Author

Claire @ October Rain

Browsing

Why I Love Solo Travelling

When I tell people that I absolutely love solo-travelling and list some of the places I’ve been alone, I get two reactions:

  1. “Oh my gosh, I love that you travel solo! I can never do it but kudos to you!”
  2. “Oh… why?” *thinks, does she not have any friends or something?*

And in a way, #2 is half right… I don’t have many friends and the friends I do have, don’t travel much or don’t have the same interest in seeing the places I like. 

In April, I have a big trip to Japan with Dan and some of our mutual friends – right now, it’s shaping up as 5 people in total. This Japan trip is my biggest friends trip ever and I’m excited, don’t get me wrong, but I’m craving for another trip that I can do solo.

It’s not that I dislike any of my friends to not travel with them, but solo travelling offers a different experience that group travelling. 

During the times I’ve visited cities alone, I’ve come to realize this:

+ Solo travelling teaches you how to comfortably take selfies in public. 

Umm, you think whipping out my selfie stick was embarrassing? Think again. 

New York City Selfies

One of my solo trips was to NYC in the summer of 2016… yes, one of the busiest and biggest cities in the world and I chose to venture it on my own.

+ Solo travelling allows you to fully be in control of your itinerary.

Long gone are the days when you have to meet up with friends to plan the trip and accommodate to everyone’s interest. Feel like hitting a museum instead of shopping? Go right ahead, girl!

+ Solo travelling teaches you to learn and accept being alone, and that being alone is not a negative thing.

When you got no one but yourself, you can’t help but slowly accept loneliness and when you accept that, you realize you’re not upset… because everyone associates being alone as unhappy and sad, right? Learning to live, accept, and cope with being alone is the best thing to learn for yourself.

+ Solo travelling lets you meet new people and build relationships when travelling.

When you’re travelling with a group of friends, you’re more inclined to just hang out with them and not meet anyone on the trip because why? You got a group of best friends with you already. Being alone allows you to meet new people because if you’re having lunch alone, or relaxing alone in the evening, someone will strike a conversation with you. And, if not – being alone sort of forces you to talk to other people if you want to join in on the fun.

+ Solo travelling pushes you out of your comfort zone.

We’re all so afraid to be alone and do things alone that I bet you skipped out on a movie in theatres because none of your friends wants to catch it. Solo travelling pushes you out of your comfort zone by forcing yourself to do things alone and being alone in crowded spaces. Interested in that walking tour? Well, suck it up and buy your ticket because you got no one else by your side to drag along to!

+ Solo travelling allows you to learn more about yourself.

When you have all this time and opportunity to do what you want, you are bound to learn something new about yourself!

Salem, Massachusetts
My solo trip to Boston!

+ Solo travelling gives you a break from everyone and everything.

I love my friends, I do… but sometimes, you really have to take a break from them. I mean, just because you’re away from home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re taking a break from your friends. Hell, sometimes being on vacations with your friends breaks a friendship!

+ Solo travelling is cheaper. 

It’s cheaper in a sense that you’re not wasting money on activities you don’t want to do, and at restaurants, you don’t want to eat. Fancy a quick grab and go meal instead of sitting down and chatting? Go right away!

+ Solo travelling builds confidence. 

Listen, you don’t have your best friend telling the random guy you’re not interested, nor do you have your best friend asking the sales associate for a different size. Looking after yourself and seeing a new city builds self-confidence because you’re the only one looking out for yourself, and the only one guiding yourself through a new city and different transit systems.

+ Solo travelling is easier and hassle-free. 

It really is. I don’t have to rely on any of my friends to pay me back for whatever they owe me, or how I have to wait for them at the airport or in the morning. It’s just easier because everything is done on your schedule based on your interests, and it’s hassle-free because you have to deal with no one else.

It’s 2018 – I think it’s time to break the stigma and fear of being a solo traveller. I’m itching for my next adventure, and I think my next solo adventure would be Mexico!

Managing Diabetes for Life, It Can Be Done

Diabetes may stay with those that are diagnosed with it for life, but that doesn’t mean that those people who are diagnosed with cannot manage it for life. Yes, those that are diagnosed with diabetes can manage their diabetes for the remainder of their life, whether they are diagnosed with it early on or later on.

