Categories
News

The 6 Best Gadgets for Relaxation

Busy lives and hectic schedules can often mean we forget about relaxing. Relaxation is very important for your wellbeing. With this in mind, it is important to keep a balance between hard work and no work. Relaxing should be high on your list of priorities.

So, what are some of the best ways to relax? Well, lying on your back for half an hour can help clear the mind, but there are gadgets available, too.

Let’s take a look at the eight best gadgets to aid relaxation.

1. Human Touch Reflex Swing Pro Leg Massager

Human Touch Reflex Swing Pro Leg Massager Human Touch Reflex Swing Pro Leg Massager Buy Now On Amazon $349.00 ($349.00 / Count)

If you like a good massage, there is no need to leave the house to get one. Human Touch’s Reflex Swing Pro Leg Massager can be just what you need to melt away the day. There are plenty of leg massagers on the market, so what makes this one so good? It is customizable for a start, allowing you to change the leg cuffs’ position to suit your own legs.

It doesn’t just do your calves, though. The unit can massage your whole lower leg and feet. The massager uses figure-of-eight kneading to give your tired muscles a bit of well-deserved bliss. It will even give the soles of your feet a good rub, thanks to the underfoot rollers. These ensure a deep massage that finds the places typically only another person can reach.

2. MUSE S Brain Sensing Headband

MUSE S Brain Sensing Headband MUSE S Brain Sensing Headband Buy Now On Amazon $276.31

You may find that your mind is often overthinking, worrying, or analyzing other anxieties. These kinds of feelings prevent you from relaxing. The MUSE S Brain Sensing Headband allows you to monitor your brain activity and respond to it. The device is billed as a personal meditation assistant. By monitoring your brainwaves and providing real-time feedback, you can calm a busy mind.

The headband syncs to a dedicated mobile app, allowing you to browse and analyze the information. There are also Go to Sleep Journeys included, which help you drift off to sleep. The ten-hour battery life should be more than enough for you to pop the headband on and start relaxing before you go to sleep. When you are asleep, the headband will monitor your brainwaves using EEG and create a detailed sleep report so you can better understand your sleep process and patterns.

3. Dodow Sleep Aid Device

Dodow Sleep Aid Device Dodow Sleep Aid Device Buy Now On Amazon $59.78

If you’ve been having trouble getting some shut-eye, then the Dodow Sleep Aid Device could be just what you need to slip into slumber. It uses a mixture of light and breathing therapy to lull your body into a relaxed state. Perfect for hitting the sack and grabbing those all-important zees. Notably, the device was developed by people who have trouble sleeping.

The Dodow has two time modes; eight minutes and twenty minutes. During this time, it will emit a slow-pulsing light. You can then sync your breath to these pulses. This is a well-known meditative technique—focusing on the breath to clear the mind. It will regulate your breathing so that one breath-cycle (inhale and exhale) takes ten seconds. This encourages your body to slow down, thus encouraging sleep.

4. HoMedics, Shiatsu XL Massage Cushion

Homedics Shiatsu Massage Cushion Homedics Shiatsu Massage Cushion Buy Now On Amazon $152.95

If you work from home, then you probably know the pain of sitting at your desk for hours on end without enforced breaks. One moment you’ll be sat there happily typing away; the next, you’ll have searing pain across your shoulders. Or pressure pain in your coccyx. Or a throbbing lumbar region. Whatever your problem, the HoMedics Shiatsu XL Massage Cushion is here to save the day. Just pop it on your office chair, plug it in, and you’ll ascend to shiatsu heaven.

Because it covers your seat’s headrest and backrest, the massage cushion is ideal for covering all of your back’s pain-points associated with sitting at your desk. There is a cushioned seat to give your buttocks a bit of light relief from your uncomfortable office chair. However, all the magic resides in the backrest, which offers a shiatsu-style kneading motion, as well as a gentle roller that covers the entire length of your spine.

5. Kokoon Sleep Headphones

Kokoon Sleep Headphones Kokoon Sleep Headphones Buy Now On Amazon $349.99

The Kokoon Sleep Headphones are among the best gadgets for relaxation. Like the MUSE S headband, the Kokoon headphones rely on EEG to monitor your brainwaves and assist you to get a better night’s sleep. The company’s app can play relaxing music, sound effects, or even meditation courses designed to aid sleep. With the headphones on, they can record your sleep pattern and offer you a detailed insight into your sleep quality. The headphones also have a low profile, so they’re easier to sleep in than regular cans.

The headphones themselves come in a hard carry case, meaning they can be used for travel. The inclusion of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) blocks out any external sound to the point where it won’t bother you. This means you won’t be distracted from the task at hand—relaxing or sleeping! Additional smarts mean the headphones can tell when you’ve fallen asleep. Consequently, the Kokoon Sleep Headphones will fade out any music you are listening to and replace it with white noise to prevent any disturbances.

6. AeroGarden Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden

AeroGarden Indoor Herb Garden AeroGarden Indoor Herb Garden Buy Now On Amazon $298.00

The AeroGarden Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden is a great way to bring nature indoors and grow ingredients at the same time. The hyproponic systems only uses water to grow the plants, so less mess and more time enjoying the fruits of your labor. Plus, being around plants is known to be beneficial to your mental and physical health. Greenery can also absord CO2, helping clean the air in your room.

The kit uses full-spectrum LED lights rather than sunlight, so can be positioned anywhere in your home. There are nine grow-pods available, allowing you to harvest a range of tasty herbs to use in your cooking. The plants emit desirable smells too, helping stimulate several senses at once. Then there’s the satisfaction of growing herbs and  seeing them grow. As it turns out, gadgets don’t need to be fully electronic to help you relax.

The Best Gadgets to Aid Relaxation

While there are many non-tech ways to find a bit of inner peace, the gadgets we’ve listed here are sure to help you on your way to a more relaxed state of mind and body. Then there’s the AeroGarden Herb Garden, which helps you relax and provide sustenance as well.

If you’d like to rely solely on sound to soothe the senses, then you might want to check out the best headphones for sleeping and relaxing. There are plenty of options available in there that can help you maintain a state of relaxation.

Read the full article: The 6 Best Gadgets for Relaxation

Categories
News

The Best Mobile Gardening Games for Android and iPhone

Gardening can be both therapeutic and healing. For this reason, it can be an enjoyable and beneficial pastime. Unfortunately, some of us can’t garden, either due to lack of space, equipment, or time. But don’t worry, as these mobile gardening games provide an outlet.

While these gardening games are not the same as digging around in soil, gaming can still improve your mental health and decrease stress levels. So they’re well worth exploring. With that in mind, here’s a list of the best mobile gardening games for Android and iOS.

1. Viridi

As reported by both The Huffington Post and The Guardian, “millennials are obsessed with house plants.” This is especially true for succulents, a type of smooth flora that retains water for drought-prone conditions.

Perhaps because of this demographic obsession, Viridi is a gardening game that I’ve personally been playing off and on for years.

The purpose of the game? To grow succulents in a pot. Yes, that’s pretty much it.

Pretty to look at, calming to experience, and easy to maintain, Viridi is one of the few gardening games for adults that lets you grow succulents in realtime. After you pick out your pot and your starter arrangement, you can also name your garden. Once that’s done, all you have to do is check on your pot once a day to water it, weed it, and watch the succulents grow.

It’s important to stress that you can’t forget to water these succulents: they don’t need much, but if you don’t maintain them, they’ll dry out. Even if your plants die, however, you can still collect one free plant per week to add to your collection.You can also buy additional plants and gardening tools through the Nursery.

NB: While there is a PC version of Viridi on Steam, after playing both formats we can overwhelmingly say that this game is better suited to your phone.

Download: Viridi for Android | iOS (Free, with in-app purchases available)

2. Terrarium: Garden Idle

Tapping games are extremely popular. With a few finger movements, you can expand your in-game landscape while putting in a minimal amount of effort. Terrarium, a free-to-play gardening game, follows this trend.

