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We all want to be happy and successful, right?  Well, yeah… obviously. Trouble is, ‘stuff’ gets in the way. All too often, it’s the little things that take up our time and attention.  They pile up, distract us, and before you know it we’re up to our necks in ‘overwhelm’, with no clue how to dig ourselves out.

Question is, when this kind of *#%! happens, how do we get back on track? There’s no easy answer (it does us no good to pretend there is), BUT… it can be done!

If you ever find yourself in ‘overwhelm’ and need to get on top of things, then we’ve got 10 proven tips to help you. Here’s tips 1-9:
1. Embrace the Hard Stuff:  Okay, you’re going to hate this, but ALWAYS tackle that thing (and there’s always that thing) you really don’t want to do first! Simply by getting your teeth into it, even if it’s something you can’t complete in one go, you’ll not only conquer your fears, but everything else on your plate will suddenly seem a whole lot more manageable!

2. Remove Distractions: Distractions are… aww, you’re such a cute doggie! Hold on! Wait! What???… Distractions are everywhere, and the quality of our work always suffers when we’re side-tracked. And that happens a lot, right? Because, distractions. Facebook, Instagram, texts, emails, YouTube, Twitter, the dog pulling itself like a slug across the carpet… honestly, you’re just the cutest… Hey! Focus! Put those pesky distractions aside. Get on with what you need to do.

3. Don’t Overlook the Small Stuff: Putting out the rubbish, clearing the dishwasher, cutting your toenails… those little tasks, huh? We think we can put them off forever until – ‘Wham!’ – they’re on top of us and we don’t know where to start. Don’t let this happen. Take a deep breath, look around, use the next 5 minutes to sweat the small stuff – Go!

4. Set Aside Time for Work: So obvious, but oh-so-hard, right? It’s amazing how the day can get away on us and our work gets put to one side. To overcome this, we should set aside a period of time – maybe 10 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, maybe even (gulp!) a whole hour – where we do nothing but work . Seriously. Nothing. But. Work.

5. You Don’t Need to Be a Perfetionist Perfectionist: This stops a lot of us. We’re so worried about doing something absolutely just-so that we end up doing nothing at all. Be prepared to forgive yourself (yep, we know it’s hard) if something doesn’t go exactly to plan. Better still, be proud of yourself for having given it a go.

6. Take Time Out: No matter what you’re working on, you can’t stick at it forever. It’s counter-productive. So, every once in a while, treat yourself to a break, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Meditate. Listen to some tunes. Read a book. Grab a cup of coffee. Breathe… Do whatever it takes to relax, if only for a moment. And then go back to your task. You’ll feel much better and you’ll be more focused.

7. Keep Yourself Motivated: Set yourself goals and make a timeframe in which to achieve them (like finishing this article before getting some lunch because, dude, sooo hungry right now). And reward yourself when you get something done. Alternatively – and serial procrastinators, listen up – you might look to punish yourself in some small way for not getting something done (No lunch??!! It’s too horrible to even contemplate…).

8. Make Yourself Accountable to Others: Be loud. Be proud. Let people know what you’re going to accomplish and the tasks for which you’re responsible. This not only puts your skin in the game, it shares accountability and motivates everyone.

9. Focus On the End Goal: It’s vital you have a big picture goal for yourself or your family (two weeks at a 5-star tropical resort, anyone?). Keep it in mind at all times and keep going for it, even when that niggly little distraction we call ‘life’ gets in the way.

And there you have it, tips 1-9 to help manage the subtle but oh-so-difficult art of actually getting things done. We’ll deal with Tip 10 in Part 2 of our article. Needless to say, it’s important.

In Part 1 of our article on breathing, we discussed why most of us suck at this oh-so-vital part of our lives and the negative consequences it’s likely having on our health. Now, we look at what we can do about it.

