Combat Dust Mites With These Hypoallergenic Pillows

If you ever get the chance (or, rather, displeasure) to view a dust mite under a microscope, you’ll see immediately that they are unbelievably ugly creatures. Unfortunately, these little buggers are also pretty much everywhere, and wherever they go, their allergens go right along with them. This is why, for someone with a dust mite allergy, living with them can be even more of a nightmare than just knowing they exist.

Mite of Your Life – What are Dust Mites and Why Do They Matter?

Dust mites are relatives of ticks and spiders. They like warm, humid environments, and they eat the dead skin cells that fall from humans every day, so they’re, of course, found in places where people dwell. Bedding, drapes, furniture, carpet, and even stuffed toys are popular spots for these microscopic mites.

Whilst they do not bite or sting, the allergens that they produce (through their fecal matter, no less) can cause a variety of symptoms in those with environmental allergies or asthma. These symptoms can include anything from typical allergy symptoms, like sneezing and congestion, all the way up to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and I’ve had the lot!

Getting Rid of the Dust Mites in Your Life

Anyone with allergies or breathing problems knows that such conditions are simply miserable. Reducing the amount of dust mites in your home could go a long way toward reducing allergy and asthma symptoms, leading to a significant improvement in overall physical wellness. Eliminating dust mites can also have positive impacts on the people in your home who don’t tend to suffer from these ailments. After all, anything that negatively impacts your health should be cleared away as soon as possible. Luckily, there are actually a variety of steps that can be taken to further this goal.

One method for reducing dust mites is to use a dehumidifier. Since dust mites thrive in humid places, reducing the humidity in your home will make it difficult for them to survive any longer in your environment. When it comes time to wash your bedding (preferably at least weekly), strive for the hottest possible water setting, as this can actually kill the mites. If you cannot wash your bedding in hot water, you can freeze it for a day or two instead. A less labour intensive method is to use a mattress cover to protect against dust mites, as well as stains.

If you or someone in your household suffers from more severe allergy symptoms, there are more steps that you can take, such as maintaining the cool temperature of your home, and vacuuming or dusting more often. However, be aware that vacuuming and dusting can also temporarily stir up more allergens into the air or the area that you’re cleaning. Someone severely allergic might need to wear a mask whilst cleaning.

Pillow Protection

Perhaps one of the most useful things that you can do to combat the mites and your reaction to them is to replace your pillows.

Pillows tend to be the place where we come into closest contact with dust mites as, after all, we do spend many hours each night with our faces pressed against them. Replacing your typical pillows with hypoallergenic, dust mite-resistant pillows like this set from In Style Furnishings is an ideal solution. Made from a fluffy down alternative, these pillows are comfortable, as well as allergy-reducing.

But, what if you have a favourite pillow that you just can’t seem to part with? Give these pillow protectors a try. Not only do they keep allergens from penetrating the surface of your pillow, but they’re also waterproof, as well.

You (Probably) Can’t Have Just One – Other Allergies and Dust Mites

Often, people with one allergy will also have others, and they can all aggravate each other, so doing things to relieve your other allergies is another way to minimise some of your discomforts. Consider investing in an air purifier, and don’t forget about Himalayan salt lamps.

Do you suffer from allergies? What sorts of symptoms do you have and what steps have you taken to relieve them? Let me know in the comments and make sure to follow me on Facebook for more tips and tricks for bettering your health and well being.

Make Someone’s Day With an Inspirational Card

Christmas is just around the corner, providing many opportunities to express warmth and affection to our family and friends. While gifts and group meals are plentiful this time of year, there is something that seems to be forgotten more and more each season — the humble greeting card.

In decades past, exchanging Christmas cards was as essential to Christmas as tree trimming and stocking stuffing, but with the rise in technology and the advent of social media, the sharing of paper greetings has since declined. This is unfortunate, both because there is something uniquely personal about receiving a tangible greeting card, and because the very act of sitting down to compose a greeting provides the writer with a moment for mindfulness and reflection.

There Is Nothing Better Than Receiving a Greeting Card in the Post

Particularly since we are in an age where technology rules, receiving a carefully considered card in the post is a guaranteed way to brighten someone’s day. Our post, sadly, is often not particularly uplifting, filled with junk mail and bills. Seeing a handwritten envelope amongst the pile of everyday messages is incredibly uplifting. Cards can be kept, treasured, and displayed. They convey a sense of the physical person that all of our apps just can’t convey. Cards aren’t deleted in a Snapchat message or buried in a Twitter feed. They provide a level of connection that feels more real than what comes across our Smartphones everyday.

Year Round Inspiration

While Christmas provides the most obvious opportunity to sit down and compose a handwritten greeting, cards are items that can be sent year round to offer a special surprise or boost to loved ones. This is an area where technology and the real world collide, as the Internet offers endless choices for selecting the right card. From charity Christmas card packs to inspirational cards that can be sent anytime of year, your choices for your message are seemingly limitless.

