Get a Head Start This January – How to be on Top of Your Game

The festive season has just begun but before you know it, it will suddenly disappear just as it had come. The New Year is crucial because it signifies yet another opportunity for you to set new goals and targets. One of the most famous traditions of the New Year is to have a set of resolutions. However, most of us these resolutions are not pursued beyond the second or third months.

How To Stick To Your Resolutions

New Year resolutions are meant to help you to abandon old detrimental and unrewarding habits and adopt new ones that will make you a more productive individual. One reason we don’t achieve what we plan to do in the New Year is lack of focus. We fail to concentrate on the goals we set. That is why most of our plans are stillborn.

However, there is a strategy you can use to make sure you see your resolutions through. I know you might be like many who decided to be realistic and stopped making plans for the New Year. After breaking their resolutions year after year (most of them before the end of February) they chose to live without resolutions. This is like throwing out the baby and with the bath water. That is why you need to understand and practice a strategy that will ensure you are on top of your game in the New Year.

Mindfulness Is The Solution

Mindfulness is the state of being aware of what is happening within you and your environment without being judgemental. A person who is mindful accepts what is happening around him or her and does not label events and experiences as being right or wrong. Mindfulness requires that you live in the here and now without trying to stifle the past or obsess with the future.

When you become mindful, you concentrate in what you are doing at the moment. Nothing else matters. Focusing on the event you are undertaking is the secret to accomplishing much more than other people do. I know you have listened to people waxing lyrical about multitasking and how this habit can help you accomplish more in a minimal time. What these people don’t tell you is that in actual sense, you accomplish less and do not exhaust your abilities when you perform many tasks at the same time.

As observed earlier, lack of focus is the reason many of us fail to accomplish whatever it is we set out to do. Studies have shown that the ability to focus has a powerful bearing on how well we control our emotions and our ability to meet long-term goals. It does not matter what profession you are in; as long as you cannot focus on one task at a time, you will not achieve the exact results you wanted. Worse still, you are likely not to achieve anything.

You normally set New Year resolutions with the belief that you are going to achieve them. I have never heard of someone who decides they will become worse people in the New Year. We all dream of becoming better students, parents, employees, employers, leaders, managers and so on. Why then do some people become what they planned to while others remain stagnant in their unwanted circumstances and behaviours yet all of them set positive and virtuous New Year resolutions?

The Answer…

Let us review some scientific findings. Did you know that a child who controls his or her impulses and attention is less likely to be a criminal or to become a drug addict compared to those who don’t have control over their feelings and actions? The same children are likely to have happier marriages. Did you also know that having the ability to focus is a better measure of academic success than IQ? Irrespective of how academically gifted you are, if you cannot concentrate, you are going to fail in whatever you are doing.

One way of practicing mindfulness is to meditate. Meditation is an ancient practice that teaches one how to relax and focus on feelings and sensations in the body. Meditation provides one with an opportunity to reflect on positive issues and to be thankful for what they have. If you can focus on your breath, for example, for about twenty minutes without shifting your thoughts to other issues, then you are mindful.

In the same way, if you meditate on your resolutions daily and determine to approach them one by one, you will achieve them. Whatever you focus your mind on becomes easy to achieve. You will be on top of your game as you begin the New Year if you learn to practice meditation mindfulness. You will be surprised at how effortlessly you will achieve your New Year resolutions when you begin to focus and concentrate on one task at a time.

What are you new year’s resolutions? What is your plan to stick to them? We would love to hear: you can see us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/graceguru.net, send us a tweet: www.twitter.com/_graceguru_ or use our instagram hashtags #graceguruloves or #gracegurulifestyle

Enjoy the last couple of days of 2015! 

With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

xxx

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Beat That Dreaded Bulge – A Quick and Simple Detox After a Period of Indulgence

Christmas is a time of indulgence – good and bad alike. The festive season provides an opportunity for us to unwind after a long busy year. At the end this season, many of us will be exhausted. Hangovers, lethargy, illnesses and irritability will be common as we try to deal with the aftermath of our drinking sprees and binge eating.

Before you think you are being judged for your excessive behaviour, remember you are not alone. All of us indulge over Christmas and New Year, it’s one of the best parts of the holidays! There are numerous visits to other people as we also receive visitors. In between, there is the temptation to eat and drink beyond normal to please our hosts or guests.

The only problem is that you will be left to deal with the repercussions. When all the niceties have been said, the music has died down and everyone has returned to their day to day lives, you will be left to argue with the weighing scale that dreaded bulge (erghhhh).

Most of the regrets actually emanate from poor planning of the holiday season and a carefree attitude. It is like a dog that has been unleashed and given a few hours to indulge in its most-craved activities before being tied up again.

