5 Essential Maternity Clothings for Pregnant Moms

How to Become a Mom!

Becoming a mother is, for many women, a highlight of their adult lives. Under the right conditions, this should be a very memorable time for you, albeit not without its share of stress.

There’s a lot to keep in mind leading up to the big day, not least the idea that the big day itself isn’t just the end of one process but the start of another that lasts a lifetime. This may be why industries have sprouted up around motherhood, embracing the process and eager to show women the world over that there is plenty of help to be had.

The Fashion Industry for Expectant Moms

One such industry that has practically molded itself around motherhood is fashion. Of course, while this seems to be an easy cash grab and not much more, there is a lot of thought that goes into choosing the right maternity clothes. While for many of us this initially seems like an extra, impractical set of purchases, there comes a time in the pregnancy period where the need for new, maternity-specific clothing makes itself apparent.

There’s no set time limit, as every woman’s pregnancy body develops differently from the others, but you’ll know when the baby bump starts to cooperate with your clothing less and less. Button down shirts don’t button down all the way anymore. You feel bloated all day long, and the clothes are part of the reason why. You always feel the need to unbutton the top button of your pants, and not just for after hefty meals. You only feel right in stretchy spandex that accommodates your new shape.

These signs show that your body’s current configuration is no longer catered to by clothes designed for an entirely different form, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Indeed, if you see any of these essentials on sale, don’t feel guilty about buying them. Your body will thank you.

1.    Mom jeans.

Especially the stretchy kind. The cut of these is slightly different from the more straight-laced, angular cut that’s currently popular. It’s a simple step but a significant psychological boost to feel comfortable enough in a pair of old jeans on days when you think nothing else you put on works. You might not even want to go back to your usual trendy jeans, after feeling how consistently comfortable these are.

  1.    Cotton compression socks.

It’s not that you’re going to the gym or anything. Compression gear mainly keeps a tight, snug seal around your legs, making sure that circulation gets back to what it used to be. Pregnancy, along with the changes it does to your body, puts a noticeable drag on active blood circulation, making it difficult for all the extremities — especially the legs, which have gravity to deal with — to get the blood flowing to and from them. Breathable compression socks help with that.

  1.    Underwear.

If there’s one area where comfort is a must, it’s this. Look for stretchy but snug, comfortable and breathable underwear that’s also pretty. You’re not going to be wearing this out by itself, of course, but there’s no harm in being presentable. A few supportive bras will be helpful as you’re going to grow in that area inevitably, but nursing bras can wait until you actually need them.

  1.    T-shirts. All the t-shirts.

As before, look for ones that are light and breathable, and that will stretch in areas where you need them to. Look for items with ruching, which will accommodate your bump when it more fully manifests and grows. Also be careful not to pick stuff that’s too sheer. Light is good, but that doesn’t have to mean thin. When buying, bend down, touch your toes or as far as you can, and have the fitting room attendant determine if there are things visible that shouldn’t be. Some stretchy fabrics are elastic but have sheerness as the cost.

  1.    Leggings. Also all the leggings.

Tying in with the cotton compression socks, having your legs covered and supported by a full-length pair of leggings is incredibly comfortable, and is much more secure than having a maternity dress that can billow or rise. Have a few pairs in rotation, as these garments mold to your body and are one of the most comfortable things you can gift yourself with. Sure, they’ll pretty much reveal the exact shape your legs have, but you’re pregnant, and the world can take a hike.

There are a few other vital clothes and dress types to get, but they’re not nearly as essential as these. A little black dress in the right size is always right to have on hand for any occasion (that fashion constant doesn’t change just because you’re pregnant), and some menswear ideas — a nice, solid blazer, for instance, works great as a second layer — can give you more options.

Overall, think comfort, think versatility (most maternity wear has nursing features built in for later) and think practicality.

Why Cotton Compression Socks are the Best Support Socks for Your Legs Every Day

There are compression socks available on Amazon at every price point but with the numberless offers available, how to judge their quality, their effectiveness or their comfort?

Very difficult indeed, but you can follow some simple guidelines to reduce the guesswork.

First in the list are the multipacks.

It is a race to the bottom, with more and more sellers offering more and more pairs for a low price. Here the choice is simple, just ask yourself: do I need compression socks or not? Because if you do, you should stay away from these cheap and flimsy synthetic socks that offer very little support if any. As my mother used to say: often you get what you pay for! And this is apparently the case.

Then you have the sporty, over-hyped compression socks

You recognize them because of the images that promise Ironman like performances at just about anything you do, be it a marathon or watching your favorite soap opera.

