Best ways to beat the Sunday blues

Best ways to beat the Sunday blues

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

We’ve spent our entire week slaving away at work/university with only one thing on our minds: the weekend. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there – every week in fact. We’re ecstatic when Friday finally rolls around, and Saturday’s even better because we have the whole day and night to kick back, party and do whatever else we please. But then Sunday rears its big ugly head and laughs in our faces. Whether we’re suffering from massive hangovers or just dreading the impending doom Monday brings every damn time, Sundays suck. But never fear – there are things we can do to beat those dreadful Sunday blues.

Get all your work done on Friday afternoon

We for one cannot wait to get out of the office on a Friday. However, it’s important to remind ourselves that if we don’t get all of our work done before the weekend, there will be double the workload come Monday morning. Our trick is to start organising all of our work on Friday morning, and then we can dedicate our entire day to making sure everything gets done. If necessary, we even stay back after home time to ensure everything’s in order. Honestly, we’d much rather get home a tiny bit later than spend our Mondays playing catchup and feeling like absolute crap.

Organise Monday’s gear when you get home on Friday

If we manage to get everything in order before Monday morning, we’ll have more time to spend doing whatever the hell we want on Sunday night. There’s nothing worse than feeling hard done by on a Sunday while tearfully ironing work clothes and packing bags. Frankly, it’s a huge fat reminder that soon we’ll be slaving away for five days straight. It’s much better to get the organising over and done with on a Friday when we’re feeling fresh, fabulous and thirsty for the weekend.

Spend time with friends and family

Sure, we might have already spent the weekend with our friends and family, but they’re pretty good company. Even if we just catch a movie, go out for dinner or gossip about the latest episode of The Bachelor – our minds will be focused on things other than our upcoming commitments. By the time Monday arrives, we won’t even have time to think about how bad it’ll be. It will just arrive and things will probably go a lot smoother than anything our minds have concocted to scare us.

Write everything down

No, this isn’t only for primary school kids. Writing can actually be a very therapeutic way to get all of our thoughts and feelings down while keeping us away from that mental institution. Whether we’re bitching about the colleague who keeps stealing our sandwiches, the one who types too loudly or the boss who keeps passing us up for a promotion – get it all down. Trust us, it will make you feel so much better. Just be sure to keep the diary at home and don’t let it anywhere near the workplace!

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Stop overthinking and relax

Let’s be honest, Sunday nights are probably worse than Monday mornings. We’ll never understand this because it means we use more negative energy worrying about something that’s not even as terrible as the act of worrying. It’s a weird concept to wrap our heads around, but according to experts we overthink way too much. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say our minds’ main goal was to cause as much unnecessary anxiety as possible. But hey, we can train ourselves to chill out, relax and enjoy the remainder of our weekends. Some things we can do include light exercises, such as yoga. Yoga relaxes not only the mind, but also our muscles. What better way is there to rein in the business week than feeling absolutely fabulous?

What I learnt from other people’s weddings

What I learnt from other people’s weddings

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

I’m currently at the age where some of my friends are starting to settle down and get hitched (scary, I know). And while I’ve had a blast at most of their weddings, I also understand the amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into planning one’s big day. Sometimes, it’s very dramatic. Mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters, best friends, cousins, crazy aunts, you name it… they all get involved. And often families are torn apart, friendships are ruined and possessions are smashed. Here are some things I’ve discovered by living vicariously through my friends.

Don’t invite every single person you know

I know this one sucks because I hate offending people. However, weddings are freaking expensive (in case you didn’t already know). It often costs the bride and groom and/or their parents at least $100 per person. That’s why it’s important to ask: have I seen this person in the last year or two? How close are we really? Do I usually associate with them outside of work? I once knew someone who called a bride and asked her why she wasn’t invited to the wedding. WHY? What did she expect the answer to be? I hate your guts? After hearing this, I experienced so much second hand embarrassment that I had to stop what I was doing just to calm the hell down.

Be nice to your maid of honour and bridesmaids

This is important. A few years ago my friend was a bridesmaid to her close friend, and now they don’t even speak. The bridesmaids were even asked to fork out an unbelievable amount of money on absolutely ridiculous things, including the bride’s wedding dress because bridezilla kicked up a stink about not being able to afford it herself. Not to mention my friend also organised and paid for a hen’s night that the bride decided to skip due to “unforeseen circumstances.” I know being a bride can be stressful, but it’s no excuse to turn into a complete monster, people.

