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Be Inspired

Creative ways to save water at home

If you’re considering a green lifestyle, one of the best ways to live consciously is to preserve Earth’s natural resources, especially water. Today, the average person uses between 80-100 gallons of water per day. This means that a typical household of four could use as much as 400 gallons of water daily.

For savvy homeowners who are searching for creative ways to cut costs while also preserving one of Earth’s most valuable resources, here are a few creative ways to help you save water at home today.

Make upgrades around the home
If your budget permits think about making upgrades throughout the home. While some upgrades can be costly, such as replacing all older model washing machines, dishwashers or refrigerators with Energy Star appliances, other upgrades can be quite simple. Energy Star appliances are certified to cut your energy bills substantially by reducing your overall water consumption. Another simple fix to consider is installing inexpensive low flow shower heads in your bathrooms. Low flow shower heads work by moderating the amount of water that is released from your faucet, helping you use less water, amounting to big savings on your water bill.

Turn off the water off while you brush your teeth. This can help you save as much as 250 gallons of water per year!

Bathroom water conservation
You can also get creative with the ways in which you consume water in the bathroom. For instance, try challenging yourself to take shorter showers. You can even use a timer to ensure that you do not go over the time that you have allotted for yourself. Another simple trick is to turn off the water while you are lathering in the shower. This will help you save gallons upon gallons of water that would have otherwise gone straight down the drain. Similarly, turn off the water off while you brush your teeth. This can help you save as much as 250 gallons of water per year! Get the entire family involved in these endeavors to maximize water conservation at home.

Address leaks immediately
When it comes to saving water at home, start with the basics. This involves making sure your home is not sending precious water (or your hard-earned money) down the drain due to unaddressed repairs. Over time and due to normal wear and tear, a home can become susceptible to various leaks from toilets, sinks and even outdoor faucets. One way to determine if you may have a leak is to monitor your water bill. If you see any sudden spikes in the amount you are paying per month, you should inspect your home. Next, pinpoint where the leak is coming from and address it immediately. This will not only reduce your water bill but it will prevent your water from being wasted further.

Conserving water in the yard
Many homeowners rely on water outdoors to wash their cars, water their lawns or to tend to their gardens. When it comes to washing your car, instead of running a hose for extended amounts of time use a bucket or two of water instead. The average garden hose prays about 10 gallons of water per minute. The same holds true for watering your garden. Opt for a watering can instead of running the hose to help you save on water in the yard.

Repurpose used water
Another creative trick to reduce water consumption at home is to repurpose your used water. That’s right, find new ways to use water that you would have otherwise let go down the drain. For instance, when showering, leave a bucket in the shower to catch falling water. This can then be used to water a backyard garden. The same idea is true when washing your hands or when boiling food and then draining it. This water can be give a second life and used to nurture your growing garden instead.

Conserving water at home means that you can proactively improve the environment one gallon at a time. When it comes to water conservation at home, try any of these simple tips to prevent water waste, to lower your energy bill and to help save the planet for future generations to come.

By: Freelance writer Ashley Smith 

Be Inspired

From couch potato to a more energized self

We have all heard it a hundred times; moving more equals better health. You get more productive at work, you sleep better and you feel more energized and happy. But then there is the hard truth that getting up from the couch is easier said than done. And the gym frightens many of us.  

The good news is that the benefits of physical activity are not restricted to exercise performed only in the gym. There are other steps you can take to increase physical activity that don’t involve hours lifting weights or running on a treadmill.

Simply be on the lookout for little ways to move more.

The small things that can increase your everyday exercise. And you just wait and see; it will do wonders to your overall health!

Use your legs
Get up and start walking. It is as simple as that. Walk to the store, suggest a walking meeting at work if possible, take a Sunday walk with a friend instead of meeting over lunch, get off the bus one stop before home, choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Nothing you probably haven’t heard before, but try it. It really works.

House chores
Cleaning your house or apartment can definitely get your pulse up. Vacuuming, mopping floors, scrubbing the shower, wipe dust, all of it requires movement. And why not add some music and dance around a little while doing it? Makes a boring chore more fun in an instant.

