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After a long day of work or caring for your family, you often want nothing more in the evening than to relax and zone out in front of the television, or maybe surf the internet. While watching a show or two or spending some time online is fine, regularly spending whole evenings this way is detrimental to your well-being. What seems like a way to reduce stress can actually be contributing to your stress.

Approaching your evenings with mindfulness is key to reducing stress and living the best version of your life.

Examine Your Evening Routine

In order to be able to change your evenings to be more mindful, you have to take stock of what your evenings consist of now. Make a list of the things you typically do during the evenings.

  • What time do you eat dinner?
  • How much screen time is normal for you?
  • What other activities, if any, do you do?
  • Do you spend time with family or friends in the evenings?
  • Do you have any goals you are working towards?
  • What time do you go to bed? Do you fall asleep easily?

Being able to answer the above questions will help you realize what parts of your routing are working for you and what habits are not serving you well.

Identify Your Priorities

What are your priorities in life? Do the elements in your evening routine align with what you consider your priorities? If you consider your health to be a priority but yet are not making time to cook healthy meals or get in exercise, you are not living your values.

Is spending time with family and friends important to you? Do you make time for that regularly? People often comment that their families are the most important thing in their lives, but after dinner the members of the family retreat to their own private corners to get lost in a screen rather than spending time together.

Are you satisfied with your current life skills? If not, carving out some time each evening to learn how to bake bread or make soap, etc. will improve your life much more than the latest episode of a reality TV show!

If you truly lack time in the evenings due to obligations or extra-curricular activities, try combining your priorities. A family walk after dinner can meet your need to look after your health and spend time with those you love.

Ditch Distractions

Once you’ve identified what your current routine and habits are and have compared them to your list of priorities, it is likely that you will see a discrepancy. Recognize TV and internet surfing for what they are – distractions that lead you further from the life you want to live.

That doesn’t mean giving up TV completely. Simply be mindful about what you are watching and the time that it takes away from your priorities. Pick a favorite show or two each week that you truly enjoy. Make watching the show a pleasurable event that you look forward to and not a time drain that leaves you unfulfilled and stagnant.

Set a Routine for Sleep

Make a bedtime and stick to it as much as possible. Pushing your bedtime later and later does nothing more than make you tired and unproductive the next day. Determine the best time for you to wake up in the morning and pick a time to go to sleep that will give you 7-9 hours of rest. You may have to try different times of going to bed to find the right one for you. Some people feel best on 7 hours of sleep while others may need closer to 9 to be productive the next day.

Give yourself time to wind down in the evening before your head hits the pillow. Working or watching TV right up until you are meant to be sleeping is not conducive to falling asleep quickly. Try reading, talking with loved ones, or doing another relaxing activity in the time leading up to bed.

Develop a personal care routine that helps your body realize it is time to relax and prepare for sleep. This does not have to take a long time but a quick, relaxing bath or shower, time to brush your teeth and care for yourself and your needs will help you be mindful.

Reflect and Prepare

At the end of your day, take a few minutes to reflect on the day that has just passed. Think about what went well and what didn’t. Did you move yourself closer to the life you want to live and towards accomplishing your goals? If not, what can you do better tomorrow?

Think about your day tomorrow and what needs to get done. Write down any urgent tasks that must be done and plan when and how you are going to do them. Reflecting on the day you just had while being intentional about the upcoming day will move you closer to the best version of your life.

Most people have obligations to work or family that take up most of the day. These obligations often spill over into the evenings. But it is essential that you carve out time to make sure you are living with intention and being mindful about how you are spending your evenings.

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5 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Beauty Routine

You won’t find apple cider vinegar in the beauty aisle, but this health staple has plenty of uses for both skin and hair. Here are some of the 5 most common ways to use apple cider vinegar (ACV) in your beauty regimen.

Cleanse your scalp

ACV cleanses the pores and removes build-up from your scalp. It’s great to use as a regular, gentle treatment to give your hair a break from being weighed down by products. To use ACV as a cleanser, mix 1/4 cup of ACV with two cups of water. Massage it into your scalp and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing.

Use as a facial toner

Diluted apple cider vinegar makes for the perfect facial toner. As an astringent rich in alpha hydroxy acids, it minimizes pores and prevents acne breakouts. Mix the vinegar with water in an equal ratio, and use the solution after cleansing your face.

Condition your hair

It’s unusual that one ingredient can both cleanse and moisturize, but ACV actually does both. It closes hair cuticles, restores your hair’s natural pH level and softens hair. Some hair types can even skip regular conditioner after doing an apple cider vinegar rinse. The vinegar also reduces frizz and defines your hair. For best results, boil a cup of water with 2-4 tablespoons of vinegar to make a rinse.

Alleviate dandruff

Chronic dandruff is both uncomfortable and embarrassing. Apple cider vinegar is a natural alternative to harsh shampoos. In addition to cleansing some of the build-up from your hair, it prevents future outbreaks by acting as an anti-fungal agent. Even better, it doesn’t strip the hair the way that regular shampoo does, so you can safely use it a few times per week. Make sure to leave it on your scalp for several minutes to see effects.

Whiten your teeth and nails

Teeth stains are caused by coffee, tea, and wine, while nails often become yellow because of exposure to the sun or excessive nail polish use. Apple cider vinegar can remedy both of these issues due to its high acid content. It’s also antibacterial.

To whiten your teeth gradually, use a mixture of one part ACV with three parts water. To whiten your nails, soak them for a half-hour in a solution of 1/2 cup ACV with 1/2 cup water.

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