by Dan Ketchum

In Q2 of 2021, Spotify alone played host to more than 2.6 million podcasts, which about 25% of its 356 million monthly users engaged with (per Statista). Whether you’re one of those millions or brand-new to podcasting, there’s no doubt you’ll find a bounty of options for cannabis podcasts, with an immense diversity of opinion to experience. As a company that proudly stands on a foundation of science-backed research, the crew at KOR Medical prefers pods that tackle the facts and take deep dives into general cannabis and CBD-related topics — here are just a few recs that educate, entertain and enrich.  

NCIA’s Cannabis Minority Report

Established in 2021 and running about 30 episodes deep, this podcast by host Khadijah Adams — principal cannabis business attorney and chair of the Board of Directors at the National Cannabis Industry Association — and co-hosts Alexis Olive and Khurshid Khoja welcomes cannabis industry advocates, allies and operators each week to discuss the experiences of people of color in the cannabis industry. Cannabis Minority Report shines with high-caliber industry leaders regularly appearing as guests to participate in frank discussions of diversity, opportunity, empowerment and changing the perception of cannabis for the better.

Cannabis Cultivation and Science Podcast

It’s all in the title here. Tad Hussey, founder of soil provider Keep It Simple Organics, centers all 89-plus episodes of the Cannabis Cultivation and Science Podcast around the most cutting-edge growing technology and methods available today, getting into issues ranging from the chemical analysis of resin compounds to the control of environmental conditions for improved plant health, all with expert guests in tow. Uproxx calls it a “great resource if you’re mostly interested in the science behind growing cannabis.”     

Periodic Effects

It’s little wonder that Periodic Effects makes Forbes’ own list of the best cannabis podcasts. Approaching its 250th episode since 2017, PE finds the place where cannabis business and science meet. Each episode features industry insiders, doctors, scientists, CEOs and more. Our favorite episodes include 221, in which Carrie Cuttler, Ph.D., of Washington State University discusses CBD’s varied interactions among the body’s cannabinoid receptors, and episode 245, which takes a deep dive into our modern understanding of the endocannabinoid system.  

Pot to Popular

If you’re more interested in the business side of things, Rosie Mattio’s From Pot to Popular serves as an accessible, easygoing listen featuring entrepreneurs, execs and journalists across dozens of episodes. Mattio and crew have chewed on juicy topics like destigmatizing cannabis through data, the green wave on the East Coast, science as the driving force of the CBD industry, and the role of AI in cannabis cultivation, but they always manage to keep it unfiltered and approachable. 

On Something

As a catch-all cannabis podcast, Colorado Public Radio’s On Something: Life After Legalization isn’t as regular or abundant as other options, but its wide view of cannabis culture — and how it relates to culture at large — under the curation of journalist Ann Marie Awad makes it worth the listen. Joined by historians, activists, high-tech farmers and indgienous healers alike, Awad takes on issues such as the traditionally racist baggage of marijuana, equity in the cannabis industry, the experiences of convicts left behind after cannabis legalization, and even how cannabis intersects with the family dynamic. 

Expanding Your Horizons

Not every great podcast covering cannabis or cannabidiol is a wholly cannabis podcast, or a wholly CBD podcast. For outside-in perspectives that help expand your horizons, check out these podcast episodes from beyond the cannabis community:

One more recommendation: Pair your pods with KOR Calm or KOR Health to curate your choice of a de-stressing listening session, or an active, engaged podcast experience with a little extra mental focus. 

Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance lifestyle, fashion, health and food writer with more than a decade of experience. He’s been fortunate enough to collaborate and publish with companies such as FOCL, Vitagenne, Livestrong, Reign Together, Out East Rosé, SFGate, The Seattle Times and more.

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by Kimberly Game

Sitting in front of a screen all day might appear effortless, but that’s far from the truth! It’s actually quite a draining routine. Despite how tiring it can be, winding down after work is surprisingly difficult for many people. While lots of those caught in the daily grind end up relaxing with a drink every night, not everyone wants to do this.

The Downsides of Alcohol

More and more people are choosing to cut alcohol out of their lives, and we are here for it! Alcohol can wear you down in other ways, and actually contribute to a worse quality of sleep. There are absolutely other ways to decompress. In this article, we’ll dive into a few of the best scientifically proven and non-alcoholic ways of how to unwind after work each day.

Why Is It So Hard to Unwind after Work?

Staring at a screen all day actually puts your brain into overdrive, making it more difficult to relax. The disturbance comes from the blue light. Such light can trick the brain into thinking it’s daytime, which will inevitably get in the way of that designated rest period you need and deserve! This helps to explain why people looking at computers all day find it harder to unwind after work. So, what can we do differently to wind down? That is, apart from pouring an after-work glass of wine — or three… Well, there are other options out there.

Meditation

We know, we know — it sounds like work. The truth is, though, meditation can actually make you feel more rested than sleep itself. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, meditation helps with sleep issues such as insomnia, which is common with people struggling to wind down after work. It’s a great way to promote a calmer mind before bed. It might even prove helpful with simply putting things into perspective after a long and hectic day. That means that you’ll spend less time ruminating over things that have already come and gone.

Journaling

The University of Rochester’s medical center has confirmed this one! Journaling is another great way to process your day in one quick session. Writing down your thoughts in itself can help you process what you’ve experienced, and move on. Similarly to meditation, this can help to keep you from dwelling on what you’d do differently and how certain things made you feel. Once you’ve written it down, you’ll likely feel a sense of peace. That means more time to enjoy your free time!

Cannabinoids 

If you’re wondering how to unwind after work without alcohol, this option might be perfect for you. Cannabinoids, like CBG and CBD, is another excellent way to find a sense of ease and tranquility. Many studies show that cannabinoids can help people achieve a greater sense of calm. Specifically, KOR Medical’s KOR Calm spray is formulated with full-spectrum CBD, GABA and L-theanine to promote ease among your body and mind. Not sure where to start? Speak or chat with a cannabis-trained nurse to answer your questions on how best to utilize cannabinoids to wind down after a hectic day!