Simple to use and devoid of stress, Terrarium is one of many gardening apps available to play, except in this case it’s specifically tailored towards people who want to grow an apartment garden without worrying about the garden itself.

The goal: To unlock as many potted plants as possible, and put them on your window sill.

By tapping on those plants to increase their oxygen production, or by using boosters, you can upgrade your plants. This in turn will allow you to buy more.

While Terrarium does have ads, they don’t appear very often. Many of them are skippable, depending upon how many oxygen bubbles you want to collect. Booster combos can make it really easy to climb the ranks. And when collecting plants, you can actually choose where you want to place them on your window sill, leaving the overall design of your garden up to you.

Our verdict?

Terrarium is more labor-intensive than Viridi, but it’s still easy to play. If you want to learn more about gardening in your real-life home, you can check out our review of Botanium.

Download: Terrarium: Garden Idle for Android | iOS (Free, with in-app purchases available)

3. My Little Terrarium

Are you looking for gardening games that are more involved, intuitive, and customizable? Then you need to check out My Little Terrarium—not to be confused with Terrarium, which we talked about above.

Like the other apps on this list, it’s one of many free-to-play gardening games for adults and kids. Set in a magical little fish bowl—featuring your garden, your fish pond, and your cat—My Little Terrarium is a green thumb gardening game where the goal is to customize multiple terrarium “worlds” through the use of plants, decorations, and gardening tools.

Like Viridi, you must water your in-game plants on a daily basis. These plants also gain points when you’re away through the self-generation of gold.

While this self-generation tool is a cool feature, the best way to earn gold comes from My Little Terrarium’s mini-games, along with its boosters. You can fish, play puzzles, or gain gold through watching ads. Once you have enough money, you can buy more plants.

Our verdict?

My Little Terrarium is one of the most engaging gardening games, but also takes the most effort to maintain. We recommend trying it out if you want a high degree of control over your plants.

Download: My Little Terrarium for Android | iOS (Free, with in-app purchases available)

4. Pocket Plants

Looking for complicated gardening games that require a lot of forethought? Then you need to try out Pocket Plants, a free-to-play mobile game that combines a healthy lifestyle, combo-building, and a green thumb.

The setup: In the game, the environment has become polluted. There is rotting garbage and open sewage spilling out of pipes. It is up to you, the novice gardener, to bring this local environment back to its former glory by growing plants to create a cleaner energy producer.

The main highlight of this game is the ability to combine plants in order to create better ones. As such, Pocket Plants seems to have endless customization abilities. It’s fast moving, stylized, and engaging, with multiple garden maps and terrain styles that you can explore.

Additionally, you can link the game to your real-life exercise apps (such as Fitbit) so that each real-world activity helps you gain more in-game advantages.

Our final opinion? While the privacy policy for this app is a bit overreaching, the game is otherwise fun and unique enough to check out.

Download: Pocket Plants for Android | iOS (Free, with in-app purchases available)

Discover Your Inner Gardener on Your Phone

After playing these mobile gardening games, hopefully one (or all of them) will bring you some much needed rest and relaxation. If you have already played through all of the games, however, it may be time to step up gear with the best farming games on Android and iOS.

Read the full article: The Best Mobile Gardening Games for Android and iPhone

Categories
News

5 Couples Apps for Romantic Date Nights at Home or Virtual Dates

Love and romance are tricky waters to navigate at times. Whether you’re starting a new relationship or trying to keep the spark alive, these romantic apps for couples will help you connect with your partner.

Just to be clear, we aren’t diving into the best dating apps. This article talks to those already with a partner, be it the excitement of someone new or the comfort of stability.

At times when going out for dates is difficult or you want a fresh way to connect with your loved one, these apps and digital guides are the relationship advice you need.

1. Date Night at Home (Web): First Things First’s Free Videos and Guides

First Things First offer free guides on virtual date nights as well as DIY date nights

Whether you have just started dating or in a long term relationship, First Things First has all types of guides for couples. The Date Night mini-site is all about adding a little romance while staying at home.

The section has something for both virtual date nights or DIY date nights at home. If you find virtual date nights strange, this is the website to start with.

At the moment, they even have guided videos every Friday for virtual dating beginners to learn the ropes and get comfortable with the medium. Their Facebook posts are full of praise, so it’s worth checking out.

For DIY date nights, you’ll find new ideas posted regularly. It ranges from fun and spicy games of truth or dare to “what’s in the bowl” and other things. There’s a brief guide, a downloadable pamphlet for creative games between two people, and a few pointers on how to take it to the next level.

2. Talk2You (Android, iOS): Conversation Starter for Couples

Conversations are the pillars of relationships. Are you trying to get to know someone new better? Or do you want to discover a new layer to someone you think you know inside out? Talk2You is a conversation starter for couples to explore each other.

The app has 360 questions spread over 10 categories like our history, the two of us, everyday life, dreams, intimacy, and more. The idea is that one person chooses the category and question, and asks it aloud to the partner.

One of you can be the questioner and write what you expect the answer to be. After your partner answers it, you can see how much it matched and how well you know each other.

Talk2You has a few instructions before you start. It’s quick to point out not to take the game too seriously. If a question doesn’t apply to you, or either of you find it uncomfortable, move on to the next one. And if something sparks a conversation, keep the app aside and talk. Your phone isn’t going anywhere.

The free Android app gives access to three categories for a total of over 100 questions. You’ll have to pay to unlock the rest.

Download: Talk2You for Android (Free)

Download: Talk2You for iOS ($0.99)

3. Gottman Card Decks (Android, iOS): Research-Back Relationship App

Drs. John and Julie Gottman of The Gottman Institute study relationships and couples. They turned their findings over the years into a fantastic app for partners to get to know each other better and to level-up the relationship.

The Gottman Card Decks are a pack of 14 flashcard decks: love maps, open-ended questions, rituals of connection, opportunity, sex, date, give appreciation, “I feel”, salsa (or sex life), needs, empathy, and listening. The Gottmans note that these decks prove popular and successful in workshops on the art and science of love.

Each deck has its own rules, where it prompts you and your partner to have a conversation about a topic. These aren’t hard and fast rules, and the objective isn’t to “win” at the game. You want to try and understand each other better, open up communication, or discover something new about your partner.

Apart from the Card Decks, check out the affiliated relationship quiz, “How well do you know your partner?” The Gottman Institute also has an active blog with insights about managing relationships. It’s one of the best websites to improve your communication skills.

Download: Gottman Card Decks for Android | iOS (Free)

4. Love Nudge (Android, iOS): Find What Makes Your Partner Feel Loved, and Do It

Daily life doesn’t need grand romantic gestures. How loved you feel in your relationship is made up of small acts done regularly. Love Nudge is an app to find out what you value and what your partner values, and help you both show your love in ways that the other finds meaningful and touching.

Gary Chapman, the author of the Five Languages of Love, says people like to receive love as physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and receiving gifts. Love Nudge starts you with a 30-question quiz to find out how you like to receive love in these five categories. Then, connect with your partner’s app, who has also taken the same quiz. Through acts that meet those categories, you can express your love in your partner’s language.

Love Nudge also encourages you to set tasks. You can choose from preset recommendations, or make your own goals. If you aren’t overly physical, set that goal to hug your partner and get reminders. Good relationships take time and effort, and the app is here to nudge you in the right direction.

The app also tracks how you feel, like a mood journal for your love life. Over time, you can see stats about how loved you feel and how your partner is feeling. The app is completely free, with no strings attached.

Download: Love Nudge for Android | iOS (Free)

5. YouTube Date Night (Web): How to Setup a Romantic At-Home Date Night

The Dating Divas' free YouTube Date Night guide is a romantic and cheap way to connect with your partner

So you can’t go out for a date night. So what? You can have a romantic evening at home, on a budget, and together or over a video call. The Dating Divas have a free “YouTube Date Night” package for couples to try. Download and print out the free PDF before you start, and cut the tasks and keep them ready.