The following are our quick and effective methods that you can use to detox your body after indulging in binge eating and excessive drinking:

1. Go Water Crazy

Your body is predominantly made up of water. Water is life and without it your body cannot function (especially on a hangover where you are more than likely to be extremely hungover and have a lot of salt in your system from that guilty pizza, kebab or burger at 3am). Water is also a cleansing agent, working with the kidneys and the skin. After mistreating your system during festivities, you will do well to cleanse your blood by drinking a lot of water.

Mixing warm water with lemon is also known to remove any toxins from the night before. Similarly, peppermint tea and green tea can be extremely helpful with relieving symptoms of bloating, constipation and other digestion problems. They can also act as a temporary fix to speed up a process of loosing any weight you may have gained from having one too many minced pies. (Yay for herbal tea!)

2. Squeeze In A Workout

It is ironic how we throw caution to the wind when the festive season arrives. People who used to flock fitness centres all of a sudden take a break. The few exercises you used to do at home evaporate from your mind and schedule. You sleep late and wake up when the sun is up. By the time you celebrate the New Year, you have added kilos.

Hard as it may sound, hitting the gym just once will help so much. Not only will you feel better within yourself, you will also jump kick the return of the fitness bug ready for the new year!! Even if you take a short jog round a local park, or along a river, throw yourself ahead of the game and in front of everyone else (don’t deny those mini competitions that will arise with your friends come January).

3. Ditch Carbs

Now that you want to detox your body it is important to remember where it all began. It all started with uncontrolled eating and drinking. Similarly, your path back to the ideal weight and healthy body is through diet. You must start watching what you are eating. More importantly, eat foods that help you to clear the bad stuff you have eaten over the previous weeks.

To begin with, don’t bloody skip breakfast! I don’t know what time you will have to wake up, but irrespective of your busy work schedule, make sure you enjoy a heart and healthy morning meal. The food items on your breakfast table should be well-balanced. High levels of fibre and protein are key.

Secondly, ditch the heavenly carbs. Oh yeah we’re talking pasta, pizza, rice, bread – the whole team. Feeling lazy and craving a Big Mac, or Fish and Chips? Hell no, you can forget about that. Ditch all processed foods, put the phone down what do you think you’re doing ordering Dominos Pizza or that lamb curry? We’ve just had Christmas! The time for guilt-free indulging is over! You will without doubt begin to feel the difference if you stop eating carbs and processed foods even after a couple of weeks!

Lastly, You cannot detox your body if you don’t watch the portions you are eating. Your lunch should not be as heavy as your breakfast. Actually, the best way to ensure you don’t overeat during lunch is to eat well in the morning. Keep your lunch to leafy greens and some protein, mix with some delicious salad recipes and dressings so that it encourages you to keep eating healthy.

4. Get Your Zzz’s

In addition to water, exercise and diet, give your body adequate rest. Part of the reason you have gained weight over Christmas is lack of sleep. Eat a light dinner some two or three hours before sleep. Got to bed early and give your body ample rest. Your mind needs detox just as the body. Make sure your house is well-ventilated, and surround yourself with your favourite music. Practice positive thinking especially as you face the challenges of January. If you are religious, revive your spiritual life.

Practice this and you will recover quickly and effectively from any excess weight and psychological complications of the holiday season and face the New Year confidently.

If you have any special tips that work for you, we would love to hear about them! You can see us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/graceguru.net, send us a tweet: www.twitter.com/_graceguru_ or use our instagram hashtags #graceguruloves or #gracegurulifestyle

With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

xxx

 

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Our 8 Top Tips To Avoid Overeating During The Holiday Season

It is almost impossible to talk about a festive season that does not involve filling your tummy with food. In fact, during holidays, people tend to eat on average far more than they do on normal days. Unfortunately, in the process of celebrating, many of us commit another cardinal mistake – overeating.

Before we share our tips to avoid overeating during this holiday season let us remind ourselves why we nearly always regret overindulging. The obvious one that comes to mind are the few extra pounds we may put on that consequently take a hell of a lot of effort to shift off again. In the short term, though, overeating may cause you constipation, diarrhoea, embarrassing stomach rumblings and constant visit to the bathrooms!

To save yourself some embarrassment and potential devastating health implications, you need to control yourself when you go to parties and other events where you know delicious treats will be present. I know the food is yummy and enticing. You may be seeing something new, or a delicacy you have not tasted for a long time. However, you need to step aside and convince yourself that not eating that food or eating a little bit of it is more beneficial to your body and future than engaging in binge eating.

