respiratory disease including lung cancer.

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Eat for your lung health

Eat lung-healthy foods. Foods for your lungs? For healthy lungs you’re going to want to eat:

Apples. Apples might slow deteriorating lung function down over a 10-year period according to The European Respiratory Journal.

Bananas. These rich in potassium fruits help the lungs contract and expand, hence preventing breathing problems.

Leafy Greens. These delicious yet scary-looking plants are packed with vital nutrients to support the lungs. Studies show that consuming these leaves could be linked to a lower risk of COPD, adult asthma, and lung cancer. Choose kale, spinach, and arugula. Salad here we come! I’ve got a kale salad recipe you should check out!

Garlic and Ginger. These antibacterial powerhouses have the ability to lower the risk of developing lung cancer (garlic) and decrease lung damage (ginger).

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Salmon. This omega-3 fatty acid is a great lung-cleansing food. This fights inflammation and increases blood flow. Here’s a post all about omega oils. And check out my salmon in a skillet recipe!

Turmeric. Of course turmeric. This is one of the best foods for your lungs. It’s filled with curcumin, which is what makes it a bright color. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help with asthma, COPD, and lung injury. This is a great one I recommend. Turmeric.

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Wrapping up Lung Health

My hope is that these simple quick lung health tips will make a big difference in your overall health and energy. May this help your body get ready to fight off viruses, improve allergy symptoms, and be a happy human.

Stay well.  

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Omega Oil Benefits: Why I am picky

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips!

Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

How to start Volunteering: 4 Tips to Succeed

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

How to live your dream life: embrace this 1 word.

How to live your dream life: embrace this 1 word.

How to live your dream life starts with looking at one word in a completely different way, this one thing can be a huge game-changer in how you move forward. To help paint this picture let’s look at a movie.

In 2018 the movie I Can Only Imagine debuted and has made over $85 million. The song I Can Only Imagine hit radio stations 19 years earlier. The story behind the song is based on the life of the songwriter, Bart Millard. When the movie came out, I personally thought it would be a boring movie. Two years later, I finally watched it and my emotional response shocked me.

Why did the movie grab me so much?

This past summer I was in a funk. We had just come off a 3-week vacation camping at a nearby campground…kudos to my husband who stayed there the entire duration, but for me? My busy brain came home now and then to get things done around the house, tend to appointments, and so forth. The campground was only 30 minutes from home. I just couldn’t settle down. It wasn’t until the last week that I could finally sink into a vacation. Have you ever experienced something like that? I was actually mad I couldn’t submit to vacation.

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My funk.

Since I did most of my chores while on vacation when we got back home I didn’t have any motivation to do anything! Needless to say, I needed to reset my brain and escape to a movie.

As I was flipping through movie options my finger stopped at “I Can Only Imagine” and thought, what the heck; it’s Sunday, why not watch a Christian movie.   

When someone tells you it can't be done, it's more a reflection of their limitations, not yours.

From the start of the show, I was into it. The crazy thing about this specific movie was how emotional I found myself. My heart was jumping from one character to another. One minute I was sad for Bart, and the next I was upset about his mom. I was sad his dad was so confused. Then my heart ached for his dad when he was trying to figure out the Bible on his own. And then back to Bart of how he heard from God and pursued to live his dream life. But what was I really crying about?

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The truth comes out

Deep emotions surfaced from my own past, and as I peered closer to the anchor which has kept me down, I saw a four-letter word written on it. Through my blurred teary eyes the word “can’t” became clear.

“You Can’t”

Throughout my life, I have heard “you can’t” from people I love and respect, from people I have trusted, and mostly from myself. With ideas and dreams I’ve shared, I was hopeful for encouragement and instead got, “that’s silly”, “you know how hard you’d have to work?”, “you don’t want to do that”, “do you even qualify to do that?”… “you can’t”… these words were not only verbally spoken, but the Enemy whispered them in my ear too. They pretty much say, “don’t even try”.

Not only did I hear it from my family and friends, but I heard it in the media. “You can’t do that without this.” “You can’t lose weight without this system and support team.” And the list goes on.

To add more shine to the word “can’t”, my body was telling me I can’t! My digestive system got so messed up that I’m unable to eat a “normal” diet. I actually have to think about what to order at a restaurant and make sure it’s safe for me to eat. Other ailments loitered and set up camp for months and then years crippling my ability to sit for long periods and walk without pain.