The YouTube Date Night has three parts. Start with the scavenger hunt. It’s a list of 10 types of YouTube videos you have to find, like “a music video from your high school days” or an epic fail video. Make your list of links, then watch them together. If you’re doing a remote date, use an app to watch YouTube together in sync.

Next up is the YouTube Task Game. Pick up a chat and do the task in it. It’s a bunch of funny and endearing tasks, like lip-syncing to Endless Love or the try not to laugh challenge. When you’ve had enough, move on to the voting sheet for the six best videos of the night to make it a permanent memory. The whole thing is a sweet package and completely free.

36 Questions to Find Love

This one can be done online or offline. In a famous study, two psychologists collected their findings on what makes people fall in love, and turned it into a 36-question quiz. You can use this in both a new relationship and with your long-term partner.

If you’re seeing someone new, these 36 questions will bring you closer or make it clear you don’t belong together. And for old couples, they help rekindle your spark. New York Times turned this quiz into a nice little web app, which is one of our best Valentine’s Day apps for a romantic date night. Check it out.

Read the full article: 5 Couples Apps for Romantic Date Nights at Home or Virtual Dates

Categories
News

The 10 Most Relaxing TV Shows on Netflix

What do Breaking Bad, Hannibal, and The Americans have in common? They’re all quality shows deserving of the awards that came their way. However, they’re also dark, heavy, and difficult to watch when you’re stressed. They’re definitely not relaxing TV shows.

Sometimes you just want to come home, plop down on the couch, and watch a palate cleansing-type of show to help you unwind. For that, you’ll want to check out these relaxing Netflix shows. You could even use these TV shows to help you fall asleep, if you want.

1. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Imagine a talk show hosted by comedian Jerry Seinfeld where every guest is one of his famous friends. And then imagine it takes place inside a café as well as the car ride there. No scripts. No self-promotion. It’s entirely authentic, genuine, and absolutely hilarious.

Just look at the name of the show, it says it all: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The episodes are about 15 to 20 minutes long, and each one features a vintage car picked by Seinfeld himself to match the personality of that episode’s guest.

It’s the ultimate show for when you want to shut off your brain and just have a laugh.

2. Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere

Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere is basically the same thing as The Joy of Painting, but the episodes are taken from the 1991-1992 seasons of the show, and not all of the episodes are there.

But who cares? Nothing beats the feeling of watching Bob Ross paint up another scenic masterpiece, complete with his soft voice and gentle encouragements. Looking for a relaxing TV show you can fall asleep to? Then look no further.

3. Chef’s Table

Have you seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi? If you have and you liked it, then you really should watch Chef’s Table. Directed by the same person (David Gelb), Chef’s Table is one of the best Netflix documentaries for foodies.

Every episode focuses on the life and cuisine of a world-class Michelin-starred chef, and brings out the human element that’s often missing in food documentaries.

If that sounds boring, think again. Not only is Chef’s Table a beautifully shot show, it’s deeply engrossing and inspirational. The hours will melt away as you watch.

4. Explained

While Explained is a Netflix show, it feels more suited for a YouTube series in that every episode is about 15 minutes long, educational, entertaining, and entirely self-contained to a single per-episode topic.

There are Explained episodes for cryptocurrency, K-pop, esports, the stock market, cricket, the longevity of life, and more. It’s enough to give you a general understanding of a topic’s history and importance, and it’s presented in a mostly unbiased way that’s engaging—and surprisingly relaxing.

5. The Great British Baking Show

Also known as The Great British Bake Off, this show is perhaps the most wholesome reality TV competition you’ll ever watch (rivaled only by MasterChef Junior).

The Great British Baking Show has amateur bakers face off in a series of elimination rounds until there’s a winner. But the best part is that it’s devoid of the hardcore competitive spirit that props up most American reality shows. It oozes with kindness, humor, and great food.

6. Terrace House

Have you ever wanted to watch Big Brother or The Real World but without any of the fabricated drama or scripted narratives? Then you should give Terrace House a try.

Six strangers come together to live in a shared house for a month, with hidden cameras everywhere. However, this is a Japanese reality show, and there’s a different culture and atmosphere than what you normally see in American reality TV. It’s soft, it’s polite, and it’s a joy to watch.

The original Terrace House (Boys and Girls Next Door) ran for three years in Japan, but Netflix revived it in 2015 with Boys and Girls in the City. This was followed by the sequels Aloha State and Opening New Doors. Only the Netflix-produced ones are available on Netflix.

7. Our Planet

The world around us is incredible. We’re lucky to live on Planet Earth, surrounded by so much natural beauty, and Our Planet is a documentary series that brings the exotic jungles and deep ocean seas right onto your TV screen.

It’s hosted by Sir David Attenborough, who provides insightful and calming commentary and also fronts some of the best BBC documentaries on Netflix. The show was also film entirely in Ultra High Definition, which makes the visuals even more stunning. There’s something meditative about watching nature play out in some of the most remote corners of the world.

8. Samurai Gourmet

Samurai Gourmet is a light-hearted show that follows a newly retired Japanese man who roams his neighborhood and explores the rich culinary offerings therein.

In a word, Samurai Gourmet is refreshing. Few shows are as easy to watch as this one, and it demands nothing of you in return.

9. Aggretsuko

Aggretsuko is a Japanese anime that’s ultra cute, but it’s not a kid’s show. The cuteness contrasts against the main character’s mundane and frustrating office life, as well as her secret love of death metal karaoke.

The episodes are short at just 15 minutes apiece, so you can pop them on whenever you—like the main character—feel like you need to blow off some steam.

10. The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes

The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes is a documentary series fronted by British architect Piers Taylor and property developer (and actress) Caroline Quentin. They head to remote locations and check out some fantastic custom-designed homes, exploring how they’ve been built to adapt to their surroundings.

Though you might get a bit of house envy when watching it, this is still a delightful show to watch. Seeing the creativity on display is inspiring, but there’s also no drama or competition about it—this is purely a relaxing, friendly look at how other people live.

Use Meditation Tools to Relax Even More

These are some of the best TV shows to put on when you’ve had a stressful day and want something cheerful and fun to help you relax. Or even to fall asleep to.

And if you want to relax even more, you should try out these easy meditation tools for beginners to learn mindfulness.

Read the full article: The 10 Most Relaxing TV Shows on Netflix

Categories
News

10 Relaxing Movies to Fall Asleep to on Netflix

Sometimes you want to get away from loud action movies and watch something quiet and contemplative. That’s why we’ve rounded up these relaxing movies to watch on Netflix.

These are movies to fall asleep to. Not because they’re bad, but because they don’t have any loud explosions and action sequences likely to wake you up with a start if you doze off.

1. Julie and Julia

Julie and Julia is a comedy drama starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Stanley Tucci. Do you really need to know more? OK, it features lots of cooking because it’s based around the life of chef Julia Child and food blogger Julie Powell.

This is really two (true) stories in one, but it never feels bogged down by it because it’s light, breezy and ultimately a whole load of fun.

2. Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

Disney not only produces great feature-length movies, but lots of innovative and fun shorts too. This collection packages up 12 of them, including The Little Matchgirl, The Ballad of Nessie, Tangled Ever After, and Frozen Fever.

Each short is introduced by different members of Disney, briefly-yet-interestingly talking about their work. The great thing is that if you feel yourself falling asleep, you can pause and not feel like you’re stopping something halfway through.

If you enjoyed watching this, you should also check out the best movies and TV shows available on Disney+.

3. The Edge of Seventeen

The Edge of Seventeen is worth watching for the always spectacular Hailee Steinfeld alone. She plays young girl Nadine, who is trying to make it through school with her best friend. However, when that friend begins dating her older brother, Nadine’s life is thrown into turmoil.

