The holiday season is the perfect time for reflection, getting inspired for the new year and recharging your batteries by catching up on some reading. Here’s a collection of articles to help you stay healthy over Christmas, reduce holiday stress and celebrate in style no matter your physical condition.
“There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with,
but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you.”
— Björk, Icelandic singer – songwriter.
Stories are immensely powerful.
They move us, inspire us and expose us to exciting new ideas. They let us explore the world from the comfort of our armchairs and take us on a journey inwards to uncover our deepest feelings. Our brains are literally wired for stories. Through them, we learn from other people’s experiences, remember new information better and play out potential future scenarios in our mind without doing any lasting damage. But most importantly, great stories remind us that despite our unique differences, we all face similar struggles and emotions.
When you’re sick, when you’ve lost someone you loved, when your life has fallen apart and you’re feeling lonely, lost and misunderstood, reading the right book at the right time can change your course.
That’s where bibliotherapy comes in. Ever since the ancient Greeks, people have been self-medicating with books, as a band-aid for a broken heart or an antidote to many ailments.
And for good reasons. Studies show that reading puts our brains into a meditation-like state, making it one of the most effective ways to overcome stress. Besides the obvious cognitive benefits – improved memory, vocabulary and creativity – reading is also a rewarding emotional experience. By identifying with a story’s character, we can see our own situation from a different point of view, gain helpful insights or discover new ways to deal with our problems.
Of course you can pick up any novel when you’re in need of a healing dose of literature. But if you really want to read fiction for therapeutic effects, it helps to choose a story that’s directly related to your own troubles or one that will most likely put your in the mood you’d like to be in.
To help you get started, I’ve listed over 23 classical reads that will lift your spirits, inspire you and help you find meaning in tough times.
What’s it really like to live with chronic illness every day? How do you deal with the physical symptoms, emotional turmoil and practical problems? In this interview series, real life ‘spoonies’ share their stories and tips.
Sophia Galpin is a food, health and lifestyle blogger battling with chronic Lyme disease and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). On her blog Spoonie Sophia, she shares her thoughts on coping with chronic illness as well as her passion for creating delicious healthy recipes.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Sophia, I am 26 and suffer from chronic Lyme disease and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Despite my illness I am a keen baker and a health/food blogger. I live in beautiful Cornwall with my boyfriend and little dachshund pup, Copper. I enjoy nothing more than little trips to the beach; feeling the sea air on my face whilst sipping a hot chocolate!
When did you first get sick?
I have suffered from chronic neuropathic pain from the waist down since 2008 (when I was 18). I January 2013 I started getting new symptoms including migraines, muscle pain, weakness, crippling fatigue, joint pain, insomnia, heart problems (tachycardia), and became very sick.
Let me guess: Are you reading this hunched over your screen, with your legs crossed and your left hand on your face?
Don’t worry, I’m not secretly looking over your (rounded) shoulders. Sitting like a pretzel is the default posture for many of us, myself included.
But slouching and poor posture doesn’t just affect your appearance and spinal health. Research shows that how you carry yourself also impacts your energy levels, mood and ability to focus.
That’s mostly because standing or sitting in a slumped position cuts off the circulation in your body. Proper posture on the other hand opens up your chest cavity and airways. With more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood flowing more freely through your body and to your brains, you automatically feel more positive, productive and alert.
Luckily, it only takes one minute to start improving your posture. And the best news is, almost anyone can do the exercise below, even if you have health problems.
So straighten up and start your day with this power pose!
Have you been thinking about swapping your regular old cornflakes and milk for a smoothie bowl?
Healthy eating has been a hot topic for a while now. Thanks to the popularity of super foods and luscious pictures of plant-based power meals, health food has shrugged off its musty, granola-hippie image. A new breed of healthy food blogs inspires tons of people all over the world to tune up their eating habits and energize their body from the inside out.
But many of us don’t know where to start. Eating healthier can seem overwhelming, especially with all the conflicting information about nutrition around. Plus, we’re creatures of habit and changing our habits comes with challenges.
So how can we adopt a wholesome style of eating that will last?
Who better to ask than the health experts and recipe creators who showed us that good food is so much more than nibbling on lettuce sans dressing?
Here are the finest tips on how to start improving your diet from your favourite food bloggers!