Make time
This is key people. Try to move at least 30 minutes every single day. Might sound a lot, but try to shift the focus of it being something you must do, to something you want to do. Maybe event write it in your day planner, make an appointment with yourself or with others.

Stay motivated
How, you might wonder? Try different things. We have a tendency to stick to what we know and what we are good at, but why not try out new things. Why not give dance class a try, or choose a new route for your Sunday walk? Or why not join your friend for a new activity?  Variation being the key word. And never underestimate the value of the small stuff. As long as you move, your body will thank you for it.

Bring others in on it
Have a family, why not play around in the snow or dance around the house? Have a partner? Why not motivate each other for a little sit up competition? Have co-workers? Why not suggest walking up and down the stairs together, twice a day during your workday? Live alone? Why not call a friend and suggest trying a new activity rather than a movie night?

Don´t limit yourself. Be open for new things and you will see how you will feel better and get more motivated to keep it up. But most importantly; don´t end up punishing yourself if the couch wins over your willpower. Just get up the next day and try again. And remember; start small.

By: Henriette Danielsen

Be Inspired

Winter survival mode

Even though winter can be breathtakingly beautiful it can also be a pain in the ass. However, we will not let the winter darkness dampen our mood (any longer).

Keeping your spirits up during the last weeks of winter can be painfully hard, but we are willing to give it a try. Are you? How on earth are we going to do that you might ask? Impossible you might say. Njaaa, there are some small things you can do that might brighten your mood. Let´s take a closer look:

Stay active
Ok, we know some willpower is required here, but try to fight the urge to sleep the winter away. Because it is actually a vicious cycle: the less active you are, the less energy you have. So do what you need to do to get going and remember: working out from home, some yoga or pilates or even walking to work counts as movement. No need to go “die” at the gym.

Stay social
Again, some willpower is required (might do a post about how to turn on your willpower)! There is nothing more tempting them jumping into your warmest pyjamas, get under a blanket and dig your face into that bag of candy when the cold is raging outside. But booking in some social activities in your calendar will help brighten your spirit!

Fake the sunshine
Due to less exposure to sun during the winter (read: no sun what so ever) can lead to seasonal depression. Yup, turns out that is a thing people. Several studies show that decreased sunlight leads to increased depression. Depressing, right? So, a little daily dose of Vitamin D pills does the trick.

Yup, just turn that frown upside down! Amazing how your day and mood changes by just smiling. And I am not talking about walking around like a frowning idiot (people might think you´re crazy for heaven’s sake), but just smile when you greet yourself in the mirror, smile to an colleague and/or a stranger and see what happens.

If this doesn’t work, well then get back to Netflix and we will see you in a couple of weeks. Good luck, whatever you choose.

By: Henriette Danielsen 

Be Inspired

7 ways to be your happier self

Some people think happiness is something that just happens or comes naturally. It is widely believed that it is elusive and needs to be chased, but cannot be created. Many people view it as a temporary state, something to be achieved and worked to maintain. Each year, people spend millions of dollars and hours of labor trying to achieve things they think will make them happy.

However, happiness is found within. Some of the happiest people in the world have very little in the way of material wealth, yet they live in a state of serenity. The Kingdom of Bhutan even accounts for its people’s happiness before installing new public works. Happiness is a state of mind, and while it does need to be maintained, it’s not as elusive or fleeting as you think!

Here are seven ways to find your bliss:

Eat right
The old adage says “You are what you eat.” This is actually true. The foods you ingest release vitamins and minerals into your body that trigger the release of hormones, for good or ill. Many processed foods and refined sugars cause the release of stress hormones on the body, which contributes to low mood and larger health problems in the long term. Eating leafy greens and drinking a lot of water is better for your mood because stress hormones are not released by eating them.