So, if you are a diabetic, make sure to never give in in regards to it. And, make sure to take heed of the diabetes managing advice below, too. By doing so, you might just save your life.

Image Source

First of all, learn all about it

If you are a diabetic, whether recently diagnosed or not, then you simply must learn everything there is to learn about diabetes. You must do so because you are the most important member of your health care team, and thus that means that you must know everything that you are dealing with. You must know the difference between the types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. You must know as much as you can about blood sugar levels and how they are impacted by diabetes and all of the medicine taken to combat it. You must seek more info on medicines such as Januvia, even if you’ve never heard of it before. And you must know your diabetes ABCs: A is for the A1C test, B is for blood pressure, C is for cholesterol.

Once you know all of these things and everything else there is to learn about diabetes (and there’s a lot more, believe me) you will be well on your way to managing your diabetes for life. And, fear not because if you, for whatever reason, find yourself struggling when trying to learning all of these important things, then you can learn more about diabetes by involving yourself with support groups on the matter.

Surround yourself with a health care team

As previously mentioned, you are the most important member of your health care team. And, as the most important member of it, it’s down to you to actually form it. It’s down to you to put the others members of it in their place and it’s up to you to actively seek their help.

What your health care team should consist of is a bunch of experts in their respective fields who will be able to provide you with the knowledge and help you need to successfully circumvent and manage diabetes. These experts should be: your dentist, a diabetes doctor, a diabetes educator, a dietitian, an eye doctor, a foot doctor and a pharmacist. You should surround yourself with this crack team of experts in your health care team because they will each provide you with specific assistance that you need to manage each specific area of your diabetes.

But, it’s not just experts in the field of health provision that you should be surrounding yourself with. No, you should also be surrounding yourself with loved ones who are going to support you through your diabetes, especially during the earliest stages of it, in order to keep you on the straight and narrow in regards to it. Yes, you’re going to need someone to tell you to cut back on the chocolate every now and again and you’re going to need somebody to help you stay fit and healthy, and that’s why you need a strong network of support surrounding you. So, don’t be afraid to talk to your loved ones and don’t be afraid to ask them for their help.

Take your condition seriously

As strong as your supporting network is, and as helpful as they may be in regards to keeping you on the right path in regards to managing your diabetes, ultimately it all comes down to you. It all comes down to you to manage your situation and to do all you can, all the time, to bettering it. And, the only way you are going to do this is if you take your condition seriously.

When taking your diabetes condition seriously, the first thing that you should engrain into your head is that diabetes is SERIOUS. There’s no such thing as a ‘touch of diabetes’ — diabetes is serious and can kill you. Therefore, you need to take it seriously, you need to take your food choices seriously, you need to take your weight seriously, you need to take your sugar levels seriously and you need to take the taking of your medicine seriously. If you don’t, seriously, you will put yourself in grave danger.

Learn how to cope with your diabetes day by day

Seriously, as a diabetic, every new day that you get to see and live through unscathed is a blessing. And, if you want these blessings to continue in your life way into your future, then you need to be doing all you can, at all time, to cope with your diabetes.

The first thing to do when coping with diabetes day by day in order to ensure a bright, long future for yourself is to learn how to lower your stress levels. You see, stress can be detrimental to blood sugar levels and can raise it through the roof, and that’s why you need to practice your breathing and find something in your life that calms you. The second thing to do, of course, is to eat well. And, this doesn’t just mean eating well for one or two days of the week, this means eating well seven days a week. This means doing things like making a diabetes meal plan for yourself and only ever indulging on foods that are low in calories and saturated fat. Quite simply, this means coping with your diabetes day by day, not one day on one day off.

Diabetes can be managed, and it can be managed for life. But, it can only be managed for life if the advice above is taken into consideration and those that are diabetic vow to do all they can to keep themselves healthy.

3 Unexpected Difficulties About Being Disabled

It’s not a secret to anyone that being disabled means that you are going to have a more difficult time than most people in your daily life. However even so, there are a number of ways in which having a disability can really negatively affect things, often in ways which people are not aware of. Many of these are impossible to know about unless you are disabled, but to those who do suffer this fate, they can be blisteringly obvious. It is helpful to know this however, because if you have anyone in your life suffering with a disability, you will want to be able to understand as best as you can. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the unexpected difficulties of being disabled in today’s world.