In this category, some of them are pretty good, especially if you can bear the flashy colors and big printed brands on a pair of nylon stockings. (I’d like to see my grandmother wearing a pair of those… 🙂

And then you have some great compression socks.

A few brands stand out if you know how to find them. They sell quality products that look good, are comfortable without all the hype. These socks usually contain a high percentage of quality cotton or wool, and their construction is different: more sturdy, knitted cuffs and just better finished.

For a good pair of compression socks made with a high percentage of natural fibers, the prices range in the region of $25.

Expensive! You may say, but are they really?

A pair of high-end compression socks will do what it is supposed to do, which is compress and support the tissues in your lower legs enhancing blood flow, reduce fatigue and lessen or prevent varicose veins.

And they will do so day in and day out for a pretty long time. Also, consider that with just 2 pairs you can take proper care of your legs every day for much longer than all the socks in 2 multipacks will ever do.

And the winner is…

Out of the thousands of brands available on Amazon.com, the one that offers by far the best value for money for a high-quality pair of Cotton Compression Socks is SocksLane.

Priced under $20 SocksLane’s products are seriously the best deal you can get when it comes to high-end compression socks.

These are top-rated cotton compression socks that are hypoallergenic, comfortable, effective and affordable. And they look good too!

The company over-delivers too in terms of customer support, extended product guarantees and a personal touch that only a small business can provide.

So, what makes SocksLane’s cotton compression socks stand out?

SocksLane’s products are designed to solve real problems and provide true value to the people using them.

Amanda and Dave, the company’s owners, have worked hard to create their compression socks that meet and exceed their customers’ expectations. The result is quality merchandise they’re proud to put their name behind.

Amanda and Dave lead a team of passionate people whose sole focus is to provide a superior product that lives up to their high standard.

The company is built on small business values such as integrity, customer care, and honesty. Their philosophy is simple, customer service and attention to detail are non-negotiable, and each customer is a member of their family—they deserve a fast, friendly, and helpful customer care and the whole team go out of their way to make sure their customers are happy.

Conclusion

If you don’t want to waste any more money on compression socks and products that don’t work, then we warmly invite you to check out their Cotton Compression Socks here.

Still not convinced? Read the reviews on Amazon.com here and judge for yourself, they are all from real people just like you.

Should You Really Take 10,000 Steps Daily?

Let’s get Physical! Physical!

Getting and staying fit has really taken off! It has become more popular in the last several years. We’ve come to really embrace the fitness lifestyle, turning it into less of the standalone lifestyle that it was in the 80s and more of a part of every other lifestyle.

We’ve started looking more closely into what we eat, more intelligently deciding on what to incorporate into our routines, and even wearing specialized watches that keep track of our biometrics and our movements. That last development coincided with the widespread belief that we have to take 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy.

TRIVIA: Manpo-Kei
Not many know this, but the whole 10,000 steps idea came from the practice of using Japanese pedometers in the 1960s. The term “manpo-kei” means “10,000 steps meter”.

This is a neat little trivia bit because otherwise, it’s often a source of confusion where the nice round (and pretty steep) number of 10,000 comes from. Of course, over time, the number has become a solid goal backed up by up by research, which has shown that if partnered up with healthy lifestyle choices it can help reduce the likelihood of various chronic illnesses, including metabolic syndromes, heart disease, and diabetes.

All this sounds like a great deal in exchange for essentially walking a lot. But does it need to be a solid 10k?

Give Up Now? No Way!

We might feel a bit guilty about not meeting that target, and some have even been known to give up if they can’t make that particular number — some even before trying it, already thinking their little attempts won’t make a difference.

The good news is that while the numbers we need to do before we see results are still significant, they’re far from impossible to do. (If you think about it, you actually go through a heck of a lot of steps a day, and 10,000 is probably not very far away from what you’re currently doing).

So all these second-guessing moments where we talk ourselves out of giving it a shot don’t need to be how we end up at all!

The even better news is that 10,000 isn’t a hard and fast number, although it is a perfect one. The American Center for Disease and Control doesn’t outright specify 10,000 as the magic number, but it does note that 150 minutes of activity a week (that comes to about 30 minutes a day) is quite helpful.

As per research, adults trying to meet that target have been known to reach a count of 7,500 steps a day, which is already a great start. Some even hold that you CAN do 10,000 steps without leaving the house! Check this video out!

As such, 10,000 could already be seen as an even higher level of activity rather than a minimum. Going above and beyond that range brings in even more benefits: a recent study in Scotland notes that postal workers walking 15,000 steps a day were shown to have much fewer heart disease risk factors.