Mindfulness practices
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that teaches us to observe our thoughts and emotions in a non-judgemental way. There are many types of mindfulness practices, such as meditation, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi/Qigong, and martial arts. These practices help build emotional intelligence, called EQ, which is the ability to observe, identify, and appropriately express emotions. Building EQ can help teach us why we become unhappy and how to cope with those feelings.

Practice gratitude
Often we take the things we see every day for granted, making it difficult to realize how important they truly are. Many spiritual traditions practice gratitude, and while the simple act of saying “thank you” may not seem like something that will usher in happiness, it is actually one of the most powerful methods of building happiness. Even just writing a few sentences of gratitude in a journal each day can go a long way.

Happiness is not a secret that has been kept from people or a prize that is difficult to attain!

Be in nature
Exposure to plants, flowers, and natural light has been shown to release stress and have a calming effect upon the mind and body. Even having a photograph of plants and flowers was shown to increase productivity in offices that had no windows. Getting outside for some fresh air can also provide a literal breather from dust and mold that can collect indoors. Having plants inside the house or on the desk of your office can bring a little of the power of flowers to you when you can’t get outside.

Get some exercise
Whether at home, at the gym, or around the neighbourhood, getting plenty of exercise is a must for a happier you. Exercise has obvious health benefits, such as burning calories and building muscle, but even a little exercise each day can also help reduce stress. This happens in two ways: first, exercise burns off the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood sugar and pressure in preparation for an emergency, but stores fat and sugar when released over a long term. Secondly, muscles (as a result of cortisol) hang onto tension and become tight; exercise releases that tension naturally.

Play with pets
Our furry, finned, and feathered friends can bring a lot of joy to our lives. Pets have been used to assist people suffering from illnesses such as blindness, epilepsy, diabetes, PTSD, and anxiety disorders for years. More recent studies found that caring for a pet, even temporarily, teaches children compassion and empathy, and reduces bullying in schools. Having and playing with pets can bring a long term happiness to the whole family.

Go offline for family
Social support is an important coping mechanism for social animals like humans. It means getting together in person with friends or loved ones and talking about your feelings, problems, and happiness, and listening to others do the same. Family is one of the best ways to connect socially because they are the first agents to teach kids to socialize. Listening to and connecting with family can offer a powerful alternative to the fleeting happiness of television and digital devices. Empathizing with and being compassionate in person is one of the best ways to be happy.

Happiness is not a secret that has been kept from people or a prize that is difficult to attain. It is the product of simple practices that cost very little and can be done by anyone. It is easily within your grasp, so be your happiest self by practicing happiness.

By: Freelance writer Ashley Smith 

Be Inspired

Radiating and healthy skin while working out

Hitting the gym can often lead to dry skin and breakouts. Turns out a few extra moments in the bathroom or locker room can make all the difference. We met with Skin Care Expert Linda Hölling to talk about does and don’ts when it comes to taking care of your skin while working out. 

How can I best prepare my skin for exercise?
The best thing you can do is to take off all your makeup and exercise with clean skin. Because while you´re sweating the skin will absorb the makeup, which can lead to blocked pores. The key is to never “shut” sweat in, especially if you have dry skin. The acid in perspiration can cause irritation and, in worst case, inflammation. The combination of sweat and makeup is therefore a big no-no!

And if you exercise outdoors, it´s important to use SPF. When we sweat, the skin becomes more light sensitive and susceptible to sunburn. This applies to both summer and winter activities.

Is using moisturizer good or bad before sweating? We have heard both.
The skin should always have a moisturizer that works protective when exercising. It can be wise to choose a thinner cream, since fatter creams can make your skin feel sticky when you sweat.

Should I wear a headband to collect the sweat from not dripping down my face?
That is not necessary, since the little time the sweat is on your face is not harmful for the skin. Sweatbands are on the other hand good for avoiding sweat to run into your eyes.

What kind of effect does sweat have on our skin?
During exercise we sweat more than usual, which is an excellent opportunity for the skin to sweat out all the products and toxins that evaporate. Sweat itself cleans the skin in a positive way. However, you helping it on the way with a good peeling and cleansing face mask is always good.