I was really starting to believe I couldn’t do the things I had ideas about. It felt like no one took me seriously or believed in me…even me. Do you know what that’s like?

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Moving On

As I reflected on the movie and looked closer at the word “can’t” I realized something. Do you know how some people get motivated when other people tell them they can’t do something? Then you turn around and the next thing you know they’ve achieved that very dream someone told them they couldn’t do! From a Christian perspective take a look at the configuration of the word “can’t”. What do you see?

This movie showed me something I’ve missed for so many years. If you want to l live your dream life, the next time someone says you can’t, look at the letters of the word very closely. You may just be thanking them for that. Simply said, anything is possible with Jesus.

To get you started download my 30 favorite affirmations right now. And for more freebies head over to my freebies page and unlock numerous resources to get you moving forward.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, whether you’re a Christian or not, give it try, you may just experience a breakthrough.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

How to simplify my life is more than just throwing your stuff out. We’re getting rid of stress and welcoming happiness into our home. Simplifying and organizing are sometimes used interchangeably, but we’re not going to organize today. We’re going to focus on simplifying our space by knowing how to do it without stress or frustration.

If you want to have peace, experience freedom, and have more space, let alone functional space, it starts with who you are and how you operate. You are a smart person, you’re creative, and you have an amazing future. So this task of simplifying is going to need your mind, creativity, problem-solving skills, and an understanding of yourself.

Are you ready to reduce stress in your life? Let’s break through the clutter to seriously unleash your potential to live a do more than exist kind of life in your space.

The top 5 pieces of advice to simplify my life

1. Simplifying your life is a lot harder than you think.

To make simplifying work for you, you must include your brain. To make this experience a fantastic one, you’ll want to do two things: get in the right frame of mind and understand your motives.

Do you want to find things easier? What about getting rid of sour memories to make room for sweet ones? Do you want to create more space? Clean up? Do you want to live lighter? Or do you want to downsize? What is your motive for simplifying?

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2. Ask yourself questions.

Since I’m on a roll with questions, we’re going to keep going! When asking yourself, “How do I simplify my life?” Ask more questions. Let’s say you come upon your old t-shirt from high school, let’s ask yourself a few things:

– Why am I holding on to this?

– How is this going to change my life for the better?

– When was the last time I used it?

– Can someone else use it?

– Is this something I could sell this week?

– Is it worth the space in my house let alone mind?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions when you run into something that might be hard to let go of. When push comes to shove, just remember you can’t take it to heaven.

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3. Simplify my life step by step, but not too slowly

Okay, so decluttering and cleaning isn’t a fun thing for you? We all have our dislikes but we still need to do them if we want something done. For instance, I don’t like washing the kitchen floor. However, what helps me get it done is scheduling it. Simple yet effective. I can then mentally prepare myself and start visualizing how awesome it would be to have a clean kitchen floor. With that said, take a look at your schedule and block off some time to start your decluttering project. Get serious about your space.

Yes, this kind of task is a big deal. Have you seen those shows about hoarding? There’s a little hoarder inside of us all. Go about this step by step. Maybe tackle the kitchen one day, then the bathroom another day, and so forth. You got this!

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4. Get it out of your living space.

When you start to sort through things, get them out of your living space. By removing it from your living space you’ll get a taste of how much you really miss it or not miss it; plus you’ll see how much stuff you are getting rid of. This is an easy technique that is extremely helpful. In fact, it helps brighten a room! Get more tips on how to brighten a room here.

This can be a big eye-opener and can even change your spending and collecting habits for the better! I have been known to do snow angels on the floor after a declutter day.

5. Make 4 piles.

Make piles: keep, donate, sell, and pitch. When you plan on having a garage sale, designate a space to keep all those things…like your garage or closet. Same rule for things to donate or to sell online. As for pitching, start a pile and fill your garbage bin every week until it’s gone.

When all said and done to simplify my life.

We’ve lived in the same house for over 17 years. Within those years we have had four garage sales and numerous trips to the donation center. Every garage sale blew my mind with how much stuff we were keeping and not using! With our quarterly clean-out, I still get amazed at how much stuff we accumulate in a matter of months! As for selling things online, the best place I’ve found to be is to use Facebook Marketplace.

