The Importance of Giving For Your Soul

We live in a world where materialism reigns supreme. We are all guilt of competing with our loved ones for the most up to date product, self indulging and boasting about our material possessions on social media. While capitalism has resulted in the improvement of the quality of life for many, millions still live below the poverty line. We have forgotten the benefits of giving at a time when the world is deeply divided between the rich and the poor.

Giving is an act of sacrifice. We can all relate to the struggles of spending your own money on something or someone, rather than yourself. It’s a conflicting feeling when you know there is a lot you can do with the money you are giving to charity. However, you decide to forego your rights and privileges over the money to bring relief and cheer to another human being. You give because you have seen a need that can be fulfilled by the resources you have!

In contrast, if you give simply because you have no use for the materials you are giving, you may not feel like you are sacrificing. While giving from abundance is not prohibited or unethical, it is a fact that giving makes more meaning when it is done out of the desire to help another person even if that means that the giver will have to waive some benefits.

From the time we are born, we are accustomed to receiving. As new-borns, we experience the warmth of other people. Our parents, siblings and relatives receive us with a lot of joy. Gifts come our way even if we don’t know it. As we grow up, we receive gifts during birthday parties, Christmas and other festivals and events. As long as we remain under the custodianship of parents and guardians, we expect to be recipients.

Sooner or later, though, we become adults and realise that we are expected to start giving and stop expecting others to give us. That is the moment when we realise the gifts we used to unwrap were actually sacrifices from other people. Society now expects us to give to the less fortunate and to our family members. In a way, the moment we begin to give is the moment we begin to live.

What Then Is The Importance Of Giving?

Giving is an expression of our humanity. A human being is expected to be like a lake with an outlet. When the lake receives water, it must allow some of the water to flow out so that it can receive more. The movement of water energises the lake and gives life to the animals and plants within it. In contrast, when you stop giving, you become like the Dead Sea, a water body that receives without giving, and cannot support life. In essence, you give because you are created to give and that is how you prove you are indeed human.

It is also important to give because by so doing, you will help another human being to live and enjoy life. At the same time, you will be happier because you are helping others. You are lucky if you have everything you need. There are many more who cannot afford one meal a day. Millions have no place to live at a time when some people have more than one place they call home. If you rush to the doctor whenever you catch a cold, you need to know that there are some patients who cannot afford to see a doctor. If you are a parent, grandparent, child or grandchild, remember there are millions of orphans and homeless people on earth.

Giving is important to the soul because it is the best weapon against unfettered materialism. Materialism is a form of disease that is destroying the soul of humanity. A soul that does not give eventually dies out. When we allow selfishness to engulf our hearts and make us callous, we kill the very essence of our being. Giving, therefore, gladdens the soul because the soul was not created to be selfish. Shunning greed and selfishness is the best way to ensure that the resources on earth reach each and every inhabitant.

The soul is spiritual and thus amenable to giving. The Supreme Being, whatever name you choose to give it, is a force for good. One cannot claim to be spiritual if they don’t give. In some religions, a portion of one’s earnings are donated to the poor either directly or through a religious order. It is ironical for one to claim to believe in a Supreme Being yet remain immune or dumb to the needs of others. Religion always teaches how generous the Supreme Being is to humanity and thus expects that adherents will be kind to other believers and non-believers alike. We, therefore, give to follow religious instructions and to connect with the higher being. The soul finds happiness in giving because it is accustomed to God unlike the body and the mind.

We give because it is in generosity that we find the meaning of life and this fulfils the soul’s desire.

Merry Christmas!

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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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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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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Super Easy & Super Healthy Workplace Habits

Your workplace is one of the most important spaces in your life. The place where you make your living. It is in this space that you build a career and nurture social relations with your colleagues. A significant chunk of your life will be spent working, which makes this place all the more important. But apart from work, what else can you do to make your workplace a more comfortable space?

Not Always Blissful!

Let us face the truth. Workplaces are not always comfortable and desirable. A slave driver of a boss does not make your life pleasurable. Nosy colleagues may create a scenario that you wish to run away from. Clients can be difficult to deal with. Sitting behind a desk and computer the entire day may not be your cup of coffee. In essence, you are not guaranteed enjoyment in your work station. You have to find a way to lighten your burden and bring cheer to your day!

Maintaining Your Health And Sanity

That is why you need to learn new super easy and super healthy workplace habits to incorporate in your daily schedule! We are talking about habits that help you to remain healthy and sane throughout the day. Believe me; you can easily lose your mind, although momentarily, when certain stressful situations arise. The following habits are worth learning and practicing in your workplace:

  1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness means that you are aware of yourself, your environment and the happenings within that surrounding. It also implies that you can observe what is happening but defer your judgment. In other words, you can detach yourself from events surrounding you so as to concentrate on one issue that is important to you. You also avoid reacting spontaneously to issues and choose rather understand what is happening.

In the workplace, you can practice mindfulness by reminding yourself of your roles and responsibilities every day before you begin working. It is also important to recall the mandate and objectives of the organisation. With this in mind, your mind will not wander a lot. You will also avoid working on issues that do not add value to the organisation. Mindfulness will help you to be productive because you will accomplish one task at a time.

A person that exercises mindfulness also leaves workplace issues behind before going home. More often than not, we steal joy from our homes when we carry home the stress we should have left at work. Mindfulness means that you reflect on your accomplishments before leaving your workplace and ensuring that chapter is closed until you return the next day.

Young woman doing yoga on the mat on the roof, sitting in lotus posture, looking at camera and smiling

  1. Meditation

Whenever meditation is mentioned, some people think of long sessions of silence and prayer. While there is some truth in such beliefs, the truth is that you can actually meditate for short durations in your workplace. Before we get to the specifics, we need to understand that meditation can calm your mind and help you to focus on what you are doing thus eliminating many of the casual mistakes you make daily.