Is it ok to leave sweat on our skin for a prolonged length of time?
When we sweat, salts are forced to lay on the skin which can be dehydrating for the skin. Bacteria in other people’s perspiration can also cause infections. So make sure to wash the skin both before and after exercising and you will be fine.

When we get warm our pores open and let dirt and bacteria out. It is therefore important to clean your face afterwards.

What kind of impact does drinking water have on our skin?
Drinking water is important, especially when we train. The fluid goes out to all the organs and muscles in the body, which again, together with the exercise, has a fantastic effect on our skin. It makes us look healthy and happy!

How should I care for my skin post-workout?
When we get warm our pores open and let dirt and bacteria out. It is therefore important to clean your face afterwards. A facial mask after a workout, while the skin is still warm, 1 or 2 times a week can do wonders. If you have dry skin, you can choose to add a moisturising face mask. To strengthen your skin and get the best results, I recommend that you always have a good skin care routine with cleansing milk, eye cream, serum and day/night cream. This, along with your training is your best investment for a healthy body and skin.

Does and don’ts at the gym?
Keep in mind that machines and spinning bikes can be full of bacteria, so wash your hands before you touch your face while at the gym. And if you have small scratches and wounds, make sure to cover them up while working out with others.

Do you have any questions for Linda, feel free to leave a comment in the comment field below!

By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred: Pinterest

Be Inspired

Insider tips: Making 2018 your year

This month our four amazing coaches are giving you some pointers to make this year your best one, and first one up is Sandra Aggemo. 

Sandra is a certified Life Coach, Kids Yoga Teacher, Qi Gong and Meditation Instructor. She is passionate about exploring new things, building meaningful relationships and breathing wholeheartedly. Here are her five best tips for the new year:

Be vulnerable 
Tell someone how you actually feel, break down the walls and be brave in your relationships. Dare to go deeper into them. Dare to say: “Hey, I am not perfect, I lack self-esteem when it comes to networking”, or “I am afraid of talking in front of people”. Simply be more human and dare to say: “I am sorry”. Express yourself and be free.

Just breathe
When feeling upset or stressed: slow yourself down by listening to your breathing. Put one hand under your belly and feel your breath deep down. Just lie or sit, and appreciate your breathing and use the breath as a bridge over troubled water. Guiding yourself into calmness, one inhale and exhale at a time always being with you.

Try not to compare yourself to others
This is a big challenge for many of us! My mantra is therefore: choose love over fear. Fear is always chosen when you compare yourself to others and when you tell yourself you are not good enough. But remember that love is always available. What can I do to feed myself with compassion, not hate? Practice love, not fear.

Open your mind
Meet new people, see people, things, taste your food, take in the smell of fresh air, simply look around you. What new things can you experience today? People to talk to, old friends or new ones. Let yourself talk and listen. Let them teach you and you teach them. Be the teacher and the student, always. Experience the reality and learn about life.

Process feelings through your physical body, let them transform you into something bigger than your mind. Express yourself. Love what your body can do. Embody your feelings.

Feeling inspired by Sandra and would want to learn more about her services? Take a look here.

By: Mo Oléron and Sandra Aggemo /Photo cred: Pinterest 

Be Inspired

Stuck in the holiday spirit?

We’ve all needed to take a break or two, so there is no doubt the Christmas holiday was much needed. But what happens if you take an extended holiday and you have trouble getting back into the swing of things?

You take some time off, you feel relaxed, and suddenly you’re bombarded by life that happened while you were away. Making you feel unorganised, chaotic and flustered. Eventually, you’re stressed to your core and having trouble bouncing back.

I’m here to share some tips to help you getting back after taking some time off:

Go slowly
Go slowly at first. It takes time to build routines, so you better believe it will take time to ease back into them.

Give yourself grace
Have patience with yourself. Everyone has days, weeks, or months where things feel unorganized or maybe you’re struggling to keep up with your day-to-day. Just take a step back, make a list of everything you think you need to work through and how to tackle it.

