People who are mentally healthy are in better control of their behaviors and emotions. Unfortunately, some of us tend to focus on our physical health that we forget to improve our mental health. That’s not advisable more so our physical, emotional, and mental health are somehow connected. When you are physically exhausted, your spirits are low and you can’t seem to concentrate on your work, right? You cannot say you are healthy when your mental health is deteriorating. Thus, stay mentally healthy with these simple steps.

How to improve your mental health

1) Eat well

Another key to boosting your mental health is eating healthy. Simply put, put good in and you’ll get good out. Nutrition (or the lack of it) affects our short-term and long-term mental health. People who experience mental health issues are not generally healthy eaters. So, try to adapt healthy eating habits as possible. Eat as much fruits and vegetables as you can. Include some brain-boosting items also such as spinach and walnut. Be easy on yourself and rest, if you must.

2) Exercise

Do this for at least two times weekly. When we are exercising, our brain releases endorphin. This is a feel-good chemical; hence, it is dubbed as one of the happiness hormones. Endorphins induce feelings of pleasure. Don’t be surprised experiencing an instant mood boost after you exercise. Nonetheless, you should vary your exercise routine to include outdoor exercises especially those that require mingling with others.

3) Sleep more

Sleep deprivation has many negative effects. It makes it difficult to focus on tasks, remember details, learn new information, make sound judgments. It also makes you irritable all through the next day. And, it shows on your face. Hence, lack of sleep affects your physical well-being, your work and your relationship with the people around you. Try to obtain a healthy amount of sleep every night. For adults like you, the sweet spot is between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every day.

4) Say ‘thanks’

We have too many things to be thankful for; but, you are just too busy to notice. Don’t forget to be grateful, look at the bright side, and do good to others. Making other people happy also can also make us happy. Studies show that kindness is cyclical – you feel good yourself because you make another person feel good herself. It doesn’t matter even if it’s a small gesture; it will still make a difference to the person. So, practice kindness and gratitude whenever you can.

5) Say ‘no’

Self-care is never selfish. So, always remind yourself that you can say ‘no’ if you don’t feel like taking in more workload than you can handle. The tendency of a burnout is highly likely inside and outside the office. If you think your work is overwhelming you and you think of your workplace as toxic, just say no. Speak up why you can’t take any more work for that specific period. Go outside and spend some quality alone time.

6) Meditate

Meditation improves our mental well-being. It used to be an intimidating practice due to its spiritual nature. Over the years, though, it became a well-received practice. There are several methods of meditation from deep breathing to walking meditation that you can try to determine which technique best suits you. The best part is you only think about you and nothing else.

7) Brainwrite

Brainwriting refers to the process of writing down all your ideas. It was originally a brainstorming process. However, you can always write what’s on your mind like in the form of a journal. It’s a cathartic experience since you get to release your stress, negative emotions, worries, etc. It also helps clear your mind and gives you some perspective. Yes, you may actually call it a creative escape.

8) Ditch digital

Don’t forget to do a digital detox. Browsing your Facebook news feed alone can make you feel stressed. The depressive symptoms are due to the comparisons taking place. That’s human nature, comparing our achievements with that of others. Sometimes, however, the effects are destructive and depressive. Sign out of your social media accounts from time to time like on weekends. Spend them with your loved ones instead, doing things you love to do.

Finally, when we are all able to do it without any restrictions, we should…

Travel often

Travel is an important aspect in changing your mindset. Did you know that the act of planning a trip alone increases a person’s overall happiness? That’s because of the anticipation. Also, the more exposure you get, the more you become well-aware of the things around you. If you decide to travel, choose someplace with water because of its calming effect.

When improving your health, make sure that you are taking all aspects into account . You cannot pour your energies to improve your physical health while forgetting your emotional well-being, for instance. Remember, these aspects are related to one another. So, you should view your body holistically and work from there.

Every car on the road contributes to traffic congestion and noise and air pollution (greenhouse gas emission). Have you ever asked yourself what you can do to minimize pollution, for instance? Interestingly, you asked yourself such a question while you are sitting comfortably inside your car. Yes, that’s the answer – use your car less! Here’s how.

Walk or ride a bike

When traveling shorter distances, you might as well walk. Brisk walking, for instance, has many benefits, including making your legs stronger. If you buy groceries, bring with you a shopping trolley, so you won’t need to hand-carry everything. If walking is not possible, why don’t you ride a bike instead? This can also improve your health and much cheaper than traveling in a car. You can also experience your neighborhood in the truest sense of the word.

Thought to ponder: Did you know that Americans spend about 1/5 of their monthly income on paying for car-related expenses such as amortization, insurance, car wash, repair, parking fee, tools, etc.?

