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‘Tis the season to lose all fitness motivation . . . I’m serious! Once the cold weather hits and the holidays are in clear sight, my healthy eating goals go out the window, and so do my workouts. And with more hours of dark than daylight, just getting out from under my comforter can seem like too much effort. Luckily, I’ve learned my lesson — if I can get my butt to the gym or out the door to start a run, I can accomplish it — it’s just finding the motivation that’s truly a struggle. These seven tricks have helped jolt me back in to my routine, so give them a try!
Let There Be Light
When it’s dark in the morning, my first inclination is to just keep hitting snooze until I finally drag myself out of bed. To combat my early morning laziness, I’ve found one trick that seems to really work: turning on my light. As soon as my first alarm goes off, my arm shoots up and flips the switch, forcing me to be bathed in a warm glow. Soon, I’m out of bed and ready to get outdoors.
Warm Up Indoors
If I’m headed out on a run when the temperatures have dipped down, I wake up my mind and body with a quick warmup in the lobby of my apartment building. Sure, it looks a little silly if a neighbor catches me doing a few jumping jacks and high knees, but it’s well worth it.
Most of the year, my go-to outfit is shorts and a t-shirt. But when I’m struggling to make it out in the chilly weather, cozy clothes make everything just a little bit better. Stylish outerwear built for the cold like warm jackets (with reflective strips if possible) or even running gloves make my time spent outdoors much more bearable.
OK, this may seem like cheating, but on days when I’m struggling to get myself off the couch and into the gym, I’ll treat myself. I tote along my phone and play a favorite Netflix show while I hit the bike or elliptical. Getting engrossed in a favorite series is a foolproof way to distract you from a workout, and it’s a great way to get yourself up and off the couch — no watching unless your feet are moving!
Get Set to Sweat
I’m always cold during the Winter, so the one thing I really look forward to is getting toasty. Whether it’s hitting up a Bikram yoga class or just spending a few extra minutes in the sauna post-cycling class, just the thought of basking in the heat is enough to get me going.
Lug Your Gym Bag to Work
Winter nights are the death of evening workouts. When I leave the office in the pitch dark, all I can think about is curling up under my covers with a hot chocolate in one hand and a book in the other. But if I make sure to tote my gym bag to the office, I’ll know that the entire walk home I’ll have a constant reminder that the gym is just a quick walk away.
Recruit a Buddy
Yes, I know I’ve shared my love for running alone in the past, but desperate times call for desperate measures. During the Winter, one of the biggest tricks you can pull is recruiting a buddy to hit the gym with you. No matter what you do or at what time of day, enlisting a partner will mean that the moment you start to drag your feet on the way to work out, you’ll have no choice but to make it there anyway.Read More
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Feeling the pressure of spring’s social calendar to look and feel photo-ready? The next time you open your beauty cabinet, check the ingredients list for these four skincare elements for flawless, healthy skin.
1. Home in on natural ingredients
Many skin care products, including cleansers and moisturisers, contain harsh chemicals that could be doing your skin more harm than good. Look for a simple ingredient list containing primarily organic, natural and plant-based extracts.
“It’s common sense that nature’s whole foods are the best choice for optimal health –and skin care is no different,” says holistic nutritionist and natural skincare expert Samantha Sargent.
“Some supermarket and chemist brands are made with cheap synthetics and naturally derived irritants that wreck havoc on your skin and internal organs. Read the full ingredient label, get to know the brand owner and manufacturer, and ask questions about the source of ingredients.”
Ayla Cotterill from the botanical based skin-care brand Eaoron agrees.
“I think people are becoming more aware of what they’re applying to their skin and are beginning to adopt a more natural approach. It’s really about creating a lifestyle that fights the effects of aging to create naturally beautiful skin,” she says.
2. Say yes to hyaluronic acid
Sourcing products that include hyaluronic acid – a natural structural component of the skin – helps to retain moisture and improve its beauty, according to Cotterill.
“As we begin to age, our skin loses moisture, firmness and elasticity,” says Cotterill,
“The beauty of hyaluronic acid collagen essence is its ability to transport essential nutrients from the blood stream, via the capillaries, while also attracting and holding water to plump the skin. This smooths fine lines and wrinkles, and stimulates cell growth.”