This is better than the usual coming-of-age movie. The Edge of Seventeen is well observed, witty, and modern. If you like John Hughes movies, or comedies like Clueless and Mean Girls, you should enjoy this.

4. The Little Prince

The Little Prince is a fantasy adventure based on the novella of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Much like the source material, the story is full of childlike wonder, framed as an elderly aviator telling his young neighbor about his life.

The Little Prince blends different styles of animation together gracefully. It’s a great watch for younger children, but its timeless message will surely appeal to all ages. Besides, you’re never too old to hear a fairy tale before bed.

5. The Artist

The Artist is a superb choice to fall asleep to because it’s a silent film. That means there can be no shouting or screaming dialogue to suddenly wake you up. It won lots of awards on its release in 2011, including three Oscars, and it’s easy to see why.

The Artist is about a young actress and a silent film star and their relationship as talkies are coming into fashion. It feels simultaneously old school and modern, with two dazzling stars, sly comedy, and a pitch-perfect score.

6. Mary and the Witch’s Flower

If Mary and the Witch’s Flower looks like a Studio Ghibli film (all of the Studio Ghibli films, ranked), that’s because the studio behind it was founded by some former employees. It’s just as charming as Ghibli’s productions, with evocative drawings, delightful animation, and enchanting music.

The story centers around young Mary, who finds a rare flower that grants magical powers. She enters a floating magical academy, but soon discovers that not all is as it seems. While it’s a simple tale, it’s still charming and makes for a relaxing watch.

7. Always Be My Maybe

Ali Wong and Randall Park are on top form in Always Be My Maybe, a movie about childhood friends who reconnect years after their teenage relationship went down the drain.

While this is a romantic comedy, it skirts the usually clichés and the end result is a feelgood, infectiously charming watch. You should try to stay awake long enough to witness a great cameo from Keanu Reeves.

8. Song of the Sea

Song of the Sea is an animated film set in Ireland, which is an appealing concept in itself. What’s more enticing is that this mixes stellar visuals with a melancholy fantasy story, as a young boy discovers that his sister is a mythical being who can transform herself into a seal.

You should definitely pay attention to the story if you can, but even if you don’t then you’ll be transported by the colorful and otherworldly art. Perhaps you’ll dream that you’re in the same world, if you’re lucky!

9. The Princess and the Frog

While Walt Disney came to fame with hand drawn animation, the studio relies more on 3D nowadays. That’s exactly why The Princess and the Frog is such a breath of fresh air and stands alongside classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

With a twist on the traditional tale, here the lead character Tiana kisses a frog and turns into one herself. She then goes on an adventure to try to become human again and achieve her dream of owning her own restaurant. The Princess and the Frog is full of great songs that will be perfect accompaniments to your slumber.

10. Saving Mr. Banks

You can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks. Saving Mr. Banks sees him take the role of the ultimate dream maker: Walt Disney. The film is set during the early 1960s, during which time Disney was trying to get the rights to author P.L. Travers’ (played by the great Emma Thompson) books—one of which is Mary Poppins.

Of course, we all know that he succeeds in that quest, but it’s the journey that’s interesting because P.L. Travers is unimpressed by Disney’s bright lights. Saving Mr. Banks is a sentimental, sweet watch that won’t offend. Perfect for bedtime viewing.

Relaxing TV Shows to Fall Asleep To

Not only are these all excellent movies in their own right, but they also make for quiet, contemplative watches. Which makes a refreshing change from the usual Hollywood action fare. And makes them perfect movies to fall asleep to.

If you want some more things to watch as you nod off into dreamtime, here are some relaxing TV shows to watch on Netflix when you’re stressed.

Read the full article: 10 Relaxing Movies to Fall Asleep to on Netflix

Categories
News

Need a Pick-Me-Up? Here Are 13 of the Happiest Sites on the Web

No matter the time of the year, life can sometimes be overwhelming. With the rhythm of work, exercise, appointments, family, friends, and personal obligations, it can almost feel like there’s no time or space for yourself.

Reading, painting, and playing games are all activities that will help ease your anxiety. Unfortunately, these activities also take up a lot of your time. Thankfully, there are other options.

Here are the happiest sites on the web that will instantly cheer you up.

1. 100,000 Stars

Happiest Website 100000 Stars

Sometimes—when everything else in life feels like it’s going wrong—you just need some perspective to understand that your bad day is not the end of the world. Fortunately, there’s no better way to find perspective than zooming across the galaxy to see how big it is.

100,000 Stars is a visual, interactive website that catalogs the known stars in our “stellar neighborhood.” Through this website, you can click on individual stars to see how they appear up close. Additionally, you can collect information on these stars, including their naming conventions, color, size, distance to Earth, age, and temperature.

2. Looking at Something

Happiest Website Looking at Something

Looking for happy places on the internet that can give you a soothing background screen? Try Looking at Something, a dead-simple webpage where you look at rain falling. By moving your cursor around the page, you can change the “time of day” for the rain, the direction, and the intensity.

Warning: This website has flashing graphics.

3. Recommend Me a Book

Recommend Me a Book

Recommend Me a Book is a perfect website for when you’re feeling antsy for something to read.

Choosing the right reading material is important, and Recommend Me a Book helps with this process by letting your browse through the first pages of published novels. The aim: to find a style of writing or genre that suits your mood.

There is no author listed at the bottom to influence your decision; no recommendations by other users, or GoodReads reviews. Just you and the first page.

If you like the book, you can click on the button at the bottom of the page to find out the title and author of the book, then buy it. You can also press the Next Book button at the top of the screen to select a new one.

If you’re looking for other ways to find something to read, here are some tips to help you find Kindle books for your vacation.

4. Rainy Mood

Relaxing Websites Rainy Mood App

Looking for an easy-to-use website that will immediately calm you down? Visit Rainy Mood.

To operate it, simply press the play button in the center. Instantly, you’ll be assuaged with soothing rain sounds and distant thunderstorms. It plays on a loop while you rest, relax, or focus on your current task. It’s also available as an app.

Download: Rainy Mood for Android | iOS ($2.99)

5. The Quiet Place

The Quiet Place Project

The Quiet Place website is perfect for meditation exercises. Indeed, like the intro says, “emails can wait.”

The Quiet Place was originally part of a larger platform with four different rooms, each of which was devoted to a specific function. It’s all-time favorites—The Thoughts Room and The Dawn Room—no longer seem to be functional. However, a version The Quiet Place Project is still in operation. It offers you 90 second meditation exercises.

For additional peace of mind, check out these mobile app meditation lessons.

6. A Soft Murmur

Happy Websites A Soft Murmur

Whether you’re a relaxation guru, or someone who finds it hard to stop and think, A Soft Murmur helps you strike meditation gold.

On the website, simply pick your noise effects and mix them. Choose the right volume, then press play.

Instantly, you’ll hear ambient sounds that will help you focus, calm you down, or let you feel peaceful. You can create different tracks for relaxation, sustained focus, or restful sleep.

Even better? A Soft Murmur is now available on Android and iOS.

Download: A Soft Murmur for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

7. Do Nothing for 2 Minutes

Websites Like the Quiet Place Project Do Nothing for 2 Minutes

Looking for websites like The Quiet Place Project? Do Nothing for 2 Minutes is similar, as it’s designed for a short meditation break. The webpage consists of a counter in the center that rolls back the clock to zero, and not much else.

While that timer is counting down, the website encourages you to let your thoughts wander. There’s no browsing and no scrolling allowed; if you touch your mouse or keyboard before the timer is up, it automatically resets.

8. Flame

The Thoughts Room Alternative Flame Chrome Experiment

One of our favorite happy websites is called Flame, created by the new media artist Xiaohan Zhang. Through typing letters or words into the search bar, you can create beautiful patterns of light and sound that change positions when you move your cursor.

Each letter of the alphabet has a different shape and color associated with it. While this website is not exactly the same as the Thoughts Room, it can function as an alternative by typing into the void.