Combine trips

If you are doing multiple short trips often, considering combining these. For instance, you may buy household supplies after picking the kids from school. Check where you can go car-lite further by organizing your errands and knowing which of these can be replaced by an email or phone call instead. These are definitely much cheaper than the cost of fuel. If possible, avoid using your car during peak hours since you will spend a long time in the car and use more fuel than what’s necessary. 

Thought to ponder: Did you know that, in the US, car ownership is the second largest expense, spending more on cars than on food and healthcare?

Carpool

Carpooling, or car-sharing, is not a new concept. If you and your friends are going somewhere, arrange the trip ahead so that you’ll use just one car instead of one car each. Anyhow, a trip is made more enjoyable when you do it with friends. 

Thought to ponder: Did you know that an average American spends $700 per month on his or her car-related needs?

Work from home

Nowadays, employers are working flexible working time for their workers, especially for mothers and those who take care of their folks. Consider working from home if you need not be physically present in the office. With your time mostly spent at home, you may now consider selling your second car, if you own one, that is. 

Using cars less has its own merits:

  1. You may prolong the life of your car due to less wear and tear.
  2. You may save lots of money on fuel costs, car maintenance, and parking costs.
  3. You may contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and thereby improving air quality.

If these benefits are not motivating enough, what will? 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links—I’ll earn a percentage for each purchase made through the said links.

Earlier today, I attended Crossmount’s parents’ orientation. That could only mean one thing: the school year 2021-2022 is about to start. And like last year, it will be online learning.

online learning
Any form of learning conducted partly or wholly over the Internet; also called distance learning, distance education, and e-learning

But unlike last year, Sasha would no longer be borrowing her Papa’s phone. She has her own smartphone now, while Adele has her own tablet. Both are Samsung—our first choice of a smartphone brand. After all, we are very much an Android family and at the lower-end at that. 😂

We can’t afford expensive products. As a practical mom, anything with double or triple zeros is expensive. If it’s not on the grocery list, it must be expensive. If I have to save for it for at least three months, it is definitely expensive. If it’s a want, it surely is expensive. 😂😂

But what to do? My daughters need the gadgets for their schooling.

I am firm on a smartphone and a tablet. Sasha is okay with using a phone because she’s more comfortable using one, but Adele needs a wider screen.

We have at least two choices for each. For the phone, our choices are Samsung Galaxy M11 and Samsung Galaxy A02s. For the tablet, the choices are Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 and Galaxy Tab A7 Lite LTE.

We got the A02s for ate and A7 for bunso.

bunso /n/
the youngest family member

The kids are happy with their gadgets. I am too. The devices are sturdy and not too heavy (especially the tablet). They have a wide enough screen and crisp audio.

Obviously, I am not a good tech reviewer, but I’m trying. 😂😂😂 The most important thing for me is they can see their teachers on the screen during lectures and hear the lessons clearly. That’s it!

If you are a mom (or dad) looking for the right gadget for online schooling under Php10,000, you might as well consider buying a Samsung smartphone or tablet. Samsung by far is the most reliable smartphone brand in the Philippines today. Even the cheapest models perform and deliver.

Here are your choices.

Samsung mobile phones and tablets for online classes

Here’s a rundown of the smartphones and tablets that I think are the best for e-learning listed from the least to the most expensive:

1) Samsung Galaxy M02 (Php4,490)

Samsung Galaxy M02 features

  • 6.5″ Infinity-V display
  • 2GB RAM, 32GB storage
  • Up to 1TB micro SD card
  • 13MP Main camera, 2MP macro camera, 5MP front camera
  • 9.1mm thick
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Stripe back design

The device offers an immersive experience because of its relatively wide screen.

Also, it is not thick, not heavy, and has a stunning stripe design at the back.

The smartphone is available in black, blue, gray, and red.

2) Samsung Galaxy A02 (Php4,990)

Samsung Galaxy A02 features

  • 6.5″ Infinity-V display
  • 2GB, 3GB, 4GB RAM
  • 32GB, 64GB Storage
  • Up to 1TB micro SD card
  • 13MP Main camera, 2MP macro camera, 5MP front camera
  • 9.1mm thick
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Stripe back design

No, you do not see double. But yes, M02 and A02 are technically the same.

Their only difference is the variations in internal memory. A02 is available in 2/32GB, 3/32GB, 4/32GB, and 3/64GB RAM options.