Here’s how:

  1. Eat Before Going Out

The idea of going for a party with a completely empty stomach is a key reason for overeating. If you snack on something before attending a party, you will feel less hungry and will eat less at the event you are attending. I know it sounds rather weird but this is one of the most effective strategies for arresting your compulsive desire to eat.

  1. Conversation Is Key

There is no way you are going to eat and talk at the same time. Even when you are talking with another person in turns, you will eat less. And there is no shortage of people to talk to in a party. If you are a guest, you can talk to the host or fellow guests. If you are the host any of your guests can provide a distraction from excessive eating. After all, these events are social nature and are meant to boost interaction.

  1. Fight The Temptation

When you go to parties where you are served by someone else and you have no way of determining how much food will be on your plate, do not think that you have to finish everything you have been served. The person who serves food does not know your needs or the amount that you tummy can carry. The decision on how much you should eat is yours and you should not let your greed force you to overeat.

  1. Listen To Your Body

Luckily enough, you don’t share your stomach with other people. You are the only one who knows how much you should eat. Only you can tell when enough is enough. Your body and stomach will send the signal when it is no longer safe or wise to continue eating. Don’t look at other people and ask yourself what they will think about you if you stop eating suddenly. There is life after that party.

  1. Keep Your Distance

You cannot be near your greatest temptation and expect to overcome it. Some of us are gluttonous by nature. Others are addicted to food the way alcohol or drugs take hold of the minds of respective addicts. Keep off the serving table. Don’t let your eyes and mind get enchanted by the sight of delicious cakes, candies and other sugary food that will only serve to worsen your addiction to food.

  1. Think Ahead

You already know what kind of food to expect in that party you are about to attend. Take time and think about the table and what will be on offer. Determine that you are only going to eat fruits or vegetables and so on. If you know you have a sweet tooth and may overindulge, plan not to eat pies or just take a little. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, so they say. Don’t be caught unaware by food.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Keep your tummy filled with water! Sounds funny, right? It works. Before they bring the food, take a glass of water. This will ensure your tummy already has something in it. There will be little space for food. In fact, if you try to eat more than what you should, your stomach will become uncomfortable.

  1. Eat slowly

This festive season, as you contemplate how to eat less, ensure you eat slowly. Chew your food slowly. Take time to enjoy the food. There are enzymes that need to have well-grounded food. Your taste buds also need to enjoy the meal. More importantly, you will eat less for a longer time thus averting overeating.

We would love to connect with you more, you can see us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/graceguru.net, send us a tweet: www.twitter.com/_graceguru_ or use our instagram hashtags #graceguruloves or #gracegurulifestyle!

WIth Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Christmas Chaos – How To Keep Your Cool During The Holidays

Once again Christmas is around the corner, which includes extremely busy schedules and a whirlwind of activities. You will be expected to host parties for your immediate family, relatives, friends and neighbours where necessary. You will also have obligations to attend work events, neighbour’s dinner parties and make the trip to the grandparents’. To prepare for all these activities, there are hundreds of items to be bought. Somewhere in between, you may be fortunate to travel and enjoy some time with your friends. The list endless, but the fact is indisputable – your excitement will be as high as your troubles!

How do you remain sane in the midst of all these activities? We hear you say… Here are a few of our best suggestions to ease the chaotic holiday period:

  1. Priorities

There are many activities that you can engage in this Christmas. You are spoilt for choice on which destination to visit. Your friends and relatives are competing to visit you or for you to grace their parties this year. You want to purchase the best gifts for your family but with such a long list of presents to buy you may be stuck for money. Your salvation lies in having priorities. However, whatever you choose to put first, remember family is the most important aspect. If anybody wants to involve you in an activity that will disadvantage your spouse and children, turn the former down.

  1. Plan Ahead

I want to believe that you took time to plan for this holiday. You must have decided how much you will spend on various aspects of the holiday including travel, clothing, food, parties and so on. If you haven’t, it isn’t too late. Remember January is coming and with it bills and expenditure. Do not plan to spend everything during Christmas and begin to struggle when the bills come your way in January. If you fail to plan, you will be working on autopilot and will not know when the gas in the tank will be gone.

  1. Avoid Impulse Buying

Make sure not to overspend. You must be disciplined. Christmas spending can easily get out of hand. If you are the type that cannot remain faithful to a financial plan, you will soon be dealing with excessive spending and this will cause you a lot of mental anguish. Don’t purchase items because your neighbour has similar ones. If you are a parent, take advantage of this period to teach your children how to make wise purchasing decisions. You will not have peace of mind celebrating Christmas when you are unsure of your financial abilities in the New Year.