Summing It Up

As the day comes to a close, it can be tough peeling yourself away from your desk. Alcohol is a tempting option many people choose to indulge in, but it isn’t a great solution for everyone. Perhaps you’re turning over a new leaf, or maybe you’ve never enjoyed drinking in the first place. Either way, we believe that when you’re ready to turn your brain off, you should be able to without a problem. Now all that’s left is to start exploring the different options out there that can help you decompress — alcohol free!

Kimberly Game is a freelance writer from Atlanta, GA. She has always had a love for writing, and started a freelance writing company in 2016 after graduating with a B.B.A. from Kennesaw State University.

Having focused her studies in Marketing, she enjoys using wordly art to help businesses attract leads and ultimately influence those leads to take action. She is also an internationally certified yoga instructor and teaches in her spare time.

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by Dan Ketchum

No matter how many reps or laps you do, muscle growth happens when your body is at rest. The American Council on Exercise calls training recovery the absolute most important component of your fitness routine, and for good reason. 

With both pro athletes and scientific studies to back it up, cannabidiol might just be the recovery habit that brings your workout regimen to the next level — and it could potentially play a key role in your pre-workout routine, too. 

Post Workout: What Happens to Your Body?

As Science Focus reminds us, when you engage in exercise, your adrenaline levels and heart rate increase, your lungs pull in up to 15 times more oxygen than when you’re at rest, and your body’s key muscle groups squeeze the veins that run through them to help get your blood pumping. But it’s what happens to your muscles after exercise that makes recovery — and the potential use of CBD for muscle recovery — so essential. 

In the hours directly following your workout, lactic acid buildup can cause muscle soreness, but that’s typically only in the short term. About 24 to 48 hours after exercise, you may feel what is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. This is because resistance training actually creates microscopic tears in your muscle fibers, which in turn increases blood flow and causes pain, stiffness, swelling and inflammation, per the Canadian Chiropractic Association. Although it’s ultimately a sign of muscle growth, DOMS can be an uncomfortable experience and an impediment to further training. 

How Cannabidiol Can Help

Cannabidiol’s potential role in the fitness realm is essentially twofold, as the natural cannabinoid can lend a hand both before your workout and during the recovery period, depending on your needs and usage strategy. 

CBD and Performance

A 2020 study published by Springer’s Sports Medicine-Open observes that, while research remains active and ongoing, “CBD may exert a number of physiological, biochemical, and psychological effects with the potential to benefit athletes.” Though preliminary — and backed by first-hand reports from professional athletes (more on that later) — SMO finds supportive evidence well beyond anti-inflammatory properties, including key areas that may benefit exercise performance.

CBD and Inflammation

Reducing inflammation is the key factor for muscle recovery. While inflammation ultimately accelerates the body’s muscle repair response, too much inflammation can lead to muscle damage and even exercise injuries, as sports medicine doctor and Hoag Orthopedic Institute executive medical director Dr. Alan Beyer tells U.S. News and World Report.

Cannabidiol is being widely used by individuals after exercise, as noted in Frontiers in Neurology. On the inflammation front in particular, cannabidiol is such an effective agent that it may be able to reduce discomfort and help with mobility. There has been research conducted related to these effects in multiple sclerosis. 

Of course, inflammation plays a key role in the discomfort experienced during post-workout DOMS, leading to swelling, stiffness and soreness; cannabidiol may help ease inflamed muscles by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, signaling neural receptors to target physiological responses. 

Look to the Pros

Speaking to Men’s Health, National Association of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and former sprinter Tara Laferrara says, “As a personal trainer and someone that works out every day and really pushes myself a lot, I noticed the biggest difference in soreness and stress after a workout” when using CBD. Laferrara is far from alone, as cannabidiol continues to become increasingly popular in the pro athlete community. 

For instance, championship Ironman runner Lauren Goss tells The Washington Post that she uses topical cannabidiol twice per day during training, particularly when dealing with foot injuries. Olympians Lolo Jones and Bubba Wason and the NFL’s Rob Gronkowski are also proponents, as are a diverse slate of retired pro athletes, such as the NHL’s Riley Cote and Ryan VandenBussche, and the NBA’s John Salley, Matt Barnes and Kenyon Martin, to name a few.

Olympic triathlete Joanna Zeiger was so positively affected by cannabis that, following the cannabis-assisted recovery period after a traumatic bike crash, she transitioned from the Ironman World Championships to a career as an epidemiologist studying the plant, calling her experience with cannabinoids “life-changing,” particularly for their safety and tolerability. 

In a survey of 1,274 adult athletes, her Canna Research Group found that 67% of the athletes polled had used therapeutic cannabinoids to relieve pain, with nearly 70% reporting a positive effect, regardless of age group (though younger athletes specifically reported better sleep and lessened anxiety, too). Floyd Landis, 2006 Tour de France winner, tells the Post, “I use CBD daily for relief,” noting quite simply that, “Oftentimes, what limits athletes’ progression in sport is pain.”  

Incorporating CBD into Your Routine

Research tells us that cannabidiol is well tolerated and non-intoxicating, and is not only allowed for usage in professional athletic organizations by major regulatory boards, but is commonly used by the pro athletes within those organizations. But what does that mean for your workout routine?

For pre-workout routines, look to full-spectrum oral methods and products, such as KOR Health. Like Health, seek cannabidiol products that emphasize everyday mental clarity, increased focus and immunity support. Likewise, the entourage effect of full-spectrum CBD products — meaning the synergistic interaction of cannabis compounds that enhance its potential effects — can help elevate their pre-exercise effectiveness. 