Not a bad deal. In any event, the main thing is to get moving.

HOW TO GET MOVING
First, get yourself a pedometer.

It doesn’t have to be a fancy watch, as old-school pedometers do a perfectly good job at keeping track of your steps. The important thing is to have a counter, as beyond the actual task of counting the steps the pedometer will help you stay interested in the movement.

When you can actually see what you’ve already accomplished and got a feel for how close to the goal that is, it’s a valuable mind-conditioning thing. Motivation is an easy thing to get going.

Do simple things to build up those steps.

Going to work, the grocery store or the mall? Park at the end of the lot and walk the rest of the way. That’s additional steps going there, and additional steps going back. Merely taking the scenic route is also sure to add steps by definition. Then while actually at work, take a short break — 5 to 10 minutes won’t go amiss — every hour to break up your sedentary block of time and give your body some physical activity to break that inertia. These steps will already add a reasonable degree of physical activity to your previous tally.


Build up the steps incrementally.

You don’t have to hit 10,000 right off the bat. First, getting the pedometer will give you an idea of how close or far you are to that goal (or the more manageable 7,500). Once you have a concrete idea of where you are, you can then make the necessary tweaks. The whole idea of the steps is to set a goal to get you moving.

You can start by getting yourself into the 3,000 to 4,000 step range, which is already notable in terms of increase for someone living a sedentary lifestyle. You can increase from there. 

Remember…

Take it slow and pace yourself.

You don’t want to injure yourself by shooting for too much too soon. Physician Michael Roizen puts it best when he says “the goal is to do four more steps today than you did yesterday.” This is an excellent way to ground the idea of increased physical activity, keeping it realistic and reasonable enough to help avoid overtaxing yourself and putting yourself in harm’s way.

#10000stepsdaily #lifegoals

 

Top 3 Recipes That Can Relieve Leg Pain

Coming back from pain can be a pretty heavy experience. If it’s leg pain, all the more so. Imagine how much work our legs do in a day, and you can see right away how recovering from a leg injury or even old-fashioned day-to-day wear and tear is a tough task.

Our legs lift our body weight up and sustain it whenever we walk, crouch, climb stairs, get out of bed… we don’t even have to run or jump for the strain to be pretty considerable. Anything from cramps to strains to overuse injuries to inflammation can stop us on a dime, and even start getting worse from there.

Relief comes in many forms, not least the traditional RICE cure.

R for Rest involves, well, resting the affected joint or muscle by taking your weight off it and not having it do much, if any, work.

I for Ice leverages the contraction-causing, pain-dulling power of cold; strapping some cold packs onto the affected joint or muscle can help reduce inflammation and soothe the pain.

C for Compression is best done with some wraps or compression socks or stockings and can have a noticeable pain-relieving, circulation-improving effect over time. Finally,

E for Elevation involves keeping the affected part raised, putting gravity to work for you in helping the circulation speed up healing.

Beyond RICE, though, there are lifestyle changes that can be made to improve your odds of getting back on your literal feet after leg cramps or other leg pain. Just making some smart eating choices can have a profound effect on how quickly your body knits itself back together and easing the leg cramps or leg pain into being a thing of the past.

SWEET POTATO SLICES

One reason cramps happen is a low level of potassium, and increasing our potassium levels can be done with this complex-carbohydrate-rich root crop. Just slice some sweet potatoes into round slices, and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper — or add some cayenne powder if you want to jazz up that mellow flavor with some heat — and roast for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. These are generally good for a spicy side dish, or an afternoon snack — but sweet potatoes can also be quite filling.

HEARTY LENTIL SOUP

Lentils, along with beans, provide excellent levels of potassium that can help fight cramps. Start by prepping 1 chopped onion, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 diced carrots, 2 sliced stalks of celery, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 can of crushed tomatoes, 8 cups water, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, 1/2 cup thinly-sliced spinach, and of course, 2 cups of dry lentils. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, then add in the carrots, onions, and celery, stirring until the onion is just tender. At this point, the bay leaf, basil, oregano, and garlic may be mixed in and cooked for two minutes.

Afterward come the lentils, the water, and the tomatoes. This mix is the soup beginning to take shape. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and keep the soup simmering for an hour. Then add in the spinach, cooking until it wilts, and then the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and, if you want, some more vinegar. One cup of lentils gives you 15/5 of your RDA of potassium — this doubles that.