When you get in the right mode for simplifying you’ll be surprised at the things you had kept over the years and the things you still want to keep. This is your living space we’re talking about, so make it the way you’ll love it. When you enjoy how you’re living you’ll be a whole lot happier.

Before you go check out these other posts:

Stress Free Moving: 2 Critical Steps

How to have a happy family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Benefits of a Garden: 1 huge reason to take up gardening

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

The Truth About Blogging: Know before you go

The Truth About Blogging: Know before you go

Do you ever wonder why some people blog? Understand the truth about blogging before jumping into it. Blogging serves everyone differently. Some people write to write, others try to make money, and others simply do it because they enjoy it. These are all great reasons! I personally have three motives for blogging and three tools to help you start blogging.

What does “Blog” even mean?

According to Google, a blog is a “web-log”. Some say it serves as a personal diary or platform for personal opinions. Yet, businesses write blogs to support their products, and people write blogs to teach about their talents or interests. In other words, it is informal writing compared to published books. You do not have to have a degree in English to write a blog, you don’t even need to have a high school diploma, anyone can write one and that’s the truth about blogging.

4 Reasons to blog

If you want to get into blogging, understand WHY you want to write one. Back in 2009ish, I started writing a blog. Frankly, I had no idea what I was doing. Blogging was fairly new back then. I could have taken many angles with my blog; however, my first intent was to teach people about joy. I had recently gone through a depressing season with infertility and wanted to help others get through times like these. Then somehow it transformed into wanting to share the lessons I’ve learned in life to help others save time. Since then, I’ve pretty much kept with that theme.

1. Gives you a voice

The main reason I started a blog was that I wanted a voice. When I’m in a conversation I tend to listen more than speak. I have learned a tremendous amount about people just by listening to them. However, at times when I do speak, others see it as a chance to speak too. Interrupting others is rude, in case you didn’t know that.

Listen up, speaking is not the only way to be heard in this world. People can voice themselves through music, dancing, drawing, cooking, and frankly any hobby or craft. The truth about blogging is that blogging gives you an instant voice through writing without interruptions.

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2. Processes information

Writing to me is like therapy. It forces me to think about what I want to say and how to say it. When I get thoughts down on paper, it helps me see what really is going on in my life. It’s kind of like journaling. Then when I blog about it, it helps me figure out what I want to say to others in order to help them in a similar circumstance. Blogging assists me in processing a challenge I am facing.

People learn through stories. If I can share a story of a challenging time in my life where I learned how to navigate through it or something miraculous happened to me to solve it, I want to share that information with others! Testimony is powerful. When we can relate to other people, things happen. Healing happens. Inspiration happens.

3. Remembrance

The other reason I blog is to leave a part of me on this planet. I know that sounds kind of corny, but think about it. A lot of the time when I blog I think about my family. When I’m long gone I still want them to be able to see me, hear me, and learn from me. Whether it’s through a blog post, YouTube video, or social media post, I want my family to be able to see that even though I passed on, I am still here with them.

4. Make extra money… the truth about blogging

Many bloggers blog to make some extra cash. If you can make money on your blog, I see it as an added bonus, not as a steady stream of income and that’s the truth about blogging. There are A LOT of blog posts that tell you how to make money and how easy it can be. But don’t be deceived. Making money by blogging isn’t going to happen overnight. First and foremost, keep your day job. For dollars to roll in, it’s going to require time, energy, researching, MONEY, and lots of testing. I’m not writing to deter you, I’m just giving you a heads up that it can be harder than people portray… which they are probably selling a blogging course.

I have spent some bucks on a few courses and found them helpful. Did they put me at the top of Google or give me the magic secret to making money? No. But they did give me an education on how it all works, which is super huge to understand. Just know, that there isn’t one course that covers all. Blogging is always changing. I highly recommend YouTube and courses that have had many positive reviews.

3 tools to get started blogging

If you want to get started writing a blog it’s going to take a little money. You can try to go free, but at some point, it’s going to require some dollar bills. The amount of money you spend depends on what you want.

Here are some things you’re going to want to think about:

Domain name.

This is the website’s address. It must be unique. Think of a few ideas then head over to Domain.com and check to see if it’s available. You can buy your domain at domain.com.

Publishing platform.