You can meditate at regular intervals (say one hour) if your work station and schedule allow. Alternatively, you can take time to reflect when there is no much work. Whichever way, ensure you are comfortable. Preferably, have a mat in your workplace if circumstances and regulations permit.

In your meditation, ensure you feel every part of the body. Practice breathing deeply and make sure you feel the sensations travelling through your body. Once you have blocked off distractions in your environment, sit still, relax and breathe rhythmically. As you do so, identify one part of your body that you want to ‘listen’ to. It could be your feet or even your heartbeat. By the end of your exercise, you will have strength and motivation to face the next challenge.

caucasian business woman in eyeglasses relaxing neck,stretching arms - short break for exercise on chair  in office

  1. Physical Exercises

Space within which you operate may not be big enough, but you can still stretch out your body. Deskbound living is damaging our bodies. However, since most of us work in such circumstances, we need to find ways of making the body active. There are quite a number of exercises that you can engage in without much hustle in your workplace.

For example, you can stretch out your body while supporting it using furniture in your office. You can improvise push-ups or other forms of exercise as long as your body is not injured. After sitting for a long duration, you can perform squats or stretch out your legs or hands. Walking around the office after sitting for some time will also help to stretch out body parts which have been constricted after sitting for long.

Exercises in the workplace will keep your mind and body healthy and also promote interaction since you will be forced to leave your desk and visit other people’s stations to see what they are doing. The most important issue is that you don’t spend all the time seated and that you take the time to move around and stretch out your body. Remember you can significantly improve your workplace experience through mindfulness, meditation and simple exercises.

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

iStock_000017929544_Small

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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How To Ward Off Winter Blues

Winter is here once again and so are the blues. The temptation to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary movement is very strong. Everywhere you look, there is gloom. The weather accentuates your feelings of misery and enslavement to your small space. You long for the day the sun will shine again. Is there a way to lift your spirits before then?

How can you overcome the overwhelming depression that often hits you during this gloomy season? This is the time that sleep takes a flight because you feel very cold. Many people are also lethargic and are not ready to venture outdoors. Did you also know that you are likely to overeat during winter? Perhaps it is because there is little activity and you spend much time indoors. You probably know someone who becomes irritable during winter; this is a symptom of winter blues. Winter is the time that you also feel like not socialising.

There are several strategies you can use to lift the gloom and actually enjoy winter instead of enduring it.

  1. Avoid Passive Life

Winter will nudge you to remain indoors but you need to avoid this temptation if you are to fight off the gloom. I am not saying that you should remain in your house as I am against locking yourself inside the entire day. Rather, dress in warm clothing as winter demands and give your muscles some walking workout. This will remove the strain from your legs, give you some exercise, refresh your brain and lift the gloom off your face. Yes, you can take a walk in winter and actually enjoy it.

  1. Get Fresh Air

Just as with taking a walk, you need fresh air. The air inside your house can get contaminated. You need to move out and absorb fresh air outdoors. This you can do especially when it’s brighter outside or during midday when there is a little warmth. You will also do your body a favour if you sit near windows where you can see what is happening outside. There is still a lot of excitement and life outside your house and you need not lose touch with nature simply because of winter.

  1. Watch Your Diet

One of the best strategies to keep off the blues during winter is to eat well. Invest in a balanced diet. A well-fed person is able to overcome the extreme cold that is associated with winter. Avoid junk food and eat healthy, natural and fresh food. Look for the foods that are in season during winter. For example, incorporate sweet potatoes, lentils, onions, leafy vegetables, oranges, ginger and so on in your diet. Take lots of warm water as well as teas, coffees and soups as they will help you meet your daily fluid requirements easily.

  1. Stay Warm

As the temperatures dip in winter, so do moods. Depression and irritability result from such situations, not to mention illnesses such as asthma, the common cold and pneumonia. You cannot afford to suffer from any illness during this gloomy time. You need to keep your body warm at all times. Choose warm clothing; eat warm food and drink warm beverages. Make sure there is a system to regulate temperature in your house, particularly to safely keep you warm. Do not venture outdoors in light clothing even when your body seems to have no problem with your actions.

  1. Let The Light In

Winter has a way of keeping away natural light at times. Sometimes you cannot tell whether it is night or day. Having gathered enough provisions and remained indoors, you may begin to lose acquaintance with natural light. Whenever you have the opportunity, let natural light into your house. Make sure the lights in your house are working and keep them working for as long as possible. You may want to invest in a light box which will offer an alternative to natural light especially on the days when winter is at its peak.

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  1. Exercise

I know you may not have a gym in your house, but you can improvise. You need to stretch out your body as much as possible. Create space in your living room or bedroom and practice yoga, for example. Use your furniture for support. Get a mat or stretch out on your bed. Get a skipping rope and use it every day. Many of the lighter gym equipment are also easily available and affordable. Use the internet to learn new ways of exercising. Apart from keeping you warm, working out will ensure your blood is flowing optimally and that you avoid winter illnesses.

  1. Build And Maintain A Social Network

Don’t live alone during winter. Even if you are forced to live alone, keep your communication lines open. People need your help and you need to help them too. Mental blues have a way of compromising the mental health of some people. Keeping close to family and friends will ensure you can face winter blues together. Go out and meet friends in social events. Don’t lock yourself in because this makes you vulnerable.

Group Of Women Enjoying In Restaurant

If you have any other tips, or any secret practice that you know works for you we would love to hear about it! You can see us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/graceguru.net or send us a tweet: www.twitter.com/_graceguru_

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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