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Realise your budget might change

A sensible person will always have a wedding budget (unless they’re super rich). But the thing is, when you go wedding shopping you’ll probably find things you absolutely love that you didn’t account for when wedding planning. That’s completely normal, but just don’t go overboard. I for one am a very impulsive buyer who has absolutely no self control, but I’m getting better. I’ve heard so many tales of brides and grooms destroying their budgets, and as you can imagine it’s a very stressful thing. One good idea is to add a certain percentage you’re willing to go over, and stick to that.

Invest in a quality photographer

I know memories and ‘being in the moment’ are the most important things in life. But one day you’ll regret not having enough photos to cherish, or to show your kids and grandkids. Hiring a quality photographer and going out of your way to make that investment is super important. Do your research and ask your friends for recommendations. When my cousin got married, her friend’s little sister volunteered for the job, and let’s just say things didn’t go too well. Just ask the blurry, crooked and questionable looking portrait of her and hubby hanging on the lounge room wall.

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You need to remember that your wedding day, while stressful, is also supposed to be amazing. Cherish the moments, stress less and don’t forget the day is about you, your partner and your commitment to one another.

How to survive a long haul flight

How to survive a long haul flight

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

We all love travelling, but the idea of being trapped in a metal can for hours on end can deter even the most frequent flyers. For us Australians it’s especially difficult, as we live so far away from most of the world. But if we want to visit somewhere exciting like Europe, we have to suck up our pride and make the most of a not-so-great situation. Here are some of the best ways to do just that:

1. Wear comfortable clothing

This goes without saying, but comfortable clothes are a godsend when it comes to long flights. You will be sitting down for several hours, and perhaps even transiting through various airports, so dress comfortably. Trudging around with heavy luggage is already bad enough, but it’s even worse when you’re wearing heels and jeans that cut off your circulation. Opt for something loose, light and layer up. Planes usually range from freezing cold to scorching hot, so bring a jacket and wear something lighter underneath.

2. Bring a neck pillow, earplugs and an eye mask

Neck pillows are an absolute must for long flights. Most airlines provide you with these, but they’re not always the best quality. Invest in a proper neck pillow, which you can easily buy from your local airport. It will help you sleep, support your head and make your journey a thousand times better. Make sure you also bring earplugs and an eye mask if you want that quality shut eye. Again, some airlines will give you these, so it’s a good idea to check beforehand.

3. Don’t go overboard with food and drinks

We know free food and drinks is never a bad thing, but there’s no need to over do it. There’s nothing worse than getting indigestion when you’re thousands of feet in the air. It’s already uncomfortable enough – don’t make it worse! The same goes for alcohol. While it’s fine to have a sneaky wine or two, don’t drink too much. It can act as a stimulant and keep you up for hours.

4. Drink plenty of water

There’s a lack of humidity in air cabins, which makes flying incredibly dehydrating. Experts usually recommend quadrupling your water intake on flights to avoid dehydration. Keep this up the entire flight, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to ask for more water. Experts also advise drinking other liquids, such as gatorade because they’re full of energy, and maintaining balance is very important.

5. Bring your own entertainment

Most long-haul flights have in-flight entertainment, but you should check this just in case. Either way, pack a few things to keep yourself entertained. Load your phone up with some music, bring a good old fashioned book, download some movies on your iPad, or even take this opportunity to tackle that work you’ve been putting off!

6. Pack light, but be prepared

We know this is going to be hard for you fashion-savvy gals, but don’t pack too much stuff. Carrying heavy luggage around for hours on end can be exhausting, and it’s guaranteed to put you in a bad mood. Having said that, make sure you pack the essentials. Remember to pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, baby wipes and deodorant. They sound like simple things but can be easily forgotten and you’ll definitely regret it if you don’t. However, make sure you don’t pack anything over 100ml, and that you don’t bring aerosol deodorant. Airport security is very strict with these rules, and they’ll probably be confiscated.

7. Sit back, relax and enjoy

Finally, just enjoy your flight. We know it’s long and tiring, but it’s not every day we get to sit down for hours and do absolutely nothing but eat and watch TV. Enjoy it while it lasts because it will be over before you know it!

How to exercise according to your mood

How to exercise according to your mood

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

We all go through rough patches from time to time – some of us more so than others. And although we deal with our emotions in different ways, there’s one thing we can do to make sure we don’t push ourselves over the edge. It’s not a new concept but that thing is exercise.