This is where you make the website or blog. The platform allows you to design your site and blog on it. WordPress.org is the most popular and it’s free! However there are some plugins (these are like apps on your phone) that can cost money, yet, most are free. Other publishing platforms are Wix, Squarespace, or Blogger. I personally prefer WordPress.org.

Hosting.

This is what connects the domain name to the publishing platform and puts it out there for the world to see. Hosting will cost you money. I highly suggest Flywheel. The people are way cool and it’s easy to use. Hosting is paid for on an annual basis.

Connecting the domain name, publishing platform, and hosting all together can be tricky. If you can’t figure it out on your own, you can hire a webmaster to do it, or you can watch videos on YouTube. Just like that, you’ve got your blog or website for that matter!

Learn from a trusted teacher

If there is anything you get from this post it’s this, there are A LOT of courses out there that claim they can help you, I’ve fallen for some of them and have lost a lot of money. My bad. However, there are a couple of really good ones! My first recommendation is to check out Start A Mom Blog. Suzi does a fantastic job at teaching. She is funny, super smart, and her husband now works with her. They are very down-to-earth and easy to understand. Hands-down, start with her first. You can learn more here.

Wrapping the truth about blogging up

Keep it simple. Only get what you need. You can always add things later. First and foremost, understand why you want to start a blog. After you have that figured out you’ll have a better idea of what you need and who your audience will be.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

Planners aren’t just for adults, teens need them too! Get a daily planner for teens today and teach them how to manage their time and develop this amazing skill. Teens may think they know everything, but we can help them learn how to get organized. As you know, when you’re organized you feel better, you’re happier and nice to others. A simple planner might just help everyone get through the teen years.

Planner history

In the 1700s the planner was invented by your very own Benjamin Franklin. And in 1984 the Franklin Planner was brought to our eyes thanks to Richard I. Winwood. One of our most valuable things on this planet is our time. How we plan our minutes determines the outcome of our lives. Let me be bold: No one is to blame, except for you, for how you use your time. A planner is a great tool to help you guide your teen in planning their days, know what to look for, and make this year a great one.

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Two things that need to happen for a productive life

For you to experience an amazing, productive life there are two things that need to happen. The first is to know yourself to the best of your ability. When you understand who you are and where you want to go in life, directing your time becomes a little easier. And when your time is managed the way you like it, you are at peace. Understanding your identity isn’t an easy thing, we are ever-changing beings. I’ll give you some tips in a minute.

The second thing that needs to happen is for you to have a plan, at least something to go by. Organizing life starts on paper. As we all know, we can plan all we want, but the Lord directs our steps. Wandering aimlessly is straight-up stressful. Try traveling without a map…this includes your phone navigation. Think about a time when you were lost. Do you remember how that made you feel? Is being lost, the source of all stress? Hmm. Yet, there is one thing that keeps on ticking, time.

Teens and tweens struggle with time management, it’s okay, managing time is a skill they need to develop. The other thing that needs to happen in life is encouragement and positivity. I created a daily planner for teens to do just this. To focus on the good things, to give encouragement, inspire, and speak truth into their hearts.

Identity, how it orchestrates our day

Understanding identity is a HUGE thing right now. People are exploring what they like, who they like, what they believe in, etc. Identity is a controversial topic because it involves all the things people get mad about race, religion, sex, politics, vaccines… The crazy part is that we all want to be liked, so in some weird ways, we go along with the crowd even when we don’t want to. This creates a whole different ball of twine and a blog post, but my point is for us to understand who we are.

As the Bible says, we are to not conform to the pattern of this world, but instead, to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, for then we will be able to test God’s will for our life, his perfect, pleasing, and goodwill (Romans 12:2). In other words, seek your Creator to understand who He made you to be, then you will understand where you should go.

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That was some fun theology, this is not to discourage you, this is to encourage you. Because when you think you have to do this life alone, that you need to figure everything out yourself, and you have to make every minute count, not to mention, keeping up with what everyone else is doing…give it to our Mighty God in Heaven. Ask Him, your Heavenly Father, to help you, direct you, open your eyes, and protect you. He will. I guarantee it!

