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The Good Side of The COVID Crisis

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I know you must be feeling skeptical about this; I mean, what can be good about anything that has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the world to a halt? 

But there are some silver linings and corners of positivity in this whole scenario. Here we will list out all the good things that have happened or are happening right now due to the crisis we are facing!

Nature is Thriving

With less human activity and reduced water traffic, the waters in the canals of Venice are becoming clearer by the day. Fleets of white swan were spotted in the waters, a rare visitor over the last several years. 

In Mumbai’s Marine Drive, schools of dolphins were seen playing around, as the ports were closed, and barely any water traffic and pollution were there to keep them away. Unusual sightings of dolphins have also been reported from the ports of Cagliari, Sardinia. Devoid of ships, as seen on a typical busy day, the marine lives thrive and have relief in the peaceful, calm, human-less waters!

Herds of deer were seen roaming around in Japan’s streets. With no crowds or traffic, the animals were seen having a gala time exploring the usually busy and bustling city streets.

More than 70,000 Olive Ridley sea turtles were seen nesting on an empty beach in Odisha, located along the eastern coast of India. These beaches, usually abuzz with human activity in the tourist seasons, were deserted because of the nation-wide lockdown in place, and thus left at peace for these turtles. While in Brazil, 97 Hawksbill sea turtles, a critically endangered species, hatched on a deserted beach. Moreover, a similar occurrence has been reported in Florida, where a high number of Leatherback turtles have surfaced on the shores. 

In Canada, orcas have been spotted swimming further into regions where they were not seen venturing before. In fact, dolphins, seals, and other marine animals have been spotted in areas where they have not been seen for decades!

In Llandudno, North Wales, usually shy mountain goats came down from the higher altitudes and were seen freely roaming the streets of the town. Meanwhile, wild boars were seen exploring Barcelona’s city streets, an incredible sight in the bustling and one of the busiest parts of Spain. 

In San Francisco, packs of coyotes were sighted roaming on the streets, whereas in Nara Japan, Sika deer were seen exploring empty streets and subway stations. 

In South Africa, wild penguins were spotted roaming the streets, and in Argentina, sea lions were seen chilling out near storefronts!

Cleaner Air

With less number of vehicles, shutting down of factories and industries, the air has become cleaner in unprecedented ways. Recently, residents in Jalandhar, India, were able to see the Himalayas’ Dhauladhar range from their houses due to cleaner air. 

Moreover, Delhi, the country’s capital and one of the most polluted metros on Earth, recorded good air quality index levels for the first time in several years. Other big cities like New York, São Paulo, London, Bogota, and others have also recorded better air quality due to lower pollution levels. 

In Italy, air pollution levels have dropped by 40%, whereas China has also seen a dramatic drop in its pollution levels. According to NASA, the nitrogen dioxide levels in busy cities of China have dropped by 10-30%. The current crisis is also leading to the largest ever decline in annual carbon emission levels. This has led to some reversal of greenhouse effects caused by human activities in recent years. 

Social Bonding

Adults and children are all locked inside homes due to the forceful timeout created by the virus. Although it leads to occasional struggles, overall, it has given people a chance to reconnect better with their families. 

We have been consumed so much by our busy lives and technology craving habits, that our family ties and socialization had taken a back seat over the years. The pandemic has given all of us the time to connect with our friends, families, and dear ones.

From doing household chores to bringing down forgotten board games, families are bonding in all kinds of wonderful ways. 

Community Bonding

For the first time in life, we as a generation are facing a common enemy. Everyone around the globe has never been united like this with such a singular yet massive cause.

The love, support, and prayers for each other across communities have brought a remarkable sense of unity and keeps reminding everyone in the crisis that we are in this together!

Self-Development

Now is the time when you can finally focus on yourself. From learning new skills to completing courses, reading, writing, or simply enjoying me-time, or indulging in your long-forgotten hobbies, the quarantine can be your long path of self-discovery!

Community Heroes

This crisis has brought out some of the best of people into the frontline. From doctors and nurses striving daily, there have been thousands of volunteers worldwide who are helping vulnerable people with food, money, sanitization, and other necessities. 

Many people have come forward to feed and care for strays and animals going without food after being abandoned by their humans or running out of their daily source of meals due to closed shops, fewer people, and empty roads.

Final Words

It is a tough time where everything seems uncertain. But you have to search for positivity and keep your hopes up. Believe that there is a light even in the darkest corners. 

Keep adding more such good things happening around the world, in nature, and amongst people. Look at the silver lining, keep hoping, stay positive, and spread that positivity all around you every day. Finally let me finish off with a wonderful quote that Buddha said, 

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.”

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7 Simple Ways Traveling Can Help Improve Mental Wellness

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7 Simple Ways Traveling Can Help Improve Mental Wellness

Do you feel as if you are stuck in a rut?

From family to work issues, daily chores, illnesses, maintaining your home, and a hundred different concerns, the daily grind could sometimes take a toll on your well-being. 

Having a change of scenery or taking a vacation can already do wonders for your mental health. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that traveling provides several benefits to your mental health. 