Inspirational greeting card packs also provide terrific gifts this time of year, both for old school stationery lovers, and for today’s children who may not have had much experience writing cards or letters. Gift a child with a pack of inspirational cards and assist them in expressing their gratitude to those who gave them Christmas presents, or even just let them have fun with the cards, writing their own letters and stories. The inspirational cards available online are often so beautiful that they can even be framed and hung as artwork! Most importantly, their messages are carefully selected by you, giving the card yet another personal touch that can deeply impact and encourage the recipient.

Writing for Mindfulness

We don’t spend as much time writing by hand these days, but the very act of doing so is a way of practising mindfulness, as well as a way to harness our innate creativity and even improve our mental health. We can get our thoughts out of our heads and onto the page, clearing our minds and activating areas of the brain that are stimulated by the use of our fine motor skills. Handwriting offers a space for reflection and contemplation.

While my upcoming book on mindfulness will offer greater insight into this beneficial practise, a writer should focus on the feeling of the pen against the hand, and the feeling of gliding the pen across the paper or card. Simply by participating in these simple actions — being present as you write — you are engaging in a meditative practise that should never become a lost art.

What are your thoughts on inspirational cards? Do you plan to send Christmas cards this year, or write thank you cards with your children? How does writing impact your practise of mindfulness? Connect with me in the comments, and on Facebook, where I offer more tips and tricks to improve your wellbeing and enhance your life.

The Best Slippers to Wear When Performing Tai Chi

You’re more likely to know the practise of T’ai Chi Ch’uan as Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese martial art that has developed a worldwide following. Its slow, deliberate movements allow practitioners to appear as if they’re doing a graceful dance. Tai Chi actually has multiple different styles, including some that are fast-paced and others that involve partner exercises, as well as the more widely seen slow-paced individual practise. These styles can use anywhere from 12 to 100 movements, so you’ll want to research to find the right style for your needs.

Tai Chi continues to grow in popularity as its benefits to both physical and mental health become more and more apparent.

Philosophy of Movement

Many modern Tai Chi styles trace their roots back to one or more of the five traditional schools, all of which trace their origin to Chen Village. The original basis of Tai Chi as a martial art was to achieve a yin/yang balance in combat. The idea was that if a force was to meet another force the results would always be negative, but if you could instead meet a force (such as an attack) with redirection or cause it to exhaust itself, you could end the encounter without a negative result. This philosophy can translate physical encounters, as well as life in general, and the bodily awareness gained through practising has many benefits of its own.

Physical & Mental Benefits

Ancient Chinese medicinal beliefs held that illness could be the result of a blockage or imbalance in a person’s Qi (pronounced Chee), or life energy. Tai Chi is intended to increase and balance the flow of this Qi, helping to alleviate ailments. It can also be adapted for just about any fitness level. It is useful for improving your balance and flexibility, something just about everyone can benefit from, but it is especially beneficial in older adults as it can reduce the risk of falling.

The relaxing nature of the movements and the gentle exercise could help to lower blood pressure and promote weight loss. The movements are low-impact, so they are perfect for those with joint issues or arthritis and could even help to alleviate pain. There are even seated versions of the movements for those with mobility issues. In studies, practising has even been shown to improve the symptoms of both fibromyalgia and COPD. Just about everyone can find something a physical beneficial from Tai Chi.

A common phrase used to describe Tai Chi is “meditation in motion,” and for good reason. Beyond the many physical benefits to practising, there are a host of psychological benefits, as well. Tai Chi’s slow-paced, deliberate movements can provide a focal point for meditation. It is not uncommon for practitioners, once they become comfortable with the movements, to slip into a meditative state where their sole focus in on their body, the way their weight shifts, and their breathing as they sweep through their movements.

Exercise has been known to reduce stress and improve mood, and Tai Chi is, at its core, a form of exercise. Moreover, because of its accessibility, almost anyone can benefit from its uplifting effects. The focus on breath and movement has been known to help with managing anxiety and promoting an overall sense of well-being. Regular practise could even contribute to more restful sleep.

Preparing Yourself – Finding the Right Footwear

Unlike many forms of exercise, there are not many requirements for getting started with Tai Chi. It can be practised indoors or outdoors. It can be practised with a group or on your own. It also does not require a lot of equipment, but one thing that you may want to consider investing in is a good pair of Tai Chi slippers. Most commonly, people wear trainers to exercise, but these have been designed to be at least somewhat slip resistant, which can cause issues when you’re attempting the more advanced Tai Chi movements, that involve quite a bit of pivoting.

There are three main kinds of Tai Chi slippers: cloth, rubber sole, and athletic. The athletic looks sleek but tends to be a bit pricier. The rubber sole is typically mid-range pricing wise. While a good idea for practising on damp grass or other such surfaces, the rubber sole may not allow you to turn quite as easily. Cloth shoes like these cotton sole slippers are my own personal choice as they provide an immediate connection to the ground, allowing you to still feel it beneath you even through your footwear. They’re also lightweight and allow your feet to breathe as you practise, reducing moisture in your shoes. Additionally, these are inexpensive and easy to both carry and pack up. It is important to note that size is difficult to guarantee, but a good retailer knows this and will often have a flexible or even free return policy to account for sizing issues.

Are you just getting into Tai Chi or have you been practising for a while? Do you have questions about what kind of benefits practising could have for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and follow me on Facebook for more health and wellness tips.