  1. Learn To Delegate

If you don’t want to run around like a headless chicken, share out responsibilities with people around you! Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, partner, and family members for help! Sharing out your Christmas to-do-list is actually a great way to spend some time with your loved ones, away from the usual distractions of iPhones or TV! Prepare some meals with your partner, divide the shopping list with your friends, and open a bottle of wine to decorate your home! Who said organisation isn’t fun ;-)!

  1. Remember Yourself

I know everyone will be looking up to you to deliver on this big occasion. However, remember you have a life to live and a Christmas to enjoy. Don’t forget to buy yourself a Christmas present. Get enough sleep in between parties and travels. If you are religious, remember to reflect on your spiritual beliefs of Christmas. Take time to pray and connect with the Supreme Being. Bring cheer to the lives of the unfortunates as this will bring cheer to your heart too. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will have a chaotic Christmas and that is the last thing you want!

  1. Enjoy The Outdoors

Whatever you do this Christmas, take time to breathe fresh air. You can do this by making a trip to a favourite destination, having a picnic with your family along the banks of a river, visiting a children’s home and playing with the kids in the open or play your favourite outdoor game. The most important thing is that you absorb fresh air because it invigorates your blood and brain and renews you to participate in more events. Staying indoors for most of Christmas is likely to make you stressed and maybe even grumpy. Let nature help you to remain calm during this hectic time and you will not regret in January saying you just helped others to be merry at your expense.

We would love to connect with you more, you can see us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/graceguru.net, send us a tweet: www.twitter.com/_graceguru_ or use our instagram hashtags #graceguruloves #gracegurulifestyle

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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How To Refresh The Energy In Your Home

Your home is your palace and temple. It is a palace because it is your little kingdom where you rule like loyalty. Here, nobody can come to belittle you or make your life miserable. Your word is authoritative. Your home is also a temple because this is where you commune with yourself and the Supreme Being. Home is the space where you feel most fulfilled and most spiritual.

Why You Need An Energy Renewal in Your Home

Such an important facility requires the best form and level of maintenance and care. However, as you become busy, it is possible to fall into a routine and forget about the care of your home! After a while your home may not inspire you as it once did. That is the point at which you need to allocate some time and refresh your surroundings.

Let us look at this issue from a different angle too. Many of us spend time, especially during some weekends, cleaning up our houses. We take time to arrange documents and take out any form of dirt to dump it in the rightful place. Despite such efforts, you may realise that your house is still not as energising as you may want it to be. In essence refreshing and renewing the energy in your home is not a one-off activity but a continual process of identifying areas that need change.

What then are some of the activities you can engage in to rejuvenate your domestic space?

  1. Fresh Air

There are reasons for keeping doors and windows shut – security, to keep off dirt and to prevent ourselves from the elements. In most cases, when we are away at work we ensure all windows and doors are locked. Not any of us dare leave windows open at night for fear of intruders, including wild animals. For those who don’t have time over the weekend, their houses rarely have time to ventilate adequately. Such an environment is full of foul air even if you don’t realise it. Your thinking and creative abilities are effected significantly when there is no fresh air in your house. This festive season, let gusts of fresh air have their way in your house for positive energy.

  1. De-Clutter

Over the last year, your home may have become one big rubbish dump. Some of the dirt is not hidden because it comes in the form of old pairs of shoes which you don’t need any more. How about those clothes in your wardrobe that you used to wear but haven’t thought about for nine months? There are some useless documents and papers that have no value to you yet they still take up space in your drawers. It is time you kicked out all the unnecessary stuff from your house since this will allow more positive energy to flow into your space.

  1. Nature

It is time you brought in some other living entities to share with you. How about beautiful plants that can recycle the air you breathe out and give you more of the air you need. You can even become a gardener and use unwanted containers in your house to give a home to one such plant. These plants will attract some insects and natural processes of life and growth will be taking place right inside your house. As you nurture these plants, they will absorb foul air and energy and imbue your house with life and positivity.

  1. Fly On The Wall

What decorates the walls in your house? When was the last time you brought down that 10 year old family portrait and hung a new one? It is time you gave the visual image of your house a new face. Look for artworks that are more in tandem with your current feelings and desires and hang them on the walls. Look for images that inspire you to change your life for the better. Remove those photos and paintings that do not reflect good memories or intentions for you.

  1. Animal Lover

We share a rich heritage and genes with animals. Pets know what is happening around them and feel the same way we do. If you don’t have a pet, consider the options and benfits. Share your house with another living thing that can express itself in a way towards you. As long as you have space and time to take care of that cat, dog, fish or other favourite animal, do not hesitate to introduce it into your life. Such a decision will bring you positive energy and a new way of looking at life.