Taking a trip could change your life for the better. In this post, we will talk about the seven simple ways of how traveling can improve your mental health:

1. You’ll discover more about yourself

Traveling helps you re-assess and re-invent your life. It helps you boost your thinking in a way that you never thought of. 

Overcoming the challenges that come with traveling brings about a feeling of independence and a sense of control in your life. For instance, choosing which luggage brands to purchase from.

Going out of your comfort zone helps you build resilience, which allows you to learn how to cope with different situations. 

Moreover, traveling and achieving these goals can make the day-to-day stuff back home easier to handle. Spending the time to fend for yourself while traveling, like bargaining in a local market or catching public transportation in a foreign country, could also lead to positive personal outcomes that build up your confidence.

Not to mention that it improves your overall life satisfaction. 

2. It helps you increase creativity

According to Adam Galinsky from Colombia Business School, a key to increasing your creativity is to immerse and engage yourself in the local culture.

This open-mindedness helps you embrace various situations and could even influence your outlook in life. Moreover, because creativity is directly linked to neuroplasticity (or the brain’s ability to form new neural connections) it means that our brains are often sensitive to change.

New environments and experiences could influence creativity. Having your own creative outlet is one of the best ways to practice mindfulness. Also, the more you’re able to put this into good use, the better.

Immersing yourself in unfamiliar sights and sounds when traveling boosts your creativity.

3. You’ll be familiarized about other cultures

Traveling allows you to navigate, communicate with others, and to learn about different cultures. 

Whether you are asking for directions in a foreign country while bringing your luggage, meeting new people and new friends, or immersing yourself in new cultural experiences, you will learn more about the world as you try to get around. 

4. Makes you mentally resilient

Traveling and living somewhere exciting yet intimidating at the same time could toughen you up mentally and emotionally.

When you face challenges in an unfamiliar environment, it forces you to learn and adapt to something that is beyond your comfort zone. This helps you be more flexible on things and emotionally strong.

Delayed or canceled flights, and last minutes plans? Traveling helps you deal with bigger issues in life, with more patience and grace.

5. It gives you a change of scenery

If you have been struggling to find motivation at work lately or just ended a tough relationship, hitting the pause button and going somewhere is one of the best ways to restore yourself. 

Although staying in a familiar place could bring a sense of comfort to others, it could also make you physically and mentally trapped. 

Changing your daily routine and going somewhere will help stimulate your mind, improve your overall happiness levels, and could make you feel as if you are doing something worthwhile with your time. 

6. It disconnects you from daily stress

As mentioned previously, many people travel because they want to break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Traveling helps you rejuvenate, destress, and recharge. That way, when you’re back from your holiday, you can put forward more great ideas and lots of enthusiasm. 

Traveling also helps you take off your mind from stressful situations, leading to more cortisol levels, and making you feel more calm and content. It also helps you focus on the present moment. 

Having a list of fun and exciting activities can add novelty and change in the form of new sights, sounds, and experiences. 

7. Traveling increases happiness

Booking accommodation, finding the perfect travel destination, and packing your bags are proven to make you happy. 

In fact, a study conducted by Cornell University found out that the process of planning and anticipating a trip increases happiness levels more than the process of obtaining new material possessions such as a new car or clothes. 

The time to relax and do what you want on your trip significantly reduces your stress and increases your overall happiness as well. 

So there you have it. After you have read about the wonderful things traveling does to your mental health, it is time to do your research and plan your next trip!

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Health

4 Benefits of Doing Yoga Regularly

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Yoga is an excellent place to start a healthy lifestyle if your life has been quite a bit sedentary for some time. Even with health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, you can safely practice Yoga. With multiple types and forms of Yoga to choose from, you have the freedom to practice whatever suits you. Regular Yoga can help you become more robust and flexible by making it easier for you to do other exercises like dancing, walking, or swimming.

Moreover, it is also a great way to stay energetic and flexible. Your general alertness increases, and there is also a profound positive impact on mental health with Yoga. 

With regular practice, you will gradually notice overall well-being and a deep sense of inner peace. Yoga frees you of all the worry, stress, anxiety that bogs you down and lets you proceed towards a more holistic and spiritually fulfilling self-development.

Let’s take a look at four of the obvious benefits that come from practicing Yoga.

Cardiovascular

  • Improves poor blood circulation
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Reduces oxidative stress
  • Reduces body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts

Orthopedic

  • Improves mobility in people with lower back pain
  • Reduces risk for injury
  • Allows better coping with arthritis
  • Can slow down the advent of osteoporosis
  • Improves the condition of people with limited mobility

Stress-Anxiety-Depression

  • Reduces headaches
  • Helps you to have better control over tension or stress
  • Reduces anxiety levels and depression
  • Can help you get better sleep, improves insomnia
  • Relaxes your body
  • Increases overall mental and physical stability

Lung

  • Improves breathing patterns
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Improves lung output and pulse rates
  • Helps people with asthma, to control definitive symptoms

Final Comments

Yoga is an excellent way to heal your body, both physically and mentally. It allows you to have the perfect blend of de-stressing and exercise in a simple yet effective way.