LEMON-ROSEMARY SALMON

15% of your RDA of potassium can be had in just six ounces of wild salmon, and this dish packs enough for up to four people (or 60% of your RDA of potassium, if you want to make all this for yourself — you could have one serving for each meal, or one meal a day for four days).

For that matter, according to Mayo Clinic, salmon is an excellent protein, full of inflammation-fighting, cortisol-lowering omega-3 fatty acids as well. This dish infuses it with pure citrus and salt flavors that balance our the fishy taste, and some fragrant herby flavor that works well with salmon as well.


This easy recipe requires an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 minutes of cooking time (and 10 minutes or so to prep), and yields a good meal for four. The prep time mainly involves a bit of slicing (the lemon), chopping and crushing (the herbs), and — well, that’s it, unless you want to do the fish cutting and breakdown yourself. (You can get the separate fillets, or have a full serving of salmon cut up for you, at the fishmongers).

Start with 1 and a half pounds of wild salmon (or four fillets of six ounces each), a quarter cup of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary that has been crushed and chopped, and one lemon, sliced into rounds.

Lay the salmon flat on a sheet pan, and pour lemon juice over it. Sprinkle salt and rosemary over the fish, and then lay lemon slices down on top of the protein. Bake this for up to 20 minutes. If you’ve got a cooking thermometer with a probe, check for 135 degrees Fahrenheit in the interior of the meat.

 

—-

Who says leg pain relief is not delicious. You can always be creative in finding remedies for your leg pain. Try one of the recipes above this week!

 

5 Easy to Find Natural Home Remedies for Edema

Did you know that there are natural ways to get rid of swelling feet and legs which are easy to find and are probably in your kitchen? Well, to know which ones are effective home remedies for edema read on.

Edema (or Oedema) is the accumulation of fluid in the body tissues which lead to swelling. Most cases of edema occur in the ankles, legs, feet, and hand. It’s sad to note that there are actually millions of Americans affected by edema which greatly affects their lifestyle.

Symptoms
  • Swelling
  • Puffiness
  • Stretched skin
  • Dimpling of skin after putting pressure for a couple of seconds

Cases of edema can be mild and can be the result of sitting for long hours, high salt intake, insect bites, premenstrual syndrome and pregnancy. Sometimes causes can be due to medication like steroids, estrogen, high blood medications and the like. But there are more serious cases which are due to hypertension, kidney problems, excessive drinking, and smoking or even a sedentary lifestyle.

Although edema is not really the major problem but only a symptom of another condition, consulting a doctor is always best.

Nonetheless, here are some EASY to find Natural Home Remedies for Edema:
1. Parsley

This is known to help reduce swelling and the pain it causes, due to helping the body get rid of excess fluids, as well as preventing the reabsorption of both sodium and potassium. One way this happens is through the diuretic effects of parsley. Parsley also offers a great amount of vitamins A and C and herbal fiber. You can take this daily, as a sort of tea — boil one teaspoon of dried parsley in two cups of water, then strain. Take this parsley tea before breakfast. It is one of the best home remedies for edema.

2. Epsom Salts

These have always been popular, but many don’t realize they’re good for edema too. Epsom salts can be used for a bath to soak in, in order to help reduce swelling and the accompanying pain. On top of all that, an Epsom salt bath can help loosen the joints and relax the muscles, which will contribute to reduced pain. Two cups mixed in bathwater will give you enough to soak in for 10-15 minutes. Do this up to thrice a week.

“an Epsom salt bath can help loosen the joints and relax the muscles”

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Part of relieving edema is keeping your potassium levels solid, and that’s where potassium-rich apple cider vinegar comes in. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory that many chefs and trainers swear by. You can take this as a drink twice daily — just dilute 1-2 teaspoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Alternatively, an external application could also lend some relief. Soak a towel in an equal mix of water and apple cider vinegar, and wrap the towel around the affected area.

4. Tea tree oil

It does more than smell good, absolutely. It’s a helpful anti-inflammatory and has analgesic properties that can help get swelling down and thus reduce pain as well. This works quite well for edema arising from insect bites. Simply swab a small amount on with a cotton swab, then leave for a few minutes and then rinse off. You can also add a few drops to massage oil and use it to massage the area affected by mild edema.

5. Dandelion

It’s also an herb and a great one — who knew? It’s a natural diuretic that helps the body drain fluid. The potassium it has a lot of will also help even out the amount of sodium in your body, which will then let the swelling go down. Simply mix a teaspoon of dried dandelion leaves (fresh works too) in hot water and let steep as a tea for up to 7 minutes. Strain and drink — up to 3 cups a day will help you out.

