How to Beat the January Blues

I am completely bewildered that we are almost halfway through January. I wanted to come on here to see how everybody is doing. To tell the truth, I, myself, am feeling lethargic this morning. I could barely wake up to the cat’s meowls. The thing is, January blues are quite real. So I wanted to write a post on how to beat the January blues.

Did you know that the third Monday of January is deemed Blue Monday? It is supposedly the saddest day of the year and was dubbed so by the press in 2005. The combination of gloomy weather and tight purse strings, lack of holidays and, well, MONDAY resulted in the name. After the excitement from holiday festivities subside and the expectations from New Year become more difficult to reach, of course a more depressed feeling settles in. But we can battle it in healthy ways. (Anyone else doing Dry January?).

A note on Sadness:

Sadness is not a bad thing. Rather, it is a natural human emotion that we should allow ourselves to feel. It is not something to extinguish. We watched the movie “Don’t Look Up” recently and I couldn’t resonate more with their message. There is a difference. Today, the tips I am sharing are not to rid our lives of sadness. I am sharing them to get over the hump. When the blues prevent us from normal function or motivation, sometimes it is helpful to have a few tactics in your back pocket.

How to Beat the January Blues

+ Exercise

The best times to get a workout in are early mornings as soon as you wake and late afternoons about four hours before bed. Exercise increases dopamine (boosts mood) and anandamide (joy, bliss) hormone. It will also make you tired enough for bed, giving you more reason to sleep early.

+ Get outdoors

The Japanese word shinrin-yoku means to forest bathe. Forest bathing refers to the activity of getting outdoors, surrounding yourself with trees and going for a walk in the woods. Now California is a desert and we are short on forests here but getting on a trail is much the same thing. There are restorative as well as energetic benefits from being outdoors. It can really boost the spirits and give you a new perspective.

+ Let the Sunlight In

I always open all the curtains and blinds in the morning to let as much sunlight into our home during the day. Natural sunlight and plenty of windows is actually my number one requirement for buying homes. That’s how much it affects my life! Sunlight increases the hormone serotonin, which boosts mood, calms emotions, and helps with focus. I guess you can say sunlight feeds my soul and sets me up for creative success.

+ Hydrate

Hydration is another frugal life hack that I discovered. People love to spend money on all sorts of formulas and supplements, yet most people fail to drink enough water! Our bodies, having evolved from oceans, are highly receptive to water. Whenever I am low in energy, I pour myself an entire glass of water and drink the whole thing. I make it a point to drink at least 12 glasses of water a day. My co-workers make fun of me for being always at the water refill station (we have one of those high-pH filters) filling up my Kinto water bottle. I am there so much, they’ve nicknamed me the camel!

+ Take a cold shower.

“But isn’t it already cold enough?”, you might say. As counter-intuitive as this sounds, this is a great one. This will activate the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for your stress response. Doing so will cause a spike in nor-adrenaline which boosts mood. Just have a hot cup of coffee brewing in the meantime.

+ Boost Mood with Food

One of my favorites! Certain foods will make our bodies lethargic and lower our moods. I recommend a gut-friendly diet, filled with nuts, greens, fruits, and legumes. My favorite book about nourishing our bodies with food is called Eat to Beat Disease by William Li. I haven’t gotten sick in five years and my body stays in pretty good shape. People ask my all the time how I do it. I eat well, has always been my answer. And trust me, when your body feels good, so do you.

+ Eat Chocolate.

This is coming from a dentist! Eating nutritious food doesn’t have to be bland or boring. If you read the aforementioned book, you will find that it includes some of my favorite things, such as coffee and chocolate! Chocolate contains flavonoids which reduce stress-hormones in your body. Just make sure it is over 80% dark chocolate and not that milk chocolate stuff that is swimming with dairy products and sugar. I go to Whole Foods and buy Chocolove’s Extreme Dark Chocolate (88%) or Endangered Species’s Strong and Velvety (88%). I can eat a whole row of these in one sitting with no remorse.

+ Give Up Alcohol

I gave up alcohol for frugal reasons once and the benefits far exceeded my expectations. Some people use alcohol to cope with depression, but the crash will make it worse. Instead, do the opposite and you might find better results.

+ Avoid the News

The news is there to make you feel bad. As a business model, it is the only way they can keep you coming back for more. Remember 2020 when everyone kept checking the news? Didn’t that feel awful? Didn’t we spiral into something terrible? Avoid the news to feel a smidge lighter. Personally, I never follow the news.