3) Samsung Galaxy M12 (Php5,590)

Samsung Galaxy M12 features

  • 6.5″ Infinity-V display
  • Octa-core
  • 3GB, 4GB, 6GB RAM
  • 32GB, 64GB, 128GB Storage
  • Up to 1TB micro SD card
  • Quad camera (main, ultra wide, depth, and macro)
  • 48MP main camera, 8MP front camera
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 15W Adaptive fast-charging
  • Side fingerprint
  • Metallic finish with micropattern

The mobile phone boasts of its HD+ technology, so if you are fond of selfies or a content creator, you’ll definitely like this. It produces sharp, crisp, and clear images every time. You may also capture moments in wide and ultra wide angles without sacrificing details. That is if you know how to maximize the camera features for that natural bokeh.

bokeh /n/
The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photo as rendered by a specific lens

The micropatterns at the back allow for a more comfortable grip. Overall, it is very stylish and modern-looking.

It is available in black, light blue, and green.

4) Samsung Galaxy M11 (Php5,990)

Samsung Galaxy M11 features

  • 6.4″ Infinity-O display
  • Octa-core
  • 3GB RAM, 32GB storage
  • 13MP Main camera, 5MP ultra wide camera, 2MP depth camera
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Face recognition
  • Fast-charging 5,000mAH battery

The phone has edge-to-edge coverage because of the HD+ technology that can elevate shots even in panorama mode because of the 77° wide angle and 115° ultra wide angle capturability. As a result, it takes stunning images day and night.

Other than its visual content creation capabilities, it is suitable for gaming too.

It has a simple frame, but the look and feel more than make up for its simplicity. The symmetrical side designs and smooth curves allow you to hold the phone conveniently.

This smartphone is available in black, metallic blue, and violet. Sasha initially wanted this phone because it comes in violet. 💜

5) Samsung Galaxy A02s (Php6,990)

Samsung Galaxy A02s features

  • 6.5″ Infinity-V display
  • Octa-core
  • 2GB, 3GB, 4GB RAM
  • 32GB, 64GB Storage
  • Up to 1TB micro SD card
  • 13MP Main camera, 2MP macro camera, 2MP depth camera, 5MP front camera
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Adaptive fast-charging battery
  • Face recognition
  • Matte finish patterned back

This mobile phone has a large immersive display, making it perfect for Sasha’s online classes.

It boasts for its streamlined design at the sides and back. Additionally, it features refined curves for easy handling and a matte back for a more comfortable hold.

It is available in black, white, red, and blue. Sasha settled for the blue.

6) Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (Php7,990)

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 features:

  • Premium compact design
  • 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, 512GB SD card
  • 8″ WXGA display
  • 5,100mAh battery
  • Kids Home
  • Dual speakers
  • Metal backing

The device has a slim feel and sleek touch. It is also very lightweight at 347g, which means you may carry it around with ease. The features on the front are minimized for a wider screen view. For instance, it has no home key, and the logo is placed at the back.

For me, the most critical features are Parental Control and Kids Home. Both allow your children to have a safe digital playground where they can learn and have fun while still controlling usage. Such features are vital because I want to make sure that my children’s playtime is minimized.

The tablet is available in black or silver.

7) Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite LTE (Php9,490)

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite features

  • 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 1TB SD card
  • 8.7″ WXGA+ TFT display
  • Octa-core 2.3GHz
  • 5,100mAh battery
  • High-performance processor
  • 8MP main camera, 2MP front camera
  • Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos
  • Kids Home
  • Metal covering

The device is very slim at 8.0mm and lightweight, weighing only 371g. It’s highly portable too.

What I like about the gadget is stereo sound. The richness of the sound is consistent whether watching or listening in upright or horizontal orientation. It is actually the first thing I noticed about it.

The tablet is available in gray and silver. Adele’s is silver.

You may buy any of these items directly from Samsung’s:

However, I am not very sure about its Shopee store. It hasn’t been updated for some weeks now. There are also no product listings the last time I checked it. It must be the reviews.

Anyhow, I made it a point to include only links from the official stores because I can only vouch for the originality of the gadgets bought from the stores. I should know—I bought my phone and Papa’s from these stores as well.

So there are your choices.

My last tip is to buy a smartphone for older kids and a tablet for the younger ones. Younger kids have a hard time seeing letters and numbers on a small screen. If we can make everything convenient for our kids, let’s do so.

Long-distance relationships are a real struggle. If we were to choose, none of us would even consider being in one. Sadly, there are unfortunate consequences that life throws at us; it leaves us with no choice but to go somewhere else.

But that doesn’t mean we cannot live through the distance. We can still make it work, keeping the relationship healthy and functional. The secret? Staying connected! Here are some ways to do just that.

How to stay connected in an LDR

1) Build trust

For LDRs, trust is the single most crucial factor. No one can say that he loves a person without trusting her and vice versa. However, since you aren’t around each other constantly, it is easier to assume, wonder and worry. You constantly think about what she is doing when she’s not talking to you or in front of her laptop, who she is hanging out with, how she feels about the relationship, etc. Insecurities abound, but this should be addressed by frequent and effective communication. When you talk, be honest with yourself and with your partner.