*** More information is available at draxe.com and one video that talks about this are here.

Of course, to help these along, it might be a good idea to keep some expert advice in mind.

Lessen Salt Intake

Lifestyle change is definitely to be considered to make the home remedies for edema more effective. Edema can come about because of a high-sodium diet, or an otherwise high level of sodium in your diet. Reducing your salt intake (and also keeping a close eye on your hydration levels) can help your body avoid the many possible consequences of a high sodium level, which includes edema.

Massage

One vital thing to make sure of when affected by edema is to keep up your circulation. One way to do this is through massage. Look for a trained therapist, or learn the basics yourself, and massage the affected area in order to get circulation back on track. Problematic or outright poor circulation can compound the swelling problems as blood can linger in the affected veins, which are already having trouble keeping the blood flowing because of the inflammation in the area. Consider using massage in tandem with the tea tree massage oil.

Compression Socks

Compression has traditionally been known to keep circulation moving at a healthy level, and as such it makes sense to give them a try to help relieve edema. The swelling and puffiness that edema brings on might be quite uncomfortable, and compression keeps the enclosed body

parts tightly bound and protected. This can help reduce the discomfort while maintaining an improved level of circulation that may also help reduce the swelling as time passes.

Cotton compression socks are the best choice for compression garments for edema because cotton is naturally breathable and comfortable to wear compared to other synthetic compression garments. It is also the best option for sensitive skin. To know more about cotton compression socks, click here.

What Makes Cotton Compression Socks the Best Choice for Women

With all the options that we have in compression socks, it can be challenging to find one’s way around. Usually, all that we do is to look at the style and size, mainly when we shop online. And often, we are quick to complain when what arrived in the mail is not as comfortable on our feet as we expect it to be.

Quite a few different materials can be used in making compression socks: there ’s nylon, wool, copper-infused nylon, polyester, acrylic, polypropylene, olefin, cotton and many more. The list goes on.
What you need to consider is that most of the materials above are synthetic, and when it comes to choosing a garment to wear close to your skin for long periods of time, do you really want it to be made of oil derived fibers?

Cotton is an excellent choice, especially for women, who often have more delicate skin, and are more health aware.

So, what are the top 3 Reasons Why Women Should Choose Cotton Compression Socks?

1.Cotton is naturally breathable

With today’s busy lifestyle, comfortable socks play an essential factor. A published study of 2010 on over 1000 Americans show that women actually walk more than men with an average of 5340 steps per day, which translates to about 2 and a half miles of walking.

Cotton compression socks are lighter and cooler giving the feet more room to breathe still providing the required amount of compression. Cotton also promotes blood circulation in your lower legs and feet preventing swelling and fatigue. Also being naturally breathable, cotton compression socks will wick sweat more effectively preventing your feet from “cooking” in your shoes when the weather gets warmer.

2. Cotton is Durable and Holds Color Overtime

Women are very conscious of style and comfort, which is why cotton compression socks should be their first choice. Compared to other materials, cotton is more durable and will last longer, at the same time it is soft yet strong. Its fibers are not abrasive, and the feeling is softer on the skin. It also holds color longer than other materials, so your cotton compression socks will still look great even after many repeated washes. Aside from style, comfort should be the top reason why you should prefer cotton compression socks over synthetic ones.

3. Cotton is the Best Option for Sensitive Skin

Did you know that about half of Americans have sensitive skin to some degree? And the vast majority of these are women. Several factors that contribute to their sensitivity: Women’s skin is usually thinner than men’s. Women also may experience more dryness in their skin because of hormonal changes due to menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. Cotton compression socks are naturally hypoallergenic and decrease drastically the chances of your skin getting irritated.

These are just some of the main reasons for choosing cotton compression socks, but let’s not forget that Cotton Compression Socks are generally better tolerated by your skin and are just so much more comfortable and soft compared to synthetic ones. Also, they are no more expensive than a comparable high-quality pair of nylon hoses. So why compromise on comfort when you can have better for the same price?

But not all cotton compression socks are the same, next time that you go online to buy your next pair, make sure that you buy a high-quality product such as the ones manufactured and sold by SocksLane. Their women’s compression socks are made of premium combed cotton and carefully chosen non-allergic stretch fibers, this, combined with their exclusive knitting process and strict quality controls has allowed SocksLane cotton compression socks for women to become best-rated compression socks on Amazon.com.