Overall, Flame is capable of some truly astonishing patterns.

9. Silk

Silk Drawing App

Silk is another universal website that will help you train your imagination, find inspiration, and do some art. It’s perfect for thoughtless, soothing drawing.

When you open the website, simply click and drag your cursor across the screen to create a pattern. Needless to say, this platform’s stylish interface combined with its interactive, neon lines is more than pleasing to the eye. Best of all, Silk is also available for iOS.

Download: Silk ($2.99)

10. Biomes

Happy Places on the internet Biomes

Want to try another website that will instantly fascinate you? Click on Biomes, an interface that will allow you to create 3D, alien-like landscapes by adjusting a set of values along an axis.

Through Biomes, you can change the colors on your grid, experiment with different wave combinations, and download your creation once you’re done with it. It’s simple, efficient, and beautiful.

11. Ribbons

Happiest Website Ribbons

What if you need an interactive wallpaper for your desktop, especially if you want to look at something soothing while cleaning the office?

Try Ribbons, an interactive experiment where “colors and geometry are procedurally generated.” Through it, the website creates beautiful, abstract art that floats across your screen. Once you open Ribbons, just click on the OK button to get things started.

12. BlahTherapy

Virtual Hug Website Blah Therapy

BlahTherapy is perfect for when you need to find someone to talk to, but you don’t know where to reach out.

If there’s something on your mind that you don’t feel like sharing with someone you know, this site will assign you to a random person. You can also choose to be a listener to help someone else out.

Best of all, chatting to strangers on the website is completely free. BlahTherapy also offers professional counseling services for a fee.

13. Pinterest

Happy Places on the internet Pinterest

Last on the list, we’re going to include a social media heavyweight that we’re pretty sure most of you have at least heard of. If you want to get lost in a world of beautiful pictures and amazing landscapes, try Pinterest.

By clicking on individual images through your home page, or by searching for specific subjects, you can continue down an endless rabbit hole of amazing imagery. It will make you long for cakes, comfortable reading spaces, virtual travel, and the great outdoors.

Visit These Happy Places on the Internet

Even when you’re feeling perfectly fine, it’s nice to know that there are tons of stress-free websites out there that you can turn to whenever you’re feeling sad or lonely. Hopefully, one of these places will become a refuge against the negative thoughts that can build up during a daily routine.

If you’re looking for other ways to relax, check out our list of the most relaxing movies on Netflix.

Image Credit: Stock-Asso/Shutterstock

Read the full article: Need a Pick-Me-Up? Here Are 13 of the Happiest Sites on the Web

Categories
News

The 12 Best Calming Apps to Relax, Destress, and Clear Your Mind

At some point in all of our lives, it can feel like the world is going a million miles a minute and you’re left in the dust. Whether work is dragging you down and causing fatigue or something else in your personal life is bringing stress, you’re not alone.

And the good news is that there are a number of calming apps—on both iOS and Android—that can help you de-stress and clear your mind.

We’re highlighting some of the best relaxation and calming apps to sooth you. They run the gamut of different options, from mind mapping to guided meditation and more.

1. MindMeister

At any one time, there are probably a host of different thoughts swirling around in your mind. Mind mapping can help you by allowing you to brainstorm your thoughts without a particular order or structure in a visual form.

A great mind mapping app option to try is MindMeister. Along with an online interface, the mind mapping service is also available on mobile devices.

Using the app, you can quickly and easily organize, prioritize, and generate new thoughts. There are a number of tools to create a map including different themes, styles, colors, and icons. It’s also possible to collaborate with others to create a mind map in real-time.

With a subscription, you can also export maps in PDF and PNG format, create and edit unlimited maps, and add files and images to topics.

Download: MindMeister for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

2. Dark Noise

Ambient noise is a perfect way to help you get to sleep or focus on the daily task at hand. Dark Noise is an easy-to-use and powerful way to use sound.

There are more than 30 different noises to select from—everything from simple white noise to more unique sounds like a spaceship engine or a cat purring. Once you select a noise, it’s easy to set a timer to end the sound after a specific duration or time.

And there’s no need to open the app to start a specific noise. You can start one using a Siri Shortcut or pick a selection from a Today Extension widget.

Download: Dark Noise for iOS ($3.99)

3. Calm

Although ambient noise helps some people relax, it can annoy others. If you’re looking for something different, try the relaxation app Calm.

While it’s a great meditation app for beginners, there are also a number of options for more advanced users. The guided meditations sessions are available in different lengths from three to 25 minutes. Some of the different topics include managing stress, happiness, gratitude, self-esteem, forgiveness, and many others.

You can also select from an open-ended and unguided, timed meditation. Breathing exercises will also help you relax. Every day, a new 10-minute program is designed to help ease you into the day or unwind.

Download: Calm for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

4. Headspace

Headspace is one of the most popular tools for both guided meditations and mindfulness techniques.

You can try the free Basics course that teaches the fundamentals. And if you want to learn more, a subscription is available to unlock all of the app’s content, including the full meditation library. There are a wide variety of different topics to explore like sleep, focus, and exercise.

For a quick break, the app also offers two to three-minute meditation sessions. There are specific sessions for moments of panic, anxiety, and stress. You can even add friends to help motivate and meditate with as well.

Special animations teach new skills and help answer questions about mindfulness.

Download: Headspace for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

5. Insight Timer

Insight Timer features more than 30,000 meditations and music tracks you can access for free. Some of the most popular topics you can find include dealing with anxiety and stress, leadership, better relationships, and sleeping deeply. As a nice touch, you can select a meditation by time when on the go to better integrate the app with your daily routine. The app’s namesake meditation timer offers a number of different sound options.

To better understand the app, there are many different community features and discussion groups with other users from around the world. You can also view stats and milestones to get a better sense of accomplishment.

A Member Plus subscription brings several of additional options. Along with unlocking all the courses, you can also use it to download the entire library of meditations to listen to offline. Have a look at the Daily Insight mindfulness practice, too.

Download: Insight Timer for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

6. Day One

A daily journal is a great way to organize your thoughts and keep a clear mind. Day One offers a beautiful interface and other features to help make daily journaling a habit you’ll want to keep.

The interface is free of distractions, which helps you focus on specific thoughts. Journal entries support the powerful Markdown language. Entries are easy to organize and you can browse through them by calendar, timeline, maps, or photos.

Metadata from your iPhone can also bring more to each entry with other information like temperature, weather, and music playing on a certain day. Your thoughts are kept safe with passcode and Face/Touch ID support.

With an available subscription, you can take advantage of unlimited journals and photo storage. Your information also syncs with other versions of the app.

Download: Day One Journal for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

7. Simple Habit

Simple Habit wants to show that you’re never too busy to start meditation. The app is known for its huge number of five-minute meditations tackling subjects like stress relief and managing depression. There are also longer sessions when you have more time.

The great on-the-go feature allows you to select from different scenarios, like a tough day, and pick how much free time you have. It will then provide a session to help.

A premium subscription allows you to download sessions for listening offline, plus unlimited access to exclusive series.

Download: Simple Habit for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

8. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

Sleepcycle

Having a calm and relaxing day often starts the night before, when you go to bed. Getting a good night’s sleep has a wide variety of benefits for your health. But for many of us, that’s easier said than done. When it’s difficult to fall asleep, we wake up too sluggish to tackle the day ahead.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock brings a number of features to help you track your sleep and wake up at the most opportune time in the morning. At night, the app uses special sound technology to track your different sleep phases. If it detects snoring during the night, Apple Watch wearers will feel a slight vibration that could help you change sleep positions and stop snoring.

Before going to bed, you can set a custom 30-minute period in the morning that ends at a set alarm time. The app will then wake you up in a light sleep phase during that time period.

The available subscription offers more features like long-term sleep trends, Philips Hue smart light support, and how the weather affects your sleep.