Our skin has many active receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which means that topical plant-based CBD solutions can be a dependable option, as many of the aforementioned pro athletes have expressed.  Always ensure that you choose third-party lab-tested options and those compliant with U.S. Federal Drug Administration best practices for both safety and efficacy before using topical CBD to wind down, heal and ultimately grow stronger.

Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance lifestyle, fashion, health and food writer with more than a decade of experience. He’s been fortunate enough to collaborate and publish with companies such as FOCL, Vitagenne, Livestrong, Reign Together, Out East Rosé, SFGate, The Seattle Times and more.

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by Deb Powers

If living a healthier lifestyle is high on your to-do list, but the idea of changing your whole life seems overwhelming and impossible, the first thing you should know is that no one changes their whole life overnight. In fact, the healthiest changes happen one step at a time. Here’s how to start living a healthy lifestyle, step by easy step. 

Setting Goals and Priorities

The first step to living a healthier life is setting some goals and priorities for the changes you want to make. By imagining the life you want and contrasting it with the life you’re living now, you can start to outline the steps you need to take to get to the life you envision. 

What’s Your Why?

One of the big questions asked of people in the nonprofit world is “what’s your why?” In other words, why is this important to you? Every person has a different set of reasons for wanting to improve their health, and those reasons help inform which steps they need to take to start living a healthier lifestyle. What makes you want to change your life? Some common reasons for wanting to adopt healthier habits include the following:

Eight Simple Habits to Adopt for a Healthier Life

No matter your reasons for wanting to live a healthier lifestyle, the good news is that you can do it. The even better news is that every healthy new habit you build into your life helps form a foundation that will make additional changes easier. Every baby step you take helps you build tools that will take you further into your journey to a better life. These eight little changes will help you form new habits that build on each other to create a healthier lifestyle, one healthy change at a time.

  1. Drink more water. While scientists don’t agree on exactly how much water each of us should be drinking — though four to six cups daily is a good general rule for healthy adults — they do know that most adults don’t drink enough of it. One of the easiest — and most important — steps you can take toward better health is to drink more water. Water plays a role in many vital bodily processes, including the following:

Start by doing the following: Buy a water bottle and set your watch to remind you to drink every two hours.

  1. Establish a healthy bedtime. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 American adults isn’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis. The CDC recommends at least 7 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period for optimal health. Sleeping fewer than 7 hours a day is associated with an increased risk of the following conditions:

Start by doing the following: Go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night for a week. Gradually increase until you get to 7 hours of sleep a night.

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast. Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the day. In one study,  researchers found that people who ate breakfast before a workout burned more energy during and after the workout than those who ate nothing. Eating breakfast is also associated with reduced risk of many chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Experts recommend a breakfast that includes healthy food choices, such as whole grain cereal, fruit, yogurt, eggs and nuts.

Start by doing the following: Stock up on easy breakfast items, like high-protein yogurt. Or prep your breakfast the night before with an easy overnight oats recipe.

  1. Increase your physical activity. Being physically active boosts your energy, improves your mood, helps you lose weight, and reduces stress levels — and that’s just a start. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise also combats heart disease, high cholesterol, arthritis, anxiety and high blood pressure, while promoting better sleep and even helping your sex life. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week — that’s 30 minutes 5 times a week — you don’t have to jump into it all at once. There are lots of ways to add more physical activity into your life, and a lot of them are fun.

Start by doing the following: Take a walk around the block after dinner, or sign up for an online easy exercise class.

  1. Practice mindfulness. A mindfulness practice can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, help lower blood pressure and improve sleep, and help with pain management. There are many different mindfulness practices, as well as apps and programs that can help you learn how to relax using mindfulness techniques. 

Start by doing the following: Connecting with a mindfulness teacher who can guide you into the best ways to practice living in the present moment.

  1. Make small substitutions. Eating healthier doesn’t have to involve a full-scale, immediate change. You can take one step or one meal at a time to make small improvements. 

Start by doing the following: Swap out one energy drink a day for a glass of water, or choose one day a week to cook a plant-based meal.

  1. Take a break from sitting. According to the National Institutes for Health, American adults spend an average of 11 to 12 hours a day sitting, and that sitting comes with an increased risk of heart disease, vascular disease and death overall. A recent study found that taking a break from sitting during the day decreased that risk substantially. Even breaks as short as 1 to 5 minutes made a difference.

Start by doing the following: Set an alarm every two hours to remind you to get up and do something physically active for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be strenuous — just a couple of laps walking around the office can help.

  1. Get outdoors. Nature offers its own healing. People who spend more time outdoors in natural settings have a decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and asthma, and report better health and satisfaction overall. 

Start by doing the following: Explore green space opportunities in your neighborhood. Check out hiking trails, go to the beach, or take a walk around the park.

How CBD Supports Your Wellness

Many of these steps toward wellness rely on the interactions of chemicals in your body with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate and balance many of your body’s systems and functions. Cannabidiol — CBD — one of the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis, works by interacting with the ECS in much the same way that your body’s natural endocannabinoids do. Since the discovery of the ECS in the early 1990s, scientists have been studying how CBD and other cannabinoids may help supplement and promote wellness through its interaction with the ECS. 

Read more about Cannabinoids and You to learn more about how KOR Medical can help support you on your quest to improve your physical and mental wellness.

Have more questions? KOR Medical has partnered with Leaf411™ to provide free, personalized support to customers. You can speak or chat directly with a cannabis-trained registered nurse on cannabinoid use and applications for free, today.

Deb Powers is a freelance writer who has been writing about CBD and other wellness topics for nearly 20 years. Her work has appeared in Civilized.Life, and on numerous industry websites and publications.

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by Deb Powers

Can CBD help your body in getting through the virus season? As flu season rolls around, many people turn to CBD products for immune support. Here’s what we know about how CBD may interact with the immune system.