We would to see images of your newly renewed homes, or pics of your kittens and puppies! You can see us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/graceguru.net, send us a tweet: www.twitter.com/_graceguru_ or use our instagram hashtags #graceguruloves or #gracegurulifestyle

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Stand Out From the Crowd – Gain That Natural Sparkle and Glow This December

Your skin is one of the most important body organs – in fact, the largest. The quality of your skin is an indicator of your overall health status. Your skin is the most visible part of your body and people tend to make certain judgements about you based on the health, texture and glow of this amazing part of your body (come on, we’ve all done it).

We all know that feeling where we have completed our daily routine, we look in the mirror and feel no glow, no light. Whether we are wearing make-up or a natural complexion, some days you think you look glum, maybe patches of dry skin and your make up just doesn’t look as it usually does. This article will highlight the key ways that you can make sure you feel a little glam every day, you know when you feel like the light catches you in the right places all God damn day!

More often than not when people call you beautiful, they can be talking about your skin, as well as your other features. Just as a smile or bright eyes can light up someone’s face, so can your skin! For this reason, if you want to stand out from the crowd this holiday season it is time to go back to basics. There is no point with adding more make-up to your skin when the problems may be arising from the quality of your skin itself.

Natural Strategies For Glowing Skin

So, here are out recommended natural strategies to ensure your skin has a new lease of life this December.

  1. Drink A LOT Of Water

This is the probably the most obvious yet ignored strategy for making your skin glow. We all underestimate the power of water, for one, your body consists of roughly 70% water so keeping yourself hydrated could not be more important! Water is the fluid that must be present in almost all body processes. Your blood is water enriched with essential minerals, fluids, nutrients and so on. For your skin to glow, you need the recommended eight or more glasses of water daily. But there is a catch here. Some people argue that other drinks can contribute to the eight glasses, but I would highly recommend eight glasses of pure water. I know that I used to believe that drinking tea or coffee, for example, would count as water. But in fact, due to the levels of caffeine in these drinks this actually dehydrates you. Alternatively, herbal teas can help with hydrating the skin, and can also detox you at the same time!

  1. Eat Plenty Of Fruit And Vegetables

We often forget that the skin is not artificial. No amount of makeup and chemicals will transform your skin – especially not without negative effects. Moreover, your body needs to be nurtured from inside to the outside. The body understands one language – good nutrition. Fruits and vegetables are particularly important for making your skin healthy and free from toxins. Remember acne and other skin blemishes are not what you need two weeks before Christmas, now is the time to ensure you don’t wake up Christmas morning with a trip from Santa and a horrendous break out. This December look for the fruits and vegetables that are in season, snack on them raw or as part of lunch or dinner. You will be amazed at how eating apples, kales and other superfoods will make your skin glow. We outline our recommended fruit and veg for this season here: http://graceguru.net/7-food-stars-of-december-to-boost-optimal-health-2/

  1. Know Your Skin

If you are sick of your skin controlling you, you may have realised that some foods you eat often leave you with blemishes and rashes. It means you are sensitive or intolerant to certain foods. Sometimes what you think is eczema or acne could actually be a case of your skin being resistant to some food item you have eaten! This December, listen to your body and how it reacts to certain foods. Attempt to detect the foods that affect your skin negatively and remove them from your diet. Alternatively, you can take drastic measures like taking two weeks to eliminate all suspicious foods from your diet and then introducing them one by one, this detox may initially bring out a break out as your skin is usually the last place your body will release toxins from. But, after this break out has cleared, and your diet is clean, you will begin to see progress!

  1. The Worst Of All… Stress

The condition of your skin is related to the activities in your mind. To put it differently, your mental health can directly affect the health and texture of your skin. For example, when you are stressed, your skin becomes pale and vulnerable to external damage. Stress creates a rich environment for bacteria to invade your skin. Eventually, your immune system is compromised and acne, eczema and psoriasis begin to manifest. This is why it is extremely common to see teens and students with more cases of acne, due to their high levels of crazy hormones.

  1. Use Natural Skin Products

This December is your perfect opportunity to start using skin care products that agree well with your skin. Due to the demand for fast results in skin care, thousands of women are applying harmful chemicals to their skin. The results are often unpleasant especially in the long run. Your skin should glow naturally and nothing brings you closer to this ideal than to use as many of natural skin care products as possible. Products made from fruits, plants and herbs actually contain nutrients that your body needs, just like fruits and vegetables. The good news is that you can learn and apply raw fruits and other herbs to your body without any extra costs and still achieve that natural, glowing skin that you have always craved!