Download: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

9. Colorfy

Coloring books are no longer just for children. The activity of coloring has been shown to relax and calm even adults. And there are a number of different digital coloring apps for smartphones and the larger screens of tablets.

One of the best is Colorfy. The app features more than 1,000 different pictures to color, which includes animals, cats, gardens, famous paintings, and more. Users can even add their own drawings to paint. Coloring is easy: just select a color palette and then tap to color. The app provides several brush types for different effects.

It’s available to use without an internet connection and allows you to share your drawings on social networks. And a unique augmented reality virtual gallery lets you visualize your creations in the real world.

Download: Colorfy for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

10. UCLA Mindful

A simple and completely free choice, UCLA Mindful is a great way to step into the world of mindfulness meditation.

You can take advantage of basic meditations in both English and Spanish. There are also wellness meditations for people suffering from health conditions. To help beginners, there are plenty of videos that touch on how to begin, meditation postures, and the science of how meditation can help your overall physical health.

The app also includes a weekly searchable podcast exploring different themes. A timer feature lets you meditate at any time.

Download: UCLA Mindful for iOS | Android (Free)

11. Smiling Mind

One of the most interesting free relaxation apps available is Smiling Mind. The completely free app is made to assist children as well as adults.

There are specific programs for children of different ages and adults that focus on dealing with the pressure, stress, and tough challenges of everyday life. Sessions also cover mindfulness in the classroom and the workplace.

There are a wide variety of meditation lengths to select from, and you can even check in with yourself at the beginning and end of a session to quantify your stress level.

Download: Smiling Mind for iOS | Android (Free)

12. Alto’s Odyssey

You don’t need to find relaxation apps to help you get rid of stress and anxiety. Games that can de-stress you are all the rage on mobile platforms, and you can choose from a myriad of different titles to help calm you.

While the puzzle genre is known for relaxing titles, Alto’s Odyssey offers a different type of de-stressing game.

As the follow-up to the hugely popular iOS game Alto’s Adventure, the new title sees the titular Alto—along with his friends—set off an endless sandboarding adventure. Thanks to a simple one-touch control system, almost anyone can learn the basics and set off in no time. You can search for an enormous amount of secrets and learn all sorts of tricks along the way.

Along with the beautiful scenery, the original musical score for the game is easily worth the price of admission. Put on your headphones and melt away into the beautiful environment. The special Zen mode features its own unique soundtrack and allows you to enjoy the game without a score, coins, or power-ups.

Download: Alto’s Odyssey for iOS ($4.99) | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

The Best Mobile Apps for Rest and Relaxation

While life can sometimes overwhelm you, there’s no reason to get down. Hopefully, using some of these great relaxation apps, you can better take on the daily grind and stay calm and relaxed.

For an alternative method to lower your stress levels, try playing binaural beats with an app. You might also want to take a look at positivity apps for managing mental health.

Read the full article: The 12 Best Calming Apps to Relax, Destress, and Clear Your Mind

Categories
News

12 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office

There’s nothing wrong with feeling tired at the office once every so often. But if fatigue and lethargy are the norm rather than the exception then it may indicate a deeper problem worth investigating.

There are many reasons for bouts of office fatigue, and you should always consult your doctor or a medical professional when possible, but the problem could be as simple as a few bad habits that you’ve picked up.

Breaking these habits won’t be easy. But with a bit of determination and small changes made little by little every day, office exhaustion could soon be eradicated from your life.

1. Late Night Digital Activity

Man using phone in dark
Image Credit: Japanexperterna.se/Flickr

This first habit isn’t an office habit per se, but can have a huge impact on how well you feel during the day and so it shouldn’t be overlooked. Long story short, digital screens can negatively impact your sleep quality.

The artificial light from smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions have been linked to worsened sleep quality.

Stop checking your emails right before you go to bed and avoid binging on Netflix into the early hours of the night. Ideally, you should be digital-free for one hour prior to sleeping.

2. Not Waking Up Early

Image Credit: Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush/Pexels

Even if you’re getting the recommended 5–9 hours of sleep every night, you won’t feel rested unless those hours are truly restful. As with most things, sleep and rest are more about quality than quantity.

If possible, wake naturally without an alarm. Obviously this isn’t feasible if you need to be up on a schedule, so if you do set an alarm then don’t constantly snooze it. That extra ten minute snooze is going to impact you negatively because you won’t get the full 90 minutes required from a sleep cycle.

Go to bed early and wake up early in response to your natural body clock.

3. Skipping Breakfast

Breakfast
Image Credit: Burst/Pexels

Your body needs food to fuel itself. If you skip breakfast, your blood sugar levels will drop and you will feel tired.

Have breakfast that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Don’t wolf it down on the way out the door, either. Sit down and take your time, be mindful, and prepare yourself for the day.

4. Keeping a Cluttered Workspace

Messy desk
Image Credit: Jesus Hilario H./Unsplash

If you think a once-a-year spring cleaning is good enough for your workspace, you may want to reconsider and start being more diligent about regular cleanups.

A cluttered desk increases the amount of visual information we have to process on a moment-to-moment basis, and this processing requires a lot of cognitive energy.

That’s why, over the long run, clutter can drain mental energy and increase stress. You don’t have to go as far as adopting a minimalist lifestyle, but minimizing clutter as much as possible can have a tangible positive effect on your mental health and energy levels.

5. Neglecting Brightness and Lighting

Image Credit: Gabriel Beaudry/Unsplash

Eye fatigue is a real problem in offices today. The thing with eye fatigue is that when your eyes feel tired, your entire body will feel tired too—even if you haven’t exerted much physical energy.

One of the leading causes of eye fatigue is a mismatch between screen brightness and ambient lighting. The brightness of your screen should be the same as your environment. If the screen looks like a light source, then it’s too bright. If it looks dull, it’s too dark.

That’s why you should enable adaptive brightness whenever possible because it takes the guesswork out of the equation. And, if possible, avoid working in rooms that are harshly lit or overly bright.

Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t use a computer in the dark? Because of this, there’s some truth to that. The darkness won’t cause any permanent eye damage, but it can expedite the onset of eye fatigue.

6. Neglecting Monitor Position

Monitor
Image Credit: Niclas Illg/Unsplash

The position of your monitor on the office desk is important too. Ideally, your monitor should be at least at arm’s length. Smaller screens may need to be closer while larger screens should be farther away. Neglecting this can lead to eye strain.

There’s no evidence to suggest that sitting too close to modern monitors can cause actual eye damage (that’s a common myth about computer screens that isn’t true) so don’t worry about macular degeneration.

Don’t forget that monitor height is important too! Too high and you can get tension headaches in your forehead. Too low and you can throw off your posture and strain your neck. The top of the monitor should line up with your eyes when looking straight ahead.

7. Sitting Rather Than Standing

Image Credit: Juhan Sonin/Flickr

We’ve known for a while that sitting at a desk all day can be detrimental to your health, but it can also sap your energy. According to the British Medical Journal, prolonged sitting contributes to fatigue.

If you find yourself tired in the office but are fine elsewhere, it may be the sitting that’s doing you in. As such, you may want to consider switching to a standing desk—a simple change that could have big results.

If you do go that route, make sure you get a balance between standing and sitting. You can make your life easier with these standing desk accessories.

8. Sitting with Incorrect Posture

Yoga
Image Credit: Anupam Mahapatra/Unsplash

You might not be able to immediately switch to a standing desk, so if you have no choice but to sit in an office chair, make sure you’re sitting with proper posture:

  • Lean back at an angle of 120 to 135 degrees.
  • Keep your butt at the back of the chair.
  • Keep your feet flat (use a footstool if needed.)
  • Don’t sit up straight.
  • Don’t lean forward.
  • Don’t use armrests or lean on your elbows.

The thing about bad posture is that it wastes energy while good posture keeps your muscles in a relatively relaxed state and conserves how much energy is needed just to keep yourself upright. It’s perhaps key to defeating computer fatigue.

