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4 Reasons Puzzling is a Great Idea Tonight

If you’re like a sizable group of curious folks, I’d bet you enjoy the occasional crossword, Sudoku, or jigsaw puzzle. And if you’re not, there’s good reason to become interested in the practice of “puzzling.”

Mind games get a lot of attention for everything from helping our memories to feeding our brains in a way that could make them healthy over the long-term. While there isn’t a lot of strong science to suggest that regular puzzling can help our brains later into life, some studies do exist, which discuss how mind games can possibly delay the onset of memory loss or Alzheimer’s.

But, even though the jury is still out on the positive long-term effects of playing with puzzles, there are still loads of other reasons why doing a puzzle can be a great thing for you every day. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Puzzles as a grounding exercise: One of the most popularly recommended ways to ground ourselves is by rubbing something smooth (like a river stone or beads) with our thumb or finger. Most jigsaw puzzle pieces are shaped with smooth edges or a smooth finished surface on top, making the small pieces great for conducting short periods of grounding.
  2. Instant, continuous gratification: Unless you’re the kind of person who competes in Sudoku championships, puzzles can take a bit of time to complete. Think about the last jigsaw puzzle you finished on your own. How long did it take? The beauty of this, though, is that puzzles bake in tons of positive feedback as your work your way toward your ultimate goal. Even if you don’t finish, the act of snapping a new piece into place or finding the answer to 6-down may be enough to boost your mood in the moment.
  3. Puzzles can be brain food: There’s a lot of research out there talking about how new mental challenges can strengthen your mind. Even small changes to a routine can have an impact on your brain in a good way. Puzzles can provide some much-needed diversity to our lives, especially when taken on in favor of watching another six episodes of our favorite rerun on Netflix.
  4. Puzzles pair well with other fun things: Jigsaw puzzles especially can be great social challenges. One of my favorite things in the world is having a game night with friends. But, if you’d prefer to take on these challenges solo, it can always be nice to curl up with some relaxing music, a glass of wine, and a 500-piece puzzle.

What are some of the reasons you like (or perhaps don’t like) puzzles?

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Reorganize a room for calm and relaxation

It’s the weekend, and high means there’s no better time to clean up and reorganize. Cleaning up or organizing your things can have a great impact on your positivity and help you feel accomplished. One of my favorite things about a clean bedroom is just how easy it feels to sleep the night after I’ve cleaned.

This week, spend some time rearranging a room in your home so that it can be a calming place for you to decompress after a long or stressful day.

In this article from Bustle, there are several great ideas about how to turn a bedroom into a sanctuary. Here are some starting tips.

  1. Opt for lamps and dimmers for a sense of warmth instead of cold overhead lights.
  2. If you don’t have candles or incense, get some and create an aromatherapy environment. 
  3. Treat yourself to plush and soft items for sheets, comforters, seating, and carpet.
  4. Eliminate electronics.
  5. Find a space for your things and keep it that ways.

What ways have you found to create spaces in your home that encourage calm and relaxation?

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Do one thing that you can be proud of

If you follow trösta box on Instagram, then you’ll know we had the great fortune of being able to take in a rescue kitten that we found in a colony of feral cats. The little guy is so cute and friendly and, having been around many feral cats before, exhibits hardly any of the less desirable characteristics you might associate with a feral cat.

We’ve now been working with a rescue agency to ensure the little guy finds a new home. It makes us really proud to think that we did something we could feel proud of in rescuing him. Playing with him every day and making sure he’s healthy reminds us of how proud we feel in the decision we made to rescue him instead of just letting him live in the wild.

While rescuing a kitten is pretty big task, there are a lot of little things we can do every day that can make us feel proud in our actions or thoughts. Doing something that makes you feel proud can give you a huge self-confidence boost and help power you through a day that might otherwise feel tedious or difficult.