WH&F Pick: try Eaoron’s Hyaluronic Acid Collagen. With its combination of fast-acting botanical and natural ingredients you may start to see results instantly. Apply just before bed or first thing in the morning.
3. Look for anti-ageing properties
Botox and dermal fillers are a temporary fix and in some cases can cause nerve damage if not performed correctly. According to Cotterill, a better option is to select skin care products that prevent fine lines, dullness and wrinkles before they happen.
“Wrinkles on the face are a natural result of a reduction in collagen, so finding products with ingredients aiming to restore the balance can help reduce their appearance,” says Cotterill.
“For example, peptides encourage the skin to replenish collagen production in the dermal layer, helping to improve its firmness and condition.”
WH&F Pick: we love this Ultra Anti-Wrinkle Face Serum. Its potent ingredients are specifically designed to help reduce wrinkles and firm your skin for a youthful and radiant glow.
4. Skin superfoods
The rise of superfoods has seen us tipping copious goji berries into our smoothies, so why wouldn’t we use the same logic when it comes to our skin-care?
Cotterill suggests looking for plant-based ingredients that are going to provide sufficient antioxidants for improved skin health, such as bearberry leaf and white mulberry extract.
“We use bearberry leaf extract in our products to brighten and even out skin tone. It’s so effective because it contains a high level of arbutin, which can help clear dark spots and blemishes from the skin,” she says.
“White mulberry extract comes from the white mulberry tree, which is native to China, but is cultivated in Australia, North America, Europe and Japan. It’s the food of silk worms and is used to treat dry, sensitive and blotchy skin.”
NEXT: Looking for more way to freshen up your skin? Here are three ingredients for healthy looking skin.
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Altruistic tendencies—like being truly happy for others and feeling good about giving money away—are stronger in the second half of life, according to a new study that used questionnaires, brain scans, and real-life scenarios to determine people’s motivations behind certain behaviors.
After age 45, researchers found, people tend to give away more money and score higher on personality tests for altruism. The reward centers in their brains also light up more than those in younger people when they witness money going to charity.
The study, by University of Oregon researchers, aimed to combine insight from psychology, economics, and neuroscience. This multidisciplinary approach, they say, led to converging signs of pure altruism in the brain—and helped rule out less genuine reasons people might do charitable things.
RELATED: Old-Fashioned Niceties That Deserve a Comeback
For example, people give away money for plenty of non-altruistic reasons, the authors wrote, such as showing off to others or basking in the “warm glow” one might feel after doing something good. So the researchers’ goal was to find a sweet spot where altruism is done simply for the joy of seeing others benefit, without expecting personal reward or recognition.
To do that, they gave 80 adults $100 each, and asked them to make real-life decisions about giving the money to various charitable organizations or keeping it for themselves. They also performed functional MRI scans on the participants as they watched money being transferred either to their own accounts or to randomly selected charities. Finally, they performed personality tests on each participant.
The researchers found that for some of the participants, their brains’ reward centers were activated more by watching money being transferred to their own accounts than to charities. This suggested a “self-interested” response, said lead author Ulrich Mayr, Ph.D.
RELATED: 5 Scientifically-Backed Benefits of Volunteering
But others’ reward centers were more active while watching transfers to charities. In general, these people also tended to donate more money when given a choice, and scored higher in “pro-social” traits on their personality tests.
The triangulation of these three findings suggests an underlying “general benevolence,” the authors wrote, rather than altruism for personal gains. And, they found, this trifecta was strongest in people 45 and older.
Besides age, the researchers considered other factors, as well: those who identified as religious were slightly more likely to possess general benevolence, while gender and political leaning did not seem to play a role. Neither did annual income—which indicated that older people weren’t more generous simply because they had more money to spend.
RELATED: The Kindness of Strangers
What older people do have, the authors point out, is a greater trove of life experiences. And these experiences, Mayr said in a press release, “may plant the seeds of pure altruism in people, allowing them to grow into the desire to contribute to the public good.”