Over the long run, bad posture can lead to trouble falling asleep, muscle tightness, and a hunchback. Here’s a quick 3-minute exercise that can your bad posture.

9. Refusing to Take Regular Breaks

Person filling cup with water
Image Credit: LuAnn Hunt/Unsplash

Short-but-frequent breaks are critical for staving off fatigue because they address most of the issues mentioned above (but only if your breaks involve getting up and walking away from the computer.)

For starters, breaks are good at interrupting any prolonged sitting positions. Breaks are also good for getting your blood flowing and activating your muscles. Plus, you end up giving your eyes a much-needed rest from the computer screen.

Also, hydration is another key component in fighting off fatigue, so try to drink a cup of water every time you take a break. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel with proper hydration alone.

10. Working Too Long and Hard

Man working at desk late
Image Credit: Simon Abrams/Depositphotos

There are many detrimental effects, both physical and mental, of regularly overworking oneself. You will feel much better when you pump the brakes.

Workaholism is a serious and growing problem for office workers across America. There isn’t a strict medical definition for workaholism, but there are several signs that could indicate you are one:

  • Fear of being unproductive.
  • Inability to get away from work.
  • Chasing after more work during lulls.
  • Neglecting health and hygiene.
  • Never satisfied with your work.

It’s easy to see how these factors can contribute to not only mental exhaustion but physical exhaustion as well (because workaholism tends to result in long hours at the office, lots of stress, and insomnia.)

Workaholism is a multi-faceted problem so there isn’t a one-step solution for you. If you think you suffer from it, please consult a therapist and/or a workaholics support group.

11. Ignoring Seasonal Depression

Winter scene
Image Credit: Dominik Dombrowski/Unsplash

While seasonal depression itself isn’t a bad habit, ignoring that it exists is. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

“Some people experience a serious mood change during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This condition is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms.”

Note that seasonal depression differs from clinical depression. Seasonal depression flares up and goes away with the availability of natural light whereas clinical depression isn’t related to light at all.

Common symptoms include anxiety, emptiness, irritability, fatigue, and mental fog. If you suffer from seasonal depression, there are several light therapy lamps you can try to help minimize these symptoms.

12. Not Exercising

Woman exercising
Image Credit: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

It might sound counterintuitive, but not exercising will make you more lethargic. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make you 65% less tired during the day.

If you can’t get to the gym, try one of these workout apps. Even going for a long, brisk walk is really beneficial. Pop a podcast on and get out there!

Tackle These Bad Habits One at a Time

If you’re feeling bad because more than half of these apply to you, fear not! Take a deep breath, relax, and realize that you don’t have to fix all of them overnight.

Some of them can be rectified in minutes (like the one regarding monitor placement) while others may take weeks or months (such as fixing your posture.) Regardless, focus on one thing at a time. Don’t rush it.

To help you break your bad habits, look at these free printables and ebooks to help you track habits.

Read the full article: 12 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office

Categories
News

12 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office

There’s nothing wrong with feeling tired at the office once every so often. But if fatigue and lethargy are the norm rather than the exception then it may indicate a deeper problem worth investigating.

There are many reasons for bouts of office fatigue, and you should always consult your doctor or a medical professional when possible, but the problem could be as simple as a few bad habits that you’ve picked up.

Breaking these habits won’t be easy. But with a bit of determination and small changes made little by little every day, office exhaustion could soon be eradicated from your life.

1. Late Night Digital Activity

Man using phone in dark
Image Credit: Japanexperterna.se/Flickr

This first habit isn’t an office habit per se, but can have a huge impact on how well you feel during the day and so it shouldn’t be overlooked. Long story short, digital screens can negatively impact your sleep quality.

The artificial light from smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions have been linked to worsened sleep quality.

Stop checking your emails right before you go to bed and avoid binging on Netflix into the early hours of the night. Ideally, you should be digital-free for one hour prior to sleeping.

2. Not Waking Up Early

Image Credit: Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush/Pexels

Even if you’re getting the recommended 5–9 hours of sleep every night, you won’t feel rested unless those hours are truly restful. As with most things, sleep and rest are more about quality than quantity.

If possible, wake naturally without an alarm. Obviously this isn’t feasible if you need to be up on a schedule, so if you do set an alarm then don’t constantly snooze it. That extra ten minute snooze is going to impact you negatively because you won’t get the full 90 minutes required from a sleep cycle.

Go to bed early and wake up early in response to your natural body clock.

3. Skipping Breakfast

Breakfast
Image Credit: Burst/Pexels

Your body needs food to fuel itself. If you skip breakfast, your blood sugar levels will drop and you will feel tired.

Have breakfast that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Don’t wolf it down on the way out the door, either. Sit down and take your time, be mindful, and prepare yourself for the day.

4. Keeping a Cluttered Workspace

Messy desk
Image Credit: Jesus Hilario H./Unsplash

If you think a once-a-year spring cleaning is good enough for your workspace, you may want to reconsider and start being more diligent about regular cleanups.

A cluttered desk increases the amount of visual information we have to process on a moment-to-moment basis, and this processing requires a lot of cognitive energy.

That’s why, over the long run, clutter can drain mental energy and increase stress. You don’t have to go as far as adopting a minimalist lifestyle, but minimizing clutter as much as possible can have a tangible positive effect on your mental health and energy levels.

5. Neglecting Brightness and Lighting

Image Credit: Gabriel Beaudry/Unsplash

Eye fatigue is a real problem in offices today. The thing with eye fatigue is that when your eyes feel tired, your entire body will feel tired too—even if you haven’t exerted much physical energy.

One of the leading causes of eye fatigue is a mismatch between screen brightness and ambient lighting. The brightness of your screen should be the same as your environment. If the screen looks like a light source, then it’s too bright. If it looks dull, it’s too dark.

That’s why you should enable adaptive brightness whenever possible because it takes the guesswork out of the equation. And, if possible, avoid working in rooms that are harshly lit or overly bright.

Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t use a computer in the dark? Because of this, there’s some truth to that. The darkness won’t cause any permanent eye damage, but it can expedite the onset of eye fatigue.

6. Neglecting Monitor Position

Monitor
Image Credit: Niclas Illg/Unsplash

The position of your monitor on the office desk is important too. Ideally, your monitor should be at least at arm’s length. Smaller screens may need to be closer while larger screens should be farther away. Neglecting this can lead to eye strain.

There’s no evidence to suggest that sitting too close to modern monitors can cause actual eye damage (that’s a common myth about computer screens that isn’t true) so don’t worry about macular degeneration.

Don’t forget that monitor height is important too! Too high and you can get tension headaches in your forehead. Too low and you can throw off your posture and strain your neck. The top of the monitor should line up with your eyes when looking straight ahead.

7. Sitting Rather Than Standing

Image Credit: Juhan Sonin/Flickr

We’ve known for a while that sitting at a desk all day can be detrimental to your health, but it can also sap your energy. According to the British Medical Journal, prolonged sitting contributes to fatigue.

If you find yourself tired in the office but are fine elsewhere, it may be the sitting that’s doing you in. As such, you may want to consider switching to a standing desk—a simple change that could have big results.

If you do go that route, make sure you get a balance between standing and sitting. You can make your life easier with these standing desk accessories.

8. Sitting with Incorrect Posture

Yoga
Image Credit: Anupam Mahapatra/Unsplash

You might not be able to immediately switch to a standing desk, so if you have no choice but to sit in an office chair, make sure you’re sitting with proper posture:

  • Lean back at an angle of 120 to 135 degrees.
  • Keep your butt at the back of the chair.
  • Keep your feet flat (use a footstool if needed.)
  • Don’t sit up straight.
  • Don’t lean forward.
  • Don’t use armrests or lean on your elbows.

The thing about bad posture is that it wastes energy while good posture keeps your muscles in a relatively relaxed state and conserves how much energy is needed just to keep yourself upright. It’s perhaps key to defeating computer fatigue.