+ Avoid Social Media

As a species built on comparison, social media can both inspire us and bring us down. Depending on the type of people you follow, Instagram may be causing some of your misery and pain. Seeing others thrive all the time can sub-consciously negatively affect your personal perception. I’ve done one month hiatuses from social media before and they have been stellar!

+ Get Plenty of Sleep

Humans are like cell phones in that they need to recharge. Sleep is their power source. Without good sleep, I am a real monster. I feel terrible, my body is tired, my brain in a fog … I mean, utterly useless! Luckily, sleep has always been my forte. As a baby, as a child, as a teenager – my parents have endless stories about me sleeping. Even when my husband and I met, we would literally spend hours in the afternoons napping in college. It was the best! Nowadays, I have a habit of drinking coffee which negates the nap hours needed in the afternoon. But I do still have a strict sleep schedule. You might be shocked to learn that my ideal number of hours of sleep is nine!

+ Re-evaluate Resolutions

You know how some people have bigger eyes than their stomach? Well I have bigger dreams than the universe. When it comes to resolutions and goal setting, I can go a bit overboard. But when you go overboard, you could sometimes drown. So I make it a point to constantly re-evaluate my goals and resolutions. At the end of each day, week, and month, I write down where I struggled. Then I ask myself, “Why was there unrest? Is the goal not aligned with my dharma? Was it too difficult or stressful? Did I not prioritize it enough or set aside enough time to get it done? Does it cause me more stress than good?” Re-evaluate your resolutions to avoid feeling burnout. As a rule of thumb, get rid of every task or goal that is not necessary to making you 1% better. It could honestly be making you 1% worse.

+ Create a Future Reward or Motivation

I am very bad at rewarding myself when I do well. That’s because I never think I deserve it. As someone who experiences self-woe firsthand, let me just nip that in the bud for you now. You deserve rewards, especially if they motivate you. We can’t expect ourselves to always produce. Create something good to look forward to in the future and think of that every time you hit a hump. Plan a trip after a really long stint at work. Take a few days off after a stressful life. Even buy yourself something nice after an achievement. Yeah, I said it.

+ Write affirmations

I used to have a great planner called Mal Paper that required me to write an affirmation about myself every morning. It was really difficult for me. Words of praise are not my thing. But the practice really improved my life. I actually became a better person because of it. When we have low moods or energy, we have trouble finding the good. By starting with an affirmation, you find the good in you, which gives you an idea on how you can give good to the world around you. That’s mood boosting on its own!

+ Reframe

Sometimes, reframing the situation is all you need to do in order to get out of a rut. For example, if work has been extremely difficult, you could tell yourself the following things:

  • I am so lucky to have a job when so many others do not.
  • I am grateful to have co-workers who have my back and who make my day better (list co-workers).
  • It may be difficult now, but I know that these moments are helping me grow in my career and as a person.
  • I am having difficulty at work because my expectations are too high.
  • I am a strong, capable individual who can overcome these difficulties and help my teammates out.

+ Try Something New

If reframing doesn’t help, then pivot onto something new. Humans thrive with new experiences because the novelty gives our brains that dopamine hit. That’s why when you purchase something or do something for the very first time, you experience that short-term high. While it isn’t everlasting, that boost may be just what you need when you’re blue. To continue the previous example:

  • Talk to someone about your difficulties.
  • Try to change your role at work.
  • Switch tasks with someone else.

+ Take a Break

When trying something new doesn’t help either, then just stop and take a break. We don’t allow enough breaks in our lives. I think that doing nothing is one of the most rejuvenating things a person can do. Don’t worry about everyone else. At this point, the focus is on you. Everyone else will be fine.

+ Ask for Help

Lastly, ask for help. If none of these tips on how to beat the January blues helps you, then maybe another person can. When I quit my job and focused on self-improvement, I hired a life and wellness coach for three months. It was amazing. Her name was Michaela Puterbaugh and you can learn about her here.

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How to Recover From the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner and you may already feel a bit of burnout creeping in. Every day I am asking my patients what their plans are, and “nothing” seems to be the favorite answer. We may already be burned out from the rest of the year. Every day I am asking myself what my soul needs in the new year to flourish. Others may be asking themselves what they need just to get by. Whatever the case may be, don’t forgo making plans to recover after the holiday season. The tendency may be to jump head first into 2022. Perhaps it’s better to pause, take a break, and breathe? Here are a few of my favorite ideas to recover from the holidays.

Take time off of work.