So, How Do I Breathe Properly?
A good place to start is to make breathing a conscious action (at least occasionally!). We need to be aware, first of all, of how we breathe and, on the back of that, what we can do breathe better.
For most of us, the problem is that we breathe from our chest, rather than our abdomen. We need to learn to breathe more deeply, bringing our diaphragm into play and pulling more air into our lungs.
There are all sorts of breathing techniques which will help us do this (sooo many books and videos on this topic, should you care to look for them!), but like any new skill, it’s best to start with the basics and work from there. Here’s an easy-to-follow, 5-minute breathing exercise that we can all benefit from:

* To begin, lie down on a blanket or rug, legs straight and slightly apart, arms relaxed at the sides, palms facing the air. Alternatively, sit up straight, back upright and spine lengthened.

* Once comfortable, make a conscious effort to breathe through the nose, mouth closed. This allows the tiny hairs and the mucus membranes in the nose to do their job and filter out dust and toxins, something which simply doesn’t happen if we breathe through our mouths.

* Inhale deeply, making sure that the abdomen rises along with the chest, as though the stomach is a balloon filling with air.

* Retain the breath, even if for only a second. Properly performed, even brief retention of breath provides profound therapeutic benefits to every organ, gland and functional system in the body. In actual breathing exercises, breath retention for 3-4 seconds helps slow down heartbeat, reduce blood pressure, and trigger cellular respiration.

* After inhaling for 3 to 4 seconds, exhale slowly for up to 7 to 8 seconds (it may take a while to get the hang of this, so just go with what you can, initially), ensuring as much air as possible is released. Repeat for approximately five minutes, remaining completely relaxed and engaged in the simple process of breathing properly.

After a while, this kind of breathing will not only seem natural to you but will bring with it a sharp increase in your sense of vitality and wellbeing. You’ll become more conscious of how you should be breathing, you’ll start to fix your posture (less slouching in front of your computer or on your sofa is a good thing!), and you’ll be better equipped to handle stress.

Given time, you might also choose to discover more advanced breathing techniques, or even take up yoga, which places a great deal of focus on proper breathing and the benefits it can provide. Yoga is, in fact, integrally linked with the yogic science of Pranayama. Prānāyām is a Sanskrit word meaning “extension of the prāṇ or breath” or, “extension of the life force”.
Breathing. It’s something we do a lot. It makes sense then, that we should do it well.

Breathing. It’s one of the few things that all of us who are interested in the business of living must do. And we do it a lot.
16 breaths per minute, on average. That 960 breaths an hour, 23,040 a day, 8,409,600 a year and 672,768,000 breaths over the course of an average lifetime.
You’d think, with all that practice, that we’d be good at it. But we’re not. When it comes to breathing, most of us are hopeless and it’s making us sick.

How Come We Suck at Breathing?
Our modern lifestyle has a lot to do with it. Stress is a constant factor and a lot of us spend our days busily sitting still. We park up at our desks, hunch over our computers, and take short, sharp sips of breath as we try to navigate a path through our work and our personal lives.
Even worse, we breathe unconsciously. With so much else to think about, something which takes so little effort and absolutely no thought is to be celebrated. We can put it to one side, not worry about it.
Trouble is, proper, healthy breathing requires conscious effort.

Why Does Poor Breathing Contribute to Poor Health?
Most of us only use one third of our natural lung capacity. Instead of using our diaphragms as our main breathing muscle, we rely on the weaker intercostal muscles in our rib cage. The result is that we breathe too shallow and too quick. We’re not drinking in the amount of oxygen that we should and we’re not ridding ourselves of sufficient carbon dioxide.
And so we become subject to ill health. Starved of oxygen, which is vital for the production of energy and for the maintenance of healthy cells, our bodies experience a toxic build-up. This not only reduces our levels of vitality, but also lowers our ability to resist disease. As a result, we become susceptible to a whole host of problems, including fatigue, chest and back pain, sleep disorders and stomach upsets, whilst other conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and hypertension can be exacerbated.
If we want to protect ourselves against ill health (and that’s a given for all of us), then proper, conscious breathing is a good place to start. In Part 2 of this article, we look at exactly how we can go about this.

In our short series on the art of eye maintenance, we’ve looked at how we can exercise our eyes to keep them working like they should and discussed how diet plays a role in keeping them healthy.