Planner plan

In 2020, we faced a dead stop in life with the COVID pandemic. The time came to a screeching halt. Many of us went bananas, others went on an extended mental vacation. There were many things we learned while being at home, some things we didn’t want to know like how lonely we were, how much we depended on others, and how much we needed “me” time. Getting sick wasn’t the only fear going on, knowing what to do with our time competed for first place. To help you with your time there is one thing you can invest in: a planner. Yes, even if you work from home, a personal planner is a must!

As 2021 came to be, life seemed completely the opposite of 2020. There was a new super speed! Traffic got heavy, people got rude, and many of us tried to fit as much as possible into our days. Were we trying to make up for time lost during the year before? Did we have different priorities? The year 2021, was a transition year and we were trying our hardest to get back to “normal” as much as possible. And now we’re all cranky and have headaches. My planner was definitely full, yet it was a true life-saver in staying sane. 

What to look for in a planner

There are a lot of planners out there that not only address our day-to-day but also have journal prompts and inspiring quotes, etc. Planners have come a long way since the 1770s; in fact, planners started out as journals. However, depending on your needs, we should be careful of what kind of planner to get; some can be time-consuming, stressful to keep up with, and distracting. Many planners look beautiful and fun, but I worry some people may get too focused on filling out their pretty little planner instead of living life and making things happen. Planners are a tool to keep you focused and sharp.

Download this daily planner for teens today

With that said, I created two downloadable planners in PDF format that is simple and essential to anyone’s life. I prefer the downloadable planner because you can print as many pages as you like! Both Simple Living planners come in three sizes so you can find a fun binder and put your own spin on it…which is great for making it your own.

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The Simple Living: All You Need Planner PLUS. This 25-page simple planner PLUS is a great way to kick off a new beginning and to be strong and successful throughout! I absolutely LOVE this planner because it feeds my mind, energizes my goals, and makes me feel good! This planner is like your personal life coach. It’s filled with healthy mental goodness that anyone can benefit from no matter what age. It has all the same great pages as the first planner, but with bonus pages suited to feed the mind and creative spirit. Designed for a daily planner for teens or tweens but so good for a planner for mom or grandma. Feel the love through this planner, truly a game-changer.

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Wrapping the planner up

Using a planner is an excellent way to get the most out of our time, but choosing the right planner is what will make or break you. Start the New Year on the right foot and allow happiness to penetrate your heart. It all starts with your time, organizing, and utilizing it well.

Check out these other great posts before you go:

How To Be Less Busy: #1 Mistake People Make

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

To Live Without Regrets: 5 Tips for Your Time

Stay Connected
By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved
How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

If there is one thing in how to help your digestive system it is to figure out what is causing the digestive issues. When it comes to gut cramping and rushing to the bathroom it’s usually a bad burrito and clears up in a few days on its own, but when the bowels howl longer than normal something needs more attention. In my own personal experience with IBD (Intestinal Bowel Disease) over the years and with hours upon hours of research, I’ve found 10 major triggers that can set people off. If I would have known these triggers earlier, I would have healed a lot faster. My hope is that this post will save you a lot of time and frustration. Let’s take a look at what might be triggering your lingering symptoms so you can get on the right intestinal track.

Step 1 in how to help your digestive system

Ever since I started to talk about my own digestive distress, more and more people have opened up to me about theirs. Let’s face it, talking about cramps and diarrhea is not something people want to talk about, but these things DO need to be talked about. A huge part of healing is understanding what’s going on and why. Knowing this, not only gives you peace of mind, but a solid direction to focus on in your healing journey.  Discovering your cause can be a frustrating maze but it could be as simple as asking around and doing some research. You never know what someone is going to say that could be your ticket to healing.

Let me reiterate that when people are silent about their chronic digestive system it is only going to make them worse.  What ends up happening is despair, loss of hope, loneliness, and settling with chronic misery. Self-confidence goes down the drain and limitations in physical activity and social outings go on the wayside. You do not deserve to live like this!

Listen up, this is super important

Another thing about “ignoring’ this issue is that if left untreated, it will lead to other misery down the road; for instance, vitamin absorption problems, depression, stress, hair thinning, and more. I’ve been there, done that, with tears and frustration and a sink full of hair. There is nothing worse than not understanding what is going on and if you’ll ever get better! So please, listen up to how to help your digestive system if you want to get better.