Sometimes we’d rather do anything (think major surgery) before resorting to exercise, but studies have found that different kinds of exercises have the ability to shape, affect and direct our moods. For example, there are certain sports we should avoid like the plague when we’re angry, and vice versa. Here are some of our strongest moods and what we should do when we’re experiencing them.

Angry

Obviously, feeling angry isn’t the best thing in the world. Our blood is rushing to our head, we can’t think straight and all we can see is red. The only thing we want is to punch someone in the face and then down a bottle of wine. However, there are better and more healthy alternatives to this. Why not head to the nearest gym and go to town with the punching bags? Better yet – take your anger out on some of the poor souls in the ‘boxercise’ classes. After all, they signed up for it! Many anger management classes even employ boxing as a means to help eliminate anger, so we know it’s legit. Go for it.

Happy

The aim here is to maintain our happiness levels. This can be difficult because our moods change so quickly, especially when our lives are as hectic are they are. We need to find something not too intense – yet something that’s full of endorphins to achieve that natural high. One sport that fits this criteria is running – and no, running’s not going to kill us. We just need to choose an intensity we can adhere to without scarring ourselves for life. One great place for light jogging is along the beach – where the ocean will provide an excellent scenic backdrop. If we’re feeling really adventurous, we can even go for a dip afterwards!

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Sad

The last thing we want to do when we’re sad is hit the gym or perform something equally as excruciating. However, exercise gives us endorphins and endorphins make us happy. Yes, we know chocolate does that too, but it’s not as effective and chocolate makes us fat. So, balance it out and do something that makes you happy. Dancing is great for sadness because our bodies respond positively to movement. Research has found that we’re programmed to ‘jump for joy’ when we’re happy and ‘slump’ when we’re sad, so trick your body into thinking you’re happy by dancing up a storm. It really works – our brains react to messages and signals from the brain – it’s science.

Stressed

One word: yoga. The goal here is to zen your stress levels and chill the hell out. We know that taking time to do this can be annoying, especially when we’ve got a million other things to do, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Experts believe there are psychological benefits to yoga, as it has the ability to help us ‘return to meaningful activity’ and provide a sense of accomplishment. “Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact,” said Michael Otto, a professor of psychology at Boston University. “Exercise has such broad effects that my guess is that there are going to be multiple mechanisms at multiple levels.”

Fast track your morning routine

Fast track your morning routine

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

Some mornings we jump out of bed, drink kale smoothies, and strut out the door feeling and looking like a million dollars. Other days we sleep through our alarms, skip breakfast, and spill toothpaste all over our shirts. There’s usually no in between.

Lately it seems the latter is happening more often than the former. It could be something to do with the new year, but we’re all feeling the tiredness more than usual. We all lead busy lives, and, frankly, our scattered morning routines aren’t doing us any favours. Luckily, we have some ‘fail safe’ methods to ensure we get out the door on time and in one piece.

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Make use of the night before

Anything that can be done the night before should be embraced with open arms. Showering at night will save us from having to shower in the morning, and we’ll still be clean when we wake up. We can also prep our skin the night before by exfoliating or using a face mask. That way, in the morning, all we’ll have to do is splash on some water or even a light cleanser. If our face is washed properly at night, there’s no need for extreme cleansers or scrubs come morning time. Some other methods include packing lunches, preparing handbags and deciding what clothes we’ll be wearing the next day.

Use multi-tasking products

Let’s be honest, makeup can be incredibly frustrating. Not only is it tedious, but it’s also super time consuming. Yet sometimes we still want to look fabulous, so we soldier on and do what we have to do. Fortunately, that’s where multi-tasking products come in. These are awesome, as they combine a number of different cosmetics that get the job done in half the time. Some products, such as lipsticks, also double as makeup for your cheeks, eyes and lips. To make it even more convenient for the fashion-savvy gal, they even change colour depending on where they’re applied. Other all-in-one products include BB creams that combine both sunscreen and tinted moisturiser. BB creams boast great coverage, and they basically eliminate the need for other foundation and powders. There are so many multi-tasking products on the market – finding them just requires a little bit of research.

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Embrace the low-key beauty routine

We know it’s nice to look our best, but realistically it’s not always possible. With that being said, there are a few low-key beauty routine won’t leave us looking like trolls. Just because there’s not enough time to achieve those on fleek brows and savage eyeliner wings doesn’t mean we can’t still look hot. Leave the contouring kit for important days and embrace the quick concealer and mascara routine. We don’t need to spend copious amounts of time straightening and curling our hair – just run a brush through it and throw it up into a ponytail, messy bun or even leave it out. And don’t even think about washing it – there’s no time for that. If necessary, use dry shampoo to give it a quick refreshing spray. Don’t worry, it’ll still look shiny and clean throughout the day. Just wash it when the opportunity presents itself.