Now, we get to the really good part. How, exactly, can we keep our eyes looking beautiful?

Let’s start with what we shouldn’t do. We shouldn’t pickle the skin around the eyes with toxic chemicals, that’s what! And yet, this is exactly what we do, mainly because they’re found in a lot of eye creams and moisturizers, as well as most of the eye makeup currently on the market.

We need to stop. These chemicals can lead to a variety of conditions ranging from red, scaly eyelids to serious long-term health conditions. Benzalkonium chloride, for example (otherwise known as BAK) is well documented to be toxic to the epithelial cells of the eyes, which not only help protect the eyes from environmental irritants but also help them absorb and distribute nutrients. Given that BAK is a preservative commonly found in eyeliner, mascara, and makeup remover, this is a major concern. Likewise, ingredients that have been linked to cancer like formaldehyde, parabens, and retinyl acetate are still found in too many eye products.

In the end, we have a choice when it comes to the products we use to enhance our eyes. Either we learn about the ingredients that are linked to detrimental effects to our health (and slavishly read every single ingredient list we come across), or we buy natural and organic eye products.

The second option is undoubtedly easier, especially since a number of great organic eye creams are now on the market, as well as an increasing number of natural makeup products for our eyes.

At The Organic Skin Co. we strive to create makeup that not only helps you look good but which is also good for you and your skin. That means, in the place of toxic chemicals, we use super-hydrating, skin nourishing ingredients like organic castor oil (check out our The Eyes Have It range) and organic aloe vera (which you’ll find in both our eyeliners and our mascara). And we also make extensive use of replenishing, regenerative supercritical extracts in all our eye products, to add a real splash of goodness (these extracts are what makes our Meet the Press range so good).

And the really, really good news? The addition of these ingredients doesn’t come at the expense of color payoff or efficacy. Our eye products deliver everything you need to get the look you want, with the added benefit that they care for your skin at the same time.

So, if it’s beautiful eyes you’re looking for, it pays to think natural!

In Part 1 of our series on eye health and beauty, we looked at how we can exercise our eyes, to give them the best chance of functioning like they should. In Part 2, we examine the importance of diet.

Eat the Right Foods

We all know how important our diet is if we want to keep our weight down or even care for our skin, but eating the right foods also plays a role in eye health. Here’s some important nutrients and supplements we should (haha!) keep an eye out for:

  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin are important nutrients that help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. They can be found in green vegetables like kale and spinach, as well as in eggs and oranges
  • Vitamin C is similarly important for our eyes, especially when it comes to supporting the health of blood vessels in the eye. Grapefruit juice can be a good choice here, although vegetables like broccoli, green and red peppers and leafy greens are a better bet if you are looking to minimize your sugar intake (but remember – when it comes to fruit and vegetables, and particularly those where you eat the skin, eat organic if you can, to minimise exposure to chemical pesticides!).
  • A number of studies have shown that Vitamin E plays a positive role in improving vision. This is because it protects eye cells from unstable molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy eye tissue. Nuts, avocado and spinach are all good sources of Vitamin E.
  • Essential fatty acids, which can be found in fish or walnuts, can help preserve vision, as well as relieving dry eye and chronic inflammation of the eyelids.
  • Zinc has been shown to protect against macular degeneration and night blindness. Good food sources of zinc include oysters and other seafood, beef, eggs, black-eyed peas, tofu and wheat germ.
  • And finally, it seems mom knew a thing or two after all! Beta-carotene really is good for our eyes. Our bodies transform it into Vitamin A and this helps with night vision and sensitivity to light. We all know it can be found in carrots, but other sources include spinach, broccoli, raspberries, and apricots.

 

Oh, and what about foods we should avoid? Are there any types of food that can actively damage our eyes? Sadly, the answer is yes. In particular, studies have shown that diets high in sugar, polyunsaturated fats, and even salt, can harm our eyes. If you really want to care for your eyes (and your general health, in truth), then try to reduce your consumption of fried foods, soft drinks, sugary sauces, processed meats, and ready meals.

In the end, it’s all about common sense. Eat well for your wellbeing. Eat well for your eyes.