You might feel like working full-speed in order to pay for the holiday spending is what you need to do. But I love taking time off of work to recover, even for just a day. I am lucky enough to not work a 9-5 job five days a week and to have flexible schedules. However, if I did work a traditional schedule, I would certainly request time off after my busier days. This time off isn’t for completing tasks, organizing the home, or socializing. This is a chance to reset, evaluate, and prepare. Activities that are perfect for this include getting out in nature, meditating, taking a yoga class, going to a coffee shop to write, or even getting away.

Take a vacation.

Sometimes, a separation of schedule isn’t enough to take the mind off a to-do list. For me, it also usually requires a separation of space. Taking a vacation or going away from home is a great way to recover from the holidays. My choice stay is GetAway! Stationed nationally in nature, these tiny cabins are the perfect way to disconnect from the world and reconnect with the earth or whatever grounds you. I would even recommend going without your significant other. It’ll do wonders. You can read my review of the GetAway experience here. Make your first booking with my referral link and receive $25 OFF your first stay (minimum two nights required).

Declutter the Home

We accumulate a lot of things over the holidays. I look at the things we received as gifts and consider what they are replacing in our space. We try not to keep two of anything so that’s an easy way to declutter. I also try to really consider the function of things. I get rid of a lot of stuff at the end of the year. Part of that is my natural response to the frenzy that is the holiday season. I declutter to alleviate myself of the overwhelm. But the other part of it is this: I am preparing my space for an intentional life.

Clean and Organize

I don’t know about everyone else but my house tends to look as scattered as my brain after the holidays. I usually need a day to reorganize and clean. Some of the things I do is clear out the fridge and store the leftovers, which are plenty. I put the gifts away and remove the decor, which are few. I clean the kitchen, wash sheets and towels, and sweep the floors. Throughout the year, I use this cleaning list that I wrote. It is saved on my Iphone under ‘Notes’ with checkmarks next to each task. I do a weekly cleaning time block each weekend and address the tasks little by little. It’s a simple way for me to get things done.

Give back to yourself.

In the name of giving to others over the holidays, we tend to forget about ourselves. There are many self-care strategies that you can implement to give back to yourself again. This includes getting into an exercise routine, laying off the sweets, lessening the alcohol and coffee, and being openly grateful.

I know that this list is short and sweet, but these are my favorite ways to recover from the holidays. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, nor does it have to be expensive. Just make sure you are doing something for yourself to recover. The holidays is a stressful time for everyone. Don’t feel bad if you need to tell loved ones you need a break, or more space, or less time with them. We need to say no, in order to say a bigger “YES!”. That’s a good mantra to have in 2022.

Combating Tired Eyes with True Botanicals Eye Cream

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We returned from our Iceland adventure almost two weeks now (eek! Where does the time go?). I am only barely able to say that our sleep cycles have regressed to their normal states. For a while there I felt like our rythm will remain out of sync forever, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I keep telling folks how my brain and body seemed to be moving at a slower pace than those around me, and my days seemed to last much longer than when I first left. Perhaps it has something to do with the 24/7 sunlight commonly experienced in the northern hemisphere. If that is the case, I fear what life would feel like in 24/7 darkness.

Regardless, I’ve had my fair share of sleep these last two weeks. At first, I found myself naturally waking up at 5:30 in the morning and falling asleep at 9 pm. This sleep pattern was much preferred to my now ‘normalized’ schedule, since it gave me a few hours of “me-time” each day before the actual beginning. Unfortunately, it did not last long. I threw myself into work, playing catch-up as well as adding a few dog-sitting duties and family events that eventually had me feeling the manic American pace once again. “Can we please go back to Iceland?” I keep begging my husband.

One thing that has been on my side, however, is True Botanical’s Resurrection Radiance Eye Cream! They gifted me a sample of the stuff and it arrived a few days before I trotted off to Iceland. I was so happy to find it sitting in my bathroom drawer, ready for me and my recovery. I didn’t really know what to expect, having never used eye cream before. I have always had dark circles under my eyes, for which I blame my late nights during my endless college career. This brightening eye cream has been amazing at reducing the darkness around my eyes, immediately making me look younger than the 25-year-old fallacy I’ve been living. What surprised me, though, was the reduction in fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes. I have always been a smiler (no surprise there!), as well as extremely facially expressive. There is no shortage of dynamic crow’s feet mischievously appearing every time I laugh. After using this eye cream for only two weeks, I’ve noticed a tightness in my skin that’s as new as my love for Iceland. I am really happy with the results from this eye cream so far!