Image Source

Stigma

You might not think that even today you have to receive a lot of stigma for suffering from a disability, but you would be surprised. As it happens, there is still a great deal of social unease when it comes to disability, and it has a way of making life for those people very difficult indeed. If you are wondering just how difficult, then it might be worth looking into it with someone you know. Ask someone who suffers with a disability if they suffer any social stigma, and you will be amazed at some of the experiences they can retort. The key here is to ty and reduce this stigma by talking about it, encouraging disabled people into social situations, and so on. The more we do this as a culture, the better it gets, so start today.

Finances

There are many ways in which it is harder to be strongly financially independent as a disabled person. For instance, you have fewer jobs you can go for, and many of the best paid ones are active, on-your-feet jobs which you can’t do at all. Of course, there are benefits to be had for most disabilities, but even those can be hard to come by, believe it or not. Many times there will be a great difficulty in trying to get hold of your social security or benefits, and you will need to turn to the likes of Scott Davis for help (Scott Davis is an experienced ERISA lawyer). When you have a disability, your finances can be tough indeed to look after, and it is something which you will have to try and deal with in life.

Poor Social Life

With one thing and another, it can be increasingly and surprisingly hard for those with disabilities to make and keep friends, and this might be one of the saddest parts of all. The poor social life makes for a much worse quality of life in general, and it is the kind of thing which most people need in order to be truly happy. If you know someone with a disability, you can help to improve their life greatly by treating them in the same way you would anyone else socially. This alone will make a huge difference.

Alternative Ways to Stay Fit and Healthy

If you just can’t stomach five pieces of fruit or veg a day and couldn’t think of anything worse than going to the gym either before or after a long, hard day at work, then you should know that there are alternative ways to stay fit and healthy. And, these alternatives ways of staying fit and healthy are themselves healthy and safe courses of action to take, so don’t be afraid to take them!

Image Source

LCHF diets

If you feel like you are being held back from living a fit and healthy lifestyle because you don’t have the motivation or self-discipline to stick to a traditional form of dieting, then a low carb, high fat diet could be exactly what you’re looking for simply. It could be what you’re looking for, quite simply, because it rewards overindulgence on fatty, fulfilling foods!

These sorts of diets, such as the Ketogenic diet, replace the consumption of carbohydrates with the consumption of fat in a bid to acclimatise our bodies into burning the fat that they consume for energy rather than the carbs that they consume, and when this happens weight is shred in as quick and as a healthy time as possible. And, as stated on ketofact.com, these kinds of diets are also good because they make us feel far more full far more often, meaning picking at food throughout the day (the true enemy of weight loss) is instantly eradicated.

So, don’t be afraid to embrace an unconventional diet that falls into the category of LCHF, despite what anybody might tell you about dieting and how it is done ‘properly’.

Bring the gym to your home

Don’t let a pure hatred of the gym stop you from working out and reaching your optimum fitness levels — bring the gym to you!

When you do so, and when you starting using all of the things in your home that can be used as gym equipment as gym equipment, you will put yourself in the best position possible of boosting you fitness performance without having to pay for gym membership and without having to wait for others to be done with the equipment before you can have a turn. For instance, you can use your bathtub as a piece of gym equipment, and what’s more you can use it as a piece of equipment that will train and strengthen many different area of your body. Well, you can strengthen your core by doing planks in your tub, you can build you triceps by doing seated side bends on your tub and you can add muscle mass to your pectorals by using your tub to do push ups on. And, when you’re done working out, you can draw yourself a nice hot back to relax in!

So,  don’t be afraid to turn that food pyramid upside down and don’t be afraid to season your dishes with things that might increase their fat levels, and don’t be afraid to avoid the gym completely, because doing so might just keep you fit and healthy.

Exams, But Without The Stress

Image Source

As archaic, illegitimate and unfair as exams may seem, they are the most universal means of testing someone’s abilities right now (don’t worry, we think they’re in desperate need of an overhaul too). Still, no matter what path you are taking in life, whether you want to become an ice road trucker, a medical professional of some sort or just financially okay no matter what journey that may take you on, you’re going to find yourself getting tested by the unpredictable beast that is an exam.