2) Be trusted

Along those lines, give your loved one all the right reasons to trust you. Be aware of your own tendencies. Even if your partner is not around, you should be mindful of how it would make her feel if you hang out with your opposite sex more often than necessary. Asking yourself whether you’d be uncomfortable knowing that your partner hangs out with someone you only knew by name is a good gauge. If the answer is a resounding yes, then avoid those risky situations in the future, or it will only lead to arguments. Be on the same page with her, especially on each other’s stand in the relationship.

3) Define expectations

Once trust is established, the next best thing is to set clear expectations. Being apart from one another breeds uncertainties. Thus, the most important thing to agree on is the actual time of separation. It should be clear to both of you when the separation will end. Afterward, exert an effort in making the circumstances more workable to both of you. Determine the frequency of connecting with each other, for instance. Leverage the power of technology (i.e., Skype, Facebook, FaceTime, etc.). Choose what makes sense to both of you. Since individual expectations greatly vary, there might be some compromises along the way. So, stick to the agreements. If you agree to chat (or video chat) this Friday night, show up. Otherwise, tell your partner in advance why you cannot chat with him.

4) Schedule “dates”

Both of you need to agree on regular date nights, such as once a week or every Friday night, so you have something to look forward to. Discuss the possible ways you would connect. It could be over a video chat or whatever feels most comfortable for the both of you. Again, anything might happen that hinders your partner from having that elusive date with you. If rescheduling is needed, tell your partner ahead of time. Don’t try to reschedule every date because your special someone may feel unprioritized, which is often the root of bad feelings. Additionally, if the dates are intermittent, try to schedule them closer as possible. Make it an effort to actually “see” your partner because it is a part of your commitment to one another.

5) Share experiences

Ask anyone involved in an LDR, and they would say that it is always better to tell stories through a video chat than through instant messaging. It is relatively easy to misunderstand tones and intents when texting or chatting. Fire up video chatting because your face and voice tell a lot more than what your emojis can.

Humans are visual creatures. Just seeing one’s photo can rekindle the passion between you two. Consider sending random pictures and videos, too, so you can update him on what you are up to. He will feel more involved in this way. Encourage him to do the same.

6) Share interests

While at it, the goal should be becoming relatable to one another. You can share anything that piques your interest, such as a blog that you regularly visit, a book that you are currently reading, the songs you dig, etc. Show him that you are still doing those things you do when you’re together, even when he is not around. But be genuine about it—don’t watch the hockey game to impress him. He won’t like that. Just stay involved in your own life without forgetting about him.

7) Laugh together

One way to form an emotional connection is through laughing together. Okay, maybe not together, but you can share with her something to make her day. Online, there are a plethora of funny pictures that you may show her. Better yet, send her a joke – that one that makes you laugh so hard it’s a sin not to share it with her. It could be a private joke.

8) Send texts

While you don’t want the LDR to be purely text messaging, sending text messages is not a bad thing at all. Two of the most important yet cliché messages you can send him are good morning and good night. Why? It tells the other person that he is the first thing you think of when you wake up each morning and the last thing on your mind before going to sleep. Then again, you can always start a conversation with questions like “How was your sleep?” or “What are you going to do today?”

LDRs can be a real pain, but it’s up to you to make it more bearable to both of you. Don’t let the distance (and time zones) limit what you can do for each other and impact the future that the two of you are patiently waiting for. Do your part to stay connected to one another. Remember that the relationship is founded on commitment, and you need to be ready to commit to making it work.

Music heightens the overall learning readiness. Exposing children to music helps them learn sounds, sound patterns, and the meaning behind the words. Music introduces new words, for instance, that aid in developing the child’s comprehension skills.

As a mom of two, I know how beneficial using preschool songs are in their school activities. These songs perk up their mood every time they don’t feel like 100%.

Morning circle is incredibly challenging. This group activity, which involves everyone, targets social skills development, which is fundamental to play-based learning.

Students understandably got bored quickly and agitated at times during circle time. But this is true whether the child is homeschooling or attending an online class or in a classroom setting.

circle time /n/
a period within a school day wherein young children gather in a circle for a guided discussion or activity

I observed this past school year that these preschool songs did more than what’s expected. Joyland teachers used video lessons, and each lesson starts with a prayer and a preschool song. Each week is a different song. And I can say that Adele enjoyed the songs more than the lessons themselves. Oops…

Yes, Adele is a visual and creative learner. She appreciates music, song, dance, and art more. She learns better when these elements are integrated into the lessons.

Seriously, the song geared her up for the tasks ahead. And each lesson has what—three to four activities.

These preschool songs are all-time favorites. Some of these songs are action songs too.

Preschool songs for circle time

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