I HIGHLY recommend reading the “Triggers and What to do for IBD: How to identify and heal for good” ebook. I wish I had this information when I was having problems. This book would have saved me LOADS of time and frustration. Download, read, and heal. It’s a quick read packed with answers that will help you.

Encouragement Coaching Moment

First off, you will get better. If you want it bad enough, you will go into remission and will live a life of no more cramping, no more rushing to the bathroom, and no more uncertainty. The work it takes to heal is totally worth it. It is possible to manage this thing without having to take any pharmaceuticals! The body will heal if you help it.

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Your healing journey begins with this

My journey has been quite a road. I am not a doctor or gastroenterologist, but I have experienced firsthand what it’s like to carry colitis and all that goes with it. With an un-relentless drive to figure it out, I’ve tried many different treatments and have spent hours and hours researching (probably too much time) in getting to the bottom of my imbalance. After all, when something isn’t right, things aren’t aligned. So this bullcrap all starts with what threw you off in the first place.

How to help your digestive system starts with questions.

Ask yourself the following questions and maybe even jot down your answers on a piece of paper. I have kept a “digestive journey” journal where I write down my flares, what might have happened before it, and what I tried to manage it. Answer these questions to help you figure your digestive issues out.

Was I recently sick? Stomach bug? Food poisoning? Bacteria infection?

What are my hormones doing?

Did I eat something funny? Eat too much of something? Eat the same thing every day?

Have I been taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc) on a regular basis?

Has my gallbladder been acting up? Do I still have my gallbladder?

What is my stress level been these days?

What exactly am I eating everyday?

Is my back out of whack?

Answering these questions might help you get on the right track from the get-go. It’s important to go over these things with your doctor or functional doctor before diving into a treatment plan.

A closer look at digestive triggers

Let’s take a closer look at what could be the cause of your cramps, bloating, diarrhea, loose stools, and stinky gas. When you have a flare, it is usually caused by a trigger. For instance, when I get a flare I can usually figure out what brought it on. Most of the time it was something I ate. But other times it’s been hormones, stress, or even a change in weather or time zones. The body is so amazing when it comes to healing; it wants to be aligned and working as it should. When it’s not, it tells you through pain or digestive distress. Let’s look at a few things that could be causing the alarms to go off.

Again, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in, and then I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version. This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things. This post is for information purposes only and to help you figure out what you might have going on.

IBS

What is IBS anyway? IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is simply an angry bowel. For instance, when I was a runner I would occasionally get really bad “poop cramps”, this is what IBS is, cramps out of the blue followed by urgency. With my story, the doctors first diagnosed me with IBS, since I knew what IBS was, I had a hard time respecting their diagnoses. Come to find out what I learned through the years is that if doctors can’t diagnose your digestive problem, they’ll usually say it’s IBS. When I went back to the doctor’s office I asked for a colonoscopy which gave us the real answer. So stick with your gut when you go to the doctor and ask a lot of questions; if they say it’s IBS, ask them why they think so.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Food sensitivities: dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, grains, white sugar, fructose.

Food sensitivities are HUGE triggers that lead to digestive system issues. The number one ‘problem food’ is dairy. So many people have issues with dairy; in fact, I heard everyone is a little sensitive to dairy. Lactose intolerant or sensitivity to whey or casein (a protein found in milk) are a few roadblocks to dairy digestion.

The second big one is gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat. People who have Celiac disease cannot have any gluten. Most people with digestive issues steer clear of gluten as well. This bugger is hard to digest and wreaks havoc on your innards. Talk about inflammation! It’s just not worth it folks.

Other popular food sensitivities and allergies are nuts, eggs, soy, white sugar, nightshades, and fructose.

How do you know if you have a food sensitivity?

Pay attention to how you feel after you consume it. Do you have a headache? Is your skin itchy or throat? Heartburn? Do you have gas cramps within an hour of eating? Dizzy? How about your nose, is it runny? What about severe congestion? Are you rushing to the bathroom?

Hormones: can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

This is a tough one to figure out. Hormones play a factor in digestion? Women get a chance to pay close attention to our system every month (if we’re still menstruating). Both progesterone and prostaglandins can mess with your bowels. Even though prostaglandins focus on your uterus, they can also affect the colon that is nearby. Plus our friend, Progesterone, can pilot our trip to the bathroom more often.