But even though this time in your life is going to be just as stressful as that morning you woke up and saw Trump had won the election, you are going to get through it and that’s because it is totally possible to shake off those nerves and totally kill it, and we’ve come up with some tips to help you:

Image Source
  1. Positive Affirmations, Please

It may feel cheesy to have a posters in your study space that read, “Beyonce Is My Spirit Animal” and “Nothing can stop this light from shining”, but you’ll be shocked at how motivated a few motivational bits of art can make you feel (and they’ll stop you from procrastinating too).

  1. All-Nighters Don’t Work

Everyone that is staring down the barrel of an exam has a) pulled an all-nighter or b) thought about pulling an all-nighter. It’s one of those things we do – how else are you meant to cram all the revision you have into the time you have left? However, losing just one night’s sleep can jeopardise your performance and abilities and sanity for the four days that follow. Don’t risk it.

Image Source
  1. Preparation Is Everything

How you translate that doesn’t matter because it is a universal fact. Let’s say you want to go down the medical profession route and you have your Step 2 CS Exam, then it is worth getting Step 2 CS preparation assistance. If you have a bunch of college midterms coming up with back to back exams, then simply figuring out what it is you need ahead of time will be a massive help when it comes to not stressing out that you don’t have a pen. Like the age-old-adage says: fail to prepare and prepare to fail.

  1. Block ‘Em Out

How many times have you found yourself sat at your computer, working away, only to catch yourself opening a new tab and automatically typing in Twitter or Facebook? It’s annoyingly automatic and subconscious. To stop this from happening, it could be high-time you got yourself a website-extension-blocker-thingy like ColdTurkey. When exams are nearing, you haven’t got thirty minutes to waste on other people’s highlights, so don’t offer yourself that kind of distraction.

  1. Leave The Hardest Until Last

The best time to try and crack those really challenging bits of material is right before you go to sleep. We know this may make no sense to you, but according to some pretty solid studies, leaving the hard stuff until bedtime makes it far easier to remember the next morning.

Relax At Home – 4 Stress-busting Techniques

Many people assume that relaxation techniques can only be learnt and practiced by joining an evening class such as yoga or meditation. However, there are many resources available for you to access from the comfort of your own home. Techniques can then be incorporated into your life on a daily basis, rather than just at your weekly class. At home it’s very easy to relax by sitting in front of the tv, which is fine to a certain extent, but a small amount of time allocated to relaxation per day will have long term health benefits, as the negative effects of excess stress will be counteracted.

Image Source

Relaxation techniques help you refocus on to something calm, which helps the stresses and strains of daily life drift into the background. Your breathing becomes slower and regular and you become more aware of your own body in the here and now. There are various techniques to follow, this article aims to a explore a few.

Mindfulness

The techniques used in mindfulness are very current at present, mindfulness is currently a “buzz” word in the field of relaxation. In basic terms mindfulness involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing in order to bring your minds focus to the “here and now”. Sometimes an object is used to focus on such as a flower, by focusing on the minute detail on the flower your mind is in the present. Mindfulness is said to be an excellent technique for sufferers of anxiety and depression. You could even practice mindfulness “on the go” by downloading apps to your smartphone.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a low impact exercise, focusing on a series of slow, flowing body movements. It is possible to learn the principles of Tai Chi online, such as by following Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi Lessons. During Tai Chi movements your mind concentrates on the task, therefore reducing stress and anxiety. Attention is focused onto slowing down your breathing and as with meditation, grounding you to the present.  

Guided imagery

Image Source

Guided imagery techniques are practiced by focusing on an image that you find soothing, the images can be imagined in your own mind or there are apps providing soothing scenes you could choose from. You then visit the location in your mind and focus on what your five senses are telling you, for example the sounds from water, smell of flowers, feel of the sand, taste of sea spray. Once you feel fully relaxed you slowly bring your mind back to the present. Guided imagery has been shown to ease the side effects of cancer treatment, relieve headaches and reduce anxiety.  

Deep breathing

Deep breathing is beneficial as it can be practiced in any situation or location. It can be done prior to stressful events such as giving a presentation or whilst in situations that cause stress depending on the individual. Deep breathing is a simple, but powerful technique. Taking a few deep breaths counteracts stress by reducing blood pressure and lowering your heart rate. Deep breathing is incorporated into the other relaxation techniques discussed here, tai Chi and meditation, but its benefits definitely deserve a paragraph of its own.