When Is Flu Season?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu season in the United States roughly coincides with the fall and winter months. While flu viruses spread year-round, the number of cases usually begins to rise in October, peaking between December and February, and begins to decrease in the spring, though there is often some flu activity as late as May. 

The flu can take a major toll on your body. Each year, the fall and winter months are accompanied by an increase in reported cases of “the flu,” an umbrella term used to describe contagious respiratory illnesses that are caused by one of the influenza viruses. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends an annual flu vaccine to help prevent the worst symptoms of the flu, as well as taking precautions to help prevent the spread of flu. In addition, taking steps to strengthen your immune system may help you fight off the flu and other seasonal illnesses.

How Does CBD Influence Immunity?

Before you can understand how CBD has the potential to support your immune system, it’s important to understand what the immune system is, what it does, and how it works. 

How the Immune System Works

Unlike the body’s other systems, which are usually associated with one or more major organs — the lungs to the respiratory system, for example, and the heart to the circulatory system — much of your immune system is scattered throughout your body. It encompasses a  group of organs and cells that work together to protect our bodies from infection by identifying, targeting, and destroying cells and organisms that pose a threat to our health. 

In simple terms, when your immune system detects something in your body that doesn’t belong there — bacteria, a virus, a foreign body — it triggers a series of responses that help isolate and destroy the intruder. Many of these responses are facilitated and managed by the endocannabinoid system.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system that is dispersed throughout your brain and body. The role of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis — the proper balance of conditions in your cells. It plays an important part in many bodily functions, including the way your body reacts to infection and cell damage. 

The study of the ECS is still a relatively young field — it was only discovered in the 1990s — so the research into how it actually works is still evolving. However, we do know that the body produces chemicals, enzymes and neurotransmitters that are very similar to the major cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, including cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD. Because of the similarity, the body tends to react to the presence of plant-based cannabinoids — phytocannabinoids — the same way it does to the endocannabinoids that the body itself produces. 

CBD and Your Immune System

Scientists are still unlocking exactly how CBD can help the immune system, but they have learned that through the balancing role of the endocannabinoid system, CBD may both suppress your body’s response to illness and activate it when it’s not active enough.

Response to Infections and CBD

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to infection. It happens when the immune system signals the need for certain enzymes to isolate and fight infection. Ideally, once the infection is neutralized, the ECS sends a signal to switch off production of those enzymes and destroy them. If that doesn’t happen, the immune system can become overactive, resulting in a situation where inflammation taxes your immune system and damages your body. CBD as with other cannabinoids may help shift your body back into balance, supporting your body’s natural immune response.

CBD Immune Boost Potential 

A healthy immune system is vital to helping you get through flu season, but everyday life takes a toll on your immune system. Stress, pain, and lack of sleep all can reduce your body’s ability to fight off illness. A healthy diet, good hygiene, reducing stress and getting enough sleep can help strengthen your immunity. In addition, CBD may give your body that added boost to ward off those bad germs. Full- spectrum CBD products that contain potent antioxidants and vitamins can be an important part of your toolkit to strengthen your immune system, not only during flu season, but year-round.

Have additional questions? 

KOR Medical has partnered with Leaf411™ to provide free, personalized support to customers. Speak or chat directly with a cannabis-trained registered nurse on cannabinoid use and applications for free, today. 

Deb Powers is a freelance writer who has been writing about cannabis and general wellness topics for nearly two decades. Her work has appeared in Civilized.Life, and on various industry websites and publications.

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by Dan Ketchum

In late 2020, 20% of employed adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they worked from home before the coronavirus outbreak, while a striking 74% were working from home at the time of the survey. More than half of those workers signaled that they’d like to continue working from home if given the choice, responding positively to the new work environment, lack of commute and, in some cases, a newfound motivation. But while the home environment may have benefits ranging from more family time to more personal comfort, turning what should be the refuge of home into a full-time workplace may have potentially serious — but preventable and treatable — adverse effects on mental health. 

What Causes WFH Burnout? 

In a 2020 writeup, Laurel Farrer of Forbes gets right to the heart of work-from-home (WFH) burnout: When employees switch to a teleworking environment, “It’s not underperformance that leadership should be worried about,” she writes, “overperformance is what is actually killing the output of work-from-home teams.” Likewise, research from MarTech Cube indicates that remote workers tend to work significantly more than those who work on-site, averaging about 2 extra hours per day. Ultimately, more work equals more burnout.

How to Recognize It

Overwork can be a key cause of WFH burnout, and that burnout often manifests via a wide spectrum of warning signs, such as the following: 

Prevention Is the Best Medicine

Just as everyone responds differently to the remote work process, each individual may experience WFH burnout symptoms in different ways, if they experience them at all. Despite natural differences in the experiences of those who work from home, experts suggest two words, repeated ad nauseam for good reason, to help nip WFH burnout in the bud: Set boundaries

In the teleworking environment, setting boundaries means setting and adhering to strict in-office and out-of-office hours. In the out-of-office time, silencing notifications or setting up automated out-of-office responses can be a big help. This may help reduce burnout not only by effectively limiting your hours, but by reducing the anxiety of availability; strict personal boundaries give your brain extra assurance that it’s safe to relax during your downtime. 

And don’t neglect the follow-through. Once those WFH boundaries are set, respect yourself by respecting your boundaries, and reminding others to respect those boundaries whenever necessary. 

How to Treat WFH Burnout

Because WFH burnout is different for everybody, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. More hopefully, however, there are many tried and true options for dealing with its effects. If you’re experiencing feelings of burnout, these methods may be worth investigating:

If you’re feeling the effects of overwork or burnout, always express those feelings to your team as early as you possibly can. Not only can the act of sharing those feelings serve as a bit of therapy by itself, but you’ll often find that your team is more than willing to help you redistribute the workload or even help shift your job description in a direction that better suits the remote work lifestyle.