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, replicated the results of a smaller University of Oregon study published in 2007. While these new findings are more robust, the authors wrote, larger studies still are needed to support the group's conclusions—and to have real-life implications for psychologists or policymakers.
"[This research] gives us a deeper look at the people who give to charity and altruistically contribute to society," co-author Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D., said in the press release. "If as a society we want to strengthen communities and have a world where people look out for each other, we can go back and ask what kinds of policies and social conditions can help people get there."
This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.
Want to escape the city buzz or relax in exclusive inner city getaways? There’s plenty to experience in Victoria.
Spa de Marrakech
The place: A traditional Moroccan bathhouse in Victoria’s picturesque Yarra Valley. There’s a steam temple, and treatments include colour therapy sessions, aromatherapy massage, radiant facials and exquisite dining. At the centre, you’ll find a Roman bathhouse where guests can relax in hot mineral spring water. It’s the perfect setting for a girls’ getaway, romantic couples retreat or solo R ’n’ R.
The experience: After your aromatherapy massage or facial, indulge your tastebuds with a Moroccan feast comprising tagines, pastries, harira soup and Persian love cakes prepared by the in-house chef.
Details: 14 Mountain Crescent, Montrose, (03) 9737 0413
Lavanya Day Spa
The place: Whether you spend an hour or half a day at Lavanya Day Spa, your experience is sure to be second to none. Nestled inside the award-winning Captains Retreat B&B, Lavanya will have you feeling deeply relaxed the moment you walk through their door. With a penchant for premium quality and local ingredients, the treatments are good for the body, soul and planet.
The experience: Indulge with their signature Paprika Power facial and full body massage and escape for two hours into a haze. Paprika stimulates the natural circulation in the skin, working to detoxify, oxygenate and rejuvenate.
Details: 2 Ferguson St, Williamstown, (03) 9681 9587
Peninsula Hot Springs
The place: Soak up the tranquil bushland surrounds and fresh air at Peninsula Hot Springs, Australia’s first natural geo-thermal springs. There are 20 different bathing experiences with both a social bathhouse area and secluded private area for chill-out time. Add on a luxurious treatment – from facials and salt scrubs to hot stone treatments and body wraps – inspired by traditional Aboriginal ingredients and techniques. You’ll quickly edge your way closer to inner zen.
The experience: The hour-long Mala Mapi treatment begins with an aromatic oil massage and desert salt exfoliation followed by a warm silky and mineral-rich Mapi mud mask and de-stressing scalp massage.
Details: Springs Lane, Fingal, (03) 5950 8777
Norbu Urban Retreat at The Olsen Hotel
The place: In the award-winning Olsen Hotel, Norbu Urban Retreat is a holistic wellness centre that integrates luxuriant treatments with an extensive range of health and wellness options. All treatments are designed to boost circulation, increase oxygenation to optimise organ function and remove toxins.
The experience: Try the signature Berry Refined Firming Peel by Eminence. The exfoliation aids greater penetration and absorption of the actives, with a yummy fruit cocktail of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries infusing the skin with antioxidants to tighten tissue. After one exfoliating treatment, your expression lines appear relaxed, skin is glowing, texture is smoother and skin is plumped.
Details: Mezzanine, The Olsen, 637 Chapel Street, South Yarra, (03) 9040 1199
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Get the perfect summer glow with make up artist Rachel Wood tips for flawless foundation.
1. Maintain moisture
“Your foundation will go on so much better if your skin is thoroughly hydrated with the appropriate moisturiser for your skin type – if your skin is well balanced then it won’t be trying to suck up the moisture from your foundation.”
“A good primer will even out tone and smooth out pores, leaving a silky, even base for you to apply your foundation on.”
“I suggest applying a dab of foundation on your skin with clean hands then using the sponge to smooth out, if you like using them. Using a brush will give your foundation the most polished look; paint on the foundation in long, flat strokes to apply and smooth out the edges. “If you have a foundation that is ‘illuminating’ or has any type of ‘glow’, try using a buffing or more round-type brush and blend upwards in circular motions – this will pick up any of the shimmery particles in the foundation, giving your skin that extra glow.”
Say hello to beach days and get ready to shine this summer with our beauty tips.
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