We would love to hear any tips you have for maintaining a healthy glow, of if you have any amazing natural tips for exfoliation or moisturising! You can see us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/graceguru.net or send us a tweet: www.twitter.com/_graceguru_

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

 

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Unexpected Ways The Weather Can Affect Your Health

As we begin to embrace the cold weather, we need to be aware of the ways the drop in temperature and the high wind speeds can affect our health. The fact that winter is a gloomy season means we need to look for ways and means to be merry instead of allowing ourselves to be restrained by the cold. However, even with all efforts to lift the misery and remain positive, we need to remember that winter often makes us vulnerable to severe health complications and even death.

So, what are some of these risks and how we can prevent them from occurring in the first place?

  1. Fluctuating Moods and Depression

This may not be what you may call a clear-cut problem but when observed closely, but feeling down in the dumps is actually a major problem for many of us during winter. Cold weather has a way of making people gloomy, sad, exhausted and withdrawn. Perhaps it is because in general we spend a lot of time indoors, with limited exposure to sun light and feel closed out from the rest of the society. Maybe the dull weather outside affects us psychologically to feel as if all is not well!

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as it is called, can make us less mobile, overweight and likely to over-eat starches. During this time, some people fall into depression, feel unworthy and may even resort to suicide. It is important for us to keep an eye out on our loved ones who may be feeling low, anxiety and mild depression is common during winter seasons visiting a counsellor can also help! In addition, maintaining your social networks and exercising outside the house when the weather is favourable will bring back positive feelings that can ward off depression!If you would like to know more about mild seasonal depression you can read more here:http://graceguru.net/how-to-ward-off-winter-blues/

  1. Cold’s and Flu’s

Although you can contract colds or flu at any time of the year, the cold season makes us more vulnerable to these conditions. The viruses that cause these conditions enter the body through the nasal passage. On the other hand, during the cold season, the flow of blood to the nostrils is affected negatively and this means that fewer white blood cells, which fight infection, reach the nasal passage. In addition, cold weather is rich ground for the flu virus because the latter thrives in cold dry air.

Colds and flu have similar symptoms although the latter exhibits more severe symptoms. Generally, we will usually experience a sore throat; have a runny nose; headache or even sneezing. Your nose may also experience blockage while your body may feel lethargic. Expect muscle aches as well as low appetite. Ehh… the joys of feeling under the weather!

To avoid getting colds and flu, ensure you are warm during the cold season! If you are also particularly concerned topping up on flu jabs is a great way to limit your chances of catching a nasty bug! If you are already infected, take a trip to see your local GP so that you get the right kind of medication. For the one week or so when you will be affected, ensure you take warm liquids particularly those with ginger, mint and other flu-fighting elements. (yummy – see our favourite ginger tea recipes here: http://graceguru.net/why-you-should-eat-ginger/

  1. Allergy, Asthma and Pneumonia

Another set of serious problems that can affect many of us during the cold season is an allergy, asthma and even pneumonia. Allergies vary from person to person. However, there are people who develop a cold every time they are exposed to cold conditions, even if it is not winter yet. Similarly, there are people who are affected by the behaviour of plants during the cold season.

Asthma and pneumonia are cold-related illnesses. Most of us have mild forms of these illnesses. Some have inherited these conditions. While the illnesses may lie idle during other seasons, winter creates the right atmosphere for the respective viruses to thrive. This is the time many people suddenly realise that they are asthmatic. It all depends on the level of exposure to severe weather conditions! Hayfever is my worst enemy!

While these conditions may not be cured, it is important to keep off severe cold by all means. Simple things like remembering an umbrella so you are covered by the rain, or a bring a pair of gloves to keep you hands warm can be super beneficial! Remain indoors and warm as long as is necessary. Avoid cold baths and ensure you sleep under warm beddings.

  1. Heart Attacks

You may wonder what heart attacks have to do with cold weather because you know the conventional causes of this often-fatal condition. What you may not know is that many people suffer from this condition in winter more than the other three seasons. Why is this so? The fact is that your blood pressure is low during the cold season which in turn pressurises your heart. Moreover, because of low temperatures, your heart must work extra hard to pump blood thus making it vulnerable to attacks.

Beware of uncommon chest pains, sudden bouts of dizziness, excessive sweating, irregular heartbeat and nausea among other signs. Always remain warm and use the right medication in the recommended way if you are under treatment. More importantly, ensure your telephone line is working because you may need to contact 911 when the unfortunate happens. 

Winter is a time to be very cautious. We need to be aware of inherited and opportunistic illnesses and other complications that we can aggravate or contract during this cold period. More importantly, we need to keep warm, exercise and have positive attitudes to keep of negative health conditions! Although this article has followed a more negative path, it is also important to how amazing the autumn and winter seasons are, if all you need is a little boost for your health visit this page for out top tips: http://graceguru.net/amazing-nutrition-tips-for-a-super-healthy-fall/

We would love to hear any tips you have for maintaing your health during winter! You can see us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/graceguru.net or send us a tweet: www.twitter.com/_graceguru_

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Our Top European Weekend Get-A-Way Locations!