Make a list
Make a list of low priority, medium priority, and high priority tasks you need to take care of. This is especially helpful when trying to reorganize your home, job duties, and side hustles. Making a list will be a good visual representation of tasks and will help you realize you don’t need to get everything done at once. Prioritising tasks will help them feel less daunting and help with time-management.

Ask for help
Ask for help from a friend, family member, loved one, or colleague if you need it. Others are usually more than willing to step in and help with a few things if you need help just catching up.

Lastly, celebrate your success once you’re caught up and back on track! Exercise with a friend, go to dinner with a family member, or reconnect with someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

I hope this helped you get some ideas for how to get back into routine after a break. Share with us what you like to do to get back into the swing of things when you’ve been away for a while.

By: Samantha Thayer / Photo cred: Pinterest 

Be Inspired

We are what we repeatedly do

Old habits are hard to break and new habits difficult to form.

On that note, let’s stay positive. It is possible to implement new habits and get rid of old ones. It just demands focus and determination.

Many people say it takes about 21 days to turn a daily action into a habit. Other research proves it takes much longer, between 66 up to more than 200 days. At the end of the day though, it all depends on the type of action we are trying to implement as well as our own commitment level and character. So there is really no point of comparing yourself to others.

The only thing to consider is your own check list. Here is ours.

Be realistic
We sometimes are full of confidence and with the New Year we have a rush of optimism and start by putting the bar pretty high for ourselves. If you have never run before in your life, avoid setting yourself up for failure by having as a goal to go running for one hour every day. And don’t overwhelm yourself with tons of new habits you want to put into practice, pick one and see how it goes first. Learn from the journey.

Be organised
It’s not enough to just decide with yourself that starting next Monday you’ll meditate daily. What does that entail? How much time is required? Where can you do it? What is the best part of the day for you to squeeze that time in and make sure you will not have to skip it to prioritise something else? Do your research!

Key word: repetition, repetition, repetition.

Be consistent
Let’s get real people: “Habit formation is the process by which a behaviour, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual”.  Key word: repetition, repetition, repetition. There is no other way to put it, if you don’t repeat, it will not turn into a habit. It’s as simple as that.

Be honest with yourself
Some things will stick, some won’t. Be honest: have you given it your all? Have you really committed? Have you tried long enough? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then maybe you need to give it even more time. Maybe you need to re adjust the parameters: the time of day might be off, the way you are doing it might be wrong (if you are practicing yoga on your own for example, and not doing postures properly you might not feel any benefits from your practice). Do not hesitate to talk to people about your struggle and they might come up with great tips!

If the answer to those questions is mostly no on the other hand, then let’s face it: maybe deep down you are just not that committed. Maybe it was just one of those “New Year, New me” resolution that felt right in the spur of the moment. And that’s totally fine. Once you know something is not for you, there’s no need to waste time! The only judge here is you, the only goal is a better understanding of who you are and how you can enhance your life and even if it often does not feel like it, only you have the answers.

By: Mo Oléron 

Be Inspired

Getting them greens in

We all heard it before: eat more greens. Vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet and your fountain of youth (you know the drill). But getting them greens in is easier said than done if you ask me.

Vegetables are incredibly rich in nutrients and antioxidants, which boost your health and help fight off diseases. In other words, true power food! Pretty awesome, right? Saying that you will start to eat more veggies is easy, but when it comes to it, many of us fall short of our daily needs.

We therefore give you five tips on how to be getting them greens in. We´re not promising a miracle, but maybe you’ll get inspired to lure in some more.

Throw them in a mixer
Adding greens to your smoothie is maybe the simplest way eat more vegetables. Maybe you´re not a hard-core green-smoothie lover, but simply adding a handful of spinach does the trick. Take a look at our smoothie recipes, we got tons of yummy inspiration.

Boost your brekkie
Lots of breakfast dishes are seriously better with some greens. Don´t agree? Let’s give you some examples: avocado toast, scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes, sandwich with crème cheese topped with carrots and so much more. There is no limit!