On the flip side, when estrogen declines, cortisol rises, which can slow the digestion process down and cause constipation…a.k.a. too little progesterone. Without the proper balance of estrogen and progesterone, your bowels get a bit confused.

Alignment

Who knew that a kink in your back could cause issues in digestion and elimination. The vertebrae in your spine are connected to nerves that send signals to the digestive system which includes the stomach and intestines. When the vertebrae are off or twisted this can affect those nerves and give you symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and bladder issues. Before you head to the chiro, talk to your doctor or physical therapist.

A bug

There are some pesky bugs out there. Bacterial infections, viruses, and parasites, all of these cause inflammation. And when inflammation is present and not calmed down, irritation of the intestinal lining is sure to happen. E-coli, Guardia, Norovirus, and the stomach bug are the main culprits of diarrhea, not to mention vomiting. Yes, even though these are short-lived 1-7 days on average, they can mess up your gut flora and cause silent inflammation in your digestive tract. 

gluten-free granola bars

How to help your digestive system? Reduce stress

Constant stress on the body and mind can be a doozy for your digestion. It can throw your whole system off! From muscle tightness, knots in your gut, to indigestion, stress can physically hurt you. One thing you can do right now in answering the question of how to help your digestive system is to learn some stress-relieving techniques.

Ibuprofen/Tylenol

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like acetaminophen and ibuprofen if taken on a regular basis can actually cause inflammation in your intestines. Yep. Too much of a good thing can backfire. This is true for anything, even food! When inflammation is present, cramps and diarrhea are sure to show up.

Lack of probiotics and digestive enzymes

Sometimes our bodies need a little help getting back on track. Probiotics and/or digestive enzymes are here to save the day. Getting the right bugs in your gut makes a big difference in your digestive health; a game-changer for most folks. The hard part is figuring out what probiotics or digestive enzymes you’re lacking. This is especially important if you’ve been on a regimen of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill everything in your gut, so it’s important to get your gut back up and running as it should. Incorporating probiotics after your antibiotic treatment will help you bounce back a little quicker.

Probiotics may need to be taken every day depending on your condition. The added bonus is they also help your immune system and even skin.

If you have heartburn or stomach acid issues please read my post about stomach acid, it goes more in-depth about digestive enzymes and food combining, you will get a digestive enzyme chart as well!

Bile acid

This sounds kind of gross but excess bile acid from your digestive system can cause diarrhea. Bile acid diarrhea (BAD) or bile acid malabsorption (BAM) is what can cause that urgency, watery, and bloating feeling. Bile acids are produced by your good ole liver and stored in your gallbladder. Their job is to help break down fats to put it simply. For people who have had their gallbladder removed, you may experience a bit of diarrhea…at least now you know why. However, sometimes the body can get confused and cause large amounts of bile acids to exit into the large intestine, hence, diarrhea. Normally there is very little bile acid in the large intestine. I highly recommend you continue to investigate this; check out Verywellhealth.com for starters.  

Yeast

Where do we start with yeast? Is it good or bad? Well, if you get too much of it, it can trigger diarrhea. Along with yeast-associated diarrhea, you may see other signs of too much yeast by looking at your tongue. If it has a white coat on it, you probably have more yeast than you need. You could also have sinus infections, fatigue, and skin fungal issues. The medical term for an overabundance of yeast is Candida. Check out Dr. Axe about Candida.

In conclusion: how to help your digestive system

WHEW! That was a lot to take in. But how to help your digestive system is no joke. From my personal experience, I wish I had this post in my hands when it all started in me. Again, I can’t tell you how many hours I researched diarrhea. I’ve probably clocked as many hours as a gastroenterologist. Anyway, healing is possible, but you must want it to happen. And if you really want it bad enough, you’ll be able to manage it without drugs and their nasty side effects. You got this. Healing takes time so keep moving forward. To help you get started in healing your gut I wrote this mini book: Triggers and What to do for IBD: How to Identify and Heal for Good. It only takes a few minutes to read, but could contain your path to healing! Download it today and start reading!

Please note: talk to your doctor or find a functional doctor before you jump into anything new. If you want to go the natural way without prescriptions, I’ve had success with a functional doctor.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Chronically sick? Choose the right water filter.

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

9 Gift Ideas to Warm the Body & Soul

Quick Healthy Meals On a Budget? 5 Criteria

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