Cannabinoids and Stress

As Harvard Health Publishing explains, stress is a chain reaction; your senses essentially present information to the amygdala (the portion of the brain associated with emotional processing), the amygdala interprets that information and sends distress signals to the hippocampus. As it turns out, CBD can play a role in how your brain processes stress, and for the better. 

Brain imaging studies reported by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research reveal that cannabidiol (CBD) intake may alter blood flow in brain structures that are implicated during occasional times of stress, including the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and cingulate cortex. Likewise, supplementing CBD with ingredients like GABA and L-theanine (found in green tea, for instance) encourages a synergy that promotes relaxation and a sense of calm. 

Vistage CEO Cherly Marks Young reminds us that a dose of empathy is also a tonic, whether you’re experiencing WFH burnout or looking at it from the outside in. “It is a lot easier to judge someone than to say, ‘Are you taking breaks? Are you taking care of yourself?’ It’s important to be willing not to label odd behavior as bad behavior, but just be willing to reach out humanely and say, ‘How are you doing?’” And just about anyone can say those four words to their employees, to their co-workers, or to themselves.

Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance lifestyle, fashion, health and food writer with more than a decade of experience. He’s been fortunate enough to collaborate and publish with companies such as FOCL, Vitagenne, Livestrong, Reign Together, Out East Rosé, SFGate, The Seattle Times and more.

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morning routine checklist

What you do when you first wake up helps set the tone for the rest of your day. A consistent morning routine can help reduce stress, improve your mood, enhance your health, and set you up for a more successful, productive and healthy day. While your mornings should be personalized to fit your lifestyle and needs, this morning routine checklist can help you create and maintain a regular morning schedule that boosts your energy and sets up your mind and body to have a good day.

Benefits of a Morning Routine

One simple definition of routine is doing the same things in the same order every time. When you incorporate routines into your daily life, you reap a number of benefits you may not realize.

These benefits accrue whether your morning routine includes a high-intensity workout, a half hour of writing, or twenty minutes of meditation. Simply having and following a regular routine helps you be more focused, less stressed, and better able to face the day. 

Create a Morning Routine Checklist

Checklists are innately satisfying. It feels good to tick off each task as you finish it, giving you a little boost of self-confidence and cementing your routine just a little more firmly into your life. This list isn’t  a be-all and end-all, but it’s a good starting point of practices that can help you start your days off with a healthy mindset.

1. Plan for the Morning before Bed

By getting yourself set up for the morning before you go to bed at night, you reduce morning friction and tension.  Lay out your clothes for the next day. Set up your coffee maker so all you have to do is hit the start button. Set your alarm and put it out of easy reach. Check your schedule for the next day and get everything together and ready to grab and go on your way out the door.  

2. Get a Good Night’s Rest

One of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health is to get a good night’s sleep. A consistent bedtime can help ensure you sleep well during the night. Cannabinoids like CBD and CBN support high quality rest so that you wake up feeling rested and refreshed. 

3. Avoid the Snooze Button

It’s tempting to hit the snooze button for an extra 15 minutes of sleep, but research says that hitting the snooze button can actually make you sleepier and interfere with your body’s natural wake-up rhythm. If you’re not ready to leave the cozy cocoon of blankets just yet, try spending a few minutes stretching, going over your day in your mind, or practicing some creative visualization.

4. Stretch and Relax

Stretching gets the blood flowing to your muscles and joints, which can help reduce any stiffness or pain, and it prepares your body for the day. Beth Frates, M.D., of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital notes that stretching can turn on the parasympathetic system, putting you in a more relaxed and calm state as you start your day.

5. Drink Water

After six to eight hours of sleep, your body is likely to be mildly dehydrated. Drinking a glass or two of water when you wake up will help rehydrate you. It also sends a signal to your brain and nervous system that you’re awake, which increases your metabolism and prepares your body for the increased amount of energy you’ll need.

6. Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Eating a healthy breakfast gives your body the fuel it needs to get things done. When you skip breakfast, your body goes into energy conservation mode, making you feel less energetic and sapping your concentration. Eating a healthy breakfast, on the other hand, is associated with better physical and mental health. A recent research review found that people who habitually skipped breakfast were more likely to report depression, stress and psychological distress. 

7. Turn on the Lights

Light sends a message to the body that it’s time to wake up. When it’s time to wake up, open the curtains and let the sunlight in. If you use any type of home automation, set it to turn on the lights as part of your wake-up routine.  

8. Get Physical

Mornings are a good time to fit in some kind of physical activity. Hit the gym, take a walk, or do a morning yoga routine to wake up your muscles and get some endorphins flowing. 

9. Avoid Screen Time

Stay away from email, social media and phone messages first thing in the morning. They can distract you and draw you into a loop of reacting to what you read. Instead, keep the focus on preparing yourself and your mind for the day. 

10. Focus on the Positive

Start your morning on a positive note.  Spend a few minutes with some positive affirmations, or reflect on the good things you can do with your day. Turn on music that makes you feel upbeat and happy, spend some time reading for enjoyment, or write in your journal.

11. Plan Your Day

Make a plan for the rest of your day, focusing on priorities and setting up time blocks to keep you on track. Organizing your day at the start can help you stay focused and accomplish the things that are important to you. 

When you incorporate healthy, calming and energizing practices into your morning routine, you’re setting yourself up to have a good day. These 11 tips can help you create a morning routine checklist that works with your lifestyle and helps you get every day off to the best start.

Deb Powers is a freelance writer who has been writing about wellness topics for nearly 20 years. Her work has appeared on Civilized.Life and on numerous industry websites and publications.