People who associate winter with absolute gloom do not know Europe well. Winter is not the time to hide indoors and moan, waiting for the seasons to change. If you live in Europe or you would like to tour this great continent, plan your tour to coincide with the cold season and you will be surprised at the many exciting adventures and sceneries that await you.

If you are thinking of planning a weekend adventure or romantic gateway this winter, there are many European cities that will provide you with an unforgettable experience. One BIG advantage of visiting European gateways at a time when tourism is in low season is that in general you will spend less money than you would during summer. So, without further ado, here are our 5 top romantic European gateways to include in your bucket list:

  1. Amsterdam

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For those who have never been to this exquisite city, your mind may initially think of the famous Red Light District. But please let me assure you, this is definitely only one side of Amsterdam. There are exceptional sights seen in the outstanding architecture and vast amounts of canals and bridges that structure the city! With amazing food markets, coffee shops and museums you will have plenty of opportunities to explore. In peak tourist season the roads and pathways can be super crazy with locals and tourists travelling through the city on bicycles! But with visiting in low season may reduce the crowds, and regardless I would highly recommend hiring a bike and taking a spontaneous adventure around the city, you never know what hidden treasures may on the outskirts of the city!

One downside to Amsterdam is it is slightly more expensive than other cities in Western Europe, but travelling prices are cheap and it is also easy to find a good hotel deal so your entire trip can be successful on a relatively low budget! All I would say is remember to pack enough warm clothing as it can get quite chilly in the spring season!

  1. Salzburg

Beautiful view of the historic city of Salzburg with Festung Hohensalzburg in winter, Salzburger Land, Austria

Another great European city to visit is Salzburg, if I say this is where Mozart found his inspiration, and it was the setting for the film “The Sound Of Music” you can imagine how incredible this city is. There is a certain buzz about the city and you get the feel that this is the place where almost everyone wants to hold a concert or festival. Chances are that your gateway may coincide with one of these exceptional celebrations of music or other social event! The city is enticing and enchanting particularly because of its beautiful vies of the Eastern Alps. Make sure you visit numerous castles and fortresses in the city, and grab a taster of delicious German cuisine to sample at the Old Town and other places in the city. This is just a snapshot; the real story awaits you in the musical city of Salzburg.

  1. Lisbon

Cityscape of Lisbon in the beautiful sunset. PorugalPerhaps because it has not been the subject of a lot of publicity like other European cities, the capital of Portugal is not understood as it should. This is the perfect getaway considering the city’s laid-back nature. This city encourages relaxation with its beautiful vibrant colours and hilly contours guaranteeing you will see great views from every corner you visit! Choosing to vacation in Lisbon this winter means you will have the opportunity to walk the city’s alleys without the inconvenience of crowds.

You will also be surprised with the way in which a modern city can grow within a village setting yet the incredible traditional antique architecture remains. Yes, the ancient bleached limestone networks rival skyscrapers for beauty and grandeur in Lisbon and this is where the air of romance begins to blow on your face despite the cold. Make sure you take coffee in the many cafes on the streets of this city, watch bullfighting, and lie of the tranquil beaches.

  1. Vienna

Vienna, aerial view at night, with danube and cityscape

Okay so I know that Austria has already been mentioned but I cannot leave Vienna out! Famous for the culinary speciality Sachertorte, if you’re a fan of chocolate cake this is the getaway for you! Along with its highly recognised imperial palaces, Vienna has emerged as a contemporary city where the new and the old exist side-by-side.I would highly recommend visiting the Vienna State Opera which dates back to the mid-19th century, and rather than purchasing tickets to see the opera you can find opera tours which allow you to grab a snapshot of the Opera House for a less expensive cost.

  1. Budapest

The Szechenyi Chain Bridge, Basilica and the Budapest Eye

I have not yet had the chance to visit this city but Budapest has been highly recommended by friends who insist it is enticing and romantic right from the moment you arrive. How about a city of two halves, aptly named Buda and Pest? The magnificent and renowned River Danube is the perfect demarcation of the two sides of this must-visit getaway. Each of the twin sides of this city has unique places to visit and wonderful sceneries. The restaurants are relatively inexpensive but high quality, and the nightlife is completely different to that of Western Europe yet will always provide you with a night to remember!

Considering the dipping winter temperatures, you will appreciate that this metropolis is called the city of spas, some stretching as far as the 16th century. Budapest is the perfect travel destination for anybody who appreciates incredible architecture and wants an experience that is very far from the landscapes of Western Europe!