Have a quick and easy breakfast

We all skip breakfast from time to time – mainly to spend more time mastering our beauty sleep. Yet eliminating breakfast on a regular basis can be harmful to our health. Studies have shown that not only is it unhealthy, but it has the ability to make us gain weight. This is probably because we get super hangry later on, and devour anything and everything we can get our greedy little hands on. To break this habit, prepare something quick and easy the night before, or even eat some simple yet nutritious cereal. Better yet, grab some fruit and yoghurt en route to eat during the commute. If you’re heading somewhere that allows food (like a food friendly office), just eat it there. Be creative and resourceful – there are so many ways to keep both you and your stomach happy.

Practice makes perfect

We know mornings usually suck, but cutting our routines in half isn’t that hard. One easy way to master all of these things is to time ourselves each day to figure out how long it takes to get everything done. Once we have an idea of how long we spend on certain things, we can re-evaluate our methods, and work on improving them. Practice everything, and soon the mornings will be our beautiful little oyster.

Sneaky things that make you think you’re hungry

Sneaky things that make you think you’re hungry

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

While we all eat for pleasure sometimes, it’s important to understand the difference between your tastebuds’ urge for treats and actual stomach churning hunger. I, for one, find it extremely difficult to differentiate between the two, and find that 90% of the time I’m just eating because I’m bored, stressed or both. And although this can be healthy in moderation, overeating can lead to weight gain, poor skin and other health issues like diabetes. That’s why it’s important to know how to identify the sneaky things that trick us into believing we’re hungry when we’re actually not. Some of these include:

You’ve been looking at delicious food

For someone with very little self control, I completely understand this one. According to experts, humans are designed to feel hungry when looking at food. Evolutionary psychologists believe it’s a trait we acquired way back in our hunting days when survival mechanisms were designed to help combat sparse food. And even though we now have access to plenty of sustenance, our instincts haven’t really changed. It’s particularly difficult in the 21st century because we can’t even check social media without being confronted by chocolate cakes, pies and juicy burgers. By understanding that, just looking at food causes unnecessary hunger, you should be able to refrain from eating the next time those survival instincts kick in.

You’ve been thinking super hard

When we’re slaving away at the office or doing something of equal intensity, we can easily run out of energy. This is because our brains aren’t very good at storing calories for fuel, and once they run out of energy they trigger an urge to eat – no matter what we already have in our stomachs. Fortunately, there are easy ways to prevent this. Exercising as soon as we start to feel hungry is a great way to increase the amount of lactic acid and sugar in our blood streams. This will eventually spread to the brain and it will be used as a fuel for energy. Goodbye, hunger!

Your normal routine is telling you it’s food time

Sometimes I’ll eat just because society dictates I eat three meals per day. However, experts say it’s not essential to eat if we’ve already snacked throughout the day. It’s always good to get into a routine, but we often force ourselves into the habit of eating at specific times every single day. Obviously meals are important, but sometimes we even get used to excessive snacking and then our bodies begin to expect food all the time.

You spent your last meal multi-tasking

When we spend our meals eating and scrolling through social media at the same time, our senses don’t meet their full expectations. They’re not able to smell, taste and look at food as it moves from our forks to our stomachs. And because it can take up to 20 minutes for the food to be digested and for our brains to receive that signal, we think that we’re still hungry. It’s time to put the iPhone down and concentrate on the task at hand. Otherwise, we might end up eating twice as much every day.

You’re actually thirsty

This is a huge one. When I become dehydrated, I can’t differentiate between whether I’m hungry or thirsty. According to experts, our bodies receive mixed signals when we haven’t had enough to eat or drink. Some foods also contain certain percentages of water, which is when things become even more confusing. The solution to this problem is extremely obvious: drink plenty of water. Nutritionists recommend at least eight glasses per day, so we should take our water bottles everywhere you go – the office, our friend’s place and even to bed at night.

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Some other things that make us unnecessarily hungry include stress, sadness, alcohol, messy environments, other junk food, tiredness, anger and believe it or not, sad movies.

But as long as we can learn to recognise all of these things, we should be able to combat the tricky little buggers.