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active recovery workout

What To Do on Your Rest Day? 5 Active Recovery Workout Ideas

Everyone knows that exercise is an important cornerstone for living a healthy, balanced life. What many people don’t realize is that rest days are just as critical. They nurture our mental, physical and spiritual health all at once. In fact, skipping these essential rest days can actually hinder your gains. That’s where an active recovery workout comes into play.

Active recovery is a great way to stay active while allowing your muscles to recover and come back stronger. For people trying to offset their sedentary job environment — or for those blessed with high energy levels — this recovery method is ideal.

What Is Active Recovery?

What does “active recovery” mean, anyway? It’s one of two types of recovery days you should include within your intensive workout regimen: active and passive. According to Medical News Today, active recovery is “low-intensity exercise that a person performs after higher intensity exercise to improve their recovery and performance.”

Combating Muscle Fatigue

So why is active recovery so important for your routine? Well, it helps to combat exercise-induced muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue is exactly what it sounds like — they get tired! It happens when your muscles struggle to perform the same exercises you may have been performing yesterday…simply because they need a break.

Active recovery helps to ease those discomforts. It does so by “facilitating the removal of metabolic waste, such as lactate (or lactic acid) built up during exercise,” according to Sweat. There are other natural ways you can help soothe your muscle aches and soreness, of course – including using a plant-powered cannabinoid relief product.

Active Recovery Workout Ideas

If you notice a lot of muscle soreness after your workouts, it’s time…time to pepper your weekly routine with a few recovery days throughout. Not sure where to start? We’ve chosen five active recovery workouts that can bring refreshing variety to your life.

Yoga

Arguably the most mainstream of active recovery practices is yoga. An article in Self says that yoga “increases flexibility, but it also teaches proper breathing techniques and body control. In addition, an easy yoga flow also promotes blood flow to help repair your broken-down muscle tissues.”

Yoga branches off into lots of different styles and practices. That means you can take your pick with whatever you feel will benefit your mind, body and spirit the most. For example, Yin yoga is a restorative practice. This is great for active recovery because it allows your muscles to rest without foregoing use completely. You get lots of stretching and flexibility work. On the other hand, Ashtanga is much more intense and rigid than a typical Vinyasa flow, so it may not be the best option for your recovery days. Make sure you choose a more subdued yoga session for your body to get the most out of it.

Tai Chi

Despite how great it is for building strength and body awareness, tai chi is quite a low-impact activity. According to Self, tai chi is “characterized by slow, flowing movements, making it ideal for activating the parasympathetic nervous system.” That system helps our bodies relax and recover from stress, whether from our intense workouts or just our daily lives. The parasympathetic system is key for recovery. After all, we don’t want to be in “fight or flight” mode all the time! It’s ideal for resting both mind and body, so it’d be the perfect one to incorporate into your weekly routine.

Swimming

This exercise yields “best of both worlds” kinds of perks. Swimming is very low impact, giving your muscles and joints a nice little vacation from gravity. It’s a paid vacation too — your body still gets the rewards of moving around in the water. Clearly, it’s the ultimate active recovery exercise.

After your swim, treat yourself a little more by further promoting muscle and bone relief via cannabinoid products.

Walking or Jogging

Another great way to stay active while letting your muscles recover is by walking or gentle jogging. Firstly, it gets you out of the house or office, which allows you to breathe in a little fresh air. Walking also helps to keep your muscles active while promoting blood flow to those areas. For that reason, workouts like these are the most beneficial for managing your fitness, as mentioned in Sweat. Walking or jogging can certainly help you maintain the blood flow to those muscles you worked so hard the previous day.

Hiking

This adventurous item fits right into our list of active recovery exercises because it’s good for the mind and soul. Plus, your muscles still get the green light. Surrounding oneself with nature has been proven to benefit the mind. In fact, Self mentions a study showing that “spending time in the great outdoors…may reduce rumination (having repetitive negative thoughts about oneself).” Additionally, it’s a good opportunity to change up the terrain you’re used to, letting you work with different muscles than usual.

Recovery Days Are Critical

Your exercise routine likely gives you a serotonin boost already. However, introducing active recovery spruces up your whole being. A change of scenery is great for the mind, so switching up your normal place to work out will keep things fresh for you. Similarly, a change in movement and intensity can be therapeutic for your muscles. Be kind to your body. Give yourself the gift of rejuvenation by getting those recovery days set in your calendar!

Kimberly Game is a freelance writer from Atlanta, GA. She has always had a love for writing, and started a freelance writing company in 2016 after graduating with a B.B.A. from Kennesaw State University. Having focused her studies in marketing, she enjoys using wordly art to help businesses attract leads and ultimately influence those leads to take action. She is also an internationally certified yoga instructor, and teaches in her spare time.

Sources

Medical News Today — What To Know About Active Recovery

Self — What Is Active Recovery? 11 of the Best Activities To Do on Your Rest Days

Sweat — 6 Active Recovery Workout Ideas

Managing Holiday Stress

The holiday season is a favorite time of year for many. However, it is also often a time of heightened stress. Add the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and related economic effects, and it’s clear there are some looming emotional and mental hardships on the horizon for many. In fact, over the past year, the CDC reported a significant increase in mental health-related disorders, with more adults reporting increased anxiety and depression. 

Discover several ways to get ahead of holiday stress for a happier, more healthful holiday season. 

Why Are the Holidays So Stressful for So Many?

Just because the holiday season is around the corner doesn’t mean day-to-day responsibilities fade or lessen. If nothing else, the holidays add to everyone’s to-do list with more calendar events, more spending on food and gifts, and more time with family. All of these weigh on people to varying degrees. 

On top of these fairly common stressors, many people are dealing with loss, loneliness and uncertainty about the coming year. To add another layer, people often experience added stress out of sheer anticipation of the holiday season. Lastly, a great many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder during this time of the year. 