To know more about high-quality cotton socks, click here

3 Ways to Put Meaning Back in Your Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of the year when you’re assaulted by hearts, flowers, chocolates and anything pink or red. There’s such a flurry of consumerist madness that one has to wonder if the accusations against the popular non-holiday holiday are true. Was Valentine ’s Day manufactured by big companies as an excuse to hawk chocolates, diamonds, teddy bears and other wares?

There’ some kernel of truth in most anti-Valentine’s rants you come across. Yes, it’s over-commercialized. Yes, the flowers and chocolates are clichés. And yes, it’s hell for single people. But the same can be said for any holiday, including Christmas. We celebrate this day of romance because what you and your partner have is worth celebrating. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get lost in the how and what of things that we lose sight of the why.

Here are 3 straightforward ways to help you have a more meaningful Valentine’s Day:

  1. Be creative. Thinking out of the box is fun and exciting but if you find yourself stressing and losing sleep planning the perfect date, stop. Being creative is not doing the outrageous or out doing what’s been done. It’s going out of your comfort zone knowing your partner will appreciate your efforts. Remember how many times your significant other wanted you to participate in morning runs? Get matching cotton compression socks, put on your running shoes and join the morning run. Or how you can’t cook anything beyond scrambled eggs even if your life depended on it? Sign-up for a cooking class a few weeks before and cook a feast on the big day.
  2. Make your partner your only audience. Likes and shares are compelling motivators in social media posts. You’re having dinner by candlelight on a rooftop with a string quartet but you’ve spent the last 20 minutes simulating the perfect lighting so you can post something for everyone to gush over. Documenting important days in social media is common sense these days but if you’re too caught up in the process, how can you enjoy the moment? For the big V-day, make your significant other the only audience that matters. Forget the perfect shot, post or hashtag. What matters is you enjoyed the food together while it was still warm, you enjoyed the music playing in the background because you’re not busy choosing the right filter, and you remember how much fun it was to spend an evening together and not how many likes and #relationshipgoals you received.
  3. Celebrate what you have. Your love story doesn’t have to be epic to be meaningful. Emulating movies or romance stories can be good occasionally but molding your relationship after fictitious ones can be exhausting and exasperating for you and your partner. Make your day a celebration of what is unique to you and your partner’s relationship instead of what you think it should be. As written in Popsugar.com’s “Real Romance Is Finding a Way to Eat Dinner With Your Wife in Quarantine”, “Sometimes real life can be just as romantic as the fictionalized stories we fall in love with, though for completely different reasons.” Write your own story and create your own traditions. Cosmo recently listed “The 14 Sweetest Valentine’s Day Dates of All Time” and one thing the dates have in common is the couples may have used cliché things like flowers and chocolates but they made their celebration more personal and special.

Carrie Bradshaw is probably not the best person to ask for advice on low-key and meaningful romances but she has her moments. In an episode of Sex and the City she remarks, “Eventually all the pieces fall into place . . . until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment.” So breathe easy and don’t get too caught up in the season’s pace. You already have a special someone to celebrate with, the battle is half won.

5 Smart Ways to Improve Blood Circulation

Proper circulation is the foundation of a healthy body and a sound mind. It guarantees our cells and internal organs receive the nutrients and oxygen they need to function normally. It also ensures our waste products are properly eliminated. Letting our circulatory system work as nature intended can be challenging these days but fortunately we can restore proper circulation safely and naturally through simple and smart choices.

How to improve blood circulation safely and smartly

  1. Choose your food. Eating a proper diet doesn’t mean starving yourself or foregoing your favorite comfort food, it simply means making sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs. To achieve a balanced diet, 25-35% of your daily caloric intake must come from healthy fats. Your other 25-35% has to come from protein, preferably lean. Your remaining 25% will come from carbohydrates, which includes some fruits, vegetables, and your whole grains.
  2. Get some exercise. Physical activity gets our blood pumping, improves our mood and clears our mind. Exercising is literally the best and most immediate way to energize our circulatory system.
  3. Drink plenty of water. Water is the best thirst quencher, hydrator and detox drink, and our bodies need at least eight glasses of it daily. Contrary to popular belief, drinking water at room temperature is not necessarily more beneficial than cold water, it all boils down to preference so drink water in the temperature you prefer.
  4. Get a massage. A massage works like exercise, it helps with our circulation. Instead of shopping or getting your nails done to release stress, get a massage. You will feel better after and your body will thank you.
  5. Be creative. Making clever food choices go a long way in sustaining your resolve to eat a proper diet. If you can’t forgo potato chips, pick a brand low in sodium, bakes their chips and uses non-gmo potatoes. If you’re hankering for a burger, get a burger that’s lean and grilled, and eat only half.