So what exactly is in this eye cream that lends it magical properties? True Botanicals is a company that prides themselves in using natural ingredients and avoiding all the synthetics that one typically finds in the beauty industry. This eye cream contains no silicones, waxes, or shimmers that would fake results. It’s the real deal. Instead, its main component is a moisture retentive bioactive compound from the Resurrection Plant, known for its resilience to harsh environments. This compound plumps up our eyes and adds moisture to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Meanwhile, tree bark extract reduces the darkness around our eyes. Otherwise known as Terminalia Arijuna, this extract is Ecocert and COSMOS certified. It also won The Best Active Ingredient Gold Award in 2019. There is also coffee and licorice (which depuffs the eye area and adds brightness) as well as tumeric (which calms the skin for a smoother look).

I find myself using this eye cream each morning and each night. It takes very little to discover results – smaller than a pea size amount. I can see this tiny jar lasting many months. I have never really noticed before how important it is to hydrate the eye area. It’s a section of my face that I typically avoid, mostly because of my fear of getting beauty goop in my eyes. For those who were wondering, my skin is generally dry and extremely sensitive to harsh chemicals. That’s why I trust True Botanicals products. This Olivia-Wilde-sponsored company uses only the best natural ingredients to support my skin. They have never steered me wrong.

Far from being frilly, I still have room in my life to fall in love with T.B. Their RENEW facial cleanser coupled with their Pure Radiance Oil is a great, minimalist daily skin routine that checks all the boxes without buying an overwhelming amount of products. And it comes at a discounted price when purchased as a set. My mom swears by the Vitamin C Booster, and she adds that to her moisturizer each day. I also love carrying around their Nutrient Mist in my purse. It is a god-send when I travel, as airplanes somehow manage to cause dry skin and oily outbreaks at the same time. I gift Nutrient Mist to all my girlfriends, and during holiday season, it is my number one recommended stocking stuffer! Lastly, the Pure Radiance Sugar Exfoliating Body Scrub is a luxurious gift to oneself. I loved using it over the winter season as it made each shower feel like a spa day.

Shall you choose to try them out for yourself, please do note that TheDebtist will receive commission for purchases made via my links in this post. With that said, I really do appreciate the support you lend to the companies that support my blog. It is a curated list of people, doing good work, True Botanicals included!

The Health Benefits of Magnesium

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Magnesium is a very important mineral. It plays a role in multiple processes that affect the function of our brains and our bodies. It is necessary in over 600 reactions, all of which promote our overall health. Yet 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium, mostly because historical sources of this vital mineral such as our diets and our soil have been depleted. This is why I recommend adding a form of Magnesium supplement to everyone. I myself have been using this Magnesium spray for months and find that it helps me to reduce stress, relax my muscles, fight fatigue, and get a good night’s rest. To understand why Magnesium is vital to all of those things, here are a few facts to know.

Magnesium may reduce muscle fatigue after exercise.

Magnesium moves blood sugar into muscles and disposes of lactate. Some athletes report improved performance in physical activities, although the evidence remains mixed. However, because it disposes of the lactate by-product from the muscles, it helps reduce fatigue. I like to spray Magnesium after my work-outs to help relax my muscles.

It improves sleep.

Magnesium is involved in transmitting nerve signals and relaxes the muscles and the brain. This has been shown to improve sleep, even for insomniacs or those who experience high-stress, which then helps with improving energy during the day.

Magnesium boosts mood.

Low levels of Magnesium are linked with depression. A study has shown that low levels of the mineral increases risk for depression by 22%. Some trials have shown that increasing daily dose of Magnesium to 450mg results in reduced depression symptoms equivalent to taking anti-depressants.

It helps with PMS.

Magnesium has been shown to help with bloating and fluid retention for menstruating persons. That, coupled with its mood enhancing benefits, is why it is included in this company’s everyday supplement for women 18+.

Magnesium can reduce inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is the cause of many systemic diseases, but Magnesium can help. Low levels have been linked with increased levels of CRP – an inflammatory marker in the blood. Likewise, increasing magnesium intake has shown to decrease CRP. Reducing inflammation can help with alleviating joint pain, reducing cell damage, and preventing disease.

Magnesium helps with insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetics are usually low in Magnesium mostly because these patients are chronically high in insulin levels, which leads to the loss of Magnesium through the urine. However, increasing the intake of Magnesium has been shown to improve the processing of sugar, thereby lowering the body’s blood sugar levels. It is therefore important for pre-diabetics and diabetics to maintain their magnesium levels.