One of the best ways to help reduce holiday season stress is to act early. By getting ahead of the stress, you can significantly minimize the onset of worry and high stress. And, regularly practicing these stress management techniques will build resilience and establish healthy habits that can last the entire season and beyond. 

Notice Your Feelings and Take Steps

Our bodies send us signals all the time, including signals about mounting stress. Those signals show up differently for everyone, so listening to your body is crucial. Stress can show up as trouble with sleep, irregular bowel movements, food cravings, lack of motivation to complete daily tasks or workouts, irregular mood shifts and more. 

Acknowledge your emotional and mental state, as well as the physical signals your body sends to communicate that stress is mounting. Recognize your limitations and remember to say no to people, tasks, food and drinks that will undermine your efforts to monitor, manage and minimize your stress. 

Breathe

While good habits help us manage ongoing stress, being able to manage elevated stress in the moment is also crucial. Being able to ground yourself can make all the difference. Integrating a breathing practice is a great way to manage high anxiety moments. For those who have a yogic breathing practice, apnea training or another favorite breathing practice, you’re ahead of the curve. 

For those who need a suggestion, try square breathing. It’s recommended by therapists, utilized by first responders, and works for the U.S. military. Begin by breathing in for a count of four. Next, hold your breath for a count of four. Then exhale for a count of four. Finally, hold again for a count of four and repeat. It’s called square breathing because the four-count for each step can be drawn as a square when illustrating the process. 

Choose High-Quality Soothing Cannabinoids

A great resource available to you is a selection of high-quality, carefully formulated cannabinoid products. For example, consider a calming sublingual CBD spray with added ingredients like L-theanine and GABA. This combination of ingredients supports a calm mind so you can face holiday stressors with a greater sense of ease. 

Not sure where to start with cannabinoids? KOR Medical has partnered with Leaf411™ to provide free, personalized support to customers. You can speak directly with a trained registered nurse on cannabinoid use and applications.

Meditate Regularly

You may already know that meditation has many calming benefits. If you don’t already meditate, consider just 10 minutes a day, as research indicates regular meditation can actually change your brain waves, helping you feel calm and grounded. And over time, meditation can rewire your brain to be more resilient. If you already put in some meditation time every day, consider adding a few minutes to your sessions and meditating more often, such as in the morning, on your lunch break and before going to bed. 

There are numerous apps that offer free and paid guided meditations. Many people rely on YouTube. Or, you might learn some meditation skills while taking a yoga class. Try different types of meditation to see what works best for you. Consider binaural beats, transcendental meditation, body scans, guided meditation or any other techniques that resonate with you.  

Exercise More and Consistently

You’ve probably heard that exercise is a great mood booster. If there’s an ideal time to push for regular exercise, it’s not at the beginning of summer to get the beach body — although we encourage people to seize any reason for more and regular exercise. The holiday season is an especially great time to firm up your exercise habits, and holiday food is a great reason to punch it up a bit. Remember that exercise really should happen every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes of sweating. All activity that gets your heart rate up counts as exercise. 

Make Healthful Food Choices and Stay Hydrated

Synonymous with the holiday season are processed foods, high fat and high sugar foods, and general overindulgence. While having too much eggnog and holiday desserts at a party won’t break your fitness goals, overindulgence as a habit is a bigger problem. Skip fad diets and remember that all things in moderation is a healthy approach. You might even add mood-boosting foods to your grocery list, such as berries, high fiber foods, bananas and the occasional bite of dark chocolate. 

And remember that while 64 ounces is the minimum daily water goal, there’s so much more that goes into proper hydration. So aim for 100 ounces or more of regular old clear water. And if you have any other drinks at all, including coffee, kombucha, alcohol, soda and more — be sure to drink an additional eight-ounce glass of water for each non-water drink. 

Practice Sleep Hygiene 

Late-night holiday parties, longer to-do lists, lack of sleep due to worrying or anxiety — these are just a few common reasons people lose sleep during the holiday season. To keep your mood and energy up, you not only need to aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night, but you should also consider consistent bedtimes and wake times. 

Creating bedtime rituals and morning habits are often considered the ideal way to manage sleep. For example, meditating, journaling and having a soothing cup of tea at bedtime are highly recommended. Exercising, taking a cold shower and staying away from digital devices until you are actually starting your day are also often recommended as healthy morning routines.  

Reconnect With Your Network

We all lose track of people or miss out on opportunities to stay in touch with people throughout the year. Luckily, the holiday season is a great time to reconnect. Send a postcard, letter, newsletter or  text message, or try something novel like picking up the phone and making a call. Whatever you choose, let people know you’re thinking about them. Wish them health and wellness. Maybe even exchange headlines about each other’s lives. 

Not only is being social and reconnecting with people you like and respect great for your health, but it’s also great for the person with whom you are reconnecting. Just remember that reconnecting with your network may bring up triggers or surprising reasons you lost touch. When that happens, remember to be present and listen to what they have to say. You got in touch to have a conversation, so keep that intention front and center while you build bridges and offer olive branches if that’s the direction some reconnection conversations take. 

Set Aside Differences

One of the reasons holiday get-togethers can be so stressful is socializing with family members, extended family and their plus-ones. That means we’re participating in social conventions and obligatory forms of social interaction that can make people uncomfortable. For example, it can be tough to enjoy a meal with a highly critical and vocal person at the table. Many people also find it stressful to be around others who don’t share their views, for instance religious, political and other opinions that remind us we aren’t all like-minded. 

In these types of situations, remember to breathe and remind yourself that the moment is temporary. Challenge yourself to focus on enjoying whatever you can about the day while ignoring or brushing off, even if repeatedly, anything you don’t like about it or the people. You might even challenge yourself to be a positive influence on the day while testing your endurance. With the proper preparation and mindset, anyone can get through a few hours or more of uncomfortable time. 