Being healthy goes beyond food and extends to lifestyle changes like walking instead of taking a 5-minute cab ride and using the stairs instead of riding the elevator up a floor or two. If you can’t avoid sitting in front of the computer all day because of workload, you can still choose health by pausing every 2 hours to stand up, stretch, and take a few deep breaths. Wear compression socks to help blood from your legs flow back to your heart. Avoid synthetic materials such as nylon and prefer high-quality cotton-based compression socks that are hypoallergenic and naturally comfortable.

Take care of yourself.

Promoting proper blood circulation can be surprisingly easy if we go about it smartly. All we need is resolve and a better sense of self-awareness to appreciate how proper circulation ensures we can live our lives to the fullest.

Three Big Reasons to Take-up Running this Year

In the United States, running first gained popularity outside youth programs, schools and competitive sports in the 1970s. It was an amalgam of events that led to this boom: a dramatic win by Frank Shorter in the 1972 Olympics, the media’s increasing coverage and interest in the sport, and Nike’s innovations to the running shoe and corresponding aggressive advertising.

This was not a mere health fad, this was a movement. Its advocates based their arguments on scientific studies and journals to support their claims on the evolution and benefits of the sport, making them credible and newsworthy. Government and major corporations funded programs, nationwide events and activities to entice athletes and amateurs to take up jogging as their sport, main physical activity or as an integral part of their training. Prominent athletes and public officials, including President Jimmy Carter, became closely linked with the crusade.

The campaign remained popular well into the 1980s but like previous health movements, the fervor died down and popular culture moved on to new health crusades. But the gains and paybacks from jogging have been firmly established and continue to be updated as new studies are conducted. Today we enjoy a wealth of information about this ubiquitous activity, making it easier and safer more than ever.

Why take-up running now?

The sport gained traction once more in the recent years. Running clinics mushroomed, fun runs became a go-to fundraising activity and seeing hip, urban professionals jogging at nearby parks after a hard day’s work in the office became de rigueur. A fundamental reason for the resurgence is the battle cry of better health and overall wellbeing of the previous crusade still rings true to this day and with the significant advancements gained, today is the best time to take-up or rediscover running.

  1. Better environment. Have you noticed cities, business districts and the newer master planned communities all seem to move towards having more dedicated green spaces in them? They are bringing back parks and sometimes, these parks come with trails dedicated for jogging. As for existing trails, efforts have been made by the local governments and immediate communities to improve and make these trails safer for runners. Try walking around in your neighbourhood or your office, you might be surprised that there’s a perfect path or trail for that morning or evening run you’ve been planning. If you’re moving or traveling and would to know the best places to run in the country, click here to help get you started.
  2. Technology has come a long way. Activity trackers, smart watches, GPS and mobile phones can help shape any beginner into a serious runner. Sure, clinics and their coaches can provide proper guidance and personal service but sometimes you just don’t have the bandwidth or extra money for them. This is where technology comes in to bridge the gap. A good start is downloading a free application like MyFitnessPal to help you track your calories, steps and progress. You can then download the corresponding application for your activity tracker to track your activities, distance covered, calories burned and heart rate. Some applications even offer challenges you can join and results are posted on a weekly basis. A number of applications link directly to MyFitnessPal, such as Garmin Connect. With these two, or similar applications combined, you have your trainer, coach and nutritionist in your mobile phone at virtually no cost. Whether you’re running for weight loss or health, the level of technology we have today can help keep you engaged and achieve your goals as if you were working under the supervision of expensive trainers, minus their costly fees.
  3. It’s easier to run more safely. Most have no qualms about investing in expensive jogging shoes with the latest technology, or the latest tops and bottoms that are cute but still tasteful. One important gear you may overlook but can significantly impact your performance and recovery after a run is socks. Wearing compression socks helps control muscle oscillation or the vibrations produced in your body when your feet hit the ground repetitively. They help restore blood circulation and reduce lactic acid build-up, which can cause fatigue. The cotton compression socks from SocksLane in particular are proven to encourage optimal blood circulation. Being made from natural cotton fibers, runners do not have to worry about rashes even after completing a long distance run.

No excuses

While you may need a MasterCard (or Visa) for everything else, running doesn’t require expensive gym memberships or bulky equipment. A quick search online can get you a wealth of information you need to start. A good activity tracker and your mobile phone, two things most people have these days, go hand in hand in tracking your progress and supervising your runs – with timely reminders and analytics to boot! Now all you need are the right pair of shoes, socks, comfortable clothing and your doctor’s approval before you start. So create your music playlist, pick your favorite path and start pounding against the pavement.