Greens for starters
Many of us usually have salad or veggies on our dinner plate, but start eating what we find the tastiest first. Which often means that the veggies are eaten lastly and most likely to be left over too. Why not serve your veggies as a starter? That way you make sure to have eaten them before you get too full AND you end up having a two-course dinner, win win!

Replace your chips
Have you ever tried kale chips? Easy peasy to prepare and so yummy. And best of all; way healthier than potato chips and that way you get some kale into your system too. Take a look at our recipe here.

Salute the snack
Ok, we are true snack lovers, as you know, and would never in our wildest dreams suggest celery instead of chocolate. Nevertheless, cutting up some veggies (and fruits) and bring along to work, school or just have them in your handbag, available when hunger kicks in, is a great way to add some extra greens into your diet and help you when hunger strikes.

So, best of luck! See you on the other side.

And remember, everything is difficult before it becomes easy. Small steps in the right direction are better than a huge leap you’ll stumble on.

By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred:

Be Inspired

Never stop learning

I love to say that I learn from every place I go to and everyone I meet. And I mean it. The past couple of years I have been to more places and met more people than ever. And every time I thought I was in a rut I realised I could learn something new, get curious again, gain a new skill, a new interest, maybe a new passion. Maybe not, but in every fail attempt, in every activity that eventually bored me, I learnt something.  

So today I want to share with just a couple of things I put into practice and platforms I use to never stop learning:

  • Network! That might sound boring, and for all of us shy and socially awkward people, even dreadful, but networking doesn’t have to be! It basically means, talk to people! Share you interests, get out there, join events, there are tones around you just check your Facebook! Join a friend to his/her art show even if you’re not into art! Who knows who you might end up meeting there, and if no one, you’ll make your friend happy and get free appetizers. Win win.
  • Say YES (or NO depending of the way the question is formulated). There are two or three key moments in my life where I said YES when I would normally have said no and that turned out to be life changing experiences. Keeping everything in proportions of course, (I’m not saying say yes to cocaine!) if people offer you a chance to try something new, get out of your comfort zone, say yes. It will take you places.
  • Read and discuss. We are exposed to so much information every day, but knowledge of any kind is like learning a new language, you can be great in theory but if you lack practice you will never enrich your vocabulary and eventually forget everything. Use what you know!
  • Give “new” a chance. We sometimes are so stuck in our comfortable routines or just master at procrastinating that we are struggling to truly give something new a chance. Whether you registered for an online course and given up after the first class because “the teacher was a snooze” or ruled out Pilates because ” I don’t have abs“, we are quick to dismiss things that we find difficult, things we are not really good at and don’t immediately make us feel good. Give it a real chance. Try to commit for at least a few weeks before you decide it’s not for you.
  • Check out Coursera. It is an online platform on which Universities from all over the world share full study programs on endless topics with written and video contents. Pick the free option for personal awakening, and if you need that diploma you can purchase the course. I am now following three classes : Unravelling Solutions for Future Food problems from Utrecht University, Understanding Obesity from the University of Edinburgh and Cities are back in Town: Urban sociology for a globalizing urban world from Sciences Po. And I am super excited. Those are subjects I never even glanced over back at Uni, because it was not my interest then or not available and I find it so amazing to be able to take on new courses as my personality and interests evolve!
  • I am no designer and probably never will be but thanks to Canva I can feel like one and save myself time and money when it comes to designing some simple banners, posters, flyers and so forth. Once again, there is a free and paid option to explore further.
  • Yoga enthusiasts, but not ready to go out and take a class yet? Check out Do Yoga With Me.It’s free, it’s Canadian (not sure how that is relevant), it’s full of online classes for all levels and styles! I love it!
  • A bit of a geek or just curious about stuff and start-ups? Check The Hub for events in the Nordic start-up world as well as job and internship opportunities!

That is it for today, don’t hesitate to share your own “go to” platforms and tips to grow and learn more in the comments or on our Facebook page!

By: Mo Oléron