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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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How To Spot Common Running Mistakes And Turn Them Into Running Successes

It’s no secret that running is good for your physical and mental health. Running requires almost no equipment and you can run virtually anywhere; however, it is not as simple as it sounds. Whether you’re just getting into the sport or you’re a seasoned marathon runner, ensure you aren’t making these four common running mistakes.

The Wrong Shoes for the Right Job

Wearing improper footwear can cause your feet blisters and irritation, but it can also hinder your form. It is best to visit a specialty store. The excerpt can measure your gait (every one’s is different) to help you determine the best fit for your foot. Runners’ shoes should facilitate strengthening of the feet and muscles, and not just absorb every impact – this means you will want to look for flexible, and maybe even roomy, running shoes. Although they aren’t necessary for every runner, barefoot running shoes are a good alternative to traditional sneakers. You’ll want to replace your running shoes annually.

Bad Form! Bad Form!

This is a trickier running mistake. Form is more important than time or distance. With improper form comes injury. Pay attention to every stride and determine whether you are landing on the heel or the sole of your foot. Landing on the heel of your foot can cause injury to your muscles and joints because your heel is not designed to absorb such an impact. Instead, practice landing on the sole of your foot with every stride – doing so will help to prevent knee or ankle pain. With this in mind, you can also prevent injury by taking smaller strides.

Improper Fueling Up

Carb-loading, although enticing, is not always necessary. To avoid stomach cramps, it is best to allow your body two hours to digest food before you start running. For short runs, eating a light snack fifteen minutes beforehand is acceptable. Less than 30 minutes after any run, you should eat a snack rich in proteins and carbohydrates to help with recovery. Always make sure your body is hydrated, and as a general rule of thumb, you can optimize your performance by eating a diet which consists of at least 80% healthy food. Because everybody is different, it is a good idea for runners to keep a record of which types of foods work best for them.

Sidestepping Warm-Ups and Recovery

Before every run, you should warm-up, which can include anything from walking to jumping jacks. You should be able to speak easily throughout your warm-up. You should also be stretching before and after your run. Not only does stretching help prevent injury to the joints and muscles, but it can actually help to improve a runner’s speed and endurance. You’ll also want to ensure that your body has properly recovered between runs. Taking rest days is vital to allow muscles to repair themselves. Recovery can also mean foam-rolling the muscles, which can aide in minimizing the dreaded next-day muscle pain.

As you can see, most running mistakes are easy to fix. Turn these don’ts into do’s, and you’ll hit the ground running!

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