Over the long run, bad posture can lead to trouble falling asleep, muscle tightness, and a hunchback. Here’s a quick 3-minute exercise that can your bad posture.

9. Refusing to Take Regular Breaks

Person filling cup with water
Image Credit: LuAnn Hunt/Unsplash

Short-but-frequent breaks are critical for staving off fatigue because they address most of the issues mentioned above (but only if your breaks involve getting up and walking away from the computer.)

For starters, breaks are good at interrupting any prolonged sitting positions. Breaks are also good for getting your blood flowing and activating your muscles. Plus, you end up giving your eyes a much-needed rest from the computer screen.

Also, hydration is another key component in fighting off fatigue, so try to drink a cup of water every time you take a break. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel with proper hydration alone.

10. Working Too Long and Hard

Man working at desk late
Image Credit: Simon Abrams/Depositphotos

There are many detrimental effects, both physical and mental, of regularly overworking oneself. You will feel much better when you pump the brakes.

Workaholism is a serious and growing problem for office workers across America. There isn’t a strict medical definition for workaholism, but there are several signs that could indicate you are one:

  • Fear of being unproductive.
  • Inability to get away from work.
  • Chasing after more work during lulls.
  • Neglecting health and hygiene.
  • Never satisfied with your work.

It’s easy to see how these factors can contribute to not only mental exhaustion but physical exhaustion as well (because workaholism tends to result in long hours at the office, lots of stress, and insomnia.)

Workaholism is a multi-faceted problem so there isn’t a one-step solution for you. If you think you suffer from it, please consult a therapist and/or a workaholics support group.

11. Ignoring Seasonal Depression

Winter scene
Image Credit: Dominik Dombrowski/Unsplash

While seasonal depression itself isn’t a bad habit, ignoring that it exists is. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

“Some people experience a serious mood change during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This condition is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms.”

Note that seasonal depression differs from clinical depression. Seasonal depression flares up and goes away with the availability of natural light whereas clinical depression isn’t related to light at all.

Common symptoms include anxiety, emptiness, irritability, fatigue, and mental fog. If you suffer from seasonal depression, there are several light therapy lamps you can try to help minimize these symptoms.

12. Not Exercising

Woman exercising
Image Credit: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

It might sound counterintuitive, but not exercising will make you more lethargic. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make you 65% less tired during the day.

If you can’t get to the gym, try one of these workout apps. Even going for a long, brisk walk is really beneficial. Pop a podcast on and get out there!

Tackle These Bad Habits One at a Time

If you’re feeling bad because more than half of these apply to you, fear not! Take a deep breath, relax, and realize that you don’t have to fix all of them overnight.

Some of them can be rectified in minutes (like the one regarding monitor placement) while others may take weeks or months (such as fixing your posture.) Regardless, focus on one thing at a time. Don’t rush it.

To help you break your bad habits, look at these free printables and ebooks to help you track habits.

Read the full article: 12 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office

Categories
News

The Best White Noise Machines for Drowning Out Distractions

Does sound distract or keep you awake? A white noise machine can help.

Many people use noise-canceling headphones to dampen sounds. But there’s another option that doesn’t require wearing bulky earcups: white noise does the same job. With a nature-emulating soundscape, such as wind blustering through trees or a gently rushing waterfall, white noise is well-suited to a variety of applications.

We’re taking a look at the best white noise machines you can buy.

What Is a White Noise Machine and Why Use One?

A white noise machine is a device that produces sounds with equal intensities but varied frequencies. These bits of random audio form a unified whole that’s soothing and mimics naturally occurring sounds such as a waterfall or the wind whistling through trees. However, there’s a bit of a misconception. Some machines don’t produce white noise. Instead, they play pink noise or even other colors of noise.

Pink noise differs in that it’s more powerful and louder at lower frequencies, whereas white noise maintains equal power. Additionally, many white noise machines include modes that play sounds, such as traffic, rain, and the ocean.

White noise devices are mostly used as sleep aids. Because of their ambient sounds, these machines can mask outside noises by forming a sort of sonic wall. Essentially, it’s like wearing earplugs but without the hassle of shoving anything into your ear, aside from sound waves. Similarly, noise-canceling headphones put a damper on the volume of outside noises. But these remove ambient sounds using active or passive noise control through methods like soundproofing.

Aside from the bedroom, they are superb devices for reducing distractions in general. A white noise machine for an office can help you better focus. Notably, babies may sleep better with white noise machines. Since they’re accustomed to ambient sounds in the womb, white noise generators provide a familiar experience. White noise machines are also ideal for sleeping with anxiety or tinnitus.

1. HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine

HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine Buy Now On Amazon $19.93

For home or on the go, take a look at the HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine. The device can be powered with the provided AC adapter or with four AA batteries. You can select from six different sounds; white noise, thunder, ocean, summer night, brook, and rain.

While the machine can run all night, an auto-off timer can be set for 15, 30, or 60 minutes to conserve battery power. To better customize the sound, there is also an adjustable volume knob.

2. Marpac Dohm Classic

Marpac Dohm Classic Marpac Dohm Classic Buy Now On Amazon $41.77

The Marpac Dohm Classic is all about white noise. Featuring a real fan, the machine produces a continuous stream of natural-sounding audio. The machine uses an 8-foot long plug for AC power.

There are two different volume levels to select from. You can also adjust the sound and tone by twisting the outside casing. To help the device fit in with your home decor, this sound machine is available in white, black, gray, or tan.

3. Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine

Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine Buy Now On Amazon $59.99

The Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine is made to grow with your child. With an infant, the machine offers a white noise sound machine and night light. After a few years, once a toddler, you can set a time-to-rise color, so they’ll know when it’s time to get up out of bed.

You can control settings, including volume and brightness, with a companion smartphone app so you won’t need to bother your sleeping child. The app also allows you to set schedules for the light and sound. A toddler lock on the sound machine will help make sure little hands can’t change any settings.

4. Big Red Rooster 8 Sound White Noise Machine

Big Red Rooster 8 Sound White Noise Machine Big Red Rooster 8 Sound White Noise Machine Buy Now On Amazon $19.99

If you’re looking for a variety of different sounds to select from to help cancel noise, you’ll want the Big Red Rooster 8 Sound White Noise Machine. As the name suggests, there are eight different options—box fan, small fan, brown noise, pink noise, white noise, summer night, rain, and ocean.

There’s also an auto-off timer which can be set for 15, 30, or 60 minutes. You can power the machine with the AC adapter or three AA batteries. A black or white version is available.

5. Sound+Sleep Sound Machine

Sound+Sleep Sound Machine Sound+Sleep Sound Machine Buy Now On Amazon $72.95

The Sound+Sleep Sound Machine offers 10 different noise options, each with three levels of richness to help you find a perfect combination for sleep or relaxation. Some of the more unique sound choices include fireplace, city, and train along with the usual white noise.

The device constantly monitors the surrounding room and then will adjust the sound to better cancel noise. You can also take advantage of the 3.5mm audio connector on the front of the machine to listen with headphones or use a larger speaker.

To help you better sleep, the front panel lighting will automatically dim. There is also an optional sleep timer that will reduce the volume after 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes.

6. SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine

SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine Buy Now On Amazon $79.99

The SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine features non-looping sound from a built-in fan. You can adjust the tone of the sound by twisting the outer shell. There are also 10 volume settings to select from.

With the companion smartphone app, you can remotely control the machine and customize an automatic on/off schedule. You can select from a white or black version of the machine, depending on your preference, too.

The Best White Noise Canceling Machines

Any of these white noise machines can help cancel out sounds and help you sleep at night. During the day, they can also help you to concentrate better and focus.

And if you’re looking for another alternative option that doesn’t require another device, make sure to take a look at the best sleep apps for tracking and improving sleep.

Read the full article: The Best White Noise Machines for Drowning Out Distractions