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Modern life is a busy thing filled with noise, technological gadgets, and hurriedness. Take a step back from the busy-ness, put distractions on hold, and allow your mind and body to de-clutter as you concentrate on slowing down. Let the following activities take you back to simpler times.

Read a Book

In a world full of traffic signs, advertisements, emails, memos, and text messages, a non-stop deluge of written words can seem almost natural. But reading a book is different. Choose a classic and sit down for some uninterrupted reading time. Your mind will appreciate the mental nourishment.

Work With Your Hands

Allow your mind to focus on something different as you use your own two hands to accomplish something beautiful or useful. Sewing, needlework, woodworking, and crafting foster a sense of accomplishment and usefulness as you take raw materials and turn them into a new creation.

Nourish Your Body

Spend time in the garden to refresh your mind and grow food to nourish your body. Maybe you have space to plant a big vegetable garden. Perhaps you have a small window herb garden. Either way, caring for growing things gives your hands something to do and your mind time to renew itself. Taking time to cook a healthy meal can have the same result. Knowing that you are taking care of yourself or your family with nutritious food is satisfying.

Be Social

A slower-paced society made time for weekly family gatherings, community picnics, and Sunday afternoon visiting. Try reconnecting with your family or friends more often in person. Move beyond text messaging and social media. Spend time with the people you care about, whether to share a meal of hot dogs on the grill or to meet at a local park for a walk or to let the kids play. These personal connections increase your support system and reduce stress.

Play Music

People have enjoyed listening to music for centuries. Now it’s easy to turn on your playlist and let the sound fill the air, but there was a time before mp3 players, speakers, and radio. If you wanted music, live music was your only choice. Bring back live music. Go ahead and practice that instrument you learned to play as a child or learn to play a different one. Reviving old skills will feel good. Learning an instrument is easier than ever now that lessons are available in person or online. If playing isn’t an option, listen to live music when you can.

You can call these pastimes old-fashioned, and they are just as valuable today. They provide a break from the bombardment of information imposed by modern technology. They encourage satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. They nourish the mind.

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What’s the Deal with Henna?

by Kim Wong-Shing

As natural hair remedies continue to rise in popularity, you might be wondering if there’s a natural way to achieve a new hair color. If you’re looking to cover up grays or simply need a change of pace, henna is the gold standard when it comes to natural dye. However, there are a lot of products labeled “henna” that aren’t as natural as they seem, and even pure henna isn’t ideal for every hair type. Read on to find out if this popular dye will work for you.

What is henna?

Henna is a plant-based dye made from the henna plant that grows in Africa, Asia and Australia. The reddish-brown pigment comes in powder form and is traditionally used to color hair, decorate the skin and dye textiles. To use henna as a hair dye, you must first mix the powder with a liquid like oil or water.

Why is it great?

Fans of henna love that, unlike most commercial hair dyes, henna actually improves the health of your hair over time. Henna molecules build up on the surface of hair strands, resulting in thicker, stronger hair. Many people notice shinier hair and a healthier scalp after using henna. Also, henna is a long-lasting dye that subtly fades over time, so it’s easy to upkeep.

Will it work for your hair?

Sounds great, right? Keep in mind, though, that pure henna only comes in one color: reddish-brown. Depending on your natural hair color, the end result can be anywhere from bright red to a subtle burgundy tint. You can use henna over bleached hair, though that’s a bit counterproductive if you’re looking for chemical-free color. You can also use multiple applications for a richer, darker shade — a necessary step if you’re looking to cover up grays.

Some henna is sold in multiple colors, like black or brown. This henna is known as “compound henna” because it contains additional ingredients such as synthetic dyes or peroxide. Not only is it not natural, but it can ruin your hair if your hair has been previously dyed.

In addition, because henna attaches to the hair and lasts for a long time, it’s not ideal for those who like to switch up their color on a regular basis. Lifting henna to go to a lighter shade is a difficult and sometimes impossible process.

Some curly- and kinky-haired women also notice that henna loosens their curl pattern, which may be either a pro or a con for you.

This popular pigment has gained popularity far beyond its traditional uses. It’s a game-changer for many women, who rave over its subtle pigment and strengthening properties, but it’s crucial to stay informed before bringing henna into your hair regimen.

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