Alternative Ways To Caffeinate

Most of us need that morning cup of coffee to kick start our day. Some of us even need the mid-day cup to make it over the hump. While there are some health benefits to drinking coffee in moderation, it might be beneficial to be aware of other forms of caffeine that you can reach for when you need an extra boost.

Green and Black Tea

A cup of green tea has anywhere from 24-40 mg of caffeine.  A cup of black tea has about 47 mg of caffeine.  While this is only about half as much as you get from a cup of coffee, it provides you with a more even and mellow “caffeine high”, rather than just the caffeine spike you get from coffee. Even though you may not notice it, coffee in the afternoon does make for a more restless night of sleep, so you’ll eliminate this by choosing tea, too.

Dark Chocolate

As if you needed an excuse to eat chocolate?  Put down that cup of coffee, and grab some dark chocolate. A regular sized dark chocolate bar only has about 18 grams of caffeine, so don’t expect a huge spike in energy.  But, dark chocolate is rich in healthy antioxidants, so at least it’s good for you, in—cue our favorite word—moderation.    

Fortified Coconut Water

Coconut water is already stimulating in itself because potassium helps your body convert carbs into fuel.  But, if that’s not enough for you, now you can also get coconut water with espresso, which has as much as 125 mg of caffeine.  That’s as much caffeine as you would get in two shots of espresso.  Making it another great alternative for coffee.

Guarana Supplements

Guarana is a plant typically used in energy drinks.  And while you can’t find it at your local grocery store, you can find Guarana supplements.  Guarana seeds actually have double the caffeine that java beans have, making it the most potent alternative.  Guarana is in most multivitamins, so starting a regular vitamin regimen can help you replace coffee almost all together, if you so desire.

If you want to give your body a little break from coffee, but still need some caffeine, give these alternatives a try.  You might find that you enjoy them even more than that usual “cup of joe.”

4 Fun Ways To Get Outside This Spring

Spring has officially sprung, and with warmer weather finally within reach, we’re ready to get outside.  It’s so easy to get stuck in your daily work routine, but you need some Vitamin D, too.  And, scheduling some much deserved outside time into your routine can be pretty easy.  We know everyone already has their favorite things to do outside, but here’s a couple more to add to your list this spring.

1. Have a Picnic

Yes, it’s old school and maybe even a little cliché, but when is the last time you actually packed up, sat down, and had a real picnic?  Probably a while.  This is a great alternative to going out to eat because it’s a small way you can get outside and get active. 

You can get together with a group of friends and each bring a dish or side from your favorite local deli, or make that new recipe you’ve been dying to try.  By putting together a little picnic potluck you can help all your friends get together and get outside to welcome the spring. 

Or, after a long week, take a day for yourself, pack a lunch, grab a blanket and a good book and go have a personal picnic.  Pick your favorite park and just relax.  Clichés are clichés for a reason, and a picnic is definitely a classic outdoor activity for a reason.  It’s an easy way to set aside an hour of your day to enjoy the outdoors.  

2. Go for a Jog

Another pretty classic activity: jogging.  This spring, ditch the treadmill and hit the streets.  You’ve been cooped up all winter, and it’s finally nice out so why spend all that time in the gym when you could be running around outside. 

You don’t have to go for long, and it honestly doesn’t even really have to be a “jog.”  Pick your own pace.  Even just going for a short stroll around the block is something.  It’s another easy way to get outside and enjoy some springtime, even just for a few minutes.  

3. Play a Team Sport

Another great way to get outside and get all your friends together at the same time.  Join an organized softball league, or put together your own.  Pick a day of the week, head to the park, and play a pickup game of soccer. 

Just like having a real picnic, when is the last time you actually played a team sport?  Probably a while.  By designating one day a week, or joining an organized league, you can make a team activity part of your routine, and hence, setting aside some more time for the outside. 

4. Plant a Garden

Spring is the perfect time to start a garden. If you plan accordingly, then by gardening earlier in the season you can actually grow more.  It is important to be a little more cautious when you begin gardening in the spring, because there can still be some frost and colder weather. Cover up seedlings in a plastic cover on nights it is supposed to be especially cold, or if you feel more comfortable, just cover them every night. 

You also don’t necessarily have to begin planting in the spring, but you could just start planning and plotting a small area.  Choose where you want to make your garden in the summer, and start weeding and preparing that area.  Gardening is another activity that really doesn’t take up much time in your day, but it gets you to spend just a little more time outside enjoying yourself.

So, these are just a few of our favorite things to do outside.  And whether you choose something from our list, or something from your own, give yourself that much deserved spring sunshine time.  The best way to welcome these warmer months is by taking advantage of them and getting outside, even just a little. 

Hello Spring: How To Deal With Change

Even though a little change is always a good thing, adjusting to it is not necessarily the most fun.  It’s easy to say to ourselves, “what do you mean, I love change, the only constant in life is change", however when it comes down to it, we all know some changes are a lot easier to love than others. 

Maybe you recently got a promotion at work, or you’re currently redecorating your home, these are typically pretty exciting changes.  But, sometimes, we all also have to go through those changes that have been inflicted on us and aren’t exactly what we would describe as enjoyable.  It’s important to remember that both types of change, good and bad, can bring stress to your life, but you can also take little steps to cope, and combat this stress before it sets in. 

Even changes for the better bring extra stress to our lives.  Adapting to something new asks a lot of us as a person.  Even though we may not think so, we are all creatures of habit, at least to some extent.  Here are a couple pointers on little things you can do when life takes a little bit of a twist.

Address the problem more than your feelings

This doesn’t mean not to talk about your feelings.  Addressing your feelings is totally okay, however, by only talking about your feelings rather than focusing on the problem itself, it’s easier to get stuck simply dwelling on the negativity rather than thinking about potential solutions to the actual problem at hand. 

By only talking about our feelings of fear, anger, or anxiety towards a situation, then we cause a sort of loop that keeps us stuck in those feelings. Whereas if we talk about the problem itself, we are able to actually seek out potential advice and solutions to actually solve it.  We can’t necessarily change our feelings, and we shouldn’t have to, instead though we can change how we chose to solve a problem.

Stop stressing about being stressed

We put so much pressure on ourselves to not feel stressed, that we actually stress ourselves out even more.  Stress isn’t a bad thing.  It’s how we approach it that really matters.  A little bit of stress can actually be a good thing. 

Think about why you’re stressed, this comes back to addressing the actual problem at hand rather than just the feeling.  Your stress is really just there to help you properly prepare for whatever the problem at hand is.  So, harness it, use it to your advantage.

Look at each change as an opportunity

Every change, good or bad, leaves room for growth.  It is usually a lot easier to see opportunity from positive changes, however it is a result of negative changes as well.  Change forces you to adapt, and by changing your path, you leave room to learn things about yourself and certain situations that you may have never learned should things have just remained the same. 

By approaching all types of change with this outlook, you can help yourself accept it, and the good it is going to bring you, even if it’s not in the most conventional way. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Remember, you control your attitude.  Don’t let change get you down.  We know, this is one of those things that is easier said than done, but it’s also nice to remember.  No matter how good or bad something may seem, the attitude you approach it with makes all the difference. 

And, as we all know, change really is the only constant in life, so don’t get yourself crazy over every little thing.  It’s all part of life, and sometimes you just need to remind yourself that everything’s OK. 

While you’re obviously not going to approach each new change in your life with a huge smile on your face, it is important to remind yourself that you can handle anything thrown your way.  These pointers unfortunately can’t prevent you from ever being stressed again, but they can help you deal with the stress of change in a more productive and inspiring fashion.