I hope that one of these cities has caught your eye, if you do get the chance to visit one of these amazing locations we would love see your experiences! You can tag us on instagram @grace_guru or use any of our hashtags #graceguru #graceguruloves #gracegurulifestyle!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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7 Food Stars Of December To Boost Optimal Health!

December is here once again and people are about to get merry. That said the festive season is also a time to rejuvenate the body with some special foods that are only found during this month! It is important to understand that nature provides us with some amazing rich produce especially in winter. It would be silly not to take advantage and really treat yourself!

For this December, I would highly recommend trying out some of these yummy veggies:

  1. White Cabbage

Homemade ColeslawThis month, there will be a lot of white cabbage in the stores and markets. You already know about its crisp taste, but you may not have considered the many benefits that this vegetable contains. Cholesterol is one of the greatest fears of many people in an age when lifestyle diseases are prevalent. When you eat steamed cabbages, your body expels bile acid thus lowering cholesterol in your blood. The good thing also is that you can also eat cabbages raw!

  1. Beetroot

iStock_000045499850_SmallAnother plant that will invade the market and dinner tables of health-conscious families this December is beetroot. This coloured tap root has a sweet earthy flavour, a velvety and smooth texture and cam be combined with some fruits to make juices.

You may even want to combine beetroot with yoghurt and cream to make it even more delicious. Beets are full of antioxidants, protein, folic acid, potassium and fibre among other important minerals and nutrients. The benefits of beetroot include lowering blood pressure as well as fighting cancer-causing compounds.

  1. Apples

Fresh Red ApplesGo apple crazy!! Orchards will be churning out an incredible number of different types of apples that some sweet, some sharp and always crunchy! They will also come in many colours including yellow, red, green and other shades. More importantly, use apples as snacks instead of sugary nibbles.

These fruits are packed with energy and can be combined with other fruits to make nutritious deserts. By making this choice, you will be guaranteeing your body healthy sugars, fibre, potassium, vitamin C and flavonoids. Your digestive processes will benefit a lot and your heart will be healthier than ever!

  1. Butternut Squash

Organic Baked Butternut Squash(ULTIMATE favourite!) Winter also brings to us one of the most balanced food crops – butternuts. You must know the small ‘pumpkins’ plants that are shaped like half-dumbbells or cylinders. They are found in very many places across the world. They are used to make soups, stews, curries and other dishes. Butternuts can be mashed or baked and enriched with cinnamon, nutmeg or cream. Eating butternuts squash will give you complex carbohydrates, sodium and low saturated fats. You will be eating food rich in magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene, calcium and manganese.

  1. Leeks

Leek soup in a bowlWhatever you feast on this December, don’t forget about the leeks! I know you are likely to say that this is just another form of onion and garlic. While this is true, but leeks are sweeter and have a stronger flavour than their cousins. You will find leeks on dinner tables where they make stews and soups more delicious and nutritious. They also create wonderful combinations with cheese and potatoes.

If you want side dishes that will enrich your supper, look no further than leeks. For making the wise decisions to eat leeks, brace yourself for a healthy serving of vitamin C, fibre and iron. Your heart and blood will perform at optimal levels if you make leeks part of your diet this December.

  1. Kale

Kale SaladAnother abundant vegetable during this December is very common but important – kale. This green veggie continues to grace the dinner tables of people who understand the importance of healthy eating. If you cannot get spinach or cabbage, try kale and you will not regret it! You may find it becomes one of your new favourites.

Apart from being a side dish, you can blend it with garlic and even add some soy to it. Your soups too will be richer with kale. Your reward is a healthy serving of vitamins E, A and C. You will also be giving your body a dose of important minerals such as sulphoraphane, iron, phytochemicals, potassium and calcium.

  1. Pears

Ripe pear on a wooden backgroundAnother important fruits that will invade your territory this December is the pear. Just take a trip to the countryside and you will realise that there is a flood of these sweet fruits. More importantly, nature has timed the coming of this fruit with the holiday season so that you can enjoy their exceptional nutritional elements. Pears are available in many textures and flavours.

There are also a variety of ways for you to enjoy them. How about snacking on pears alone? Well, you can also poach them with vanilla or eat them with chocolate. Don’t forget to try a salad that contains pears. For all your efforts, expect energy, optimal and healthy sugar levels in your blood, copper, potassium and vitamins C and B6. Have a pear feast this December because it will be raining pears!

I hope that one of these veggies has caught your eye, if you do try something new I would love see! We would love to see some of your pictures, you can tag us on instagram @grace_guru or use any of our hashtags #graceguru #graceguruloves #gracegurulifestyle!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

 

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