So, what is one thing you can do today to make you feel proud of yourself? Maybe you’ve got a goal that you’ve been struggling to achieve. What’s one thing you could do today for no more than 5 minutes that would help put you on the path to achieving your goal? Maybe there’s a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to recently. What if you dropped them a note or sent them a text message?

A piece of advice I heard recently was that if you have something you need to do, and that thing will take less than 1 minute, you should do it immediately. Treating ourselves to a small boost in self-confidence is always worth the 1 minute you could spend doing something that makes you feel proud of you.

What will that thing be and where will you begin today?

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Daily Self-Care: Make a Green Smoothie

My favorite thing about a good smoothie is how nutrient dense they can be. A lot of the time, I think about smoothies as a meal in a cup. A lot of people will tell you, especially if you’re trying to lose weight, drinking your calories isn’t the best strategy. However, there are many benefits tied to making the right green smoothie. The benefits of constructing the perfect smoothie are found the dense nutrients that can be found in the fruits and vegetables you load up your blender with.

I love smoothies. One of my favorites combines frozen mangos, bananas, mixed berries (usually a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) whey protein powder, and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

When I’m really feeling like a treat, I’ll make an imitation of Jamba Juice’s chocolate peanut butter smoothie, using a frozen banana, some ice, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and milk (not exactly high on the detox scale, but it does provide a nice alternative to a piece of cake or some cookies).

After scouring the internet for the best green smoothie recipe, I found this one over at The Green Forks. Before I started writing this post, I didn’t realize how “adventurous” a smoothie can be. But, take a look at the ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Romaine
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Pear
  • Banana
  • Coconut water
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Lemon
  • Chia seeds
  • Ginger root
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric

While I haven’t gotten around to making this great smoothie every morning, drinking just one is definitely a self-care act when you’re feeling the need to detox.

What smoothie recipes do you love?

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Self-Care Act: Appreciate Your Feet!

In our August box we wanted to help you appreciate your body as you get out and enjoy the sunshine. Yoga is a great way to show your body some love as you practice new moves and breathing techniques to help you handle life’s daily stresses and ups and downs. That’s why we loved including the Yoga Deck to give you a chance to learn yoga basics and create routines that work for you.

But self-care isn’t just about clearing your mind and stretching those muscles. It’s also about learning to love you for you – to embrace your own beauty and feel comfortable in your own skin. That’s why August’s box included goodies to help you love the area we all tend to be a little self-conscious of: our feet.

And what better time to embrace our feet than in the summertime, am I right?

First off, we can’t get enough of the vegan nail polish from Black Dahlia Lacquer. This is powerful stuff – 30 days after my pedicure and my toes are still sparkly strong! One of the best things you can do to show your feet some love this weekend is to pick out your favorite nail polish and give your nails a shine.

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Even more amazing this month were the trösta box original barefoot sandals. At the beach or at the yoga studio – these are sure to make you smile! What I love about barefoot sandals is that they’re a little funky and are a way to get us all out of our comfort zone when we’d rather just be silent.

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So go on, start loving your body this month and start out by appreciating your feet and wear them proud!

 

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Daily Self-Care: Write Down 5 Things You Love about Yourself in Sidewalk Chalk

The other day I read an amazing post written by a women who had discovered organically how self-care allowed her to rejuvenate her life. What was so impressive about it though, is that she focuses on what her practice of self-care taught her about herself.

What she discovered is how truly awesome she really is.

A lot of the time we talk about self-care, we talk about its power in helping us through difficult times in our lives. No doubt self-care is 100 percent necessary for those hard times. What we don’t often talk about is the power of self-care to remind us how awesome we are. Yes, we can find the power to survive, but what we really want is to thrive.

For today’s self-care, start by grabbing your journal, turning on some energetic music, and writing a list of at least 5 things you absolutely love about yourself. Then, pick up some colored sidewalk chalk and find a space of sidewalk that you get to see most days so that you can see the results of your hard work every day. Finally, use your chalk (try to use all the colors) to write out the statements from your journal.