There you have it! The reasons why we need to add magnesium to our diets or as a supplement are plenty. I should note that the most bioavailable version of magnesium is magnesium citrate, which is the form this company uses. I, myself, only use The Nue Co.’s Magnesium Spray to help alleviate sore muscles after workouts, reduce stress, and aid in sleep. It one hundred percent works for me! I prefer to ingest my magnesium by altering my diet to include magnesium rich foods rather than taking a supplement. Foods high in magnesium include fish (salmon and mackerel), leafy veggies (like spinach), whole grains, beans and nuts.

Tushy: The Cushy Way to Spray DooDoo Away

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I am going off-grid from the PC charts here as I digress to talk about tushies and Tushys – as in human ones and bidets. I have been meaning to make the switch to bidets for a few years now. One of our closest friends has been raving about its usefulness and environmental friendliness at every opportune moment, but I never did like that big clonker that was sitting atop his toilet. So I have been putting it off for the sake of aesthetics, which we all know is an important part of my intentional life. However, as more and more of our friends made the switch, the urge to get one increased, and finally, my less-waste self came across the most minimalist, affordable, pretty bidet I could find: Tushy!

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Where It All Began

Tushy was founded by Miki Agrawal in 2015, the same co-founder of Thinx. It has since then revolutionized the way young people doo their business. Bidets have become a sort of fad, but it is nothing new. Many countries around the world use bidets, and my friend who I mentioned earlier got his after visiting Japan and using bidets in the public and personal restrooms. In a more primitive sense, I, myself, experienced butt-washing in my youth, having never used toilet paper until I was thirteen years old. In my country, we use buckets of water to rinse our bums or simply hop in the shower. In fact, I remember first immigrating to the United States and being told by my mom that “toilet paper does not do the job.” To her, a bum’s not clean until it has been washed with water. This, of course, wasn’t the reason I got on my hands and knees to add a bidet to my toilet. The motivation came from the environmental effects of making the switch. Below are a few statistics.

How Much Are You Saving with Tushy?

The average non-bidet user uses 57 sheets of toilet paper a day. This adds up to about $10 worth of toilet paper a month, or $120 of toilet paper a year. A tree produces about 100 pounds of toilet paper, and one person uses up about 50 pounds of toilet paper a year. For a family of four, this adds up to two trees per year. Because it takes 37 gallons of water to create one roll of toilet paper, 4884 gallons of water is wasted per person per year.

It takes no statistician to confirm that switching to a bidet results in saved money, trees and water. However you also save yourself time from having to buy toilet paper. You save yourself stress during no-TP emergencies. You save your bum from chafing and your significant other from skidmarks. You save yourself the embarrassment.

Tushy is juuuuuust right

Is this all feeling a bit too much? Well your wallet won’t think so since Tushy is quite the affordable bidet, costing only $109 (although my readers can receive 10% off of their Tushy purchase using any of my affiliate links within this post as long as they enter the code: THEDEBTIST at checkout).

Does that sound too little? Tushy is the perfect minimalist bidet, with a sleek white frame and simple adjustable knobs in neutral colors (ours is Bamboo!). We own the Tushy Classic and as baby bear says, it is juuuuuust right! For those who want a little more, the Tushy Spa has a water temperature control making those cold mornings more comfortable.

The Dirty Details

So I know some of you are hoping I spill a few dirty details. However, the only thing dirty might be your toilet seat cover when you remove it to place a Tushy underneath. No worries though! Seeing all that gunk is the most difficult part of this set up. And hey! What a great time to clean up!

Breezy Installation

Here are, however, a few things we came across during installation that you may appreciate. The manual says to turn off the water using the water shut-off valve behind the toilet. Some knobs, however, no longer function due to disuse. In which case, one would need to turn off the water to the entire house. Which is what we had to do.

Secondly, have plenty of towels around. You want to catch any water that comes out of the toilet, in case the shut-off valve doesn’t work. Also, wear gloves. When you get to the part that requires toilet seat removal, you want to make sure you won’t feel any surprises. Hopefully you clean your toilet regularly, but we won’t judge!

Lastly, adding the bidet underneath the toilet seat cover may make the screws that once clamped the toilet seat down too short. The added height of the bidet will require longer screws. No worries, I simply trekked to Home Depot and went down the bathroom and toilet aisle. There’s a section for toilet repair and you’ll need to buy two very long screws, which costs about $3.