Best ways to get to bed early

Best ways to get to bed early

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

It took me a long time to master the art of getting to bed early, and sometimes I still fail miserably. You see, I have one of those minds that never shuts up. And don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I’m inventing the cure for cancer; most of the time I’m just thinking about how someone would look with purple hair or what my next meal’s going to be. And let me tell you, having a busy mind isn’t good for someone who aims to get to bed reasonably early. I want to retire and get a good night’s sleep, but there are so many things my mind is insisting I do. I have things to google, online shopping to do, TV to watch and I should most definitely shave my legs before wearing that skirt tomorrow.

Before I know it, it’s 3am and I’m sitting on my bed; pondering my career choices while memorising the lyrics of Adele’s new single and watching YouTube videos about how to communicate with my dog. Yes, that’s pretty much a typical night for me. My laptop usually has more tabs open than you’d think is possible. Think beauty blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Boohoo, Netflix, Flight Centre (one day I will be out of here), cooking websites and so much more. And it all needs to be done that night.

Not to mention – there are many other obstacles that can derail my nights and ruin that much needed beauty sleep. Housekeeping, for example, is a huge one. I find having a messy house so stressful that most of the time I try to get it all done as quickly as possible. And on top of that, I then proceed to go through all of the above time wasting steps after I’m done. Other days, I’ll get random guests who want to hang out and gossip all night. And while I love most of them dearly, the next day I’m not only tired as hell, but I’m more hungover than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

But the thing is, our nights don’t have to be so busy. I’ve recently discovered some great ways to ensure I get a good night’s sleep and am ready and raring for the next day (yes, even those dreaded mornings).

Set yourself a curfew and enforce bargaining tools

If you’re anything like me and have absolutely no self control, you’ll need this. If you don’t get home before your curfew or make it to bed in time, appoint yourself a punishment. For example, on weeknights I aim to be in bed by 10:30pm. If I’m unsuccessful, I refuse to buy myself anything nice the next day. If I make the deadline, the next day I’ll reward myself by splurging on a giant burger, complete with a mango smoothie and maybe even some ice cream and/or chocolate (why not both?) It’s a great bargaining tool; even if you are bargaining with yourself. Sometimes grown ups have to be their own parents, and it sucks, but it’s the only way we’ll ever make it in this big, scary world.

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Notify all family and friends that you won’t be available that night

Like I said before, these people have been responsible for many of my sleepless nights. When I’m dead set on going to bed early, I text the people closest to me and politely ask them not to bother me that night. This means no Facebook notifications, no phone calls, no text messages and especially no spontaneous visits. It’s not always possible (there’s always that one person), so another good idea is to shut off all social media for the night. It’s easy to deactivate Facebook, and it’s even easier to log straight back in once your strike is over. Just think: your friends and family aren’t going anywhere; you’ll be able to catch up on all the goss before you know it.

Keep a notebook nearby

This is the perfect way to get all your thoughts and feelings down as soon as they pop into your head. If you’re anything like me, you’ll think of something very important as soon as your head hits the pillow. I usually tell myself it’s no big deal, and that it doesn’t matter if I forget about my recent revelation come morning time, but that never works. After all, what if sleep clears my memory and makes me forget the Bachelor finale is on tomorrow night? That would be an absolute disaster! Cue the notebook. Write absolutely everything down (birthdays, work ideas, grocery lists, you name it) and then make sure you read it all in the next day. I found this method creates a long, peaceful sleep free of worry and regret.

Don’t drink caffeine several hours before bed

I know this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people I know who drink coffee before bed. Everyone knows caffeine keeps you awake, so keep away from the stuff before heading hitting the hay. If you really love a good cup of coffee, opt for decaf. Experts say we shouldn’t drink coffee or consume anything high in caffeine four to six hours before going to bed. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I used to eat a lot of chocolate at night and I was always tired the next day because I couldn’t get to sleep. Ever since I improved my eating habits, I’ve been much more alert and satisfied with my sleeping routine.

Complete your bedtime routine, and then read a book

Did you know screens are more likely to keep us awake more than anything else? For me, this is especially true. Screens are bright, require a lot of concentration and can give you tension headaches. This makes me want to stay up even later because I know I won’t be able to drift off once I go to bed. Books, on the other hand, are a godsend. I love to cuddle up with a great book and let myself doze off naturally. Before doing this, I make sure to create a bedtime ritual and complete it a few hours prior to bed so that I’m ready for sleep as soon as the tiredness kicks in. After all, taking showers, brushing my teeth and other night routines tend to keep me alert for longer periods of time.

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