A healthy body makes a healthy mind. Regular Yoga can help you achieve health and fitness. Moreover, daily practice brings in more discipline to your everyday life. Especially during these testing times of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we are all trapped in our homes, a regular fitness regime that is easy to follow is especially necessary.

The best part is that Yoga is trendy, and you can always find guidelines for the correct postures. With many materials and videos available online, you can start your fulfilling Yoga journey any moment you wish. So what’s stopping you today?

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5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress

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5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress

We are getting more and more used to going about their days stressed out of our minds. We justify it as a side effect of working for our dreams. We find solace in the fact that eventually we will slow down and the stress will go away. We try to reason it with “our building years are supposed to be stressful.” Does it have to be though?

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”

-Steve Maraboli

Everyone is stressed about something or the other – sure we can’t make it go away completely but we should learn how to deal with it better. Just because it is going to be a part of life, doesn’t mean we have to submit to it.

With increasing stress factors in every aspect of our lives, it is also important to learn about ways to beat stress. There are a lot of ways to help relax your body and mind and fight stress without having to go out of your way to do so. Some help you relax instantly and some are more of a long term solution to stress management.

5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress

As important it is to keep working, it is more crucial to work on ourselves because at the end of the day no amount of money or success can make up for sound health. You won’t be able to carry on long if you are stressed all the time, it will also make your work suffer. Here are some ways to help you relieve stress.

1. Go for a Walk

Walks are said to be excellent stress relievers for a number of reasons. Taking quick walks ais the simple way for many to get their thoughts in order. Taking a walk allows you to change your surroundings, the scenery, and lets you slip into a different frame of mind. If you do not have the privilege of leaving your premises for a walk – maybe you are at work – then walking around the office can do the trick too. 

5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress

There’s this lifestyle practice, known as Shinrin-Yoku, which originated in Japan. It translates to forest bathing or forest therapy. Though the name includes the term bathing, Shinrin-Yoku mostly involves walking in a forested area. That’s it. There’s no specific intention required for the walk. All you have to do is to keep walking slowly while taking into the senses the environment around you, like the sights, smells and sounds.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

-William James.

When I am in a scenario when I need to clear my mind – usually at home – and don’t have the privilege to go out, I put on some music and pace around my home. I call this my power walk. It lets me get my thoughts in order and also work up some sweat. It works for me. If you have a garden or park nearby, that’s just perfect for a quick walk.

2. Aromatherapy

5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress

Aromatherapy is one of the main ways to relieve stress that is used by the masses nowadays. Different scents target different brain wave activities, which is why people create different blends by mixing various fragrances depending on their needs.

Some scents focus on decreasing stress hormones in the body. They also help you feel relaxed, energized, and more present and in tune with your surroundings. There are many ways to do this – candles, essence sticks, diffusers, etc. These things create a perfect environment for meditation, relaxation, yoga. They give you an external stimulus to relax to.

3. Art

5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress

Art, or the act of creating art, is said to be relaxing; it is also the reason why adult coloring books are getting more popular. You might have heard of adult coloring books, they are based on relieving stress, being mindful, relaxation, etc. 

It really doesn’t matter if you are good at it or not. The process is said to help soothe you and get you in a rhythm that then helps relieve stress and anxiety – it is not supposed to help you create art. Drawing and painting can be difficult, but coloring isn’t – comparatively – which is why coloring is the most common form of art based stress reliever.

4. Redo Your To-Do Lists

5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress

Having a lot on your to-do lists is one of the leading reasons for stress for many people – to avoid this we need to learn the art of prioritization of tasks. If you are trying to squeeze in three days worth of work in one, then obviously you are going to feel stressed – which I have been guilty of doing in the past. 

This is when you should take a moment to take a step back and evaluate your situation. This will help you reduce your workload, this could be just the thing you need to get rid of the stressful feeling that has been clouding you. Having better time management skills always helps relieve some or maybe most of your stress.

5. Meditate

5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress

While talking about stress relievers, meditation is the first thing that comes to mind. How can I not talk about it when mentioning activities that help relieve stress. It helps you relax and if turned into a habit, then it helps you with lasting stress management. 

“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.”

-James Carroll

There are many types of meditation, based on what you want to focus on – whatever you need to work on the most should be your focus. You can repeat a mantra or a chant or focus on your breathing – to start sitting still, it can be difficult for people – or just practice mindfulness.

Final Thoughts

Self-care is at the base of doing things to beat stress. We often forget that it is very crucial to keep working towards your goals. The irony – of people forgetting to take care of themselves while working for their goals so that they could take care of themselves in the future – isn’t lost on me. 

“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.”

-Brian Tracy

When you are busy and working towards your dream, it is easy to forget about yourself and get tangled in stress. But, we have to keep reminding ourselves that nothing is as important as our well-being. Take this post as a reminder and run with it. Realizing you need to deal with your stress levels is you deciding to tackle the problem.

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