Overall, I think the installation is super simple. I was able to do it by myself. If I didn’t have to run to Home Depot to get more screws and if my toilet’s water valve actually shut off, it would have probably taken me 15 to 20 minutes. Which means I would have been using Tushy within the hour. But instead, it took me a good hour due to the “complications” I came across. It’s taken me longer to build Ikea cabinets.

The Reviews

It has only been less than 24 hours but I absolutely love Tushy! I feel suuuper fresh and squeaky clean. Mike gave me a thumbs up as he exited the bathroom this morning. That’s a HUGE sign. In addition, I have had a lot of positive feedback from people in this space. I’ve had people reach out to me to tell me they received this for Christmas. I’ve heard stories about moms installing this in every bathroom in the house (including the trailer!). I have friends who just moved in together literally this weekend saying they are getting one for their new space. And that one friend that has been raving about bidets for ages? He said, “Welcome to the first day of your new life.”

I feel it.

This post was in partnership with Tushy. They gifted me the Tushy Classic with a bamboo knob and I am straight-up IN LOVE. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your bum. To get 10% off your new Tushy bidet now, use this affiliate link made especially for TheDebtist readers, or enter THEDEBTIST at checkout! All thoughts, opinions, and content are my own.

Intentional Living: Invest in Rest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

A good night’s sleep is one of the best forms of self-care. It is regenerative for the body, mind and soul, and much to any frugalist’s joy, it is free. Often viewed as an unproductive activity, getting a good night’s rest lies low on the priority list for the majority. On the contrary, I attribute much of my productivity and success to sleep – and a lot of it, too!

Ever since I was young, I was very fond of the stuff. My parents love to tell the story of how I would nod off in my high-chair, often plopping my face down on my food. I was the last to wake up on Christmas morning (well, every morning for that matter) and the first to fall asleep at night. At family get-togethers, one could be sure to find me on the couch, hogging up the sitting space asleep in fetal position. I took afternoon naps until high school and even in college, I was one of the few people who got eight hours of sleep, frequently trading in a night of partying for my warm sheets.

There was a time when I went against my sleeping pattern and took up midnight shifts as an early-morning baker. I noticed the toll it took on my health. Even though I was still sleeping eight hours every night, the fluctuation between night shifts and day shifts every other day really wrecked my body. I started depending on coffee, lost a lot of weight, and had trouble eating. My mind was exhausted and I noticed that I was on survival mode, less productive overall and more lenient about my tasks and deadlines. It only took three months for me to realize the effects, and while I was happy and alive, my body was barely keeping up.

As I gained awareness of my body’s circadian rhythm, I learned that my optimal sleeping time is 9 hours per night. If I receive less than that, it is best if I take a mid-afternoon nap. Now there are groups of people who would argue against the health benefits of this. But every person is different and the range of ideal sleep time is vast. Regardless of what the actual number of hours is, sleep is a crucial part to your overall productivity and here is why you need to make sure you get enough of it.

Reasons to Invest in Rest

  • Sleep is important for memory and processing daily experiences.
  • A night of sleep more than doubles the likelihood that you will solve a problem requiring insight.
  • Sleep clears toxins in the brain.
  • Sleep is the most crucial factor for peak performance, memory, productivity, immune function, mood regulation.
  • Even mild sleep reduction has detrimental effects on cognitive function many days afterwards.
  • One-third of working Americans sleep less than six hours a night.
  • Sleep deprivation was declared a public health epidemic by the CDC in 2018.
  • Lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke, and cancer.
  • Getting consistent sleep is very important to your health.

As a person trying to live an intentional life, I care a lot about sleep. I understand that the long-effects of getting enough shut-eye will outweigh the few hours I lose each day. Investing in rest doesn’t just mean making the resolution to sleep a set number of hours each night, although that is the FREE self-care part of it. However, one must also consider what they sleep on.

I spend a lot of time curating my bed, and highly recommend getting a mattress and pillows that are ergonomically beneficial. Spinal problems caused by having a cheap bed will translate to decreased quality of life and productivity. My personal favorite company is LEESA. We own their mattress topper and pillows, and it has been such a game-changer. I used to have a lot of neck and back pain due to maintaining static postures and craning my neck at the dental office – so much so that I would wake up in the middle of the night from the pain and spend entire Saturdays lying on the couch unable to move. Once we switched to high-quality pillows and added the LEESA mattress topper, the pain went away! After watching my dad undergo three spinal surgeries in the last two years, I knew that I was not going to wait until my own symptoms got worse. If you want to step up your bed game, Try LEESA! Get up to $400 OFF a LEESA mattress this MLK weekend by clicking on my affiliate link. They have a great trial-period guarantee. For those who are wary about making such an expensive commitment to their health, LEESA also offers 0% financing through Affirm for as low as $25 a month, the equivalent of 8 drip coffees! Think of it as getting better sleep and saving on the coffee.