5 Sensible Ways to Treat Swelling and Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Bringing new life into the world is a miracle and gift, but it is not without caveats. Most women who have been pregnant will agree that two of the most difficult yet underestimated conditions that arise from pregnancy are swelling and varicose veins.

What is Edema?
Edema, or swelling, is a natural part of pregnancy. Your body will produce more fluids to ensure your baby has all it needs to develop properly. You will retain more fluids to help keep your body pliant as the baby grows. But your body can only do so much to accommodate the growing baby in your womb. Your pelvic veins and vena cava, the large vein responsible for transporting blood from the lower limbs back to the heart, is “squeezed” by the growing uterus as the pregnancy progresses. This pressure hampers your blood flow and causes your body fluids to pool in your ankles and feet. Your hands, face, and neck may also experience swelling as your body fluids are pushed into tissues due to changes in your blood chemistry and hormones. Pregnant women typically experience pronounced swelling in their third trimester.

What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins, usually blue or purple in color, which cause a distended or uneven appearance of the skin area they are found in. Varicose veins develop when the natural flow of blood is restrained, weakening the walls of the vein where the blood collects until the vein swells and becomes visible as a bulging blue or purple varicose vein. As you go further along in your pregnancy the body will steadily retain all those excess fluids while blood from your legs has a harder time flowing back to your heart, leading to the formation of varicose veins. Studies show that at least a third of first-time mothers and more than half of women on their second (or more) pregnancy develop varicose veins.

Are Edema and Varicose Veins permanent?
The good news is edema and varicose veins go away once the pregnancy ends for most women. For the next three months after delivery, your body naturally expels all the excess fluids from your body and your hands, legs, feet, and other parts affected return to their normal appearance and color. But until your due date comes, you have to cope with living, and for some, working, with these two.

How to treat Edema and Varicose Veins naturally during pregnancy?

Living and working with edema and varicose veins is challenging for most expecting mothers, and it can be debilitating for some. That is why it is important to find safe and natural ways to treat them. This is to ensure that the development of the baby and the health of mother and child are not compromised by undesired effects from additional medication.

Fortunately, most of the prescribed natural treatments are easy, need little to no equipment, and can mostly be categorized as slight lifestyle changes. Here are the five most commonly prescribed natural ways to treat edema and varicose veins:

1. Avoid prolonged sitting or standing in one place. It is important to take breaks, ideally every thirty to sixty minutes. Get a cup of coffee, or glass of water, or anything to get you moving (or sitting) if only for a few minutes before you resume work.

2. Engage in physician-approved exercises. Even if you have been exercising your entire life, always consult your doctor before engaging in any exercise or strenuous activity.

3. Wear comfortable clothing. Avoid restrictive clothing and artificial fabrics that prevent the skin from breathing and sweat from evaporating properly.

4. Wear appropriate footwear. Stilettos and other heeled footwear distribute the body weight unevenly which can worsen your edema and varicose veins. Wedges and platforms, although seemingly more comfortable than heels, make you prone to sprains and tripping.

5. Wear compression socks for better blood flow in the leg and ankle area.

What are the benefits of wearing compression socks during pregnancy?
In a nutshell, compression socks are designed to help or improve blood flow. Clothing accessories imbued with compression technology all seek to improve blood flow, improve the comfort of the wearer, and enhance performance. On a more serious note, they can help to prevent some medical conditions such as DVT or deep vein thrombosis which can be life-threatening.

So why wear compression socks at all during pregnancy?
Because they directly address the swelling and varicose veins that come with pregnancy. They are snug so your legs will feel taut but stretchy enough so that you do not feel as if you are wearing a leg corset. They compress or hug the ankle area with the right amount of pressure, and this pressure gradually decreases moving up the leg, to help the blood from your legs flow back to your heart.

Are all compression socks are created equal?
If you are pregnant, then it is better to avoid synthetic compression socks that are made of 100% oil derived yarns and can cause rashes and allergies when worn for long periods of time.

The best choice is to use good quality cotton compression sock as they are safer, hypoallergenic and just much more comfortable. Cotton compression socks let the skin breathe during hot summers and provide added warmth during cooler temperatures. Sockslane manufactures high-quality compression socks made of cotton that are comfortable, durable and fashionable. To learn more about Sockslane and how it has made a difference in other women’s lives, click here.

Pregnancy and motherhood come with its challenges but sometimes something as simple as wearing the right pair of socks can go a long way in ensuring the safety and well-being of expecting mothers and their babies.