Find a Joyful Holiday Season

There are many tools and resources at your disposal for a joyful holiday season. Some people listen to music while others elevate their time with a therapist. It’s a great idea to start your day with something you enjoy. Visualization can be an especially effective tool for making it through the holiday season as well as other stressful events throughout the year. 

The holiday season is stressful for just about everyone for a variety of reasons. Getting ahead of the expected stress by building up your resilience and your stress-combating habits before the season hits is the best way to manage tough times. Seize all opportunities to minimize stress, including the opportunity to enjoy a calming cannabidiol sublingual spray. 

Also, always remember that you are never truly alone. If your stress turns into thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself or others, there are options. Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK [8255] or chat online. You can also contact the Crisis Textline for support by sending a text message to 741741.

How to Sleep when Stressed

Everyone knows how important a good night’s rest is, and how a poor sleep schedule can impact nearly every other part of your daily life. Dr. Jeffrey Wertheimer, a clinical neuropsychologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, explains that sleep is inextricably intertwined with other aspects of physical and mental health. 

Stress can make it more difficult to sleep, and lack of sleep can lead to higher stress levels  — a classic vicious cycle. Wertheimer notes that improving your sleep does not start when your head hits the pillow. What you do throughout the day contributes to how easy it is to fall asleep at bedtime and how well you sleep during the night. 

So how do you sleep when stress levels are high? These tips are aimed at helping relieve stress and creating the circumstances that will help your body relax and welcome sleep naturally by focusing not just on a bedtime routine, but on your daily lifestyle. 

Go to Bed and Wake Up at the Same Time Each Day

While it’s been generally accepted that establishing a consistent bedtime will help you fall asleep more easily, a recent study noted that maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can actually improve your overall health. 

Adopt a Healthier Diet

A balanced diet — one that provides the recommended daily intake of vitamins and nutrients — supports more restful sleep overall. In fact, one study found evidence that the Mediterranean diet promotes healthier sleep. Eating healthier is a win-win, too — a healthy diet can also help reduce stress, which can only be good for your sleep.

Watch What You Eat at Bedtime

It’s not just your overall diet that can affect your sleep patterns, however . What you eat in the couple of hours before bedtime can also make a difference. Most sleep specialists recommend avoiding spicy and fatty foods close to bedtime — after all, it’s hard to sleep through a bout of heartburn. You should also avoid caffeine close to bedtime, and try not to drink too much of any liquid, unless you want to wake up for that midnight bathroom trip. 

More importantly, avoid eating big meals too close to bedtime, and if you must have a bedtime snack, choose a handful of nuts, some kiwi fruit, or a glass of tart cherry juice an hour or so before bedtime.

Get Plenty of Physical Activity — But Not at Bedtime

People who are more physically active during the day tend to sleep better at night. Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, says that exercise helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality. She notes that people who engage in 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at some point during the day often see a difference in their sleep quality the same night. As far as timing, Gamaldi recommends experimenting to see what works best for you, though some studies suggest you should avoid vigorous exercise, such as HIIT workouts, within an hour of bedtime.

Address Sleep Challenges

For some, poor sleep quality is associated with a physical problem, such as sleep apnea or GERD. Sleep disorders are treatable, once you know you have one. If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or getting restful sleep, talk to your medical practitioner about consulting a specialist. Sometimes the treatment is as simple as changing your sleep position.

Use Cannabinoids for Sleep Support

Many people who use cannabis, both medically and recreationally, report using it for sleep purposes. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in sleep regulation. Sleep products containing cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBN, provide naturally-derived support for healthy sleep habits.

Get Out Into the Sunlight

Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating sleep. Getting more exposure to sunlight — or full spectrum lights — helps boost levels of vitamin D, which improves sleep quality for many people. 

Dim the Lights

Light has a major effect on our circadian rhythms, which helps regulate sleep and alertness. You can help yourself fall asleep by manipulating the lighting in your living and sleeping space. The Centers for Disease Control suggests keeping the light levels dim for two hours before bedtime to prime your body for better sleep.

Reduce Stimulation Before Bed

Put down the phone and turn off the screens 30 minutes before bedtime to avoid overstimulation. Instead, do something relaxing such as reading or listening to music, or practice a mindfulness routine like mindfulness meditation or breathing exercises to help calm your mind.

Take a Hot Bath or Shower

A hot bath or shower before bed will help prime your body for sleep. Going from the warm bath to a cooler bedroom will drop your body temperature, naturally making you feel sleepier.

Worry Earlier in the Day

If worries and stress keep you awake at night, try scheduling your worries into your daily routine — productively. Plan for 15 minutes to go through your to-do list, mark off tasks and brainstorm solutions to the worries that keep you up at night. It will be easier to dismiss them if you’ve already created a plan to deal with them.

If You Can’t Sleep, Get Out of Bed

It may seem counterintuitive, but experts say that if you can’t fall asleep — or if you wake up and can’t fall back to sleep — get out of bed. Move to a dimly lit area and do something relaxing, like reading or knitting, until you feel sleepy. 

A good night’s sleep is the key to a healthier you. Addressing the stress that keeps you awake at night with all the tools at your disposal will help move you forward on your journey to a fulfilled, well-balanced life.

References:

Cedars Sinai Blog – Good Sleep in Times of Stress
Neurotherapeutics – Effects of Cannabinoids on Sleep and Their Therapeutic Potential for Sleep Disorders
Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism – Sleep Timing, Sleep Consistency, and Health in Adults: A Systematic Review
Sleep Foundation – Nutrition and Sleep
Advances in Nutrition – Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality
Johns Hopkins – Exercising for Better Sleep
Harvard Health – Does Exercising at Night Affect Sleep?

Deb Powers is a freelance writer who has been writing about cannabis and related wellness topics for nearly 20 years. Her work has appeared on Civilized.Life and numerous industry websites and publications.