Likewise, I also invest in high quality bedsheets made out of clean fabrics that are good for the skin. I really like Parachute’s linen sheets and have written why Parachute sheets are the only sheets you need to own this post. Since then, we’ve tried a cotton duvet cover from them as well, pictured above, and we love it just as equally.

An alternative for those who wish to have cotton sheets is PACT. Pact is an eco-conscious company who makes clothing and textiles for the home. Currently, they have a sale on their bedding and bath products lasting until January 31, 2021. Simply use the code REFRESH25 to receive 25% OFF. You can access the sale by clicking on my affiliate link here.

Shop Pact Today.

Other rituals I have around my sleep include making my bed every morning so that the sheets stay clean, turning on a humidifier, and putting my phone away an hour before bed. We also wash the sheets frequently, vacuum the mattress, and rotate the toppers and pillows as outlined by my ultimate cleaning list.

Regardless of what you do to make sleep an important part of your day, make sure to prioritize it for the years to come!

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The Ultimate Cleaning List

In my opinion, one of the best things 2020 did for us was turn our attention inward – on our relationships, on ourselves, and on our homes, to name a few examples. The latter, especially, has been prominent this year for me. I have spent a decent amount of time introspecting on the first two over the past few years, however, as an avid traveler, work-a-holic, and on-the-go person, the latter was neglected until the stay-at-home culture forced me to, well, stick around.

One of my goals for an intentional 2021 is to keep my living space sparkling clean. It has been transformed in the last year into an oasis from the outside world; a safe haven where we all work, rest, and rejuvenate. My best moments of 2020 have occurred under this very roof. It only seems appropriate to pay my respects in the form of diligent maintenance and care.

On that note, in the process of writing a 2021 New Year Resolution list, I side-tracked to create my own guide to keeping a dwelling spotless. I wanted to share with you guys what works for us, although depending on your home, your list of needs may differ. I separated tasks into daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually, and annually time frames. Along the way, I added a few tips on how to make this list (which can seem overwhelming at first) a sustainable practice built out of habit. I would venture that after a bit of practice, you may find cleaning your home to be quite the opposite – relaxing and fun in nature. Enjoy!

The Ultimate Cleaning List

Every Day

TIP: I consider every day tasks as habits that are built into your normal lifestyle. At first, they may seem like just another thing to check off your list, but eventually, they should become routine movements that are done quickly and without much thought. These every day cleaning habits will ease the more long-term cleaning tasks, so definitely don’t ignore them!

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.

John Wooden
  • Make the bed
  • Clean coffee maker
  • Wash dirty dishes
  • Wipe down kitchen counters and table
  • Wipe down bathroom surfaces
  • Sanitize kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Squeegee shower
  • Vacuum floors (Ever since we switched to this Dyson V8 Absolute, Vacuuming has been such an extreme joy. It work great on our cement floors and the carpet attachment is perfect for rugs! I would highly recommend this product as it is one of the top five purchases we’ve ever made that improves our day to day lives.)
  • Put things away at the end of the day

Every Week

TIP: It helps to tackle these tasks throughout the week. Finding a schedule that works for you and your home is very important. For example, we do laundry, change bedding and mop floors on Saturday mornings. We toss expired food when we return from our weekly grocery shopping, as we are stowing the new groceries away. I scrub the bathroom tub during one of my showers on a weekday when I am off from dentistry. I wipe down kitchen appliances after an especially messy meal prep. I vacuum the furniture regularly and clean the vacuum whenever I notice it’s messy.

In order to avoid over-whelm or wasting away an entire weekend, use little pockets during your workday to do these tasks. While some people will scoff at the distraction this provides, my argument is that sedentary lifestyles are the bane of our existence and the general cause of our health problems. By committing to one task per work day, you are giving your eyes, mind, and body a break while providing necessary movement and blood flow to your work life. Plus, you’ll get your heart pumping, and I would argue it still makes for a productive day!

  • Laundry
  • Mop Floors
  • Change Bedding
  • Toss expired food from the fridge
  • Scrub bathroom tub
  • Wipe down kitchen appliances
  • Clean microwave
  • Sanitize sponges
  • Dust and vacuum furniture
  • Clean vacuum

Every Month

TIP: Just like the weekly tasks, I would disperse these cleaning items throughout the month rather than wait until the last weekend. Of course, that is just my personal preference. I know a few people who find greater success in procrastination and monthly deep cleanings. I can only imagine how cathartic that must feel!