Not only will you now be able to remind yourself every day of just how amazing you are, but, because you wrote your statements publicly, there’s a chance other people will feel encouraged too. You could even challenge yourself to make a new friend or two if you happen upon someone enjoying your artwork!

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Getting Creative with A Quartzy Life

We love representing local artisans and small businesses, and this month we were blown
walking2away with the artwork from A Quartzy Life featured in our July box. We love A Quartzy Life’s prints, cards, and whimsical tattoos so much so we asked creator Lauren Younis to share more about her creative process and what she does for self-care.

 

 

 

We love your beautiful and inspiring cards that are in our July Box! Tell us about how you got involved in making and selling your own artwork?

Thank you! Creativity has been one of those things that’s probably been ‘under the surface’ in my life forever, but I really let it bloom when I was in my mid-twenties (I’m 28 now). That’s when I really chose to focus more on making art and designing my love is theown brand than anything else career-wise. It was a big decision indeed- there is no rule book when you’re embarking on a creative, entrepreneurial life, but the growth of A Quartzy Life has brought me so much joy, I can’t imagine committing as much time to anything else!

 

 

What is your favorite item to create, and where do you get your inspiration? What does your creative process look like?

All of my pieces begin as flashes of ideas, then sketches, then paintings, and then I turn them into prints, greetings cards, tattoos, stickers, you name it. I get my DSC08452inspiration from everywhere, literally: creativity is more a like a ‘lens’ through which I see the world than a ‘practice,’ if that makes sense. It’s how I see and who I am, not something I merely ‘do.’ Anything can inspire me: a talk with a friend or stranger, an idea from a book, nature… it’s about seeing the world as new every day. (Which is closely related to self-care, which I’ll talk about later!)

That said, my creative process is constant. It starts with paying attention and observing the world around me- and within me- and then manifests as art.

July’s theme is all about being adventurous. What are some ways you like to be adventurous in your daily life?

I couldn’t think of a theme I love more than adventure! Adventure in daily life is a necessity to me, and I often find myself leaving my comfort zone to seek it. I’m not even sure I have a ‘comfort zone’ any more, actually! I was born and raised in Illinois, trostaimagebut right now I’m in Colorado, and will soon be leaving for a National Parks road trip across the western US. Being in nature and beholding the splendor and beauty of the earth is something I need to to daily. I love hiking, camping, walking, just being surrounded by nature. It really puts me in touch with my soul. As I get older, another thing that inspires me a lot is people. I love learning about people, hearing their stories, deepening friendships and relationship- I’ve painted the words love is the greatest adventure more than once, and I truly believe that when we really hear, listen, and lovingly pay attention each other, we come alive in beautiful ways.

The trösta community is all about self-care and giving people an opportunity to try new activities to challenge themselves, be creative, and learn to love and grow in their strengths. What are some strategies you turn to when it comes to practicing self-care?

We live in a world that often demands us to be something we are truly not, asking us to play a role, put on a mask, and be concerned more with our appearance than our inner character and soul. Call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s nothing more dangerous to a creative, authentic, loving life! For myself, the foundation of self-knowledge is faith: knowing the source of my real beauty, knowing how I am wired and created, and being true to higher ideals than self-advancement and the need for approval from others. So anything that strengthens my faith is always a winning strategy, be it trostaimage2reading enriching books, sitting quietly in nature (or at my desk, sketching up ideas), or having conversations with those who inspire and uphold me. These things recharge my soul, and I seek them daily. Just as we need to fuel our bodies with goodness if we want to feel good, we need to fill our hearts and minds with the right things if we want the fruits of our life to be peaceable. In a more physical way, I love to practice yoga. I always tell people to forget attaching to the result: just do it! There is something about the mere practice of re-familiarizing yourself to your body in the most basic way that brings great joy and health. I love to run as well; to me it is meditative, rejuvenating, and even if it hurts at the time, my body always thanks me for it later.