  • Wash car
  • Wash vacuum filters
  • Vacuum vents and woodwork such as base boards
  • Dust and clean light fixtures
  • Wipe down inside of fridge
  • Wash shower curtain liner
  • Clean patio surfaces
  • Wash comforter
  • Clean range hood
  • Clean washing machine using a cleaner cycle
  • Clean dishwasher
  • Sweep the garage every month

Every 6 months

TIP: Unlike the weekly and monthly tasks, I do recommend doing these things at the same time. It is most efficient to pick two months out of the year to tackle these tasks. For some, that may be spring cleaning season and right before the holidays. For me, I like mid-year in June and at the end of the year in December. June is my birthday month and December is right before the new year. Both months symbolize a new beginning for me, so I like to start my beginnings fresh.

  • Deep clean windows
  • Wash couch covers
  • Vacuum mattress
  • Wash pillows
  • Clean inside of oven
  • Clean drapes

Every Year

TIP: We only have a few yearly tasks in our household. These are easy to plan ahead for. I simply add a reminder in my planner regarding these tasks and then order the parts when I come to that month. Once the parts arrive, it is only a matter of doing the task right away instead of waiting for dust to collect.

  • Change AC filter
  • Change Water Filter

If you happened to like this list of mine, please check out my Weekly Cleaning List Download which I created to help stream-line cleaning tasks around the home. If your resolution is to maintain a clean home in the New Year, this checklist may facilitate that by simplifying and organizing those tasks. Simply print and stick on a fridge or kitchen cabinet, tuck inside a planner, or lay by your nightstand as a daily reminder. Share it with your loved ones, I won’t mind! This is a way for you to support this space and the content you find here in an intentional way, while allowing me to continue making a living without resorting to advertising. I thank you for being in this space and hope that this list provides useful.

Happy Cleaning!

Body Love with Sugar Scrubs

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

In my home, I try to surround myself with objects that act as reminders of care. A candle sitting on the kitchen shelf, a blanket strewn on the couch, hand lotion in my clutch … all of these things add value to my day to day and are strategically placed so that I have a visual aide reminding me to slow down from my over-zealous lifestyle. I am innately bad at making time for myself, which is probably why I spend so much time talking about its importance. But I have found that the system that works for me requires adding small doses of magic in forgotten corners so that I come upon them in my living and am prompted to make use of said magic.

One of the tiny overindulgences that I’ve been obsessed about this holiday season is a jar of bathroom goodness – a new exfoliating sugar body scrub made by True Botanicals. They have outdone themselves with this one! It delivers all the necessary ingredients for everything nice. A blend of natural, nourishing elements – organic sugar, sandalwood, rich camellia, jojoba oils, and kaolin clay – come together in this masque for the limbs. I absolutely relish the stuff, especially after an especially trying yoga workout, or a long day at the bakery or dental office. It provides just the right amount of body love.

The sugar’s roughness sloughs away all that dry, winter skin cells, leaving behind a velvety smooth complexion. I take a handful of the stuff and massage it straight onto the skin in slow circles. The scrub is enriched with emollient essential fatty acids, which nourishes and supports the skin barrier function. Plus, my skin never feels stripped after a shower. When I rinse off with warm water, the scrub simply melts away as a warm and woodsy scent wafts upwards.

Using True Botanical’s sugar scrub is like having a spa day, in the comforts of my own home. I keep the glass jar on the tub sill of my bathroom. I’m not one to have many products in the shower, typically keeping only a bottle of shampoo and a bar of soap. However, the addition of this small simple amber reminder has made all the difference to the quality of my baths. I had originally meant to keep it there for special occasions but have found myself reaching for it daily. Honestly, prior this, my showers were quite rushed, just another task that I needed to check off on my to-do list. However, since placing the scrub in the tub, I have been taking longer baths, slower, and with more intention.

True Botanical’s Exfoliating Sugar Scrub sells for only $38, and it has been three weeks and I am about halfway done with the jar. It is vegan, cruelty free, certified non-toxic and sustainably made. It is packaged in a beautiful amber glass jar which can be reused as a container for cotton balls and the like once the scrub runs out, which I’ll pretend to be never.

This post was sponsored by True Botanicals, and any purchase you make using my links above could result in a commission for TheDebtist. Rest assured that all thoughts and opinions are my own. And once again, I thank you for supporting the companies that support this space.